This page outlines posts related to our 6 and half week trip to Japan in September to October of 2017. I spent the first 4 weeks in Tokyo studying Japanese at the Coto Language Academy. At the end of September Don joined me and we traveled 2 and a half weeks by train and car in Central Honshu, the Kyoto area, the Hakone area and ending in Tokyo.

red line – train
blue line – car
green line – Alpine Route


LP Walking Tour of Southern Higashiyama
Lonely Planet’s walking tour is a great introduction to the temples and shrines of Kyoto.
Top Sights of Kyoto
Post includes tips for visiting the Fushimi inari shrine, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Kinkaku-ji – the Golden Temple.
Nishiki Market
On a rainy day this vibrant market is the place to be. Everyone else thinks so too.
Day trip to Nara
An easy train ride from Kyoto, Nara’s giant Buddha housed in Japan’s largest wooden structure is worth a stop.
Seikoro Ryokan
A review of one of Kyoto’s top ryokans.
Tawaraya Ryokan
A review of another one of Kyoto’s top ryokans.
An Evening at Tempura Endo
High-end tempura at its best.
Other Kyoto Sleeping and Dining Options


Sights of Koyasan
This quaint mountain temple town is home to Okuno-in, one of the most stunning cemeteries in the world.
Staying at Hongaku-in
Staying overnight at a temple and attending morning prayers is a highlight of a trip to Koyasan.
Getting to Koyasan
Although a little complicated it’s a fun route ending with a mountain train and a cable car.

Central Honshu

Don’s Arrival: An Introduction to the Japanese Transportation System
The Japanese train system is amazingly efficient but don’t underestimate the size of the train stations.
Cormorant Fishing and Other Sights
This small town outside of Nagoya is home to one of Japan’s oldest castles as well as cormorant fishing, one of Japan’s oldest traditions.
Hotel Meitetsu
A large onsen type hotel popular with the Japanese.
Sights of Tsumago
A quaint traditional village along the old post road. Post includes walking the “road” between Magome and Tsumago.
Fujioto Ryokan
A delightful English-friendly ryokan experience.
Sights of Matsumoto
Post includes a visit to the famous castle.
Sleeping and Dining in Matsumoto
Alpine Route – Omachi to Tateyama
Omachi Onsenkyo, Gateway to the Alpine Route
Post includes information on an overnight stay in this onsen town at the start of the Alpine Route.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
A series of 8 different legs of transportation that takes you through the scenic Hida Mountains.
Gassho-zukuri Villages
Gassho-zukuri Villages – Ainokura, Suganuma and Ogimachi
A visit to the picturesque traditional thatched roofed villages.
Sleeping in Ainokura
A night in one of the quaint thatched roof villages completes the experience.
Boasting a postcard setting this popular mountain town is a great place to experience some of Japan’s mountain hiking.
Sights of Takayama
A mountain town with quaint traditional streets and temples.
Honjin Hiranoya Annex, Takayama, Central Honshu, Japan
A classy English-friendly ryokan.
Sights of Kanazawa
This mid-sized city boasts one of Japan’s top botanical gardens, a fish market and the quaint Geisha Tea House District.
Sleeping and Dining in Kanazawa


Sights and Activities in Hakone
This pretty, mountainous volcanic region boasting Mt. Fuji views and great onsen is a popular weekend destination outside of Tokyo.
Sleeping and Dining in Hakone
Castle and Sushi in Odawara
This bullet train stop near Hakone is worth a visit for its fresh fish and wedding cake castle.


Sights of Tokyo
Tokyo, a tantalizing taste of modern living in a decidedly Asian environment, is unlike any city I have ever visited.
Kabuki and Sumo
Two of Japan’s must experience cultural events.
An easy day trip from Tokyo, this former feudal capital is a great place to experience Japan’s temples and shrines.
Sleeping and Dining in Tokyo
Homestay Experience
Immersion Program Homestay
Life with a Japanese couple in Tokyo.
Bathing at a Japanese Homestay
Getting the bathing process right is not as easy as it seems.
Learning the Tokyo Transit System
The complex system is easier than it looks.
Coto Language Academy
Coto Language Academy, First Impressions
Description of the first week of Japanese language classes.
Review of Coto Language Academy
Coto Language Academy Activities
Post includes descriptions of the school’s cooking and calligraphy classes as well as participating in an Omikoshi festival.