12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Seoul
Fly:  5​h 15​min
1
Osaka
— 4 nights
train:  30​min
2
Kyoto
— 3 nights
train:  2​h 30​min
3
Tokyo
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h
End: Seoul

4
nights
Osaka

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Himeji Castle and Koyasan Okunoin. For shopping fun, head to Dotonbori or Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown). You'll find plenty of places to visit near Osaka: Katsuragi Highlands (in Gose), Nara (Nara Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, & more) and Koya-cho (Ryusen-in Temple & Mt. Koya). There's still lots to do: step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, take in the spiritual surroundings of Mt. Omine, stop by Jikko Japanese Knife Shop Namba Skyo, and take a stroll through Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street.

To find traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Osaka day trip app .

Seoul, South Korea to Osaka is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. Plan for somewhat warmer temperatures traveling from Seoul in December, with highs in Osaka at 13°C and lows at 4°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Thu) early enough to catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Parks Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trips

Nara, Koya-cho, Taimadera Nakanobo, Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown), Katsuragi Highlands
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 5:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

3
nights
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Kiyomizu Sannei-Zaka Seiryu-en, Sagano and Arashiyama. On the 6th (Fri), take in nature's colorful creations at Kiyomizu Sannei-Zaka Seiryu-en, look for gifts at Fuuka-Kimono, then take in the pleasant sights at Arashiyama, and finally take some stellar pictures from Sagano. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Sat): wander the streets of Gion, get a taste of the local shopping with Nishiki Market Shopping District, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, and finally steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

To find photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Kyoto day trip tool .

Kyoto is very close to Osaka. In December, daytime highs in Kyoto are 13°C, while nighttime lows are 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Sun) to allow enough time to take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

3
nights
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
Akihabara has been added to your itinerary. Visit Senso-ji Temple and Imperial Palace for their historical value. Get some cultural insight at Ginza and Takeshita Street. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tokyo: Kanotoiwa (in Hinohara-mura), Minamisawa Ajisaiyama (in Akiruno) and Rock Garden (in Ome). Next up on the itinerary: admire the masterpieces at Tokyo National Museum, look for gifts at Kimono Me, shop like a local with Asakusa, and have some family-friendly fun at Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou.

To see reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Tokyo travel planning tool .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Tokyo in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Tokyo can reach 14°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. You will have some time to spend on the 11th (Wed) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trips

Rock Garden, Minamisawa Ajisaiyama, Kanotoiwa
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Ginza ©
Ginza
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

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