Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Japan is an amazing place for tourists to explore, with interesting destinations at seemingly every turn that offer a vast range of experiences to suit all tastes. Nowhere in the country is this more true than in the vicinity of the tourist meccas of Tokyo and Kyoto, where one can enjoy the most bustling of urban streets and pristine nature in quick succession, thanks in part to the country's convenient and reliable transport networks. With this in mind, I decided to make a three day trip between Tokyo and Kyoto, experiencing magical rural scenes while doing so, namely in the scenic Hakone area and the spiritual Kurama and Kibune area, which lie a stone's throw from the respective big cities. These areas are all top destinations that promise to give visitors to Japan an unforgettable experience, and so this was naturally a trip I couldn't wait to embark on. I'm Sam Evans for japan-guide.com and over the next three days I'll be making a trip through three of Japan's premier hot spots. Here's the plan: After starting our trip in central Tokyo, we'll first head to Hakone and experience some of this famous area's nature and culture. On day 2, we'll explore more of Hakone and then take the shinkansen across the country to Kyoto and experience some of the city's historical charms. Our final day will begin with a hike in Kyoto's northern mountains, before we finish our trip by heading back into the city and exploring more of what the ancient capital has to offer. So follow along, as we take a three day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto via Hakone. Day 1 We'll begin our journey in bustling Shinjuku, where we'll head to an observation deck for impressive views of the city. We'll then take the Odakyu Railway from Shinjuku Station to Hakone Yumoto, a famous hot spring town at the entrance to Hakone, where we'll explore and take in the area's atmosphere and beauty. Following this we head deeper into Hakone and take in some beautiful art at the Hakone Open Air Museum, before checking into our nearby hotel for the night. So behind me you can see the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, also known as “Tocho”. Now, we're going to head inside and go up to one of the building's observation decks. Now, the observation decks in this building are among my favorites because not only do you get great views of the city, but it's free. So let's go and do it. Having had a taste of the big city it's now time to move on, so we head to Shinjuku Station where we'll buy a rail pass that will serve us well on this leg of trip, and then take the 90 minute ride on the Limited Express Romancecar to Hakone Yumoto. We've arrived at Hakone Yumoto at the entrance to Hakone. Now this is the most famous hot spring spot in the area. As well as this absolutely stunning scenery that you can see, there's a bustling little main street that you can see and I can't wait to check out. So let's go see what's on offer. After exploring Hakone Yumoto, it's onward to the Hakone Open Air Museum via a ride on the Hakone Tozan Railway This is the Hakone Open Air Museum and it's well known for its numerous large and interesting art installations dotted around the grounds but I think this place's biggest charm is the interplay between the art and the breathtaking scenery that surrounds us here. It's just quite impressive. Following the fun at the museum, it's now time to make our way to the Hakone Yutowa Hotel where we'll be spending the night. Day 2 Today we start by taking a cable car and ropeway to the northern shores of Lake Ashinoko where we'll board a scenic boat cruise. and upon disembarking at the other side of the lake, we'll take a picturesque stroll through a forest and along the water. We then say goodbye to Hakone and board a bus to Mishima Skywalk a unique scenic spot just south of Lake Ashinoko. Following this it's on to Mishima Station, from where a shinkansen will whisk us all the way to Kyoto where we'll explore some interesting historical sights. We've just boarded one of the iconic pirate ship sightseeing cruises that takes passengers from Togendai to the other side of Lake Ashinoko and this is a great way to take in the beautiful scenery of the rolling hills on the shores of the lake. To end our time in Hakone, we'll make a brief stop in Motohakone, a picturesque town on the southern edge of the lake, known for its quaint atmosphere and a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. From Motohakone we've taken a bus to Mishima Skyway. Now, this 400 meter long suspension bridge traverses over a deep valley and when the weather is good you can get great views of Mt. Fuji. From the skywalk we're now going to take a bus to Mishima Station where we'll take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto From the station we have come to Gion, one of the premier historical entertainment districts in all of Japan. Now, apart from the abundance of well preserved buildings, the atmosphere here is just magical. So let's explore. Now it's time to get to our lodgings for the night, but not before making a quick stop at the nearby Kansai Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Tower to buy a Keihan discount pass that we'll to save money on our route tomorrow. What a day. We've arrived at our hotel, The Thousand Kyoto, where the service and the surroundings are equally exceptional might I add. We're about to begin the first course of a traditional Japanese course meal so kanpai! Day 3 Our third and final day will begin by heading up to Kyoto's verdant northern mountains, hiking from Kurama via a mystical mountain temple to Kibune. Upon arriving in Kibune, we'll take in the area's revered shrine and then sit down for a memorable dining experience on the river. Following this we head back into central Kyoto and make our way to Kiyomizudera Temple before bringing our trip to an end. After checkout, we'll take the Kyoto Station Loop Bus to Shichijo Station and then the Keihan Railway to Demachi Yanagi, where we'll transfer to the Eizan railway all the way to its terminus at Kurama. We've arrived. We're at the main buildings of Kuramadera, which is the main attraction on the mountain. And this place is absolutely incredible. The views that are afforded of the surrounding mountains are stunning and the temple is also known as a spiritual power spot. We've just sat down to a kawadoko. Now kawadoko is something that the restaurants do at this time of year from June to September. Basically they put out platforms directly above the Kibunegawa this river that flows underneath us. We're about to enjoy a kaiseki course meal here. It's relaxing, the atmosphere is incredible and also being just above the river's surface makes it significantly cooler. So that's always a plus this time of year. So, itadakimasu. Satisfied from all that great food, we now make our way back into central Kyoto to make one last stop at the iconic Kiyomizudera Temple. Known among other things for it's balcony that provides inspiring views of Kyoto's cityscape, Kiyomizudera is one of the most popular religious sites in the whole country and was not something I wanted to miss in Kyoto. And after making our way back to Kyoto Station, it's unfortunately time for our trip to come to an end. Thanks for joining me. I hope this video has been enjoyable and even inspire some ideas, should you be planning a trip in Japan. For more information about our itinerary or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now, or head over to japan-guide.com, your comprehensive up-to-date travel guide, first hand from Japan. Thanks for watching, be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more videos about Japan. Happy travels.