Head south across Japan as you see the country's highlights by train. In Tokyo, explore the Shinjuku district and visit shrines, temples, and shopping areas. Take a day trip to Mount Fuji, then move on to Kanazawa for museums and a gold leaf workshop. Visit the traditional village of Shirakawa-go, then see Kyoto's sights and participate in a tea ceremony. Spot deer in Nara, wander through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, explore Miyajima island, and discover Osaka on a food tour before heading home.


  • Explore Tokyo's top nightlife spots and temples
  • See Mount Fuji up close on a sightseeing excursion
  • Visit the traditional village of Shirakawa-go
  • Experience an authentic Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto
  • Taste Osaka's best street snacks on an evening food tour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Explore Shinjuku & Watch the Sunset Tokyo
Day 2 Explore Tokyo Tokyo
Day 3 Mount Fuji & Hakone Bus Tour from Tokyo Tokyo
Day 4 Train to Kanazawa, Discover the City, Optional Gold Leaf Workshop Kanazawa
Day 5 Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go Kanazawa
Day 6 Train to Kyoto, Hike at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Traditional Tea Ceremony Kyoto
Day 7 Day Trip to Nara Kyoto
Day 8 See Beautiful Landscapes in Arashiyama, Train to Hiroshima Hiroshima
Day 9 Cruise Tour Around Miyajima Hiroshima
Day 10 Train to Osaka, Explore & Optional Street Food Tour Osaka
Day 11 Depart Osaka  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Explore Shinjuku & Watch the Sunset

Sunset in Tokyo
Watch the sunset over the Tokyo skyline

Welcome to Tokyo! After arriving at the airport, your greeter will meet you and show you how to reach your hotel via public transport. Once you get there, drop off your luggage and head out to explore the city. Take a few hours to wander the beautiful gardens in the Shinjuku area and visit Shinjuku Golden Gai, a few narrow alleys full of charming little bars where you can have a drink or two. Then head to Omoide Yokocho, a very scenic location and one of the most visited places in Tokyo. In this historic alley filled with wooden restaurants and paper lanterns, you can grab a famous yakitori (chicken skewer).

Later, wander through Kabukicho, Tokyo's famous red-light district, full of lively spots like hostess bars, robot restaurants, busy pachinko (Japanese gambling machine) parlors, and love hotels. Here, you'll also find a giant reproduction of Godzilla going through the buildings above the Toho Cinema. Finish your day by taking in the setting sun at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory, one of the city's tallest buildings, from which you'll get a panoramic view. 

Day 2: Explore Tokyo

Tokyo city streets
Wander through the bustling streets of Tokyo

Spend today exploring the capital on your own or with a private guide, or join a guided group tour. Your first stop is Asakusa, where you'll see the famous Senso-ji temple and its surrounding neighborhood. This area has maintained an atmosphere reminiscent of old Tokyo, with traditional craft shops and street-food stalls not to be missed. Enjoy this fascinating part of the city and take some souvenir photos.

Then move on to the famous Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. Follow this up with an exploration of Harajuku—a neighborhood famous for quirky modern and contemporary Japanese fashion, design, and architecture. At the end of the day, choose a nearby restaurant for dinner and dig in! 

Day 3: Mount Fuji & Hakone Bus Tour from Tokyo

View of Mount Fuji
Enjoy views of stunning Mount Fuji

Take a comfortable, guided bus tour from Tokyo to the Hakone and Mount Fuji areas for a day of sightseeing, shopping, and gondola and boat rides. On tour, you'll have the chance to experience the scenic splendor of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013. You'll also visit top sightseeing spots in Hakone, cruise the waters of the beautiful, volcanic Lake Ashi, enjoy a delicious local lunch, and have time for some souvenir shopping.

Day 4: Train to Kanazawa, Discover the City, Optional Gold Leaf Workshop

Discover Kanazawa, Japan's City of Art
Discover Kanazawa, Japan's "City of Art"

Take a train from the station closest to your Tokyo hotel and arrive in Kanazawa, a charming city on the west coast of Japan. Once there, leave your luggage at your accommodation and wander through the city's many districts and art museums. Be sure not to miss the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, home to several modern art galleries and a library.

Kanazawa is also famous for its gold leaf production, and you can join one of the many workshops in the city to learn to create golden objects. Choose between making chopsticks or gold leaf pins, and take your creations home as a souvenir. Your knowledgeable sensei (teacher) will talk you through the history of gold leaf production in Kanazawa and assist you as you create your craft. Continue your day with a stroll through the Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of Japan's most beautiful gardens. Alternatively, take some time to rest and walk around the places near your accommodation.

Plan your trip to Japan
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go traditional village
Visit Shirakawa-go traditional village
Enjoy a day trip to Shirakawa, a town easily accessible from Kanazawa. This town is the site of the traditional village of Shirakawa-go. When you arrive, stroll around the Myozenji Temple, founded in 1748, and its museum. These are located on the north side of Shirakawa-go village, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The village's main attraction lies in its gassho-zukuri farmhouses, built in a traditional style.

Day 6: Train to Kyoto, Hike at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Traditional Tea Ceremony

Shinkansen (bullet train)
Take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto

Make your way to Kyoto via bullet train, a journey of just over two hours. Once you've settled into your accommodation, head out to explore Eastern Kyoto. Start with a hike at the famous and beautiful Fushimi Inari Shrine, popularized by the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha," which features 10,000 red gates. If you wish to hike the whole trail, it will take around 2-3 hours. Afterward, wander to Nishiki Market for a taste of Kyoto's traditional foods. Then visit Nijo Castle, where you'll learn a bit of history about this former capital of Japan, or enjoy visiting Kiyomizudera Temple to take in the beautiful views of Kyoto.

Later, discover one of the most famous traditions of Japan, the tea ceremony. Step inside the refined world of matcha by entering a traditional machiya, in which you'll discover the intricacies and delicate process of the tea ceremony and tea making while enjoying seasonal sweets. You'll be guided by an expert in this precious art form, who will also provide historical details and context for a fully immersive experience.

Day 7: Day Trip to Nara

Friendly deer mingle among the ancient statues and lanterns of Nara.
Friendly deer mingle among the ancient statues and lanterns of Nara
Head off on a day trip to Nara, the capital of Nara Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is most famous for its 1,300-year history, as it was the location of the first capital of Japan, dating back to the Asuka period. Nara has many museums and old temples, as well as displays of its archeological relics. It is also known for its deer roaming freely in Nara Park. While here, visit some of the city's key spots, such as Kofuku-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-Taisha shrine, and the Isuien Garden, before returning to Kyoto in the evening. 

Day 8: See Beautiful Landscapes in Arashiyama, Train to Hiroshima

See Beautiful Landscapes in Arashiyama
Arashiyama's bamboo grove

After having breakfast, visit Arashiyama, a beautiful location and famous heritage site located in the northwestern area of Kyoto. Arashiyama draws many visitors with its world-renowned bamboo forest and beautiful scenery that changes with each season.

Feel the calm brought about by the streams flowing under the Togetsukyo Bridge, then climb the nearby mountain that leads to a monkey park and a bird's eye view of Kyoto. Later, see the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove before heading to Kinkaku-ji, the "Golden Pavilion." Kinkaku-ji is known for its scenic view, which you can admire throughout the different seasons of the year. This is one of the most famous panoramas of Kyoto, whether it's covered with snow, colorful autumn leaves, or clear skies in summer. Once you've finished your sightseeing, take a train to Hiroshima

Day 9: Cruise Tour Around Miyajima

View of the Itsukushima Shrine
View of the Itsukushima Shrine
Take the ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima in the morning. You'll see the Itsukushima Shrine, one of Japan's top sights. The UNESCO-listed Miyajima is known as "the island of gods," and today's tour is the perfect way to get a glimpse of its beauty from a private sailboat. On a guided excursion, you'll hear interesting commentary about the island's narrative and highlights. The tour will take you to numerous Shinto shrines, some of which are only reachable by boat.

Day 10: Train to Osaka, Explore & Optional Street Food Tour

Sightseeing in Osaka
Sightseeing in Osaka

Take the train to Osaka today and prepare to visit some of the city's famous sights, such as Osaka Castle, the Umeda Sky Building, and Shin-Sekai. At night, head to the bustling area of Dotonbori, where the lights are bright, and the neon signs make for a whimsical panorama.

Osaka gives Tokyo a run for its money when it comes to delicious cuisine, and this evening you can experience its culinary delights on a three-hour street food tour. You'll sample unique dishes in Osaka, focusing on regional foods from Kansai. Try takoyaki, ball-shaped octopus bites, and okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake topped with whatever you like. The tour includes two drinks, but feel free to get a few more rounds in afterward!

Day 11: Depart Osaka

Dotonbori district in Osaka
Say goodbye to Osaka

Your private driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby to take you to Kansai International Airport as you say goodbye to Osaka and Japan. Have a safe journey home or to your next destination!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Japan? Check out these other Japan itineraries, explore different ways to spend 11 days in Japan, or discover the best time to visit Japan.


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Map of Best of Japan: Tokyo to Osaka - 11 Days
Map of Best of Japan: Tokyo to Osaka - 11 Days