A 7 Day Japanese Adventure
How i got around Japan
Japan is a treasure trove of adventure and wonder, Here is how I squeezed in as many locations as possible in one week (it can be done and it wasn't exhausting)
As this was my first trip to Japan (on advice from Japanese friends) I opted to use Osaka as my base for this vacation. If considering a trip to Japan it's important to purchase a JR Rail pass to cover the length of stay and distance you wish to travel, this will save you a considerable amount of money and can be purchased online before you travel but unavailable once you get there. Avoid taxis if possible as these are very expensive.
DAY ONE (OSAKA)
From the airport I got a bus to JR Osaka station on the (Kansai Itami Line). If you don't want to drag luggage around with you I suggest you use the Black Cat luggage courier service at the airport which will deliver your bags to anywhere in Japan. I stayed at the Hotel Il Monte which is in a great location and easy to get to .
Osaka Castle / Osaka Museum Of History
(Including the Osaka Museum of history on the outskirts of Osaka Castle) well worth a visit while you're in the area. The rest of the day I familiarised myself with the city and transportation system, and sample the local food.
DAY TWO (OSAKA)
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine / Shitennoji Temple /Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine is a short walk from Minamimorimachi Station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Subway Lines or Osaka Temmangu Station on the JR Tozai Line.
DAY THREE (NARA)
Todaiji Temple / Nara Park/ Nara National Museum/ Yakushi – Ji temple
The Best way to Nara from Osaka station, basically take a direct train, they run about four times an hour for most of the day.
Todaiji is located in the northern part of Nara Park. It is about a 30 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or about a 45 minute walk from JR Nara Station. It can also be reached by bus from either station. Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden from where it is a 5-10 minute walk to Todaiji's main building.
DAY FOUR (KOBE)
Nofukuji Temple (Hyogo Daibutsu) (15 minute walk from JR Hyogo Station) Hiruko Shrine (Yanagihara Ebisu Shrine)
(5 minute walk from JR Hyogo Station) Kiyomori – Zuka – Biwa- Zuka (10-minute walk southeast from JR Hyogo Station.
Don't forget to also visit the bay area for lunch and sample the amazing Kobe steak.
DAY FIVE (KYOTO)
Nanzenji Temple / Kinkaku Ji (Southern Higashiyama) (Golden Pavilion) / Ginkaku Ji ( Northern Higashiyama) (Silver Pavilion)
Nanzenji is a 5-10 minute walk from the nearest subway station, Keage Station on the Tozai Line (about 20 minutes, 260 yen from Kyoto Station by subway via Karasuma-Oike Station), or a 5-10 minute walk from the nearest bus stop, Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop (35 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus number 5).
DAY SIX (KYOTO)
Tofuku- Ji (enter Hojo Garden) / Fushimi Inari- Taisha (Shinto Sanctuary) (red entrance tunnel)
Tofukuji is a ten minute walk from Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara Line. Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station,
DAY SEVEN (SHIRAGAWA GO)
Osaka to Takayama station via JR line, shinkasen .Departs Osaka station 6.23 am and arrives Takayama station 10.01am Takayama to Shirakawago via Nohi bus
Depart Takayama Nohi Bus Center (#3 Bus stop) at 10.50 am and arrive Shirakawago 11.40 am
Return: Depart Shirakawa-go 1720 pm and arrive Takayama 1810 pm (reservation only).
Some people claim that this journey cannot be done in one day , but I managed with no problem. Shiragawa Go was the highlight of this trip and well worth the journey .
As a lot of Japanese people don't speak English I would recommend that you know exactly what buses and trains to catch before your daily outings as this will save you a lot of headaches. However, if you do get lost don't panic. Japanese people are extremely friendly and in most cases will actually take you to the correct bus or train themselves.
As for food, the sky is the limit. Japanese cuisine is amazing and if you do stay in Osaka, I would advise you visit the Dotonburi area near Namba Station which has hundreds of restaurants and street food, and of course its also the location of the famous Glico " running man " sign.