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2 weeks: Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto


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2 weeks: Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto

graceface | Sep 14, 2010 12:58 PM

My husband and I are setting off for our first trip to Japan together; it's his first time there, and my first as an adult. While our main motivation is sight-seeing and attending the Suzuka F1 Grand Prix, we also like to eat and would like to find chow that fits in our itinerary. Since the dollar-yen exchange rate is so unfavorable right now (for Americans at least), dinners of no more than 2500 yen per person would really be ideal; however, we're open to one nice dinner per city. We don't have any dietary restrictions, and while I do speak Japanese, my reading is rusty... so any place with patient service (while I try to decipher more complicated menus) would be a plus :)

Other questions before we get to the main event:
- Since Kyoto is our last stop, that's also where I'd like to stock up on edible souvenirs to take home. Any recommendations on wagashi that's easy to take home?
- While traveling, I find that I can easily spend a lot on water to keep me hydrated. Is it a good idea to stock up on bottled water at combini--what's the most economical option? Is it possible to get away with carrying a reusable aluminum bottle? I've had luck carrying it around in the US as fast-food courts and cafés have often honored my request to refill it with tap water. Would these sorts of places honor that request in Japan, or is there an alternative (filling it up at a public fountain or supermarket counter, for example)?

Feedback on current selections and recommendations are extremely welcome. Many thanks in advance ~

Check into our Shiodome hotel in Tokyo in the afternoon and explore Ginza, stopping by a department store or two.

*** DINNER: ___ (striving for cheap, delicious, and characteristically "Ginza", whatever that may be…)

DAY 2 (most jam-packed day)
Check out the Sunday flea market at Togo Shrine, then window-shop/people-watch along Harajuku and Aoyama/Omotesando. Head to Mitaka for the Ghibli Museum and finally head to Shinjuku to explore Isetan, and as the sun sets, go over to the TMG building to see nighttime Tokyo in its Bladerunner-rific glory.

*** BREAKFAST: (looking for combini/café options near Shiodome/Shimbashi station where I can pick up tasty onigiri or Western-style breakfast sandwich)

*** LUNCH : Maisen, although a back-up option in Omotesando is always welcome

*** DINNER: ___ Shinjuku eats: somewhere at Isetan? Numazukou kaiten-zushi?
Numazukou -

Up early in the morning to explore Tsukiji market (not dead set on witnessing the auction), then walk around Hama-Rikyu Teien before boarding the waterbus to sight-see in Asakusa. Afternoon is open until dinner back in Ginza.

*** BREAKFAST: Tonkatsu Yachiyo OR Tenfusa OR Oo-Edo (not keen on waiting in line at Dai/Daiwa).
Yachiyo -
Tenfusa -
Oo-Edo -

*** LUNCH: Kawamatsu Bekkan in Asakusa

*** DINNER: Sushi Kanesaka - reservations already made (splurge of the trip, and I figured it might be a neat wrap-up to conclude a day starting at Tsukiji at a Ginza sushi-ya).

Hop over to Tokyo National Museum and Imperial Palace East Garden, and then explore Akihabara to be tempted by Nikon gear and watch hardcore gamers at the arcade. Evening is open to have dinner back in Ginza/Shimbashi/Tsukiji, or to continue exploring around Akihabara (Kagurazaka or Ikebukuro, maybe?).

*** LUNCH (Ueno/Akiba recs please): Ikinaisshou OR Omusubi Gombei
Ikinaisshou -
Omusubi Gombei -

*** DINNER: ___

Tentative day trip to Kamakura, although I will also be watching the autumn leaf report to see if Nikko is tapping into its splendor at this time, as I would love to experience its natural beauty. Recs for either locale, please!
*** LUNCH: ___
*** DINNER: ___

Depart Tokyo for Nagoya via shinkansen (Shinagawa) and reach Nagoya by afternoon.
*** LUNCH: Tsukemen TETSU (really hoping to stop by here before the train departs for Nagoya)
*** DINNER: Yamachan

DAY 7, 8, and 9
Majority of the time will be spent at Suzuka Circuit. Meals in Nagoya around the main JR station would be most convenient for breakfast and dinner. Bento to bring to Suzuka would be nice, but I'm also intrigued by the offerings at the track itself, since they’re so different from what one would find back in the States.

*** BREAKFAST: (once again, another quick breakfast recommendation near Nagoya Station, please)

*** LUNCH (Suzuka): Shisen Dan Dan Men

*** DINNER 7: Maruya Honten

*** DINNER 8: Bakurou Ichidai for Hida-gyu (potential splurge meal for Nagoya, that or Kitchen Ribbon Steakhouse).
Bakurou Ichidai -
Kitchen Ribbon Steakhouse -

*** DINNER 9: ___ (budget recs around Nagoya Station, please!).

*** SNACK: Prasantrin mentioned Café Tanaka and since I'm also a sucker for caramel macarons I'll have to try out their rendition at the station.

DAY 11
Depart Nagoya and check into our Higashiyama ward hotel in Kyoto, then walk the Philosopher's Path. Evening is open to explore more central locales.

*** BREAKFAST: (once again, another quick breakfast recommendation, this time near Keage subway station, please).

*** LUNCH: Omen Ginkaku-ji Honten

*** DINNER: ___

DAY 11
Kinkaku-ji, Daitoku-ji, Nijo Castle, with a possible stopover at the Manga Museum. In the evening we'll head to over to Osaka's Dotombori for a kuidaore-inspired night. We'll probably just let our noses lead the way, but if there are any takoyaki/okonomiyaki shops you think are special, it'd be much appreciated.

*** LUNCH: Toriyasu

*** DINNER (Osaka/Dotombori): ___

DAY 12
Walk around Higashiyama, starting at Sanjusangen-do and wending our way to Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka-jinja, and over to Gion/Pontocho.

*** LUNCH (recs for somewhere around Kiyomizu-dera): ___

*** DINNER: Ten'yuu OR Menami (potential splurges) OR Takumiya
Ten'yuu -
Menami -
Takumiya -

DAY 13
Day trip to Iga Ueno Ninja Museum or Todaiji in Nara (concerned that my husband -- heck, even I -- will experience temple overdose by this point in our trip, so ninjas it is).
*** LUNCH: ___
*** DINNER: ___

DAY 14
Day trip to Himeji for the Nada Kenka Matsuri. Hope my camera survives intact!
*** LUNCH: ___
*** DINNER: ___

DAY 15
Depart Kyoto for late afternoon flight from Kansai International. If we haven't checked it out already earlier in the week, a stop at Nishiki Market will occupy our morning before our train ride and flight back home.
*** LUNCH: ___

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