This diverse 10-day itinerary focuses on Japan's four major cities. Start in Tokyo, exploring the city's modern and ancient charms, before heading to traditional Kyoto, trendy Osaka, and inspiring Hiroshima. In between, you'll visit magical islands and bamboo forests, sample local cuisine, and experience the culture of four fascinating regions.
Japan Travel Insights
This two-week itinerary takes you on a whirlwind tour through Japan's greatest highlights. Walk the streets of hyper-modern Tokyo and Osaka, hike to a sacred Buddhist monastery at Koyasan, soak in hot springs under Mount Fiji, and step back in time in historic Kyoto. From ancient temples to futuristic art shows, vibrant cities to secluded mountaintops, you'll experience a little bit of everything on this adventurous journey.
October is, arguably, the best month to travel to Japan (although this will depend on what you want to experience!). Temperatures in most places are still warm, but the intense humidity and increased rainfall of summer has subsided. Autumn leaves begin appearing at higher elevations and more northern latitudes. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Japan in October.
September in Japan tends to be a month of two faces: earlier in the month, temperatures remain high and a second rainy season hits, bringing typhoons to some parts of the country. Later in the month, conditions are better for getting out and about, with warm but not overly hot temperatures, and clear skies. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Japan in September.
August is the hottest month of the year in Japan, and conditions are generally quite uncomfortable, with high humidity and hot nights. But, there are exceptions to this, and having a great time in Japan in mid-summer depends on knowing the best places to go, and the right experiences to enjoy. Here's what you need to know about traveling to Japan in August.
July is mid-summer in Japan, and while temperatures aren't quite so high as in August, they are pretty hot. Add intense humidity to the mix, and conditions can be quite uncomfortable. But, conditions aren't the same across the whole country: Hokkaido is much more temperate, and the beaches of Okinawa are a good retreat at this time of year. If you find yourself in Japan's major cities in July, you can also enjoy many traditional summer festivals. Here's how to have a good time in Japan in July.
June is the start of summer in Japan, and also the rainy season. Temperatures and humidity are high in many parts of the country, but June tends to be more comfortable than late summer. If you want to experience a Japanese summer, June is a better option than July and August, and if you know where to go, you can have an enjoyable and comfortable time in Japan in June.
May is a great time to travel to Japan, as the temperatures are generally warm but not as stifling and humid as they'll become in the summer. The extremely busy Golden Week holiday earlier in the month should be avoided, but if you're coming later in the month you'll find many places busy but not uncomfortably crowded. Here's what you need to know about traveling to Japan in May.
The arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures throughout the country, as well as more visitors. Aside from the increased crowds, April is a great time to visit Japan as it avoids the cold winter and the wet, humid summer. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Japan in April.
March is on the cusp of winter and spring in Japan, with different parts of the country leaning more towards one than the other. The country's famous cherry blossom parties begin in more southern locations later in the month, when the sakura bloom. Northern parts of the country are still quite wintry, and you can still ski. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Japan in March.
February is mid-winter in Japan, and along with January, is the coldest moth. But, winter varies enormously throughout the country, with warm temperatures in the islands of Okinawa in the south, very cold temperatures and heavy snow on the western side of Honshu and Hokkaido, and moderately cold temperatures elsewhere. But, there are relatively few tourists at this time of year, and the spectacular Sapporo Snow Festival is one reason (among many) to visit Japan in February.
December is the start of winter across Japan, but what that means in reality varies from north to south and east to west. In the northern island of Hokkaido, expect temperatures below freezing and snow. In southern parts of Kyushu, earlier in the month, you may still see autumnal colors. Here are a few important things to know about visiting Japan in December.
By November, Japan has well and truly entered autumn mode. Towards the end of the month, the leaves on the trees turn red and gold in central and southern parts of the country, and leaf-viewing parties are second only to flower-viewing parties to the Japanese. Temperatures are mild in many places, and rainfall low, so November is a great time to travel to Japan.
January is mid-winter in Japan, but because it's such a long country with many climatic zones, mid-winter can mean everything from deep snow and sub-zero temperatures to pleasantly warm and sunny. It's not peak tourism season, but there are still many things you can enjoy, both indoors and outdoors. Here's what you need to know about traveling to Japan in January.
This exciting itinerary goes beyond normal expectations by including a diverse range of activities for an authentic travel experience. Immerse yourself in Japan's state of the art tech in Tokyo and visit an interactive art museum on the man-made island Odaiba prior to traveling to Fujikawaguchiko where you can look at the famous Mount Fuji volcano while relaxing in an onsen hot spring. You will then depart for Nagoya and visit interactive robots as well as the Ise Jingu Grand Shrine before a bullet train takes you to Kanazawa which has many historic samurai homes and the charming village Gokayama and finally, you will tour your final destination Kyoto by bicycle and discover breathtaking temples as well as the lively city culture.
Venture beyond the major cities with this 10-day adventure through Japan’s most stunning natural and cultural wonders. Starting in glittering Tokyo, you’ll visit ancient shrines, climb mountain peaks, and enter lush bamboo forests before ending your journey in historic Kyoto.
This trip will take you to all the places you shouldn't miss on your first trip to Japan. Discover both the traditional and modern sides of Japan at shrines and temples, witness technological innovation at an amazing digital art exhibition and a crazy robot cabaret, and get involved in hands-on cooking and craft classes. This 13-day tour is a perfect introduction to the best of Japan.
This 12-day trip combines the best of Japan's major cities, historic places, and natural areas. You'll explore Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, as well as to the beautiful mountainside town of Nikko and the relaxing hot springs of Hakone. Enjoy everything Japan has to offer, including its culture, art, temples and shrines, and tasty, traditional cuisine.
Along with two major cities–modern Tokyo and traditional Kyoto–this itinerary also takes you to the beautiful mountainside areas of Nikko and Hakone. The former is a place of much spiritual significance, and the latter is one of the best areas in the country to experience the Japanese hot springs. A mixture of old-meets-new Japan, this trip has all you need to experience multiple sides of the country.
This weeklong trip to Japan packs in plenty of exploration, so you can discover a good amount of the country’s culture and history. Experience life in bustling Tokyo, and then immerse yourself in a slower way of living among the mountains and temples of Kyoto. In between your visit to both major cities, you’ll get to relax, kick back, and soak in the rejuvenating hot springs of Hakone.
This short-yet-sweet five-day trip to Japan is packed with experiences to make the most out of your time. Covering two of the major cities–Tokyo and Kyoto–this trip has all you need to experience two completely different, yet equally beautiful, sides of Japan. In Tokyo, you’ll experience progressive technology in Odaiba and dine at a Robot Restaurant. In Kyoto, you’ll learn about Japanese traditions, including geisha culture and the arts. Enjoy sushi making, and tour the most famous shrines and temples along the way.
This 14-day trip takes you to the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, where you'll experience a mix of modern culture and timeworn traditions. You'll also venture to the temples and shrines in Nikko and a hot springs retreat in Hakone. The last leg takes you to Nara, known for its free-roaming deer, and Hiroshima, where you'll witness the flourishing rebuild of one of Japan's most historically significant towns.
This 10-day itinerary follows the path of Japan's ancient Tokaido Highway (the Golden Route) from the skyscrapers of ultra-modern Tokyo to the cultural heart of Kyoto. In between the two cities, you'll stop in the beautiful town of Hakone to soak up Mount Fuji views, hot springs, and excellent museums. Traveling by bullet train, your flexible Japan Rail Pass offers plenty of day-trips for a truly customizable adventure.
On this scenic trip, you'll visit two of the largest cities in Japan: Tokyo and Osaka. However, your itinerary will mostly focus on some of the lesser-known islands surrounding the mainland. Hachijojima has some of the best stargazing in the country, Aogashima is a tiny, beautiful volcanic island, and the Goto islands have an impressive history with stunning beaches. Discover a side of Japan most visitors never get to see!
The combination of historic and modern beauty makes Japan the ideal vacation destination. On this journey of old world-meets-new world, you will explore the progressive city of Tokyo, along with strolling through pockets of old Japan. Excursions into the hot springs of Gero Onsen and the gardens of Kanazawa will allow you to experience the preservation of nature. Even still, you can channel Japan’s past–in present-day–by taking up residency in a thatched-roof farmhouse in Shirakawa-go, connecting with long-time local artisans in Takayama, and exploring the ancient temples of Kyoto.
Equally known for its vibrant city life and mountainous beauty, Japan offers a well-rounded visit, filled with liveliness, adventure, and variety. On your 12-day journey, you will explore the high-energy tech and fashion trends of Tokyo, enjoy the breathtaking views and temples of Kyoto, and relax at a hot springs retreat in Hakone. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture, complete with the exceptional, authentic dining of Osaka.
Revitalizing hot spring baths, multi-course dinners made from fresh, local ingredients and the comfiest pillows you’ve ever tried, Ryokan hotels are an unforgettable way to experience traditional, Japanese luxury. Read on to learn the history and offerings of this unique lodging experience and the best places to stay.
Japan’s museums aren't all serious affairs. Sure, some of them deal with classic museum topics like art and history—but many go for the charming, quirky, or downright bizarre, focusing on collections that are so obscure, you won't find them anywhere else in the world. Visit the seven spots in this list to catch a unique exhibition or to check out the extraordinary architecture,
Discover both the traditional and modern sides of Japan as you visit various shrines and temples, witness technological innovation at an amazing digital art exhibition and crazy (in a very good way) robot show, and get involved in a few hands-on cooking and craft classes. For a trip which aims to give you the best overview of Japan as possible, you can't do any better.
This 10-day trip will take you to 2 of the biggest cities in Japan—Tokyo and Osaka—but will mostly focus on some of the lesser known islands surrounding the mainland. Hachijojima has some of the best star gazing in the country, Aogashima is literally a volcano in a volcano and absolutely beautiful, and the Goto islands have a fascinating history.
This weeklong adventure splits its time between two of Japan's most important cities with a mix of customizable tours and free time to explore on your own. Start off in Tokyo for a taste of modern Japan with top-notch architecture, animé, modern art, high fashion, and cuisine. Then head to traditional Kyoto for beautiful temples and shrines, ancient gardens, and cultural experiences like tea ceremonies and calligraphy.
Springy noodles in slow-simmered broth, savory meats grilled medium-rare, and delicate fish for days: Japan is a culinary adventure waiting to be devoured bite by bite. Read on to learn about the diverse flavors (and histories) of Japanese cuisine and the best places to try them.
On this two-week journey to the four corners of Japan's main island, Honshu, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy its unmissable attractions. You'll visit sacred temples and shrines, go bike riding through the countryside, and roam around the capital's most famous neighborhoods. From the modern cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima, the wonders of ancient Kyoto and beyond, there is so much to see, taste, and discover.
If you want to make friends on your trip to Japan, show an interest in Japanese culture—even younger generations are eager to share their heritage. The country's top cultural activities happen year-round, so you'll have no trouble taking part. From local festivals to cat cafés, there's something in this list for every traveler.
Only in Japan can you bunk in a Buddhist temple one night and rent your own sleeping pod the next. High-tech Japan lovingly reveres its cultural traditions—making for the best kind of culture shock. Enjoy this dynamic country with a range of unique overnight options.
Just a two-hour train ride from the bright lights of Tokyo, you'll find the urban escape of your dreams. Nikko offers centuries-old shrines to explore, natural hot springs with views of brilliant fall foliage, and Japan's first Western-style hotel. Get out of the city and dive into historic Nikko with this ultimate guide.
Tokyo is the world's largest metropolis, a hive of neon skyscrapers and centuries-old shrines, and the Japanese capital's diverse style is reflected in its accommodations. Beyond the cookie-cutter business hotels, you'll find an array of boutique properties ranging from cutting-edge design to traditional simplicity. Here's a guide to some of the best.
One of Okinawa's most alluring draws lies not on land, but offshore. Colorful sea life and dramatic coral formations make this Japanese archipelago a world-class destination for snorkeling and diving.
Japan is made up of hundreds of islands that extend for nearly 2,000 miles. How many days should you spend exploring, and where should you focus your time? From an action-packed four days in Japan to a leisurely three week itinerary, here are some suggestions for making the most of your time in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Most visitors to Japan hit up Kyoto's temples, Tokyo's shopping streets, and Osaka's food scene—but there's much more to this country than what you'll find in its cities. Soak in natural hot springs, hike through primeval forest, and spot wildlife on a pristine chain of islands with these under-the-radar suggestions.
The sunny, laid-back island of Okinawa is not just a tropical paradise: it's also a foodie heaven with its own unique set of flavors and a famously healthy diet. Whet your palate with this guide to some of the island's classic dishes, and learn where you can try them.
A chain of mountainous islands stretching from the tropics to the Sea of Okhotsk, Japan is home to some of the most beautiful scenery on earth—from active volcanoes and hilly snowscapes to cascading waterfalls and bright pink cherry blossoms. Here are just a few of the natural highlights you can experience on a trip to the country.
Okinawa's attractions have something for everyone. They cater to cocktail-sipping beach bums, history buffs, and active adventurers alike. The island is fairly small, so even a long weekend can make for a refreshing breath of tropical air.
Over 900 miles southwest of Tokyo, Okinawa-hontō—Okinawa's main island—anchors the lesser-known string of islands straddling Japan's two southernmost prefectures. For those who fancy a beach holiday on their grand tour of Japan, its tropical climate and unique Ryūkyūan culture are just a two-hour flight from Tokyo.
Crescent-shaped islands surrounded by deep blue sea, Japan has everything from Buddhist temples to great beaches. Home to both a robot restaurant and an ancient rainforest, it's beautiful, diverse, and never boring. Here are ten essential things to do in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Take a walk through time on this 10-day self-guided tour of the Nakasendo Trail, part of feudal Japan's original network of highways. Travelers on the mountain path between Kyoto and Tokyo took several days to travel the distance, staying overnight in Juku post towns. You'll retrace their footsteps as you travel through serene forests, stay in historically preserved local inns by night, and explore the vibrant cities of Kyoto and Tokyo.
Get ready for an unforgettable village-to-village trek on the Kii Peninsula along sections of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. Perfect for avid hikers, this self-guided tour will take you past thermal hot springs, grand shrines, and waterfalls as you walk in the footsteps of emperors.
The beautiful ancient city of Kyoto is the spiritual home of Japan and the perfect base for this week-long cycling adventure. Explore the streets of Kyoto by bike and venture further afield as you delve into Japanese culture and cuisine. Take an exhilarating ride from the city to sacred Mount Koya and around the region's stunning landscape for an unforgettable vacation.
Get off the beaten path and onto the Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage trails in the remote Kii Peninsula. Trek to grand shrines, thermal hot springs, and the sacred Mount Koya, one of the most important sites in Buddhism. This self-guided trip is great for those looking to challenge themselves with full-day hikes through hilly terrain. You'll be rewarded, however, with unforgettable experiences as you follow in the footsteps of emperors.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in nature on this five-day hiking trip along the historic Nakasendo Trail. Feudal lords and samurai once walked this mountain path connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, stopping at some of the historic 69 post stations to rest for the night. You'll follow in their footsteps as you trek through picturesque valleys, stay in idyllic villages, and relax in the thermal waters of hot springs along the way.