23 days in Japan Itinerary

23 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Austin
+3
Fly + train + foot + train:  22​h
1
Ise
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Nachikatsura-cho
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
3
Hakuba-mura
— 4 nights
+3
shuttle + train + tram + Fly:  7​h
4
Miyakojima
— 4 nights
ferry:  4​h
5
Iriomote-jima
— 3 nights
ferry:  1​h
6
Ishigaki
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h
7
Takachiho-cho
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  23​h 15​min
End: Austin

2
nights
Ise

Ise ©
A spiritual center of Shintoism, Ise stands as a traditional city where visitors can see the roots of Japanese culture in a number of well-preserved natural and historic sites.
On the 8th (Sun), explore the activities along Futami-ura, contemplate the long history of Oharai-machi, get engrossed in the history at Sengukan, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ise Grand Shrine, then get to know the fascinating history of Ise Shrine Geku, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Tsukiyominomiya. On the 9th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the spiritual surroundings of Sarutahiko Shrine, examine the collection at Okageza, stop by Kutsurogiya, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Futami Okitama Shrine, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Meotoiwa, and finally take some stellar pictures from Ise Ninja Kingdom.

For more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Ise itinerary builder tool .

Austin, USA to Ise is an approximately 22-hour combination of flight and car. Traveling from Austin to Ise, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Austin in December, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Ise: temperatures range from 49°F by day to 47°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Ise

Historic Sites Nature Parks
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Ise Grand Shrine ©
Ise Grand Shrine
Ise Shrine Geku ©
Ise Shrine Geku
Oharai-machi ©
Oharai-machi

2
nights
Nachikatsura-cho

Nachikatsura-cho ©
The town of Nachikatsuura-cho wows visitors with its superlative landscape and impressive cultural attractions.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Tue): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kumano Nachi Taisha, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Seigantoji Temple, then take in the dramatic scenery at Nachi Mitaki Falls, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Hirou Shrine, and finally make a trip to Daimonzaka. On the 11th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at Taiji Whale Museum, then explore the striking landscape at Hashigui Rock, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Fudarakusanji Temple.

To find other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Nachikatsura-cho trip planning website .

Drive from Ise to Nachikatsura-cho in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. In December, daytime highs in Nachikatsura-cho are 54°F, while nighttime lows are 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Hakuba-mura.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Taiji Whale Museum, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Hashigui Rock
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Kumano Nachi Taisha ©
Kumano Nachi Taisha
Nachi Mitaki Falls ©
Nachi Mitaki Falls
Kumano Hayatama Taisha ©
Kumano Hayatama Taisha

4
nights
Hakuba-mura

Hakuba-mura ©
Skiing enthusiasts traveling in Japan should consider a trip to Hakuba-mura: tucked away in the Northern Alps, this village hosted several competitions during the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Wadano no Mori Church and Himegawa Headwaters Natural Garden. Get in touch with nature at Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort and Hakuba. And it doesn't end there: hit the slopes at Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort / Alpine Garden, hone your skills at Hakuba Snow Sports School, stroll through Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park, and take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Happoone.

To find other places to visit, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read Hakuba-mura vacation site .

Drive from Nachikatsura-cho to Hakuba-mura in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Nachikatsura-cho in December, things will get a bit cooler in Hakuba-mura: highs are around 43°F and lows about 32°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) early enough to travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Hakuba-mura

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park ©
Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort ©
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort
Happoone ©
Happoone

4
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Visiting Yonaha Maehama Beach and Scuba & Snorkeling will get you outdoors. Museum-lovers will get to explore Yukishio Museum and Miyakojima City Museum. The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Sunayama Beach, steep yourself in history at Tomori no Amai, get outside with Outdoor Activities, and explore the gorgeous colors at Yabiji.

To find maps, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Miyakojima trip itinerary maker website .

You can do a combination of shuttle, train, and flight from Hakuba-mura to Miyakojima in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and flight. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from Hakuba-mura in December: high temperatures in Miyakojima hover around 71°F and lows are around 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) to allow time to ride a ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Yabiji
Yabiji
Scuba & Snorkeling

3
nights
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
Get outdoors at Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Funauki Village. There's much more to do: step off the mainland to explore Iriomote Island, make a trip to Heritiera Littoralis Tree of Nakama River, contemplate the long history of Wasurenaishi, and stroll through Nakama-river Protected Region.

To see other places to visit, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Iriomote-jima trip maker tool .

Traveling by ferry from Miyakojima to Iriomote-jima takes 4 hours. In December, daytime highs in Iriomote-jima are 72°F, while nighttime lows are 64°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can catch the ferry to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Parks Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island
Funauki Village ©
Funauki Village
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls

3
nights
Ishigaki

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
You'll explore and learn at Ishigaki Yaima Village and MInsah Kogei Museum. Take a break from the city and head to Kabira Bay and Scuba & Snorkeling. There's still lots to do: enjoy the sea views from Cape Hirakubozaki, enjoy breathtaking views from Tamatorizaki Observatory, kick back and relax at Yonehara Beach, and browse the exhibits of Nei Museum of Art.

For maps, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Ishigaki online trip planner .

You can ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki in an hour. In December, daily temperatures in Ishigaki can reach 72°F, while at night they dip to 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can travel to Takachiho-cho.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Kondoi Beach
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kabira Bay ©
Kabira Bay
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Scuba & Snorkeling

3
nights
Takachiho-cho

Takachiho-cho ©
The mountain town of Takachiho-cho remains a place of great importance to Japan's spiritual and natural heritage, and the point where these two things intersect.
Get outdoors at Takachiho Gorge and Daikanbo. Your inner history buff will appreciate Takachiho Shrine and Amano Yasugawara. Take a break from Takachiho-cho with a short trip to Ogi Rice Terraces in Ubuyama-mura, about 1h 15 min away. There's lots more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Amano Iwato Shrine, take in the dramatic scenery at Manai Falls, and take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Kunimigaoka.

For reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Takachiho-cho attractions planner .

Fly from Ishigaki to Takachiho-cho in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from Ishigaki in December, things will get colder in Takachiho-cho: highs are around 51°F and lows about 37°F. On the 28th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Takachiho-cho

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Daikanbo, Ogi Rice Terraces
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Takachiho Gorge ©
Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Shrine ©
Takachiho Shrine
Amano Iwato Shrine ©
Amano Iwato Shrine

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