When we were planning our trip, I read in several places that a trip to Japan should at least include Tokyo and Kyoto, as Tokyo is a modern megatropolis and Kyoto is more of the old, traditional Japan. After visiting each city, I’d say this is largely accurate, though Kyoto still feels very modern, too. I loved Kyoto – any first-time trip to Japan would be incomplete without Kyoto on the itinerary!
We stayed at the Aranvert Hotel – I was just going to add a link to their website and found that, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they have closed permanently. How sad. I really enjoyed our stay there – it was affordable, clean, and comfortable, and the women’s onsen was lovely, with a beautiful view over the city. The location was ideal too – we were able to walk there from the train station pretty easily, even with our luggage after first arriving in Japan, and it was easy to access the subway and bus lines too. We spent much of our travel time in and near Kyoto on a train or subway – we got a multi-day subway pass that made it easy to hop on and off without fumbling for new tickets each time. The subways were clean and organized, and like all transportation in Japan, they were always on time. Using our pocket wifi, we were able to easily find routes from sight to sight, and navigating Kyoto was never a problem!
We flew into Tokyo when we arrived in Japan, but our itinerary started in Kyoto. I had wondered about how this extra travel would impact us after a long international flight, but it was more cost-effective, and I would definitely recommend it as an easy option. Getting on a clean, comfortable, quiet train from Tokyo to Kyoto felt like an upgrade from the airplane, and we were able to relax for a couple of hours before we arrived in Kyoto. We even glimpsed Mount Fuji from the train! One perk of traveling to Asia from America is that when you arrive, it’s night! I am always miserable when I don’t get any sleep on a plane, and slogging through the first day of international travel when you go east instead of west is always brutal, but in Japan, we got to check into our hotel and go straight to bed – perfect.Continue reading