• TOKYO
  • HIROSHIMA

WATERSIDE BEAUTY

After taking in the metropolitan sights of the Tokyo Bay coastal area, take a journey to Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site floating in the sea. Then head to Onomichi, at the crossroads of the Seto Inland Sea. A trip to experience a Japan encompassed by the sea as the gentle ocean breeze blows around you.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide
http://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html

Local government official website
http://visithiroshima.net/

TRAVELER

  • Daniel Gritzer
    Food & Cooking Writer
    Reside in USA
  • Grace Mineta
    Auther
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: USA

John F. Kennedy International Airport

JAL003 Examine the directions from your country

  • Daniel Gritzer

    JAL flight to and from Tokyo and New York City were incredibly comfortable and pleasant. I had a nice big screen to watch a good selection of movies and television shows, plenty of food (I'm still impressed by the seafood congee we had for breakfast on my first flight and the Mos Burger on the return flight). Overall, the flights were very smooth and easy, despite the long travel time.

Narita International Airport

Narita Express

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Tokyo City Viewmore

Tokyo City View, situated in the heart of Tokyo, features an indoor observation gallery 250 meters above sea level and an outdoor Sky Deck 270 meters above sea level. It commands a view of landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and TOKYO SKYTREE, and on a clear day even Mt. Fuji. The Sky Deck is a special space open to the sky and breeze.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    It's always helpful, when visiting a city for the first time, to see it from one of its highest points
    . The Tokyo City views were astounding from the top of the skyscraper.

    We didn't have much time to walk around Roppongi, but I enjoyed seeing Louise Bourgeois' spider sculpture, an artist whose work I've enjoyed before.

  • Grace Mineta

    The weather was lovely and we were able to see most of Tokyo from the Roppongi Hills observation deck and from the helicopter pad on the roof. It was fun looking at the rooftop gardens and surrounding buildings.

    Roppongi is a very chic town. I recommend walking tours of Roppongi for people who want to see the fancy side of Tokyo.

Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
Roppongi Station → Ginza Station
About 10 minutes / 170 yen

  • Daniel Gritzer

    We had a lovely kaiseki lunch in Ginza. Highlights included a shiitake chawan mushi with ginko nuts, some pristine sashimi, and the most enjoyable shabu shabu I've ever eaten.

  • Grace Mineta

    Ginza is also a very expensive part of town. Even though I have lived in Tokyo for several years, I have only been to Ginza once or twice for shopping. During the weekends, the main road is only open to foot traffic, so it’s a great place to stroll.

    (Lunch at Kakiyasu)
    We ate shabu-shabu or sukiyaki at this traditional Japanese restaurant. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The portion size was huge and had a wide variety of dishes, ranging from roots and vegetables to meat and soups.

The Kimono Gallerymore

Tokyo is the center of Japan and Ginza is the center of Tokyo. Because Ginza beautifully fuses Japanese traditional clothing culture with modern shopping districts, one can dress themselves in elegant finery freely and set foot in Ginza, the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, Tsukiji, and the Kabuki-za. We will assist you in making a memory of a beautiful and fun day out.
You don't need to bring anything to enjoy the Kimono Experience, our rentals include everything from free fitting to simple hair arrangements and hair ornaments.
Men and women can both participate and single travelers are also welcome.
Our staff speak English and Chinese. Foreign guests are very welcome.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    I didn't know what to expect when we visited the kimono gallery, and for certain I had no idea I'd be putting on a yukata. I was even more surprised to discover I'd be walkign around Ginza in the yukata. To be honest, it was a little embrassing being a foreigner in traditional Japanese clothes when everyone else on the street was not, but we had fun anyway, and posed for lots of photographs. Definitely an experience!

    Tsuruya Yoshinobu is something special, completely mesmerizing to watch the chefs work bean paste in different colors into the most beautiful floral confections. I was also in love with the handmade jelly candies we tasted, each in a different floral flavor. My favorite was jasmine. I also loved the iced matcha tea they served us, and am planning on making it here in New York for the rest of the summer.

  • Grace Mineta

    We got to pick out our favorite yukata (summer kimono), hair flower, and obi. I wore a bright blue yukata and my obi design was gorgeous. The staff in the shop were friendly and helpful. After getting dressed, we strolled through Ginza in our yukata and took pictures.

    We went to Tsuruya Yoshinobu to watch Japanese confectionery making. That was my first time watching something like this – it felt like “dinner and a show.” The makers were very skilled, the atmosphere was intimate, and the sweets were the perfect balance of sweet and texture.

Walk
20 minutes

  • Daniel Gritzer

    We spent most of our time in Nihombashi at Mitsukoshi department store in the food hall on the lower level. This is an incredible place, and you could spend weeks and weeks just trying to eat everything there. One day I'll work up the nerve to buy a $45US melon and eat it.

  • Grace Mineta

    We briefly went into the basement of a department store to look at the food stalls and lunch box stores. There were a lot of different types of food.

SKY BUS TOKYO(Odaiba Night Course)more

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

On the Odaiba Night Course, the two-story open-deck SKYBUS TOKYO takes passengers to see the Tokyo Tower lit up against the night sky and also goes directly beneath the Rainbow Bridge. Since the SKYBUS TOKYO also takes highways along the way, passengers can feel like they are on a theme park attraction.
The SKYBUS TOKYO stops at Aqua City in Odaiba and allows passengers one hour of free time to get something to eat or take a commemorative photo with the Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge in the background.
This two-hour tour is the perfect way to enjoy many of Tokyo's night spots in a short amount of time.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    The Skybus drove us to Aqua City Odaiba, and we managed to get a nice view of Tokyo Tower from right below it.

    Aqua City Odaiba offered a quick photo opportunity of the water and bridges, with some beautiful boats and lights. we had fun.

  • Grace Mineta

    We rode on an open-air bus through Tokyo to Odaiba, over the Rainbow Bridge. The bus arrived on-time and had comfortable seating. The bus dropped us off in Odaiba for one hour of ‘free time’ before picking us up and taking us back across the Rainbow Bridge after sunset.

    We ate tempura and soba noodles for dinner at Aquq City Odaiba. The restaurant portion size was huge and it had a wonderful location, overlooking Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge. My favorite part was that they served wasabi root you grated yourself for the soba. It was an interesting experience.

Walk

PALACE HOTEL TOKYO

  • Daniel Gritzer

    The Palace Hotel Tokyo is a seriously lux hotel in a gorgeous setting, which helpful and friendly staff. The room was exceptionally clean, the shower one of the best I've ever had, and everything was as comfortable as can be. I wish hotels in the USA did in-room coffee and tea as well as the Palace Hotel did.

  • Grace Mineta

    Our room at Palace Hotel Tokyo was beautiful. The room itself was very classy and comfortable and the view over Tokyo was stunning. We were overlooking Tokyo Imperial Palace and were able to see Tokyo Tower lit up in the distance. There was a notecard informing us of the weather for the next day, which was thoughtful.

Day2

CHUGOKU(HIROSHIMA)

6:50 Haneda Airportmore

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

JAL253 (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Our trip to Hiroshima in the morning was as easy as can be, and JAL flight was quick and comfortable.

  • Grace Mineta

    We took a flight on JAL from Haneda to Hiroshima. The check-in process at the airport was very easy and security went by quickly. Our flight was comfortable and I slept through the entire thing. I hadn’t realized how close Hiroshima was to Tokyo by plane. I definitely need to visit again.

8:10 Hiroshima Airportmore

Hiroshima Airport is 15 minutes away by bus from the nearest station, JR Shiraichi Station. Hiroshima Station can be reached in about 50 minutes by JR from Shiraichi Station. Miyajimaguchi Station, the gateway to the world-famous beauty of the Miyajima Otorii Gate floating in the sea, can be reached in just 1 hour and 20 minutes from Hiroshima Airport.
Hiroshima Airport also has limousine buses running directly to Hiroshima Station and the Hiroshima Bus Center, located in the center of Hiroshima City. Each bus takes only about 45 minutes to reach central Hiroshima without any transfers. There is also a limousine bus direct to Onomichi Station, the entryway to the Seto Inland Sea.

Hiroshima Airport Limousine Bus
Hiroshima Airport → Hiroshima Bus
About 50 minutes / 1,340 yen

  • Daniel Gritzer

    From the Hiroshima airport to the city center, the bus was on time and comfortable.

  • Grace Mineta

    The bus left shortly after we arrived. It was comfortable and the ride was short. I like how close the airport is to the city.

Walk
5 minutes

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park more

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a large park located in central Hiroshima City that was built near where an atomic bomb was dropped, to wish for eternal world peace. Inside the park are such sites as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with exhibits on what life was like after the atomic bomb fell, the Atomic Bomb Dome (a World Heritage Site), the Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and the International Conference Center Hiroshima. The sound of the Peace Bell is filled with a prayer for peace and was chosen by the Ministry of the Environment as one of 100 Soundscapes of Japan that should be preserved.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Of course visiting the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Memorial is not a ""fun"" part of the trip. It's a very painful part of history for many people in Japan, the United States, and around the world. But it's imorptant to see and to reflect on the cost and pain of war, and I'm very glad I had a chance to be there in person and reflect on this. We all folded paper cranes and added them to the memorial for Sadako; it was truly a beautiful gesture to participate in.

    I visited Hiroshima knowing it was famous for its version of okonomiyaki and was thrilled to eat it for lunch. Mine was filled with soba noodles and piled high with a green blanket of scallions, a long raw egg yolk crowning the top. Of course I squeezed mayo all over it, plus spicy okonomiyaki sauce, and several dashes of lemon hot sauce (I was also interested to find out the area is so famous for its citrus...I didn't know!)

  • Grace Mineta

    Our first stop in Hiroshima was the Peace Park. Although I had studied about World War II and the atomic bomb in school, it was completely different seeing things in person. We folded cranes to put inside the display case for the Children’s Peace Monument. Afterwards, we looked at the Peace Memorial Museum to look at photos and read the stores of people who were killed in the blast.

    We had Hiroshima-styled okonomiyaki for lunch. I have often eaten monjayaki (Tokyo-styled okonomiyaki), regular okonomiyaki, and Osaka-styled okonomiyaki so I was excited to try the Hiroshima equivalent. It was delicious. I liked the yakisoba noodles fried on top and the lemon jalapeno flavored condiment.

World Heritage Sea Route (Aqua Net)
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Atomic Bomb Dome) → Miyajima
About 45 minutes / 2,000 yen
(elementary school students: 1,000 yen)

  • Daniel Gritzer

    A quick ferry ride took us across the water to Miyajima, an unbelievable site.

  • Grace Mineta

    The ferry ride to Miyajima was comfortable and easy. I slept most of the ride.

Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine)more

Considered a holy island since olden times, Miyajima has been a focal point for faith. Beginning with the Heian-period Shinden-zukuri architecture of Itsukushima Shrine, the view of the sea with the Otorii Gate, and the primeval forests of Mt. Misen to the rear, 14% of the island was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1996. The biggest attraction is Itsukushima Shrine. The elegant sight of the shrine against the sea with the mountains in the background weaves together a picture of an elegant world.
The Otorii Gate standing offshore is the symbol of Miyajima. The sight of it standing amidst the water during high tide is beautiful, and during low tide, it can be approached on foot. In addition, as the sun sets, the Otorii Gate, Itsukushima Shrine, and the five-storied pagoda are lit up, creating a mythical nighttime atmosphere much different from the day. There are many deer living on the island that are protected as messengers to the gods.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    I've seen it in photos before, but visiting Miyajima in person is an entirely different, and better, experience. The island and shrine are magical, just totally beautiful. We were lucky to see a Shinto wedding while there.

    There were a lot of food and drink highlights at Miyajima. In a very short time, I managed to try the area's famous oysters, which were grilled, along with its equally beloved conger eel. I grabbed a quick, and very good, coffee, managed to taste a local beer, and ate another regional specialty: a red bean paste cake. This one was battered and deep fried, so I called it a ""deep-freid red-bean-paste doughnut."" Damn was it good.

  • Grace Mineta

    The first thing we did in Miyajima was visit Itsukushima Shrine. It was during “low tide” so we were able to walk under and around the shine. Our guide taught us about the history and how the tide patterns and height depends on the moon. After, we walked through a nearby shrine and saw a wedding in progress. We also climbed a bit up the mountain to get a full view of the shrine and city. It was beautiful, educational, and peaceful!

    We ate momiji-manju from one of the local stalls at Machiyadori. It tasted like a tempura-donut and was one of my favorite snacks on this trip! The two types of grilled oyster were also fresh and delicious. It was fun being able to order them from a stall.

JR West Miyajima Ferry
Miyajima → Miyajimaguchi
About 10 minutes / 180 yen

JR Sanyo Line
Miyajimaguchi Station → Hiroshima Station

JR Shinkansen
Hiroshima Station → Fukuyama Station

  • Daniel Gritzer

    The train to Onomichi gave me my one chance to experience Japan's famed bullet train, even if it was a very short ride and we never reached top speed. Still, I could tell how smooth and quick the ride would be. Can't wait to come back and ride the train when it's going really fast.

JR Sanyo Line
Fukuyama Station → Onomichi Station
( 1 hour and 36 minutes / 5,070 yen )

Walk
20 minutes

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Our izakaya dinner was truly special. I ate several things I'm still thinking about, including the crab butter with cucumbers, the miso dips for steamed vegetables, the conger eel sashimi (a first for me!), and more. We drank some great sake and just enjoyed ourselves. Great place!

  • Grace Mineta

    Dinner was at a local Izakaya where we tried many types of local food (like conger eel sashimi and other side dishes). We also drank delicious sake. The atmosphere was relaxed and felt very authentic and the staff at the restaurant were very friendly.

MIHARASHI-TEI

  • Daniel Gritzer

    I loved the hostel where we stayed in Onomichi. It was utterly charming and comfortable. I loved my room, the view was priceless, and the place had such a great personality. I'd return for sure.

  • Grace Mineta

    We spent the night at a 100 year old inn that had been renovated recently and turned into a guest house. The room was comfortable and the view was amazing. The café downstairs served great breakfast food and the staff was bilingual and friendly.

Day3

MIHARASHI-TEI

Walk
3 minutes

Onomichimore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Onomichi City is comprised of a portion of the Honshu mainland in southeastern Hiroshima Prefecture connected with multiple islands by the Shimanami Kaido, a series of bridges.
Onomichi City on the Honshu mainland has mountains on one side to the north and a gently-sloping south side that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea. The nostalgic port town has terrain characteristic for its many inclined roads and is well-known for being the setting for many novels and movies.
In addition, the area prospers from Buddhism and is an excellent place to tour old temples and learn more about history and culture. The port town of Onomichi is also known as a town for cats. as many cats are encountered while walking in the city. The "Cat Trail" is becoming a new Onomichi tourist spot and has many stones decorated with cat illustrations scattered along it. Onomichi is the entryway to the Shimanami Kaido, renowned for its cycling routes, so it is always bustling with many cyclists.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    The heat was no joke, but we still had a great time walking around Onomichi. The city itself is full of charm, a great place to walk and explore. Another highlight: sakura soft-serve ice cream. Just fantastic.

  • Grace Mineta

    Onomichi is a beautiful city with a fascinating history. We walked through the old streets and through the ‘cat trail,’ trying to count all the cat statues. It seemed like a lovely place to live and I’d love to come back someday.

Shimanami Cycle Express (Onomichi Bus)
Onomichi Ekimae → Omishima BS
About 45 minutes / 1,350 yen

  • Daniel Gritzer

    The bus, on time as always, very comfortable, and the ride had beautilful views as we crossed bridges to the islands south of Onomichi. Plus, air-conditioning! (Given the heat, I can't express how nice it was to cool down on the bus for a while.)

  • Grace Mineta

    The bus was comfortable and cool. We were able to see the bridges connecting the islands together and Onomichi from a distance.

Walk
Omishima BS → Tatara Shimanami Park
10 minutes

  • Daniel Gritzer

    We stepped off the bus and crossed the road to the park, which had exceptional views of the water.

    We sat down for a very nice sashimi lunch, overlooking the water. This was the kind of restaurant that, if we were in the United States, would probably have been some kind of terrible fast food. But in Japan, it still managed to be a good restaurant serving quality food and very fresh fish.

  • Grace Mineta

    Tatara Shimanami Park is a wide open space with an excellent view of the ocean (and bridge). From here we were able to rent bikes.

    Lunch was fresh sashimi with a set meal. It was the perfect size and incredibly refreshing on a hot afternoon.

Rent-a-cycle
Tatara Shimanami Park → Oyamazumi Shrine
40 minutes

Oyamazumi Shrinemore

Oyamazumi Shrine is Ehime Prefecture's oldest shrine that is said to be the overall head shrine of the over 10,000 Yamazumi and Mishima Shrines around Japan.
In the center of the shrine grounds is an enshrined 2,600-year-old camphor tree, as well as many Important Cultural Properties such as the main and front shrines. Here, you can experience a mystical atmosphere where the passage of time is forgotten. Since this shrine is dedicated to the gods of the sea, mountains, and warriors, many past military commanders donated arms in hopes of military success or in thanks for victory in battle. These are exhibited in the Treasury Museum located on the grounds, which houses 80% of the arms and armor that are designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties in Japan.

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Riding a bike is one of the best ways to see any place, since you can travel fast enough to cover a good distance, but still go slow enough to absorb your surroundings. I loved passing by local farmhouses along the road, and climbing hills. The Oyamazumi Shrine was so peaceful, hardly any visitors at all, and so beautiful. I especially loved the treasures museum, with swords and armor going back more than 1000 years.

  • Grace Mineta

    We rented mountain bikes and biked to Oyamazumi Shrine. It was the perfect weather for biking, although it was a bit difficult getting used to the mountain bike. I would have liked the option to rent one of the electric bikes instead (since I am more used to those). At the shrine, we were able to look at the new gate, the main shrine, and the ancient tree in the middle (that would grant your wish if you held your breath and walked around it three times). We also visited the Treasure Hall and got to see amazing Japanese treasures, like old swords, bows, and armor.

Rent-a-cycle
Oyamazumi Shrine → Tatara Shimanami Park
40 minutes

Walk
Tatara Shimanami Park → Omishima BS
10 minutes

Setouchi Bus
Omishima BS → JR Imabari Station
About 50 minutes / 1,040 yen

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Afterwards, we rode our bikes back, then caught a bus, which was once again a nice place to be given the heat.

JR Shiokaze limited express train
Imabari Station → Matsuyama Station
About 36 minutes / 1,470 yen

Iyotetsu Intra-city Streetcar No. 5 JR Matsuyama Station Line
JR Matsuyama Station → Dogo Onsen
About 30 minutes / 160 yen

  • Daniel Gritzer

    Fro the bus, we took a train, and then a tram, to Dogo Onsen Main Building. All the travel was easy and comfortable.

  • Grace Mineta

    The train arrived perfectly on time. It was a cute little tram that took us to Dogo Onsen.

Walk

Dogo Onsen Funaya

  • Daniel Gritzer

    What a treat to visit a proper onsen. Dogo Onsen Main Building is quite a sight, a remarkable building in the middle of the city.

    This was an incredible hotel, with an apartment-size room with traditional tatami rooms and a wood bath that brings in water from the natural spring. We had some very good food in the ryokan's restaurant as well.

  • Grace Mineta

    I loved the movie “Spirited Away” and it was so amazing to be able to see the onsen that the bath house in the movie was modeled after. We arrived right at sunset, which made it even more beautiful. The building looked stunning lit up at dusk.

    This hotel was breathtaking. Our room was absolutely gorgeous, the bed was comfortable, and it had a private bath using onsen water. Dinner was a several course meal with some of the best somen noodles I have tasted in my entire life.

Day4

Dogo Onsen Funaya

Walk
Dogo Onsen Funaya → Dogo Onsen Station
5 minutes

Iyotetsu Intra-city Streetcar No. 5 JR Matsuyama Station Line
Dogo Onsen → JR Matsuyama Station
About 30 minutes / 160 yen

Hiroshima Airport Limousine Bus
JR Matsuyama Station → Matsuyama Airport
About 30 minutes / 310 yen

Matsuyama Airportmore

Matsuyama Airport is the port of entry for air travelers to Ehime Prefecture and is Shikoku's largest airport, bustling with activity everyday.
Along with food and drink shops, there is a shopping zone selling various souvenirs such as Matsuyama Airport limited goods, as well as a lounge where visitors can enjoy locally-brewed Ehime sake at a reasonable price.
In addition, there is an interpreter service that provides instant service via tablet devices, a multi-lingual information board, and even a free Wi-Fi spot, to help foreign visitors travel with peace of mind.
Furthermore, on the 3rd Sunday of every month, an event is held where Ehime Prefecture's symbolic product, mikan juice, pours out from a faucet, with free samples given out. Even in Japan, the sight of mikan juice pouring out from a faucet can only be seen here, so be sure to stop by when this event is held.

JAL (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details

  • Grace Mineta

    The Matsuyama airport was small and easy to navigate. Check-in was easy and there were a couple options for dinner. Our gate was right behind security. The flight was nice because we were able to watch the sunset over the small islands. Since I was awake this time, I drank complimentary green tea.

Haneda Airportmore

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

The tour managed to pack in an impressive number of locations and activities without feeling rushed. We traveled by bus, by plane, by train, by bike, and by boat, giving a broad exposure to different ways of getting around the country and its cities.

Daniel Gritzer
Food & Cooking Writer
Reside in USA
  • Hobby

    Gourmet, Cooking

  • Number of visits to Japan

    First time

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

I had an amazing time traveling through Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Ehime. I loved how it was a nice mix between famous, obvious tourist spots and hidden areas that only locals would know about. The food was excellent. I liked how it was a mix of local food and high-end cuisine.

Grace Mineta
Auther
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: USA
  • Hobby

    Travelling, Cooking, Hiking, Snowboarding, Reading old novels

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    2.5 years

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