I'm heading to Japan in about a month (Feb 19th - March 6th) so getting serious about itinerary planning now - with the incredible amount of material out there, making any kind of plan is proving rather overwhelming! As such, I call upon the Tokyo/Kyoto chowhounders to critique my plan below - any comments/suggestions would be most appreciated.
Our main limiting factor is budget and the painful exchange rate. Also keen to not over-engineer planning. Our priority is seeing the country as well as just the food so if you see any yawning gaps for areas of the cities we're missing out please let me know!
I also understand a lot of the choices are mainstream i.e. tempura/katsu/sushi/teppanyaki. This is down to overload of information rather than due to lack of adventure. If you have any suggestions for more left field spots in the areas we're be around then please do advise!
Oh - final important point: ** No Japanese speaking/writing skills but keen to try our best ** .
>> Tokyo Day 1 (Sunday) Arriving very early (5am). Planning a fairly relaxed day to deal with jetlag.
Breakfast - somewhere local in Asakusa (suggestions welcome - not holding out too much hope for this one!)
Lunch - wander around Shibuya/Harajuku. Lunch at Suzuran. Afternoon check out Roppongi Hills.
Dinner - probably an early night so somewhere local in Asakusa - maybe Daikokuya though slightly concerned may be closed on sundays.
>> Tokyo Day 2 (Monday)
Breakfast - Sushi Dai (cliché I know!)
Lunch - Wander around Ginza - wanted to go to Fukamachi for their Tendon lunch but closed Mondays. Any must-visit spots around there for a cheap(ish) lunch? Is there a Ramen Jiro in the vicinity?
(afternoon - visit Akihabara and potentially Kappabashi-Dori depending on energy levels)
Dinner - Nakameguro: Akira Teppanyaki Izakaya
>> Tokyo Day 3 (Tuesday)
Lunch - on the waiting list for L'Osier. Back up option is Ukai-Toriyama for a day trip.
Dinner - Drinks at New York Bar (do we need to book this?) followed by dinner somewhere in Shinjuku - any Izakaya suggestions? Probably won't need anything massive after big lunch.
(Would have liked to fit lunch in at Sushi Saito but don't think i'd appreciate it on day 1 as jet lagged and then day 2 is Tsujiki so sushi overload...)
>> Osaka: Day 4/5 - planning on keeping these flexible and just seeing what we Takoyaki etc we stumble upon.
>> Kyoto: Day 6 (Thursday)
Lunch - Walk around southern Higashiyama. Lunch at Santoka Ramen. Visit to Nishiki Market in afternoon (may try to fit in some Unagi at Kane-Yo)
Dinner - Katsukura / drinks at Atlantis.
>> Kyoto: Day 7 (Friday)
Lunch - early start for Kinkakuji area and Philosphers Walk. Lunch at Omen. Afternoon - visit some quieter temples (slightly) off the beaten track.
Dinner - Akira Tempura.
>> Kyoto Day 8
Lunch - Trip out to Ginkakuji in the morning and then over to Arashiyama for lunch/afternoon.
I'm guessing food options may be limited around here - any tips for mid price lunch would be great.
Dinner - potentially Kaiseki but limited by budget and also am spending a couple nights in a Ryokan in Shibu Onsen which includes a pretty decent Kaisek meal. Any recs for a mid price sushi spot near Higashiyama? Im going with my partner so something leaning towards the 'romantic' is always nice!
>> Final long-shot question: We're heading to Nozawa Onsen for some skiing - am expecting culinary options will be slightly more limited but shout out if anyone knows any good spots there!
******** Thank you so much for your help and apologies I have nothing to contribute (yet) - if anyone visits London and needs advice than more than happy to repay the favour! (and will also write up my report on my return as thanks for all the amazing contributions on this site)**********