After numerous readings and research on the internet, I came up with the following itinerary for our 7-day trip to Kyoto next month.
My goal is to mix urban and rural, old and new, sight seeing and sight doing in a slow travel fashion. (My family is just this type. We found we have better travel experiences and memories when done in a non-rushed manner.)
Day 1 - mid-morning arrival in the Higashiyama area.
Visit Shimogamo-jinja (I don't see much write up on this shrine, but the surrounding area looks nice and it may be a little less crowded than the other ones), walk along Philo Path. Settled in our machiya in Higashiyama & check out neighborhood. Evening - pontocho
Day 2 - South Higashiyama area - Kiyomizu, Sannenzaka, Ninenzaka. Evening - Gion area. We will have a volunteer guide that day. Although we can navigate on our own, we like to meet local people for their insights.
Day 3 - Arashiyama/Saga area. On return,visit Nijo Jo.
Day 4 - Umekoji Ateam Locomotive Museum (my husband is a train buff) in the morning. Afternoon - Nissin Noodle Museum in Osaka for their Hands-on Noodle Workshop. My 12 and 13 yo like to participate in activities. Evening will be spent in Osaka Namba/dotombori area.
Day 5 - Uji, then visit breweries in Fushimi, then Fushimi-Inari Shrine - all along keihan train route.
Day 6 - Hiking in Kurama/kibune in the morning. Late afternoon - Japanese cooking class for myself and daughter. Free time for husband and son to just wander around/people watch.
Day 7 - Move to Osaka hotel for our last night. Train to Nara to visit Nara koen and Naramachi.
Originally, I wanted to add Hemiji, but I feel it is too rushed and have to save it for next time. And I left out Kinkaku-ji too because I worry that the kids will get templed out fast.
Please advise if this is a good paced itinerary. I hope this gives us a good sampling of Japan, while allowing us enough free time for unstructured things in this short trip.