One person asked on Instagram: “Can you PM me your itinerary?” I figured it would be better to make a separate blog post for everyone to see, so I’m publishing it here.
For 12 days, I was able to explore 4 cities, 3 towns, and 2 mountains: Osaka – Mt. Rokko – Arima Onsen – Yuasa – Harie – Kyoto – Nagoya – Mt. Fuji – Tokyo.
NOTE: Given this itinerary, I’m glad I didn’t purchase a JR Pass. Read this blog post to know why.
Day 1: Arrival in Osaka
I cleared through Kansai International Airport’s immigration and customs at 5:50 in the afternoon of July 2nd. At 6:30, I was bound for Umeda Station on my first train ride in Japan.
Where I stayed in Osaka: Osaka Guesthouse Sakura
Day 2: Mt. Rokko – Arima Onsen – Dotonbori, Osaka
The next day, I headed straight to Mt. Rokko to prep for my upcoming Mt. Fuji hike.
I took another trail on my way down and exited at Arima Onsen, a town in Kobe known for its natural hot springs. A nice dip in one of these onsens would have been the perfect post-hike activity, but walking around the town for a few hours was enough for me.
READ: Details of my Mt. Rokko hike.
At night, back in Osaka, I took the subway to check out Dotonbori, a shopping and food street that runs parallel to the Dotonbori canal.
– morning to afternoon: hiked Mt. Rokko, Kobe
– after the hike: walked the streets of Arima Onsen
– back in Osaka: went to Dotonbori to eat takoyaki
Day 3: Yuasa
I checked out of my hostel, went to the train station, and bought a two-way ticket to Yuasa, the birthplace of shoyu (soy sauce).
READ: Details of my Yuasa trip
In the afternoon, I took the train to Kyoto.
Day 4: Harie
Although I was already in Kyoto, I decided to check out a town called Harie in Takashima City. The town’s water network was featured in at least two documentaries I saw on Youtube, so I wanted to see it for myself.
In the afternoon, I went on a self-guided walk exploring some parts of Kyoto.
Days 5-7: Kyoto
For two days, I met up with Sung Sik, my favorite student who I hadn’t seen in over 9 years, and his wife for a get-together-slash-walking-tour of the best places in Kyoto. I wrote separate blog posts for these tours. You can check them out in the links below.
For my last day in Kyoto, I did a quick self-guided tour to check out the city one last time. I even re-visited some of the places Sung Sik and his wife took me to.
In the afternoon, I took the bus to Nagoya.
Where I stayed in Kyoto: Shiori-an Guest House
Day 8: Nagoya
Nagoya was a nice side trip before my Mt. Fuji hike. I spent one afternoon visiting two of its top attractions.
Where I stayed in Nagoya: Guesthouse Wasabi Nagoya Ekimae
Days 9-10: Mt. Fuji
The morning of July 10 (Day 9) was spent on the bus, from Nagoya’s Meitetsu Bus Center to Kawaguchiko Station. I arrived at Mt. Fuji 5th Station at 2 in the afternoon.
The first leg of my two-part hike started at 2:30 in the afternoon of July 10th and ended at 6 in the evening when I reached GansoMuro, the mountain hut where I booked a bed.
At 2:30 in the morning of July 11th (Day 10), I started the second leg of my two-part Fuji hike. I reached the summit at 4, explored the area and waited for the sunrise until 5:10 when I made my descent. I was back at the trailhead at 7 in the morning.
I arrived in Tokyo at 11:30. In the afternoon, I explored the streets on foot, checking out some of the popular streets and districts of Shinjuku (e.g., Kabukicho and Golden Gai)
Day 11: Tokyo
I signed up for a batto (swordsmanship) class at 2:00 PM. After the 30-minute session, I checked out the Imperial Palace’s East Garden and other nearby attractions before I headed to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Harajuku.
Where I stayed in Tokyo: Nine Hours Shinjuku North. Read my review here.
Day 12: Departure to Manila
From Tokyo Station, I took the bus bound for Narita Airport. I paid 1,000 JPY for the one-way ticket.
At 11:45, I was already on a Cebu Pacific plane, waiting for take-off.
Schedule of Stay for Japan Visa Application
If I were to submit this itinerary as part of my visa application, it would look something like this.