I feel like we both grew up during a time of an obsession with Japan, probably all thanks to Toonami and Uwajimaya. When we went to the Kansai region last year we were excited but prepared for some disappointment for the sake of being realistic, yet somehow Japan lived up to all our 12-year-old dreams. We are lucky enough to be living such a short distance away that we can actually take quick weekend trips but decided to save up for 2 week stay in the hottest part of summer in Osaka and Tokyo.
curry and takoyaki for days
Starting off in Osaka, as familiarity is always a nice way to start a vacation, we set ourselves in our AirBnb and went out our for dinner and a drink while mentally preparing ourselves for how much we were going to sweat during this trip. Our biggest positives on keeping cool during the 100f+ heat was that we are not much for planning on vacations, a few places we want to go 'at some point' and mostly a long list of foods we should try to eat. This let us take everything at a leisurely pace and prevented overheated travelling fatigue.
of course, floresta doughnuts
orange street has a few great buy/sell/trade shops
A lot of people skip over the city in exchange for Kyoto, but considering it's only a 40 min subway to Kyoto you could easily stay in one place and visit the other. We chose to stay in Osaka the whole week and had mini trips every other day. Days in Osaka were easily be spent shopping, people watching, and eating. A few of our recommendations:
Ramen: Junk Story
Coffee: Giracha Coffee
Foodie Area: Namba station
Shopping: Orange Street for relaxed, Osaka Station, Namba
Osaka Castle: Have a picnic in the park and skip the actual castle
fushimi inari shrine
temple in kyoto, ice cream in harajuku, tokyo
Kyoto is a completely different atmosphere from Osaka. Every other block is dotted with a shrine, temple, or castle. You could easily pick a direction and go on a walking tour! However, there are some great places that take a bit to get to let monkey park and the Fushimi Inari shrine (Kyoto sells 500 yen all day bus passes that are 100% worth it). When we went last year it was the beginning of April and cherry blossom season, if you ever get chance visit during that time. It is the peak of tourist season but you won't regret it when cherry blossom petals are raining all around you!
monkeys roamed freely but had a special are for feeding
the view from monkey park
We spent our last night in Osaka like we spent our first and go up early to make our way to Tokyo!