My husband and I will be visiting Japan for 8 nights from April 17 - 25.
I often hate making restaurant bookings when on holiday as I feel it can oftentimes restrict spontaneity -- but is it better to book and plan every meal for Japan? Happy to do that if we'll have a better experience. We're big believers that not all food needs to be fussy MIchelin-star quality, so would love the details of some more regular, reasonably-priced places. We're big fans of ramen, yakitori, okonomayaki, takoyaki, tonkatsu, sushi, etc, and are quite adventurous. We're on a reasonable budget.
Some more background info:
1. Tokyo - Am hopefully eating at Ryogin in Tokyo on the 19th and Sushi Dai at the Fish Market. Apart from that, would love to hear of more reasonably-priced regular eateries. We're staying in Shinjuku but will be happy to explore all over the city.
2. Kyoto - Am reading a lot of advice to not stay in an expensive ryokan, but to save cash by staying somewhere cheaper to save cash for dining out. Agreed? Best area to stay for foodies?
3. Takayama - am trying to confirm a booking for Ryori Ryokan Hanaoka as have heard amazing things about their food. Any other recommendations should this fall through?
Also - just wanting some general advice. Am planning 3 nights in Tokyo, 2 nights in Kyoto, 1 night in Takayama, back to Tokyo for 2 nights. Good plan? I don't want the trip to be too rushed nor too sleepy. We love the occasional temple, but are more likely to be found eating, people-watching and generally soaking up the vibe.
Many thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.