Is there much to see in Kyoto at this time?There are so many major temples and complexes in Kyoto that it would take at least a week to cover if you did 2 a day.
Also of interest to me is whether I should rent a lens. I will be bringing my 16-35II, 70-200II, and nifty 50 on my 5D3. I may own a 24-70II by then. Should I rent the 85 1.2 for the trip? Monkeys are like people, so portraits, right? Worth it to bring my 600EX-RT and ST-E3 RT to do a little off-camera flash? Or do you think the monkeys will flip out if I pop them with a speedlight?Can't comment about the monkeys but be ready to haul all your gear around with you on foot. Public transportation is great in Japan, except during rush hours - you'll probably get some nasty stares if you're bumping into people during this time with a bag full of camera gear.
How useful might a macro be on a Japan trip? I'm thinking markets, sushi, possibly even a tight shot of the monkeys' eyes.Great for food, there's tons of food in Japan that is photo worthy. But unless you need to have macro, a 24-70 lens will do in a pinch. There's a fish market in Tokyo which has auctions and many street vendors, you can even try whale there if you want to do so.
I'll likely bring either a 1.4x or 2x bc why not, and of course my tripod.In Kyoto, the use of tripods in many temple complexes are forbidden, some even forbid the use of monopods - yes, there are "no monopod" signs. If museums are your thing, most disallow the use of photography anyways (the Edo-Tokyo museum being an exception).