The Perfect Japan 2 Week Itinerary: 10-14 Days in Japan

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If you’ve been wanting to visit Japan for a while, you’re probably just as excited to plan the trip and build your Japan itinerary. However, planning a trip to Japan can be quite overwhelming, because there are so many place to go and things to see. With such a long flight to get there, and the expense involved, you want to make sure you see everything possible in your 10 days to 2 weeks in Japan.

Believe me, we understand! That’s why we’ve prepared the perfect Japan 2-week itinerary for you, if you have at least 10 days to spend in the country.

→ Only have 5-7 days in Japan? You’ll want to check out our one-week Japan itinerary for a more streamlined plan. We also have an even shorter 3-day Tokyo itinerary.

Mt Fuji, Japan

Where to Go in Japan

Japan is full of mesmerizing landscapes, incredible sights and – my favorite – amazing food! There are a good number of tourist destinations that just about anyone planning a trip to Japan would want to include in the itinerary. But, obviously, with just 10-14 days in Japan, there’s no way you can cover them all. We’ve chosen the top destinations that we feel you can fit comfortably into 10+ days.

Do keep in mind that traveling in Japan can be expensive, as well as long. The cities aren’t that close together, so you have to be very wise in your planning to make everything fit together perfectly.

Here are the top destinations we recommend visiting in 10+ days in Japan:

Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima and Miyajima, and Kamakura.

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Japan

There are really two perfectly acceptable choices for your vacation in Japan. You can do it the easy way, or the much more difficult way. Either way can be quite rewarding, but it depends greatly on your travel style and how much energy you want to put into planning.

The options are to book a guided, pre-planned tour, or to plan everything yourself and do a self-guided tour. The first options is the easiest, by far. While Japan is very easy to get around and well suited for travelers, it can be difficult to do it on your own due to the language barrier and the difficult train schedules you’ll have to navigate. A pre-planned tour won’t give you the same freedom to do what you want, but it is completely planned out for you and you will always have a guide along to help you with anything you need.

We will give you the options for both below, including a pre-planned tour we highly recommend and a 14-day self-guided itinerary to follow.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto (photo CC0)

Guided Tours of Japan

The tour company we recommend, Japan and More, offers fully escorted, small group and private tours of Japan. The company is run by Japan travel specialists, Becki and Shawn, who have over 20 years of experience living, working, and traveling in Japan. They know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. They are Americans who know Japan, understand Japanese culture, and speak the language. They take care of every detail.

Their group tours book fast! There is limited availability, so it’s best to secure your place as soon as possible. The cost of the tour includes all accommodations, transportation, entrance fees, some meals, and pre-departure help and advice.

The tour group is never more than 8 people, so it always feels specialized. They have tours of varying length that depart throughout the year. They also offer private tours. Just contact them to set one up!

Discover Japan Tour

15 days

  • Start out in Tokyo, then travel to Nagoya and Kiso Valley
  • Stay in a traditional Japanese Ryokan
  • Visit the ancient capital of Nara
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
  • See the famous floating torii gate at Miyajima
  • Ride a cable car up Mount Koya
  • Soak in a Japanese onsen bath in Hakone
  • Discover Kyoto and Osaka

Explore Japan Tour

22 days

  • Visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima
  • Stay 4 nights at a traditional Japanese Ryokan
  • Explore a Buddhist temple on Mount Koya
  • Visit the beautifully preserved villages of Kiso Valley
  • Relax in a hot sand bath in Beppu
  • Witness the magnificence of the Great Buddha in Kamakura

Intro to Japan Tour

8 days

  • Visit one of the last remaining original castles at Inuyama
  • See the preserved mountain village of Takayama
  • Explore Kyoto and have a traditional kaiseki dinner in Gion

Highlights of Japan Tour

10 days

  • Explore World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima
  • See the floating Torii gate at Miyajima
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail in the Kiso Valley
  • See the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo
  • Have a traditional Kaiseki dinner in Kyoto

For more information, check out Japan and More’s website. You’ll get $100 off the cost of your tour by using our coupon code. Not sure about a guide tour? Read this review by someone who’s taken the trip.

Use coupon code: SAJN for $100 off

Self-Guided Two Weeks in Japan

With a good plan of action, your Japan 2 week itinerary will run smoothly and provide you with a stunning overview of this beautiful country. If this schedule seems too ambitious for just 14 days in Japan, you can always extend your stay in the areas that interest you most and cut out some you want to save for your next trip. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s entirely up to you.

Map of Japan Itinerary
Map of Japan Itinerary
Want help planning?
Want to plan your own Japan trip, but need a bit of help? ViaHero helps travelers plan independent trips in Japan. A local expert will help you plan your perfect trip and it’s very reasonably priced! You can even use our coupon code SAVOREDJAPAN for a 5% discount at checkout.

Day 1-3: Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo. Keep in mind that Tokyo is a huge city with many different areas to explore. You won’t want to stay put in one area, but travel around and see as much as possible. We recommend seeing major sites like Tokyo Skytree, Tsukiji fish market, Hamarikyu Gardens, Meiji Shinto Shrine, Imperial Palace, and Shibuya Crossing. Also try to go shopping in Ginza, take a food tour, and try an Izikaya or two.

Want to book an izakaya tour? Magical Trip will help you navigate through their favorite izakaya bars on a Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour. Then, you won’t have to worry about how to get in, just let Magical Trip help you make the most out of local food and drinks in Tokyo.

If you’ve got more time, check out these day trips from Tokyo that will get your further out into the countryside and to surrounding cities.

Make it easy on yourself and follow this 3-day Tokyo itinerary for food lovers. Or if you have a full week to spend, check out our 7-day Japan itinerary.

Where to Stay in Tokyo: We recommend the Intercontinental The Strings Tokyo Hotel. It’s a really large hotel with nice rooms, located in Shinagawa, which is really close to shopping, eating and transportation. You can catch the bullet train to your next location at Shinagawa station, which is just a quick walk away. ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Day 4: Hakone and Mount Fuji

Transfer to Hakone. Known for its traditional onsen, or hotsprings, Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and it has incredible mountain scenery and hikes, as well as art museums and shrines to see. You can also take the cable car to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. You’ll want a full day here to explore and stay overnight.

Where to Stay in Hakone: Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa is within walking distance of the cable car that takes you toward Mt. Fuji. The hotel has very nice, classy rooms, with great views. ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

We also recommend Hakone Mount View for a traditional Japanese ryokan experience with nice accommodations and good food. They have a rare volcanic hot spring called Nigori-yu – a fun and unique experience, especially for couples. ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Day 5-6: Kyoto

Transfer to Kyoto. There are many iconic and eye-catching shrines and temples in Kyoto that you’ll want to see. including the Fushimi Inari Shrine and Golden Temple. You can’t leave without visiting Nishiki Market, seeing the geishas walking around the city center, participating in a tea ceremony, and eating at a traditional kaiseki restaurant for lunch or dinner. At the right time of year, you can also see the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the Fushimi Inari-Taisha temple.

» See our full guide on how to spend 2-3 days in Kyoto, and then tack on these extra day trips from Kyoto if you have extra time.

Where to Stay in Kyoto: We recommend the Hyatt Regency, because it has a reliable standard for Western accommodations, however it’s not as close to the main sights as we’d like to be. We found it more convenient to stay near Kyoto Station, since everywhere we visited we needed to go in and out of there. Our preferred hotel is the Hotel Granvia Kyoto.Have a look at all Kyoto hotels for comparison.

Day 7: Nara

Nara Park: Take a JR train to Nara Park at the base of Mount Wakakusa. The park is home to more than 1200 freely roaming deer that are domesticated enough to let you feed them. You will also see the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue and one of the tallest pagodas in Japan, among other historic structures. Take the JR train onward to Osaka.

Day 8-9: Osaka

For foodies, there’s nothing quite as exciting as Dotonbori Street during the evening hours. The street comes alive with every kind of Japanese specialty street food, like okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Visit Osaka Castle and Park, and check out the Instant Ramen Museum. If you have time, visit the food-focused Kuromon Ichiba Market and shop for a Japanese knife.

If you want to try the best izakaya food such as Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki and drink in Osaka, try this Osaka Bar Hopping Food Tour with Magical Trip. You will get to experience authentic Osaka food and drinks at local izakaya bars that travelers normally couldn’t find.

Read this post for more information about Osaka and what to do there.

Where to Stay in Osaka: One of my favorite hotels is the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel. It is conveniently located for transportation, so you can easily get around to the top sights in Osaka and beyond. It’s got an insane view and really comfortable rooms. ⇒ Read reviews of the Osaka Marriott on Trip Advisor.

Day 10: Kobe

Take a 30-minute train ride to Kobe to try the famous Kobe beef. You will thank yourself for doing it – there’s nothing quite like it, and as a foodie, you owe it to yourself! On the way back to Osaka, you can stop off in Kobe’s Nada district for a tasting and history about the making of sake at a few sake breweries.

If you aren’t a sake drinker, check out the Himeji Castle, just 30 mins outside Kobe.

Stay overnight again in Osaka.

Day 11 & 12: Hiroshima & Miyajima

Knowing that Hiroshima was effectively leveled in 1945, you will be in awe to see the city now. Hiroshima preserves the memory of the atomic bombing in the  Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Other popular sights to see in the city are the Hiroshima Castle, the city’s family shrines and temples, the Museum of Art and the Flame of Peace garden. You can also go out to Miyajima, where the orange Great Torii Gate sits at the entrance to the Itsukushima temple, and is partially submerged in water during high tide. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, it will cover the train and ferry between Hiroshima and Miyajima on the Japan Rail ferry.

Where to stay in Hiroshima: The Sheraton Grand Hotel in Hiroshima. The hotel is connected to Hiroshima Shinkansen station by a short, covered walkway, providing easy transportation around the city and out to Miyajima.  Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Day 13: Kamakura

For a change in pace, visit Kamakura, a seaside town south of Tokyo. It was the political center of medieval Japan, but is now a popular resort town, with dozens of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The most recognizable of these is the Great Buddha, a 42-foot-high bronze statue that has withstood the test of time. Spend the day visiting the temples and shrines, hiking one of the many trails, enjoying Shichirigahama Beach, and the many museums around town.

Where to stay in Kamakura: For a lovely stay on the beach with a view of the ocean from your room, stay at the Kamakura Prince Hotel. Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Day 14: Return to Tokyo.

Great Torii Gate at the entrance to the Itsukushima temple
Great Torii Gate at the entrance to the Itsukushima temple (Photo CC0)

How to Plan a Vacation in Japan

Best Time to Go to Japan

When you decide to go to Japan should be based on what type of experience you want to have. A lot of people make it a priority to go to Japan in the spring to see the cherry blossoms, while others wouldn’t want to be there during such a high tourist season. If you want to catch the fireworks season in Japan, you need to go in August, but it’s really steamy and hot at that time of year. The best weather can be found from late March to May.

Another great time to visit is in autumn, when the leaves are changing, from September to November. As it can get very hot in summer in Japan, try to avoid traveling between June and August.

Getting to and Around Japan

Many top airlines have direct flights into Japan. You can check the status of flights into Japan from your home airport, to see which route and airline is best for you. Top Japan airlines include ANA and Japan Airlines, but you can fly to Japan with most U.S. airlines that fly internationally, like United and American.

Once you arrive in Japan – likely in Tokyo – you can get the train into the city center. The best way to do it is to get on the Japan Rail (JR) Narita Express (called NEX). If you have a Japan Rail Pass, this journey is included in the pass. It goes to Tokyo Station in 60-90 minutes.  You will then likely have to change trains at Tokyo Station for the Yamanote Line, which serves most of the tourist hotels.

Japan high-speed rail

The best way to travel around Japan in by train. You’ll want to purchase a 14-day Japan Rail Pass. The pass allows you to travel on all JR trains throughout Japan, including the high-speed Shinkansen bullet trains. It’s the most economical and worry-free way to travel. Travel in Japan is not cheap and the cost of buying individual tickets will far exceed the cost of the Japan Rail Pass, which you can purchase for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days.

Just remember, you have to purchase it before entering the country and give time for it to be delivered to you. Read our guide on where to buy a Japan Rail Pass and if it’s worth it.

When planning your Japan itinerary, keep in mind the distance between each destination (for instance, the train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 3:15). As long as there is a train linking each of your chosen cities, you’ll be able to easily travel around the country.

Traveling in Japan is not cheap, but you can save money in Japan by doing things like buying a Japan Rail Pass and eating street food.

Tipping in Japan

If you’re from the United States, Canada, or another country where tipping is customary, you should be aware that tipping in Japan is not customary. If you do try to tip, in a restaurant or a hotel for instance, it might even be refused or considered rude. To avoid awkwardness, follow the Japanese custom and do not tip.

Kaiseki modern Japanese food
Kaiseki modern Japanese food (photo by Savored Journeys)

Eating in Japan

Japan is a country with a lot of unique foods. You will have the best overall experience if you’re willing to try the food and have an open mind that you mind really like something you’ve never tried before.

Aside from the expected and incredible sushi you’ll find all over the country, there are many specialties you should try. Some of our favorites are okonomiyaki (found mostly in Osaka), takoyaki (also from Osaka), yakitori, gyoza, and Kobe beef (only in Kobe). You might also want to try kaiseki cuisine in Kyoto, a traditional, yet very modern preparation. Many of the top kaiseki restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars, too!

⇒ Learn the proper way to eat sushi in Japan.

CONCLUSION

Whether you take a guided tour or do this Japan 2 week itinerary on your own, I am certain it will be one of the most exciting and rewarding trips you’ll ever take. It is a fascinating country full of surprises.

Let us know how your trip to Japan turns out!

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.)

The Perfect Japan 2 Week Itinerary: 10-14 Days in Japan

24 thoughts on “The Perfect Japan 2 Week Itinerary: 10-14 Days in Japan

  1. clara says:

    Hello Nick! Your vacation in Japan is very interesting and very enjoyable. Moreover, you enjoy this holiday with the people closest to you. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

  2. pája says:

    Hello!
    I know you wrote that summer isn’t a very ideal time to visit Japan, but my plans don’t allow me to go at any other time unfortunately. Would the beginning of July really be that bad?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Of course it’s still a great time to go as long as you don’t mind the sometimes intense heat and humidity.

  3. Louise says:

    Hi, we are in our 60’s so not as energetic as some! We are planning a 2 week trip to Japan in April. We arrive in Narita and initial thoughts are to stay somewhere close to airport on first night to help with jet lag and then head out to Kyoto/Nara for 3 nights, followed by Fuji five lakes for 3 nights. We want to end our stay with 3 nights in Tokyo, where would you suggest we go between our Fuji stay and return to Tokyo?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Louise, I would suggest adding another day to Kyoto for a day trip to Osaka. It’s very much worth it. Then how about adding in Hakone and/or Kamakura before heading back to Tokyo.

  4. Anne says:

    Hi, We are a family that loves hiking, biking and outdoor activities in general. Can you suggest some places for us to visit? It’s our first time in Japan and we are staying 14 days. Thanks and I really like your website; it’s easy to understand and full of good information.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Anne. I’m sure you’d love the area around Mt Fuji. There are numerous opportunities for hiking, biking and outdoor activities. Check out our post on day trips from Tokyo for more information.

  5. Ruth Tatz says:

    Interested in a two week tour but we want to go see the snow monkeys north oh Nagano. Is there another spot to see them. We want to go in oct. and we are aware no snow then. Two couples to start tour around 10/12.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Ruth, you can visit the snow monkey park year round. There won’t be snow, but the monkeys are still there!

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi Laura, I’m from Australia/NZ and want to say THANKS for your itineraries! I was a but lost. My hubby and I & two boys (12 & 14) are trying to plan a late January Japan trip but the boys (ie all but me :-D) want to add in a 3day snow holiday which I’m happy to do, as long as we get to at least do your 7 day itinerary! Can you please help me by suggesting an addition to your fantastic 7day itinerary that would get them their chance to try ski/boarding. Also maybe a spot that has other snow fun and a spa for me?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Andrea. Glad you found the itinerary helpful! If you’re doing the 7-day trip, I would recommend a ski resort near Mt. Fuji. There’s Snowtown Yeti and Fujimi Panorama Resort nearby that are fantastic for International visitors. There are many hot springs and tons of other things to do nearby. Plus amazing views.

  7. Andrea Finley says:

    Thanks!! So if we add in 3 days at Hakone/Mt Fuji that would work? 10 days total. So excited! Thanks for your help.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Absolutely. And it won’t require additional travel time. Have a great time. Come back and let us know how it was!

  8. Kousik Nandi says:

    Hello Savoredjourneys Team,

    I hope you are doing well. I’ve been following your post on “Savoredjourneys.com”, for quite some time now. Every time I read a post, I feel like I’m able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it’s so great. I, Kousik author at “Value Walk”. Working all around the globe. We are always looking for many resources for our business development.

    Our goal is an only satisfied client. I saw your post on “Savoredjourneys”, It looks good. So I contact you for this purpose if you want to work for our company. When we can always increase when we grow:)

    Looking forward to working with you.

    Warm Regards!
    Kousik

  9. anshul says:

    Oh, this itinerary is everything I was looking for. Thanks for coming up with this comprehensive itinerary.

    Regards
    Anshul
    www.dailypassengerr.com

  10. Paul says:

    So I am planning a trip to go to Japan with my coworker and friend. Basically we want to go when there when is less tourists is that possible? We are planning to stay for two weeks as well. Also really good itinerary it is very helpful.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Paul – the main tourist spots will always be very busy, but those are likely the places you’ll want to see. I suggest following our 2 week plan and adjusting it to fit your interests. You can get off the beaten path in those places sometimes.

  11. Thiago says:

    Hi Laura, thanks for the great guide! there’s just one thing that consearns me about this.
    How did you go all around with all the luggages? Since most hotels only check in at 12pm, that leaves you touristing with a lot of backpacks and luggages.
    If we stop to shop, that would just go heavier and heavier to go from place to place.
    How did you solved this?
    Thanks

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Thiago. Even if you can’t check into the hotel before afternoon, you can always check your bags with the hotel and go out exploring. We tend to pack really light so we don’t have a lot of luggage to trek around. It gets old when you’re on the train. I suggest taking a single piece of luggage, if possible.

      • Jouberte says:

        Hi there! My trip is in October and we wanted buy the JR pass. I’m wondering if the JR pass will get us to all of these locations without purchasing extra train tickets? I woukd greatly appreciate hearing from you.

        • Laura Lynch says:

          Hi Jouberte. All of the places in the itinerary are covered by the JR Pass. You would only need to purchase extra tickets if you want to take a train that isn’t a JR train, but there is a way to get to each place using JR trains.

  12. Chris says:

    Hi! We are heading to Japan in April 2020. We arrive in Tokyo on the 3rd and leave on the 7th. We are scheduled to be in Okinawa on the 10th to the 15th. We are trying to figure out the “best” place to visit in those 3 days (the 7th to the 10th), and need to keep in mind we need to fly into Okinawa in the 10th. Where do you recommend? We want somewhere either countryside or mountain town, but my wife seems to think Nagano is too “winter focused” so we’re looking elsewhere. We want traditional Japanese culture, a peaceful, country-like setting, and of course, great food and sites! Thanks!!

  13. Gabriel says:

    Hi. Read through your travel guide and would be trying out with my Mum. Would like your advise on how is it like to travel with luggage on train and buses as we would be planning to visit the Hakone for the hot springs. Also on day 7 it says that you in Nara. Did you spend the night there or in Osaka?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Gabriel, The trains and buses are usually packed full. While it’s absolutely possible to travel with luggage, I would advise taking the smallest form or luggage you can. We prefer backpacks, but you can get away with wheeled luggage. The biggest issue is just getting through the crowd easily, so suitcases with spinner wheels are the best option. When going to Nara, we always stay overnight in Osaka or Kyoto. It’s easy to get back and forth.

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