Note: Suuuuper late post as in years late. This trip was in 2018 or 2017 (??) lol. But the words are here and they are still informative I think! At the very least, this is a good travel diary. Enjoy 🙂
Sounds tiring? You’re not wrong. Will I do it again? Not Amazing Race-style like this, no. I’d take my time and stick to one part of the country next time. But if you’re a first-timer who wants a sampler tour and enjoys the rush of seeing so many firsts at once and also wants to experience riding a shinkansen, then this is for you.
I’ve been to Tokyo and Osaka in the summer and Tokyo in spring, but this was my first time coming in the fall. I wanted the pretty autumn leaves, Japan-style, but October was too early for most of them apparently. The weather was supposed to be kinder in October, however, which was the point of choosing this month instead of my usual November. But alas, Typhoon 21 was right on our tail, so what welcomed us was chilly winds and nonstop rain and a full-blown typhoon. And I thought I’d look silly if I brought a waterproof down jacket. Sigh.
This didn’t stop us much, though, nope. We were travel-happy, sight-hungry, sushi-starved, adrenaline-pumped machines!
Still with me? Good. Itinerary below:
Day 1. Manila to Narita, Dump bags in Shimokitazawa AirBnB apartment, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku Takeshita-dori, Cat Street
Day 2. Shimokitazawa, Ghibli Museum! Shibuya
Day 3. Tsukiji (SUSHI CAPS LOCK), Ginza (shopping and tea), Shimokitazawa
Day 4. Shinkansen to Osaka, check in at Osaka business hotel, Nara, Dotombori
Day 5. Kyoto. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Gion, Dotombori
Day 6. Check out hotel, Osaka Castle, check in ryokan (onsen!)
Day 7. Check out ryokan, Hep Five, Kansai to Manila
What to wear
The promised Japan temperature was in a mild below 20 C range, so we packed sweaters, jeans, long skirts and dresses, light jackets and thicker cardigans. I brought scarves and my trusty Uniqlo Heattech thermals just in case, which turned out to be great packing sense because early fall + surprise typhoon = strong winds + freezer chills. Temperature math, see? Sister and I ended up buying proper coats to stay warm (thank you Muji and Shimokita vintage stores), and also those very nice transparent umbrellas everyone was sporting. Available at your local 7-11 or Lawson for a few hundred yen (100-500Y).
Also, wear comfy shoes! The most comfortable you have, because unless you are game to spend yens and yens on taxis, you will be running around their amazingly huge train system and doing a lot of walking from the station to your actual destination. Sometimes you will walk instead of taking the train if it’s only a couple of stations’ ride because trains don’t go cheap and you like the adventure anyway. Also, stairs.
Pro tip: make sure you bring shoes that are easiest to take on and off. I know this but I still wore my high cut Onitsuka sneakers which hugged my feet like a mother so they were yes, comfy and warm but also hard to take off and even more challenging to put back on. You will take your shoes on and off multiple times, thus is now my ultimate reminder to my hard-headed self. At the threshold of your apartment and hotel room for one, in some restaurants and in all changing rooms. So yes, comfy, slip-on walking shoes.
Tl, dr. For this fall in Japan trip, I layered as thus: Thermals + sweater + coat + scarf + jeans/long skirt (didn’t need thermal leggings) + socks + sneakers.
Do note I am a tropical girl and the cold does bother me. Adjust the settings as necessary 🙂