Spend a week amid the ultramodern streets and ancient shrines of three of Japan's most intriguing cities. Start in Tokyo to take in the action of Shibuya Crossing and have futuristic fun in neon-lit Odaiba. Then, you're off to historic Kyoto to learn about geisha culture and see the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha. Meet friendly deer in the greenery of Nara Park, then end in Hiroshima, learning about its World War II history and seeing the incredible Itsukushima-jinja shrine as it "floats" in the ocean.


  • Take in panoramic city views from the Tokyo Skytree Tower
  • Say hello to cosplayers on the trendy streets of the Harajuku district
  • Hike along the iconic torii gates of Kyoto's Fushimi Inari-taisha
  • See the sobering history of Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Explore the City Tokyo
Day 2 Tokyo Highlights: Odaiba District, Harajuku & Meiji Jingu  Tokyo
Day 3 Day Trip to Mount Fuji & Kubota Itchiku Art Museum Tokyo
Day 4 Transfer to Kyoto, Shrines & Temples Tour, Geisha Performance Kyoto
Day 5 Visit the Peaceful Forests of Nara, Transfer to Hiroshima Hiroshima
Day 6 Hiroshima's Historic & Cultural Sights Hiroshima
Day 7 Return Train to Tokyo, Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Explore the City

Visit Tokyo's busy Shibuya Crossing to feel the city's energetic pulse

Welcome to Japan! Your flight lands in the capital city of Tokyo, a perfect blend of modern and traditional, with historic temples backed by neon-lit skyscrapers and a rich culture. Once you've checked in at your hotel and had a chance to regroup, you're free to head out and explore some of what this great city has to offer.

Start at Tokyo Skytree. Towering at 2,080 feet (634 m), you'll find endless city views from its 360-degree observation deck, with glimpses as far as Mount Fuji on a clear day. Then, head to Senso-ji, which dates back to the seventh century and is considered one of Tokyo's most significant Buddhist temples. Visit the main hall, and if you like, you can pray to the Kannon enshrined there or pick up an omikuji (fortunes written on strips of paper). Walk along Nakamise-dori, a street adjacent to the temple that's lined with shops and food stands, and look for souvenirs.

Step next door to the Asakusa Shrine to gain insight into the differences between Shinto and Buddhist belief systems, then end with a walk to Shibuya, home to the famed Shibuya Crossing. See the frenetic action of the crossing (and dive in if you dare!) and have dinner at one of the many restaurants and cafés in this lively district. 

Day 2: Tokyo Highlights: Odaiba District, Harajuku & Meiji Jingu 

Stop at Harajuku's colorful crêpe shops as you tour this fun-filled neighborhood

Today's excursion takes you to Odaiba, a colorful shopping and entertainment district known as a hotspot for futuristic fun. This human-made island started as a small group of fort islands built during the Edo period to protect the country against attacks by sea. Today, it's a high-tech hub where visitors can explore new technology, art, and food. The island can be reached via the sleek Yurikamome train, a cruise through Tokyo Bay, or by crossing the neon lights of the Rainbow Bridge

Start at Team Lab, an interactive art exhibition on the island that gives new meaning to the term "modern art"—be prepared to follow art as it moves along the walls. The nearby Miraikan Museum (officially the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation) is a fantastic place to learn about everything in future tech in a fun and interactive way. You can also stroll along the beach at Seaside Park, ride the Daikanransha Ferris wheel for views of Mount Fuji, or have a bite to eat at one of the many sushi bars along the waterfront. 

Next up is trendy Harajuku. Known for its colorful street art and edgy youth fashion, you can check out vintage clothing stores and cosplay shops, and you might even catch a glimpse of the famed "Harajuku Girls!" Walk along Takeshita Street, and be sure to stop by the rainbow cotton candy and crêpe stands, as well as the many costume galleries and character cafés. After all that hustle and bustle, finish with a peaceful stroll through Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo's most spiritually significant temples, with quiet forested grounds tucked beside modern Tokyo—a perfect representation of the city's diversity. 

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Day 3: Day Trip to Mount Fuji & Kubota Itchiku Art Museum

Check out Mount Fuji from the shores of Lake Kawaguchi

Get out of the city today and take a day trip to the magnificent Mount Fuji (Fuji-san to the locals), the country's highest peak at more than 12,000 feet (3,776 m). A common pilgrimage site, Fuji is considered one of Japan's three sacred mountains. You'll hop on a train to Kawaguchi, where you'll have the chance to stop at a traditional village and visit quaint shops selling traditional handicrafts. You can try on a silk kimono or samurai armor for a photo, then enjoy a Japanese soba noodle lunch. 

Afterward, you'll visit the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, which sits at the base of Mount Fuji and offers incredible photo ops of the mountain reflecting on the water. Visit the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum, which is dedicated to the renowned artist who revived the art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing. See the handmade kimono creations and learn more about the history of the garment, then return to Tokyo, where you're free to see more of the city on your own. 

Day 4: Transfer to Kyoto, Shrines & Temples Tour, Geisha Performance

Meet local geisha and see a traditional performance in Kyoto

Your next destination is Kyoto, a cultural powerhouse of a city that is known for its historic traditions, including geisha entertainers, and its numerous temples, gardens, and palaces. Upon arrival, get checked in at your hotel, then spend some time getting to know Japan's former capital. 

Start at the captivating Fushimi Inari-taisha. Featured in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha," this shrine has more than 10,000 picturesque red torii gates, all donated by individuals and businesses as a sign of appreciation to the god Inari for the blessings received. Take a light hike along the torii-lined route up the mountain for sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Your visit to Inari perfectly sets the tone for your next stop: a traditional Japanese arts show. See a performance by a maiko (geisha in training), and learn about the various skilled artists, including ikebana (flower arrangers), puppeteers, koto (Japanese harp players), and court musicians that make this hourlong show so remarkable. In the evening, take a walk through the bustling streets of Pontocho. Located next to the Kamogawa River, this district is home to a wide range of restaurants and bars. If you prefer, you can also request a private dinner or tea ceremony with a geisha.

Day 5: Visit the Peaceful Forests of Nara, Transfer to Hiroshima

Meet the curious deer of Nara Park 

Take a side trip to the peaceful greenery of Nara Park today, known for its historic sites, gardens, and friendly local deer. There are tons of walking trails around the park area, one of which takes you through Mount Kasuga Primeval Forest and features more than 175 different types of trees. Visit the Todai-ji temple and its giant Daibutsu Buddha statue, and visit with the deer, who are quite likely to approach and let you feed them! After relaxing in the park this afternoon, you'll continue westward to reach the storied city of Hiroshima

Day 6: Hiroshima's Historic & Cultural Sights

Explore the beauty of Itsukushima-jinja shrine on the "Island of the Gods"

While perhaps most known for the tragedy of the atomic bomb that largely destroyed it in World War II, modern Hiroshima is a major urban hub with some incredible cultural sights. Learn more about this resilient city today, starting with a visit to Peace Memorial Park, which serves as a reminder of this event and features the ruins of Genbaku Dome, one of the only buildings that was left standing after the blast.

Stroll through Shukkei-en Garden, a 12-acre (4.85 ha) park with a large pond, winding pathways, and several inlets and bridges, then make your way to Hijiyama Park, a large, forested city park on a hill that overlooks the whole city. The park has more than 1,200 cherry trees planted in small pockets around the grounds, making it a popular place for both locals and tourists during cherry blossom season. Along the way, be sure to stop by the beautifully landscaped fortress of Hiroshima Castle, as well as the lovely Hannover Garden, which sits near the castle grounds. 

This afternoon, take a 45-minute ferry ride to Miyajima, a small island in Hiroshima Bay. Known as the "Island of the Gods," Miyajima is a mystical place, covered in thick forests and ancient temples. Visit Daisho Temple, which sits atop Mount Misen and offers panoramic views across the sea. Also not to be missed is Itsukushima-jinja, a shrine built over water with boardwalks connecting its main hall and prayer halls. At high tide, the giant torii gate appears to float in the ocean. 

Day 7: Return Train to Tokyo, Depart 

Your tour draws to a close in Hiroshima, where you'll catch a train back to Tokyo

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to beautiful Japan. In the morning, make your way to the train station and board a bullet train to Tokyo, where you'll connect to the airport and your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Whirlwind City Tour of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima - 7 Days
Map of Whirlwind City Tour of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima - 7 Days