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From Tokyo to Kyoto: Crafting an Epic Itinerary for Your Japan Tour
Planning a trip to Japan is an exciting endeavor, and one of the key factors in ensuring a memorable experience is crafting the perfect itinerary. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Japan offers endless possibilities for exploration. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, here’s a guide to help you create an epic itinerary for your Japan tour.
Exploring Tokyo: The Gateway to Japan
As the bustling capital city of Japan, Tokyo is often the first stop for travelers embarking on their journey. With its futuristic skyscrapers, historic temples, and world-class cuisine, Tokyo offers a diverse range of experiences.
Start your exploration in Tokyo by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine. Take a stroll through the vibrant neighborhood of Harajuku, known for its quirky fashion and trendy shops. For a taste of traditional Japanese culture, head to Asakusa where you can marvel at the Senso-ji Temple and explore Nakamise Shopping Street.
Don’t miss out on experiencing modern Tokyo either. Visit Shibuya Crossing – one of the busiest intersections in the world – and immerse yourself in the bright lights and energy of this vibrant district. For panoramic views of the city skyline, make your way up Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower.
Discovering Kyoto: A Glimpse into Ancient Japan
After immersing yourself in the urban excitement of Tokyo, it’s time to venture into ancient Japan by making your way to Kyoto. Known for its traditional architecture, serene gardens, and historical heritage sites, Kyoto offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural past.
Start your exploration by visiting Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf that is truly awe-inspiring. Take a stroll through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and be enchanted by its towering bamboo stalks. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a traditional tea ceremony in one of Kyoto’s many tea houses.
Kyoto is also home to numerous Shinto shrines, including Fushimi Inari Taisha, famous for its thousands of torii gates that form a mesmerizing pathway through the forested hillside. For those interested in Japanese history, a visit to Nijo Castle is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the shoguns.
Unforgettable Experiences Beyond Tokyo and Kyoto
While Tokyo and Kyoto are undoubtedly must-visit destinations in Japan, there are countless other cities and regions that offer unique experiences.
Consider exploring Hiroshima, the city known for its tragic history but also for its resilience and hope. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum to learn about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb and witness the city’s remarkable transformation into a symbol of peace.
If you’re seeking natural beauty, head to Hakone and soak in hot springs while enjoying breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. Alternatively, visit Nara – home to friendly deer roaming freely through ancient temples and gardens.
To truly immerse yourself in Japanese culture, consider attending a traditional festival such as Gion Matsuri in Kyoto or Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. These vibrant celebrations showcase Japan’s rich cultural heritage and offer an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Crafting an epic itinerary for your Japan tour is all about balancing iconic landmarks with off-the-beaten-path destinations. Whether you’re captivated by the bright lights of Tokyo or enchanted by the ancient temples of Kyoto, Japan offers something for every traveler seeking an unforgettable journey through this fascinating country.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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This traditional night cruise has stunning Tokyo views and classic Japanese food
Eat and drink while you watch entertainment inspired by Japan's Edo period aboard this special Edomae Kisen night cruise
While Tokyo has many beautiful sights during the day, it's arguably even more stunning by night. A great way to catch a glimpse of Tokyo all lit up is aboard the popular sightseeing boat Edomae Kisen , which is known for its scenic route around Odaiba and along the Sumida River.
Now it’s offering an even more extravagant trip filled with traditional Japanese entertainment and a meal inspired by Japan's Edo period.
The new Edomae Entertainment course offers a yakatabune (Japanese pleasure boat) experience focusing on Japanese food and performing arts from the Edo period (1603 to 1867). You can enjoy a meal featuring a modern take on Edo’s ‘big four’ – sushi, tempura, soba and eel – plus other seasonal side dishes. All of these culinary delights are created by Shogo Kawatari, the producer of Dining Minagi at Setouchi Aonagi Resort in Ehime prefecture, a hotel that received the highest rating in the Michelin Guide Hiroshima Ehime 2018 Special Edition.
But it’s not all about food during this cruise. There are also unlimited drinks including beer, whisky, sours, wine and even the famed Aoi Tenshita sake from Enshu Yamanaka Sake Brewery in Shizuoka prefecture.
While you’re enjoying the food and drink, you can watch oiran (courtesan), samurai and renshishi (lion dance) performances by the Cool Japan Entertainment group that will be screened aboard the boat. The performance is supervised by and features Ukon Kofuji, who runs the Takafuji Dance Company . He teaches dance to students at the University of Tokyo, with a focus on traditional Japanese culture.
This two-and-a-half-hour boat ride will take you through Odaiba and along the Sumida River, where the boat will dock in front of the iconic Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Skytree for photo ops.
The Edomae Entertainment course cruise costs ¥12,000 per person, which includes the meal and drinks. If you have a group of 20 to 30 people, you can even rent the entire boat for the same price per person. Tickets can be booked in advance via the website .
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Low-Cost Night Cruises on Tokyo Bay
With its dense jungle of glass, steel and concrete, it’s easy to forget that Tokyo prospered upon its proximity to the sea and its many canals and waterways. For a unique view of the metropolis, there is no better way than to jump on one of the many boats that offer cruises of Tokyo Bay.
While a cruise during the day will give you a fascinating view of day-to-day life and the grimy reality of the many waterways, like the city itself Tokyo Bay comes to life after dark, when the light from a million windows and neon signs shines down on the water. The other obvious advantage of a Tokyo night cruise during the hot summer months is the refreshing breezes out on the water, and the constant flow of chilled beer and cocktails.
While there are ways to spends lots of money out on the water, there are also plenty of reasonable Tokyo night cruise options comparable to a night on dry land. Here are our top picks.
Tokyo Bay Cruise Restaurant Ship Vingt Et Un (temporarily unavailable)
Ving Et Un is a mini cruise ship carrying up to 700 people that has been plying the waters of Tokyo Bay since 1998. As the name suggests, it has a French theme, with a variety of French cuisine if you want to spend some dough. You don’t need to splash out on a nine-course meal though; they also provide the option to just go along for the ride for ¥ 3,500 and to order drinks as you like.
The boat has three sailings each day. The first at 12 noon, the second at 4:20pm and the last at 7:20pm. Each sailing lasts for two hours.
It departs from Takeshiba Pier , which is a short walk from Takeshiba Station, or a slightly longer walk from Hamamatsucho on the JR Yamanote Line.
The Tokyo Bay Noryosen
The Noryosen is a largish, multi-level cruise ship that runs evening ‘Yukata Cruises’ on Tokyo Bay over summer. This is from July 1st until September 11th in 2022.
The cruise leaves from Takeshiba Pier near Hamamatsucho Station at 7:15pm, passing under Rainbow Bridge , continuing on past the lights of Odaiba , and doing a U-turn near Haneda Airport before heading back and docking at 9pm.
The cost of getting on the cruise is ¥ 1,500 which doesn’t include any food or drinks. If you wish to wear a yukata (light summer kimono) yourself, you’ll get a ¥ 500 discount on the ticket price—but only if you go on a weekday, as the discount doesn’t apply on weekends or on public holidays.
You have to book ahead—telephone bookings and website bookings are accepted up to a month in advance (starting June 1st). The website is only available in Japanese (there used to be an English site).
More info: 03-3437-6119 03-3437-6119
Symphony Tokyo Bay cruises
Another popular option for Tokyo night cruises (and day cruises too) is taking a ride around the bay on one of the Symphony cruise liners.
These boats run from lunchtime until late at night, giving you a wide range of different cruise and dining options to choose from. Most cruises are about 2-2.5 hours long, though there are hour-long versions for those who don’t have much time for seafaring. The Symphony cruises take you past all the major sights, including Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Gate Bridge.
More info: https://www.symphony-cruise.co.jp/en/
Yakatabune are the more traditional low-slung boats (so they can fit under the many low bridges on the Sumida River and connected canals) strung with red lanterns down both sides. In Tokyo, yakatabune tend to specialize in monja—a sloppy, savory type of pancake similar to its better-known West Japan cousin— okonomiyaki . There are, however, a huge range of different options—from kaiseki and tempura through to yaki-niku.
Many yakatabune offer a combined cruise, food course and all-you-can-drink package for around ¥ 10,000 . However, you can sometimes get evening cruises for as low as ¥ 6,000 . With the food on yakatabune, you more or less get what you pay for. The thing that doesn’t vary with price is the amazing view.
Most offer a dizzying array of different courses, different departure points and different minimum booking numbers, so it can be a little difficult to reserve. Some require you to book the whole boat—so it can work out reasonably cheaply if you convince about 75 of your friends to come along.
Recommended: An easy option is this yakatabune dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay , which includes a tasty hot-pot meal and a show.
This particular yakatabune (formerly known as the 4,900-yen yakatabune—before they put their prices up) is was a lot easier to work out. Since we first wrote about them, they’ve changed their system a few times. While early evening cruises (departing at before 4pm) cost ¥ 5,000 for a single adult, early evening and weekend cruises are priced at ¥ 5,500 to ¥ 6,500 . If you can handle daytime heat (these boats are typically open-sided with no aircon), afternoon cruises are good value.
A few daytime cruises depart from the relatively convenient Asashio Pier—located between Triton Square and Kachidoki Station. Most boats, however, depart from the much more inconvenient Shin-kiba Pier, which is a free shuttle ride from Shin-kiba Station—the last stop on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line.
Don’t expect much from the food, and they might even serve you a beer can rather than a glass. However, you can’t beat this for some good-value boozy fun on the water.
Reservations can be made by telephone (only in Japanese!) for as few as two people. More info (in English) here .
- Takeshiba Pier
- Shin-kiba Pier
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Night cruise in Tokyo
- Published on : 19/09/2018
- Rating : 3/5
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4 night cruises in Tokyo
Dinner cruise on the waters of Tokyo Bay
Day or night, Tokyo offers a magnificent skyline. And especially on the bay, where boat cruises unveil another face of Tokyo... Here are four excellent cruises for you to consider!
Tokyo Bay Restaurant Cruise "Twenty-One" Cruise
If the name of this cruise sounds French, it's no coincidence!
Beef steak on the Rainbow Bridge background, Tokyo Tower-style salmon with cream, and dessert in front of the SkyTree , the "Ving t et Un" cruise is a tasty blend of traditional French cuisine and Japanese landscapes.
Lasting two hours, Tokyo BayRestaurant Cruise 's gastronomic cruises are a fun way to discover the capital. With three departures (one for lunch, one for afternoon tea, and one for dinner), they allow you to admire a multi-faceted Tokyo : the bustling metropolis by day and the romantic capital by night . All against the backdrop of small dishes prepared by the chef!
- Read also : Tokyo Cruise's "Asakusa-Hinode Pier" cruise .
The night cruise departs at 7:20 pm from Takeshiba Pier . Guests are requested to board a few minutes before departure and should be seated at the table they have pre-booked on the official Tokyo Bay RestaurantCruise website . The price of the cruise then varies according to the menu chosen , a formula among the three menus offered: the Prime Set at 9,500 yen ($80/75€) , the RainbowSet at 12,000 yen ($100/90€) , and the Ving t -et -Un Set at 15,000 yen per person ($120/115€) . The price includes meals, drinks, and the night cruise.
A gourmet menu
Address: 1 Chome-11-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to 〒105-0022 Schedule: 7:20 pm-9:20 pm. Price: adult: from 9,500 yen to 15,000 yen ($77.50-120/72.50 to 115€), child: from 7,600 yen to 12,000 yen ($65-100/60-92.50€), exact prices and reservations on the official website of Tokyo Bay Cruise Ving and A Directions: One-minute walk from Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line) Official website: http://www.vantean.co.jp/english/tabid/119/Default.aspx#en04
Tokyo Bay Restaurant Cruise "Symphony" Cruise
Like the previous cruise, the "Symphony" is a gourmet cruise that travels around Tokyo Bay for the Tokyo Bay Restaurant Cruise company. It then offers four departures to admire Tokyo day and night , and leaves from the Hinode Passenger Terminal descend gently towards Odaiba .
Unlike the "Vingt-et-Un," the "Symphony" cruise extends its gastronomic horizon to several continents.
And whether you are a fan of French cuisine or Japanese dishes , you will undoubtedly find what suits you since the menu has around ten different menus for dinner!
Be careful, though; the prices of the "Symphony" formulas are a little more expensive than those of the "Ving-et-Un" cruise . And you will have to pay between 8,200 and 20,600 yen (between $75-165/70-157.50€) per person to enjoy a dinner under the lights of the SkyTree.
Although the menus offered are not necessarily within reach of all budgets, the "Symphony" still has its advantages when you have a small budget.
Indeed, the cruise also offers formulas without dinner, which is more suitable for those who would like to enjoy Tokyo's view at night. This is the case, for example, of the " Simple Cruise " at 3,800 yen ($35/30€), which only takes into account the price of the crossing, or even the lounge formula at less than 6,000 yen ($50/45€), which offers unlimited access to the lounge and the boat bar.
- Read: Nighttime water activities in Tokyo .
Address: 2 Chome−7-104, Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to 〒 105-0022 Hours: 7:00 pm-9:30 pm. Price: from 3,800 to 20,600 yen ($32.50-165/30-157.50€), exact prices and reservations on the official cruise website Directions: Next to Hinode Station (Yurikamome Line) Official website: https://www.symphony-cruise.co.jp/en/cruising_plan/dinner/index.html
Edomaekisen “Odaiba Course” Cruise
The cruise company Edomakisen organizes a lovely crossing of Tokyo Bay throughout the year. And it is aboard a Yakatabune , a traditional pleasure boat , that you can this time admire the RainbowBridge and the Tokyo Skytree!
- See also: The Yakatabune .
Six departures are thus organized throughout the day from the edges of Shin-kiba Pier , and an all-you-can-eat buffet (drinks and Japanese appetizers) is even available to boaters for 6,000 yen ($50/45€) on weekdays and 6,500 yen ($52.50/47.50€) on the weekend!
The crossing takes two hours .
The yakatabune of the Odaiba Course cruise
Address: 1 Chome Shinkiba, Koto, Tokyo 〒136-0082 Hours: 8:00 pm-10:00 pm. Price: 6,000 to 6,500 yen ($50-52.50/45-47.50€), reservations on the official cruise website Directions: Next to Shin-Kiba Eki Mae Station (Yurakucho Line) Official website: http://www.edomaekisen.com/en/course/index.html
TokyoCruise Tokyo Wan Noryosen Summer Cruise
Organized every summer from the end of June to the end of September by the organization Tokyo Cruise, the "Tokyo Wan Noryosen" is a crossing of Tokyo Bay of nearly two hours, allowing you to discover the capital aboard a noryosen , a small steamer Japanese luxury.
Departing from Takeshiba Pier , you will then go down to Odaiba to admire the marvels of the city... in a yukata !
- See also : Yukata night cruise in Tokyo .
And this is the particularity of this little cruise!
Very light, the yukata is a summer essential in Japan. This is why many Japanese have enjoyed wearing it during matsuri or fireworks displays for centuries.
- Read also : Yukata and Jinbei, dressing for summer .
Yukata cruises are very popular in the summer
Presenting itself as a matsuri on the water, the “Tokyo Wan Noryosen” cruise was inspired by the summer custom of transposing it onto a boat. And for only 2,600 yen ($22.50/20€), you can now access an all-you-can-eat buffet where okonomiyaki and yakitori will give you the impression of taking part in a real matsuri .
Although the evening is spent in yukata, wearing traditional clothing is not compulsory. And you can very well come in street clothes if you like. That said, it entitles you to a reduction of 1,000 yen ( $8.50/8€) on the cruise! It would be a shame to miss it!
Address: 1Chome-11-１Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to〒105-0022 Hours: 7:15 pm-9:00 pm. Price: 2,600 yen ($22.50/20€), 1,600 yen if yukata ($14/11€), reservations on the official cruise website Directions: One minute walk from Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line) Official website: https://www.nouryousen.jp/index.shtml
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Our activities in Tokyo
Helicopter flight over Tokyo Activities in Tokyo
- Duration : 18 minute
- Location : Tokyo
Climbing Mount Fuji Fujiyoshida
- Duration : 2 day
Tokyo Discovery, two days Activities in Tokyo
- Duration : 16 hour
- Location : Chiyoda City
Tokyo Discovery, Half Day Activities in Tokyo
- Duration : 4 hour
Tokyo Architectour Activities in Tokyo
- Duration : 8 hour
- Location : Minato City
Night cruise through the industrial zone Activities in Japan
- Duration : 1 hour
Our tours in Tokyo
Discover Japan Group Tours in Japan
- Duration : 13 days
- Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima
- Included : Visits & meals, English-speaking tour leader, Hotel temple, 3*/4* Hotels & Ryokan
The Tokaido Road Group Tours in Japan
- Duration : 14 days
- Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka
- Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3*/4* Hotels & Ryokan, Hotel temple, Visits & meals
Autumn Leaves Photography Group Tours in Japan
- Duration : 12 days
- Locations : Tokyo, Mt Fuji (Kawaguchiko), Osaka, Himeji, Kyoto, Nara
- Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3* Hotels & Ryokan, Visits & meals
Cherry Blossoms Photography Group Tours in Japan
- Locations : Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kawaguchiko, Tokyo
- Included : English-speaking tour leader, 3*/4* Hotels & Ryokan, Visits & meals
Ikebana Retreat Group Tours in Japan
- Duration : 6 days
- Locations : Tokyo
- Included : 5* hotels, English-speaking tour leader, Visits & meals, Full-board
Urban and Rural Japan Group Tours in Japan
- Duration : 21 days
- Locations : Tokyo, Hakone Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka, Kobe, Takachiho, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Miyajima
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