In 13 days, you can experience the highlights of five or six cities, like those of Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka, on a history-focused tour by train or swap out Hakone and add Nagoya and Kobe to discover modern and traditional Japan. Slow the pace down and eat sushi at Tsukiji Market, see Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi, and pay your respects in Hiroshima. Alternatively, follow a pilgrimage trail on Shikoku Island to discover some of Japan's most prestigious temples.

Itinerary #1: Highlights & History of Japan by Train

An excellent introduction to Japan for first-time visitors seeking to enjoy as many authentic Japanese experiences as possible, you'll cover many of the best sights in Japan on this action-packed highlights and history tour from Tokyo to Osaka by train. Stroll through Shinjuku Golden Gai, marvel at Kegon Falls in Nikko, see the Great Buddha of Kamakura, and cruise along Lake Ashi to enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji.

Lake Ashi
View of Mount Fuji in the background of Lake Ashi
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Pick Up Train Pass Tokyo
Day 2 Tokyo City Tour: From Traditional to Modern Tokyo
Day 3 Day Trip to Nikko Tokyo
Day 4 Temples & Shrines in Kamakura Tokyo
Day 5 Transfer by Train to Hakone Hakone
Day 6 Transfer to Kyoto, Hike at Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto
Day 7 Deer, Temples & Tea in Nara & Uji Kyoto
Day 8 Beautiful Landscapes in Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 9 Transfer by Train to Hiroshima Hiroshima
Day 10 Hiroshima Gardens Hiroshima
Day 11 Highlights of Miyajima Hiroshima
Day 12 Transfer by Train to Osaka, Evening Food Tour Osaka
Day 13 Depart Osaka  

Begin in Japan's capital city of Tokyo. Wander through Shinjuku's gardens, check out the Kabukicho red-light district, and visit the Tokyo SkyTree for views from one of the tallest towers in the world. Day trip to Nikko to explore Nikko National Park, hike the Senjogahara Plateau Nature Trail, and admire Kegon Falls. Journey to the seaside city of Kamakura and see temples and shrines such as Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Continue to Hakone for a cable car ride to the volcanic valley of Owakudani and cruise along Lake Ashi to see stunning views of Mount Fuji.

Ride the bullet train to Kyoto to see the famous Fushimi Inari shrine, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the Higashiyama district, and meander through Maruyama Park. Head to Nara to visit the home of the world's largest bronze Buddha statue at Todai-ji temple. Dine in the Byodo-in Omotesando neighborhood before spending the day in Arashiyama to experience the Togetsukyo Bridge, Iwatayama Mountain, and Iwatayama Monkey Park. Take a four-hour Hiroshima tour, then visit Miyajima island to spot wild deer. Conclude your trip in Osaka and indulge in the local cuisine. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Discover Modern & Traditional Japan

Ideal for travelers seeking an experience that offers authentic Japanese culture with a unique twist, you'll discover both modern and traditional aspects of Japan on this 13-day whistle-stop tour of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Hiroshima. See how ancient shrines meet vibrant shopping neighborhoods, explore traditional food markets with a modern take on classic cuisines, and immerse yourself in nature to enjoy views of millennia-old mountains. 

Visit Japan's Kiyomizu-dera pagoda in eastern Kyoto
Visit Japan's Kiyomizu-dera pagoda in eastern Kyoto
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo Tokyo
Day 2 Explore Tokyo's Bright Lights Tokyo
Day 3 Experience Traditional Tokyo Tokyo
Day 4 Train to Nagoya, Nagoya Day Tour Nagoya
Day 5 Train to Osaka, Explore Osaka
Day 6 Train to Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine Hike Kyoto
Day 7 Discover Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 8 Nishiki Market Kyoto
Day 9 Train to Kobe, Kobe Day Tour Kobe
Day 10 Free Day in Kobe Kobe
Day 11 Train to Hiroshima, Hiroshima Gardens Tour Hiroshima
Day 12 Miyajima Cruise Hiroshima
Day 13 Train to Osaka, Depart  

Collect your Ordinary JR Pass upon arrival in Tokyo, which provides unlimited travel on the bullet train during your trip. Head straight for the fascinating Shibuya District, see the Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine, then enjoy sunset views from Shibuya Sky's observation deck. Tuck into traditional Japanese cuisine at Toyosu Fish Market, visit the Imperial Palace and check out the famous Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa. Stroll down Shikemichi Street in Nagoya, then enjoy a local lunch at Bejiroka. Board the train to Osaka to see the castle, Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, and the Dotombori District.

A 15-minute train ride takes you to Kyoto on Day 6, where you can explore the Fushimi Inari Shrine, featured in the "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie. Sample local snacks at Nishiki Market, then participate in a traditional tea ceremony at Kiyomizudera Temple. Head to Arashiyama to visit Nijo Castle, wander through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, then watch playful animals at the Iwatayama Monkey Park. Day trip to Kobe to try the world-famous beef, visit one of Japan's oldest shrines, Ikuta, and ride the Shin-Kobe Ropeway to the top of Mount Rokko. Finally, touring the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park before departing. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Discover Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima

Perfect for first-time visitors looking to participate in as many authentic Japanese experiences as possible, this 13-day Japan discovery tour allows you to take in the views of the city from Tokyo Skytree, explore Mount Fuji, see the renowned Fushimi Inari Shrine, admire wild deer in Nara, and discover the reborn city of Hiroshima.

Senso-ji Temple in Japan
Senso-ji Temple in Japan
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Explore Tokyo
Day 2 Eat Sushi at Tsukiji, Visit Harajuku Fashion District Tokyo
Day 3 Future of Technology Odaiba Experience Tokyo
Day 4 Sumo Training Session & Sake Tasting Tokyo
Day 5 Day Trip to Nikko, Explore Tokyo
Day 6 Transfer to Fujikawaguchiko, See Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi Fujikawaguchiko
Day 7 Explore Fujikawaguchiko Fujikawaguchiko
Day 8 Transfer to Kyoto, Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine & Geisha Experience Kyoto
Day 9 Open-Air Train Ride Through Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 10 Day Trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 11 Transfer to Hiroshima, Explore Hiroshima
Day 12 Day Trip to Miyajima Island Hiroshima
Day 13 Depart from Hiroshima  

Commence your trip in Tokyo. Enjoy the views from the Tokyo Skytree, tour the grounds of the world-famous Senso-ji Temple, and make your own sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market. Explore Harajuku, taste local sweet treats on Takeshita Street, and be wowed at lively Shibuya Crossing. Cruise through Tokyo Bay or cross the Rainbow Bridge to go to the artificial island of Odaiba to experience the interactive art exhibition. Make your way to Nikko to see the Toshogu Shrine and Rinnoji temple before catching a glimpse of the elusive Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi. Dedicate a whole day to exploring the area. 

Visit the Narusawa Ice Caves, tour the Chureito Pagoda, or head to Shinobi no Sato Ninja Village to practice being a ninja—fun if you're traveling with kids. In Kyoto, visit one of the most famous shrines in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Shrine, before enjoying dinner in Pontocho. Ride along the Hozugawa River on a traditional Japanese boat in the Arashiyama district. Then journey to Nara to see wild deer roaming freely on the grounds of the Todaiji temple before spending a day in Hiroshima learning about the tragic events of World War II. After visiting the Daisho Temple, Itsukushima Shrine, and Mount Misen on Miyajima island, you'll depart. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Japan's Shikoku Pilgrim Trail

Intrepid explorers looking to experience a unique side of Japan will relish this 13-day itinerary along the Shikoku Pilgrim Trail. Basing yourself in Tokushima on Shikoku Island, this itinerary takes you on a journey to some of the 88 temples on the trail, including the Ido-ji Temple, the Anraku-ji Temple, and the Yakuo-ji Temple.

Experience the culture and ancient traditions of the Shikoku Pilgrim trail's many temples

Experience the culture and ancient traditions of the Shikoku Pilgrim trail's many temples

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Osaka, Transfer to Tokushima Tokushima
Day 2 Day Trip To Kotohira Tokushima
Day 3 Tokushima & Mt. Bizan Brompton Bicycle Tour Tokushima
Day 4 Transfer to Naruto, Visit the Ryozen-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 5 Visit the Ido-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 6 Visit the Anraku-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 7 Visit the Fujii-dera Temple Tokushima
Day 8 Visit the Tatsue-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 9 Visit the Tairyuji Temple Tokushima
Day 10 Visit the Yakuo-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 11 Explore the Vine Bridges of Iya Valley Tokushima
Day 12 Visit the Hashikura-ji Temple Tokushima
Day 13 Transfer to Osaka, Depart  

You'll land in Osaka and immediately transfer to Tokushima on Shikoku Island. Begin with a visit to the Modern Art Museum of Tokushima, then spend the afternoon at the House of Indigo to learn about the art of dyeing indigo. On Day 2, you'll head to Kotohira in the Nakatado District to see the largest shrine complex on the island. Embark on a guided bike tour to Mount Bizan to take in the city views and the Yoshino River from above. Stop for a traditional ramen and grilled mochi lunch, then cycle into the Temple Quarter to explore at your own pace. Take a taxi to Naruto to begin your self-guided tour of the Shikoku Pilgrim Trail on Day 4.

You can explore as many temples as you want over the next eight days, including the Ryozen-ji Temple, the Fujii-dera Temple, and the Tatsue-ji Temple. Tairyuji Temple is 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level and is best accessed via the Tairyuji Ropeway. On Day 11, you'll have the chance to explore the Iya Valley, where you can stroll across one of the many bridges, such as the Kazurabashi Bridge and the Husband and Wife Bridges. Visit the final temple of the itinerary, Hashikura-ji, before transferring back to Osaka. Learn more

More Great Japan Itineraries

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


A note on diacritical markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of 13 Days in Japan - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 13 Days in Japan - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas