Planning a Japan Vacation? Try this 7-day Japan Itinerary

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Are you planning a trip to Japan? Most people dream of taking a Japan vacation at some point in their life. It’s an intriguing destination, full of sumptuous food and drinks, mesmerizing landscapes, and incredible sights.

The only thing holding you back from traveling to Japan is probably the daunting task of creating the perfect Japan travel itinerary. We understand. That’s why we’ve taken the fear out of it for you by creating a perfect 7-day Japan itinerary that you can follow or use to plan your own trip.

» Check out these 10 cities to visit in Japan and these 10 Popular Japanese Drinks You Must Try.

Osaka Castle

For decades, the island nation of Japan has been a favorite Asia travel destination. From amazing Zen temples to those beautiful cherry blossoms, Japan has something for every traveler who visits. The hardest part is just fitting it all in.

This itinerary includes many of the top things you’ll want to see and do in Japan – including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. You can see a lot in 7 days in Japan.

It might sound overwhelming to do so much in so little time, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You’ll see below how the trip flows from one location to the next very easily.

Planning Your Japan Trip?

Buy flights. We recommend using Skyscanner or Expedia to find the best flight deals. Check out our guide to finding the best airfare for additional tips.

Get your Japan Rail Pass. You can buy it online here

Hotels See all hotel options

Best Tours to Book

Japan Itineraries

If you have longer to spend in Japan, you can expand this itinerary to any length you wish.

Tokyo Japan
Tokyo Japan (Image CC00)

Tours to Take

How to Plan a Vacation in Japan

Japan consists of four main islands and several smaller ones. Together the islands take the shape of a sea horse and occupy an area of 377,435 square kms.

Tokyo, the capital city, is very modern and bustling with activity, so when you travel to Tokyo, be ready for crowds.

The landscape of Japan, away from the big cities, is mountainous with spectacular scenery; some of the mountains are volcanic. As you travel between cities, you’ll pass through this beautiful countryside.

Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, and is known for its symmetrical slopes and gorgeous views from surrounding areas. You can hike and take tours all around this area.

Best Time To Visit Japan

The first step in planning a Japan vacation is deciding when to go. As with most places, there isn’t a “best” time to go to Japan. You can go whenever the mood strikes you. Japan really is a year-round travel destination.

However, there are certainly “better” times to go. It’s important to know the country’s seasons and when they occur during the year, so you can avoid the intense heat or snow.

The islands of Japan lie in the northeastern end of the monsoon area. The climate is generally mild, although it varies considerably from place to place as you travel through Japan. That means you may need to plan for all types of weather conditions.

Late spring (March to May) and late autumn (September to November) are generally the best times to visit Japan because spring and autumn are the best seasons of the year with balmy days and bright sunshine.

During these months, there is very little rainfall, there are many sunny days, and the temperatures are mild.

  • Spring is cherry blossom season. This is considered high season in Japan. The weather tends to be mild and nice from late March to May.
  • In autumn, the leaves are changing color and the resulting scenery is nothing short of amazing.
  • In summer in Japan it gets very hot and humid. It’s also a very busy high season for Japan, so you’ll be fighting crowds and you’ll pay more for accommodations. Try to avoid traveling in July and August.
  • In winter, December to February, there will be less tourists so the prices are lower and it’s easier to get in to top attractions. Japan can also be very beautiful in the snow.
Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto (photo CC0)

Getting to Japan

Many top airlines have direct flights into Japan. 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.

Something to consider, which will help maximize your time in the country, is to fly into one city and out of another, such as flying into Tokyo and out of Osaka.

Doing this will save time and money. Once you arrive at the airport (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other major airports) there is a convenient train that takes you into the city center.

  • In Tokyo, that train is called the JR Narita Express. A one-way journey takes about an hour and costs approx. 3000 yen. You can use the Japan Rail Pass for this train.
  • In Osaka, rapid trains take you from the airport to Tennoji Station within 50 minutes for appox. 1060 yen, and to Osaka Station within 70 minutes for approx. 1190 yen.
  • In Kyoto, the Limited Express Haruka train will take you to Osaka airport in about 75 minutes.

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.

golden temple kyoto
Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto

Top Japan Destinations

There are many unique and interesting places to visit in Japan. Of course it’s not possible to visit them all in just seven days, so this itinerary covers the top three places to visit.

kamakura japan
Hase Temple in Kamakura Japan

If you have a bit more time, you can include more top Japan destinations in your itinerary. Each has its own special things to see and do. A few that we particular love are:

If you’re not keen to travel on your own, there are many tour agencies that provide tours to these cities. However, it is very easy to travel around Japan via high-speed Shinkansen bullet train, so organizing your own trip isn’t out of the question.

Kyoto cherry blossoms
Kyoto cherry blossoms

Top Things to Do in Japan

There are so many incredibly unique things to do in Japan… that can only be done in Japan. These are the things you should focus on while you’re there, to soak up as much of the culture as possible.

  • Seeing the temples in Kyoto, including the famous orange gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Temple).
  • Staying the night in a traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan.
  • Soaking in a communal onsen (traditional hot springs). Hakone is known for its many onsens and its fantastic views of Mount Fuji. Also try Nozawa onsens.
  • Exploring the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.
  • Eating sushi, ramen, gyoza and many other delicious things in Tokyo.
  • Touring Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park & Museum.
  • Trying real Kobe beef in Kobe.
  • Seeing the cherry blossoms.
  • Trying Japanese sake at a brewery.
  • Walking through the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
  • Catching a glimpse of Mount Fuji.
  • Visit the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Nagano.
  • Feeding the deer at Nara Park.
  • Hiking to the Great Buddha of Kamakura.
  • Try izakayas (Japanese taverns) – a truly local experience. (Pro Tip: If you want to enjoy Japanese hidden Izakaya food and drinks, Magical Trip will help you navigate through their favorite izakaya bars on Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour with an awesome local guide.

How to Get Around in Japan

The best way to travel around Japan in by train. You’ll want to purchase a 7-day Japan Rail Pass. The pass allows you to travel on all JR trains throughout Japan, including the high-speed Shinkansen bullet trains, for either 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days.

It’s the most economical and worry-free way to travel, if you’ll be visiting multiple destinations, as this itinerary suggests.

Travel in Japan is not cheap and the cost of buying individual tickets will far exceed the cost of the Japan Rail Pass. Just remember, it’s best/easiest to purchase the pass before entering the country. You’ll need to do this in advance so it has time to be delivered to you.

Read our guide on where to buy a Japan Rail Pass and to see if it’s worth it for your trip.

When planning your Japan itinerary, you’ll need to be sure to leave plenty of time between destinations for travel. The trains in Japan are fast, but travel still eats up a lot of time.

Keep in mind the distance between each destination when making your itinerary; for instance, the train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 3 hours, 15 minutes. You’ll also need to factor in the time it takes to get to the train station, get on the train, etc.

The good news is that as long as there is a train linking each of your chosen cities, you’ll be able to easily travel around the country.

Mt. Fuji, one of the top sights in Japan
Mt. Fuji, one of the top sights in Japan

How to Plan a Trip

Option 1: Go on a Guided Japan Tour

Sometimes it’s easier to go on a guided tour of Japan rather than plan your own trip. Guided tours are a great way to experience a country you’re not completely comfortable in. Also the language barrier in Japan can be quite daunting.

Japan & More 8-Day Intro to Japan Tour (Fully-Escorted)

Japan and More offers a fully escorted 8-day Intro to Japan tour that takes you to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto. They also have longer trip itineraries: 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.

Japan and More 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.

The reason we recommend Japan and More is because they are Americans who know Japan really well, understand the culture, and speak the language. They take care of every detail for you, from planning straight on to answering all your questions.

These tours book up fast because spaces are limited. They keep group sizes small to make sure everyone gets individual attention. So it’s best to secure your place as soon as possible.

Not sure? Read this review by someone who’s taken a trip with Japan & More.

Use coupon code: SAJN for $100 off
Sushi in Japan

Option 2: Plan Your Own Self-Guided Trip

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll have no problem planning your own Japan travel itinerary and getting around on your own. Sure, there is often a language barrier to deal with, but it’s nothing a savvy traveler can’t handle.

If you’d like to put together your own self-guided trip, we’ve got a 7-day itinerary that ticks all the boxes you’re probably looking to do with a week in Japan. It includes Tokyo, Hakone/Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka.

Option 3: Get Planning Help From a Local

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.

Quick. Check these necessities off your prep list!

How to Spend One Week in Japan

Day 1-2: Tokyo

Tokyo skyline

What To Do in Tokyo

While you could easily spend 7 or more days just in Tokyo, you’ll have to do the abbreviated version in order to see more of the country.

We recommend following this 3-day Tokyo itinerary. You can mix and match what you do, to suit your interests.

Top things to see in Tokyo include:

  • Tokyo Skytree
  • Tsukiji Outer Market (read more about it here)
  • Akasuka
  • Shibuya Crossing at Shibuya Station
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • The Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple

We also recommend participating in a tea ceremony, going on an Izakaya food tour, and taking a cooking class.

You’ll definitely want to indulge in some ramen, which can be found in abundance at Tokyo Station Ramen Street.

How to Get to Tokyo

Tokyo has two airports – Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. Narita is for international flights and Haneda is for domestic flights and a few international flights.

The JR Narita Express train is the fastest option for getting to the city center. It goes to JR Shinjuku Station, JR Tokyo Station, JR Ikebukuro Station, JR Shinagawa and JR Yokohama Station. Follow the signs in the terminal to the train.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can use it for this train. If you don’t, you can purchase a ticket for around 3310 yen. The journeys is about 50 minutes to get to Tokyo station.

From there, you can buy another ticket to take one of the inner city lines to your hotel.

The Airport Limousine Bus is another option, and probably the most convenient. The ticket desk is straight ahead as you leave the arrivals area. The bus stops are just outside the terminal building.

You can go to Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Disneyland and major hotels, and they leave every fifteen minutes. A ticket costs 3000 yen, and the journey is 1.5 hours.

Once you arrive, you’ll want to use the HyperDia app to figure out your train travel within Tokyo. It displays detailed timetable and compares routes and prices. It’s available for both iphone and android.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

There are so many great places to stay throughout the city. Check out our complete guide with our recommendations. We’ve given 9 great places throughout the city.

If I had to choose one place, I would recommend the The Strings by Intercontinental Tokyo. It’s a really large hotel with nice rooms, located in Shinagawa, which is really close to shopping, eating and transportation.

⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Find a Hotel in Tokyo

Best Tours to Book in Tokyo

Whenever I’m planning my own trip, I go to Viator and see what type of tours I can book to add to my itinerary. You can do all of these things on your own, but it’s always better with a local guide.

If you have extra time:

Day 3: Hakone

mt fuji
Mt. Fuji

What to Do in Hakone

The major reason people come to this area is for Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi, two very beautiful natural highlights of the area. Hakone is also famous for its traditional hot springs (onsen) and Ryokan.

This is the place to go if you want to experience these hot baths. The onsens are separated by gender and are a “no bathing suit” style traditional bath.  Here are a few things you’ll want to do in Hakone:

  • Take the cable car to see Mt. Fuji
  • Go hiking
  • Hakone open-air museum
  • Hakone Yumoto hot springs
  • Owakudani – an active volcano
  • Lake Ashi

How to Get To Hakone

Hakone and Mt. Fuji are very close together, and they are on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto, so it’s a stop that most travelers make.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass, hop on the Shinkansen – on the Tokaido line – from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station to Odawara. Be sure to check the stops on the train you’re getting on to make sure they stop in Odawara.

If you’re not using a rail pass, the quickest direct route to Hakone from Tokyo is on the Odakyu Electric Railway Romancecar. You will depart from Shinjuku Station and arrive at Hakone-Yumoto Station in 1.5 hours.

A ticket costs 2,080 yen, including the limited express surcharge. Be sure you only get on the romancecars, as the others require a transfer.

If you’re going to be using transportation in and around Hakone for at least 2 days, the Hakone Freepass is a good idea. You buy it at Shinjuku for the train ride, and it also can be used on the Hakone Tozan Line trains, the Hakone Tozan Cable Car, the Hakone Tozan Ropeway, and buses. It’s valid for two days and costs 5,140 yen for adults and 1,500 yen for children.

traditional Ryokan
Traditional Ryokan

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.

Tours to Book in Hakone

Day 4: Kyoto

Kyoto street with cherry blossoms and traditional kimono

How to Get To Kyoto

You will leave from Odawara Station and continue on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line to Kyoto Station. This is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. It takes about 3:15 to get there.

The best way to get around Kyoto is by using public transportation, You can get a Icoca card, which is accepted on most trains and buses around the city.

If you’re going to be traveling around a lot in a day, consider getting a 1-day pass that will save you money. Most tourists won’t travel around enough to make this worth it, however.

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.

What to See in Kyoto

Kyoto is known for its temples, Kaiseki cuisine, and even tofu, so this is an excellent place to spend a few days immersed in a fascinating culture.

You’ll want to see the temples of Kyoto, including the Fushimi Inari Shrine and Golden Temple, visit Nishiki Market, see the geishas walking around the city center, and eat a wonderful meal.

Another way to experience the cuisine is to take a cooking class. AirKitchen matches you with dozens of locals who will show you the ins and outs of Japanese cooking in their own kitchen.

Here’s a 3-day Kyoto itinerary that will get you to all the major sights in the city. If you have more time to spend, expand your trip with these day trips from Kyoto.

Tours to Book in Kyoto

Day 5: Kyoto

Gold Temple in Kyoto
Gold Temple in Kyoto (Image: CC0 Public Domain)

If you’re happy to keep hanging out in Kyoto, you can spend the full day there following our 3-day itinerary.

Another option is to take a JR train to Nara Park to feed the roaming deer, see the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue, and one of the tallest pagodas in Japan. You can easily spend a full day in the Nara area, or split the time between the Kyoto and Nara.

In the evening, take the JR train onward to Osaka, so you can get an early start in Osaka the next morning.

Day 6: Osaka

Osaka Castle

What to Do in Osaka

Osaka is a lively port city packed with interesting architecture, an incredible street food scene, buzzing nightlife, and cherry-blossom trees that bring color to the city in the spring.

We have a 2-day Osaka itinerary that you’ll want to follow to be sure you see it all. Here are some top sights to see in Osaka:

  • Osaka Castle and Park
  • Shopping in Shinsaibashi
  • Osaka Aquarium
  • Tempozan Ferris Wheel
  • Omeda Sky Building
  • Universal Studios Osaka
  • Shinsekai shopping area

Be sure to visit Dotonbori Street to try all the Japanese specialties, like okonomiyaki and takoyaki. It’s best after 8pm, when the street gets packed with people and becomes exciting.

If you have time, also visit the food-focused Kuromon Ichiba Market.

How to Get To Osaka

There are many routes you can take on the train to get from Kyoto to Osaka. Take a look at this article for more guidance on your particular situation.

If you have a JR pass, you’ll want to take the super fast Shinkansen train from Kyoto Station to Shin-Osaka. It takes just 12 minutes. If you don’t have a JR Pass, you can take the Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line to Shin-Osaka for a third of the price in 23 minutes.

Since it doesn’t take long to make this transfer, we recommend doing the transfer in the evening and staying overnight in Osaka, so you can get an early start on your sightseeing in Osaka.

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.

Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle (CC 3.0)

Tours to Book in Osaka


You may have to fly or take the train back to Tokyo on your 7th day in order to fly back home, but if you have one more day to spend, we recommend taking the 30-minute train ride to Kobe.

Day 7: Kobe

The beef was served with salt, pepper and fried garlic slices
The beef was served with salt, pepper and fried garlic slices (Photo by Savored Journeys)

How to Get To Kobe

From Osaka-Umeda stations, take the Hanshin or Kobe line to Kobe-Sannomiya station. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the train type. 

The city of Kobe is rather large and there are a few things to see. You can visit the Kobe Harborland for shopping, restaurants and bars. We spent our day in Kobe having a really amazing lunch at a Kobe beef restaurant, which was very much worth it.

Then we transferred to Kobe’s Nada district where you find all the sake breweries. Many of the breweries offer tours and tastings and they are all reachable by train and on foot. See this post for information how how to visit the breweries.

Unfortunately, this is the end of your trip. You can fly out or take the train back to Tokyo from Osaka or Kobe. It will take around 5 hours total time to get back to Tokyo, so be sure to plan that into your itinerary.


There are many ways to experience and enjoy your Japan vacation. Building your own itinerary is the only way to ensure you see and do the things you’ve always wanted to do in Japan.

Rest assured that this 7-day Japan itinerary will take you to some of the top places to visit in Japan, and will prepare you for a second visit.

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Planning a Japan Vacation? Try this 7-day Japan Itinerary

53 thoughts on “Planning a Japan Vacation? Try this 7-day Japan Itinerary

  1. Chrysoula says:

    Very good tips. I have been to Japan in the past for 8 days. I spent most of my time in Tokyo, Kamakura and Kyoto. I would definitely come back to experience an Onsen and go to Osaka

    • Yanina Cabrera says:

      Trying to go in November. I will be there for 7 days or so. My question is how many days did you stay in each city? 🙂
      I appreciate your answer

  2. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie says:

    Love this detailed, straightforward guide for planning. I haven’t been to Japan yet, but this is the exact kind of guide I look for to help get my travel planning off the ground regardless of location. I’d love to see Japan in different seasons. The cherry blossoms are so iconic, but the fall colors must be amazing.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Thanks Jackie! I often find it so difficult to get all the basic info in one place, without having to visit 9 blogs to piece it all together. I hope its useful for just that reason.

  3. Drew says:

    Great tips. With our impending move to China (we’ll get over there eventually…looking like first week of May now. Visa paperwork is a nightmare!), we can’t wait to have easy access to Japan, a country we have yet to visit! It is a culture I find fascinating and a food scene that I have yet to explore in person. Can’t wait!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      You’ll have ample opportunity to explore Japan, once you’re in China. Jealous! I hope your paperworking is over soon and you can get to the fun part!

  4. Rosemary says:

    I just recently spent a couple of hours on a layover in Japan and was blown away by the beauty of the place. I promised myself to go back very soon. This 7-day itinerary sounds like perfect especially the food. Fresh seafood, kobe beef, and more. Great guide and will keep it in mind for an upcoming trip.

  5. Carol Perehudoff says:

    I have no idea why my comment was erased and an address popped in, so I’ll try this again. (Weird.) What I said originally was that I’ve been to Tokyo a couple of times but hadn’t had a chance to explore beyond that. Hot springs, Kyoto and Mt Fuji would be top on my list. Thanks for the travel ideas.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      I’ve noticed this happening, Carol. Thanks for typing out your comment a second time. It’s definitely worth it to go back again and explore a little beyond Tokyo.

  6. Trisha Velarmino says:

    I’m deeply impressed not only with the beauty of Japan but also with the well-mannered locals it has! Beautiful! Xx

  7. Veronika says:

    Thanks for this Japan itinerary – this amazing country has been on my list for ages. Now the spring is coming, so I am sure all the blossoms bust be amazing around there. Is it true that Tokyo is much more amazing than Tokyo?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hey Veronika. This week (end of March, beginning of April) is usually the best time to see the blossoms in Japan. I’m sure you meant another city in that last question, but I’m not sure which one. I personally love Tokyo, but each city has its own unique charm.

  8. nish says:

    Nice and compact itinerary , this one. The tips are really useful for people like who are yet to go to Japan. Especially the one about not tipping. During travels we are so used to tipping everywhere .

  9. Nina says:

    Just wondering if you have a ballpark estimate on how much this 7 day itinerary would end up costing if followed exactly? Like hotels and rail passes and such?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Nina, I’d say the full itinerary would cost somewhere in the range of $3500, but it really depends on which hotels you choose and where you’re eating.

  10. Nelly S says:

    The itinerary sounds perfect! My only worry is transportation. Is it common for hotels to offer shuttle rides to airports and vice vera? I also noticed that JR Train offers different passes based on regions, which do you recommend for this itinerary? Is there an extra charge to bring luggage? Do taxi cabs have set rates or is easier to get around by foot near the hotels you suggested?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Nelly, it’s always best to take public transport where you’re going throughout Japan. While it’s possible to take a taxi (if you have trouble walking), it’s best to just take the train or walk. There are local trains everywhere that will take you to the airport. If you stay in a central hotel (the ones I’ve listed) you won’t have to walk far to catch the train to the airport. If you’re traveling throughout Japan, you want the main JR pass, so it can be used everywhere (though there are a few trains it doesn’t cover – none of the ones I mention). There isn’t an extra charge for luggage on the train (unless you have a LOT of luggage).

  11. Mario says:

    How could I arrange this to land and depart from Tokyo? I’m also a backpacker so luxury hotels aren’t my thing but getting some sleep and showering is. Is there a link to the 10 day itinerary? Do these trains run overnight as well?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Mario, here is the link for the 10-14 day itinerary: You will see in that itinerary how you can circle back to Tokyo. And yes, some of the trains run overnight. You just have to check the schedule.

  12. Prakash says:

    Hi ..we are planning to visit OSaka and Kyto during golden week. Is it advisable? or should we move the dates?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Prakash. I think it depends on your tolerance for crowds. Prices will be higher and it can be difficult to get reservations, but mostly everything will still be open, just possibly super busy and crowded. If it’s possible to move your dates, I would consider doing it. Why contend with the crowds if you can choose not to.

  13. Sharon says:

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for this website. You have lots of useful information. We will be traveling to Japan on the 27th of October this year and I cannot wait. We will be bringing my MIL and FIL. They are up in age. Late 70’s. Do you think an all day trip to Kyoto would be too much for them?

    Thank you,

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Sharon. I don’t think a day trip to Kyoto would be too much for them – but it does require a bit of walking. Would depend if they’re still able to get around easily. I’m sure you’ll all love Kyoto.

  14. honey says:

    can you help me for the itinerary travelling with kids ages 7 and 8. we plan to travel on april 2019. our main attraction is universal studio..we only have limited time 7 nights 6 days to be in exact. highly appreciated if you can help me. thanks in advance

  15. JouJou says:

    Wow! This itinerary blows me away. I’m planning to go in autumn this year (2019), and I’m contemplating which month is best. In any case, I think I will definitely try out this itinerary when I go. However, I have a question. If you had to guess, how much would one need to save or have to complete this itinerary of yours, not including the flight to and from Japan? I’m thinking about the price of the trains, hotel, the cultural landmarks, and more.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Costs depend a lot on what level of comfort you’re seeking. A rail pass starts at around $250 for 7 days and you can get everywhere in the itinerary with it. Hotels or hostels can be as low as $20/day. Many of the cultural landmarks are free to see. Some have small entrance fees, so maybe $100 total for that.

  16. Patti says:

    Hi. We are planning a 8 days/9 nights trip to japan mid April this year for a family of 5 (kids 9,12,15). After much thinking I came with this itinerary. Do you think is doable or too much?
    2 nights Tokyo, 2 nights Takayama, 3 nights kyoto (with day visit to Osaka), 1 night Hakone, last night at Tokyo to flight back the following afternoon. Not sure if Takayama is too ambitious but it looks lovely. Any advice would be much appreciated!! Thank you

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Patti. Takayama does add quite a bit of train travel to your itinerary, it takes about 5 hours. If you already know what you want to do there and it’s of importance to you, I don’t think it’s too much. But if you’re ambivalent at all, I would spend an extra day in Tokyo and an extra day in Kyoto (for a visit to Nara).

  17. Daniel says:

    Hi Laura, great to read all the comments. We’re planning a trip to Japan in May 2019 starting and finishing in Tokyo for 8 nights. The planned itinerary is: 1 night Tokyo, 2 nights Hiroshima, 2 nights Kyoto and back for 3 nights in Tokyo buying a JR pass. Is this doable in the short period time frame? Any suggestions?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Daniel. That plan is definitely doable. It’ll give you some time to see each location, you’ll just have to be judicious about how you spend your time at each. Be sure to go in with a planned itinerary.

  18. Amanda Tran says:

    Hi, thank you so much so all the great insights. We are planning to go to Japan end of June/July 2019 for 9 days 8 nights. In/out of Tokyo. Our wish list would be Tokyo, Mt. Fuji (climbing would be amazing), Kyoto and Sapporo lavender visit. Please advise how best we can do all this with our limited time or should be cut something out. Sincerely appreciate your help. Thanks so much.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Amanda, I definitely think you can do all of those places in 9 days. You can follow our itinerary, but you’d want to start in Sapporo, then Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, and Kyoto. You can save time by flying between Sapporo and Tokyo.

  19. I will be in Japan for close to nine days. Thank you says:

    I love your itinerary. I’m going to do this trip over US Thanksgiving. How do I do your itinerary and add Hiroshima? I will be in Japan for close to nine days. Thank you!

  20. Hildie says:

    I love your itinerary. I’m going to do this trip over US Thanksgiving. How do I do your itinerary and add Hiroshima? I will be in Japan for close to nine days. Thank you!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Hildie, The best way to add Hiroshima to this itinerary is to go there after Osaka. If you don’t have time, you can skip Kobe and just take the train from osaka to Hiroshima. It’s a 2 1/2 hour train from Osaka station to Hiroshima station on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Nozomi.

  21. Sudha Mirchia says:

    Hi Laura, very impressive itinerary, planning trip to Japan mid January 2020, flying in and out of Narita, looking for 6-7 days itinerary with interest in Tokyo, hakone and koyto mainly for first time travel, can you guide me please

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Sudha, you can mix and match the itinerary however it suits you. You can get the train to each of these places, so just adjust the itinerary to fit your needs. We also have a 14-day itinerary (the link is in this post) that can give you more info on other places you might want to include.

  22. PraVish says:

    Hi… We are planning a trip this year towards the end of May with our parents for 8 days and following your tips. Thanks for piling it all up at one place. We were thinking of skipping Hiroshima… You think its ok to do that?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Definitely, it will still be a very full and enjoyable trip without the stop at Hiroshima. Enjoy!

  23. steven astley says:

    Hi Laura, some great ideas here, thanks.
    one question, we would like to visit either Nagasaki or Hiroshima but haven’t time for both, which would you recommend?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      I would personally visit Hiroshima. It’s close to Miyajima, which is a major attraction in the area, and the memorial museum is bigger, plus it’s much closer to Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto, so might be easier to fit into your plans.

  24. Kelsey Beard says:

    Hi, I am considering a trip to Japan and am currently trying to decide how to go about doing so. This is the best information I have found so far, but I am still unsure about accommodations. Do you stay in a hotel in Tokyo, then travel and come back every day? Or stay at each destination you visit?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Kelsey, you can go as far as Mt Fuji in a day trip but any further you would want to leave your hotel in Tokyo and stay at a hotel in the new destination, like Kyoto or Osaka, for instance. They are too far away to come back. We give recommendations for where to stay in each of those places.

  25. Honey says:

    Hello! Great details! Was wondering if it would be advisable to purchase the Rail tickets for a party of 5 when we will only be staying for 6 days and focus on Tokyo and Kyoto attractions? I already purchased a prepaid taxi to and from airport to our hotels so wasn’t sure if we could still maximize the use of the rail tickets given those 2 locations only? Thank you for your help!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      I wouldn’t buy a rail ticket if you will only be going to Tokyo and Kyoto. It’s not worth it. You can just buy one way tickets between them for cheaper.

  26. Kumar says:

    Hello Ms. Laura, I want to visit Japan along with my Parents, They are old and cannot walk for long distance. Can you help me to plan an itinerary for 7 days. Can you also suggest a travel agent for me to plan and arrange everything in advance.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Kumar. You will definitely want to work closely with a travel agent to make sure getting around isn’t a problem. You might consider Japan and More We’ve worked with them for a long time. They’re very good.

  27. Priyanka Patil says:

    Planning to visit Japan in month of is the weather in Japan ? Is it advisable? Needed a 7days itenary to Japan.

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