21 days in Japan Itinerary

21 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Tokyo
train:  4​h
1
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
2
Osaka
— 3 nights
train:  45​min
3
Nara
— 2 nights
train:  45​min
4
Kyoto
— 5 nights
train:  2​h 30​min
5
Tokyo
— 5 nights
train + bus:  1​h 15​min
6
Hakone-machi
— 2 nights
bus + train:  1​h 15​min
End: Tokyo

2
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima. Hiroshima Museum of Art and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims will appeal to museum buffs. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Hiroshima: Hatsukaichi (Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, & more). Next up on the itinerary: steep yourself in history at Atomic Bomb Dome and step into the grandiose world of Hiroshima Castle.

For maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Hiroshima trip itinerary builder .

Tokyo to Hiroshima is an approximately 4-hour train ride. You can also fly; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in September, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Wed) early enough to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trip

Hatsukaichi
Find places to stay Sep 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima

3
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.
Popular historic sites such as Osaka Castle and Koyasan Okunoin are in your itinerary. Dotonbori and Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get out of town with these interesting Osaka side-trips: Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown) (in Chuo), Torodo Temple (in Koya-cho) and Matsue Swimming Beach (in Akashi). There's much more to do: find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan, look for gifts at Jikko Japanese Knife Shop Namba Skyo, and take a stroll through Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Osaka trip itinerary site .

Take a train from Hiroshima to Osaka in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In September in Osaka, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 24°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) early enough to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Koya-cho, Matsue Swimming Beach, Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown)
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

2
nights
Nara

Nara ©
The country's first established capital, Nara houses some of the most storied buildings and natural attractions in Japan, with eight World Heritage Sites in total.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Sun): look for gifts at Yu Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Japan City Nara Sanjo, steep yourself in history at Todai-ji Temple, then see the interesting displays at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, then look for all kinds of wild species at Nara Park, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Kasuga Grand Shrine. Keep things going the next day: take in the dramatic scenery at Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall, then have some family-friendly fun at Waplus Nara, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Saho River.

To see maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Nara online itinerary planner .

Traveling by train from Osaka to Nara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. September in Nara sees daily highs of 33°C and lows of 26°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Mon) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall
Find places to stay Sep 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

5
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.
Head to Nishiki Market Shopping District and Kyoto Station Buildingfor plenty of shopping. Popular historic sites such as Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Ryoanji Temple are in your itinerary. There's lots more to do: wander the streets of Gion, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sanjusangendo Temple, examine the collection at Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts Fureaikan, and steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

To see where to stay, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Kyoto trip maker app .

Traveling by train from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and subway. Traveling from Nara in September, expect slightly colder with lows of 23°C in Kyoto. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) early enough to catch the train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

5
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.
Shop till you drop at Ginza and Takeshita Street. Museum-lovers will appreciate Tokyo National Museum and Fukagawa Edo Museum. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tokyo: Moroiso Shores (in Miura) and Kōtoku-in (in Kamakura). There's much more to do: take a stroll through Odaiba, make a trip to Shibuya Crossing, get a sense of history and politics at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and admire the striking features of Imperial Palace.

To find where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Tokyo online visit planner .

Take a train from Kyoto to Tokyo in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in September, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trips

Kōtoku-in, Moroiso Shores
Find places to stay Sep 19 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

2
nights
Hakone-machi

Hakone-machi ©
Sitting at the foot of Mount Fuji, Hakone-machi has become a popular retreat from Tokyo for locals and tourists alike.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Fri): explore the world behind art at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, get engrossed in the history at Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum, steep yourself in history at Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu, then explore the activities along Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), and finally get great views at Hakone Ropeway. On the next day, cruise along Kojiri Pass, then get some fabulous bargains at Gotemba Premium Outlets, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Pola Museum of Art.

For maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Hakone-machi visit planner .

Do a combination of train and bus from Tokyo to Hakone-machi in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. When traveling from Tokyo in September, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Hakone-machi: temperatures range from 24°C by day to 22°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums Shopping Nature

Side Trip

Gotemba Premium Outlets
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Pola Museum of Art ©
Pola Museum of Art

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