Two day trip to Tokyo

Continuing with our suggestions on travel itineraries, today we are posting a sample itinerary for the vibrant megalopolis of Tokyo!

While two days are nothing to even scratch the surface of Tokyo, if you find yourself in the city on a weekend and wondering how to utilize your time for maximum sightseeing, you can follow the following itinerary (created using Holidayen)

Day 1

Tsukiji Fish Market (Early morning)

You will have to start early (very very early, 5 AM) to stand a chance to enter the Tsukiji fish market, famous for its giant tuna auctions and the myriad variety of fresh fish on display. If you cannot swallow the idea of waking up that early, fear not, it is still worth a visit until noon. Have breakfast in one of the famous sushi bars in the market area, you cannot miss them. Tip on selecting the best place to eat: one with decent enough long line but not the longest. Yes, did I mention, there will be a waiting time of about 1 hour on all the decent locations.

Imperial Palace and Imperial Palace Gardens (Morning)

The palace and its gardens offer a nice retreat from the metropolis without actually leaving the city. The beautiful gardens offer nice views of the city and are ideal for spending lazy couple of hours after the busy market.

Akhiabara (Afternoon)

Akhiabara, the otaku town of Tokyo is a ‘must-visit’ Full of gaming arcades, electronics and pachinko machines, this is an area which has helped in giving the adjective of ‘weird’ to Japan (and Tokyo in particular). Try your hand in one of the many arcades, or if you feel like, experience the costly, yet very intersting, maid-cafes. If you have time, you can also visit the nearby Ueno Park for another dose of different Tokyo.

Roppongi Crossing (Evening)

Unwind by people watching in Roppongi. The area also has a number of sake bars to relax after a wonderful day.

Day 2

Sensoji and Asakusa Jinja (Morning)

Next morning, experience the holier side of the city, by visiting Sensoji, the temple area in the north-east. It gives a nice picture of the religious practices of the region, and is especially a good place to visit if you have not visited any other Japanese temple or shrine.

Next to the temple is the Shinto shrine Asakusa Jinja. You can also buy religious charms and souvenirs in the area. Another must try is one of the numerous street food vendors in the vicinity.

Edo-Tokyo/Ghibli Museum (Afternoon)

Consider spending the afternoon in one of the museums, Edo-Tokyo being one of the favorite. I have also thrown in Ghibli Museum in the itinerary below if anime interests you.

Tokyo Skytree (Evening)

Do come back to the Asakusa area for Tokyo Skytree in the evening, preferably after its dark, for the stunning views of the city. Also a perfect place to end the trip and capture some snaps for awesome memories.

For more details, and a map view of the itinerary, visit this page.

Holidayen 101

Holidayen is here to simplify your trip planning! Planning a trip on Holidayen is a quick 3 step process.

1. Select your destination and duration

As you begin typing the name of the city in the “Where do you plan to go?’ search box, you will get the list of available destinations matching your query, and can select the city you would like to visit. Alternately, you can pick a destination from those marked on the map which comes up when you click ‘Browse All Destinations’ under the search box.

After selecting the city, you can pick your dates, or just the duration of your trip if the dates are undecided.

Just let us know who else you are traveling with, and you’re good to go!

Tips

  • Need inspiration? If you are undecided about where to go, you can just wander around a city listed under ‘Browse Destinations’ at the bottom of the homepage.
  • Feeling a little adventurous? Just pick a featured itinerary.

2. Customize your trip


You now have a collection of attractions and activities (psst, we will soon have events) that would be on the top of most locals’ and travelers’ recommendations. However, you may want to focus on some specific interests, say museums or neighborhoods. You can simply tweak the tuners to increase the proportion of your interest area (museums), and the selected collection of attractions changes automatically

Click on any attraction to know details such as opening hours, entry fees and contact information and you can also select or unselect individual attractions from the selection.

You can review our selected hotel, and change it under the ‘Hotels’ tab.

The green icons on the map indicate selected sights and activities, and the red icons denote the rest. As you zoom out, the icons cluster into circles showing the number of attractions in the neighborhood. A red circle indicates an attraction-dense neighborhood, a yellow circle a medium number of attractions in the vicinity and a blue circle a few attractions in the area.

Clicking on ‘Create Itinerary’ takes you to the itinerary page, where you can drag and drop attractions across days, and also change the duration by dragging the right bottom corner. The map gets updated with every edit.

When you’re happy with the way your trip looks, you can finalize the trip.

Tips

  • You can browse the attractions on the map. Click on any icon to find out more about the attraction and add or drop it from your itinerary.
  • We have also estimated the cost for your trip. It gets automatically updated with all the changes you make.
  • You can also go back to ‘Select Sights’ to change your selections.

3. Share your itinerary with friends

You get a permanent link to visit your trip itinerary whenever you like. You can also mail your trip page to yourself, or share it on Facebook and Twitter.

And of course, you can save it on your tablet or phone, and take it with you for that awesome trip you just planned.

It’s that simple, really. Get started with Holidayen!

Two days in Kyoto

Holidayen is all about travel planning and creating automatic itineraries, and as we prepare ourselves for the launch, we would love to share itinerary ideas for some of the wonderful destinations around the world. Starting in the series today, we have here, a two day itinerary for the beautiful city of Kyoto.

First, a primer on how to get around the city. Subway and buses are your best bets, cabs fare are on slightly higher side, so the recommended way is to grab a two-day unlimited subway and bus card for 2000 yens from your nearest subway station and forget about the hassles of buying tickets for each ride. While subway rides are pretty standard with maps and station names in English, buses can be tricky, names and routes are almost never in English, and English knowing locals are not as ubiquitous as you might expect. But nothing to worry, take a copy of this document http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/img/basunabieigo-omote.pdf and you will never need to worry about anything else about traveling. Armed with your unlimited travel card and the Bible of bus rides, let’s begin!

Day 1

In case you are not aware, Kyoto is world famous for its temples, so will begin the trip with some of its most popular temples and shrines. Begin your day with an early morning walk through the thousands of torii gates at Fushimi Inari shrine. The trail takes you through the wooded area to the summit of the mountain, entire trip taking around 2-3 hours.

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You can return from Yotsutsuji intersection (around halfway point with a good view of Kyoto) if walking 2-3 hours is not your thing.

Grab something to eat in the bustling shops of Kyoto station on the way to next stop, Nijo Castle. You can get good shots of the castle and grounds from the old foundation stone.

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You can also walk to the Kyoto Imperial Palace nearby, however, you can enter the castle grounds only through prior online booking. For lunch, head to Nishiki Market for some authentic local street food. 

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Spend the evening at the famous Golden Pavilion temple or Kinkakuji. The temple complex and the landscape are a unique picturesque combination of natural and architectural beauty. A perfect place for photography indeed!

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You can visit around the neighborhood around the temple thereafter and head to Pontocho for dining. You can find a wide range of dining options there. from inexpensive street food to expensive establishments.

Day 2

Begin the day from Ginkakuji, beautiful temple on the Eastern side of the city. It is also known as Silver Pavilion, and you guessed it right, modeled after the Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji.

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From Ginkakuji, walk to the Philosophers’ Walk, especially beautiful during the Cherry Blossom season, when it is full of tourists and locals. There are a number of temples around which you can visit on the way. The walk ends at Nanzenji Temple, which is another good temple to visit.

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In the afternoon, explore Higashiyama district just south of the Nanzenji. It is an excellent place for some souvenir shopping as well as exploring the way to the Kiyomizudera temple complex through the maze of streets going up and down the hills of Higashiyama. Like any other major tourist areas, plenty of options for eating and a good place to sit and eat before visiting Kiyomizudera, the next stop.

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Kiyomizudera is especially beautiful during Fall and Spring illuminations, but definitely a must see regardless of that during other seasons.

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After marveling at the beautiful wooden architecture, head back downhill through Higashiyama towards Gion, which offers plenty of options to spend the evening sipping sake or tea with geiko and meiko entertainment. Most popular street for dining is Hanamikoji street which houses a number of restaurants serving traditional Kyoto cuisine. A perfect place to end the scenic trip of Kyoto!

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Feel free to comment with your suggestions for improving this trip and happy traveling!

Image Courtesy: Japan-Guide

Travel Bucket List

Happy New Year! Do you have destinations in your mind for this year? Here, let us help you with some suggestions. These should be on your bucket list, seriously!

1. If you are inclined towards history and architecture, France is definitely a place to be. And even if not, France is a travelers’ paradise.

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Pictured above is Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims

2. Then, there is the largest religious complex in the world, Angkor, standing calmly since last 800 years, making me respect all those sculptors who patiently carved almost all the surfaces in the complex, even the roof.

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3. Now, as the threat of ‘End of the World’ is well past us, experiencing the Mayan civilization is the next on agenda. I am sure there are more important lessons we can learn from them other than doomsday predictions.

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Pictured above is Chichen Itza in Mexico

Rounding the list off with two amazing places in India.

4. The magnificent Mysore palace in Karnataka, India

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5. …and the Vittala Temple Complex in Hampi

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Of course, that’s just scratching the surface. It’s a huge world to explore

Would love to know what’s next on your list.

What is Holidayen?

At Holidayen, we are building a cool automatic travel planner to help you avoid the hassles of trip planning. We understand that travel should be fun and travel planning should be easy, not a stressful experience with an information overload. Sit tight while we fix up things here and there, and meanwhile share some useful travel planning tips here on this blog! Happy traveling!