Day 4: Monday 9 am X/X/2017
The morning starts with a Shinkansen ride out of Tokyo Station to Kyoto, Japan. Be sure to ask for a window seat of Mt. Fuji. You will arrive around lunch time at Kyoto Station. Based on where you are staying and the activities on your agenda, you have two options for the day. You can either take your bags to the hotel/ryokan and then venture from there or put your bags in a temporary locker/luggage storage at Kyoto Station. This guide will assume you have put bags in a locker/luggage storage at the station to maximize time and want to see Fushimi Inari Shrine. Take the JR Nara line five minutes south to Inari Station. You will get off and make your way toward Fushimi Inari Shrine, one of the best sights to visit in Kyoto. Bring your walking shoes because it is a steep climb up the steps of the mountain. Try to make it as high as you can comfortably go. The last large rest area before the summit has a great view of Kyoto and a nice cafe/souvenir shop. After the hike, head back to Kyoto Station to grab your luggage and begin the trip to your lodging accommodations. Ask for recommendations around the area for dinner or have the hotel/ryokan call and make you a reservation. It is a very good idea to make reservations for any restaurant you want to try in Kyoto. Many fine dining restaurants will not let you walk in to eat even if tables are empty. There are always exceptions, but you should play it safe with reservations in this city. Enjoy your first evening in Kyoto and get some rest for another busy day.
Day 5: Tuesday X/X/2017
Most of the sightseeing attractions in Kyoto are open 9 am to 5 pm daily with some exceptions opening earlier or allowing visitors until 5:30 pm. You will need to account for travel time and stop for lunch or breaks along the way. For this day, you will head to the Philosopher's Walk in the northern part of Higashiyama. You can take a local bus to either Nanzenji Temple at the south end of the walk or Ginkaku-ji Temple (also known as the Silver Pavilion) on the north end. Either starting location is great and you should plan to be in the area for most of the day. Beside the two main sightseeing spots on either end of the walk, other recommended stops include Eikan-do Temple, Honen-in Temple, and a number of shops along the way. There are other temples and shrines along the walk that may be of interest. Depending on when and how much time you spend along the Philosopher's Walk, you may have time for a stop at Kiyomizu-dera Temple or Nijo Castle. This evening would be a great opportunity to visit Pontocho Street for drinks or dinner and then take a walk through the Gion district.
Day 6: Wednesday X/X/2017
The last full day in Kyoto is an opportunity to head west to the Arashiyama district. You can visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Monkey Park Iwatayama, Tenryuji Temple, and Togetsukyo Bridge. This area is very beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color. Bicycle rentals are available by the train station exit. They are helpful in traveling around the vast area much faster. Other ideas for Kyoto include those previously mentioned along with Sanjusangen-do, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), and Nishiki Market. If you are interested in visiting the historic city of Nara, it is about an hour train ride away. Nara is home to wild deer, Todai-ji Temple, and a number of other attractions. It is a great place to visit for a day trip. Enjoy your last evening in Kyoto at one of the fine dining restaurants along the Kamogawa River.
For the 7th day of the trip, you will head out early to Hiroshima, Japan.
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