With ten days in Japan, travelers can choose from a great range of options. Those interested in urban life and Japanese culture might opt for a tour of Japan's major cities — Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Or get away from the bright lights and big crowds, choosing a trip through Japan's natural wonders, from towering bamboo groves to mountain peaks to rivers lined with cherry blossom trees. If you're traveling with children, consider a family-friendly journey that includes a visit to a ninja theme park and a ride on one of the world's steepest roller coasters. Adventure seekers should not miss the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of samurai on a self-guided walking tour of the Nakasendo Trail. Learn more about your options by reading over the itineraries below.

Itinerary #1: Japan's Big Four: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & Hiroshima

Explore Japan's four major cities on this lively 10-day itinerary that starts in buzzing Tokyo, continues to the shrines of traditional Kyoto, then takes you to trendy Osaka and the historic landmarks of Hiroshima.

The grand Osaka Castle
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Tokyo! Tokyo
Day 2 See Sumo & Taste Sake in Tokyo Tokyo
Day 3 Explore Futuristic Odaiba Tokyo
Day 4 Discover Geisha Culture in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 5 Enjoy Bamboo Groves & Temples in Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 6 Day-trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 7 Sample Kansai Cuisine in Osaka Osaka
Day 8 Sightsee in Osaka Osaka
Day 9 Visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima Hiroshima
Day 10 Boat to Miyajima Island - Depart Japan  

 

Welcome to Japan! Your adventure begins in Tokyo. You'll visit the world's tallest tower, the Tokyo Skytree, see sumo wrestlers in action, and taste locally produced sake on your first few days. Catch a ferry to the futuristic island of Odaiba to see modern art and experience Japanese-style nightlife. Then you'll continue to Kyoto. You'll visit temples and shrines, then learn about geisha culture and the fine arts tradition of flower arranging, before day-tripping to Arashiyama on day five to walk through a stunning bamboo forest.

Day six brings another day trip from Kyoto, this time to Nara, where native deer wander around the historic shrines. Nearing the end of the trip, you'll continue to Osaka. Visit Osaka Castle and go on a street food tour to learn about regional delicacies before traveling onward to Hiroshima. You'll see the Peace Memorial Park, in the spot where an atomic bomb detonated during World War II, and boat to Miyajima Island before the trip ends. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Natural Wonders of Japan

Discover Japan's spectacular natural wonders and learn about the country's cultural traditions on a 10-day journey that leads you to mountain peaks, lush bamboo forests, and the country's most prized landscape garden. 

Fall colors at Ryuzu Falls in Nikko 
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Tokyo! Tokyo
Day 2 Visit Shrines & Temples in Nikko Tokyo
Days 3 Tour Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto
Day 4  Hike in Chubu Sangaku National Park Matsumoto
Day 5 Discover the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Kanazawa
Day 6 Marvel at Picturesque Landscapes in Kanazawa Kanazawa
Day 7 Explore Geisha Culture in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 8 Day-trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 9 Enjoy Bamboo Groves & Temples in Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 10 Farewell Japan - End of Trip  

 

Kick off the trip in Tokyo. You'll do some sightseeing and sushi sampling in the city before getting away from civilization on day two, heading north to Nikko, home of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Toshogu Shrine — one of the most beautiful in Japan. Spend a few hours at Edo Wonderland, a cultural theme park where you’ll step back in time to the 15th century. Circle back to Tokyo for an overnight before continuing to Matsumoto Castle and onward to Chubu Sangaku National Park for a refreshing hike.

Day five brings an unforgettable adventure: via a succession of cable cars, trolleys, and trains, climbing high into the dense forests and breathtaking peaks known as the "Roof of Japan," you'll travel along the stunning Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Spend the night in Kanazawa, exploring the famous Kenrokuen landscape garden the next day. You'll finish the trip in Kyoto, spotting geishas in the streets, then day-tripping to Nara and Arashiyama on days eight and nine, respectively, for more outdoor exploration before leaving Japan on day ten. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Family Adventure in Japan

From the neon lights and whimsical character cafés of Tokyo to a ninja theme park to the thrilling heights of one of the steepest roller coasters in the world, this action-packed 10-day family holiday around Japan is perfect for adults and kids of all ages.

Walking through the bamboo grove at Arashiyama
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Tokyo! Tokyo
Day 2 Explore Futuristic Odaiba & Learn to Cook Japanese Food Tokyo
Day 3 Have Fun at a Cultural Theme Park in Nikko Tokyo
Day 4 Check Out Manga, Anime & Kawaii Character Cafés Tokyo
Day 5 Get Up Close to Mount Fuji Fujikawaguchiko
Day 6 Sample Tea & Sweets in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 7 Discover Bamboo Groves & Temples in Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 8 Day-trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 9 Sightsee in Osaka Osaka
Day 10 Farewell Japan - End of Trip  

 

This family-friendly journey through Japan begins with several days in Tokyo. You'll learn how to make sushi in a hands-on cooking class with a local chef, explore interactive art in Odaiba, and make your way through colorful character cafés, gaming arcades, comic book shops, and anime stores in Akihabara and Harajuku. Take a samurai sword-fighting class at Edo Wonderland, a cultural theme park that brings 15th-century Japan to life.

Grab your camera for classic photo ops of Mount Fuji on day five, then continue to Kyoto, where you'll learn about traditional tea ceremonies and the art of crafting Japanese sweets. Kids will love the sky-high bamboo and fresh air at Arashiyama the following day, after which you'll head to Nara. Look for gentle deer wandering around the historic shrines, then continue to Osaka for the last full day of the trip. Don't miss the futuristic aquarium, Abeno Harukas — currently the tallest building in Japan — and a museum dedicated to instant ramen. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Walking the Historic Nakasendo Trail 

Step back in time on this 10-day Japan journey, which includes a multi-day hike on the Nakasendo Trail. This historic walking route was part of feudal Japan's original network of highways and laces through serene forests and quiet mountain passes. 

A post town in the Kiso Valley, Japan
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 2 Sightsee in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 3 Side-trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 4 Walk from Magome to Tsumago Tsumago
Day 5 Hike from Tsumago to Nojiri Kiso-Fukushima
Day 6 Traverse the Torii Pass to Narai Narai
Day 7 Trek from Narai to Kiso-Hirasawa Karuizawa or Koromo
Day 8 Transfer to Tokyo via Yokokawa  Tokyo
Day 9 Explore Tokyo Tokyo
Day 10 Depart Tokyo - End of Trip  

 

Historically, travelers on foot between Kyoto and Tokyo took several days to traverse the mountain path, staying overnight in jukus (post towns or post station villages) along the way. You'll do the same on this updated itinerary, starting in Kyoto with a day of sightseeing and a day trip to nearby Nara. The hike officially begins on day four. You'll walk along the Nakasendo Trail over the Magome Pass to the post town of Tsumago. You'll spend the night at a minshuku, or family-run inn.

Continue along the trail through bamboo and cedar forests to Nojiri. You'll take a dip in hot spring baths in the evening, resting before the trip takes you onward along the Torii Pass to Narai. In Kiso-Hirasawa, stop into small shops selling beautifully crafted lacquered tableware, then continue to tour Matsumoto Castle, which dates back to the late 1500s. The final stretch of the adventure leads you from Karuizawa to Yokokawa; you'll enjoy gorgeous mountain views from the trail. In Yokokawa, you'll board the train back to Tokyo, where the hike ends. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Explore Nature on the Island of Kyushu 

Tour natural attractions on the Japanese island of Kyushu, from steaming hot springs to a smoking volcano, on this active 10-day adventure that features volcano hiking, a "sand bath" in a coastal spa, and several cable car journeys to mountain vistas.

A mountain road in the Aso region
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Fukuoka Fukuoka
Day 2 Explore the Canals of Yanagawa Fukuoka
Day 3 See the "Seven Hells" of Beppu Beppu
Day 4 Enjoy a Sand Bath in Beppu Beppu
Day 5 Visit Kurokawa Onsen in the Mountains Beppu
Day 6 Discover Beautiful Landscapes in Aso Kumamoto
Day 7 Venture to the Largest Active Volcano in Japan Kumamoto
Day 8 Take in Incredible Views in Nagasaki Nagasaki
Day 9 Explore the Abandoned Island of Gunkanjima Nagasaki
Day 10 Depart Nagasaki - End of Trip  

 

The itinerary begins in Fukuoka, the island capital. After some sightseeing, you'll have the chance to try a delicious regional ramen dish. Then you'll day-trip to quiet Yanagawa on day two, exploring the town's picturesque canals by boat. Move on to Beppu, famous for its hot springs, including the "Seven Hells," traditionally used for steam cooking. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to try a sand bath, submerging your body in warm sand — the custom promotes calm and offers several health benefits.

Visit the quaint resort town of Kurokawa Onsen before driving through the mountainous landscapes of Aso. Horseback riding and mountain cycling excursions are available before the next day's hike to Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan. Finish up the trip with a few days in Nagasaki. Boat to the ghostly island of Gunkanjima, home to an abandoned coal-mining town, and enjoy a cable car ride to one of the world's best night views from Mt. Inasayama. Learn more 

More Japan Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Japan? Check out these other Japan itineraries, with walking tours, cultural journeys, and best-of trips to hit the highlights. 

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.

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Map of 10 Days in Japan - 5 Unique Itineraries
Map of 10 Days in Japan - 5 Unique Itineraries