Two cities in one day: Travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto
Experiencing the best of two cities in one day is usually an experience reserved for celebrities jetting off from one exotic location to the next.
Although this can be a reality for anyone with a Japan Rail Pass (JR). Thanks to the comprehensive network of ultra-fast bullet trains, or shinkansen, you can wake up in Tokyo and rest your head in Kyoto, all in the same day. In this itinerary, we're going to show you how it's all possible, thanks to the JR Pass from Rail Plus.
Before you go
To make the most of your time in Japan, the ideal way to travel is by train. Thankfully, visitors to the island nation can take advantage of a special tourist deal in the form of the JR Pass - an all inclusive ticket for travel on JR trains, shinkansen and even the Tokyo metro's Yamanote line.
However, you aren't able to buy your JR Pass once you're in Japan, so you'll have to buy it here in Australia. Rail Plus can help you to sort yours before you depart, so be sure to give us a call.
Waking up in Tokyo, there is no shortage of things to see and do, but first, how about a little breakfast? While your hotel will more than likely offer some tasty morning fare, you can venture out to find a local favourite - pancakes.
Clinton St Baking Company is just a short walk from the Omote-Sando Station near Shibuya, offering top notch baked goods in the style of the original New York establishment. Alternatively, you'll find a mouthwatering array of Japanese-style pancakes at Butter Premium, located in the Urban Dock LaLaPort Toyosu centre. The restaurant uses the highest quality butter to make their renowned baked goods, producing menu items such as pancakes with strawberry, eggs benedict or omelette.
If you fancy a little coffee to wash down your pancakes, why not try one of the city's famous animal cafes? Cat lovers can stroke some furry feline friends inside the whimsical decor of Temari no Ouchi, less than 5 minutes' walk from Kichijoji Station. If you are more of a dog person, fear not, as Tokyo also caters to puppy love with Dog Heart from Aquamarine, situated in Yoyogi Park.
En route to Kyoto
When it's time to depart, make your way to Tokyo Station. If you want to reserve a seat with your JR Pass, you can do so free of charge at a Midori-no-madoguchi, or Reservation Office. Once on board the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen, your journey will take about 2 hours 15 minutes.
Shinkansen are capable of travelling at speeds over 300 km/h - many people hardly even notice the movement of the train cars.
Konnichi wa Kyoto!
Welcome to Kyoto, a city seeped in history and allure. It is the heart of many Japanese cultural icons such as geisha and tea ceremonies, and its landscape is laden with natural beauty and intricately crafted ancient temples and shrines.
Once you make your way out of the sleek, modernistic Kyoto Station, you have countless attractions to see. Why not start by visiting the historic residence of Japan's shogun, at Nijo Castle, or witness the serenity of Kinkaku-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist retreat which appears to almost float on the lake.
After exhausting yourself exploring, there will be nothing like sitting down to a spectacular meal at one of Kyoto's first class restaurants.
A kaiseki restaurant such as Gion Karyo or Kitcho Arashiyama offers multiple, intricate courses, giving you the chance to explore a range of Japanese haute cuisine while Menbakaichidai offers wholesome ramen and assorted dishes for a filling meal after an intrepid day's travel.