Things to do in Bali Seminyak

Things to do in Bali Seminyak

Seminyak has become Bali’s most sophisticated resort area over the years. Seminyak is known for its trendy restaurants, fancy bars, chic hotels, and endless rows of designer boutiques. It is widely influenced by Western culture, but there is also a unique touch of Balinese culture.

You can take an inexpensive taxi to go to the spot mentioned here, but you can also casually stroll around this exciting city. Whether you are traveling as a couple or with a group of friends, Seminyak is the place to be. Here is everything you need to know about Seminyak, including places to dine, things to do, and places to stay!

Places to Dine in Seminyak Bali

Exploring cafes is one of my favorite things to do when I visit new country, and Bali is no exception. Food photography is one of the biggest trends in Seminyak and more and more “Insta-Worthy” dishes are being created lately. The atmosphere is stylish and the food is always so fresh in Seminyak, Bali.

Cabina Bali

Cabina Bali is a great place to chill with your family and friends. The atmosphere, music, food, service, and everything was just perfect. There were varieties of food and drinks, so it took us a while to select from the menu. I finally picked avocado toast for my lunch, and it was delicious! The veggies were fresh, and the bread was crunchy. We also loved their colorful and very photogenic atmosphere. If you want to experience floating brunch, it’s available from 9am to 12pm.

Cafe Organic

Cafe Organic is well known for vegetarian food and the cute atmosphere. We ordered smoothie bowls, and they were delicious! The fruit decorations were pretty and they made us smile. The price was reasonable and the quantity was generous. Their breakfast menu also seemed attractive. There were so many things on the menu that we wanted to try. I saw many reviews saying they had horrible service there, but I thought their service was friendly and helpful. One of the servers took lots of photos for us even though we didn’t even ask! It is a lovely place to sit and relax away from the busy Seminyak streets.

Folie Bali

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
Things to do in Bali Seminyak

I believe this is the most Instagram worthy cafes in Bali! Folie serves modern French cuisine in a clean and relaxed, yet tasteful setting. There are both indoor and outdoor seats, and the décor and furniture are beautifully appointed. We sat in the outdoor area, and it was very quiet and relaxing (we visited around 9am). Food and drinks were prepared perfectly, and the staff were both attentive and friendly. Everything was delicious but my favorite was the croissant!! It was the BEST brunch I had in Bali. Plus there are so many cute spots you can’t miss for taking photos!! 

Beach Clubs in Seminyak Bali

The best way to add some excitement to your Balinese vacation? Going to the beach clubs in Seminyak, for sure! Seminyak offers some of the most trendy, classy, and exciting beach clubs around, and you cannot miss it if you are in Seminyak. What I love about Seminyak’s beach club is that it has everything you need. There are stunning ocean views, delicious food, stylish cocktails, trendy music, and glittering infinity pools. Even if you do not plan to party, it is a perfect choice to relax with a cocktail in hand.

Ku De Ta

Things to do in Bali Seminyak

Ku De Ta is probably the most popular beach club in Bali. The classic atmosphere, the vast selection of cocktails along with the delicious food makes this beach club one of the most popular places to visit in Seminyak. Although it is known for its expansive ocean views, infinity pool, and international DJ teams, my favorite part of Ku De Ta is its special events, such as annual Bikini Party and the famed White Party. I joined the White Party, and it was one of the most exciting festivals I’ve ever attended!

Potato Head Beach Club

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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Potato Head Beach Club is my favorite beach club in Seminyak! It offers such a unique modern atmosphere with endless delicious food and vast drink choices. If you want to see the beautiful ocean view, I recommend you arrive early in the morning so you can avoid the crowds. Besides the amazing atmosphere, Potato Head Beach also offers great choices of international DJs and you cannot miss their special events!

Cocoon Beach Club

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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Cocoon Beach Club is a perfect spot to relax, sipping on a cocktail and eating something delicious.The DJ is playing music all day, and the attentive staff are always at hand. There are beautiful infinity pools, day beds, and cabanas which make your stay special. You can even pamper yourself with a luxurious spa treatment in your private cabana. The atmosphere becomes even better after 8pm since the swimming pool floods with neon colors and candles are lit around the entire area. Note: Happy Hour is between 4pm and 7pm everyday 🙂

Shopping in Seminyak Bali

Things to do in Bali Seminyak

Looking for a tropical outfit or two on your perfect vacation? I don’t blame you, and Bali has everything you need – from sophisticated silk suits to tropical boho dresses, and everything in between. The streets on this beach town are lined with some of Bali’s hottest brands. As far as you walk, you will encounter a variety of shops, such as Balinese furniture, designer boutiques, and perfect souvenirs. My favorite street to shop on in Seminyak is Jalan Oberoi.

Some of the shops I recommend are here!


Spa in Seminyak Bali

Your relaxing Bali vacation wouldn’t be complete without a luxurious spa day in Seminyak, don’t you think? Seminyak offers an abundance of treatments to choose from: full body massages, facial massages, hair salons, holistic healing… you name it! Here are the top 3 spas in Seminyak, Bali.

Prana Spa

Prana Spa is heavily influenced by Indian and Middle Eastern architecture, and the atmosphere makes it one of the best spas in Bali. Just being there makes you feel like a queen. It is a perfect spot for luxurious relaxing. Although their treatment offers a variety of massages, the price is very affordable, and it’s worth every penny to experience one of the most sensual spas in Bali. The best part of the spa is how photogenic it is with regal interiors and rich colors. You will definitely fall in love!

Spa Alila

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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If you want to try one of the most luxurious spas, treat yourself to a beautiful session at Spa Alila. The best part of Spa Alila is its quality of the treatment. They use only local ingredients, and Alila’s signature lemongrass and chamomile aroma are something you must try! If you have time, try a half or full day package to experience what Alila can offer!

Sundari Spa

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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What makes Sundari Spa special is its super affordable price! Although they offer amazing healing methods with natural products, the price starts at approximately US$24 for an hour traditional Balinese massages. Isn’t it amazing? They also make all of their essential oils in-house, so you know you will get 100% pure products.

Art Gallery in Seminyak Bali

Things to do in Bali Seminyak

What makes traveling meaningful is to learn and experience the new culture of each area. That’s why you don’t want to miss some of the art galleries Seminyak offers! Seminyak is a place where local and international artists put their soul into creating their own vision of Bali through paintings. It is a unique experience to check out the well-run museums and galleries while you are in Seminyak.

Some of the galleries you should not miss are below!


Yoga in Seminyak Bali

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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Yoga is widely practiced in Bali. There are many world-class instructors in the country, and Seminyak is no exception. Whether you’re already a yogi or not, Bali is a perfect place to practice yoga and meditation. Just take a deep breath and give in to the serenity! There are many options to do yoga in Seminyak, but here are some of the recommendations.


Resorts in Seminyak Bali

Things to do in Bali Seminyak
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Last but not least, staying in the peaceful resort is something you cannot miss in Bali Seminyak! Seminyak offers many amazing resorts to stay, and the price tends to be reasonable. Many 5 star hotels are located on the most glamorous shores, and they provide a welcome escape from the outside world. You will be guaranteed to have scenic seaside beauty and laid-back luxury!

5 Star Hotel


4 Star Hotel

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Kamakura Day Trip

Kamakura Day Trip

Kamakura is the most popular day trip destination from Tokyo! It is located in the southern part of Kanagawa prefecture, just an hour away from Tokyo. If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto, Kamakura is a great place to feel the ancient part of Japan.

There are many amazing spots to explore in Kamakura, but this itinerary will guide you through some of the most famous spots you don’t want to miss! Here is everything you need to know, including things to do, how to access, where to eat, and where to stay in Kamakura.

If you want to check more about day trip destinations from Tokyo, check out 15 BEST day trips from Tokyo in spring.


Things to Do in Kamakura

Kamakura offers lots of interesting places to see. What I love about Kamakura is it provides different activities and scenery, depending on different season you visit. There are numerous historical temples and shrines, and you will never get bored of exploring! Here are the 10 best spots for day trip in Kamakura.


Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Kamakura Day Trip
Kamakura Day Trip

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most historical and important shrine in Kamakura. It was founded over 800 years ago. Since it is located just a 15 minute walk from Kamakura Station, it is one of the most popular shrines in Kamakura. One of the best seasons to visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is in the spring. There are approximately 300 cherry blossom trees around the shrine, and it creates such a gorgeous atmosphere.

The easiest way to access to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is to go to Kamakura Station. If you want to go to Kamakura from Tokyo, take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is just a 15 minute walk away from Kamakura Station, so it’s a perfect day trip destination in Kamakura.


Hokokuji Temple

Kamakura Day Trip

Hokokuji Temple is famous for its garden with over 2,000 dark green bamboo stalks. Since there are many bamboos in the garden, Hokokuji is also known as Bamboo Temple. A few narrow paths allow you to go to a small Japanese style cafe where you can enjoy the fresh matcha tea and the view of bamboo. It is a perfect day trip destination to relax and refresh yourself in such a zen atmosphere in Kamakura. The entrance fee to Hokokuji is 300 yen, and matcha tea is 600 yen each. It’s open from 9am to 4pm everyday except Dec 29th – Jan 3rd.


Meigetsu-in

Kamakura Day Trip
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Kamakura Day Trip
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Meigetsu-in was founded over 850 years ago. Another name of Meigetsu-in is “Hydrangea Temple” since abundant hydrangeas start blooming in the temple’s garden during June. The best time to visit Meigetsu-in is during June or the autumn, when you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the temple.

I also recommend you visit the Main Hall to see a circular window, which frames the scenery of the beautiful garden. The entrance fee to Meigetsu-in is normally 300 yen, but the price goes up to 500 yen during June (Hydrangeas season). It’s open from 9am to 4pm.

The best way to visit Meigetsu-in is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station. Once you are at Kita-Kamakura Station, walk about 10 minutes following the signs.


Komachi-dori Street

Kamakura Day Trip
Kamakura Day Trip

Komachi-dori is just a one minute walk away from Kamakura Station. Komachi dori is famous for a major shopping street in Kamakura, filled with lots of restaurants and souvenir shops. Since there are lots of great snacks and sweets vendors on the street, one of the main activities at Komachi-dori is to walk around with food in hand! They offer sweets such as crepes, ice cream, rice crackers, takoyaki, etc.

If you are a Ghibli fan, Komachi-dori is also popular for the Ghibli store. You will be welcomed by Totoro at the entrance. At the end of the street, it will lead you to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, so it is a perfect day trip spot to stroll around after visiting the shrine in Kamakura!


Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in

Kamakura day trip
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A historical Great Buddha is located in Kōtoku-in. The buddha is 11.4 meters high and recognized as the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. You will be amazed by the size, but there is one more surprise! There is a staircase inside the Budda, which takes visitors up to shoulder height.

Kōtoku-in Temple is open from 8am to 5:30pm during April and September. Between October and March, it closes at 5pm. The entrance fee is 200 yen, but it costs additional 20 yen to enter the statue.

The easiest way to go to Kōtoku-in is to take a train “Enoden railway” from Kamakura Station and get off at Hase Station. Once you are at Hase Station, Great Buddha is just 5-10 minute walk away!


Kenchō-ji

Kamakura Day Trip
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Kenchō-ji is one of the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura. The main attraction of the temple is its beautiful garden, which was designed by Zen master Muso Kokushi. Another attraction are the breathtaking views from the top of the hills. You will follow the path for about 20 minutes, and there is an observation deck where you can see Mount Fuji on a clear day. The admission is 300 yen and its open between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

The easiest way to go to Kenchō-ji is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station, which is one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo. From Kita-Kamakura Station, Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk away. Kita-Kamakura area is a perfect day trip destination from Kamakura Station.


Engaku-ji

Kamakura day trip
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Engaku-ji is the 2nd most important temple in Kamakura. There are 18 temples on the site, and one of the most popular ones is “Sanmon”, the two-storied main gate.

When you are in Engaku-ji, you should definitely visit the teahouse where you can enjoy a cup of matcha tea, sweet sake, and Japanese sweets in a beautiful atmosphere. Engaku-ji is also famous for gorgeous autumn colors. Since the temple entrance is surrounded by many maple trees, it is a perfect spot for photographers. The entrance fee is 300 yen, and it is open from 8am to 5pm.

The easiest way to go to Engaku-ji is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station. Engaku-ji is located just 5 minute away by walk.


Ōfuna Kannon Temple

Kamakura Day Trip
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Ofuna Kannon Temple was founded in 1960. When you go into the the temple, you will encounter a gigantic robed woman in white. The outstanding feature of the temple is the 25 meters gigantic statue of the bodhisattva. Japanese people believe the bodhisattva prevent natural disasters, cure the sick, and assist women in childbirth. A lot of Japanese people come to pray to her when they feel sick, lonely, or homesick.

The easiest way to go to Ōfuna Kannon Temple is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Ōfuna Station. The entrance fee is 300 yen.


Hasedera

Kamakura day trip
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Kamakura day trip
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Hasedera is built along the slope of a wooded hill. You will be welcomed by a pretty garden with ponds. One of the highlights of Hasedera is an amazing view from the slope on a terrace. Visitors can see breathtaking views of the coastal city of Kamakrua.

Hasedera is also famous for housing a massive wooden statue of Kannon and hundreds of small Jizō statues. It is estimated that some 50,000 Jizō statues have been placed at Hasedera since World War II. Hasedera is open from 8am to 5pm. The entrance fee is 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for children (Age 6 – 11).

The easiest way to go to Hasedera is to take “Enoden” at Kamakura Station and get off at Hase Station. Hasedera is located 5 minute walk away from Hase Station, so it’s another great day trip destination in Kamakura.


Jufuku-ji

Kamakura day trip
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Kamakura day trip
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Although Jufuku-ji is not open to the public, the pathway that leads towards the temple is worth seeing it. If you like photographies, it’s an amazing spot to take historical sight of Japan. After reaching the gate, you get to see a beautiful view of the temple itself. It is a perfect spot to just walk around and relax listening to the sounds of nature.

The easiest way to access to Jufuku-ji is to walk north of Kamakura Station. It is about a 10 minute walk from Kamakura Station.


How to go to kamakura

I am listing ways to access to Kamakura from both Tokyo and Osaka. It is a bit complicated to go to Kamakura from Osaka, so I recommend visiting Kamakura when you are in Tokyo.

From Tokyo

The easiest way to access to Kamakura is to take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way.

Kamakura is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo!

From Osaka

You have to change trains 3 times in order to access Kamakura from Osaka. First, you will take a bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Shin-Yokohama. Then you will take Yokohama City Subway Blue Line to go to Yokohama Station. Once you are at Yokohama Station take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kamakura Station. It is a bit complicated to go to Kamakura from Osaka, so I recommend visiting Kamakura when you are in Tokyo.


Where to eat in Kamakura

There are many great restaurants and stylish cafes in Kamakura. Here are some of the most popular restaurants and cafes in Kamakura!

Pacific Ocean Sea Table

Kamakura Day Trip
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It is a Hawaiian style restaurant with an amazing ocean view. It is a perfect spot to have breakfast or lunch looking over the beautiful blue ocean. The atmosphere is definitely the highlight of the restaurant, but their food is also incredible! One of the menus items you can’t miss is the BBQ beef with rice. Since it gets very crowded at lunch time I recommend you try their breakfast, especially if you want to enjoy an outside seat.

Kaikoan at Hasedera

Kamakura day trip
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Kamakura day trip
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Kaikoan is located in Hasedera Temple, and it is famous for the vegetarian menus. The highlight of Kaikoan is its beautiful interior with a scenic view of the ocean and the city of Kamakura. There are English menus so you will feel comfortable even if you don’t speak Japanese.

Café Sakanoshita

Kamakura day trip
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Café Sakanoshita is famous for amazing selections of pancakes. Their pancakes are fluffy and delicious, and the atmosphere is super comfortable! I recommend you a terrace seat, especially if it’s nice outside. The pancake price is usually 1300 – 1500 yen including a drink. One of my favorite pancakes is their matcha pancake!


Special Events in Kamakura

There are several fun festivals you cannot miss! Although my personal recommendation is Bonbori matsuri, I listed top 3 events in Kamakura.


Bonbori matsuri

Kamakura day trip
Kamakura day trip

Bonbori Matsuri is popular for its lantern festival at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. In early August, bonbori lanterns are lit in the sacred shrine every year. There are approximately 400 lanterns with hand-drawn pictures, calligraphy, and poems with a delicate candle during the festival. Those lanterns are lined up beautifully along the raised cherry tree pathway. The candle lights shining on the stone paths in the night is such a romantic scene of summer in Japan.

Firework Festival

Kamakura day trip
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There is Kamakura Firework festival in summer every year. The show lasts for about an hour and sets off 4,000 fireworks in total. The firework festival occurs at Yuigahama beach, and it is such an attractive spot to watch fireworks while relaxing at the beach. 

Reitaisai

Kamakura day trip
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Reitaisai is held every September. The highlight is to witness the rare art of yabusame and horseback archery. It is also a great occasion to try a variety of Japanese street food while watching traditional Japanese performances. 


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15 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo in Spring

15 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo in Spring

This article introduces you to the 15 BEST day trips from Tokyo.

Are you planning to visit Tokyo this spring? If so, you are at the perfect place! Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities to explore, but people tend to forget about Tokyo’s many different neighborhoods… There are actually lots of cultural and historical gems to explore around Tokyo!

As I am Japanese, I know a lot of incredible sights, especially for spring! Since Tokyo is well organized for transportation, there are numerous perfect day trip destinations around the area. Here are the BEST day trips from Tokyo, which are all less than 2 hours away! I will introduce you to what to see and how to get to each destination. 


Hitachi Seaside Park

Day trips from Tokyo
Day trips from Tokyo

Hitachi Seaside Park probably offers the best flower fields in Japan, and it is only one hour northeast of Tokyo by train. Although there are many different kinds of flowers and grasses throughout the four seasons, the most popular ones are nemophila and kochia. If you want to see the field of nemophila (the beautiful blue flowers on the photo), you should visit between the middle of April and the beginning of May.

To access to Hitachi Seaside Park, I recommend you take a train from Tokyo. From any central Tokyo station (Tokyo, Shinagawa, or Ueno Station), take JR Joban line to Katsuta Station. It takes about 85 minutes by an express train, and the price will be 3,800 yen. If you are not in a hurry, take a local train, which takes 2 hours and costs 2,270 yen. Once you are at Katsua station, take a local bus (Ibaraki Kotsu Bus) at East gate No. 2. It usually takes 15 minutes – 20 minutes and the price will be 400 yen per person.


Ashikaga Flower Park

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Ashikaga Flower Park is located 1.5 to 2 hours away from Tokyo, and it is famous for its beautiful wisteria. There are more than 350 wisterias during the spring, and the most famous displays are the 80m wisteria tunnels, which visitors can walk through the colorful flowers. The best time to see wisterias is between the mid-April and the mid-May.

The easiest way to access Ashikaga Flower Park from Tokyo is to take a bullet train. First you will take a Tohoku bullet train and get off at Koyama Station (the 2nd station). Once you are at Koyama Station, you will take JR Ryomo Line to get off at Ashikaga Flower Park (the 6th station). The price is 3,990 yen per way, and it will take 1 hour 40 minutes.


Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Maybe you have never heard of shibazakura, but it’s definitely worth seeing it especially if you are in Japan in spring! Fuji Shibazakura Festival is famous for approximately 800,000 stalks of shibazakura (Pink Moss) with Mount Fuji in the backdrop. Shibazakura makes the whole field such a delightful pink color, and the color contrast of Mount Fuji is just breathtaking. The best season to visit Fuji Shibazakura Festival is always between mid-April and late-May. For more, check out here.

If you decide to visit there, I recommend you also check out its food fiesta called Mt Fuji Gourmet! They sell different kinds of local food, such as yakisoba, udon, croquettes, dumplings, tempura, pork buns, etc. They also sell different kinds of traditional sweets, so you can’t miss it!

Fuji Shibazakura Fest is held at Fuji Motosuko Resort, which is just an easy day trip from Tokyo. The easiest way to visit is to take a special highway bus called “Chuo Highway Bus” at Shinjuku Station. It will take you directly from Shinjuku to Shibazakura Fest and it’s going to take 1 hour and 50 minutes to get there!


Hakone

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Hakone is famous for its Onsen and amazing views of Mount Fuji, and it is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese people who are looking for a break from the urban city. Plus, it is only an hour hour away from Tokyo so it is a perfect destination for a day trip. Other than hot springs, Hakone offers great spots to visit, such as Hakone Shrine and Odakyu Yamano Hotel.

Hakone Shrine is located at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi. Hakone shrine is especially famous for its huge torii gates, standing peacefully in the lake.

Odakyu Yamano Hotel is just 10 minutes walk from Hakone Shrine. It is famous for 30 varieties of azaleas in the garden, and you can access the garden even if you don’t stay at the hotel. The best month to see azaleas is May.

The easiest way to get to Hakone is to take an express train called “Romancecar” from Shinjuku. The price is 2,080 yen (1,190 yen fare plus an 890-yen limited express fare).


Kamakura

Kamakura is the most popular day trip destination from Tokyo! It is located in the southern part of Kanagawa prefecture, just an hour away from Tokyo. If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto, Kamakura is a great place to feel the ancient part of Japan. There are many amazing spots to explore in Kamakura, but some of the most famous spots you can’t miss are Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hokokuji Temple, and Giant Buddha at Kōtoku-in.

Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most historical and important shrine in Kamakura. It was founded over 800 years ago. If you are in Kamakura, it’s a must!

Hokokuji Temple is also a great place to visit. Hokokuji Temple is known for its garden with over 2,000 dark green bamboo stalks. There is also a small Japanese style cafe inside the garden where you can enjoy the fresh matcha tea and the view of bamboo.

A historical Giant Buddha is located in Kōtoku-in. The buddha is 11.4 meters high and recognized as the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

The easiest way to access to Kamakura is to Take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way.


Enoshima

Day Trips from Tokyo
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If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo the tropical island, Enoshima, is the place to be! It is not the most beautiful beach in Japan, but it has some of the closest beaches to Tokyo. Enosima is located just outside of Kamakura, and it only takes an hour to get there! Enoshima also offers other sights, such as Enoshima Shrine, Enoshima Iwaya Cave, and many restaurants, so it is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo.

The easiest and cheapest way to go to Enoshima is to get an “Enoshima・Kamakura Free Pass”. You will take JR Odakyu Line at Shinjuku Station and get off at Fujisawa Station. Once you are at Fujisawa Station, take another train called “Enoden” and get off at Enoshima. You can access to Kamakura from Enoshima by Enoden. Since you can ride “Enoden” multiple times with the free pass, I recommend you visit both Kamakura and Enoshima in one day!


Yokohama

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo

Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan by population and one of the most popular cities in Japan. It is just less than half an hour south of Tokyo by train. It’s definitely a great day trip destination from Tokyo. Some of the attractions you can’t miss are Minato Mirai, Chinatown, Sankeien Garden, and Ramen Museum.

Minato Mirai is a perfect spot for shopping, but there are also many other things to do, such as an amusement park, museums, parks, and lots of restaurants. The city becomes romantic during the evening with beautiful illuminations as well.

Chinatown is a great spot to eat! Yeah I know there are many Chinatowns around the world, but Yokohama Chinatown is the best and the biggest I’ve ever visited! It is a worth visiting if you are in Yokohama.

To go to Yokohama from Tokyo, take JR Tokaido Main Line Bound for Odawara. It takes just 25 minutes and the price is 470 yen per way.


Chureito-Pagoda

Day Trips from Tokyo

I am sure you have seen an image of the beautiful and iconic view of Mount Fuji with a bright red pagoda. If you are not familiar, the place is called Chureito Pagoda. It is arguably one of the most iconic views of Japan and the best location for capturing Mount Fuji. The spot is particularly popular during cherry blossoms season when there are lots of trees in full bloom around the Pagoda. I visited Chreito Pagoda in January, but the view was still spectacular even despite the winter weather.

The best way to go to Chureito-Pagoda from Tokyo is to take a train. Take JR Chuo Line at Shinjuku Station and get off at Ōtsuki Station. Once you are at Ōtsuki Station, take another train called “Fuji Kyuko Line” and get off at Shimoyoshida Station. Chureito Pagoda is just 30 minute walk from Shimoyoshida Station. From Shinjuku, it will take about 2 hours to get to Chureito Pagoda, and the Price will be 2,277 yen.


Izu

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Izu is close to my hometown and one of my favorite places in Japan! The reason why I love Izu is because it offers everything we need! Izu has beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountains, relaxing hot springs, and amazing bamboo forests. It is surprisingly less known, but Izu has many beautiful beaches where you can go snorkeling and diving as the water is very clear and rich in marine life. One of the most unique and famous beaches in Izu is Dogashima.

It is just 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. The easiest way to go to Izu is to take a special train called “Odoriko”. You can purchase the ticket at the ticket counter at Tokyo Station. The price is 4,190 yen – 6,260 yen per way.


Nikko

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Nikko is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, about 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. It is a popular day trip destination from Tokyo for all Japanese and international tourists. Nikko is famous for its temples and shrines, and they are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nikko is also a perfect spot for hiking as Nikko National Park is surrounded by sacred mountains, such as Mt. Nantai, Mt. Nyoho, and Mt. Taro. One of the most impressive and famous architectures in Nikko is the Toshogu Shrine. Don’t miss it if you are there!

The easiest and cheaper way to go to Nikko is to take “The Tobu Limited Express Spacial Kegon” from Asakusa. You can directly go to Nikko from Asakusa, and the price is 2,700 yen per way. You can also go directly from Shinjuku, but the price is a lot more expensive than going from Asakusa.


Atami

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Located just 50 minutes away from Tokyo by bullet train, Atami is one of Japan’s favorite resort areas. Although Atami is famous for its many  hot springs and ryokan, there are other beautiful places to see, such as Atami Umezono Plum Park, Atami Castle, MOA Museum of Art, and Kinomiya Shrine. Due to being a fishing town, Atami also offers many famous seafood restaurants! It is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo.

The easiest and quickest way to access to Atami from Tokyo is taking a bullet train. It just takes 50 minutes and the price is 3,670 yen per way.


Sumatakyo

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Sumatakyo is located in Shiozuoka’s Southern Alps mountain range and is famous for its beautiful turquoise blue lake. Although it is famous for the beautiful crystal water, the best part of visiting Sumatakyo is how you travel there. You will take a special local train, and the views from the train are just breathtaking. Also, Sumatakyo offers plenty ryokan with natural hot spring, so it is a perfect spot to unwind and get away from an urban city!

It is a bit complicated to go to Sumatakyo from Tokyo, and it takes 4 hours in total. First you will go to Shizuoka Station by Bullet Train. Once you are at Shizuoka Station, you will take JR Tokaido Line to go to Kanaya Station. After Kanaya Station, take “Ooigawa Honsen” to go to Senzu Station. At Senzu Station you will take a local bus towards “Sumatakyo Onsen”. I recommend you leave Tokyo very early in the morning if you want to visit Sumatakyo 🙂


Kawagoe

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Kawagoe is located in Saitama Prefecture, just about 30 minutes by train from central Tokyo. It is a perfect day trip destination. Kawagoe is famous for its old town with traditional warehouses lined up. You can stroll through the town in a kimono, and it makes you feel like you’ve been back in time to an ancient period. In Kawagoe, you can experience the historical part of Japan and learn more about Japanese culture and historical heritage. There are also many authentic Japanese restaurants if you are hungry!

The easiest way to go to Kawagoe is to take Tobu Tojo Line at Ikebukuro Station. It will take 31 minutes by an express train, and the price is 450 yen. You can also access to Kawagoe from Narita Airport by a direct bus. It takes about 2 hours and the price is 3,200 yen per person. The bus leaves 8 times a day.


Disneyland / Disney Sea

Day Trips from Tokyo

If you are a Disney fan, you must visit Tokyo Disney Resort!! The Tokyo Disney Resort is a theme park located in Urayasu, Chiba, less than 30 minutes away from Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland was built in 1983, while Disney Sea was established in 2001. If you don’t have time to visit both theme parks, I would definitely recommend you visit Tokyo Disney Sea! A lot of Disney fans say Tokyo Disney Sea is the best Disney park in the world, and I think that is true. The atmosphere is very unique and romantic, and there are many good restaurants in Disney Sea as well. In my opinion, Disneyland is more for family and Disney Sea is more for couples and friends.

The easiest way to go to Tokyo Disney Resort is to take JR Keiyo Line at Tokyo Station and get off at Maihama Station. It takes 16 minutes and the price is 220 yen. Once you are at Maihama, take Disney Resort Gateway, and it will take you to Disney Resort!


Ghibli Museum

Day Trips from Tokyo
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The Ghibli Museum is a museum of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. It is located in Mitaka, a western city of Tokyo. The museum features different kinds of exhibits, including a technology museum, fine arts museum, and children’s museum, so you will definitely enjoy exploring whether you’re a fan of Ghibli or not. One of the most famous must-see items is a life-sized robot from “Castle in the Sky” in the rooftop garden. Other than exhibits, Ghibli Museum also offers a cafe, bookstore, and a theater for exclusive short films by Studio Ghibli!

The easiest way to go to Ghibli Museum is to take JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station. You will get off at Mitaka Station. Once you are at Mitaka Station, exit from Mitaka South Exit and walk about 15 minutes.

Note: You must buy tickets beforehand since NO tickets are sold at the Museum. For more, check out here.


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Hitachi Seaside Park Japan: Best Flower Field in Spring

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan: Best Flower Field in Spring

Hitachi Seaside Park probably offers the best flower fields in Japan! Spring is a great season to visit Japan and see all the beautiful flowers. Even if you miss seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan, don’t worry! Japan has many more amazing flowers, and you will find them in Hitachi Seaside Park.

Hitachi Seaside Park is located in Ibaraki Prefecture, one hour northeast of Tokyo. The park is well known for baby blue eyes ( blue nemophila), and they cover the entire hillside. When I visited, I felt like I was walking in the beautiful blue sky. Through this article, you will learn what to see, when to go, and how to access the park. Plus, I will give you information about the park and its surrounding neighborhood to explore.


What to see at Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan

Hitachi Seaside Park is a spacious park with a total space of 350 hectares, and offers a variety of seasonal flowers. Although there are many different kinds of flowers and grasses throughout the four seasons, the most popular ones are nemophila and kochia. Nemophila covers the whole field with blue colors, while kochia has beautiful red colors. You have probably seen the photos over Instagram. They are both very photogenic, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

Hitachi Seaside Park also offers a lot of other attractions, including an amusement park with over 25 rides, cycling, a forest area, an athletics field, BBQ area, and many cafes and restaurants. Please note that most of the rides and activities require extra fees.


When to Go Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan

The best seasons to visit Hitachi Seaside Park are spring and fall. If you want to see the field of nemophila, you should visit between the middle of April and the beginning of May. For those who want to see the red kochia, the best months are from early to mid October. Although kochia is available to see from the beginning of July, the color slowly turns red as the weather gets cooler, so the later in the season you go the better. For more check out here. Since the park tends to be extremely crowded, especially for the nemophila and kochia season, I recommend you avoid weekends!


How to Access Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan

Hitachi Seaside Park is located in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, which is about 130 km away from Tokyo. It is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo, so I highly recommend visiting if you want to explore the neighborhood northeast of Tokyo! There are 2 ways to visit Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo, and I will navigate for you below.

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan


By train

You need to go to Katsuta station first.

From any central Tokyo station (Tokyo, Shinagawa, or Ueno Station), take JR Joban line to Katsuta Station. It takes about 85 minutes by an express train, and the price will be 3,800 yen. If you are not in a hurry, take a local train, which takes 2 hours and costs 2,270 yen.

Once you are at Katsua station, take a local bus (Ibaraki Kotsu Bus) at East gate No. 2. It usually takes 15 minutes – 20 minutes and the price will be 400 yen per person.

By highway bus

Take the Ibaraki Kotsu Bus “Katsuta・Tokai Line” at Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit. It will take 2 hours and cost 2,240 yen (NOT covered by the Japan Rail Pass).


Hours & Fees at Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park Japan


Hours

  • 9:30 – 17:00 (March 1st to July 20th, September 1st to October 31st)
  • 9:30 – 18:00 (July 21st to August 31st)
  • 9:30 – 16:30 (November 1st to February 28th)


Fees

  • 450 yen for Adults (Over 16 years old)
  • 210 yen for Seniors (Over 65 years old)
  • Children are FREE (15 years old and under)


Neighborhood of Hitachi Park Japan

There are so many beautiful spots to see in Ibaraki Prefecture. If you have time, I strongly recommend you stay there for a couple of days to explore more of the sights. Here are some of the most popular spots, just outside of Hitachi Seaside Park.

Fukuroda Falls

Fukuroda Falls, Ibaraki

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This waterfall is ranked as the 3rd most beautiful waterfall in Japan. The waterfall is beautiful every season, but the most popular season is autumn since the colors of the surrounding leaves become gorgeous. Just note that the waterfall may freeze during winter.


Kairakuen

Kairakuen is famous for its more than 3,000 plum trees. Although Kairakuen is most attractive during the plum blossom season, there is also a beautiful bamboo grove, cedar woods, and traditional Japanese style buildings. It is recommended you visit between late February and March to see the plum trees flowering, but you can enjoy exploring throughout the year. The entrance is free, too!


Ushiku Buddha

Ushiku Buddha

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Ushiku Buddha is a huge statue, located in Ushiku, Ibaraki. According to Wikipedia, it is actually “one of the top five tallest statues in the world”. And it was actually recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest Buddhist statue in the world!!! Ushiku buddha is 120m tall, which equals a 38 story building. Visitors can take a lift to the observation deck. When the sky is clear you can see views as far as the Tokyo Skytree.


Mount Tsukuba

Mount Tsukuba is an 877 meter mountain. The beauty of the mountain is widely recognized as one of Japan’s most beautiful mountains, and it is particularly well known for its double peaks. During spring, there are different kinds of plum trees blooming over the mountains, and you will be welcomed by the gorgeous view at the top of the mountain. The trail will usually take between 2 – 3 hours to climb. If you have less time, take a cable car which only takes about 15 minutes to reach the top!


Oarai Isosaki Shrine

Oarai Isosaki Shrine

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Oarai Isosaki Shrine is famous for its torii gate on a rock by the ocean. Although the shrine has three torii gates in total, the most famous one by far is “Kamiiso-no-Torii”. The torii gate faces the Pacific Ocean , and it makes such a breathtaking view. The sound of waves crashing on the rocks also gives you a mysterious yet spiritual atmosphere. The best time to visit the shrine is sunrise! Since it faces east the torii provides a great spot to watch the sunrise. As the sun appears on the horizon, the torii starts glowing red.


I hope this was helpful to plan your trip to Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I am sure you will feel welcomed by lots of gorgeous flowers! Ibaraki also has many beautiful sights, so make sure to take time to explore 🙂


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Looking for Japan's best flower fields? Hitachi Seaside Park offers gorgeous flowers you can't miss! Here is everything you need to know!!

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon: 7 Day Ultimate Guide

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon: 7 Day Ultimate Guide

Utah National Parks are my favorite parks in the United States. If you are an adventurer like me, you definitely have heard of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. They have been on your bucket list for years, but managing trip is overwhelming… am I right? I was the same, and I didn’t know what to expect before exploring both national parks.

So I decided to put this 7 day plan together for adventurers who are dying to visit Zion and Bryce. This itinerary will help you to plan a 7 day trip from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon. You will find out which trails to hike, how to access them, and where to stay!

If you want to check out more about Zion National Park, read the following article!


Day 1 at Zion National Park


Activity: Going to Zion from Las Vegas Airport
Stay: Watchman Campground

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Baby deer roaming around our campsite

We flew into Las Vegas Airport to begin the adventure! We rented a car for 7 days, and it cost us about $155. Zion National Park is located in southern Utah, and it took us about 3 hours from the Las Vegas Airport to drive to Zion.

There are many hotels and lodges available around Zion National Park, but we decided to stay at Watchman Campground. Watchman Campground is located a quarter mile from the South Entrance. There are 176 regular sites, including electric campsites ($30 per night) and tent only campsites ($20 per night). Since the campground becomes full every night during the reservation season, reservations are strongly recommended. For more, check out here.


Day 2 at Zion National Park


Trails: Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools Trail, Angels Landing
Total Miles: 7.3 miles of hike
Place to Stay: Watchman Campground

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Photos from Angels Landing Trail

Waking up early and jumping on the free park shuttle! To access to Weeping Rock, you will get off at the 7th stop. Weeping Rock is an easy 30 minute hike, but the trail will take you to a large overhang of rock with water sprinkling from above.

Weeping Rock

・Distance: 0.5 mile round trip
・Duration: 30 minutes
・Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock (7th stop)

After Weeping Rock, let’s hike another easy trail called Emerald Pools. This hike is family friendly and a perfect leisurely, non-strenuous hike. Due to its beauty, location, and short length, the trail tends to be crowded, but it’s worth visiting if you are in Zion.

Emerald Pools

・Distance: 1.4 miles to Upper Emerald Pools
・Duration: 1 – 3 hours
・Shuttle Stop: Zion Lodge (5th Stop)

These 2 trails are perfect for warming up your body, so now you should be ready to conquer Angels Landing! Angels Landing is the scariest yet most exciting trail in Zion National Park. This unforgettable adventure hike should be on everyone’s bucket list. The reward of a 360-degree view of Zion Canyon’s rock layers will take your breath away. Your legs will be burning and shaking from the hike and the excitement… but the view will be unforgettable! It is a strenuous and dangerous hike, so you have to be extremely mindful to hike Angels Landing.

Angels Landing

・Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
・Duration: 3 – 5 hours
・Shuttle Stop: The Grotto (6th stop)


Day 3 at Zion National Park


Trails: Hidden Canyon, Observation Point
Total Miles: Approximately 10 miles of hike
Place to Stay: Watchman Campground

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Hidden Canyon

You will walk a lot today! Starting from Hidden Canyon, one of my favorite trails in Zion. Jump on the free park shuttle and get off at the 7th stop. You will hike up the same trail to Observation Point, but then turn right and go 0.7 mile on Hidden Canyon Trail. You will climb up the sheer vertical cliff with a great view. This hike does not have a breathtaking view at the end like Observation Point does, however the trail itself is so much fun! Footing can be a bit difficult at times, but chains help you keep your balance.

Hidden Canyon

・Distance: 3 miles round trip
・Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
・Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock (7th stop)

Go back to the junction for Hidden Canyon, and now you are ready to hike Observation Point. Observation Point might be the toughest yet most rewarding hike in Zion National Park. People tend to skip Observation Point due to Zion’s other popular trails such as the Narrows and Angels Landing. However, Observation Point gives you the most epic view of Zion National Park. Since Observation Point is over 700 feet higher than Angels Landing, you are actually looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint.

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Observation Point

Observation Point

・Distance: 8 miles round trip
・Duration: 5 hours
・Shuttle: Weeping Rock (7th stop)


Day 4 at Zion National Park


Trails: Taylor Creek Trail
Total Miles: 5 miles of hike
Place to Stay: Watchman Campground

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon

Taylor Creek Trail is located in the Kolob Canyons. You can access the trail from Kolob Canyons Road, which begins at I-15 south of Cedar City. Taylor Creek Trail is reasonably easy, and it is also a perfect day hike. The main attraction of this trail is to see the Double Arch Alcove at the end of the trail. When we hiked we didn’t really encounter anyone on the trail. It is a quiet and beautiful trail.

Taylor Creek Trail

・Duration: 4 hours
・Trailhead: 2 miles east of Kolob Canyons Visitor Center


Day 5 at Zion National Park


Trails: The Narrows
Total Miles: 8 miles of hike
Place to Stay: Watchman Campground

The Narrows is probably my favorite trail in Zion National Park. I’ve hiked around famous national parks in the US, but the Narrows was by far the most breathtaking hike I’ve ever experienced. In fact, it is known as one of the best slot canyon hikes in the world. What’s so unique about the Narrows is that you will basically hike through the Virgin River, which means you have to wade / swim to proceed. You will be surrounded by the towering walls of the Zion canyon and beautiful flowing water. Seeing the sunlight come through the dark corners of the narrow canyon is also such a magical experience. For more info about the Narrows, check this out!

The Narrows

・Duration: 6 hours
・Shuttle Stop: Temple of Sinawava (9th Stop)


Day 6 at Bryce Canyon


Activity: Heading to Bryce Canyon from Zion National Park
Trail: Queens Garden Trail, Navajo Loop Trail
Total Miles: About 3 miles of hike
Place to Stay: Sunset Campground Group Site

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Queens Garden Trail


We left Zion National Park at 8am. It took us about 1.5 hours to arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Since we didn’t make any reservations for the place to stay, finding our campsite was our first thing to do. We ended up staying at Sunset Campground, but there were only a few spots left. Reservations at least 2 days in advance are strongly recommended! There are 2 campgrounds, North Campground and Sunset Campground, but both usually fill by 1 or 2 pm of the day. Tent site is $20 per night, and RV site is $30 per night. For more, check out here.

So now you are ready to hike Bryce Canyon! If you are in Bryce Canyon, you have to hike the two most popular trails of the park, which are Queens Garden Trail and Navajo Loop Trail. Queens Garden is a favorite of many people since it gives you such a breathtaking view of the park, but the hike itself is flat and easy. At the end of the trail, you will encounter a hoodoo, resembles a portly Queen Victoria. Walking through the arches of the rocks is also a magical experience of the trail!

Queens Garden Trail

・Distance: 1.8 miles round trip
・Duration: 1.5 hours
・Shuttle Stop: Sunrise Point

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon

After hiking about 1.6 miles, you will encounter junctions to hike Navajo Loop Trail. Navajo Loop Trail starts and ends at Sunset Point. As you hike down the Navajo Loop, you have a chance to get close and personal with the hoodoos. Although one of the highlights of Navajo Loop Trail is “Wall Street”, it is often closed due to freezing overnight temperatures.

Navajo Loop Trail

・Distance: 1.3 miles round trip
・Duration: 1.5 hours
・Shuttle Stop: Sunset Point


Day 7 at Bryce Canyon


Activity: Sunrise Point, Going home

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon
Photos from Sunrise Point at Bryce Canyon

Wake up early and go to Sunrise Point!! Instead of using a shuttle, you can park your car at the parking spot. Panoramas from the viewpoint take in a large area of Bryce Amphitheater and beyond. It is a perfect spot to capture breathtaking views! Sunset point tends to be more crowded than Sunrise point, so I recommend you wake up early and capture the view!


Frequent Questions

How far from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon?

It is not far from Zion to Bryce Canyon. It takes about 2 hours to get there! If you have time, I recommend you take some time to explore around the area since there is so much to see. There’s a canyon on the way called Red Canyon, and it is absolutely gorgeous!


What is better Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon?

Most definitely Zion National Park because there are more amazing trails to hike! If you are an adventurer like me, you will definitely enjoy hiking Zion more than Bryce. If you are not a hiker but want to take some amazing photos, then Bryce Canyon is for you!! The trails in Bryce Canyon tend to be a lot easier than Zion, and there are many view points which you can access from your car.


Where to stay for Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon?

Zion National Park

Since Zion is a popular park, reservations are highly recommended!

$50 – $100


$100 – $150


Bryce Canyon National Park

$50 – $100


$100 – $150


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10 Best Hikes in Zion National Park

10 Best Hikes in Zion National Park

This article will introduce you 10 BEST hikes in Zion National Park.

Zion National Park is by far our favorite place to hike in the United States. There are about 34 trails in Zion National Park ranging from family friendly to backpacking adventures. You will have many hikes to choose from, so I divided them into 3 groups: Must-Do Hikes, Adventurous Hikes, and Family Friendly Hikes.

Here are my recommendations for the 10 best hikes you can do in Zion National Park. We stayed for 4 nights in Zion, and we managed to hike all major trails. If you are planning to stay shorter periods, don’t miss out the Must-Do Hikes!


3 Must-do hikes

If you want to see the best of Zion, check out these 3 trails! These trails are my favorites, and you don’t need any permits to hike! All you have to do is hop off the shuttle bus to spend a few moments trying to absorb the breathtaking sights!

Angels Landing


・Distance: 5.4 miles round trip
・Duration: 3 – 5 hours
・Elevation: 1,488 feet
・Effort: Strenuous
・Shuttle Stop: The Grotto

Angels Landing Hike
Angels Landing Hike

Angels Landing is the scariest yet most exciting trail in Zion National Park. This unforgettable adventure hike should be on everyone’s bucket list. The reward of a 360-degree view of Zion Canyon’s rock layers will take your breath away. Your legs will be burning and shaking from the hike and the excitement… but the view will be unforgettable! It is a strenuous and dangerous hike, so you have to be extremely mindful to hike Angels Landing. If you have a fear of heights, you should not hike Angels Landing. Also, this hike is not recommended for young children. For more, click here.

Note:
Energetic hikers can continue to West Rim Trail from Scout Lookout of Angels Landing. Be prepared for a long day hike though. This strenuous 13 miles round trip hike from Grotto Picnic Area includes 3,070 feet of elevation gain. Although it’s a strenuous and long trail, this hike rewards your efforts.


The Narrows


・Distance: 8 miles round trip
・Duration: 6 hours
・Elevation change: 200 feet
・Effort: Strenuous
・Shuttle Stop: Temple of Sinawava

The Narrows is probably my favorite trail in Zion National Park. I’ve hiked around famous national parks in the US, but the Narrows was by far the most breathtaking hike I’ve ever experienced. In fact, it is known as one of the best slot canyon hikes in the world. What’s so unique about the Narrows is that you will basically hike through the Virgin River, which means you have to wade / swim to proceed. You will be surrounded by the towering walls of the Zion canyon and beautiful flowing water. Seeing the sunlight come through the dark corners of the narrow canyon is such a magical experience. For more info about the Narrows, check this out!


Observation Point


・Distance: 8 miles round trip
・Duration: 5 hours
・Elevation change: 2,148 feet
・Effort: Strenuous
・Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock

Best Hikes in Zion
Best Hikes in Zion

Observation Point might be the toughest yet most rewarding hike in Zion National Park. People tend to skip Observation Point due to Zion’s other popular trails such as the Narrows and Angels Landing. However, Observation Point gives you the most epic view of Zion National Park. Since Observation Point is over 700 feet higher than Angels Landing, you are actually looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint. Your whole body will be exhausted after this hike, but the view will be totally worth it. It is a perfect trail for those who want a challenging day hike with less crowds. For more, read the article here .


2 Adventurous Hikes

If you want an adventurous hike, check out these two! Although Hidden Canyon doesn’t require a permit, The Subway does. Both are strenuous hikes, but the experience is worth it!!

Hidden Canyon Trail


・Distance: 3 miles round trip
・Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
・Elevation: 850 feet
・Effort: Strenuous
・Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock

Best Hikes in Zion

Hidden Canyon is such a gem at Zion National Park. You will hike up the same trail to Observation Point, but then turn right and go 0.7 mile on Hidden Canyon Trail. You will climb up the sheer vertical cliff with a great view. This hike does not have a breathtaking view at the end like Observation Point does, however the trail itself is so much fun! Footing can be a bit difficult at times, but chains help you keep your balance. This is an exhilarating hike, and it gets fewer visitors compared to other popular trails in Zion.


The Subway


・Distance: 9 miles round trip
・Duration: 7 hours
・Elevation: 2,000 feet
・Effort: Strenuous
・Trailhead: Left Fork or Wildcat Canyon

Best Hikes in Zion

Photo Credit

The Subway is a technical trail, which requires swimming, route-finding, stream crossings, and some rope work. This trail is obviously not for everyone, but it is a perfect trail if you are looking for an adventure. The Subway has some of the most beautiful rock formations of the slot section, and the view is extremely unique. Although the trail is a day-use-only, a permit is required to hike the Subway. You can apply for the lotteries 3 months before the hiking dates. Each lottery costs $5. For more, check out here .


5 Family Friendly Hikes

If you are looking for leisurely non-strenuous hikes, these trails are perfect for you! They are family friendly, and should be manageable for any age and physical ability!

Emerald Pools Trail


・Distance: 0.6 mile one-way to Lower Emerald Pools;
      1 mile to Middle Emerald Pools;
      1.4 miles to Upper Emerald Pools
・Duration: 1 – 3 hours
・Elevation: 70 feet to Lower Emerald Pool;
      150 feet to Middle Emerald Pool;
      350 feet to Upper Emerald Pool
・Effort: Easy-moderate
・Shuttle Stop: Zion Lodge

Best Hikes in Zion

Since Emerald Pools is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park it tends to be crowded, especially in the summer months. This hike is family friendly and a perfect leisurely, non-strenuous hike. Although you will encounter several interesting pools, the waterflow in Emerald Pools is usually quite light, which can be dissapointing.


Weeping Rock


・Distance: 0.5 mile round trip
・Duration: 30 minutes
・Elevation: 100 feet
・Effort: Easy
・Shuttle: Weeping Rock

Best Hikes in Zion

This short hike will take you to a large overhang of rock with water sprinkling from above. The trail is known as the shortest hike in Zion, but the view from the alcove into Zion Canyon is truly magnificent. Due to its beauty, location, and short length, the trail can be crowded, but it’s worth visiting if you are in Zion. The shady path and sprinkling of water is definitely refreshing, especially on a hot summer day.


Riverside Walk


・Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
・Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
・Elevation: 57 feet
・Effort: Easy
・Shuttle Stop: Temple of Sinawava

Best Hikes in Zion

Riverside Walk is an easy and relaxing hike along the Virgin River to the Narrows. Due to the water and vegetation around the area, there are different kinds of birds and animals chilling around the area. This trail is very family friendly, and it is also wheelchair accessible.


Canyon Overlook Trail


・Distance: 1 mile round trip
・Duration: 1 hour
・Elevation: 163 feet
・Effort: Easy
・Trailhead: Parking area just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel

Best Hikes in Zion

Photo Credit

This easy hike offers you spectacular views from the heights without the stiff climbs found on most other Zion trails. This hike is manageable for all ages and physical abilities. If you want to see magnificent views but don’t want to do a strenuous hike, Canyon Overlook is a perfect trail for you!


Taylor Creek Trail


・Distance: 5 mile round trip
・Duration: 4 hours
・Elevation: 450 feet
・Effort: Easy-moderate
・Trailhead: 2 miles east of Kolob Canyons Visitor Center

Taylor Creek Trail is located in the Kolob Canyons. You can access the trail from Kolob Canyons Road, which begins at I-15 south of Cedar City. Taylor Creek Trail is reasonably easy, and it is a perfect day hike. The main attraction of this trail is to see the Double Arch Alcove at the end of the trail. When we hiked we didn’t really encounter anyone on the trail. It is a quiet and beautiful trail.

Have you been to Zion National Park? If so which trails did you hike? If you have never been to Zion, I hope this list will be helpful in the future! Let me know below if you have any questions 🙂



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Observation Point at Zion National Park

Observation Point at Zion National Park

Observation Point might be the toughest yet most rewarding hike in Zion National Park. People tend to skip Observation Point due to Zion’s other popular trails such as the Narrows and Angels Landing. However, Observation Point gives you the most epic view of Zion National Park. Since Observation Point is over 700 feet higher than Angels Landing, you are actually looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint. Your whole body will be exhausted after this hike, but the view will be totally worth it. It is a perfect trail for those who want a challenging day hike with less crowds.


Trail Details

Observation Point at Zion National Park
  • Distance: 8 miles round trip
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Elevation change: 2,148 feet
  • Effort: Strenuous
  • Shuttle Stop: Weeping Rock


Starting from Weeping Rock parking area, you will hike through East Rim Trail. You will reach the junction for Hidden Canyon Trail after 0.8 mile. Several switchbacks later, the trail enters into the dark slot canyon areas of Echo Canyon. Although the trail is rough you will encounter many amazing views while hiking. You will climb up about 3 miles, and then it will be an easy hike through a forest of pine. After about 0.5 mile hike, you will finally get to Observation Point.


Directions to Trailhead

It is probably the easiest to get a shuttle from the National Park Visitor Center. You will get off at Weeping Rock (the 7th Stop). The trailhead starts after a short hike from Weeping Rock parking area. The trail actually takes you along the ways to Hidden Canyon, upper Echo Canyon, East Mesa, and other destinations.


Can you drive to Observation Point Zion?

Observation Point at Zion National Park

You can drive to the trailhead, but you are required to have a special permit to drive from March to November. Since private vehicles are usually prohibited around Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, it is better to take a shuttle from the National Park Visitor Center. The shuttles usually run from the visitor center every 10 minutes. For more, check out here. Just note that the shuttles do NOT run in winter. You will have to drive during December and February. Make sure you park at Weeping Rock parking area if you drive.


How long does it take to hike Observation Point?

The trail of observation point is about 8 miles round trip and gains 2148 feet of elevation. The hike usually takes between 4 and 6 hours. I would say Observation Point is more strenuous than Angels Landing because it will be a longer hike. However, the paved trail is less intimidating compared to walking on the narrow spine of the cliff and sheer drop-offs at Angels Landing. Also, the hike of Observation Point gives you more photo opportunities compared to any other trails in Zion. You will hike through some of the most scenic parts of the park. We kept stopping to take photos of magnificent views.


How high is Observation Point Zion?

Observation Point at Zion National Park
Observation Point at Zion National Park

Observation point stands on top of Mount Baldy, a 6507 foot peak. Once you made it to the top of the peak, you will be looking down on the Angels Landing viewpoint and the valley road far below. You will be rewarded with a spectacular view, and you feel like you are on top of the world!


How scary is Observation Point Zion?

I didn’t think hiking observation Point was dangerous or scary at all, especially compared to Angels Landing. There are some cliff edges to look over the views, but you will not walk through any narrow spines and sheer drop-offs. If you want to do a challenging hike but you are scared of heights, then Observation Point is a perfect trail for you!


How hard is Observation Point Zion?

Observation Point at Zion National Park

Observation Point can be very challenging unless you frequently workout. We hiked Hidden Canyon first and then started hiking Observation Point. I have to say it was hard for me. It felt like it took forever to hike through zigzagging trail to reach the top of the mountain, but the view at the end was so worth it. If your age intimidates you to hike Observation Point, don’t! We saw a couple of people who seemed older than 60 years old on the way.


Best time to Hike Observation Point trail?

The best season to hike Observation Point is either spring or fall. Although summer is the most popular season for Zion National Park, it is not ideal to hike Observation Point during the summer. Since the temperature goes over 100ºF, you want to avoid long hikes such as Observation Point. I also don’t recommend winter since the trail can get icy, and half of the annual rainfall comes during the winter months.

Although Observation Point tends to be less crowded compared to other popular trails such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, starting early is always a good idea to avoid crowds, and you can also get shade along the switchbacks.


What to bring to Observation Point?

Observation Point at Zion National Park


  • Water: Make sure you pack enough water!
  • Hiking Shoes: We recommend wearing hiking shoes rather than regular ones. Since you will hike 8 miles, make sure you wear shoes you are comfortable with.
  • Daypack: Definitely recommended. We put water, snacks, camera, and basically everything we needed in our pack!
  • Snacks/lunchbox: We brought jerky, dry fruit, nuts, and energy bars. The top of the mountain offers you great places to enjoy your lunch. Just unwind and enjoy the view. You deserve it!
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Even if its cloudy, make sure you bring them as most of the trail is exposed.



Trail Summary

  • Observation Point is the toughest yet most rewarding hike in Zion.
  • It is 8 miles round trip.
  • The hike usually takes between 4 and 6 hours.
  • Trail starts at Weeping Rock.
  • Best season to hike is spring and fall.
  • Start early and avoid crowds.



Have you already hiked Observation Point Trail? Or are you planning to hike Observation Point? If so, I hope you find this article helpful and enjoy hiking the most rewarding trail Zion offers!

If you are looking for more trails in Zion, check out the following article!


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Angels Landing Hike – Everything You Need to Know

Angels Landing Hike – Everything You Need to Know

Through this article you will learn things to know before doing Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park.

Angels Landing, located in Zion National Park, is one of the scariest yet most exciting trails in the United States. This unforgettable adventure hike should be on everyone’s bucket list. The reward of a 360-degree view of Zion Canyon’s rock layers will take your breath away. Your legs will be burning and shaking from the hike and the excitement… but the view will be unforgettable!

It was our second day when we hiked Angels Landing. It was sunny, clear, and a perfect day to hike. We knew Angels Landing was a strenuous hike, but we didn’t know what to expect along the way. It was a surprise to experience how exciting and scary the trail was. We actually saw a lot of people who didn’t make it to the end of Angels Landing.

You are probably wondering whether you should hike Angels Landing if you are actually capable of such a strenuous hike… We totally understand you. My husband and I were intimidated by climbing up the hills, but trust us! The view was so worth it. We hope you will make it to the end, and this guide will give you everything you need to know before hiking Angels Landing.


Trail Details

Angels Landing Hike

Starting from Grotto Picnic Area, you will hike through West Rim Trail for about 2 miles. Although it is a steady and paved trail, you will go through quite a strenuous and steep uphill trail to enter the cool and shady depths of Refrigerator Canyon. Since this is the only shady area of the hike, it is a good place to cool off and catch your breath. Once you are done with a short hike of Refrigerator Canyon, you will encounter Walter’s Wiggles. Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 closely spaced switchbacks, will lead you to Scouts Lookout and a trail junction. Scout Lookout has an amazing view, so take a rest and snap some photos! Once you are ready, you can continue 0.5 mile to the summit of Angels Landing.


Where is Angels Landing trail?

Angels Landing is in Zion National Park, Utah. Zion National Park is Utah’s First National Park, and Angels Landing is the most popular trail in Zion National Park. We got a shuttle early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but almost everyone in the shuttle was heading to the same place. Yup, everyone was on the way to Angels Landing.


Directions to Trailhead

Since private vehicles are usually prohibited around Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, the best way to access to Angels Landing is to get a shuttle! We took a shuttle from the National Park Visitor Center. You will get off at the Grotto (Stop 6). The trailhead is at the bridge across from the Grotto Picnic Area. You’ll have to walk through the bridge across the Virgin River to begin.

Note for winter season (DECEMBER – FEBRUARY):
The shuttles do not run in winter, so make sure you park at the Grotto parking lot.


What is the highlight of Angels Landing hike?

Angels Landing Hike

The highlight of the hike is definitely the VIEW!!! The final part of the hike (about 0.5 mile) is nothing but exciting! You will be climbing up the narrow spine of the canyon, which is nearly 6,000 feet. Although this final trail is challenging, lots of chains provide more security for hiking. Once you made it to the top, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of Zion National Park. The experience and the feeling you get there are just something you will remember forever. It still gives me goose bumps thinking about the experience!


Is the Angels Landing hike open?

Angels Landing is open every season. However, do NOT hike if the trail is covered by snow or ice. You also want to avoid hiking if thunderstorms threaten. For more, check out the Current Conditions.


Is a Permit Required?

No, permit is not required to hike Angels Landing. However, it could change due to the popularity of the hike. Make sure you check the official National Park website. Currently permissions are required for only the Narrows (Top Down) and the Subway.


Best time to Hike Angels Landing?

Angels Landing Hike

The best time of year to hike Angels Landing is in spring and fall. Although summer months are the most popular season of the year, we personally want to avoid it because it gets crowded, and afternoons can get very hot. We went there in the beginning of September, and we had pleasant temperatures while hiking. We recommend you avoid winter season since it can get dangerous due to rain, snow, and ice on the trail. No matter which season you decide to go, make sure you check the weather forecast and the current conditions at the Visitor Center.


How long does it take to hike Angels Landing?

The trail will be about 5 miles round trip, and the hike usually takes between 4 and 6 hours. While walking the first 2 miles, it offers you an outstanding view of a rich collection of canyons, a shining river, and tall green landscapes. For the final 1/2 mile, the trail allows for unlimited views of Zion Canyon in both directions. Although this is where things get intimidating as the trail becomes narrow and steep, you will be rewarded with magnificent views.


How hard is Angels Landing hike?

Angels Landing Hike
Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 switchbacks

For the first two miles, it can be physically challenging since there are only few shady places and 21 very steep switchbacks. Whenever you are tired, make sure you stop and drink water! Bringing plenty of water is a must for Angels Landing. Once you accomplish the 21 switchbacks, you will be awarded with an amazing view at Scout Lookout.

After the Scout Lookout, it will be mentally challenging since you will be walking on the narrow spine of the cliff and sheer drop-offs. There are plenty of chains bolted into the cliff, and it will make you feel more secure. The last 0.5 mile hike can be quite intimidating, but the view will be so worth it!


Is Angels Landing hike safe?

Angels Landing Hike

Since 2004, eight people have fallen to their deaths on this hike, according to National Park Service. It is a strenuous and dangerous hike, so you have to be extremely mindful to hike Angels Landing. If you have a fear of heights, you should not hike Angels Landing. Maybe you could hike up to the Scout Lookout, which also has magnificent views. Also young children are not recommended for the hike. Take this hike seriously and be careful!


What to Bring on the Hike?

  • Water: Make sure you pack enough water! A hydration pack is recommended for hands-free water access.
  • Hiking Shoes: We recommend wearing hiking shoes rather than regular ones. Since you will be hiking through unstable path, which is only a couple feet wide, make sure you wear shoes you are comfortable with.
  • Daypack: Definitely recommended. We put water, snacks, camera, and basically everything we needed!
  • Snacks: We brought jerky, dry fruit, nuts, and energy bars. If you make it to the top of the canyon, it is the perfect place to unwind and have some snacks!
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen: even if its cloudy, make sure you bring them as most of the trail is exposed.



Have you already done Angels Landing Hikes? Or are you planning to hike Angels Landing? If so, I hope you find this article helpful and enjoy hiking the exhilarating and amazing trail!



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Angels Landing Hike

Zion Narrows Hike – Everything You Need to Know

Zion Narrows Hike – Everything You Need to Know

Through this article you will learn everything you need to know for Zion Narrows Hike.

The trail “The Narrows” is located in Zion National Park, one of the most popular National Parks in the US. If you are planning to visit Zion National Park, the Narrows is a must! There are many amazing trails in Zion National Park, but the Narrows is probably my favorite adventure. I’ve hiked around famous national parks in the US, but the Narrows was by far the most breathtaking hike I’ve ever experienced. In fact, it is known as one of the best slot canyon hikes in the world.

What’s so unique about the Narrows is that you will basically hike through the Virgin River, which means you have to wade / swim to proceed. You will be surrounded by the towering walls of the Zion canyon and beautiful flowing water. Seeing the sunlight come through the dark corners of the narrow canyon is such a magical experience.

For those of you who don’t know what to expect when hiking the Narrows, here is everything you need to know!


Is Zion Narrows hike open?

Zion Narrows Hike

Although Zion National Park is open all year, the Zion – Narrows heavily depends on the weather conditions. According to National Park Service, Zion Narrows is closed when the water flow rate is over 150 cubic feet per second (CFS). There is a higher chance to be closed during the spring snowmelt. Since spring snowmelt is from mid-March to beginning of May, I recommend you check the Current Conditions. Besides the snowmelt, you need to be mindful for a Flash Flood Warning. Since Flash floods are always possible, you need to check the weather forecast before you decide to hike the Narrows.


Is permission required for Zion Narrows hike?

Zion Narrows Hike

No you do not need a permit to hike Zion Narrows. However, you can only hike as far as the Big Spring unless you have a permit. There are 2 routes to enjoy the Narrows: Bottom Up Hike from the Temple of Shinawava (NO permit required) or Top Down Hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch (Permit required). For casual hikers who want to see some of the most beautiful and narrowest parts of canyon, I would suggest Bottom Up Day Hike from the Temple of Shinawava. We hiked Bottom Up Route and saw some of the most amazing canyon views.


How long should I plan for Zion Narrows hike?

Zion Narrows Hike

You need to plan the entire day to hike the Narrows. We did Bottom Up hike to reach Big Spring, and it took us about 6 hours round-trip. You also have to consider the shuttle (40 minutes each way from the Visitor Center) and riverside walk to and from the beginning of the Narrows. We went to Zion Outfitter for gear rental in the morning, so we started hiking around 11am. At the end, we rushed our way back to catch the last bus. I would recommend leaving as early as possible, especially if you want to take time to enjoy the views, take photos, and stop for snacks or lunch.


How many miles to hike the Narrows in Zion?

Zion Narrows Hike

If you decide to hike as far as Big Spring, it will be an 8 mile round trip. Although you can hike as far as you want to go and turn back any time, you do NOT want to miss the narrowest part of the canyon called Wall Street. Here, you will encounter 1500-foot walls which are the result of millions of years of erosion. There is no formal destination, but you have to return the same way you came. If you want to hike Top Down Route, the journey will be 16 miles, which take an average of 12 hours. For more information, check out here.


Which season to visit Zion Narrows hike?

Zion Narrows Hike

Summer (MAY 15 – SEPTEMBER 15)

Summer is known to be the best time to hike the Narrows. Water levels tend to be low, and hiking along the river is a perfect reason to escape from the hot weather. Just be mindful for thunderstorm though. Make sure you check the weather forecast and flash flood warning before heading out.

Autumn (SEPTEMBER 15 – NOVEMBER 1)

Fall is another lovely season to visit the Narrows. The water levels are generally very low, so hiking in the river tends to be easier than other months. We visited the Narrows at the beginning of September, and it was beautiful. Just be mindful as the day becomes shorter. Also be prepared for the colder water.

Winter (NOVEMBER 1 – MARCH 15)

Some people say winter is a great time to visit the Narrows, mostly because it’s less crowded compared to other months. However, you need to be well prepared for the cold water. A drysuit may be required, depending on the temperatures. Also be mindful that the water level could rise rapidly if the sun is out and snow starts melting.

Spring (MARCH15 – MAY 15)

Spring is the least ideal season to visit the Narrows. If you can, you should probably avoid visiting the Narrows in spring. As I mentioned earlier, there is a higher chance the Narrows is closed due to spring snowmelt. Also the water tends to be very cold, and March and April are the rainiest months in Utah.


What to bring on Zion Narrows hike?

Zion Narrows Hike


  • Water-proof Shoes: Water-friendly shoes are necessary for hiking the Narrows. Since water-proof footwear tends to be expensive, we decided to use rental ones from Zion Outfitters. They have a package including water-proof footwear and hiking poles. It is $24 per day.
  • Walking Stick: It is highly recommended since the bottom of the river tends to be slippery and uneven. My husband and I found it very useful while hiking the Narrows. It also helps when testing the depth of the water in some areas. Again, you can rent the stick at Zion Outfitters.
  • Backpack: Some people want to bring water-proof backpack, but we brought just the regular ones. We went there in September, and the water was no more than waste high mostly. Of course there is a chance that you fall, so be mindful of what you want to pack. There is a rental water-proof backpack at Zion Outfitters.
  • Packed Lunch and Snacks: Since it will be a day hike, you want to pack a lunch for your hike. We brought a sandwich and an apple for lunch. We also brought jerky, dried fruit, and nuts.
  • Water: Make sure you bring enough water especially if you hike during summer!



How difficult is the Narrows hike at Zion?

Zion Narrows Hike

I would say the Narrows was relatively easy compared to the other trails in Zion, especially Angels Landing and Observation Point. However, you should be well prepared, and be mindful of the weather as the water levels can frequently change. If you have kids it might be difficult to hike as far as Big Spring and to keep them safe the entire time.



For more US adventures, check out Fun Things to Do in South Florida



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2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

If you are traveling to Japan you have to spend at least 2 days in Kyoto. This itinerary will help you to efficiently visit the popular temples, shrines, and experience amazing traditional Japanese food in Kyoto.

As I am Japanese, I’ve been to Kyoto many times. There are so many sites to see in Kyoto that I never get bored exploring the city. What makes my guide different from others is that I’ve included a few ideas to avoid crowds and enable you to experience a lot traveling by foot. It is sometimes a better experience to give yourself time to wander around and make discoveries of your own. Although Kyoto is famous for many UNESCO world heritage sites, there’s so much more to see in Kyoto. This 2 days Itinerary will make sure your time in Kyoto will be unforgettable.

If you want to check out more Japan itinerary, read my Tokyo ultimate guide.


Day 1 Exploring Gion District

Gion is my favorite part of Kyoto so I had to include it in my 2 days itinerary. Gion is one of the most famous and traditional districts in Kyoto. The district attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden buildings, and there are variety of restaurants, teahouses, and bars. It is not uncommon to see geisha hurrying to their appointments in the evening as well.

The easiest way to go to Gion is to take a bus from Kyoto Station. Take the Kyoto City Bus service 100 from bus stop D1, or Kyoto City Bus service 206 from bus stop D2. It will take 20 minutes to get there, and the price will be 230yen per person.


8AM Fushimi Inari Taisha

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Your 2 days in Kyoto will start from one of the most famous shrines! Fushimi Inari Taisha is famous for its thousands of vibrant orange torii gates. You’ve probably seen many photos over Instagram as it is a popular photo spot for tourists. It is definitely one of the most popular shrines in Japan. Most people come to hike the red torii gates, which lead all the way to the summit of the mountain. The entire hike and back takes 2-3 hours but you can walk as far as you want and turn back. We visited around 8am when it was still quiet, but it was crowded by tourists by 9AM. If you want to take some good shots, make sure to be there early!

The best way to go to Fushimi Inari Shrine from Kyoto Station is by train. Take a JR Nara Line, and get off at Inari Station. It will take only about 5 minutes to get there and the price is 150yen per way. Once you get off at Fushimi Inari Shrine, you will walk about 5 minutes to get to Fushimi Inari Taisha.


9:30AM Rent a Kimono at Gion District

If you are in Kyoto you must rent a kimono. It’s a great experience if you have never worn a traditional kimono. And it is just fun to explore the area wearing a kimono. There are several places you can rent a kimono in Gion which I listed below. You will be dressed by professional stylists, and each shop has plenty of kimono to choose from for both men and women. Full set rental + kimono dressing usually starts from 3,000yen, and the hair styling starts from an additional 500yen.

  • Yume Kyoto
  • Wargo
  • Vasara


10:30AM Kennin-ji Temple

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Kennin-ji is famous for its simple and refined zen garden, and it is one of the oldest temples in Japan. What I like the most about Kennin-ji is there are usually less people, compared to other sights, so it is always very quiet and peaceful. You can easily transport yourself to a time where you could imagine life was just simple and beautiful. Kennin-ji is also famous for its artwork. My favorite artwork is the Twin Dragon, painted on the ceiling by Koizume Junsaku. As you walk into the main hall, you’ll be surprised by not only the scale of the painting, but also the beautiful details that have gone into creating this work of art.


12:30PM Lunch at Gion District

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

From Kennin-ji Temple to Shijo Avenue, there is the most popular street called, Hanami-Koji Street. There are many great traditional Japanese restaurants and stylish cafes. It’s a great spot to have lunch. If you are looking for a reasonable lunch spot, I recommend a ramen shop “Menya Inoichi“. For a stylish Italian restaurant, I recommend “The Sodoh“.


2:00PM Tea and Sake Tasuki

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary
2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Tasuki is a Japanese-style retail, cafe, and sake bar. It is located in another scenic part of Gion, Shirakawa. I stumbled upon its lovely bridge where you can see the gentle Shirakawa river from the window. Their shaved ice is to die for, but we had Japanese sweets with matcha (1,400yen) this time. What makes this cafe unique is their tableware and atmosphere. You can even see cherry blossoms from the window in the spring. It is a great spot to visit during the cherry blossom season, but you will enjoy the food and atmosphere no matter which season you visit. The cafe “Tasuki” is about 10 minutes walk away from Kennin-ji Temple.


3PM Yasaka-no-to Pagoda

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Walking the streets between Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-Dera, you will encounter the beautiful 46-meter tall Yasaka-no-to Pagoda. It is one of the most iconic and photogenic sights of Kyoto. Since it is a popular photo spot, you may want to visit early in the morning if you wish to fully enjoy the view. Or maybe you could visit late at night as it’s particularly lovely and moody after dark. It is a great photo opportunity to capture beautiful traditional Japanese vibes.

Next to Yasaka-no-to Pagoda, there is a tiny temple called Yasaka Koshin-do. If you are around the area, it’s worth a stop! The visitors often write their wish on a colorful ball called “kukurizaru” and hang them at the site. It is one of the most colorful and photogenic temples in Kyoto, and it is a popular spot for young Japanese girls. It is a perfect spot for a female traveler.


4PM Kodai-ji Temple

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary
2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Kodai-ji is located right across from the main shopping areas of Gion. It is not very touristy, yet the temple has such a peaceful garden with a little bamboo grove which is reminiscent of Arashiyama. Also, there is a little museum, which has paintings of Buddha Nirvana (Nehan-zu) at Rishodo hall. Normally, last entry to the temple is 5:00 pm. However, during special periods the temple and its environment are illuminated at nighttime and the temple reopens from sunset to 9:30 pm. In spring the cherry blossoms are illuminated, while in autumn the trees planted around the pond of the temple are illuminated. It is highly recommended to experience the night view!


5PM Ninenzaka Street

2 Days Kyoto Itinerary

Ninenzaka is the street which makes you feel like as if you are back in ancient Japan. It is nice to just stroll around and have a feel of the place, but there are also plenty of restaurants and tea houses to refresh yourself as you explore. The Starbucks in Ninenzaka is one of them, and I absolutely recommend you visit if you are in the area. It is the world’s first tatami-style Starbucks, and the atmosphere is just beautiful.


6PM Dinner at Gion District

2days Kyoto Itinerary

Whether you stay a day or 2 days in Kyoto, I recommend you have dinner in Gion district. There are many great Japanese restaurants in Gion, but we picked an Izakaya called “Gion Bansan Kyoshoku”. It is not a tourist restaurant, and the customers tend to be all local Japanese people. If you don’t speak Japanese you should go with a Japanese friend to translate the menu. It might be a bit intimidating, however, it’s worth visiting if you want to experience a true Japanese restaurant!

The atmosphere is very stylish and comfortable. I visited there with my mom, but it is a perfect spot for date night as well. Since it is located in the center of Gion, the price was not cheap but it was definitely reasonable for the amount of food they serve. There were varieties of sake, and the food was all so fresh and delicious. My favorite was their oysters 🙂

Gion Bansan Kyoshoku

95 Shijodori Yamatoojidori Higashi Iru Sueyoshicho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto


Day 2 Exploring Sakyo Ward

I hope you are enjoying my itinerary about 2 days in Kyoto! Here is my 2nd days of Kyoto Guide 🙂 Sakyo is in the north-east corner of Kyoto city and has a great mix of temples, gardens, shrines, and beautiful mountains. The area is also known for beautiful cherry blossoms and autumn colors. Sakyo Ward is famous for many amazing temples, such as Ginkaku-ji temple, but it is also a great place to take a walk, shop, and dine. Walking around Sakyo Ward is one of my favorite activities as it is very peaceful and relaxing.

The easiest way to go to Ginkaku-ji Temple from Gion is to take a bus. Make sure you get a bus going to “平安神宮・銀閣寺” (Heian Jingu・Ginkaku-ji Temple). The price will be 230yen per way, and it will take about 20 minutes to get there.

9AM Ginkaku-ji Temple

2days Kyoto Itinerary

Ginkaku-ji is known as Temple of the Silver Pavilion, and it is one of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Although Golden Pavilion tends to be more popular, I personally like Silver Pavilion more for their quieter and peaceful atmosphere. Ginkaku-ji Temple was actually never plated with silver, and the temple remains an unpainted brown. The temple is beautiful for its simplicity, but my favorite part of Ginkaku-ji is the Japanese garden. The sand garden of Ginkaku-ji is particularly famous, and the beautiful pile of sand resembles Mount Fuji. It is nice to walk along a circular route, and it will take you to the top of the hills to view the garden and the temple.

11AM Honen-in Temple

2days Kyoto Itinerary

Walking south from Ginkaku-ji Temple on the cherry-tree lined street “Philosopher’s Walk”, you will find Honen-in Temple. Unless you go during the popular autumn season, this temple tends to be very quiet compared to any other temples in Kyoto. When I visited, there was literally no one except us. What I love about Honen-in is its scenic path through the temple grounds. The two gardens are designed by pile of sand, and the designs usually change every season. The main hall is only open twice a year, but the rest of the grounds are open for free all year round.

12PM Lunch at Philosopher’s Path

The Philosopher’s Path is a traditional stone path between Ginkaku-ji Temple and Nanzen-ji Temple. There is a canal along the path, and it is surrounded by hundreds of cherry blossoms. It is one of the most popular places to see cherry blossoms in the spring. There are also lots of restaurants, cafes, and individual shops on the path, so it is a great spot to have lunch and just explore.


1:30PM Yojiya Cafe Ginkakuji

2days Kyoto Itinerary
2days Kyoto Itinerary

During your 2 days you will have some time to explore cafes in Kyoto, and Yojiya is a must to visit! You will find Yojiya Cafe Ginkakuji just off the Philosopher’s Path. The area is surrounded by an expansive wooden townhouse, and Yojiya cafe used to be a Japanese traditional house as well.

Once you enter the cafe you will encounter their beautiful traditional garden. The cafe space has tatami mats on the floor, and you can look over the garden while drinking your coffee/tea. There is something nostalgic about the cafe, and it is a great place for taking a break after walking around. On Yojiya cafe’s menu, you will find varieties of Japanese sweets, but my recommendation is their matcha cappuccino. The cappuccino has their logo on it as latte art, and it’s super photogenic!

3:00PM Konkai Komyo-ji Temple

2days Kyoto Itinerary

Konkai Komyo-ji is about a 20 minute walk from Yojiya cafe. This is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the routine Kyoto itinerary and see a magnificent temple complex. The temple was a lot bigger than I expected, and the garden was breathtaking. It is a large temple and on site there are the Main Hall, Amida Hall, and 18 sub-temples. It is also a great spot to visit during spring and fall to see cherry blossoms and autumn colors.

4:30PM Nanzen-ji Temple

After a 20 minute walk from Konkai Komyo-ji Temple, you will arrive in Nanzen-ji Temple. Nanzen-ji is famous for its large tract of land. Nanzen-ji Temple is surrounded by 12 sub-temples and great number of other various structures. It is also famous for its massive main entrance, but what is most interesting about Nanzen-ji is its Roman style aqueduct. Just outside of the Hojo, you will come across the large brick aqueduct. It was built about 150 years ago, and it is a unique place to walk and take some pictures.


6:00PM Dinner at Gion District

2days Kyoto Itinerary
2days Kyoto Itinerary

Let’s go back to Gion for dinner! As I talked earlier, there are many amazing restaurants in Gion. This time I picked a tiny traditional Izakaya, “Konabeya isakichi”. The way to get there is an interesting experience because the izakaya is located in such a hidden spot – you need to go through street that you feel very hard to get through. The izakaya was managed by an old Japanese man, and he basically makes almost everything for the customers. The food was all so delicious, and there are a variety of drinks as well.

Konabeya isakichi

232-6 Nishino-cho, Higashi-iru, Yamato Oji, shinmonmae dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto


If you have more than 2 days to explore Kyoto, I would recommend the following day trip. The travel guide below is about a half day itinerary of Kyoto.


Day 3 Exploring Arashiyama Area

Arashiyama is located on the western outskirts of Kyoto, and it is one of the most touristy districts of Kyoto. I tend to avoid visiting here since it is always crowded, however, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo forest is a must to see if you are traveling to Kyoto for the first time.

If you want to go to Arashiyama from Gion, I recommend you take a train. Once you are at Kawaramachi Station, you will take a train and get off at Katsura Station. Then you will take another train to get to Arashiyama Station. Note: from Gion to Kawaramachi, you will take a bus. It will take about 50 minutes to travel from Gion to Arashiyama, and the price will be around 450yen in total.


8AM Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

2days Kyoto Itinerary

photo source

You have probably seen pictures of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove over Instagram. Needless to say, it is one of the most famous photography locations in Kyoto. Since it is a very popular sight, I recommend you visit in the early morning. The path through the grove is open all day, and the entrance to the Bamboo Grove is a short walk from JR Arashiyama Station. It’s peaceful and serene to just walk around the area as it is really beautiful!

10AM Suzumushi Temple

2days Kyoto Itinerary

photo source

2days Kyoto Itinerary

photo source

This is a minor yet beautiful temple in Kyoto. Suzumushi Temple was founded about 300 years ago. It is famous for the lecture from chief priest, and you will hear natural ambient music by its resident bell crickets all year. It is also known for granting supplicants one wish. The temple’s jizo statue is unusual as it wears sandals, and it is believed that the jizo will deliver your wish to you. So make sure to tell him your address.

During your visit, you will receive a cup of green tea and a 30 minute lecture from the chief priest. You will hear the sound of bell crickets during his lecture. It is a very relaxing and interesting experience. After the lecture is finished, you have a chance to walk to the beautiful garden. There is a spot in the garden from which you can see the entire view of Kyoto. It is a great spot for truly enjoying Japanese culture.


Conclusion


I hope you enjoyed my 2 days Kyoto itinerary. Have you been to Kyoto? Do you have any feedbacks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! If you are going to Kyoto soon, make sure you will have at least 2 days. I hope you will enjoy your time!! 🙂

More about Japan travel? Here is the post about Things to Do in Tokyo at Night.



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