Seeking Advice: We're Going to Japan!

For the third consecutive holiday season, Johan and I are heading east for end-of-year festivities. This time, our flight will be bound for Narita Airport on 24 December and if you’ve been to Japan, I want your help!

As I’ve said more than once on this blog, we’re not big planners. We figure out transport, accommodations, and maybe have a few loose ideas of things to see and eat, but we don’t map out full itineraries or maintain a must-do list. While I enjoy our casual approach and am by no means looking to build out a rigid game plan, I feel like Japan will be best enjoyed mindfully and that’s why I’m soliciting your advice.

Here’s the quick details:

  • We’ll land in Tokyo on 25 December and fly out of Osaka on 8 January. This gives us 14 nights on the ground in Japan.

  • We have not yet booked hotels, but thus far intend to spend nights in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

  • We are aware of the Japan Rail Pass and will likely purchase 14-day unlimited passes.

  • We want to eat everything.

  • Resources I’m already making use of include: Lonely Planet Pocket Guides (Tokyo / Kyoto & Osaka), Roads & Kingdoms Rice Noodle Fish, Tokyo Ramen guide by yes! Japan Ramen Magazine, and the internet (obviously).

So, if you’ve been to any of these cities, what are your thoughts? I’m keen to hear about your favorite places, restaurants, cool bars, worthy day trips, which neighborhoods you loved most… I’m also up for input on how to divide our time! So far, we’ve been thinking a week in Tokyo and then either 3 or 4 nights Kyoto, 4 or 3 nights Osaka. We don’t want to move around too much and feel rushed through a place, but if there’s another town we should be considering for an overnight or two, let me know!

Pretty please drop your awesome advice in the comments below, feel free to link me to your own blog posts, or send me an email at

Thank you!!