• Work with Me
  • Start a Blog
  • Yearly Roundups
  • 101 in 1001 Goals
  • how to start a travel blog
  • tips for new bloggers
  • write me a guest post!
  • Work With Me

A Passion and A Passport

Proving Travel is Possible with a Full-Time 9-5

10 Days in Japan: A First-Timer’s Complete Japan Itinerary

last Updated: May 9, 2024 hiroshima japan kyoto miyajima nara osaka tokyo

FYI: Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content you see below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll totally blow on adult things like boba tea and avocado toast. As always, thanks for the support.

Looking for the best way to spend 10 days in Japan?  You’re in the right place! 

Continue reading for tons of first-hand tips, recommendations, and a complete 10 day Japan itinerary, which can easily be turned into two weeks in Japan if you’ve got a few more days.  I absolutely LOVED my time in the country, and with some proper planning, I can guarantee you will too.   

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Japan is over-stimulating and over-whelming in the best way possible. An absolute thrill to the senses. 

From the shiny bright lights of Tokyo’s Akihabara District to the serene temples and zen gardens in Kyoto , Japan is a country where the past and the future collide more than you initially realize.

I can promise you that every bite of food will be better than the last, and you’ll be saying oishi (“delicious” in Japanese) during every meal.

If you can visit during cherry blossom season, you’re in for a real treat – the streets will be lined with the most beautiful bunches of white and pale pink flowers you’ve ever imagined, which in turn makes the country smell absolutely phenomenal.

Japan is quite literally the most fascinating country I’ve explored to date. (And I just hit my goal of 30 countries by my 30th birthday a few months ago!) #killingit

I’d love to spend more time in Japan, and am highly encouraging everyone I know to discover this little piece of Asia sooner than later. So today, I am sharing with you my 10 day Japan itinerary, all heavily researched (for hours!) before my trip and followed pretty much to a T.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Overview of this 10 Day Japan Itinerary

When I initially started planning my trip, I was worried that 10 days in Japan wouldn’t be enough. Thankfully, I proved myself wrong and was able to see and do  oh so   much , as well as stuff myself silly with all those Japanese snacks I had heard so much about. [Spoiler alert: bring stretchy pants.] 

The country is filled with so many fascinating areas, but 10 days in Japan will give you enough time to see the highlights. To be completely honest, this Japan itinerary is rather jam packed, yet highly efficient (I promise!), although I suggest slightly modifying it if you’d like a more relaxed trip or are traveling with kids.

While we’re at it, check out all my travel planning tips right over here!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

This Japan itinerary starts in Tokyo , makes a day trip to either Kamakura, Nikko, or Hakone, then ventures south to Kyoto , with day trips to Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Miyajima Island. Distances really depend on the mode of transport you use, with bullet trains being the fastest.

  • Days 1-3 : Tokyo
  • Day 4: day trip from Tokyo
  • Days 5-6: Kyoto
  • Day 7 : Nara and Osaka
  • Day 8 : Miyajima and Hiroshima
  • Day 9 : morning in Kyoto  → Tokyo
  • Day 10: Tokyo in morning/afternoon  → airport

Japan is a decently large-sized island country located in Eastern Asia, being slightly smaller than California .  Rest assured, the entire country is connected via trains. In my experience, Japan may have the most efficient and well-connected public transportation system in the world (and that’s coming from someone who spent their childhood riding the extensive New York City subway).

Despite holding the title for the 10th most populated country in the world (aka: it’s crowded), you can still find some peace and solitude in the many gardens and temples located just about everywhere.

Pre-Travel Guide to Japan

Where to get the best flight deals to japan:.

I swear by Skyscanner and Google Flights , and always always always use these two sites when looking for airfare.  The option to watch prices and get email notifications are top notch and one of my favorite features of the two. 

Always check budget airlines that may not be listed, especially if you are coming from other areas in Asia with shorter flight times.  A great list of budget airlines can be found here .

For reference, we flew premium economy on China Airlines with a short layover in Taipei for about $1200 round trip from San Francisco – during Easter and cherry blossom season – but I saw deals for under $800 in coach. [I’m not complaining about the upgrade that my husband insisted on buying, but know that cheaper flights are out there.]

If you’re coming from the East Coast USA, flights will be a bit more expensive but shouldn’t be more than $500 more or so.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Where to stay:

In an effort to keep things simple (and avoid changing accommodation every night or two – what a pain!), this itinerary will have you staying in 2 main areas (Tokyo and Kyoto).

I highly advise booking accommodations near centrally located train stations in each as it’ll be easiest for the day trips mentioned in the 10 day Japan Itinerary below.

I opted to stay near Shibuya Station in Tokyo, as it’s centrally located and easy to reach other districts. In Kyoto we stayed near Kyoto Station as we were taking a bunch of day trips and wanted to be able to walk to our accommodation easily after a long, busy day on the road bullet train.

  • Luxury:  Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
  • Mid-Range:  Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo
  • Budget:  Shibuya Tokyu Rei Hotel
  • Check out other hotels in Tokyo here.
  • Luxury:  Hotel Granvia Kyoto
  • Mid-Range:  Kyoto Century Hotel
  • Budget:  Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto
  • Check out other hotels in Kyoto here.
  • Yado Kiramachi
  • Kyoto Takasegawa Bettei
  • Muromachi Yutone Kyokoyado

Airbnb is also a great option and a good way to save some money if you’re spending a few nights in one spot (always check the cleaning and booking fees, as these can greatly increase the price should you only need a 1-night stay).

New rules regarding Airbnb rentals were implemented in June 2018, and now listings must be registered and display a license number on their booking page. Thankfully all current listings on Airbnb are compliant (the company removed any which failed to register in 2018), so you can be sure your booking is absolutely legit.

While I’d love to recommend the Airbnbs we stayed in during our trip to Japan, they are no longer available. However, there’s tons more to choose from – just check out the Airbnb website .

When to visit:

There’s never a horrible time to spend 10 days in Japan, but each season has their pros and cons.

Spring : If you’re hoping to see the ever-so-beautiful cherry blossoms, April is your best bet. That being said, it’s also the month most people visit Japan for that very reason. I visited in early to mid-April, and while yes it was crowded, the beauty of the cherry blossoms found throughout the country was well worth it.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Fall : Autumn is another wonderful time to visit Japan, as you’ll get to experience the vibrant fall colors (bright red leaves) from September to November.

Summer (June to August) is hot, humid, and rainy (although the rain tends to dissipate in early July), while winter (Dec-Feb) is generally cool, sunny, dry and great for snow-sports in the mountains.

Note that weather varies dramatically throughout the country, so be sure to plan accordingly especially if you visit higher altitudes.

Read Next: When to Visit Japan (Weather, Seasons, Festivals, and Crowds)

Planning a trip and confused about the best month to visit Japan?! Keep on reading, because I’ll not only be dishing out info on when to visit Japan, but when to avoid the crowds, best times to see those beloved cherry blossoms, and when you can get the best bang for your buck.

How to get Japanese Yen:

I highly advise you to NOT exchange your money at a currency exchange kiosk before or after you land as you won’t get the best rates. Instead, take out local currency (Japanese Yen) at the airport via ATM machine.

If you travel quite frequently, consider applying for a Charles Schwab bank account. The company refunds any and all fees associated with foreign transaction ATM withdrawals. You’ll pay no ATM fees anywhere in the world, including your home country. It’s what I’ve been using for years and it’s saved me 100’s in unwanted pesky fees.

Surprisingly, considering it’s crazy-advanced technology and all, Japan is mostly a cash society; yes, we were exceptionally wowed by that! Expect your credit card to get rejected at most places (especially small eateries and of course street-food stands) and be sure to carry enough Yen with you.

If you’re coming from the US, an easy way to figure out USD to JY is to move the decimal point two spots to the right >> 100Y = approximately $1USD. Just for quick reference, 10,000Y = approximately 100USD.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

How to Get Around Japan:

If you’re visiting Japan from elsewhere in the world (i.e. you are not a resident of Japan), you are able to purchase a JR train pass for varying amounts of time.  The JR pass gives you access to all of the trains, most Shinkansen lines (bullet trains), the ferry to Miyajima, and a few other transportation lines.  Options include 7-day, 14-day, and 21-day.

I used a 7-day JR pass during my trip, and I highly advise you to do the same if you’ll be following this 10 day Japan itinerary. The Green Car option, while a bit more expensive, is JR’s version of “first-class” and most definitely worth it in my opinion.  Note that it does not cover all bus routes/lines and some local trains, but these only cost about 100-300Y ($1-3USD), so no biggie.

If you plan on using a JR pass, you NEED to purchase it before you enter the country . Once you arrive in Japan, there is no option to buy it. And when I say no option, absolutely NO option at all.  

Once you purchase the pass (which must be done outside of Japan) you will receive a voucher in the mail (within a few days) which you will then exchange upon your arrival in Japan at a designated JR ticket booth in major train stations. 

Buy your Japan Rail Pass here (it’s the company I used and our voucher arrived promptly in the mail). There was free delivery straight to our home which I greatly appreciated, and once in Japan we saved a ton of money on the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train), and breezed through the JR rail stations like a boss.

I can’t imagine doing Japan any other way than with a JR Pass. Check out the options (standard and green pass) here.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

UPDATE — Buying a JR Pass in Japan : The Japan Rail Pass be will sold at a higher price point and on a trial basis in Japan through October 1, 2023 at major stations and airports. However, if you know you’ll be using one, miiiight as well save a bit of money and purchase it beforehand from a trusted company . There’s really no reason not to.

The public transportation system in Japan is top-notch, and although extremely overwhelming (at first, trust me), it’s by far the best (and most cost effective) option for getting around throughout the country.

Electricity and Power in Japan:

Japan uses the same 2-pronged electrical outlets as found in the USA. If you’re coming from America, note that some electrical devices use a three-pronged plug.

It’s also important to understand that the amount of voltage is different and you’ll need a converter (different than an electrical adapter) to change the amount of electricity pushed to each device if you plan on bringing anything which uses an excessive amount of power (including hair dryers, curling irons, and/or straightening irons). 

If you don’t want to worry about this, I suggest you invest in dual-voltage devices made especially for travel like this  dual-voltage blow dryer , dual-voltage mini straightener , and this dual-voltage curling iron .

Using a Pocket Wifi Router in Japan :

If you’ve done any research on Japan, you probably came across something called Pocket Wifi . What is it exactly and why should you consider getting it for your trip to Japan?

Pocket Wifi is exactly as it sounds — a small portable device that you can keep in your pocket (or purse/backpack/day bag) that provides wifi to all your devices (cell phone, iPad, computers, etc). And the best part? One Pocket Wifi will power up to 10 devices, so you can share the same Pocket Wifi with your family and friends.

Since wifi is less common in Japan than in other countries (surprising, right?!), this handy little device does wonders! You will be able to find free wifi in your hotel/ryoken, Starbuck locations around the city, and some other restaurants, but I always recommend having your own, especially if you’re visiting any smaller cities. Do note that some ryokans and older hotels might only have LAN cable internet access, instead of wifi, so you’ll definitely want a Pocket Wifi there!

You’ll use wifi on your phone for just about everything in Japan — train schedules, getting around, translating important phrases, making FaceTime calls to family, etc. You don’t wanna be without it when you need it!

And they make it so super easy — the Pocket Wifi will be delivered straight to your hotel in Japan! Once you’re done with your trip, use the convenient prepaid envelop to return your router from any address in Japan. Couldn’t be simpler than that!

Check out the benefits and purchase your Pocket Wifi here. Honestly, a life saver!

Useful Japanese Phrases:

  • Hello/Good Afternoon: konnichiwa
  • Good bye: sayonara
  • Delicious: oishi
  • Thank you: arigatō
  • Please: kudasai
  • Where’s the toilet: benjo wa doko desu ka?
  • Does anyone speak English? Eigo no hanaseru hito wa imasen ka

Headed to Japan and looking for the best things to do in Kyoto? You’re in luck, because I’ve compiled a whole bunch of Kyoto sights and attractions!

Packing tips for Japan:

Clothing : Seaso ns are kind of temperamental in Japan, and you may be wishing you brought different clothing. Therefore, I highly suggest you pack layers for your trip to Japan. An umbrella (cute ones here , here , and here ) and light raincoat (like this or this one ) are recommended as well.

We encountered much more rain during our 10 days in Japan than we had originally planned for, and I’m glad I brought along a raincoat. If you don’t want to stuff a coat in your luggage, consider bringing along a poncho  just in case.

Electricity and Power : As noted above, most of Japan’s electrical outlets are the 2-pronged “Type A” type (100 Volt, 50-60 Hz).

If you have a device with a 3-pronged or European/UK-style plug, you may need a travel adapter (for all devices) and power converter (for high powered devices like a hair straightener or blow dryer).

Pack comfy shoes that are easy to take off. You’ll need to slip off your shoes at various temples, at the airport, at ryokans, and some restaurants. My favorite ones here (on sale), here , and here .

I also suggest bringing along socks if you don’t want to go barefoot… These sushi socks are quite cute and perfect for the occasion…  🙂 

Small throwaway bags for garbage. You won’t find many garbage cans around Japan in general, and it’s expected that you keep your trash on you until you can throw them away. Keep a small bag in your purse/backpack for this purpose. A small foldable tote is perfect for this, and can be used for spontaneous shopping trips.

Pack light. Navigating Japan is much easier when you have a small suitcase, especially since Japanese trains (and train stations) do not cater to travelers with a lot of luggage. In addition, there’s not as many elevators or escalators as you might wish, so remember, you may be carrying your luggage up and down a few flights of stairs.

I recommend traveling with a small rolling suitcase (one that fits in the overhead bin on an airplane like this one or this one ) and a backpack (I have this one and love it).

Stay organized with packing cubes , which also help you fit more into smaller suitcases (I’m able to fit about a months worth of summer clothing using packing cubes and packing strategically).

Language : If you’re up for it, you can also consider taking along a small Japanese Phrase Book . The language is quite difficult, and Google Translate (which won’t work without wifi or a cell plan) saved our butts far too many times.

Japanese written language uses characters, which you’ll see all over the place.  Thankfully, most signs are written in phonetics using the alphabet we use.

We were also surprised by the low number of people who speak any English. Save yourself some frustration and pack a lightweight phrase book in your bag. Interested in learning some Japanese before your trip?

This book looks like loads of fun, and I’m actually thinking of buying it before my next trip back to the country. (The Japanese language is difficult you guys, just trust me.)

Travel Insurance for Japan

Yes, you need this. I always recommend purchasing travel insurance before your trip. You never know what might happen (flight delays, lost baggage, illness), and travel insurance definitely helps with all of those unfortunate unexpectancies.

I highly recommend the companies World Nomads and SafetyWing . I’ve recently been buying coverage with SafetyWing since they cover pandemic-related costs (which most travel insurance companies do not do).

Whenever we travel, we always buy a short term plan (depending on how many days/weeks we’ll be away) before leaving for any trip! Even if you don’t end up using it, peace of mind is 100% worth it in my opinion.

Find plan options and pricing here (and at only a few bucks a day, there’s no excuse not to!) I always say, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford your trip. It’s that easy.

Buy your travel insurance now — don’t wait until it’s too late!

10 Days in Japan:  A Complete Japan Itinerary

And now, the fun part! The 10 day itinerary in Japan!

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo!

You’ll most likely be flying into Narita Airport  and will need a little over an hour to get into the city center via the Narita Express.  After such a long flight (with lots of time difference), it’s best not to plan much on this first day – hello, jetlag! 

I suggest exploring the area you’re staying in (my suggestions: Shibuya or Akihabara) and devouring your first Japanese dinner of either ramen or pork Katsu.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

During my stay, I opted for an AirBnB in Shibuya , which has an epic nightlife with tons of stuff going on, restaurants included (even if “partying” isn’t your thing- it sure ain’t mine!).  Use this first afternoon/night to relax and rest up, as the rest of this itinerary will be go-go-go!

Day 2: FULL DAY IN TOKYO (West Side)

Today’s all about modern Tokyo !  You’ll be exploring the western districts of the city, including Shibuya, Harajuku, and Shinjuku – just saying these names are fun!  You can either walk from district to district as they are fairly close together, or buy single use train tickets to hop between each. 

DO NOT USE YOUR JR PASS YET as it will expire before you finish needing it later on during the trip. Train tickets within Tokyo are not very expensive, and you won’t be needing many today anyways!

Stop 1: Shibuya

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

If you opted to stay in Shibuya, you won’t need to take a train here!  Shibuya is Tokyo’s version of Times Square , and with all the bright lights and massive amounts of people, it’s easy to see why.  Be sure to check out the world-famous Shibuya Crossing , where 100’s of people scramble across the street at once. 

For the best view above, head to Starbucks (you’ll need to order something before going upstairs), or find the Keio Inokashira Line at Shibuya Station for another perfect view.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Also say “Hello” – or Konichiwa — to Hachiko (the most loyal dog in the world statue) at Shibuya Crossing and do some shopping at Tokyu Hands .

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Meiji Shrine shouldn’t be missed as well, which is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.  You’ll be seeing lots of shrines and temples during your time in Japan, and Meiji is a great one to start with! 

If you’re lucky, you may even witness a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony!  I, however, was not so lucky.

Stop 2: Harajuku

If you want to get a taste for Japanese street style, visit Harajuku.  On Sundays, you can see traditional Harajuku Girls dressed in elaborate costumes and anime – so fun! Try and spot the girl in the photo below all decked out in costume. If you can’t make it on a Sunday, you can get a feel for Japanese street style any day of the week. 

You can reach Harajuku by taking the Yamanote line to Harajuku Station, although it’s not a far walk from Meiji Shrine.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Walk down the famous shopping street of Takeshita Dori , where you’ll find a whole mess of fun stores and fun cafes.  Note that most shops don’t open until 11am, but if you’re following this itinerary, you’ll probably arrive here around 1pmish or so. 

Be sure to try a crepe – the unofficial street food of Harajuku, which you’ll find all over Takeshita Dori!  We also visited a hedgehog café and played with them for about 45 minutes or so.  A super quirky and super weird area, definitely not meant to be missed!

Read Next: Top Things to do in Harajuku

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Stop 3: Shinjuku

Shinjuku is the largest neighborhood in Tokyo (dubbed the crazy entertainment district), and you’ll find thousands of restaurants, shops, entertainment, and other attractions that you could easily spend all day here. 

With limited time, we spent a decent portion of the afternoon and night here and felt that was sufficient enough to see the highlights.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Many people opt to see the ever-so-popular Robot Restaurant , which I’ve heard is an other-worldly experience, but after reading reviews, we decided against it.  Do your own research and decide for yourself whether this show is worthy of your time and money. 

Whether you decide to spend part of the evening at the Robot Restaurant, I highly encourage you to make a visit to Omoide Yokocho , commonly known as Piss Alley. 

Piss Alley is a small network of alleyways along the tracks northwest of Shinjuku Station filled with dozens of tiny eateries serving ramen, soba, sushi and yakitori.  Just pick one with open seats and go in – they’re all worthy of some stomach real-estate.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Consider the free observation deck on the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building , visit Shinjuku Gyoen (a large public park near Shinjuku Station being a perfect cherry blossom spot – check on hours, we missed the entrance by about 20 minutes 🙁 ), and find an epic view of the area from the pedestrian overpass near the northwest corner of the Shinjuku station.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Day 3: FULL DAY IN TOKYO (East Side)

Now it’s time to experience the more traditional side of Tokyo , including Sensoji Temple and Ueno Gardens.  Another bird’s eye view can be seen today, at nearby Tokyo Skytree.

If you’re staying in Shibuya like I did, you’ll need to take the train from Shibuya Station to Asakusa Station (35-45 min on train) via the JR Yamanote Line to Ginza or Asakusa Line. Make sure to purchase single tickets – do NOT activate your JR pass yet!

Asakusa and Sensoji Temple

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Asakusa is the spiritual heart of Tokyo and a good place to start your day!  Sensoji Temple is the main attraction here, and you’ll start your morning journey at the Kaminarimon Gate . 

As you walk toward the temple buildings, check out the historic  Nakamise Dori shopping street, pick out some souvenirs and grab a Japanese snack (or two!) before exploring Sensoji Temple. 

Consider drawing Omikuji (written fortunes) while here.  If you’re up for it and are interested, check out the surrounding old-fashioned neighborhoods around Asakusa.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Sumida Park and Tokyo SkyTree

If you’re visiting during cherry blossom season, I highly advise you to visit Sumida Park , which is an absolutely wonderful spot to see the flowers in bloom!  It was one of the least crowded public parks we went to and FULL of cherry blossoms! 

I cannot recommend this spot enough!  Bring a snack or two and sit on a blanket for the ultimate experience. We got sakura donuts from Mister Donut (located all around), and ate our flower-themed treats amongst the cherry blossoms.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Next up – Tokyo SkyTree , the tallest tower in not only Japan, but the entire world!  At 634m (2,080 feet),  the complex has two observation decks with great views over the city.  There’s even a glass floor for any of you brave souls!  Expect a cue, so plan on spending a bit of time here.  The Tokyo Skytree is about a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute train ride from Asakusa.

If you don’t wanna wait in line, I highly encourage you to book your skip-the-line Tokyo SkyTree ticket in advance. You can even upgrade to include the Tembo Galleria.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

End the afternoon at Ueno Park , another large public space located in central Tokyo and another lively cherry blossom spot.  There are more than 1000 cherry trees of multiple varieties lining its central pathway and lots of temples and shrines here to check out, as well as museums and a zoo if those are of interest to you.

You’ll most likely want to take the JR train from Tokyo SkyTree to Ueno Park.  

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Akihabara District

Wake up because we’re off to Tokyo’s crazy Akihabara District! Spend the evening perusing the many electronic shops, including Yodobashi Akiba – the world’s largest with nine stories stuffed with hi tech equipment – for geeks with money.

You’ll also find Japan’s diehard fan anime culture here, with stores devoted to anime and manga; just be sure to keep kids away from the adult-only sections (I wondered at first why all the anime was butt naked)! 

You could easily fill up a whole afternoon and night in Akihabara, from its maid and Gundam cafes, gaming centers (check out Super Potato Retro Shop if you want to be transported into the 90’s), and just gazing at the bright lights.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Day 4: DAY TRIP from Tokyo — 3 Options

Today you’ll activate your JR pass and start putting it to use!  Now that you’ve explored Tokyo, get out of the busy city center and explore another nearby area.  There are numerous day trips you can take from Tokyo , and depending on your interests, you may want to visit more than one! 

Unfortunately this ten day Japan itinerary only allows for one, but if you have another day or two to spare, you could easily do all three. 

I opted for Kamakura because of the rainy and cold weather, but I would have loved Nikko or Hakone had the weather been more cooperative that day. With two weeks in Japan, you can most definitely do all three if you’d like.

Here are my three recommended day trips from Tokyo:

1) Kamakura

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Don’t miss the Great Buddha of Kamakura (at Kotokuin Temple), easily the most popular attraction in the area, and literally hard to miss at 44 feet.  Here you’ll find the second largest Buddha in all of Japan. 

Another site not to miss, and only a few minute walk from the Great Buddha – the Hase Dera Temple , which is a beautiful temple located on a hillside overlooking the ocean.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

There’s also a bamboo forest at Hokokuji Temple , similar to that in Kyoto, and it’s possible to see Mt. Fuji on a clear day from Kenchoji Temple. 

Once you’ve had your fair share of temples, or are just hungry for some lunch, head on over to Komachi-dori , the busiest commercial street in Kamakura. Try the local specialty of Shirasu-don , (a Whitebait rice bowl), which you’ll easily find in numerous restaurants on the busy street.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Not interested in venturing to Kamakura alone and prefer a group tour?  Looking back, I wished I booked a tour.  Although it wasn’t too far away, we got a bit confused on the train and wasted a bunch of time trying to navigate our way to Kamakura, and then even more time once we arrived.

Many of the tours include other highlights like a tea ceremony and a view of the Bay, which we missed by going alone. I recommend these (from Tokyo) which cover all the top attractions:

  • Full Day Trip to Kamakura, Yokohama, and Tokyo Bay (from Tokyo) : Not only does this day tour from Tokyo take you to all the highlights of Kamakura, but you’ll also get to have lunch in Yokohama’s bustling Chinatown, visit the traditional Japanese-style sunken garden of Sankei-en (including tea rooms!), and admire the modern cable-stay Yokohama Bay Bridge.
  • 5 Hour Nature and History Walking Tour:  This walking tour follows a hiking route from Kita-Kamakura to Hase-dera Temple, passing many historic temples and shrines.  You’ll be able to enjoy some wonderful panoramas from a hiking trail that offers views in all directions. Note that transportation is not included.

Literally sick of the city and need to get some nature into your life?  Nikko may just be your answer.  Full of ancient moss, stone lanterns, vermillion gates, and towering cedars, there’s a reason why this area is one of Japan’s most visited areas.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Located about two hours north of Tokyo, Nikko is the site of the famous Toshogu Shrine , the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu (VIP in Japan), and numerous other temples and shrines. Don’t miss the famous Shinkyo bridge , the beautiful Nikko National Park (on a sunny day), Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss, and Kegon Falls . 

I’m quite bummed we didn’t make it here as all the photos look absolutely spectacular, but now I’ve got another reason to return to Japan!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Trying to fit in a lot during your one day in Nikko?  Consider a group tour which gets you around easily to all of the highlights.

Day Trip Options here: 

  • From Tokyo: Nikko World Heritage Full-Day Tour :  Explore the beautiful mountain landscape of Nikko, Japan, experience the majesty of the Tamozawa Imperial Villa, bow to the three golden Buddah’s at the Rinnoji Temple, explore the surrounding landscape with a trip to Kirifuri Falls, and have a relaxed Japanese lunch at a local restaurant.
  • Nikko: Autumn Leaves and World Heritage Full–Day Tour :  Discover the beautiful autumn leaves and world heritage of Nikko. During your full-day tour by air-conditioned coach, visit Nikko’s natural sights, Senjo-gahara and Kegon waterfalls, and Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Perfect during those autumn months!
If you have more than 10 days in Japan, check out these additional day trips from Tokyo .

If seeing Mt. Fuji is on your bucket list, then I definitely recommend making the day trip to Hakone. 

Once arriving, you have a whole slew of options to fill your day, including the Hakone Tozan Cable Car for stunning views, the Hakone Ropeway for even more epic views, Owakudani with views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day, and a small Buddhist alter. 

You can also take a Hakone Sightseeing Cruise and spend time at the Hakone Open Air Museum (art gallery). Brave? Try a black egg!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

If you’re not up for heading to Hakone alone , there are numerous day trips from Tokyo that leave the transportation and planning up to someone else.  You’re on holiday – treat yourself and save yourself the hassle! I recommend the followings tours:

  • From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji and Hakone Day Trip by Shinkansen : Spend a day trip traveling to Mt. Fuji, Japan’s most famous symbol and highest mountain. Enjoy the view from the 5th Station before visiting the nearby resort town of Hakone, known for its onsen hot springs. Return to Tokyo by bullet train!
  • From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour with Bullet Train :  Get spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and its surrounding mountains on a day trip from Tokyo. Cruise across Lake Ashi by boat and take the ropeway up Mt. Komagatake. Relax in the hot springs resort of Hakone, and then catch the bullet train back to Tokyo.

However, note that seeing the mountain is never guaranteed and it’s possible you may make the trip only to be disappointed.  Some months out of the year have higher chances of visibility, including the winter months.  If it looks like a questionable morning with lots of clouds, I highly suggest you alter your plans and opt for either Nikko or Kamakura instead.


First Bullet Train Ride!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

*Note that you’ll be required to make a seat reservation if you have opted for the Green JR Pass.  Make this reservation when you first exchange your JR voucher for a ticket, or the night before leaving for Kyoto.  Don’t wait until the morning of because it’s possible the reservation desk will not be open yet.

Get up nice and early, grab some breakfast in the station/on the way to the station, and take a 7:00/7:30am bullet train from Tokyo Station (you may need to transfer at Shinagawa Station) in route for Kyoto! 

If you take this early morning train ride, you’ll arrive in Kyoto around 10:30am or so, which is necessary if you want to see a bunch of Kyoto sites today.  Once you arrive in Kyoto, put your luggage/bags into a coin locker (roughly 500-900 Yen for two suitcases for the entire day) and get exploring!

A note about Kyoto’s public transportation: Unlike Tokyo, Kyoto relies on large public buses. We were unaware of this and unfortunately caught off guard when we couldn’t take fast trains to get around. Give yourself some extra time as it’ll take longer to get around. Embrace it – look outside the window on the bus and take in some local Kyoto life.

Arashiyama Area

Catch the bus to the  Saga-Arashiyama Station , where you’ll be hanging out for a few hours.  First up, Tenyru-Ji Shrine and its accompanying zen garden.  So many beautiful plants and flowers (nicely labeled in both English and Japanese) here, such as the Japanese wisteria, which you’ll never see outside of Japan.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Once you exit the garden, you’ll come across the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove/Forest .  Walking through the Bamboo Grove is definitely one of the essential experiences to have in Kyoto so don’t pass it up! 

The grove is much smaller than I thought, taking roughly 15 minutes to walk through, but is absolutely excellent for photography.

Walk through slowly to take it all in, and don’t forget to look up at the towering bamboo!  Bring a wide-angle lens and if possible, a go pro, in order to include as much of the bamboo in your photos!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Before you head to the Monkey Park (coming up next!), you’ll most likely come across a lovely area with small eateries and a beautiful, green emerald lake. A good spot for some photos in my opinion!  🙂  We enjoyed a few vending machine coffees and teas here (you’ll be doing that everywhere in Japan too, you’ll see!).

Read Next: Top Things to do in Kyoto and Attractions

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Next up, walk to the Iwatayama Monkey Park !  Yes, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk completely uphill to reach the park, but definitely worth it!  Just be aware, the Google Maps directions to this attraction are wrong.

The entrance to the park is simply near the orange shrine gate at the south side of the Togetsu-kyo bridge. Look for a cartoon picture of a monkey and you’re golden!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

The park is a nice change from the temples and shrines you’ll be seeing a lot of in Kyoto, and it’s so much fun to feed the monkeys for only 100Y.  There’s also a wonderful view of Kyoto from up here.  

Before anyone gets mad at those pictures of the monkeys “behind bars”, please know they are free to roam wherever they’d like throughout the park, and us humans are actually put in an enclosed area when feeding them. This is to protect both the animals and us.

We could have easily spent hours watching the monkeys and admiring the view, but off to the Golden Pavilion it was!

Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

If you’ve got more time today, take the bus to the Golden Pavilion , which is super impressive and made entirely of gold!  Reflected in the lake, it’s no wonder this is one of the top things to do in Kyoto. 

Make sure to try some Japanese flavored ice cream here, such as green matcha and/or black sesame, my new favorite!  It’s guaranteed to be crowded, but very, very worth it in my opinion.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

*Don’t forget to head back to Kyoto Station to collect your bags before heading to your hotel or AirBnb for the night!


Nishiki Market

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Start the day at the Nishiki Market – known for its different food stalls where you can try all kinds of Japanese cuisine and treats. 

Stroll for an hour or so up and down the streets of the market, stopping whenever something tickles your fancy. The market is a great place to dive into some of the more unusual dishes – don’t be a chicken, try them!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

However, absolutely don’t leave the market without trying tako tamago – the infamous candied baby octopus stuffed with a quail egg.  It tastes way better than it sounds – I could have eaten three!

Want a taste of those cutesy animal donuts you’ve possibly seen all over the internet? You can try them here – at Floresta Donuts .  I had a hard time eating mine as it was just too cute to bite into! Quite possibly my favorite thing I ate during our 10 days in Japan! SO cute!

trip to japan 10 days

After your fix of Japanese delicacies and donuts, walk on over to Gion, Kyotos famous geisha district.  If you’re lucky you may spot a real true-life geisha , although they tend to walk fast to their destination and don’t like to show their face. 

However, if you do spot one, but courteous and don’t obviously follow them or point your camera directly to their face.  Show respect for their culture. I wasn’t so lucky and didn’t spot any on my trip.

Higashiyama District

End the day at the Higashiyama District, the world famous hub of Kyoto’s best-known shrines and temples.  And let me tell me, this place is worth checking out. It’s one of my favorite areas in all of Kyoto .

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Make sure to walk down Sannenzaka and Ninensaka – the two most beautiful streets in the district, with numerous souvenir shops and eateries.  It can get rather crowded during the day (for good reason!), so we chose to come a bit before dusk had encountered a less cramped experience. 

Still cramped, but less cramped than I imagine mid-day would be. You’ll find some eats on the walk – make sure to try a sakura cream puff !

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Kyomizu-dera Temple , a listed UNESCO site, should be next on your list.  Again, it’s quite busy, but the view out over a sea of trees is hard to beat – just imagine this during cherry blossom season (absolutely to die for!) And yea, try an onigiri maki – an emoji in the wild!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Finish off this (long and tiring) day by walking part of the Philosopher’s Path (found on Google Maps as  Tetsugaku-no-michi) , a path that runs along a narrow river and is lined with more cherry blossom trees than you can ever imagine! 

You’ll end at the Silver Pavilion, although not as fancy and intricate as the Golden Pavilion, and not even lined in silver, but still impressive nonetheless.


It’s time for some day trips today, and we’ll be crossing off two in one day’s time!  Head to Nara from Kyoto Station (via JR Nara Line – roughly 1 hour on the express train), then after seeing some of the top temples, head on over to Osaka and eat everything!

Get ready to interact with some deer in Nara Park , which can be found all throughout the area and are literally impossible to miss!  And oh yea, those crackers you see being sold on the street?  Those are for the deer, not us hungry humans!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

A few temples to see: Todaiji (must visit Unesco World Heritage Site with super tall Buddha), Kasaguga Taisha Shrine (the most important shrine in Nara), Kofukuiji Temple, and Gangou-ji Temple.  If you’ve had enough of temples by this time, head over to Osaka and skip a temple or two.

Tip : Get the Nara Kotsu one day pass (it’s more of a wooden plague you can wear around your neck if you please) for 500 Yen.  This sightseeing bus brings you around to the top attractions in Central Nara, and is good for most of the buses you see throughout the city.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Off to Osaka for the rest of the day!  Many people skip Osaka as they think it’s just another large city like that of Tokyo, but we absolutely loved our few hours here!  Don’t skip it!

First up, the ever-so-beautiful Osaka Castle , one of Japan’s most famous landmarks!  Get off at Osakajokoen Station. 

Note that the castle may very well be closed by the time you reach it depending on how long you spend in Nara (last admission is 4:30pm in April, a bit later in the summer months), but the outside alone is worth the train and short 20 minute walk!

Next up, Dotonbori Street !  It’s an absolute madhouse full of people, shops, and eateries, and an absolute must-do while in Osaka.  Be sure to look up and admire the moving animal billboards found on the buildings.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Osaka is the food capitol not just of Japan, but of the entire world.  Hence, you’ll want to eat everything in sight (just leave some room for a Kobe beef dinner).  Try beloved regional dishes like okonomiyaki, takoyaki (fried octopus balls – tastes way better than it sounds), udon, and hiyashi ame ginger drink.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Rule of thumb: if there’s a long line, the food is out of this world.  Wait and you’ll be rewarded.

If you want to get some shopping on, head on over to nearby Shinsaibashi, the city’s premier shopping district.  We chose to skip the shopping and focused on stuffing our faces 😉

Great dinner suggestion: Tsurugyu.  This place is all about Kobe beef , and is super fresh and decently priced.  Expect to pay around 5,000Y per person, drink included.  Reservations are highly recommended, although we somehow got extremely lucky and were able to sit at the bar – but don’t count on this!

Looking for the best places to go in Japan?! This Japan bucket list has you covered! Definitely saving this for my future trip to Japan!


Get ready for another jam-packed day.  Yes, it’ll take a while to get here, but trust me, on a clear, sunny day, it’s 100% worth it and absolutely beautiful. 

Take an early morning bullet train to Hiroshima, which takes roughly 2 hours from Kyoto Station, then a local JR train to Miyajimaguchi Station, then finally the JR ferry to Miyajima.  All included in your JR Pass .

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

You can choose to visit either Miyajima or Hiroshima first, but I highly recommend visiting Miyajima during high tide to see the gate “floating” in the water.  Check tide schedules online.

If you opt for Miyajima first (again, tide dependent), and take an 8am bullet train out of Kyoto Station, you’ll reach Miyajima by approximately 11am.

Head straight to the tori gate (after some deer interaction of course, yes there’s deer here and they’re SUPER friendly, just watch your food). 

You’ll want to snap a million photos because this place is just so damn beautiful it’s hard not to!  You can also check out the floating shrine as well, which we loved and was unlike any other shrine/temple we saw in Japan!

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Spectacular views your thing? Take the Miyajima Ropeway (~15 minutes, $17 roundtrip) for better-then-great views of the whole area from the top of Mt. Misen . There’s a bus at the base of Miyajima Island which will take you to the ropeway station fo’ free as well if you’re already feeling super tired from your journey.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Before heading back to the ferry, pick up some ice cream (green tea or black sesame, you are in Japan!) – perfect on a hot, sunny day.

Take the ferry back to Miyajimaguchi Station, then the JR train to Hiroshima.  Note that you’ll need to either take a tram or buy a Hiroshima Sightseeing Hop-On, Hop-Off Loop Bus “Meipuru-pu” to get around in Hiroshima super easily – which is free of cost for JR pass users . 

We took the sightseeing bus to Hiroshima Castle , and then to the area with the A-Bomb Dome , Children’s Peace Monument , and Peace Memorial Museum and Park .  The museum was closed by the time we arrived, but we were still able to wander around at the memorials and pay our respects.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

End this super long day eating okonomiyaki at Okonomimura , a humungous multi-level eatery with tiny stalls of different shops making varieties of the famous pancake.  Just for reference, we made it back on a bullet train around 8:30/9pm, getting back to Kyoto around 11pm.  Told you it was a long day.  😉

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.


Today’s your last day in Kyoto, so it’s time to do those last-minute things you missed, including the Fushimi Inari Shrine.   Put your bags in coin lockers at Kyoto Station before heading out for the day (just don’t forget to pick up before the bullet train heading back to Tokyo!)

Morning/Afternoon in Kyoto

1. Fushimi Inari Shrine (Taisha): COME EARLY BEFORE THE MASSES ! No matter how tired you are, do not skip Fushimi Inari Shrine!  To get here, you’ll need to take the JR Line (Nara or Keihan Main) from Kyoto to Inari Station. 

The shrine is comprised of over 10,000 beautiful orange-y red tori gates arching over a scenic, possible 2-hour-long walking trail. You don’t need to do the entire circuit, but definitely make it past the initial arch as this is the most populated one due to its close proximity to the start. 

Make sure to notice the numerous fox statues along the shrine grounds, as they are thought to be Inari’s messengers and hold much importance to this area. And get some inari sushi if you’re a bit hungry – look how cute they are! Definitely one of my favorite things we did during our 10 days in Japan.

Read Next: Alllll the best things to do in Kyoto

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

2. Nijo Castle: One of Kyoto’s most popular and impressive sights, and a wonderful place to walk around on your last official morning in the city. The grounds are large with numerous fortifications, a lovely castle, beautiful moat, and gardens.

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Inari Shrine to Nijo Castle: Head back to Kyoto Station, then take the JR Sagano train to Nijo stop

3. To-Ji Garden and Temple: Depending on your groups level of tired-ness, you may choose to skip these gardens (which are a 15 minute walk from Kyoto station).  We were too pooped from the week’s festivities to even think about wandering around here, and let’s face it – I saved myself an hour or so of complaints from my husband. 

We both get a little grumpy when the tiredness kicks in.  If you do decide to go, you’ll find the tallest wooden pagoda in Japan, a lovely garden with a koi fish pond, and some beautiful cherry blossoms. Next time for me!

Bullet Train to Tokyo

Once you’re done with your activities in Kyoto, back on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo it is!

The bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo takes around 3 hours or so, and with our stomachs grumbling already, we opted for a dinner of bento boxes to take on the train with us.  You’ll find a handful of stalls in the train station selling a wide variety of food options, with bento boxes being absolutely perfect for the long train ride!

Since you’ll only be in Tokyo for one additional night and will need to take the train from Tokyo station to Narita International Airport the next day, I suggest staying in the Ginza area, 1 or 2 stops on the train depending on which line you take.

It also lets you explore a new area the next morning before heading off to the airport.

Recommended hotels in Ginza:

  • Luxury : Millenium Mitsui Garden Hotel  (where we stayed and we absolutely loved it! – and less than $150 a night!)
  • Mid-Line : Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza  (super chic upscale hotel at affordable rates in a great location)
  • Budget : Tokyo Ginza Bay Capsule Hotel  (if you don’t know what a capsule hotel is… go check that out!)


Before heading out for the day, it’s a good idea to check out of your hotel to avoid rushing back for the mid-morning check-out time, and be sure to ask your hotel to store your bags (which you’ll pick up later before heading off to the airport).

Sushi Breakfast at Tsukiji Market

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

On your last official morning after 10 days in Japan (cue the sad face), there’s nothing better than an authentic sushi breakfast!  And no better place to get fresh sushi than at the Tsukiji Fish Market – the world’s largest, busiest fish market! 

Note that the Tsukiji Fish Market is comprised of two parts – the inner market (the Uogashi wholesaler market) and the outer market.  The inner market is where you’ll find the early-morning wholesale tuna auction (think 4am, yes, really that early), while the outer market is for all of us foodies hoping to satisfy our taste buds with some seafood goodness.

While Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai are two of the most common sushi shops in Tsukiji Market, the lines are astronomically long.  We picked a place at random and had a wonderful experience – the fish was fresh, service was adequate, and prices were competitive.

You won’t find mediocre sushi anywhere in this area, so decide for yourself (and your hungry belly) if waiting in those long lines is worth it.

If you have a little extra time and wanna learn about Japanese food culture and the market in general, consider signing up for a Tsukiji Outer Market Food and Drink Walking Tour . You’ll sample bonito, katsuobushi, dashi stock, sushi, sake, fresh tuna, local omelets (my all-time fave) and so much more. I so wish we did this as we didn’t learn much about the market and honestly didn’t even know where to begin on our own — there’s so many stalls and we didn’t know half of the foods!

Next time we’re in Japan I REALLY wanna take this combined tour of the Tsukiji Outer Fish Market and sushi-making class! I love taking cooking classes when I travel (I’ve made macarons in Paris, egg tarts in Lisbon, and tamales in Mexico so far), so I think sushi in Japan is next for me!

Shopping in Ginza

After filling up on some sushi (and ice cream, because, why not?!), head back to Ginza for some upscale window shopping.  This district is home to the most expensive shopping and real estate in Tokyo – kind of like New York’s Fifth Avenue, but with more lights!

Off to the Airport

Heading to Japan soon?! Check out this COMPLETE 10-DAY JAPAN ITINERARY filled with exactly how I spent my 10 days in Japan, which could easily be expanded to 2 weeks in Japan.

Depending on your flight time, you may have a bit more time, but it’s always wise to get to the airport extra early for international flights. 

Head back to your hotel, collect your bags, head to Tokyo Station, then to Narita Airport (takes approximately 1 hour via Narita Express), have one more Japanese meal at the airport, and say goodbye to this eclectic yet charming country.

If you have any questions on this 10 day Japan itinerary, please ask below in the comments! If you follow this itinerary (exactly what we did), I can promise you not only will you see so much in such a short period of time, but you won’t be stressed out planning either!  🙂

TRAVELING TO JAPAN SOON? Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of  World Nomads  and SafetyWing when traveling abroad.

Recently, I’ve been mostly using SafetyWing since they cover pandemic-related claims (most travel insurance companies do not). Be sure to protect yourself from possible injury, lost baggage, travel delays, and theft before it happens.  Learn more and Sign up here.

Did you know that …

When you purchase something through our links, we earn a small fee (but you still pay the same) ! Win-win! If you found this article useful, consider using the links within the article or below. Thanks for your support! 

  • Book a hotel
  • Best place to find tours
  • Second favorite place for tours
  • Favorite travel insurance
  • Book a rental car
  • My favorite packing items on Amazon
  • Start your very own blog!

Feel free to share this 10 day Japan itinerary with a friend (just copy and paste the link!), and get started planning your trip! Have you been to the country before? What were your favorite things to do in Japan?

Photos via Day 1a | Day 2 and Steam Fire at Asakusa  | cherry blossoms | Akihabara | Hakone 1 and 3 | Hakone 2 |

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

' src=

September 23, 2020 at 10:18 pm

Great post! We are planning to visit Japan around cherry blossoms season next year. Your 10-day itinerary seems perfect. We might add 3 to 4 days to it as we love to follow the slow pace when we travel 🙂

' src=

September 23, 2020 at 10:47 pm

You’re gonna have the best time ever – I wish I could go back and do my entire itinerary again! An extra few sounds would be perfect; we had to rush around a lot!

' src=

April 13, 2021 at 11:26 pm

Very elaborate Japan guide! Hope to visit this wonderful place in the near future!

' src=

March 27, 2022 at 5:54 am

Thanks so much, this was very helpful, and fun to read. I’ve been once by myself and hope to return with my wife. If it’s not too personal, what was the total cost of the trip for two?

April 4, 2022 at 6:16 pm

Hi Bill! So glad the post was helpful! Unfortunately it’s really hard to say the total cost, as it greatly varies depending on what hotels you choose, activities you do, and restaurants you eat at! With that being said, the street food is absolutely phenomenal and a great way to save a bit of money! We loved it all!

' src=

April 7, 2022 at 1:22 am

such an amazing post and trip, wish i can go there very soon. thankyou for sharing 🙂

' src=

July 18, 2022 at 8:44 am

I am so very grateful for your post. I have been researching for months and this is the most helpful post I have found! We will be traveling to Japan April 2023 for my sons graduation present. We will only have 7-8 days there. If you were to take off 1-2 days which would they be. Right now I am thinking one less day in Tokyo but not sure what else to eliminate.

July 20, 2022 at 6:58 pm

So glad you found it helpful! I would cut off the day trip from Tokyo, and eliminate a day in Tokyo like you suggested. You can see the main highlights of Tokyo in 2 long, jam packed days. It’ll be a very hectic and tiring trip, but you’ll see a lot in just a week! I cannot wait to go back to Japan! Enjoy your trip — sounds like it’ll be a special one!

' src=

August 29, 2022 at 1:19 pm

I’m planning a trip to Japan and this has been super helpful! One question though, did you mainly find lodging in just Tokyo and Kyoto? And you did day trips out of those cities but would return back?

August 29, 2022 at 8:42 pm

Hi Francesca — yup, did exactly that! I stayed in Tokyo and Kyoto and did day trips! SO much to see! Have such a great trip! I cannot wait to go back to Japan!!!

' src=

October 1, 2022 at 10:40 pm

Hey! your post is SUPER helpful for my 10 day trip I want to take in April 2023! But I was curious if you visited any hot springs or passed by any while on your trip? I want to go to one with my boyfriend and have a relaxing dip 🙂 I look forward to the trip and your trip sounds like something we would follow to enjoy our time! thnk you 🙂

October 2, 2022 at 4:33 pm

Hey there! We didn’t have time for any on our first trip, but spent a few days at an onsen in Mt. Muji on our second trip! Highly recommend adding that in if you’re looking for some peace and quiet! It was incredible!

' src=

August 9, 2023 at 9:19 am

Hi! Which onsen do you recommend?

' src=

November 1, 2022 at 11:18 am

Can u suggest a place to do one day of kintsugi lesson. I love your itinerary and plan to follow it to the T. And will definitely share my experience once I am back… I have about 13 days…one last thing..anything that a vegetarian can eat

' src=

November 6, 2022 at 2:26 am

Excellent guide! May I know is the 7-day JR pass one-way only (Tokyo -> Kyoto)? Do we need to buy another ticket/pass for the bullet train from Kyoto back to Tokyo?

November 6, 2022 at 4:32 pm

The JR pass works for all directions! As long as it’s still within the 7 days if you buy the 7 day pass! You can use the pass as many times as you want within the time frame you buy it for. It’s great!

' src=

November 27, 2022 at 10:18 pm

love your itinerary! i’m planning to visit japan in december and wondered if the disneyland in tokyo was worth it?

November 28, 2022 at 7:47 pm

Hi Rama! How exciting! I’ve never been to Tokyo Disney so unfortunately cannot comment! Have a great trip! Japan is easily one of my favorite countries!

' src=

January 19, 2023 at 12:04 pm

This post is amazing! We are planning a trip to Japan and this has everything. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences!

January 20, 2023 at 5:15 pm

Of course, so glad it’s helpful! Let me know if you have any questions! We loved our trips to Japan and can’t wait to go back!

' src=

February 9, 2023 at 2:03 pm

Thank you so much for sharing, this is super helpful! I was wondering, if you were to have stayed at a ryokan during this trip, when / in which city would you recommend staying? I’m currently planning a 10 day try and would like to follow your itinerary but also want to squeeze in a stay in a ryokan!

' src=

March 22, 2023 at 6:38 am

I just wanted to thank you. My wife and I returned last night from our first trip to Japan, 11 nights in total. We followed your itinerary almost to the letter, including all three day trips from Tokyo – Kamakura, Nikko and Hakone.

It was an extra special trip for us, celebrating my 50th birthday, and your itinerary made the incredibly intimidating task of knowing how to structure a short trip to Japan, manageable and endlessly rewarding.

I commend you for your excellent research and wanted you to know how valuable of a service you are providing!

' src=

March 28, 2023 at 7:06 pm

Just to be clear, you’re recommending just two home bases during the ten days in Japan: Tokyo and Kyoto? We’re going in October and are booking hotels. So – one hotel in Tokyo and one hotel in Kyoto from which we see those cities and take day trips. It’s that simple?

April 5, 2023 at 11:07 am

Yup — makes it so much easier than booking a different hotel for every night! 🙂 The train system is amazing in Japan and you can easily get to so many day trips from both major cities.

' src=

April 26, 2023 at 3:42 pm

We are planning a trip to Japan in April 2024 and I came across you blog post. Amazing post and your detailed itinerary is very helpful. I’m wondering if there is any advantage of choosing Narita vs Haneda airport. We will be flying from SFO and have options to both.

April 27, 2023 at 2:05 pm

If you can find a flight to Haneda for a decent price, I’d actually choose that! It’s much closer to Tokyo itself. However, more airlines fly into Narita. I’ll be looking into Haneda for my next trip! 🙂

' src=

May 9, 2023 at 4:22 pm

Thank you so much for this very helpful itinerary. My husband and I are planning to visit in early December to celebrate my 60th birthday. Your suggestions and recommendations were very helpful and I will definitely be using them. Thank you again.

May 9, 2023 at 5:54 pm

Glad it was helpful! That’s so exciting — what a special spot for a birthday! Have the best time, and let me know if you have any questions!

' src=

May 21, 2023 at 2:06 am

We are booked on a cruise around Japan for 10 days but coming in earlier to do some land tours and hopefully see things we will not be able to do on the cruise. All your information was so informative and will be looking more into it all. We will be leaving Sydney Australia on 23rd March 2024 specifically for Cherry Blossom time.

August 9, 2023 at 9:17 am

Hi! We are flying to HND arriving June 8th at 21:05. We depart from NRT June 20th. I haven’t booked any accommodations yet. I’m trying to follow your itinerary. How many nights would you recommend in Tokyo and Kyoto? Should we stay in another city for a few nights to reduce traveling time? Regarding the JR Pass, we fall in between the 7 day and 14 day pass. I’m thinking the 7 day pass should be enough if we start using it day 4 or 5. Thank you!

' src=

November 5, 2023 at 2:56 pm

Hi Jess. Your itinerary was the inspiration for my first visit to Japan last month with my niece. We followed the majority of the 10 days outlined including all of the daytrips except for Hakone. Your suggestions were excellent because each day trip was unique and memorable. Your tips on where to purchase the local currency, the JR train pass as well as the packing tips were incredibly helpful. We also made it a point to try every single one of your foodie recommendations. Black sesame and Sakura were definitely our favorite Japanese flavors for ice cream. Nishiki Market, Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, the floating shrine in Miyajima, the Great Buddha statues at Kotokuin in Kamakura and at Todaji in Nara, Okonomimura in Hiroshima, Fushimi Inari Shrine were absolute highlights. Thank you so much for sharing this well-researched and well-organized itinerary that helped us make the most of our truly breath-taking adventure in Japan.

November 8, 2023 at 12:16 am

So glad it was helpful and that you had an amazing trip to Japan! Every time I go back I’m already planning my next trip! Such a wonderful, diverse country!

' src=

December 18, 2023 at 4:02 pm

Hello, I want to make sure I understand your itinerary. At the beginning, does it call for 4 or 5 nights in Tokyo?

' src=

January 16, 2024 at 12:46 pm

What would you add to this itinerary if you travel with 12 and 13 year old children?

January 20, 2024 at 10:56 pm

Hi there! I don’t have kids so not sure I’m the best person to ask! There’s tons of things to do in Tokyo for people with all different interests though.

' src=

February 20, 2024 at 5:16 am

Fantastic info for a possible first time visitor. Thanks so much! Just querying the following part of your page though:

“If you’re coming from the US, an easy way to figure out USD to JY is to move the decimal point two spots to the right >> 100Y = approximately $1USD. Just for quick reference, 10,000Y = approximately 100USD.”

If I move the decimal place to the right for 100.00Y that equal 10000 USD based on the above. Should that have said “move the decimal place two spots to the left (which would = 1.00)

February 20, 2024 at 5:19 am

Ignore all that.. I now see it from the US point of view – i.e. move the US decimal point two spots to the right to get JPY. Sorry! Great site, really appreciate ethe information.

' src=

March 7, 2024 at 3:50 pm

what is the latest the bullet trains operate for example taking a day trip from Kyoto to Osaka at what time do you have to head back? Is there a website were we can see this?

' src=

April 20, 2024 at 2:29 pm

Hi. My name is Jack, I live in Japan for more than 10 years and run a personal blog jackinjapan.com I would be glad if you can read my work)

You may also love...

trip to japan 10 days

Subscribe To The Newsletter


No spam, only fun!

Favorite Destinations


  • About Jessica
  • How to Plan a Trip
  • Fave Travel Companies
  • Shop My Faves


  • World Travel
  • San Francisco
  • Northern California
  • Southern California
  • Central Coast

Asiahighlights logo

  • Thailand Lantern Festival
  • Indonesia(Bali)
  • South Korea
  • China (HK, Taiwan)
  • Itinerary Ideas
  • Asia Highlights Travel Reviews
  • Thailand Travel Reviews
  • Vietnam Travel Reviews
  • Cambodia Travel Reviews
  • Japan Travel Reviews
  • Myanmar Travel Reviews
  • China Travel Reviews

Asia Highlights TrustPilot rating

10 Days in Japan: Top 5 Itineraries for First Visit 2024/2025

Spending 10 days in Japan is the most popular vacation length for both families and couples. It would enable you to visit the major cities in Japan — Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, while also allowing you to spend 1–2 days on day trips to popular nearby areas such as Hakone, Nara, and Mount Fuji.

In this article, we've described five wonderful 10-day Japan itineraries to help you get ideas for your dream trip. Each handpicked itinerary offers you a private, enjoyable, and stress-free journey through Japan.

  • Itinerary 1: Classic Japan Itinerary
  • Itinerary 2: For Family with Teenagers
  • Itinerary 3: The Best of Japan Cherry Blossom
  • Itinerary 4: Essence of Japan with Hiroshima
  • Itinerary 5: Modern and Rural Japan

How Much Does 10 Days in Japan Cost?

1. 10-day classic japan itinerary (most chosen).

  • 3 nights in Tokyo
  • 1 night in Hakone
  • 3 nights in Kyoto
  • 2 nights in Osaka

This itinerary is ideal for you to explore Japan's major highlights in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Experience the best of Japan, including plenty of hands-on, authentic activities that would make your trip memorable.

Start your journey in Tokyo, the capital offers a perfect blend of history and modernity.  Immerse yourself in the wooden Meiji Shrine, the city's oldest Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Skytree, and make sushi for your lunch at a local home. With the company and guidance of a local guide, you would gain insights into the city.

Next, Hakone is the home of onsens (Japanese hot spring baths). Spending a night at a traditional ryokan inn with onsen to experience sleeping on cozy tatamis and relaxing at an onsen. A ryokan typically offers 5 to 10 rooms. We could help you to select family-friendly or couple-friendly ryokans that suit your preferences. Making a decision at least three months in advance can help ensure you have more options available.

Continue your adventure in tradition-filled Kyoto. Visit the renowned Fushimi Inari Shrine to across thousands of orange-red torii gates, experience an authentic tea ceremony, and take a leisurely walk through the culture-rich Gion district.

End your trip in flourishing Osaka. You could watch exciting sumo wrestling mach, experience ukiyo-e printmaking, and sample delicious local snacks at lively Dotonbori.

Our Japan travel expert would tailor-made a private tour for you based on your preferences and requirements.

2. 10-Day Japan Itinerary for Family with Teenagers

  • 5 nights in Tokyo (day trips to Yokohama and Hakone)
  • 2 nights in Kyoto (day trip to Nara)

This 10-day itinerary for Japan is ideal for families, particularly those with teenagers. You won't have to switch hotels frequently, and you'll have the chance to experience engaging, family-friendly activities, that every member of your family can enjoy.

Begins your family trip in Tokyo. You and your kids could explore the most attractive shops of Pokémon Center and Nintendo Tokyo, indulge in interactive experiences that stimulate the imagination at high-tech museums like TeamLab Borderless: MORI Building Digital Art Museum.

Take half a day to visit the Gundam Factory in Yokohama and witness the impressive 18-meter-high replica, which can also walk. This activity is highly popular among the fathers and sons of our family clients.

Next, journey to culture-rich Kyoto. Your whole family would try on ninja outfits to learn ninja techniques and weapon skills from a ninja master, wear kimonos to take memorable family photos, experience a Japanese-style ryokan with a family room (accommodating 3–5 people), and feed deer in Nara.

Complete your trip in Osaka, whcih has a top theme park: Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios. It would make you say "wow!" as you and your kids are fully immersed in the magic world of Mario.

If you have other requirements, contact us and our Japan travel expert can make it happen.

3. 10-Day Japan Cherry Blossom Itinerary (in March or April)

  • 3 nights in Osaka

Cherry blossom in spring (March to April) is one of the most attractive and well-known sights in Japan. A lot of travelers from Japan and abroad come specifically during this time to enjoy the blossoming pink trees.

With this itinerary, you could view the best of the cherry blossoms in top cities, and experience authentic activities to enrich your trip. We offer you two kinds of Japan cherry blossom tour: a private tour or a mini-group tour (4–7 people). A mini-group tour provides our clients an exceptional-value, once-in-a-lifetime experience at the peak time in Japan without breaking the bank. If your group has 4 people and more, you can upgrade it to a private tour for more flexibility.

  • Personalize your trip: Tailor your itinerary by hand-picking your preferred scenic spots and experiences based on your preferences and requirements, making the most of your time.
  • Flexible schedule: A private cherry blossom tour would allow you to choose from two travel times in March/April. If you travel with a mini-group tour, you would need to travel at a specific time (Mar. 25 – Apr. 3 or Mar. 31 – Apr. 9 in 2024).
  • More suitable for a family , a private cherry blossom tour has more family-friendly experiences than a mini-group tour, such as visiting an interactive high-tech museum, going to an anime cafe, feeding deer in Nara, and making ukiyo-e prints. Besides, you would have your own private guide to answer your every question.

Our Japan travel expert would carefully design each private tour to cater to your unique interests and requirements .

4. 10-Day Essence of Japan with Hiroshima

  • 1 nights in Hiroshima

With this itinerary, you could immerse yourself in the captivating essence of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. For example, indulge in the enchanting sights of shrines, the world of anime, the culinary delights, a traditional ryokan, and the unique opportunity to wear a ninja outfit or a beautiful kimono.

What's more, you could delve into the profound history of World War II by exploring Hiroshima . Don't miss the site of the atomic bombing and exploring the museum would allow you to witness the collection of items left behind after the attack. Educational documentaries are available there to deepen your understanding of the significance of valuing peace in the post-war era.

Contact us for more suggestions based on your interests.

5. 10-Day Modern and Rural Japan Itinerary: Revitalizing Countryside Views

  • 2 nights in Kanazawa (day trip to Takanawa and Shirakawa-go)
  • 1 night in Osaka

This itinerary allows you to explore modern Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, as well as two quiet and picturesque small towns. You'll get a chance to experience the flourishing city life and discover the beauty of mountain breezes, lush bamboo groves, and unique Japanese farmhouses.

Kanazawa is a beautiful town that boasts well-preserved buildings from the Edo period (1603–1868). You can catch a glimpse of geishas gracefully strolling through the streets and immerse yourself in the rich traditions of the samurai by exploring their traditional houses. In Takayama and Shirakawa-go , you'll encounter extraordinary gassho-zukuri farmhouses, known for their steep thatched roofs resembling 'praying hands', and experience serene countryside life.

Contact our Japan travel advisors and we can arrange it for you.

US$350-500 per person per day is the typical cost for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a family of 3–5 people. This includes a private guide, private car, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, all intercity transport within Japan, and hand-picked 4-star hotels. Thus, the total cost for 10 days in Japan is about US$3,500-5,000 (international flights not included).

Why Asia Highlights (10,000+ reviews & 98.8% 5-star rating)

  • Save Your Time:
  • Less research, more enjoyment!
  • Real-time 1V1 expert planning
  • Maximize Your Flexibility:
  • Personal local guide and ride
  • Explore at your own pace
  • Celebrate Your Journeys:
  • Specially-crafted family adventures
  • Celebrate milestones with style!
  • 10-Day Japan Cherry Blossom Spring 2025 Mini-Group Tour
  • 2-Week Japan Private Family Vacation
  • 12-Day Classic Japan Tour
  • 9-Day Japan Highlights Tour
  • Plan a Family Trip to Japan 2024/2025: Experiences and Itineraries
  • Plan a Japan Cherry Blossom Trip 2025, Dates and Avoid Crowds
  • 12 Days in Japan: Top 4 Itineraries for First Visit 2024/2025
  • 1 Week in Japan: Top 5 Itineraries for First Visit 2024/2025
  • Japan Weather in January: Travel Tips for First-Timers
  • Japan Weather in February 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers
  • Japan Weather in March 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers
  • Japan Weather in April 2024, Travel Tips (for First-Timers)
  • Japan Weather in May 2024: Travel Tips for a First Visit
  • Japan Weather in June 2024: Coolest Summer Month, Travel Tips for First Visit
  • Japan Weather in July 2024: Full of Festivals, Travel Tips for First Visit
  • Japan Weather in August 2024: Travel Tips for First Visit
  • Japan Weather in September 2024, Travel Tips (for First-Timers)
  • Japan Weather in October 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers
  • Japan Weather in November 2024: Best Autumn Month, Travel Tips
  • Japan Weather in December 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

Sign up to our newsletter.

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Why Asia Highlights

Where can we take you today.

  • Middle East
  • African Safari
  • Travel Agents
  • Loyalty Program
  • Privacy Policy

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China

Japan Rail Pass

  • Itineraries
  • Tours and Activities
  • Travel Guides
  • Best of Japan

JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » 10 days in Japan: Travel itinerary

10 days in Japan: Travel itinerary

February 10, 2020


One of the best ways to get to know what Japan has to offer is to explore the best-of-highlights route from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka. This itinerary allows you to see most of Japan’s famous landmarks and truly get a taste of the culture.

You will travel from the modern wonders of Tokyo , past the natural beauty of the Japanese Alps , all the way to the traditional and ancient Kyoto . The best thing about it? You can do it all in just 10 days!

Get ready to explore the greatest sights in the Land of the Rising Sun, with the help of our itinerary and recommendations, with your Japan Rail Pass in just 10 days .

Day 1: Getting to know Tokyo

Arriving at narita or haneda airport.

Tokyo has two airports, Haneda and Narita. Our three days in Tokyo article provides all the detailed information you will need about where and how to exchange your Japan Rail Pass . To get to Tokyo’s city center from Narita Airport, you will need to take the Narita Express , or the Tokyo Monorail if coming from Haneda Airport.

Tokyo is truly an incredible place to discover! It’s a melting pot between cutting edge technology and Japanese traditional culture . From the bustling Shibuya, Harajuku , and Shinjuku districts to the majestic grounds of the Imperial Palace to the magnificent Sensoji Temple , to the buildings that once housed Samurai warriors . Tokyo has it all!

Book your Japan Rail Pass now

Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree

  • Start off your day by visiting the ancient Buddhist Sensoji Temple, in Asakusa . It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and also its most significant.
  • Then cross the river over to the tallest structure in Japan, Tokyo Skytree , for one of the best views of all of Tokyo. On a good day, you will even get a glimpse of the majestic Mt Fuji.

Tokyo Skytree

Harajuku and Shibuya Crossing

  • Then travel to Harajuku where you can check out Meiji-Jingu Shrine , Omotesando, and the Nezu Museum . Harajuku is the most diverse neighborhood in Tokyo, where you get to experience both traditional Japanese culture, and the craziest off the charts fashion district where young people parade in the most fashion-forward outfits you will ever see.
  • To finish off your day head on over to the number one most famous place in all of Tokyo – the Shibuya Crossing . Located in the heart of the city ( JR Yamanote line ), Shibuya is the perfect place to experience what being a part of Tokyo really means. Shibuya is known for having the best shops, favored by young people, and also has an incredible nightlife. So stay for dinner and have a drink just like a native!

Day 2: Odaiba and Tokyo Tower

Use your second day in Tokyo to explore one of the city’s most popular and modern districts, as well as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

  • Getting to this waterfront district built upon a man-made island means crossing the Rainbow Bridge from mainland Toyko, which boasts stunning illumination during the night. Upon arrival, take some snaps with the miniature Statue of Liberty in Shiokaze Park, or have a ride on the Palette Town Ferris Wheel.
  • Choose from one of the unique attractions in Odaiba to continue the day, such as the Oedo-Onsen Monogatari hot springs theme park or the interactive exhibits at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science. Visit the observation deck of the Fuji TV Building for fantastic views of Toyko’s skyline.
  • Before leaving Odaiba, visit the relocated inner market and famous tuna auctions of the old Tsukiji Market, now located in the new Toyosu Fish Market . Tsukiji’s outer market and its vast retail opportunities can still be visited in the same location in central Toyko.

Tokyo Tower

  • Just a short subway ride away from Odaiba, the Tokyo Tower is one of the most iconic structures in Tokyo’s skyline. Built in 1958, the Tokyo Tower was the highest in the city upon its completion and measures 13 meters taller than its inspiration, the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
  • Ride the elevators all the way up to the 250 meter-high top deck with incredible views over Tokyo and the current highest building in the city, the Tokyo Skytree. Fans of the long-running Manga One Piece will also want to check out the themed amusement park found in the adjacent ‘Foot Town’ building.

New Toyosu Fish Market

Day 3: Traditional and quiet Tokyo

For your third and final day in Tokyo, you can relax a little from the bustle of the city and discover a more  laid-back side of the city .

Yanaka and Ueno

  • Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the district of Yanaka , where slow paced and tradition is still the way of life. Make sure to walk down Yanaka Ginza street , it is the best place to buy Japanese souvenirs , and it is perfect for all cat lovers since cats are the trademark of this part of Tokyo.
  • Gyokurin-Ji – one of the hidden treasures of Yanaka district . Visit this ambient temple home to an ancient chinquapin tree .
  • Then, take the subway over to Ueno and check out the park and museums there. This gorgeous area includes the Ueno Park and Zoo , Tokyo University of Arts , National Museum of Nature and Science , National Museum of Western Art , Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum , Tokyo Bunka Kaikan concert hall and more.

Tokyo Imperial Palace and Roppongi district

  • Just a short walk away from Tokyo Station you will find the current Imperial Palace located on the former site of Edo Castle . It is the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls.
  • After such a relaxing day it’s only fair to finish your stay in Roppongi , located in the Minato Ward district . Roppongi is the most popular nightlife area among foreigners, offering a large number of friendly bars, restaurants and night clubs. Thanks to its numerous leisure options, the district has become one of the most (if not the most) diverse in all of Tokyo.

Day 4: Day-trip to Kamakura, Nikko, or Hakone

A day-trip outside of Tokyo is the ideal way to escape the bustle of the city and explore the picturesque sites close-by. Choose a one-day excursion outside of Tokyo, to either Nikko , Kamakura , or Hakone and the Mount Fuji area.

Because each one offers such different options, we have rounded them up in a nifty blog post: Best day trips from Tokyo by train , where you are sure to find the perfect way to spend your day.

Mount Fuji in autumn

Day 5: Takayama

Takayama is located in central Honshu (Japan’s main island), a short distance west of the main part of the Japanese Alps . Take a shinkansen on the JR Tokaido Line to Nagoya and then switch to a Hida Wide View Express until Takayama.

  • Takayama is a charming city, home to traditional craftsmanship and sake breweries. Explore Takayama’s Old Town , local shops, markets and museums on foot – in particular, the splendid (and free) Takayama Museum of History and Art .
  • Explore the Sanmachi Suji district, the heritage houses , and the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall and Sakurayama-Hachimangu Shrine .

Day 6: Kanazawa

Take an early Wide View Hida Limited Express Train to JR Toyama Station , since there is no direct train line between Takayama and Kanazawa . Arrive at JR Toyama Station, and then make your way to the Hokuriku Shinkansen which will take you all the way to JR Kanazawa Station.

  • Kanazawa packs a lot of incredible sites. Explore the Kenroku-en Garden , then make your way to Kanazawa Castle, and next head on over to Omicho Market for lunch.
  • Before catching your train to Kyoto, explore Higashi Chaya Area , and treat yourself to a cup of green tea from one of the local teahouses.
  • Then head back to the JR Kanazawa Station to catch the Limited Express Thunderbird to Kyoto .

Days 7 and 8: Beautiful Kyoto

Kyoto is a wonderful, magical city brimming with culture and ancestral traditions. Kyoto has many historical sites and attractions.

On day 1, we suggest visiting the Arashiyama Area and Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion).

On Day 2 we suggest you head on over to the incredible Kiyomizu-dera and then to Fushimi Inari-taisha. Two days is really a minimum to visit Kyoto and its most famous temples, therefore we have made a travel guide of Things to do in Kyoto . Take a look to discover all there is to see and do.

Philosopher's Walk

Day 9: Nara

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 794 . It has a total of 8 Unesco World Heritage sites collectively known as Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara . So leave your baggage in the coin lockers and brace yourself to explore beautiful Nara before leaving to spend the night in Osaka.

  • Start your day off with a stroll through Nara-koen Park , which contains many other important sights, including Todai-ji Temple , Isui-en Garden, and Kasuga-Taisha Shrine .
  • The biggest trait of Nara-koen Park is its large population of semi-wild deer that roam freely. You can buy a pack of deer crackers (shika sembei sembei) to feed them, but be careful, sometimes they bite!
  • Then stroll through Issui-en Garden until you make your way to the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Todai-ji Temple .

The Great Buddha at Todai-ji temple in Nara

  • Walk along the east wall of the Daibutsu-den until you reach Nigatsu-do Hall, one of the most important structures of Todai-ji Temple .
  • Then make your way to Kasuga-Taisha Shrine , Nara’s most celebrated temple. It is famous for its bronze lanterns , which have been donated by worshippers. They are only lit twice a year during two Lantern Festivals , one in early February and one in mid-August.
  • You can also pay a visit to Kofuku-ji , a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples .
  • Before leaving for Osaka , take a stroll through Nara-machi, Nara’s former merchant district. Check out Sarusawa-no-ike Pond , Koshi-no-Ie and the shops and galleries of the area.
  • Finally, make your way back to JR Nara Station look for the JR Kanjo-Yamatoji Line , which is an express train service . Arrive at JR Osaka Station in Umeda District.
  • You can treat yourself to a night-out on the town. Osaka is known for its fresh foods, nightlife, and shopping.

Day 10: Osaka or back to Tokyo

If you are departing from Kansai International Airport or Osaka Airport you can enjoy a fun-filled day exploring Osaka . If departing from Tokyo you can still enjoy half a day walking through its most famous districts: Kita and Minami as well as the Osaka Bay Area , before making your way back to Tokyo to catch your flight.

If you have a little time we suggest adding the Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) , the Tempozan Marketplace , and the Osaka Castle to your to-do list!

Related posts

Related tours & activities.

This is a 10-day itinerary, but when I click “Book Now” only 7, 14 and 21 days rail passes are offered. It says “Remember that your pass is valid for either 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days. Once activated, the dates cannot be changed, which means you should always coordinate your vacation plans with the validity of the pass”. If I take a 14-day rail pass means that I buy a lot more than I need, but a 7-day rail pass is apparently too short for this itinerary.

i have a baby less than 2 years old travelling with us. does she it JR tickets?

Hi Raymond! Babies and children under the age of 6 are eligible to travel free of charge on all JR public transport. However, please note that you will not be able to make any seat reservations for your child if they don’t have a valid train ticket ( JR Pass ). If there are no available seats, children can be held by their parents in the unlikely event of full train cars. Happy travels!

Hello, My itinerary is as follow: Tokyo – Hakone – Takayama – Kyoto How can I go from Hakone to Takayama and does the JR Pass cover this route? Thank you.

Yes, the JR Pass covers the whole route! You can check our articles for Hakone , Takayama and Kyoto .

Happy travels!

Hi, i have plan visiting japan in late January 2019. It will my first time to Japan, is it snow in late January? Can you suggest a place to experience snow? We flying in tokyo and flying back from osaka. About 6-7days in japan. Also want to visit disney sea, which line to go to Disney sea. Hope you can help Thank you in advance

Hi, i suppose to travel tokyo-kyoto-osaka for 8 days, what pass could you recommend to me?pls let me know the price.. JR pass can go arround japan include Disneyland ? tq

Hi Hester! Yes, the Japan Rail Pass includes the trip to Tokyo Disneyland , as well as through the whole country.

Hello! My husband and I are doing Tokyo – Hakone – Osaka – Kyoto, on a 10 day trip. We are flying in and out of Tokyo – Narita. I find this guide very usuful, since it puts together a nice itinerary. However, I find puzzling what JR Pass to get. This website is recommending to do a 10 day trip but the train tickets are only offered for 7 or 14 days. Is there a 10 pass available for purchasing? Thank you.

Hi Ana! Japan Rail Pass is only available for either 7, 14 and 21 days. Depending on your 10-day itinerary, even a 14-day pass may pay off. We recommend you to draw places you want to visit and check itineraries and prices at Hyperdia before making a decision. Enjoy your stay!

hi i would like to travel to japan for 10 days i am following your itinerary all the places that you recommend in your itinerary are served by your jr trains and buses?

Yes, all the places are served by JR local and long-distance trains. For detailed timetables and options, please check Hyperdia .

Hi… what is the best method for 10 days – Tokyo- osaka-kyoto-nara-tokyo

Hi Carol! Already described in this article you are commenting 😉 Please make sure to check carefuly, should there be any location you don’t wish to visit you can just skip it. Happy travels!

I want to do a 10-12 day trip to Japan. What is the best option for train service. the JR Pas is only 7 /14/21 days or can I extend the 7 day pass?

Hi Michael! Once you purchase your JR Voucher, you cannot add extra days. JR Pass cannot be extended by 1,2, or more days. It is available for 7,14, and 21-days, non-extendable and non-transferable. Enjoy your stay!

Hi, can I use the JRailPass from Tokyo to Hokkaido and Osaka? Does it cover every cities in Japan or where can I get the information regarding this? Thanks

The Japan Rail Pass covers the new Hokkaido Shinkansen route, including the super fast Hayabusa train. The Japan Rail Pass is really worth it if you are taking this route, as a normal ticket would cost 23,120 yen for the round-trip. The Hokkaido Shinkansen links Aomori on Japan’s main island of Honshu with Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido via the Seikan Tunnel.

Planning from osaka(1day)to kyoto(5days) to tokyo(4days) one way. What pass do i need to buy?

Hi Aridanial,

It will depend on how many days you want to use the pass. If you want the Japan Rail Pass to fully cover all your trip you will need the 14-day one. Just remember the Japan Rail Pass becomes more cost saving the more you travel so make sure to check which is the transportation included in it before making your decission. For the exact cost of each train ride please check Hyperdia – the number 1 Japanese online transportation planning tool.

Have a nice trip!

Comments are closed.

Sightsee & Sushi

Japan in 10 Days: The Ideal Itinerary For A First-Timer

Our first-time favorite 10-day Japan itinerary aims to inspire you and serve you as an outline. It’s not written in stone. We encourage you to customize this based on your interests and needs that you’ve identified. Every person’s claims and requirements will vary, so it’s essential to focus on your main travel goal rather than merely copying someone else’s itinerary. It’s also impossible to see everything in Japan. To create an itinerary with a realistic pace, narrow down your destination wish list and Japanese experiences vital to you.

We designed our itinerary based on “The Golden Route of Japan” as it traces the  Old Tokaido Road  that connected Edo (modern Tokyo) with Kyoto and Osaka. This is why Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are the ideal cities for first-timers to feel associated with ancient times. Unlike other active and rushed itineraries, ours is to keep you at a leisurely pace. We limit 1-2 areas per day with authentic and culturally immersive activities, making this itinerary perfect for first-time visitors.

If you’re looking for a stuffed itinerary that you’ll have to rush from one to the next to see them all, this is not it. Japan is such a diverse country filled with regional experiences and cuisine that are far better enjoyed if you travel slower and take the time to connect with locals. Even the most meticulously planned itinerary won’t allow you to see even a fraction of what Japan has to offer. Be it 14 days, 21 days, or more, it’s simply isn’t enough. In Tokyo alone, it’s easy to spend two weeks! We’ve lived in Japan for over ten years, and we feel like we haven’t scratched the surface.

Use our itinerary as a way to knock out the significant destinations during your first trip to Japan. On your next trips, expand your reach and include other goals you want to discover! Put merely, visit Japan as many times as possible. If you find yourself still looking for help, we can handcraft this itinerary to suit your Japan wish list.  Contact us here .

Why visit Japan?

trip to japan 10 days

Japan is a strange mix of traditionalism and modernity. And the only country that gives you the ability to go from historic castles, shrines, and temples to robot greeters at several hotels. The Japanese people are incredibly polite, the cities are exceptionally clean, and the transportation system is second to none. Remarkably, a major train company  issued a public apology  for leaving 20 seconds early! I can’t think of a better example of Japanese politeness and transportation efficiency. Another area that sets Japan apart from all other countries is how far they accommodate tourists, the  omotenashi  culture (Japanese hospitality). This is surprising considering that Japanese tourism is still heavily dominated by in-country tourists.

The Japanese government stated their  2020 foreign tourism goal  of 40 million people! But this isn’t to say it’ll be necessarily easy to navigate or ask for directions. The Japanese are taught English in school, but it’s similar to when Americans learn French or Spanish, a compulsory class took that is soon forgotten by most. So brush up on your charades skills and download a translator app. You’re going to need them both! More than anything, though, you’re going to need a well thought out itinerary due to the incredible amount of activities and attractions vying for your attention in Japan. This is what we believe makes Japan so unique and the reason it’s one of the most traveled to countries in the world. There’s just so much to see and do! You may also be concerned about budgeting. We’ve personally found that having a mid to high-range budget ($$$-$$$$$) gives you the right balance of experiencing Japan and its culture overall.

You might also find these articles helpful to prepare for your trip to Japan:

  • The Complete Japan Packing List
  • Do’s and Don’ts In Japan
  • The Best Time To Visit Japan

What you won’t find in this itinerary

Winter wonderland scene in Shirakawago

  • We don’t promote activities that disrupt the Japanese way of life and animal welfare . You won’t see us suggesting the  city go-karting tours or visiting animal cafes . Instead, we’ll be encouraging cultural activities like attending a tea ceremony or  sado , watching a sumo tournament, or taking a cooking class to immerse yourself fully.
  • You won’t find an active or backpacking-style itinerary here . Such as an overnight stay at temple Koyasan in Wakayama or cycling the Shimanami Kaido bridge in the Setouchi region. Those destinations and activities deserve a specialized itinerary of their own.
  • You won’t find seasonal activities here . You can enjoy Japan year-round. But some places and activities are extraordinarily beautiful during certain times of the year. Such as  cherry blossom viewing , Shirakawa-go illumination, Nikko in autumn, and seeing the snow monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park are a few that come to mind. This is why we created an itinerary based on the destinations that are not dependent on the time of year. We don’t want to set limits on when you should visit.

10 Day Japan Itinerary Overview

Day 1: arrival in tokyo.

How to transfer from Narita Airport to central Tokyo

YOKOSO! (Welcome). I bet you’re happy to be off the plane after that long-haul flight! This day is yours to do with as you see fit. You can use it to recover from jet lag or explore Tokyo independently at your leisure. If you choose to stay at one of our recommended hotels, our suggestion would be to explore the area around it because they are all located in sightseeing districts. These hotels are all strategically located in central Tokyo and are all within a short walking distance to major train stations. All of these hotels also offer breakfast options.

  • High-end:  Imperial Hotel ,  The Peninsula ,  Four Seasons Marunouchi Hotel ,  Andaz Tokyo
  • Mid-range:  Tokyo Dome Hotel ,  Hotel Mystays Premier Hamamatsucho
  • Budget:  Dormy Inn Akihabara ,  Super Hotel Akihabara Suehirocho

Day 2: Tsukiji, Ginza, and Shibuya

Tsukiji and Ginza are Tokyo itinerary mainstays. That’s because Tsukiji is an essential piece of Tokyo’s history due to its famous tuna auctions, as well as being where you’ll find the freshest sushi possible. The other, Ginza, has a fascinating history and is one of Japan’s finest high-end fashion districts. Conveniently, both are within a short walk from each other, making them completely contrasting atmospheres even more fascinating.

Tsukiji Fish Market

Closest Station : Tsukijishijo Station. Meet your tour guide for the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tsukiji is a fantastic district filled with an assortment of culinary delights. Although the main tuna auction has moved to Toyosu in Odaiba, the outer market is alive and kicking. It’s still filled with unique retail shops, sushi restaurants, chefs gathering, and restaurant supplies. All things food! We recommend this professional and licensed guide known as the “Tsukiji King”. He has extensive knowledge about the Tsukiji fish market.  Make sure to reserve your spot in advance .

After your Tsukiji tour, it’ll be time to explore Ginza’s neighboring district, which is just a short walk from the famous fish market. On your way to Ginza, we suggest taking the small detour to pass by Tokyo’s primer kabuki theater, Kabuki-za. Use Google map to find your way. If you are interested in Kabuki Arts, you can watch a performance which runs every day.

Other alternative activities in Tsukiji are:

  • Experience a ramen & gyoza cooking class (made from scratch!) in Tsukiji, a Certified Sake Sommelier conducts this class; or if you have children, they will love this fun and cute bento box making .

Seiko Clock Tower in Ginza

Moving on, Ginza itself is such a feast for the eyes, living up to its nickname “Ginza Pedestrian Paradise.” It has numerous boutique, upscale shops, and local and international flagship stores. UNIQLO Ginza is the most famous flagship store here with 12 floors in total! You can also walk into department stores, such as Ginza SIX, Mitsukoshi, and Matsuya. Or explore the underground world of  depachika , a Japanese term for the basement floor, a dazzling maze of food halls and gourmet shops ranging from wine salons, tea shops to cake & chocolate cafes. Best of all, there are several food tastings available here! After Ginza, you can head back to your hotel to continue recovering from jetlag and recharge for Shibuya or head straight there since it’s only a 15-min train ride from Ginza. It’s totally up to you.

My friend Mica and Hachiko in Shibuya Station

Closest Station : Meiji-Jingumae Station (also known as Harajuku Station). Next is the trendy Harajuku district, the shopping complex of Omotesando Hills, the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing, and see the famous Hachiko statue. All of which are part of the Shibuya ward (city-level municipality of Tokyo). Behind Harajuku Station is Meiji Shrine, which you might have heard often from travel websites or blogs. You will see more shrines in Kyoto, so Meiji Shrine is omittable. However, there are often traditional Japanese weddings taking place here. If you’d like a chance to see the bride and groom making their way through the grounds, it may be worth the detour. Some people hire a tour guide in Harajuku to cover its backstreets and hidden shops and cafes, but it’s unnecessary in this case. Instead, we’ve created a Harajuku-Shibuya walking tour map here for you to follow. Shibuya’s whole area is an absolute sensory overload, so you might not even pay attention to the tour guide at all. An exception to this is at night, where joining an izakaya or bar-hopping tour is an experience not to be missed in Shibuya. If you’re looking for the most authentic izakaya experience, hire a local guide to take you to the hideaways. Click to see bar-hopping tours in Tokyo  or  walking food tours here .

Day 3: Asakusa and Neighborhoods

Senso-ji-Temple in Asakusa

Closest Station : Asakusa. Asakusa has Tokyo’s ancient and oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, dating back to 628 AD. As you enter the temple grounds, you’ll see a massive gate called Kaminarimon (lit. “Thunder Gate”) with a giant lantern in the middle and golden statues on either side. As you approach Senso-ji you’ll walk along the long Nakamise-dori, and you’ll see another massive structure, a 2-story “house gate” called Hozomon. Since Senso-ji is a vital temple, be prepared to tackle the grounds with the crowd. The Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, is also visible from the temple grounds of Senso-ji, so you might want to take a few photos of it! There is a free insightful guided tour in Asakusa that you might consider joining for the best experience. It’s a free tour, so tipping is encouraged. These are local volunteer guides who work hard to give tourists the best experience. Since it’s free, it can fill up fast, so you  must book at least 10-14 days in advance .

After your Asakusa tour, you can head back to your hotel and rest or continue exploring. Should you decide on the latter, here are our suggested sightseeing neighborhoods around Asakusa for your afternoon excursion. All of which are only short train rides away from Asakusa. The choice is yours, but just choose one!

Option 1: Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace moat

Closest Station : Nijubashimae. The old Edo Castle now serves as the primary residence of the Imperial Family. They only open their gates publicly twice a year, New Year and the Emperor’s Birthday. Even if you cannot enter the inner grounds, the surrounding moat and its spectacular bridge are just as visually appealing. A sight that’s hard to come by even when exploring other castles throughout Japan. You can go around to the castle’s east entrance and visit the Imperial Palace East Garden, which is open to the public but closed on Mondays.

Option 2: Yanaka and Nezu Districts

Yanaka Ginza shopping street

Closest Station : JR Nippori. Yanaka is the only old quarter town in Tokyo where the Shitamachi (downtown Tokyo) atmosphere from the Edo period still resonates. Just by strolling around, you’ll be fascinated by its rustic ambiance and feel like you’re back in Old Tokyo (Edo). One of the attractions here is the Yanaka Ginza, a cute shopping street filled with locally-owned shops and coffeehouses. Many tourists enjoy having a  tour guide here as it’s slightly off-the-beaten-path . If you’d like to have one, do this in the morning and make your visit to Asakusa in the afternoon.

Option 3: Akihabara

My cousin and I, when she visited me in Japan

Closest Station : Akihabara. Akiba’s epicenter of electronics and otaku culture is a must-see for fans of anime, manga, video games, maid cafes, and Japan’s geek culture. The only thing I would recommend against is choosing to eat here. The food is drastically overpriced and made more for Instagram pictures than flavor.

Option 4: Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is more enjoyable from the outside

Closest Station : Tokyo Skytree. Tokyo Skytree is skippable. But the Tokyo Solamachi shopping mall right at the foot of Tokyo Skytree is worth checking out (than the Skytree tower itself). If you’re interested in seeing the view from the top, go on a clear day only. Click to get discounted tickets for Tokyo Skytree

Day 4: Welcome to Hakone

Kaiseki meal in ryokan with a yukata

Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is a charming small  onsen town (hot spring town) with lots of art museums and nature. It’s a perfect place to unwind and soak in the mineral-rich onsen (hot spring) and escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. In Hakone, your accommodation choice will play a huge role. It is not the attractions and things to do that you’re after here. But your immersion in the traditional Japanese inn that’s known for its top-notch  omotenashi  (Japanese hospitality)—something you must experience. Many Tokyoites come to Hakone to seek relaxation first, and sightseeing is just secondary. We believe that should be your goal as well. To achieve this goal, we highly recommend staying at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, for an authentic experience. We suggest finding one that offers full  kaiseki  meals (conventional Japanese set meals) and has an onsen bath. If you have tattoos or can’t be bothered with being naked in public, choose a ryokan with private onsen (hot spring bath).

How to get to Hakone : Activate your JR Pass on this day! The easiest and fastest way to go to Hakone is via the bullet train from Tokyo Station (or Shinagawa Station) to Odawara Station. This is covered by your JR Pass and you will activate it before you take the train. Once you arrive at Odawara Station, purchase the 2-day Hakone Freepass. This discount excursion ticket will cover unlimited rides for all sightseeing transportation in Hakone, such as the ropeway, cable car, Lake Ashi cruising, and buses. Then from Odawara Station, transfer to Hakone Tozan Line Local (covered by your Hakone Freepass) towards Hakone-Yumoto Station. With your Hakone Freepass, you can start sightseeing using the recommended sightseeing course in your pamphlet that comes with your Hakone Freepass. Or just check-in your ryokan.

Many of the accommodations in Hakone have  onsens  (hot springs). Since Hakone is within the border of Fuji’s volcanic regions, having a hot spring bath in your ryokan is almost a guarantee. There is a Hyatt Regency in Hakone, but you won’t feel the omotenashi  culture here. So it’s best to stay at a traditional ryokan in Hakone. When selecting your ideal accommodation, the best location depends entirely on what you want to achieve. If you’re visiting for views of Mt. Fuji, the hotels and accommodations around Lake Ashi are your best choice. It’s also near the walking trails of the peaceful and beautiful Hakone shrine. If sightseeing is your goal, then we recommend staying in the Gora area. From here, it’s also easy to reach top attractions such as the Hakone Open Air Museum and Owakudani Valley “Valley of Hell.”

If you’re looking to do a little bit of shopping or want quick access to great food options, then you are to love staying near Hakone-Yumoto Station. There are many rows of stores around here. The number of restaurants in the area outnumbers what’s found in the other parts of Hakone. Hakone-Yumoto Station also has a rich history. It opened in 1888 and is a significant part of the old Tokaido Road.

Here are the ryokans and accommodations we recommend in Hakone:

  • High-end:  Gora Kadan ,  Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu ,  Yamagaso
  • Mid-range:  Hakone Suimeisou ,  Hakone Yumoto Onsen Tenseien ,  Gyokutei ,  Gora Saryo
  • Budget:  Emblem Flow Hakone ,  Onsen & Garden -Asante Inn- ,  K’s House Hakone – Onsen Hostel

Day 5: Hakone Attractions

Hakone Open Air Museum

With your Hakone Freepass, you can cover pretty much every Hakone attraction, but which to go to is totally up to you. Again, the goal in Hakone is to relax and breathe the fresh air of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. From our experience, 2-3 attractions are enough to see in Hakone. Here are some ideas for you to see in Hakone. We’ve arranged in the order in a matter of easy sightseeing.

  • Surrounding areas of Hakone-Yumoto Station . Hakone-Yumoto Station itself is an attraction to those who love to shop and for those who love quick bites. It has rows of stores of food, souvenirs, street food, and some sweet treats worth checking out. Also, check out the red bridge across from it.
  • Hakone Open Air Museum . Admission fee ¥1,400. Definitely skippable unless you like art. It’s quite huge, so this museum might consume your time.
  • Owakudani . A geothermal valley with hot springs famous for its black eggs cooked in its sulphuric hot springs. Legend has it that eating these eggs will prolong life.
  • Lake Ashi . If you’re lucky and get a clear day, you can see the beautiful Mt. Fuji from here. The Pirate Ship Cruising is included in your Hakone free pass so take advantage of it. Note that depending on the weather, the cruise will not operate.
  • Hakone Shrine . Where the famous giant floating torii gate stands. This is an excellent photo spot! The main shrine is nestled in nature, and going to the massive torii gate is a bit of a hike.

Hakone Shrine Torii gate

Day 6: Welcome To Kyoto!

Reached the top of Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto with our daughter

After breakfast, check out of your hotel in Hakone early and head to Odawara Station for Kyoto’s bullet train. Travel time is about 3 hrs. We also suggest that you get lunch or a meal in the Shinkansen (yes, they serve food! And yes, it’s surprisingly good!)

Here are some of our pre-arrival notes about Kyoto:

  • Stand on the right side of escalators . Kyoto follows Osaka’s rule. It forces people to walk on the left and stand on the right when riding escalators, the opposite of Tokyo. It is insulting to stand on the walking side.
  • Not all railways here are covered by JR Pass . Just like Tokyo, you’re going to use your IC Card here to ride the trains. You also have the choice to buy a Kyoto Pass with unlimited rides via Kyoto’s subways and buses. For this itinerary, we don’t recommend getting it. It can make you feel obligated to cram in as much travel as possible and is only valid for a certain number of days, so it’s not really worth it.
  • Expect attractions in Kyoto to be very crowded . Kyoto has become overcrowded over the years because Japan has relaxed the visa requirements for neighboring Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Besides, Kyoto has gotten a lot of attention from Western foreigners because it’s cheaper than Tokyo. So consider hitting significant attractions during the weekdays to avoid some of the crowd.
  • You are going to walk a lot in Kyoto . If you walked a lot in Tokyo, expect even more walking in Kyoto. While still boasting a very efficient transportation system, there are a lot fewer train stations in Kyoto. So the activities require more walking to reach. This is why we recommend staying at accommodation with an onsen, to rest your sore feet after a long day!
  • You don’t have to see each and every attraction here . Just like in Tokyo, only prioritize interests that are important to you. I actually have a friend who got sick of seeing shrines and temples in Kyoto after following a specific travel blog’s itinerary. He expressed that it wasn’t only tiring, but it was repetitive and expensive due to paying entrance fees. Another friend also said that she wasn’t that impressed because she’s seen temples in places like Cambodia and Thailand, where the temples are extraordinary. So really think about what to include in your itinerary. But of course, to each their own.
  • Rent a kimono . Many tourists visiting Kyoto rent a kimono to experience a bit of traditional Japanese culture while sightseeing. Think carefully about which day you’d like to rent your kimono, and be sure to consider here the rental location. It should be convenient and easily accessible from the train station and near where you will start and end your tour. It’s also essential to make your reservations online. This is a prevalent activity for both foreign and local tourists.

Here are our recommended ryokans and hotels in Kyoto:

  • High-end:  Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel – Marriott ,  Sumiya Ryokan Kyoto ,  CAMPTON KIYOMIZU ,  The Ritz Carlton
  • Mid-range:  Sakura Urushitei ,  Cross Hotel Kyoto
  • Budget:  Gion Ryokan Q-Beh ,  Rin Rokujo Horikawa

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Upon arrival at Kyoto Station, Fushimi Inari Shrine is very convenient to reach via a short 5-min train ride (Inari Station covered by JR Pass). Home to Senbon Torii (Thousands of Torii Gates), Fushimi Inari is Japan’s most important shrine to Inari, the Shinto God of Rice. The shrine has very ancient roots, dating back to before 794 AD. It has a peaceful hiking trail offering some fantastic views of the city. Take some time and try some kitsune udon (fox udon; don’t worry, it’s not made of a fox) and inari sushi! Want to visit Fushimi Inari in a kimono?  Make an advance reservation through this shop . It’s only a few minutes from Inari Station.

Day 7: Walking Tours or Cultural Experience

What you'll find Japanese culture

You have plenty of options here so think carefully on which activity you’d like to experience the most.

Option 1: Higashiyama Area

trip to japan 10 days

After breakfast, head to Kiyomizudera temple, one of Japan’s most important and ancient temples, founded in 780 AD. It has massive temple grounds and is also a  UNESCO Heritage site . The entrance fee is ¥300. After your visit to Kiyomizudera, head down to the famous shopping streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka. The area has an ancient town feel as all the shops are wooden and built very traditionally. The shops sell various goods, including local treats, tea, wooden dolls, and other crafts. So be sure to bring an extra bag along if you’re interested in picking up any souvenirs!

Other notable sightseeing streets in the area are:

  • Yasaka-no-To pagoda . One of the iconic sites of the city featured on most Kyoto postcards.
  • Ishibe-koji . An attractive stoned street lined with a wooden corridor and narrow entrances to traditional Japanese restaurants and ryokans.
  • Nene no Michi . Stretching from Gion to Sannen-zaka, this area retains the look and feel of old Kyoto.

Please note that the Higashiyama area is minimal. So the sightseeing areas here are relatively compact. Even though we’ve listed many notable attractions here, don’t become overwhelmed. It’s easy to see them all, mainly if you are guided by a map!  Click to use our walking route map . You’ll definitely spend time stopping here for photos. Be wary though, these route is often crowded, especially on the weekends. You’ll most likely end your walk at Hanamikoji Street. From there, the Gion-Shijo train station is just a 4-min walk. You can take the train to your hotel to relax or continue exploring on your own.

Option 2: Walking Tour With The “Last Samurai”

An excellent alternative to the Higashiyama area is the one of a kind walking tour led by “The Last Samurai” Joe Okada, the oldest licensed English-speaking tour guide in Japan! This is a genuinely insightful tour as Joe knows every corner of Kyoto, but he won’t take you to touristy places. Part of the time is a mini-show, “Cutting Apple in the Air.” Note that samurais in Japan were abolished a long time ago, in 1868. So Joe Okada is not actually a samurai. The title is honorary and given to him after he mentored two American students who rapidly cut apples in the air within 60 seconds. This led to both ending up in the Guinness World Records book. In 2011, he was also  appointed by the Kyoto City  to be the city’s Omotenashi Ambassador.

→ Book this tour here.

What to do in the evening of option 1 or 2 itineraries : Explore downtown Kyoto, an excellent place for shopping. A perfect place to start is the Shijo Kawaramachi Intersection near Kawaramachi Station , then walk your way towards Pontocho Geisha Alley and Gion Tatsumi Bridge.

Option 3: Experience a Traditional Japanese Culture

trip to japan 10 days

Experience an authentic traditional tea ceremony performed by a tea master. In the evening, enjoy a spectacular dinner with a Maiko (a geisha apprentice). With this experience, you’ll enjoy a fantastic dinner at the famous Yasakadori Enraku restaurant along with a Maiko. You’ll watch an elegant dance, play some traditional parlor games, chat, and enjoy a rare photo session. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

Option 4: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a full day trip itself as there are plenty of things to see and do here aside from just the Bamboo Forest. However, you absolutely need to hit the trail very early to really enjoy its pristine beauty as it suffers from enormous crowds after 8 a.m. So if you think you can get there before 8 a.m., do it. If not, you can skip it or try and visit around 5 p.m. after the crowd has died down. There are 3 train stations around the Bamboo Grove. Since you have JR Pass, take the JR Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station . From there, the Bamboo Grove Forest is only a 5-10 minute walk.

Day 8: Day Trip To Nara Or Osaka

Option 1: nara.

Feeding Deer in Nara

Closest Station : Kintetsu Nara. Nara is only an hour away from Kyoto. Nara offers another out of this world temple, Todaiji-Temple, the world’s largest wooden temple. Oh, and the entire town is filled with deer! Please be wary of the deer here and don’t abuse them. Also, don’t feed them too many deer cookies as they will chase you! Please be careful not to catch any ticks here. Although Japan has declared that deer in Nara are free of Lyme borreliosis, you should still be careful and protect your skin with long clothes and tick repellant.

Option 2: Osaka

trip to japan 10 days

Best Station to Start : Namba. Osaka is just like a smaller version of Tokyo, only older and cheaper. But the food scene here is extraordinary, earning the nickname “Japan’s Kitchen.” Should you decide to visit Osaka over Nara, make sure to join a walking food tour to elevate the experience and eat where the locals eat. The tour starts at 11 a.m. and Osaka is only 30-40 minutes from Kyoto Station. So it’s not difficult to arrive on time. There’s also an evening bar-hopping tour here. The remainder of the day is your own. Explore whichever city you’ve chosen and then return to Kyoto.

Day 9: Back To Tokyo

trip to japan 10 days

From Kyoto to Tokyo are about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Once you’re back in Tokyo and freshened up in your hotel, we recommend heading out to do a little sightseeing. We’ve got a few suggestions for this day as well. Only choose one!

  • Explore Shinjuku . Walk around and feel small in Shinjuku’s business district with towering skyscrapers surrounding you, then make your way to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tower. It’s free to enter and offers a nice view of the entire Tokyo Metropolitan area. End your evening at either another food and drink tour to izakayas in Shinjuku. If you’re looking to experience Tokyo’s nightlife, explore the “Sleepless Town” of Kabukicho, which is filled with many night clubs and bars, loves hotels, shops, and restaurants. Or visit the Don Quijote store near the Giant Godzilla statue hiding behind the Hotel Gracery and Toho Cinema.
  • Explore Roppongi . Roppongi is both a significant business and entertainment area, as it transforms from a family-friendly location of art, shopping, and culture into an ‘expat playground’ at night. This place is costly for food and drinks, so be prepared to spend. Be careful in Kabukicho and Roppongi and  avoid talking to foreign men that are trying to scam you .
  • Visit the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka . For fans of Studio Ghibli, this is a must-see. The museum makes you feel like you’ve walked into the world of animation creation. Just be sure to book ahead and choose a convenient time after you arrive in Tokyo.  You can click here to learn how to buy your tickets . Afterward, either take a stroll through Inokashira Park or explore Kichijoji, an exciting area like a mini-Shibuya, but cozier.

Day 10: Departure

Some people like to do a bit of last-minute shopping and sightseeing in Tokyo if their flight is in the evening. This is why forwarding your luggage to the airport the day before your flight makes your final day far more enjoyable. Just don’t forget that spare duffle bag that you packed to up stock on last-minute souvenirs. Upon boarding the airplane, I guarantee that you’ll already be thinking about your next trip to Japan. Japan is addictive! The best thing about our 10-day itinerary is that it covers many of the highlights of Japan in-depth. When planning for your next trip, it’ll be easier for you to focus on a more specialized itinerary. Giving you more freedom with other destinations in Japan you have yet to discover. Maybe on your second trip, you just want to stay in Kyushu or do the Nakasendo route. How about Hokkaido? Many people only stay in Tokyo, and that’s robbing yourself of some incredible experiences! I can guarantee you, you are going to want to come back and see more of Japan.

A Few Notes On When You Should Activate The JR Pass

Our itinerary starts in Tokyo, where most trains are not covered by JR Pass. Thus, we recommend activating it on Day 4 before you head out to Hakone. To activate it, look for the JR East Travel Service Center in Tokyo Station or Ueno Station and exchange your JR Pass eVoucher for the actual JR Pass. Don’t activate your JR Pass upon arrival because you’ll just end up wasting it. Instead, use any of the other transportation options listed in the resources below:

  • How to transfer from Narita Airport to central Tokyo
  • How to transfer from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo

Pre-Travel Tips and Information

  • JR Pass is not a requirement . Get the JR Pass that is valid for 7 days should you decide to get it. The JR Pass can only be bought online and while outside of Japan. Buy your JR Pass at least two weeks before your trip. The JR Pass Exchange voucher will be mailed to you, usually overnight.  Click here to order yours .
  • Hotel & accommodations . To save time, pick a hotel near a train station. A 15 to 20-minute walk from the train station is quite far and will be very inconvenient. Most hotels in Japan listed mention the nearest train station, so make sure they are 10 min or less walk from the train station. We recommend  Booking  to book all your accommodations as they have the largest database of hotels and accommodations in Japan. If you’re not a fan of the platform,  Agoda  is also an excellent booking site for Japanese accommodations.
  • Book your room with breakfast . Restaurants that open as early as 6 a.m. are rare in Japan. So make sure your hotel reservations come with breakfast. That way, you’re ready to tackle the day instead of spending half an hour searching for “breakfast near me” and wasting another half an hour walking to the place. An exception here is if your hotel happens to be near a breakfast buffet restaurant, then that’s worth trying.

Must-not miss: Sumo Grand Tournament

trip to japan 10 days

The  Sumo Grand Tournament  in Tokyo takes place 3x a year and 1x in Osaka, and each tournament event lasts for 15 days. Sumo is an essential sport in Japan. Watching the wrestlers do their rituals inside the ring is quite an experience.  Please see this link for the sumo schedule .

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

10-day japan tour

The Ultimate 10-Day Japan Tour Itinerary

On the surface, Japan seems to be very modern country, yet scratch a little deeper and you’ll find that travelling around the country offers countless opportunities to engage with the nation’s rich cultural heritage. You can sleep on futons and tatami mats in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and make your way to an onsen; you can experience meditation with monks or make a foam of bitter matcha (powdered green tea;) you can even delve into the lives of the ancient samurai and ninjas. Japan has the potential to fascinate even the most seasoned traveller, with the splendour of a Kyoto Geisha performance to the simple beauty of a Zen rock garden, and our Local Designers have designed a 10-day Japan tour for the perfect introduction to this vivid, diverse country!

This 10-day Japan tour itinerary offers up the top tips to make the most out of this extraordinary country. Ten days is more than enough for a first-time visitor, but if you have a few more days, you could easily stretch this schedule to two weeks in Japan or skip one or two destinations if you just have a week in Japan .

Post Contents

Planning a Japan Trip?

Norms in japan;, japan’s top destinations, how to travel in japan: it’s all about rail, days 1-3: tokyo, day 4: mount fuji, days 5-7: kyoto, day 8: nara, days 9-10: osaka, intrigued by other unique japan trips, before you visit japan: top tips.

trip to japan 10 days

Japan is a remarkable country with a perfect combination of cutting-edge technology ahead of the rest of the world and centuries-old customs and shrines, all surrounded by stunning scenery and a world-class cuisine. This mash-up of traditions and beliefs has its own set of dos and don’ts. Even though Japan is well-known for its structure, it has its own set of standards and norms, just like any other society.

Designer Journeys’ network of in-destination Local Designers will use their expert knowledge, local insight and travel planning skills to design your ultimate Japan experience. Begin designing your journey today!

  • Tipping is not expected, and rarely practiced. And if you tip too much, the waiter may give the money back, believing that you have made a mistake.
  • Japanese people are typically respectful, and they frequently control the level of their voices; in public places, you will typically only hear whispers or utter quiet, and public transport tends to be very quiet!
  • The same goes for pointing, which is frowned upon in Japan, and photographing individuals without their permission. The general accepted tradition is to take off your shoes when you enter someone’s house.
  • Many establishments in Japan do not provide English translations of things (even though many Japanese people speak very good English).
  • Unlike other parts of the world, cash is king; few places allow credit cards, so be sure you have sufficient cash.

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese traditions whilst travelling the country, check our fully-customisable 16-Day Shogun and Samurai Roads Tour.

trip to japan 10 days

There are many beautiful sites and fascinating things to see and do in Japan during your 10-day Japan tour . From traditional villages to historical pagodas, active volcanos and national parks, it is impossible to visit them all in ten days, but they are certainly worth it if you revisit Japan or have an additional day.

Tokyo , Kyoto , and Osaka are the “big three” cities to visit in Japan. If you have time or an additional day in one of the main three cities and can take a day excursion out of town, Mt Fuji, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki are all worth visiting.

If you don’t have ten days but still want to make the most out of your time in Japan with unique experiences, you should consider these trips:

  • If you are into art, this 7-Day Art-Focused Tour in Shikoku might be perfect for you.
  • Getting married soon? Customise this 7-Day Japan Honeymoon trip!
  • Love the great outdoors? Have a look at this 6-Day Nature Lovers Tour of Shikoku
  • Fascinated by Japan’s recent history? You will enjoy this 4-Day Samurai Craft tour

travelling on your 10-day Japan tour

Travelling by rail between cities in Japan is the most convenient option. The most cost-effective way to get train tickets is to buy a Japan Rail Pass, which permits you to travel on any JR train for a certain number of days (7, 14, or 21 days), including the high-speed Shinkansen bullet trains.

You must purchase this pass before you arrive in Japan, and it will be sent to you to carry with you. The purchase of this rail pass is an initial expenditure, but if you use it for two trips between cities, you will have saved money. The rail pass makes travelling throughout the country worry-free and straightforward, as it eliminates the need to book tickets for each train or transit between cities. But don’t worry, our local designers can organise the rail pass as part of designing your perfect itinerary.

Introducing The Ultimate 10-Day Japan Tour Itinerary

explore Tokyo on your 10-day Japan tour

The first destination on any 10-day Japan tour will most likely be Tokyo. Tokyo offers it all: temples and shrines, beautiful parks and amazing food, and rich history and culture. The city’s contrasts will surely strike you, from the bustle of Shibuya Crossing and beauty of iconic Tokyo Tower to the quiet and zen of Yoyogi Park. The easiest way to explore the city is on foot with a local guide.

Visit Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market was formerly one of the world’s largest fish marketplaces in Tokyo, Japan, and even globally. The market was so vast and spanned so much room both indoors and out that it was relocated to a much larger location in October 2018. The outside sector of Tsukiji is still worth the trip for the atmosphere and feel of a part of the market operating since 1935.

Toyosu Fish Market is the new market’s name, which comprises over 600 businesses that relocated from the former location, stores, restaurants, and a tuna bidding. This market has surpassed Tsukiji Fish Market’s previous record as the largest fish market globally.

The best way to visit the market is by going with a local guide, who will help you choose the freshest ingredients, like on this 6-Day Adventures in Tokyo .

Buddhist Temple Senso-ji

The Senso-ji Buddhist Temple, one of the city’s most colourful, oldest, and most visited temples, is your second destination on day one of the schedule. The temple was finished in 645AD for Kannon’s goddess. When you arrive at the Shrine, you will enter by the Kaminarimon gate, the temple’s outer entrance.

Through the gate lies a 200-metre commercial lane named Nakamise, a historical monument where locals sell traditional goods such as sweets, souvenirs, and folding fans. The main hall and the five floors of the pagoda are placed outside the Hozomon Gate in the next section of the temple.

Tokyo is ideal for a culinary tour, as the city is brimming with excellent cuisine. Harajuku is a terrific destination for a food tour with regional snacks, inventive pastries, one-of-a-kind sweets, and wild meals.

After a morning spent exploring Harajuku, it’s time to unwind at Yoyogi Park and stroll among the ponds, as well as picnic areas. The Cat Cafe Mocha is an excellent place to stop for lunch, where you may eat or drink while cuddling the cats.

The Tokyo National Museum, which houses over 110,000 distinct artworks and ancient relics, is an excellent destination to visit in the afternoon. The museum is housed in six buildings and has a wide range of exhibits and galleries in a picturesque location.

Robot Restaurant & Show

The Robot Restaurant and Show, located in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, is unlike anything else in the world, with rainbow lamps and music blaring everywhere. Even the building’s outside is distinctive, with robots and neon lights in the windows. You venture down a lengthy neon hallway into the bar when you enter the building while waiting to enter the main door.

The event is unlike anything else with drummers, clowns, glow sticks, and robots. The event lasts an hour and a half, and spectators will be entertained throughout in ways they have never experienced before.

Visit Nikko

Nikko, located north of Tokyo, is mainly comprised of a national park and is best known for its magnificent temple of Toshogu and the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu. For centuries, the national park has been known as a Buddhist and Shinto worship centre. It features lakes, waterfalls, walks, hot springs, hikes, and animals.

Nikko is a terrific destination to explore, go out into nature, and learn about Japan outside Tokyo. If you would like to spend more days in nature, this 10-Day Japan Wellness might be the perfect fit for you.

Try Karaoke

Karaoke is a typical night-time activity in Japan. In Japanese culture, people entertain their guests with singing, and karaoke seems to be the perfect choice for their passion for entertainment and creativity.

Tokyo features a plethora of karaoke establishments ranging from single-person booths to karaoke nightclubs with live music and private karaoke low-key gatherings.

You can’t visit Japan without trying the country’s most famous cuisine, Japanese sushi. Sushi is available in every part of Tokyo, with a wide range of options ranging from classic to sushi rolls rolled in algae and deep-fried dumplings.

Don’t Miss Our Exclusive Offers! Subscribe Today!

For the ultimate travel inspiration, local insight straight from our expert Local Designers and exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else from Designer Journeys, sign up today! Don’t miss out.

trip to japan 10 days

Taking a Mount Fuji day trip from Tokyo may be the ideal option for you if you don’t want to deal with all of the planning and transportation yourself or if you don’t want to worry about missing your ride back to Tokyo.

Mount Fuji is less than two hours’ drive from Tokyo so makes it the perfect addition to your 10-day Japan tour. There are numerous attractive spots to visit to draw cultural and environmental enthusiasts. A visit to this region is also an excellent way to break your stay in Tokyo and get away from the city’s hustle and bustle for a day.

The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is where Mount Fuji is located, and it’s only around 100 kilometres from Tokyo. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 and has long been a popular day excursion from Tokyo. Most day tours to Mount Fuji from Tokyo will also take you to Lake Kawaguchiko or Hakone since they are the most accessible from Tokyo.

trip to japan 10 days

Kyoto is a unique city, and you will undoubtedly love your visit here. You may visit Kyoto in a single day, but we suggest you spend at least three beautiful days in Kyoto during your 10-day Japan tour.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Begin your day early to see Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. This Instagrammable bamboo grove is a famous tourist destination. The best time to visit Bamboo Forest is to snap those beautiful photos as soon as possible in the day, before the main crowds arrive. You may also spend a little time in this region travelling off the usual route to see some stunning views.

Taking the JR Rail from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station is the quickest and easiest method to get to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Trains begin running at 7.08 am and run every 30 minutes. It takes roughly 20 minutes to get there. The Bamboo Forest is a ten-minute walk from the railway station and is very well sign-posted.

Arashiyama also has a lot to offer in terms of activities. The temples in the vicinity are gorgeous, and the Kameyama Koen Park is a must-see sanctuary. In the winter, you can even find snow monkeys. Some paths lead you around the region and offer beautiful views.

Tenryu-Ji Temple is a popular tourist destination in Arashiyama. We would also recommend Nison-In Temple, well-known for its maple trees.

You can also visit the Otago Nenbutsu-ji Temple and its 1200 sculptures. This temple is rarely frequented, yet it is a one-of-a-kind destination.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Temple is situated atop Mt Inari, a 233-metre peak that takes around three hours to reach. This well-known temple is accessible through the Fushimi Inari Station. The path from the station to the Shrine is well sign-posted. The Shrine is one of Kyoto’s most popular attractions, and as a result, will be popular. Our advice is to avoid trying to capture pictures immediately when you arrive, where the main crowds are. You will be able to photograph the tori gates as they loop around the shrine if you walk a little distance from the entrance.

There are approximately 10,000 gates, so you’ll be able to find a location away from the crowds. Another alternative is to arrive later in the evening when the main crowds tend to dissipate .

Kinkaku-ji is a two-story gold-covered Buddhist temple. That’s two whole storeys plated in gold — a Kyoto Temple which you need to see to believe. If you want an iconic shot with the temple, you’ll need to arrive early to avoid the crowds, similar to the other tourist attractions in Kyoto .

trip to japan 10 days

Nara is one of the best day trips from Kyoto . The two cities are only 35 kilometres apart, and thanks to Japan’s perfect public transport system, you can ride a high-speed train between them in 35 to 45 minutes, according to which train line you take.

Nara was previously known as Heijo when it was created in 710 as Japan’s oldest permanent capital, instead of the usual practice of moving the capital with each monarch. As a result, Nara is home to some of Japan’s oldest temples and ancient artefacts meaning it is well worth the detour.

trip to japan 10 days

With Universal Studios, the Kaiyukan Aquarium, and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, a trip to Osaka Bay is a terrific way to start your time in this beautiful city. After all that exploring, it’s time for some food, and an excellent spot to stop is the Tempozan Marketplace (near the Ferris wheel), which has food vendors and food stalls with both Western and Asian cuisine.

A fun traditional thing to do in the city is a Bunraku, a Japanese puppet theatre founded in Osaka . This art form is a fascinating spectacle to watch, with giant puppets telling stories from history and mythology; with performances typically running for  two hours.

A go-karting trip around Osaka is a thrilling and unique way to view the city. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows you to visit the city’s key attractions, gorgeous surroundings and even dress up in Mario costumes.

The Namba Yasaka Shrine has a lion-shaped face that you can approach; it is claimed to ward off evil spirits and bring only good fortune. After touring the temple, why not sample Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake, comparable to pizza that can be topped with cabbage, pork, and other delicious ingredients.

Osaka Castle was completed in 1931 and traces back to 1583; it is a spectacular sight to visit on day two in Osaka. Visitors can take the lift to the top of the tower to see the stunning views of the city. Some of the highlights of Osaka are found in this 7-Days Essentials of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto Tour.

Plan Your 10-Day Japan Tour!

Are you ready to explore Japan’s major cities on an exciting tour to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto ? Travel between Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto to learn about Japan’s history, culture, and architecture.

Mount Fuji, soaking in a traditional onsen, seeing one of the country’s oldest temples, and learning the traditions of traditional tea ceremonies are just a few of the highlights you can experience during your trip to Japan!

Customise This 10-Day Japan Tour Itinerary Today!

If you’re intrigued by this route and the wonderful experiences in this itinerary then tap the button below to check out the trip in full! You’ll be able to customise this trip to suit any requirement you have by tapping ‘customise’ to connect with one of our trusted Local Designers in Japan ! In 48 hours or less, they’ll design your personalised itinerary. 

Explore our gallery of fully-customisable 10-day Japan tour to get started. Our Local Designers in Japan have handled all of the necessities to get you started, from city escapes to national parks and can customise any of these trips to suit your budget, travel style and interests.

Know what you’re looking for? Tap ‘ Design Your Own Trip ,’ answer a few simple questions and provide our expert Local Designers with as much information as you like. They’ll then get to work designing your perfect Japan trip built to fit all of your interests and travel requirements!

' data-src=

Marta Ostoja-Kiedrzyńska

Hi! I’m Marta, a Barcelona-based travel writer, photographer, creator and spontaneous traveller. Fearlessly optimistic, I always look at the bright side of things – that is why I make a great travel companion. I love sharing travel inspiration, be it through writing or my Instagram photography. If I am not taking pictures or writing about new destinations, you will find me dreaming of new places, planning my next trips or compulsive buying plane tickets to the most remote spots on earth. I am not very keen on adventure sports but somehow I always end up rafting in rivers full of snakes or jumping out of a plane (Yikes!). Find me on Instagram for more travel inspiration!

10 Places to Visit in Fiji for Unique Experiences

Greece in february, you may also like, ultimate guide to the cool stuff to....

Japan is a country that seamlessly combines the past and the future and offers a variety of experiences to suit every type of traveller. From the vibrant city lights of Tokyo to…

Experience the Best: The Ultimate 8 Days...

Japan, a land where the past meets the future, offers an unparalleled blend of rich history, culture, and natural beauty. This 8-day itinerary is designed to take you through the heart of…

Japan in January

Trips you may like 9-Day Authentic Samurai and Sake Experience This 9-day trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will immerse you in rich history and culture, as you uncover two of the…

Japan in December

The ultimate bucket list: things to do....

In the quest for the quintessential travel experience, Japan is a beacon of cultural richness and diverse landscapes. If you’ve ever wondered about the best things to do in Japan, you’re in…

Creating Memories: The Ultimate Family Trip to...

4 places to embrace cherry blossom season.

An iconic image of Japan, cherry blossom season brings a ricochet of beauty to the country’s parks. For the last few years, the flowers have come earlier little by little, and this…

Japan Countryside Wonders: Unveiling the Charms of...

The Japan countryside, a serene tapestry of natural beauty and ancient traditions, beckons travellers to its tranquil and untouched landscapes. Imagine walking through verdant rice fields, breathing in the fresh, crisp air,…

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Japan...

Summer in japan: exploring the land of....

In summer, Japan comes alive with vibrant festivities, natural beauty, and a warm welcome that extends far beyond the season’s fantastic weather. Despite the mercury’s rise, summer in Japan is a time…

Beautiful hot springs in Japan, surrounded by greenery and cherry blossoms.

Unlock your next trip

  • How it Works
  • Become a Local Designer

Scroll to Top

  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

trip to japan 10 days


  • Plan Your Trip

trip to japan 10 days

The Perfect Length of Stay in Japan

It dawned on me not long ago that I hadn’t yet created a post about the best way to spend 10 days in Japan. And it perplexed me: This is perhaps the best short trip you can take to Japan— I planned dozens of 10-day trips to Japan in 2019 alone!

Assuming you can quickly your jet lag and hit the ground running, 10 days—a week and a half—allows you to pursue one of two paths: To stay primarily on the tourist trail (but without rushing as you’d need to do if you only had one week in Japan ); or to devote the entire time to one of Japan’s secondary regions, including islands besides the main one of Honshu.

Below, I’ll talk you through a wide range of the best things to do in Japan for a trip of this length, including recommendations for when to visit and where to stay. Then, if you’re open to staying longer, I’ll entice you with additions and enhancements you can easily make to your trip.

The Best Time to Visit Japan

It’s no secret that during March and April ( cherry blossom season ), Japan is at its most traditionally beautiful. This is also the most crowded time of year to visit Japan, however, with the possible exception of the autumn months of October (and, especially, November). In general, deciding when to visit Japan is always a trade-off between the beauty of your experience and the tranquility you’re likely to experience (or not likely to experience) alongside it.

Indeed, with only 10 days in Japan, it might make more sense to visit during a less popular (but also stunning) time of year. Visiting Japan in winter is an interesting choice, for example, whether you’re in snowy spots like Tohoku or Hokkaido, or in milder environs in Chugoku, Kyushu and Shikoku. Likewise, summer in Japan (assuming you don’t make landfall at the same time as a typhoon) can be a lush and green time to visit, particularly if you’re accustomed to oppressive heat.

Where to Go During Your 10 Days in Japan

trip to japan 10 days

Most Japan trips begin and end in Tokyo —1o day ones are no exception. Of course, basing yourself in Tokyo for 2-3 days doesn’t limit you to historical Asakusa , nor to the neon lights of Shinjuku and Shibuya . Tokyo makes an excellent base for day trips, whether you head north to enchanting Nikko , south to historical Kamakura or westward to the scenic Fuji Five Lakes region at the base of Mt. Fuji .

Kyoto and Osaka

trip to japan 10 days

You might start your trip in Tokyo, but you will spend at least half of your Japan 10 day itinerary in the Kansai region, which focuses on Osaka and (for tourists, especially) Kyoto . Some tourists choose to base themselves in Kyoto the whole time, taking day trips to deer-filled Nara , Himeji Castle , underrated Kobe and even Osaka itself. Others split the time with three days in Kyoto and two in Osaka, or even base themselves for a night in temple stay atop Mt. Koya .

trip to japan 10 days

Is Hiroshima worth visiting ? I would say “yes,” although I would caution you against putting too much importance on a trip to the A-Bomb Dome , even if it is rather moving. My favorite places in and around Hiroshima include the “floating” torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, random okonomiyaki stalls in small alleys and in major shopping arcades and day trip destinations such as Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni .

Secondary Regions

trip to japan 10 days

None of which is to say you have to spend your 10 days in Japan on its well-trodden path. Whether you’re a jaded return visitor or an adventurous first-timer, 10 days is the perfect amount of time for discovering less popular regions of Japan. A sentimental favorite of mine is San’in , the northern half of the Chugoku region where you find Hiroshima. Another awesome choice is Tohoku , the part of Honshu between Tokyo and Hokkaido, which experiences perhaps the best-defined seasons in Japan.

Other Islands

trip to japan 10 days

Another route to take, assuming you’ve already had enough of Japan’s tourist trail for the time being, is to travel to an island besides Honshu. If you’re visiting during winter, an obvious choice would be to head to the ski hub of Hokkaido , while islands such as spiritual Shikoku and eclectic Kyushu can offer a slight respite from crowds, even during busy times of year. The Okinawa archipelago, meanwhile, is Japan’s most alluring choice for those craving beach time.

Where to Stay With 10 Days in Japan

A 10-day trip is short enough to leave room for a sizable hotel budget, whether you want to live it up at the best hotels in Japan or stay at more reasonable boutique properties. Since you’ll only be spending a few days in each city, you can more easily justify the expense of staying at luxury hotels like the Tokyo Station Hotel and Kyoto’s ryokan Tanoya . Or, if your budget is toward the lower end, reaching up to properties like Hotel Felice Akasaka in Tokyo and Ryokan Kyoraku near Kyoto Station.

This same logic applies, in theories, to Japan’s secondary and tertiary regions, although your options for accommodation are simply going to be fewer and farther between. An alternative option would be to stay at various Airbnb apartments along your route, although I generally prefer this option if I’m going to base myself in one place for a few weeks or even months—this allows me to feel “at home.”

Longer Trips to Japan

Japan travelers generally fall into two groups: Those who have a fixed amount of travel (due to work or other commitments); and those who might have longer, but just have a specific number in mind. If you fall into the latter category, I would encourage you to think about expanding your itinerary to two weeks in Japan . It might surprise you, but having even four more days in Japan can greatly enhance the quality of your trip!

Likewise, being able to spend one month in Japan (or even longer) will allow you to dig extremely deep into the country. This is true whether it’s your first trip and you want to create a comprehensive itinerary, if you’re returning and want to focus on small towns in Japan or lesser-visited regions like San’in and Shikoku, or whether you hunker down in Tokyo, Kyoto or Fukuoka to study the Japanese language, as I plan to do in early 2021.

Other FAQ About Seeing Japan in 10 Days

What should i do with 10 days in japan.

With 10 days in Japan, you can arrive in Tokyo and, after spending 2-3 days in the capital, ride the Shinkansen westward to Kyoto. Stay 2-3 nights here as well; either continue west to Hiroshima for 1-2 nights before returning to Tokyo, or head back east immediately, stopping for a night or two in the Fuji Five Lakes region before touching down in Tokyo.

How much does it cost to go to Japan for 10 days?

As a general rule, I expect most travelers to spend between 100-400 USD per person, per day in Japan—sorry for the very wide range. As a result, a 10-day trip to Japan can cost anywhere between 1,000-4,000 USD per person, not including airfare, depending on the level of luxury at which you prefer to travel.

Is 10 days enough in Japan?

10 days is enough to enjoy a fulfilling, eclectic exciting trip to Japan, but it’s not enough to see the whole country—it’s not even closed. If you can only come to Japan for 10 days on your next trip, I hope you do so with the intention of returning one day.

The Bottom Line

10 days in Japan might just be the perfect amount of time to spend in Japan—at least, if you don’t have the possibility to stay for longer. For first-time travelers, this will allow you to explore hot spots like Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima without rushing through any of them, while return visitors to Japan can devote their week-and-a-half to secondary regions like San’in or Tohoku, or islands like Shikoku and Kyushu . Want to make sure you strike exactly the right note during your own 10-day Japan adventure? Commission a custom Japan itinerary —and let me sweat the details!

Plan Your Japan Trip

trip to japan 10 days

Subscribe to email updates!

Words, images and design ©2018-2024 Robert Schrader, All rights reserved. Read Privacy Policy or view sitemap .


The Ultimate guide to 10 days in Japan 2022 - Osaka, Kyoto & more!

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Our trip started in Osaka, we then headed West towards the island of Kyushu including a number of places along the way, with Fukuoka as our final destination.

trip to japan 10 days

If you're looking for a full itinerary in Japan including Osaka, Kyoto and some other epic cities then you have absolutely come to the right place! We spent 10 days in Japan, exploring some of the cities and regional areas and have put together a FULL ITINERARY of everything you need to know, places of interest to visit, where to eat in Japan and how to get around in this beautiful Country.


International transport.

trip to japan 10 days

We flew with Singapore Airlines to Japan with a transit via Singapore.

Here are some indication on flight times from departing around the world:

Flying from Sydney Australia to Tokyo Japan takes just 10 hours on a direct flight, with more than 5 flights leaving per day.

Flying from London England to Tokyo Japan takes 13 hours on a direct flight with more than 5 flights leaving per day.

Flying from Los Angeles California to Tokyo Japan takes 12 hours on a direct flight 12 hours with more than 5 flights leaving per day.

Domestic transport

trip to japan 10 days

There are a number of ways to get between the cities of Japan with the main modes of transport being the following:

1.) JR Pass – This is a very cost effective way of traveling long distance in Japan. The pass can only be used by foreign tourists and can be used on bullet trains. Click here you purchase through the official JR website .

2.) ICOCA card - a rechargeable contactless smart card used on JR West rail network in Japan


This is a full 10 day itinerary through Japan starting in Osaka and travelling towards west Japan, including a trip to Kyoto. The trip will end in foodie heaven, the city of Fukuoka with a number of stops along the way.

Day 1-2 Osaka

Landing into the Osaka International airport, we used our JR passes to travel from Kansai airport into Tennoji station (30 minutes)

trip to japan 10 days

To make the most of the nightlife check out Dotonbori Canal area, a 10 min walk from where we were staying.

osaka Dotonbori

Finding the main food street in Dotonbori is easy, it pretty much starts as soon as you can see the big giant hanging crab, running parallel to the canal. Our top pick to try is the gyoza at Ohsho , you can find this restaurant by the big gyozas hanging outside! Gyoza is crispy meat dumplings, 250 yen for 6 pieces.

trip to japan 10 days

Takoyaki is another popular try which are the balls made up of flour and butter filled with octopus, ginger and green onion.

trip to japan 10 days

Spend the entire next day at Universal Studios Japan! We had so much fun wandering around the theme park. The park is made up of movie themed areas for some of the best blockbuster hollywood hits. Each area has endless fun, rides, eats and fun souvenir stalls.

trip to japan 10 days

The other attractions included Spiderman, Harry Potter world, Jurassic park and other movie themed areas, each having their own rides at the Universal Studios Japan. The best ride in our opinion, which also surprised us was was attack on Titan XR where you’re immersed into virtual reality, wearing goggles, whilst on a crazy rollercoaster – Insane but AMAZING! For safety (obvious) reasons we were not allowed cameras on the rides, and so you will just need to experience these for yourselves!

Entry fee: 9,000 JPY per adult (60 USD)

HOT TIP: We would highly recommend getting the express pass which allows bypassing all queues, we saved a ton of time using this!

Accommodation: Hotel The Grandee Shinsaibashi Click here for accommodation info

Day 3 Kyoto

Make your way from Osaka by using your JR pass to take the Limited express super Hakuto to Kyoto. (30 mins)

trip to japan 10 days

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Kyoto bamboo forest

Arashiyama bamboo forest is one of Kyotos top visited sights, but it's for good reason. The best way to explore the bamboo forest in Kyoto is by taking the walking path through the forest and explore the magical feeling there. It is open 24 hours a day and only a 10 minute walk from the train station.

The best thing about this place is it is absolutely FREE to visit. We all love free things to do, don't we!

Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine

trip to japan 10 days

Soak up the beautiful red torii gates, the two dense rows of torii gates of Senbon Torii. It is highly likely you have seen this stunning location before being one of Kyoto's most visited sites, but to give you some history of this unique place it is the most important of several thousand shrines that have been dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.

Similar to the Arashiyama bamboo forest, it is FREE to enter and also open 24/7. The museum part is staffed between 9-5pm if you wish to visit here and there is a small entrance fee of 300 yen for this part only.

Highlight : Stop for lunch at Menbaka for fire ramen, the best ramen we had in all of Japan (and EVER)!

trip to japan 10 days

Yasaka Shrine

trip to japan 10 days

Arguably, the most famous shrine with a 1,350 year history. It is quite often visited as it sits between the Gion district and the Higashiyama district, and so easily accessed when walking between the two places.

trip to japan 10 days

Gion District

trip to japan 10 days

Kyoto's most famous geisha district. Tourists visit here hoping to catch a rare sighting of a geiko or a maiko, however it is likely that if you think you saw one, it is actually just a sighting of a tourist dressed up in the traditional clothing of a geisha. It's wonderful to take a walk through the charming streets that are filled with teahouses and traditional wooden buildings, it really feels like the true heart of Imperial Kyoto.

Yasaka pagoda

trip to japan 10 days

A famous photo spot in the Higashiyama District

Accommodation: Sakura Terrace– the Gallery Click here for accommodation info

Day 4 Himeji

Use the JR pass to take the Shinkansen Hikari from Kyoto to Himeji station. (1 hour journey time)

trip to japan 10 days

Himeji has very wide pavements with many cafes and restaurants around the station area.

trip to japan 10 days

Himeji castle is in sight as soon as you leave Himeji train station, it is around a 20-25 min walk to the castle grounds, there are also buses and taxis available from the station.

Himeji castle grounds are free to enter up until a point. If you wish to go inside the Himeji castle grounds the entry fee is 1000 JPY per person to enter the castle or 1,050 JPY per person including entry to Kokoen Garden

For next time : We were sad to miss out on visiting the Engyoji Temple (entry 500 yen, 8:30am-6pm) which was unfortunately closed during our visit. This is temple that has been made famous in the film ‘The Last Samurai’ which was partly shot here.

trip to japan 10 days

Have dinner at Rikimaru , a fun and very fresh sushi train restaurant that is very affordable.

4,000 JPY for two people (less than $30 USD). Order by ipad, and watch it get delivered from kitchen to table via the sushi train!

Accommodation: Hotel Nikko (next to Himeji station) Click here for accommodation info

Day 5 Okunoshima Island (Bunny Island)

We recommend booking a hotel in Onomichi for day 5 & day 6, which means you will need to drop off your bags first at your hotel, prior to heading to bunny island. Take the bullet train using the JR pass from Himeji to Mihara station, change there for Onomichi station. After dropping off bags at your hotel in Onomochi, jump back on the bullet train and head to Tadanoumi station . From here it’s a short walk to catch a 15 minutes ferry ride to Okunoshima island which costs 310 JPY pp one way ($2usd)

trip to japan 10 days

The island is full of very cute and fluffy bunnys, and they are very friendly! They are happy enough to eat out of your hands, be sure to pick up the food available at the shop at Tadanoumi pier before getting the ferry across , or take some fresh veggies along with you. Do not feed them any human food.

trip to japan 10 days

The island itself is relatively small, it is possible to take a walk round in 45 minutes. There is a café which sells some lunch options and snacks 10 mins walk from the jetty.

trip to japan 10 days

After enjoying time with the furry friends, head back to mainland and have dinner at Tranquillo. This restaurant came recommended from the hotel, an Italian restaurant where the local head chef had spent 3 months in Napoli, Italy perfecting his pizza making skills.

trip to japan 10 days

Accommodation: Hotel Cycle Onomichi Click here for accommodation info

Day 6 Onomichi

Explore the Shimanami Kaido by bike. Hotel Cycle is full of bicycles for rent, there are also many bicycle hire stations along the route. Hire cost is from 5,400 JPY pp for the day at Hotel Cycle.

trip to japan 10 days

The Shimanami Kaido is a spectacular 60KM road-and-bridge network connecting Japan's main island of Honshu with Shikoku (the nation's fourth largest island)

trip to japan 10 days

We cycled for 4 hours and managed to cover 2 of the islands stopping for lunch at a great service station linked here. Cheap and great food.

We are (definitely!) amateur cyclists which may help give an indication as you what you could achieve if you cycle more often, it would be possible to continue the journey and complete more of the cycle route.

trip to japan 10 days

There are bike and pedestrian lanes for the entire length, and the beautiful Seto inland sea is an incredible sight as it runs alongside much of the cycle journey. There are plenty of rest stations along the way for breaks and refreshments and extra special views to grab some great photos.

Day 7 Miyajima Island

Jump on the train at Onomichi station to Fukuyama (use JR pass), change here for the bullet train to Hiroshima. (Total journey time is 2.5 hours)

trip to japan 10 days

Miyajima island is magical, like stepping back in time to old world Japan. Beautiful nature, wild deer roaming the streets and gorgeous laneways lined with cafes and restaurants serving delicious local dishes.

trip to japan 10 days

One of the main attractions here is the great torii gate that can be found floating in the ocean, the Itsukushima Shrine .

trip to japan 10 days

Stop to try okonomiyaki , a Japanese cabbage-based pancake. There are two styles, Osaka style and Hiroshima style. In Miyajima you can try Hiroshima style which is plain pancake grilled, topped with chose ingredients such as pork strips, or shrimp and octopus, noodles and sauce, there are vegetarian options too.

trip to japan 10 days

STAY at a Ryokan for the evening, an experience for travellers to immerse themselves into Japanese culture. Iwaso Ryokan was founded in 1893 located in the serene Momijidani Park, the original owner of also built a tea shop and planted maple trees, a stunning sight during the autumn months.

trip to japan 10 days

The stay usually includes a kaiseki dinner (a multi-course dinner) and traditional breakfast. There is an Onsen pool (traditional Japanese hot baths) The tatami floored room is transformed from a banquet dining space in to a bedroom, we had a very comfortable nights sleep and enjoyed a traditional breakfast the following morning that included rice, pickles, miso soup, fish, tofu, seaweed. It is a truly unique and once in a lifetime experience.

trip to japan 10 days

Accommodation: Iwaso Ryokan Click here for accommodation info

Day 8 – 10 Fukuoka

Catch the ferry back to Miyajimaguchi station and get the train to Hiroshima Station (30 mins). Then take the bullet train 'Sakura' from Hiroshima to Hakata station (use JR pass). This trip will take around 3 hours total.

trip to japan 10 days

Tenjin is a great shopping and dining district, there are many shopping centres to explore including Canal city, head to Raumen Stadium (S pelt raumen not ramen ) for your pick of tonkotsu broth which is made by boiling pork bone and originated in Fukuoka .

trip to japan 10 days

Try eating at one of the Yatai food stalls for a truly unique food experience, locals will come here and queue for hours to taste these dishes! Prepare to queue for the food stalls, although they move quickly they are clearly extremely popular with both locals and travellers. We queued for an hour, but it was 100% worth the wait.

trip to japan 10 days

Accommodation: Hotel Monte Hermana Fukuoka Click here for accommodation info

Yanagawa day trip

Jump on the train at Nishitetsufukuoka Station to Nishitetsuyanagawa (50 mins, 860 yen, use ICOCA card)

trip to japan 10 days

Enjoy a river cruise down the canals of Yanagawa. Our Sendo, (boatman) used a pole to guide the gondola like boat down the Yanagawa River as we watched the beautiful riverside scenery pass-by. We even got serenaded by our lovely guide as we passed through bridges!

trip to japan 10 days


Most European Countries, United Kingdom, United States and Australia do not need to get a Japan Tourist Visa since they are considered visa-exempt Countries for tourism purposes, and can stay for a max of 90 days visa-free.


Peak season in Japan is when the cherry blossoms are in bloom (end of March – mid April) the driest months in Japan are Dec-Feb. Winter in Japan is perfect for skiing and snowboarding and Autumn have beautiful colours and lovely temperature. There isn’t a bad time to visit Japan, it just depends your preference.

Disclosure: As with all our blogs, all opinions are our own! We were invited to explore Japan as part of a trip with JNTO Tourism and Singapore Airlines.

Some links in this blog may be affiliated where we earn a very small commission if you use our link from our recommendation at no additional cost to you, we as always we are very appreciative of your wonderful support!

All photography is copyrighted © TwosomeTravellers

You might also like:

Japan Travel tips: 17 things to know when planning your trip

How to spend a day in Kyoto Japan, a full 24 hour itinerary!

How to spend a day trip to Himeji from Kyoto - Himeji castle

Recent Posts

JAPAN TRAVEL TRIPS: 17 Things to know when planning your trip in 2022

A guide to cycling the World famous Shimanami Kaido Cycle route in Onomichi, Japan

Turn your travel photos into cherished memories with our Lightroom Presets! 

Organized Adventurer

10 Day Japan Itinerary

There may be some affiliate links on this page, which means when you click we get a small percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you. This allows us to keep this page running. Enjoy!

Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Sarah Puckett

This 10 day Japan itinerary through the main island of Honshu explores Japan’s fascinating melding of old traditions and new innovations. It’s a destination I want to return again and again, thanks to the countless stunning temples, delicious noodles and sushi, and incredible infrastructure. My 10 day Japan itinerary covers all of the country’s highlights and is perfect for a first-time visit. 

Tokyo sunset from our hotel

Table of Contents

Getting Around Japan

This 10 day Japan itinerary works best if you plan to travel through Japan by train. I recommend the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) which is good for between 7 and 21 days depending on which pass you buy. You should plan to buy this pass online before your trip with enough time to receive your voucher by mail. When you get to Japan, you’ll exchange your voucher for your actual pass. More information and how to purchase can be found on the official Japan Rail Pass website . 

Taking public transportation in Japan is smooth and efficient

How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Japan? 

Japan is not a cheap country to travel in, especially when compared to other destinations in Asia . With a strong economy and currency, travelers from Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will find prices similar to those at home. In general, you can expect to spend an average of $120 USD per day, per person for a midrange travel experience. Budget travelers could eke out their trip at $50 USD per person per day if they really dedicated themselves to saving money. These estimates do not include international travel to Japan. For more guidance budgeting your trip, check out Budget Your Trip ‘s website for a breakdown of anticipated costs in Japan. We spent about $1300 per person following this 10-day itinerary in Japan.

10-Day Japan Itinerary Day-by-Day

Day 1 – fly to tokyo .

You have two airport options when flying internationally into Tokyo – Narita International Airport (NRT) and  Haneda Airport (HND) . Haneda is a bit closer to the city, but has fewer international connections that Narita. 

Search for flights to Narita International Airport

Search for flights to haneda airport, where to sleep in tokyo.

We redeemed Marriott rewards points to stay at the Marriott hotel in Tokyo. The location was amazing, and the included breakfast was decadent and full of local food options for us to try. We even had a view of the iconic Tokyo Tower from our room.

>>> Click here to book your stay at the Tokyo Marriott Hotel!


Days 2-3 – Explore Tokyo’s Highlights

In my opinion, the most efficient and educational way to explore a city is with a guide. I am a big fan of walking tours, and like many cities, Tokyo has free walking tours available. All of the Tokyo highlights I list below can be visited on your own, and many are also all included in free walking tours offered by Tokyo Localized . For efficiency, we actually did 3 of Tokyo Localized’s free tours on the same day. It made for a long day, but enabled us to cover many highlights in a single day. We started with their flagship Free Walking Tour Tokyo in the morning, followed by the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku afternoon tour, and lastly the Shinjuku Night tour. 

Akihabara is the epicenter of all things anime and gaming. Animated characters cover billboards and signs on seemingly every available space, and there are countless pachinko casinos. The whole area feels electric – and it may literally be due to the voltages of power pulsing through the streets. 


Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine is the most impressive shrine in all of Japan for me, even though it’s relatively new. The shrine was originally constructed in 1920, destroyed in WWII air raids, and rebuilt in 1958. To get to the temple, you walk through a serene wooded path. Along the way you’ll see paper lanterns and barrels of sake, given as gifts to the gods and wrapped in colorfully designed paper.


Harajuku is the place to see and be seen in elaborate and whimsical outfits. The culture of dressing in outlandish fashion has been diluted over the past few years, but it’s still a place to come peacock, especially if you’re a teenage girl.

Senso-Ji Temple

Senso-Ji Temple is Tokyo’s most visited temple thanks to the compelling legend that surrounds it. The temple holds a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Allegedly, two fishermen pulled this golden image out of the river in 628 AD, and the relic has remained at this site ever since. That said, since the image is not on public display, no one really knows if it actually exists.

To get to this temple, you must first pass through a large red torii and then down a bustling shopping street called Nakamise-Dori, in a funny reversal of the “exit through the gift shop” notion.


The street sells anything you can think of – food, tourist knickknacks, authentic handmade crafts, and more. I found one store that only sold bobbling cat figures. The temple complex is also home to a shrine to the two fisherman who found the relic. As an aside, Buddhism and Shintoism are very much intertwined in Japan, so it’s common to see Buddhist temples that have Shinto shrines, and vice versa.

Senso-Ji Temple

Tsukiji Outer Market

Although the inner Tsukiji Market (where the world’s largest and most significant fish market was located for decades) has moved to Toyosu Fish Market, the Tsukiji Outer Market is still worth a visit! You can sample several items from stalls along the way – dried fish, whole crabs, and delicious wasabi sesame seeds. I recommend going with a guide if possible, as the chaotic alleys and stalls are hard to navigate solo.

Tours of Tsukiji Fish Market :

Toyosu Fish Market

The new location of Tokyo’s fish market is a cleaner, more sanitary version of the iconic Tsukiji Market. Toyosu Fish Market features a tuna auction every morning at 4:30 am as well as dining options showcasing fish from the market. Previously at Tsukiji, there weren’t any restaurants as the market catered more to restaurant owners and fish distributors rather than everyday people. 

While I can’t speak to the conditions at Toyosu specifically since it was not yet open, it’s worth noting that touring a fish market is a very raw experience. You might see blood on the ground, chunks of dead fish on ice, and you’ll almost certainly smell all of it. It’s a fascinating glimpse into where our food comes from, but it’s not for the faint of heart. 

Day 4 – Day Trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and/or Aokigahara Forest

After you’ve explored Tokyo, it’s time for a day trip to see Mount Fuji’s iconic snowcapped peak. How you can enjoy the volcano varies with the seasons. In summer, you can hike any of the trails in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, but in the winter the trails are inaccessible.

Sarah looking at Mt Fuji at a Train Station

If you have a Japan Rail Pass, there are several day trip options from Tokyo accessible by train with your pass. We visited in the winter and opted to visit Aokigahara Forest, where we had incredible views of the volcano, plus the opportunity to visit ice caves formed by lava tubes. Since caves maintain the same temperature year-round, this is a great option at any time of the year. The forest is also beautiful and unique. Lave flows coming from Mt. Fuji had formed the part we walked through. This exposed all of the trees’ roots in an upheaval of jumbled foliage.

>>> Click here to book the tour we took to the Aokigahara Forest.

Once we reached the cave’s floor, we saw hundreds of icicles coming from both the ceiling and the ground.  Eventually, we were walking over a frozen lake, which, our guide explained, descends 20 meters below our feet. An explosion of gas from Mt. Fuji created this cave. Because the cave walls are all lava rock, which is porous, there is no echo within this cave. This makes it very different from most caves I’ve been in. I recommend including Aokigahara Forest in your Mount Fuji day trip from Tokyo. 


Day 5 – Day Trip from Tokyo to Nikko

Nikko, about an hour away from central Tokyo, is another great day trip option from Japan’s bustling capital. The town is most known for its scenic bridge and shrines preserving the glory of the Edo period from 1600 to 1868. It is an easy day trip from Tokyo by train, however, once in Nikko, expect 3-4 miles of walking to the main sights or to take a cab. 

Shin-kyo Bridge

The red footbridge spans a river at a sight where two giant serpents carried a Buddhist priest, Shodo Shonin, on their backs.

Shin-kyo Bridge

Tosho-gu Shrine

Just up the hill from the picturesque Shin-kyo bridge is the Tosho-gu Shrine built in Shodo Shonin’s honor.

Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss

Kanman-ga-Fuchi is a lovely trail alongside the river featuring dozens of stone Buddhas ( jizos ) that symbolically protect children and travelers. They also wear red woven hats and capes, making them especially picturesque and one of the most unique things we saw in Nikko. 


Nikko Day Tours

>>> Click here to read our 5-Day Tokyo Itinerary for more details on how to spend 5 days in Tokyo, Japan!

Day 6 – Hakone

Hakone is a small mountain and hot springs resort town a few hours south of Tokyo, near the base of Mount Fuji. Allegedly, people can visit this town as a day trip from Tokyo, but between navigating the subway and train lines to get there, and then figuring out what bus to take, to finally realizing that Hakone is less a town and more an entire region, I don’t have any idea how anyone could visit Hakone and back in a day from Tokyo. I recommend spending at least 1 night, but preferably 2 in Hakone.

It’s also worth noting that you can see Mount Fuji from Hakone (although the view looked more distant and hazy in my opinion than from the Aokigahara Forest). If you plan to visit Hakone for more than just 1 day, you could probably combine your Mount Fuji hiking plans into your stay in Hakone. We found public transportation getting into and exploring Hakone to be a little bit confusing, though, so I recommend researching transportation or day tour options if you want to use Hakone as a base for exploring Mount Fuji. 

Hakone Day Tours:

Onsen and Ryokan Experience

We stayed at Ashinoko Ichinoy u , a traditional guesthouse near the town center. We absolutely loved this hotel. Dinner and breakfast were amazing, and we had free access to private onsens. 

Our night at this traditional ryokan (Japanese-style guesthouse) is one of my favorite experiences in all of Japan. Our room was laid out on mats, with a seating area on the floor for tea. Instead of chairs, there were cushions around the low table.

The hotel offered a multi-course dinner for only $25/person, which included as much sake and beer as we cared for. Our dinner was elaborate and delicious, featuring multiple courses of appetizers (the shredded chicken and oyster boiled in soy sauce were standouts), a generous hot pot dinner (veggies and meat you boil yourself on a hot plate on your table), a divine piece of fish broiled with cheese on top, and a sorbet dessert.

After dinner, we relaxed for a bit before our private onsen reservation. An onsen is a traditional Japanese hot spring. Bathing is a special ritual in Japan, and the Japanese take hot springs very seriously. Normally, you can go to a public onsen (typically separated by men and women), but since we had access for free to enjoy the hot springs together by ourselves, this was the obvious choice. Also, people with tattoos are generally not allowed in public onsen , because tattoos are associated with the Japanese mafia. 

In the morning our hotel served us breakfast, which was again quite elaborate. We had a whole fish, a soft-boiled egg that is meant to be mixed with rice and a special sauce to create a delicious soup-like dish, steamed veggies, and the best miso soup I’ve ever had. I think this is due to what I later learned are small coils of straight-up gluten. Everything about our experience at this hotel was relaxing and indulgent – and surprisingly not particularly expensive. We only spent $100 per person for everything.

>>> Click here to book the Ryokan hotel and onsen we stayed at in Hakone!


Scenic River Cruise

We didn’t have an opportunity to do this since we arrived to Hakone too late in the afternoon. When we eventually return this is top on my to-do list. For 1930 yen (or 3470 yen with the Hakone Ropeway), take a round-trip riverboat cruise on a pirate ship . It’s a little hokey, but it’s the best way to see Mount Fuji from the water.

Ropeway and Owakudani (The Great Boiling Valley)

For 2600 yen (3470 yen with the Scenic River Cruise), take the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani (The Great Boiling Valley). Owakudani was created only 3000 years ago when a nearby volcano erupted and collapsed. Today, you can see the hydrogen sulfide steam billowing from the ground.


Day 7-8 – Kyoto 

From Hakone, take the train to Kyoto, Japan’s first capital. Kyoto is also home to the highest concentration of temples and shrines in the world.

Where to Sleep in Kyoto

We used Marriott points again in Kyoto to stay at the Westin in Kyoto. Once again it was an excellent stay and we loved the breakfast and concierge lounge meals that had so many local food options!

>>> Click here to book the Kyoto Westin Hotel.

There are dozens of noteworthy destinations in Kyoto, but here are the key highlights you don’t want to miss. 

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion)

Kinkaku-Ji , one of Kyoto’s most famous temples, known as the “Golden Pavilion”.

The temple was originally built in 1397 as a retirement home for a shogun (leader). It was later converted into a temple by his son. In 1950 a monk burned it to the ground (apparently out of love). Five years later, a full reconstruction took place of the ruins, with even more gold leaf added for pizazz.


Level Up Your Travel Photography

Get our Lightroom Presets

Transform your photos into cherished memories in just a few clicks!

trip to japan 10 days

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Tall stalks of bamboo surround either side of the trail at Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove. This creates the feeling that you are further away from town than you really are. That said, the place is wildly crowded. The photos that only have us in them are more or less an optical illusion. Remove us from the picture and you’d see dozens of other tourists. The grove is also smaller than I expected. It’s still worth seeing, but it’s not this magical, other-worldly experience you may read about on other sites.


Fushimi Shinto Temple

Fushimi Shinto temple is known for its seemingly endless red toriis. The gates lead the way up the nearby mountain (considered sacred). In Shintoism, one walks under torii gates to cleanse his or her soul before entering a holy place. If that’s true, you would leave this site with the cleanest soul ever.

Fushimi Shinto Temple

Day 9 – Day Trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima

The next day we took the shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima, less than 2 hours away. This was a great day trip and I highly recommend it for anyone staying in Kyoto or Osaka. Hiroshima was very walkable. You can have a very full and meaningful visit walking to everything from the train station.

Shukkei-en is a small garden with lakes, hills, picturesque bridges, and lots of koi fish.

Memorial to Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki was a young girl who died of leukemia following the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am. I had learned about Sadako in elementary school when we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes . The children’s book is about Sadako and the origami paper cranes she and others made. She hoped that once she reached a thousand, she could make a wish to live. Stumbling upon this memorial in front of the school she had attended was incredibly moving. This story affected me very strongly when I was a kid and remained in my memory all this time.

Hiroshima Castle

We then came to the Hiroshima Castle grounds, a beautiful castle from the 1590s, but destroyed by the bomb. A few years later it was rebuilt and now serves as a museum of the city’s pre-WWII history.

Atomic Bomb Dome

The Atomic Bomb Dome is all that was left standing of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall after the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb. Everyone in this building died instantly.

150,000 individuals died between that day and the end of the year as a result of injuries and illness caused by the bomb. Many of these were children just starting their school day when the bomb detonated over a hospital in the city’s center.

The Atomic Bomb Dome

Peace Park and Memorial Museum

The Peace Park and museum are a memorial to the victims and a plea to the world to end all nuclear weapons programs. The Memorial Museum was especially poignant. An entire room displays the names and photographs of each of the victims, some of whom remain unidentified.

Another room plays videos and readings from a periodic journal that came out shortly after the bomb where parents describe their last moments with their children who died in the attack. The journal served as a way for the community to grieve collectively and memorialize their children who died too young.

Hiroshima Tours:

Day 10 – Osaka 

Take the train to Osaka from Kyoto and check into a hotel there. With more time, spend a few days in Osaka. Otherwise, you can take an international flight from one of Osaka’s two international airports ( Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka Itami International Airport (ITM) ) to your next destination. 

Search flights from Kansai International Airport

Search flights from osaka itami international airport, japan 10-day itinerary summary.

Covering Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka, this 10-day Japan itinerary covers key highlights in a brief time. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments!

trip to japan 10 days

Similar Posts

Maria Island Day Trip Tasmania, Australia

Maria Island Day Trip Tasmania, Australia

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike – Is It Worth It?

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike – Is It Worth It?

10 Day Sri Lanka Itinerary

10 Day Sri Lanka Itinerary

Alternatives to Machu Picchu – Cusco’s Inca Ruins

Alternatives to Machu Picchu – Cusco’s Inca Ruins

How to Visit Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia’s Famous Salt Flats

How to Visit Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia’s Famous Salt Flats

Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight in Western Australia

Bungle Bungle Scenic Flight in Western Australia

Hi Can you update the link for your hotel in Hakone by any chance?

Yes – done! Thank you for letting me know 🙂

Your trip report was very interesting. Can I request you to advise what would be the best and memorable places to visit in a weeks trip leaving 2 days of flight to and fro. I am 78 and travel with my spouse.

I would focus my time on Kyoto and Tokyo, with day trips to Mount Fuji and Hakone. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

The Boutique Adventurer: Luxury Adventure Travel Blog focussed on Emerging Destinations for those over 35

10 Day Japan Itinerary for First-Timers

By: Author Amanda OBrien

Posted on Last updated: 17/02/2024

Many of us associate Japan with being a futuristic and minimalist country. But it never forgets its unique heritage and cultural traditions. Some of the world’s most famous temples are found here, along with beautiful outdoor excursions.

If you’re up for journeying to this funky, colorful and eclectic country, planning is key. You often hear stories about travelers flying into Japan and not knowing where to start.

Of course, you could opt to spend your entire ten days in one city. But for some of us, exploring the best parts of Japan is far too exciting.

In this 10-day Japan itinerary trip, you’ll find everything you need for a care-free journey around the country.

deer in street hiroshima japan

10 Day Japan Itinerary: What to Know

The first thing you’d probably want to be aware of before planning your 10 days in Japan is if you need a visa. Foreign travelers can gain access to Japan for 90 days without a visa, as long as they have their return ticket booked. The first part of your travel is already sorted.

Plan a trip to Japan in 10 days during a season that suits your needs. In winter, crowds are fewer, but there’s also an icy chill in the air. This is a perfect time to see the snow-capped mountain, Fuji, and experience the natural hot springs firsthand.

japan_kaga_ryokan-outdoor-bath part of a 10 day Japan itinerary

Summer attracts all the tourists and offers you a chance to appreciate the outdoors. However, Japan can get very hot and humid in the summer – particularly in Tokyo. The end of May to the end of June is also the rainy season.

The best time to visit Japan is spring (March-April) and autumn (October – December). The weather is still pleasant and the country is generally less crowded. Spring is cherry blossom season, and autumn brings some stunning fall foliage.


Japan 10 Day Itinerary Trip Planner: How to Get There

Tokyo is the most common point of entry into Japan. Tokyo has two airports that receive international flights, Narita and Haneda airports. Narita Airport is quite a bit farther away from central Tokyo so if possible fly into Haneda rather than Narita airport at the start of your 10 day Japan itinerary.

Haneda handles most domestic flights (but also international flights – JAL operates from Haneda Airport), and Narida handles more international flights.

If you must fly in or out of Narita airport, then I suggest using the more expensive option of the Narita Express train . The journey from Narita Airport to Tokyo station takes one hour and is direct.

temple and skyline in kyoto japan to visit in 2 days itinerary

The good news is that if you have purchased the Japan Rail pass (which is a great idea if you are spending time in Japan) it covers the Narita Express Train.

If you are flying into Haneda airport, the fastest and easiest option is to take the Keikyu Airport Line to Shinagawa and then swap to the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku line to Tokyo Station. This will take about 35 minutes

⇒ Flights to Tokyo

For the purpose of this 10 day itinerary in Japan, the best airport to fly into would be Narita or Haneda . You’ll already be in Tokyo and won’t need to travel far to reach your first destination.

Meet, Greet and Wifi at the Airport Japan Rail has a brilliant Meet and Greet service where they will meet you at the airport after arrival and get you going with your rail ticket, Pocket Wifi for Japan and take you to your next mode of transport – so good after a long journey.

geishas from behind with tree branch

Japan Guide to Getting Around

Tokyo has a fantastic metro system. Buy your Tokyo metro pass online before you go to avoid queues (there are 24, 48 and 72-hour options available).

The   Japan Rail Pass   offers amazing value to overseas visitors. The pass covers virtually every train in Japan – including most bullet trains – and costs just USD$270 for 7 days rail travel. 14 and 21-day options are also available. As is a very reasonably priced upgrade to first class. Amazing value for Japan’s excellent trains.

You’re most likely going to need Google Maps on hand. Google Translate is a big help too. Once you’ve flown into Tokyo Narita Airport, you can easily buy a sim card from the vending machines.

During your trip, you’ll be taking a combination of travel routes, as each city is suited to different forms of public transport. Some days you’ll be traveling by bus, others by train, and some by plane.

autumnal trees with lake in kyoto japan

I am crazy about Japan. Check out some of my other posts on Japanese landmarks, Kanazawa Japan , What to do in Tokyo in one day , 2 days in Kyoto , the Nakasendo and What is Japan famous for.

The Japanese currency is the Yen. Whilst many places accept credit and debit cards, cash is still the most common method of payment. Many smaller restaurants, taxis, and shops will only accept cash so do make sure you have some on you at all times during your trip.

nakasendo walking trail

10 Day Japan Travel Itinerary

Planning a trip to Japan is essential for making the most of your time. And, part of this planning is knowing what to do each day. Below is a detailed itinerary for Japan that includes the country’s most cherished villages, temples, and attractions for your 10 day days in Japan.

⇒ Don’t miss my other posts on Japan – One Day in Tokyo , 2 Day Itinerary Kyoto , the best things to do in Kanazawa and what to expect on the Nakasendo Trail.

Tokyo (Days 1-4)

Tokyo is one of the biggest reasons travelers from around the globe book a plane ticket to Japan. There aren’t many cities of this great size. This is precisely why you’d want to spend a larger portion of your time wandering around its colorful and vibrant streets.


Day 1: Spend the Day in Shibuya and Ginza

Spend your first day in Shibuya to get a taste of this lively city and bustling culture. Be prepared for everything to catch your attention; the bright billboards, chatty people, and flashing lights.

If you don’t believe that it’s that busy, attempt to cross the ‘scramble street’, which has as many as 3000 people crossing at a time. It’s a good thing everyone is so organised in Tokyo, so crossing is manageable.


There’s an array of tasteful restaurants, street food, and fashion stores in the area to keep you on your feet. And if you’re looking for something different to do in Shibuya, check out Saideigama Pottery Studio .

I took a pottery class at this Tokyo studio which involved learning and then practicing the art of Kin-Tsugi.


Kin-Tsugi is a pottery style that involves taking old pottery that has broken and restoring it using gold leaf dust and paints – making it even better the second time around or giving it a second chance.

This is actually quite spiritual and embodies the belief that just because something may have broken, it can be even more wonderful once it is repaired. And obviously, this is very environmentally friendly.

We went through six stages to restore our broken ceramics and make them even more beautiful. It was quite a meditative experience.


Ginza is perhaps the most famous neighborhood in Tokyo and home to lots of action and very large Japanese department stores such as Matsuya and Mitsukoshi. It is also the home of many foreign brands as well as some great restaurants and sushi bar and is one of the top places to explore in Tokyo.

Ginza is home to the flagship Muji store which is spread over six floors and includes both a restaurant and a hotel.


The main point of Ginza is the Wako Clock Tower – use this to orient yourself during Tokyo sightseeing.

Don’t miss a visit to the oldest bakery in Japan – Kimuraya . Kimuraya is famous for its Sakadane Anpan which are traditional Japanese sweet buns featuring different flavors of bean paste.


Day 2: Start the day at the fish market and then explore the Streets of Harajuku

Tokyo has long been famous for having the world’s largest wholesale market with fish. The fish market was traditionally part of Tsukiji Market. However, the Tsukiji fish market has now moved to Toyosu market.


The famous early morning tuna auctions are now held at Toyosu market between 530 and 630am. If you don’t want to see the tuna auction, then it is fine to visit the market a little later in the morning.

Expert Travel Tip – if you plan to visit Toyosu market head there for breakfast rather than lunch. Apparently, the quality of the fish at breakfast is superior to what is available at lunchtime.


After your early start, spend the rest of your morning exploring the iconic Tokyo streets, while the rest of the day can be spent enjoying some time outdoors.

Harajuku is known for its quirky collection of Hello Kitty shops, colorfully-dressed pedestrians, and vintage clothing stores. Use this opportunity to pick up some souvenirs, gifts for your family and friends, and a delectable sweet treat. Their Japanese souffle pancakes are pretty famous here.

When you’re all shopped out, it’ll be the perfect opportunity to visit some hidden gems. Like the Meiji Shrine .


The shrine is set in a forest that is home to around 100,000 trees—a great contrast to city life. Visitors can wander through the shrine and make their own offerings in the main hall.

The Meiji Shrine is open from 5 am to 6 pm every day, and admission is free.

Another fantastic temple option is to visit Sensoji, the oldest temple in Tokyo and home to the statue of the holy Buddha. This is one of Tokyo’s most popular and colorful temples and one of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo.

Enter Sensoji Temple through the Kaminarimon Gate. There is then a 200-metre historic shopping area before the second gate and the five-story temple.


Day 3: Embark on a Day Trip To Mt. Fuji

Book Your Day Trip from Tokyo to Mt Fuji

A day trip to Mount Fuji is one of the locals’ favorite pastimes. You won’t need to do much planning in terms of how to get there, given that it’s a popular travel destination. From the center of Tokyo, simply hop on the year-round bus service to journey to the mountain.

Getting off depends on where you’re keen on exploring. Fuji-Q Highland, Fuji-San Station and Kawaguchiko Station are the major stops.


Stop at Yamanakako and Kawaguchiko for the chance to explore the surrounding lakes, where there are plenty of places for light strolls. Alternatively, hiking enthusiasts can embark on a day’s trek.

Popular trails on Mount Fuji:

  • Gotemba trail: 1,450m
  • Subashiri trail: 2,000m
  • Yoshida trail: 2,300m
  • Fujinomiya trail: 2,400m

Please note that the hiking trails are only open in the summer months from July until September.

Day 4: North Eastern Tokyo

Since its opening in 1958, the Tokyo Tower has been the landmark of Tokyo. However, in 2012 a new tower opened in Tokyo, the Tokyo Skytree. Tokyo Skytree is now the tallest tower in Tokyo at 634 meters tall vs the 333 meters of Tokyo Tower.

Japan_Tokyo_Yakatabune Tsurishin-boat-sky-tree

The highest point for observation is on Tokyo Skytree at 450 meters. Visiting one of these towers and taking in the view is a must-see in Tokyo.

⇒ Skip the Queue ticket for Tokyo Skytree

The tallest building in Japan hosts an array of exciting activities. Shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants are found within Skytree. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself to a lunch or dinner date at Musashi Sky Restaurant. Incredible food, paired with breathtaking views, is pretty hard to beat.

Access to the Skytree is gained by purchasing a ticket, often, lines for tickets can be quite lengthy. Try to get there as early as possible, to avoid wasting time in long lines, especially on the weekends.

Japan_Tokyo_Yakatabune Tsurishin-boat-sky-line-2

The Skytree is open from 9 am – 9 pm each day.

The 115 million square metres Imperial Palace Tokyo is only actually open two days a year – January 2 and on the emperor’s birthday which is now February 23. However, it is still one of the top things to see in Tokyo as it is possible to walk around the palace and see the beautiful gates.


Around the walls of the Imperial Palace Tokyo are stones with flowers reflecting each of the prefectures in Japan.

There are several photogenic gates and towers, including the Mount Fuji watchtower, the Sakurda mon gate and the Tatsumi Watch Tower (my personal favorite). The Tokyo Imperial Palace also has a couple of beautiful bridges – particularly the Nijubashi Bridge in front of the main entrance.


Plus, as the Imperial Palace is located next to downtown Tokyo, it is possible to get some nice photographs contrasting traditional and modern Tokyo.

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace Tokyo are open to visitors on Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays and Sundays.

⇒ Maximise your time in Tokyo with a morning bus tour that includes the Imperial Palace, Meji Jingu Shrine and Senso-Ji Temple


Day 5: A Nikko Day Trip from Tokyo

With Tokyo being your current base location, you can get up bright and early and venture to the picturesque village, Nikko . Out of all the Japanese destinations, this village is one of the most beautiful.

A day here is a day spent wandering through ancient temples and shrines. You’ll appreciate imperial villas and their impressive architecture. Centuries ago, Shinto and Buddhist worshippers gathered on these mountainous landscapes.


Top temples in Nikko:

  • Toshogu Shrine
  • Taiyuin Temple
  • Rinnoji Temple
  • Futarasan Temple

The Nikko National Park is visited daily for leisurely strolls near the lakes, hikes, monkey spotting, and for dips in the hot springs.

Nikko is particularly well known for its beauty in autumn. At the beginning of November, it transforms into a village of burnt oranges, deep reds, and golden yellows. Don’t forget to pack a camera for this day trip.

Tokyo Restaurant Suggestions

I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Kakurebo Minami Aoyama . Aoyama is one of the more upmarket neighborhoods in Tokyo and a nice place to explore. Kakurebo Minami was a very stylish Japanese restaurant. We had our little booth with very comfortable seating.

Japan_Tokyo_Kakurebo Minami Aoyama-lunch

Lunch was a bento box containing chicken and ginger with rice, radish in a bowl of white miso soup, a fantastic crab croquette, more seafood, and best of all, fantastic sashimi. It was a great meal.

Japan_Tokyo_Kakurebo Minami Aoyama-interior

If you’re looking for a tasty and casual dinner, check out Tsukiji Market in Ginza. This was the location of the famous Tokyo Fishmarket (see above), which has now moved.

However, the retail and restaurant sections of Tsukiji market are still open, and this is a great place to pick up a delicious seafood meal.


If you love ramen, check out Tokyo Ramen Street. As you may imagine, this underground street inside Tokyo Station is decorated in a traditional style and filled with famous ramen shops.

Another great option for a meal in Tokyo is to take a Yaktabune cruise. A Yakatabune is a privately owned rather fancy Japanese boat. A fantastic activity if you only have 24 hours in Tokyo is taking a Yaktabune cruise in the evening, including a fantastic dinner.

The boat itself is very photogenic, with lots of red lanterns and has a friendly and busy atmosphere.

Japan_Tokyo_Yakatabune Tsurishin-boat-close-up-detail

Onboard the Yaktabune cruise is red wine, white wine, beer, plum wine, and sake – all the drinks you could want. The food was fantastic. As you would expect, there is a whole variety of seafood on offer.

Massive legs of crabs, raw, grilled, and tempura prawns, and loads of delicious vegetables. Best of all was a boat filled with sashimi.

Japan_Tokyo_Yakatabune Tsurishin-boat-sashimi-boat

The Yaktabune boat tour covers several must-see Tokyo locations, including its two tours all lit up and stops for photo opportunities.

⇒ Book a Yaktabune Cruise

Boutique Hotels in Tokyo

If you’re staying in Tokyo, you’ll want to get as central a location as possible. This will, without a doubt, make it easier to hop from one excursion to the next.

On my most recent visit to Tokyo, I stayed at the Keio Presso Inn Tokyo Station Yaesu. The hotel has a fantastic location. It is a short walk to Toyko station and within walking distance of Ginza.


The rooms at the Keio Presso Inn are small but perfect. The shower was very powerful, and the small bathroom contained every toiletry item you might need. The highlight for me was the toilet. There were so many buttons and options and, best of all, a warm seat.

The room at the Keio Press Inn Tokyo was very small, but like the bathroom, had everything I could possibly need. There was a hairdryer, a kettle, space to hang clothes and best of all lots of power points and USB points for charging.

I found that Japan does not have the most fantastic coffee. However, my room at the Keio Presso Inn came with delicious drip coffee bags.

The Keio Presso Inn wasn’t at my usual boutique hotel level, but it was an excellent hotel and a perfect place if you are only staying one night in Tokyo.

⇒ Read more reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now


Another cute boutique hotel in a great location in Ginza is The Celestine . Just a three-minute walk from Shimbashi station, the rooms at The Celestine have a modern minimalist design without sacrificing comfort.

Another option, if you are limited in time, is to stay close to the airport. If you are flying in or out of Haneda airport, I recommend staying at the Keikyu EX Inn in Haneda.

Like the Keio Presso Inn, the Keikyu EX Inn is small but fitted out with virtually everything you could need for a one-night stay. It also has a free airport shuttle bus service.

Hiroshima (Days 6-7)

After 5 day based in Tokyo, you’ll be ready and well-prepared to venture out to Hiroshima. Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb during WWII. It has since been transformed into a bustling, lively city with plenty of exciting adventures.

Miyajima island japan

There are two main options as to how to get to this city. The first is by plane – generally a popular option and reasonably well-priced.

The second is to take the Shinkansen, the bullet train. It’s fast and luxurious and is generally covered by the Japan Rail Pass .

Day 6: Ferry Ride to the Island of Miyajima

Miyajima can be accessed directly by ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Port. The boat trip will take you 45 minutes, costing you 2,200 yen one way, or 4,000 yen for a round trip.

Atomic Dome, Peace Memorial Park

Alternatively, take the train with your JR Pass from Hiroshima Station and then take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station.

You may not know it, but you’ve probably already seen photos of this island. The iconic floating red Torii Gate is the biggest symbol of the island, standing 18 m tall.

Torii gate Hiroshima

When the tide is high, it appears as though the enormous gates are floating upon the water. But come low tide, the waters retract and you can walk underneath the impressive structure.

Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island that also appears to float on parts of the water. Built-in the 12th century, it’s long been a famous temple worldwide. It’s now deemed a UNESCO heritage site.

Itsukushima Shrine

Day 7: Atomic Bomb Dome

A trip to Hiroshima isn’t complete without acknowledging the city’s history. On the 6th of August 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped, right in the center of Hiroshima.

The Atomic Dome, ex Hiroshima Industrial Promotion Hall, destroyed by the first Atomic bomb in war, in Hiroshima, Japan.

As destructive as the bomb, the Promotional Hall retained its structure. It now serves as a heartbreaking reminder of the event.

Travelers can get to the dome by tram, as it sits right along the Genbaku Dome-Mae tram stop. You can walk around the entire area to visit the nearby attractions.

Peace bell in the Peace Memorial Park.

Places to visit around the dome:

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
  • Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims
  • The Peace Bell
  • Flame of Peace
  • Children’s Peace Monument

Hiroshima Boutique Hotels

Iwaso is a beautiful boutique hotel on Miyajima Island. It is a Japanese-style hotel with both indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. The rooms feature traditional tatami floors and futon bedding.

Iwaso Hotel Miyajima island japan

Traditional multi-course meals featuring local seafood can be served in your room or the dining room. And they have a karaoke room.

⇒ Read more Reviews on TripAdvisor ⇒ Book Now

Also on Miyajima Island is the lovely Kurayado Iroha . This boutique hotel features a stylish, minimalist Japanese design aesthetic with traditional tatami-mat flooring and flat-screen TVs. And there are indoor and outdoor baths with views over the Setonaikai Sea and Otorii Shrine gate.

Kurayado Hotel Hiroshima Japan

Kyoto (Days 8-9)

Book Kyoto’s Top Tourist Attractions

Getting from Hiroshima to Kyoto is easy as both their stations are connected by the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen train lines. The journey will only take 1 hour and 40 minutes, meaning you’ll still have time for activities throughout the day.

geishas in kyoto japan

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years, which is precisely why it’s a city steeped in history and tradition. You’ll see many temples in Kyoto that still serve as houses for hundreds of monks. You’ll notice them by their long flowing robes and quiet, content demeanor.

Kyoto is easy to explore by public transportation (trains, buses, taxis and subways) or at your own pace (by walking).

Day 8: Temples, Bridges and Bamboo

Kinkakuji Temple, or the Golden Pavilion, is considered one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks and is a UNESCO world heritage site .

You’ll want to get here at the opening time (9h00 – 17h00), as there are fewer crowds, and it’s more photogenic.

Kinkaku-ji golden temple kyoto japan

There are plenty of places to see on the temple grounds. As you walk through the terraces, you will find an abundance of statues, the beautiful Anmintaku Pond, and the Sekkatei Teahouse. Towards the exit, there is a small tea garden and some souvenir shops to explore. 

The Ryoanji Temple is a pleasant 20-minute walk from the Golden Pavilion. This temple is noted for having one of Japan’s most famous rock gardens, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups.

⇒ Interested in Nepal? Check out my posts on the Nepal tea house , a full Everest Base Camp packing list , an Everest Base Camp trek itinerary and a day by day Everest base camp trek blog And for post-trek the fantastic boutique hotel Dwarika Hotel Kathmandu , the Dhulikhel Resort and the best places to visit in Kathman du .

Ryoanji Zen Garden in Tokyo

The beautiful garden has an interesting design around a large pond and is lovely to see. A restaurant at the park specializes in Yudofu (boiled tofu) and is a must-try.

After admiring the gardens, take a 15-minute bus to Arashiyama, a district on the outskirts of Kyoto. This is one of the most popular neighborhoods, for a good reason. It has some incredible tourist attractions, from bamboo forests to temples. 

The Togetsukyo Bridge crosses the Katsura River and is an iconic landmark of the Arashiyama area. The road to the bridge is known as the Sagano shopping district and is home to many Kyoto highlights.

Kyoto, Japan - November 19 2013: Togetsu-kyo Bridge is a landmar

It’s lined with plenty of restaurants and tourist shops. It’s an ideal place to relax and stop for some lunch.

A  lovely restaurant just before you cross the bridge is Arashiyama Yoshimura . They serve divine tempura, soba noodles, and other delicious Japanese dishes.

Next up is Arashiyama Iwatayama Monkey Park. This park is on a mountain near the south of the Katsura River. It is home to 130 snow monkeys, also known as the Japanese macaque monkeys.

Arashiyama Iwatayama Monkey Park

The entrance to the park is located near the Togetsukyo bridge, marked as the Torii gates, where you can buy your tickets for 550 yen per person. It’s an enjoyable 30-minute uphill climb to the top, boasting stunning scenery.

Once you reach the summit, there are stalls where you can buy snacks such as bananas, peanuts and different fruits to feed the monkeys.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the most famous places in Kyoto and is a truly picturesque sight. It consists of a long stretch of bamboo forest that meanders behind the streets of Arashiyama.

Walking along the path aside from the river, you will join the trail toward the Jojakkoji Temple, your next stop.

End your day with one of the most authentic things to do in Kyoto. Appreciate the peaceful gardens at the Jojakkoji temple on a mountain slope.

japanese temple in kyoto

Why not experience the authentic art of tea drinking by participating in a tea ceremony  at the Jojakkoji temple? You can learn about the ancient ritual of tea drinking, and its significance to the Japanese culture, and sample different teas while you’re at it.

Day 9: Explore East Kyoto and Gion

Known as Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion is a Zen temple that dates back to 1490 and is celebrated for its beautiful gardens and incredible views.

Despite its name, Ginkauji is not covered in silver, though these were the original plans. But the plan was abandoned due to delays and the death of the patron Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

Ginkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto

The Silver Pavilion provides beautiful gardens and half a dozen other temple buildings. Though the main hall (Hondo) is not open to the public, visitors can enjoy walking along a circular path through the terraces savoring the peaceful scenery.

The walk is picturesque, and as you saunter along the canal, you will pass several temples, restaurants, and boutique stores. If you continue, the Nanzenji Temple is a 30-minute walk along this path.

The Philosopher’s Walk is a pedestrian walkway along Lake Biwa Canal. It’s lined with beautiful cherry blossom trees and is best seen during spring. It got its name from Japanese philosophers that stroll this walkway.

Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

Take a guided tour to learn about different sites in the area along the Philosopher’s Walk .

A great little stop along the Path of Philosophers is the Honen-in Temple. It’s a free temple to add to your Kyoto itinerary and a delightful sight to discover, hidden under a thick canopy of trees. 

Honen-in Temple traditional architecture in Kyoto, Japan

Gion is known today for its charming, historical atmosphere and represents an enormous part of Japanese culture. The narrow, stone-paved streets run alongside wooden homes and tea houses.

Gion is situated in the Higashiyama district and is one of the few remaining Geisha neighborhoods in Japan.

You probably won’t take any public transport for the day, as walking around is too much fun. There’s so much to see and do along the way.

geishas with umbrellas in kyoto

Although there are plenty of temples to visit and shops to explore, you’ll be quite satisfied by simply wandering around with nothing on your agenda.

The best time to spot geishas is around sunset as they enter wooden teahouses, known as okiya, for an evening of work. I suggest booking a guided tour to see the traditional geisha women and learn about the picturesque neighborhood.

Gion is particularly incredible to visit during the evening time. The red and yellow lanterns are lit as the sun sets, illuminating the streets.

After you see the elegant geishas, walk through Nishiki Market and the Teramachi Shopping Arcade.

Day 10: Take one of Kyoto’s popular day trips

Nara is one of Kyoto’s most popular day trips, and it’s easy to understand why. With your JR Pass , you can easily travel from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Station in as little as 45 minutes. Trains depart from the station every 30 minutes.

A buddhist monk and two deers in an autumn park

Many travelers fall in love with the charming wildlife and nature in Nara Park. Visitors come from around the world to see the deer roaming these parks. Probably because legend has it that these deer bow to passing people.

A second option combines a hike and a temple visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine.

This 5 km hiking loop will take you around an hour and a half to complete. But, feel free to stay in the park for as long as you, please. It starts at the Keihan Fushimi-Inari Station, so you won’t have a problem finding it.

exhibit in kyoto japan

The start of the hike requires some stair climbing, which isn’t too strenuous. Most of the walk occurs through the iconic Shinto shrine gates. Along the way, you’ll pass beautiful sub-shrines and see new views of Kyoto.

The hike can get pretty busy, so don’t expect it to be a peaceful walk out in nature. Rest assured; it’ll still be one of the best walks you do in Japan. Plan your walk for 6 am or 8 pm.

After your day trip, head back to Kyoto. Once in Kyoto, take the Tokaido Shinkansen line on the bullet train through to Tokyo.

Boutique hotels in Kyoto

The beautiful Junei Hotel in Kyoto looks to create comfort in its guests by echoing all of the senses. The interior design uses Kyotogami – an embossing technology using woodblocks.

the junei hotel kyoto japan

An excellent Japanese breakfast with multiple elements will be delivered to your room in the morning. But you may struggle to leave your bed! The mattresses at the Junei Hotel are manufactured by Serta, and the linen is made by Kyoto Nishikawa. A perfect Japanese boutique hotel!

villa sanjo muromachi

With only 12 rooms, this villa in Rakuchu, Kyoto, is a mix of tradition and innovation and has a “hideaway” feel to it. Each room at Villa Sanjo Muromachi has Kyo-Tara paper artboards with traditional patterns.

Frequently Asked Questions about Japan Itineraries

What are some popular destinations to include in a japan itinerary.

Some popular destinations to include in a Japan itinerary are Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nara, Mount Fuji, Hakone, and Sapporo.

How long should I plan to stay in Japan for my itinerary?

This depends on your travel goals and budget, but typically, a week to 10 days is enough time to see some of the major destinations, while two weeks or more allows for a more comprehensive trip.

What is the best time of year to visit Japan?

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are generally considered the best times to visit Japan, when the weather is mild and there are beautiful cherry blossoms and fall foliage to see. However, summer (June to August) and winter (December to February) also have their own charms and attractions.

How should I budget for my Japan trip?

Japan can be an expensive destination, but there are ways to save money. Budget for accommodations, transportation, food, and attractions, and research discounts and deals in advance.

What are some cultural customs and etiquette to be aware of in Japan?

In Japan, it is important to be respectful of cultural customs and etiquette, such as removing shoes before entering someone’s home, bowing as a sign of respect, and avoiding loud or disruptive behavior in public places. It is also important to be familiar with Japanese dining etiquette, such as using chopsticks correctly and saying “itadakimasu” before a meal.

Final Thoughts on the 10 Day Itinerary for Japan

This Japan itinerary 10 days highlighted the most spectacular parts of the country. All travelers may be interested in different things. But the atmosphere and sense of adventure in these traditional cities make them appealing to all kinds of people.

Kyoto, Japan - October 23 2014: Sanmon Gate at Nanzen-ji temple

Whether you’re traveling to Japan for the first time, or you’re an expert, this itinerary can boost your adventure. It makes for a unique experience of the country.

The Tokyo section of this blog was hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government – thank you. The balance of the research for this blog was paid for by me. JAL provided a very comfortable return flight and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government covered all of my costs in Tokyo eg meals, accommodation, transport etc. But as always my views are my own – and can I say I absolutely loved this trip.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, Japan

This 10 Day Japan Itinerary post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

IMG 2300 scaled

Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Like this post? Why Not Share It?

Thanks for Sharing!

logo transparent background

10 days in Japan: a unique itinerary for first-timers

If you’re looking for a 10 day Japan travel itinerary, you’ve come to the right place. We spent weeks and weeks reading about Japan, researching everything, weighing the pros and cons of visiting certain places, and crafting the perfect Japan 10 day itinerary. And you know what it means? You don’t have to – it’s all ready for you right here.

During your 10 days in Japan, you’ll see – and we saw – Hiroshima and Miyajima, Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo. And all of that while enjoying the lovely views from a Shinkansen!

The trip starts in Hiroshima and finishes in Tokyo. Based on your flights to and from Japan, or your other travel plans, you might need to add an extra day for travel arrangements or rest.  It can be travelled in the opposite direction and it also remains flexible so you can add or remove days at certain places based on your interests, schedule and budget.

Torii gates in the Fushimi Inari in Kyoto in japan, which you'll visit during the 10 days in Japan

Visiting Japan will give you a shock. An incredibly interesting, absolutely unique and most definitely a very positive cultural shock. Our itinerary takes you on a rollercoaster of amazing experiences that only Japan offers. It’s based on our trip so we know that you can enjoy it fully!

Now let’s have a look at how exactly Japan will win your heart during these 10 days. Below the itinerary, you’ll also find comprehensive information about accommodation, food, transportation, and budget. We also have a photo diary to complement this itinerary.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you purchase anything via them, we might earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. Check our affiliate disclaimer for more information.

Our 10 day Japan itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrival to Tokyo and positioning to Hiroshima
  • Day 2 – Enjoying Hiroshima and Miyajima
  • Day 3 – Positioning to Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera temple
  • Day 4 – Kyoto
  • Day 5 – Kyoto
  • Day 6 – Positioning to Hakone
  • Day 7 – Hakone Loop
  • Day 8 – Positioning to Tokyo
  • Day 9 – Enjoying Tokyo
  • Day 10 – Enjoying Tokyo and departure from Japan

Day 1 – Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun for your 10 day trip to Japan!

sunset on lake ashi japan hakone - you'd see it on day 7 of the japan 10 day itinerary

Tired, but happy – that’s my usual feeling after a long-haul redeye flight, arriving in a new place. Japan is a really exciting destination, so let’s get the passport stamped, exchange your JR Railpass for train tickets, and perhaps experience your first earthquake already at the airport (we did!)

After getting your JR Pass , hop on the futuristic Shinkansen to get to Hiroshima where your 10 day Japan trip starts.

Day 2 – Dreamy Miyajima and Surprising Hiroshima

View of floating torii gate of Itskukushima shrine against a dark sky.

Japan is a land of contrasts, and the beginning of our 10 day Japan itinerary will be no exception to this.

how to dress in Japan - people in miyajima

Start your day with a half-day trip from Hiroshima to the beautiful small island of Miyajima , situated in Hiroshima Bay. There’s so much beauty concentrated on this tiny romantic islet, waiting to be explored on feet.

Check out the Itsukushima Shrine and the Floating Torii gate . Explore the Daisho-In temple with the 500 Buddhist statues among other exciting things. Take a selfie with a deer (just watch out so that they don’t eat your passport!) And just enjoy the picturesque streets of the romantic town.

Enjoy a delicious matcha ice cream before heading back to Hiroshima in the afternoon.

To get to Miyajima from Hiroshima, take a train from Hiroshima station to Miyajimaguchi (JR Sanyo Line) departing from track 1 at Hiroshima station. At Miyajimaguchi change for a short 10-minute ferry ride to Miyajima Island. There are JR ferries as well as ferries operated by private companies. You can use your JR Pass for the JR ferry. The romantic tiny islet of Miyajima is perfect for exploring on foot.

View of the lit Atomic Dome in Hiroshima at night.

Witness to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humankind, today’s Hiroshima is a modern metropolis with a friendly and pleasant atmosphere. While the solemnity of the Peace Memorial Park and Museum and the frightening skeleton of the Atomic Bomb Dome will be in sharp contrast to the romance of Miyajima, this place doesn’t want you to leave depressed. Rather the opposite – learn from past mistakes, do not blame, do not seek vengeance and stay optimistic for a better future without nuclear weapons.

With this legacy in mind, visiting Hiroshima has an important place in our Japan itinerary.

You can get back to Hiroshima the same way you got to Miyajima – by using the JR Sanyo Line from Miyajimaguchi station to Hiroshima station. Alternatively, you can use tram number 2 running from the ferry stations to the centre of Hiroshima. It’s a bit slower than taking the train and as the Japan Rail Pass is not valid for the tram, you’d need the ticket (to be bought from the machine at the station). The advantage of taking the tram is that it brings you right to the centre where the Atomic Dome and Peace Memorial Park are. While today’s Hiroshima is a modern city with a population of more than a million, its centre is rather compact and pedestrian-friendly. It is about half an hour’s walk between the railway station and the Atomic Dome (and Peace Memorial Park and museum – they are all pretty much at the same place). Should you still wish to use the trams, you can check the website of Hiroshima Electric Railway for routes, schedules, and fares.

atomic dome in Hiroshima

Accommodation: see the best places to stay in Hiroshima and Miyajima

Our tip:  Based on your preferences, you may swap the morning and afternoon programmes for this day. Spend the morning in Hiroshima and then head to Miyajima in the afternoon and spend the night in a ryokan on this beautiful island. While Miyajima sees a lot of daytime visitors, it is mostly a calm place in the evening – perfect for savouring its beauty, enjoying the view of the setting sun behind the torii gate of Itsukushima and getting pampered in a ryokan with some fine Japanese dining.

Day 3 – arriving in Kyoto and the Southern Higashiyama district

Kyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto

On day 3 of this Japan 10 day itinerary it’s time to move to undoubtedly the most beautiful Japanese city – Kyoto. It’s about a two-hour ride from Hiroshima on the supermodern Shinkansen, arriving in Kyoto at around lunchtime.

Enjoy the afternoon with Kyoto’s best – the southern Higashiyama district , which is best explored by walking.

First, spend some time enjoying the amazing Kiyomizu-dera temple , and afterwards just walk at a leisurely pace through the picturesque old streets where you’ll feel like in ancient Japan and discover for yourself all the gems this place offers – numerous temples, cosy teashops, and romantic streets. To top it off, watch a beautiful sunset with a photogenic Yasaka Pagoda in the background.

Getting to Kyoto – the journey from Hiroshima to Kyoto lasts about two hours. It might be necessary to change trains at Shin-Kobe. Once again, hyperdia.com is your friend for the exact schedule and transfer information.


We recommend staying close to the Kyoto station. But make sure to check out some other places to stay in Kyoto to find your favourite.

Day 4 – Kyoto with temples, Higashiyama district, and Philosopher’s Path

two people in front of kinkakuji golden temple in kyoto, japan

Kyoto is full of Unesco World Heritage sites. With more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, as well as gardens, parks, markets, and tempting culinary delights, these two full days in Kyoto will be as busy as they’ll be splendid.

Ryoan ji stone garden in Kyoto

On the morning of day 4, you’ll be visiting Kinkaku-ji or the Golden Pavilion and Ryoan-ji with its mysterious rock garden with 15 scattered rocks and no plants.

Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto

For the afternoon, make your way to the northern Higashiyama district. Ginkaku-ji or Silver Pavilion with its stupendous garden is waiting to be explored. From there, follow the Philosopher’s Path winding its way southwards, discovering the various gems for yourself such as Honen-in Temple and finishing in the famous Gion at around sunset.

Will you be lucky to spot a geisha in this traditional district?     

Day 5 – Kyoto with Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama bamboo grove, and Monkey park

Entrance to the Fushimi inari Shrine in Kyoto

Start day 5 of your 10 days in Japan at another unique place – Fushimi Inari Shrine. Spend your morning walking through the thousands of vermilion torii gates – one of the most iconic sights not only in Kyoto but in the whole of Japan.

a couple taking a selfie between the Torii gates at the Fushimi Inari shrine

Walking through the vermilion gates of Fushimi Inari shrine is almost a fairy-tale-like experience.

After lunch, head to the Arashiyama district where the Arashiyama bamboo grove is.

Arashiyama bamboo forest in Kyoto

Visit the awe-inspiring Tenryuji temple , enjoy a relaxing walk through the mystical Arashiyama bamboo forest and get amused by the utterly photogenic and slightly cheeky macaques in the Monkey Park , which also offers a superb vista of Kyoto.

Arashiyama monkey park with a monkey in front and Kyoto in the background

If you still have some time to spare, perhaps hop on the Sagano Scenic Railway for a 25-minute sightseeing trip along the picturesque Hozugawa River valley, taking a cruise back to Arashiyama in the traditional Edo-era boat.  

Getting around Kyoto

During your stay in Kyoto, we recommend using Kyoto city buses and possibly the metro (subway) to get to the places suggested in our itinerary. We also recommend using local JR trains to get to Arashiyama and Fushimi-Inari (convenient, as you have the JR pass). We recommend getting a day pass for the public transport in Kyoto – it will not save you money per se if you follow this itinerary, but it’s still a more convenient option as you don’t have to buy tickets all the time with exact change and the price difference is after all rather negligible. The website of Kyoto city buses and subway has valuable information including route maps, types of tickets, how to use the day passes, and more.

Day 6 – Shinkansen to greet the majestic Fuji and the ryokan in Hakone area

view of mount Fuji above the clouds

It’s time to leave the beauty of Kyoto behind and head for the beauty of Japanese nature, to the national park Fuji-Hakone-Izu.

This is the most relaxing part of our 10 day Japan itinerary, and also our favourite part of it. So hop on the Shinkansen again and head to Odawara. Change there for the local transportation to a place of your choice – we recommend staying in Gora or Moto Hakone.

Will you catch your first glimpse of the majestic Fuji already from the Shinkansen?

This is also a time when we recommend splurging – a stay in a great ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with cosy onsen (hot springs) and serving exquisite kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) is definitely an unmissable part of the experience.

Couple having a kaiseki dinner in a ryokan

For the rest of the day, we recommend just relaxing and indulging yourself in the uttermost comfort of the ryokan. Unwind in the ryokan’s onsen before heading for the mouth-watering experience of a kaiseki dinner.

Take the Tokaido Shinkansen line from Kyoto to Odawara (the train continues to Tokyo). This is the busiest Shinkansen line in Japan with departures up to every three minutes during the peak times! The journey to Odawara lasts about 2 hours. Once you’ve got your 3-day Hakone Freepass or a 3-day Fuji-Hakone Pass, hop on the local scenic Hakone Tozan train for a short trip to Hakone-Yumoto. From Hakone-Yumoto, proceed to your accommodation (either by Hakone Tozan train towards Gora or Hakone Tozan bus towards Motohakone). The whole trip from Kyoto to your chosen place in the Hakone area will take up to 4 hours.

Check out the list of the best ryokans in Hakone that have private onsen

Day 7 – Hakone loop, Ryokan, and Onsen

View of historical cruise-boats on Lake Ashi in Fuji-Hakone national park.

Today is the day to fully enjoy the beauty of the Hakone area, even if it is in winter .

We suggest making a one-way circle trip using the local means of transport: a cable car, a ropeway, a boat, a bus, and a train. Take a cruise on a historic pirate boat on the beautiful Lake Ashi with the majestic Mt. Fuji in the background. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake to the Hakone Shrine with its picturesque torii gate at the shore of the lake.

Will you be lucky to spot a traditional Japanese wedding at this shrine? We were.

Owakudani steam vents japan hakone

Admire the steaming Owakudani crater right beneath you from Hakone Ropeway.

For an absolutely unique snack, try a black egg at Owakudani. These eggs are boiled in the local sulfurous water, which colours the shell black.

Did you know the legend has it that one such black egg will add seven years to your life? 😊

In the evening, enjoy the stay in your Ryokan – go soak in an onsen, have a kaiseki dinner, and get some peaceful rest on the futon bed. Tokyo is waiting for you tomorrow, and it’s gonna be busy!

Check our Hakone loop itinerary for the full information

Day 8 – The quintessential postcard view of Japan and positioning to Tokyo

fuji from a train station in hakone japan

The stay in your ryokan is so amazing and relaxing and pampering that you don’t feel like leaving? We know it – that’s exactly how we felt. So, enjoy it as much as you can before moving on to the last stop on our 10 day Japan itinerary – Tokyo.

You may either opt for a straight journey to Tokyo via Odawara, or a more interesting one, although a bit more complicated one as well, via Kawaguchiko, located on the northern side of Mt. Fuji.

Here you would find one of the quintessential Japanese postcard views – Chureito Pagoda with Her Majesty Mt. Fuji in the background. A view that is hard not to fall in love with. So enjoy the magnificent view and take a few pictures before hopping on the train to Tokyo.  

At any time during the day, depending on your program, can go to Tokyo by train from Hakone-Yumoto (about a 1.5-hour trip by Odakyu-operated Hakone Express to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo). Or you may consider taking a bus to Kawaguchiko, visiting the splendid Chureito Pagoda on this day, before continuing by train from Kawaguchiko to Tokyo.

Accommodation in Tokyo:

Choose from the list of the best places to stay in Tokyo ; as with Kyoto, though, we recommend staying close to the Tokyo station or in Ginza

Day 9 – Contrasts of Tokyo – Tsukiji fish market, Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya

A man cutting Tuna in Tsukiji market in Tokyo

By the time you’ll have arrived in Tokyo, you’ll have noticed that Japan is a land full of contrasts. And guess what – Tokyo will still surprise you with how much this holds true.

Hip and trendy, traditional and down-to-earth, busy and loud and yet peaceful and calm… no matter what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance Tokyo has it.

On the first day in Tokyo , the next to the last day of this 10 day trip to Japan, you’ll be visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market (most of which is now moved to Toyosu fish market). With many restaurants and small shops, this is a fun place to walk around and savour the fishy experiences.

Odaiba island in Tokyo

After enjoying the fish, take an automatic elevated train to the nearby Odaiba – a futuristic part of Tokyo built on a man-made island.

In the afternoon, move on to the Shinjuku – think skyscrapers, the world’s busiest railway station and plenty of shopping and entertainment options.

And as we promised some contrast, nearby is a vast Yoyogi park with a splendid Meiji Jingu shrine.

View of people with umbrellas at Shibuya crossing on a rainy day.

From there, head on to Shibuya , which is another modern district packed with shopping, entertainment and flashing neon lights.

Up to 3000 people cross Shibuya crossing at a time, making it the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. Grab a coffee and watch this self-made street theatre from Starbucks’ second-floor seating area.

statue of hachiko in tokyo

Shibuya also has a famous bronze statue of Hachiko, a loyal dog who would come here every day to meet his master.

Related: where to stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is huge. We recommend using Tokyo’s efficient subway services for travelling between various neighbourhoods and then exploring them on foot.

Here are the best places to stay in Tokyo .

Day 10 – Contrasts of Tokyo continued – Akihabara, Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree

A street in Akihabara district in Tokyo

More of Tokyo’s highlights are waiting for you on the last day of our wonderful 10 days in Japan.

Start the day in the Akihabara district – the centre for gaming, manga and anime culture (comics and animated stories) and also a place full of electronics stores.

Having checked out the gaming arcades and the excitement of the Japanese getting the latest rice steamer, make your way to a more down-to-earth district, Asakusa, with its beautiful Senso-ji Temple.

Asakusa has an atmosphere of the old Tokyo and is in quite a contrast to Akihabara. Well, by this time, the contrasts will feel like a completely natural part of our 10 day Japan itinerary.

Tokyo skyline

To finish your splendid journey through Japan, have a look at Tokyo from a bird’s eye’s perspective. Tokyo Skytree is the tallest building in Japan and it’s more than worth taking the elevators that whizz you up within seconds to the observation gallery located at 450 meters above the ground.

Whichever direction you look, there’s Tokyo around you. With one exception – on clear days, the majestic Mount Fuji is visible on the western horizon.

Altogether, it’s a really impressive vista and we recommend enjoying it during sunset and twilight, as the city will be gradually turning on its millions and millions of lights.

We recommend occupying the place with the best view a good minute before the sun sets – the place gets full.

It’s time for the last dinner in Japan. So how about the fugu? We went for okonomiyaki, though. 😊

Tips for planning your Japan itinerary

a buddhist temple in kyoto

Whether you decide to follow our Japan 10 day itinerary by the letter or plan your own trip, these tips will definitely be helpful!

If you’re looking for some more information on Japan, check out our Japan for beginners guide which is full of additional information!

Are 10 days in Japan enough?

As you can see from this itinerary – and our Japan in November travel diary – travelling around Japan in 10 days gives you a very good feel of the land of the Rising Sun. If you can swing some more days to, say, visit Osaka or the Tokyo Disney, or maybe some day trips from Kyoto, I’d definitely recommend extending your trip.

Other places to consider visiting in Japan

  • Hitachi Seaside Park
  • Snow Monkies at Jikokudani, Nagano

When is the best time to visit Japan?

Kyomizy dera temple in Kyoto in autumn folliage

Beautiful autumn foliage looks great in Kyoto and, yes, it attracts a lot of visitors. Spring and autumn are the most popular times to visit Japan.

Spring (March to May, the Cherry blossom time) and autumn (October and November, the autumn foliage time) are the best times to enjoy our 10 day Japan itinerary. The weather is pleasant with mostly sunny skies, the temperatures are ideal for sightseeing – neither too hot nor too cold, and those trees – mamma mia, they look amazing.

Summer (June to early September) tends to be rather hot and humid and possibly rainy.

Winter is a rather calm time with colder temperatures (still above freezing, though) and fewer crowds – not a bad time to visit if you don’t mind the shorter daylight.

If viewing cherry blossoms and autumn foliage in Japan are on your bucket list, the best times are usually late March to early April and the second half of November, respectively.

The Japanese love to take walks and admire enthusiastically the beautiful colors of the trees in spring and autumn. You definitely won’t be alone in the streets and parks of Kyoto if you visit during these times, but hey, those blooming sakura and red and crimson maple leaves do look wonderful.

How to get to Japan?

flying away from japan

If you’d like to follow our 10 days in Japan itinerary, it would be ideal to arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo , however flying to and from the same airport is usually cheaper, and it’s completely fine to use the same airport for both arrival and departure – either Osaka or Tokyo.

Osaka and Tokyo are less than 3 hours apart by frequent Shinkansen services, so a transfer between the two cities is not a big deal – in fact, a journey by Shinkansen is an interesting and pleasant travel experience.

Both Osaka and Tokyo are among the busiest international airports in Japan with plenty of flights from Europe, the USA and Canada as well as Asia, obviously.

Tokyo has two airports – while most of the international flights arrive at Narita airport, some arrive to Haneda airport.

Hiroshima airport, while being the most convenient, as our itinerary starts in Hiroshima, has limited domestic flights and services to certain major Asian destinations. It might be an interesting option to consider if you’re arriving from one of these.

Visitors from most European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as some other countries, do not need visas. For an up-to-date list, consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan .

Getting around in Japan – Japan Rail Pass

Michal pointing at shinkansen in Osaka station Japan

The futuristic Shinkansen bullet train will carry you safely and efficiently across the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan Rail Pass allows the cheapest travel around during your 10 days in Japan.

It is the most cost-effective solution for long-distance rail travel in Japan, meant only for foreign tourists to the country. It allows unlimited travel on all JR-operated trains, including – for an extra fee – the fastest category of Shinkansen called Nozomi and Mizuho.

The Japan Rail Pass is definitely a great value for this 10-day itinerary, as you’ll be using several long-distance trips on the Shinkansen during the trip.

The pass comes in two types: ordinary and green car (equivalent to second class and first class) and 7, 14 or 21-day validity. If you stick to our 10 day Japan itinerary, we recommend getting a 7-day pass and using it on days 1 through 7 and then getting an extra ticket on day 8 to travel from the Fuji Hakone area to Tokyo and possibly on the last day to Tokyo airport, as it will be the most cost-efficient solution.

However, if you plan on staying longer at certain places, perhaps making some side or day trips from Kyoto or Tokyo, then a 14-day pass might be a cheaper alternative.

Accommodation in Japan

Young lady in traditional ryokan room in Japan.

Staying in a ryokan is a quintessential Japanese experience – in fact, one of our favourite ones!

Please note that many hotels offer a choice of smoking and non-smoking rooms, so make sure to book the right option for you. Also, it is advisable to book early enough. By early enough we mean several months in advance for the popular locations such as Miyajima and Hakone, especially if traveling during peak season – typically spring and autumn.

Japan offers plenty of accommodation options to suit every taste and every budget, from unique capsule hotels to luxurious ryokans . Rooms furnished in both western-style and Japanese style are available.

During our 10 day Japan itinerary, you’ll be overnighting in 4 different places: Hiroshima (or Miyajima island, if you prefer), Kyoto, Hakone area (Gora village is recommended) and Tokyo.

Let’s have a look at the accommodation required for our 10 day Japan itinerary.

  • Hiroshima – we recommend a hotel in the centre – somewhere between the railway station and Peace Memorial Park, as this is the most convenient location – easy to walk to the main places of interest. Here are our recommendations .
  • Miyajima – this is an alternative to Hiroshima – pricier but allows you to enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the island after the day’s crowds are gone. Not too many accommodation options, so an early booking is advisable. Here are some hotels – and ryokans! – in Miyajima .
  • Kyoto – the area around Kyoto station, downtown Kyoto (the area north of the railway station alongside the metro line towards Gojo and Shijo stations) as well as southern Higashiyama are all perfect places for accommodation, with plenty of places to eat and convenient to get to various places of interest. Kyoto offers a range of hotels, from luxury to standard business hotels, as well as ryokans. I’ve listed the best places where to stay in Kyoto right here .
  • Hakone – this mountainous area has not only an abundance of natural beauty but is very rich in hot springs as well. This makes Hakone a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing stay in onsen ryokan – a traditional inn with hot baths. There are several small resort towns, we would recommend Gora, Motohakone or Hakone-Yumoto. There are many great ryokans in the Hakone area. Usually, they are expensive, but the experience will be unforgettable.
  • Tokyo – the best places where to stay are Shinjuku, Shibuya, the area around the Tokyo Station (including Ginza) and Roppongi. All of these offer plenty of options for dining, shopping and entertainment and all except Roppongi are also important transport hubs. The choice of hotels is huge, from budget to middle class to luxury. Real estate is damn expensive in Tokyo, and this means many hotel rooms, especially in the budget and middle-class hotels, are rather small. Read more on where to stay in Tokyo.

Hotels will probably be the obvious choice for Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto. However, we definitely do recommend staying at least once in a ryokan, preferably in the Hakone area or Miyajima. Why? Read our post about ryokan and onsen !

How much does 10 days in Japan cost?

lunch in a restaurant in Kyoto station

Great news here! Japan is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the developed part of the world.

Surprised to hear that? Well, it’s true!

Lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant for 11EUR/USD? It’s possible in Japan! While a stay in a good ryokan won’t exactly be a cheap thrill, there are generally plenty of options for every budget in accommodation and food.


where to stay in Hiroshima view from en hotel

A middle-class business-style hotel will work out to about 55 EUR/USD per person per night, breakfast included. Prices vary during the year, as well as during the week – the most expensive being weekends during popular times of year – such as cherry blossom season.

On the cheapest end, there are dorm rooms available at around 20 EUR/USD per person per night.

On the luxury end of the scale, a stay in a fabulous ryokan with heavenly meals (dinner and breakfast included) will set you off around 250 EUR/USD or even more per person per night.

If your budget allows, we definitely recommend staying a night or two in a great ryokan, as this is one of the best experiences Japan offers .

yakiniku - a type of barbecue in japan

Just like with accommodation, there are plenty of options available on both ends of the price scale, and everything in between those ends as well.

The great thing is, even with cheap “street food”, the quality of the ingredients will be high.

Many high-end restaurants offer a great value lunch menu, much cheaper than dinner.

A bowl of ramen will come cheap at around 10 EUR/USD while a delicate Kobe beef steak might make your wallet 220 EUR/USD lighter. And obviously, there are heaps of options in between these prices (you might be happy to hear that plenty of them are much closer to the cheap end 😊).

arriving on a sightseeing cruise lake ashi japan hakone

While the JR Railpass is the most expensive item in the transport expenses, it still is the cheapest option for our 10 day Japan itinerary. We definitely recommend getting it, as it will save you money on your rail transport.

7-day pass costs around 220 EUR/USD. 3-day Fuji-Hakone pass will set you off around 70 EUR/USD.

The public transport in Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo is cheap and efficient – you can expect to spend no more than 35 EUR/USD per person on these.

Should you wish to use taxis, a typical ride in Kyoto will be around 600 yen (4.50 EUR/USD) for the first 2 kilometres and then an additional 80 yen (0.60 USD/EUR) every 415 meters, while Tokyo taxis are more expensive.

We don’t recommend taking a taxi from the airport (Tokyo Narita or Osaka Kansai) – this would be unnecessarily expensive as the trains are super-efficient and much cheaper.

Other costs

Temples typically have a small admission fee, around 3 – 5 EUR/USD. Cash is needed.

What to pack to Japan?

relaxation area in a ryokan in japan with chairs, table, and waters, tatami mat floor and futon beds visible as well - nice way to spend a few days during your 10 days in Japan

Obviously, the things you need to take to Japan depend on where you’ll be staying, when you’ll be going, how much you care about insta pictures and many other things.

Some of the things you should take, which are included in your Japan all-seasons packing guide :

  • Clothes – comfortable clothes for sightseeing. Dressing in layers might be necessary, as during spring and autumn the days tend to be warm while evenings might be cool. It’s a great idea to have some extra clothes packed – when we visited in November, Kyoto welcomed us with sunny 20 degrees (68 F) while Hakone had some fresh snow two days later! Don’t forget comfortable shoes for walking in the cities.
  • Camera and other photography gear that you use.
  • Adaptors might be needed for sockets, depending on your home country.
  • Cash – Japan used to be pretty much a cash society, but is slowly changing, with an increasing number of hotels and restaurants accepting major credit cards. Cash is still needed, though, as some restaurants and hotels might not accept credit cards, and it will also be needed in public transport and when visiting temples and shrines.

Where to get Japanese yen? You can exchange at currency exchange either at home or after arrival in Japan (which one yields a better rate – that depends on your home currency and place of residency). You can also get cash at ATM at post offices and 7-Eleven convenience stores (these accept foreign credit cards). Many banks, such as Revolut , even let you withdraw money abroad without fees.

Where to eat and what to eat in Japan?

eating sushi in tokyo japan with a sushi chef right there

Food alone is an excellent reason to visit Japan, even if you’re not a foodie. And if you are a foodie, then even more so.

Did you know Tokyo has the biggest number of Michelin-starred restaurants from all the cities in the world? And did you know in some of these Michelin-starred restaurants, you can enjoy your meal for around 11 EUR/USD? Sounds incredible? That’s how Japan is. 😊

Japanese cuisine is diverse and refined. All those mouth-watering teppanyaki, sukiyaki, okonomiyaki and other yaki and all the delicious ramen and udon and soba and other noodle delicacies and all the amazing sushi and sashimi – there’s simply something for everybody’s taste.

The quality of ingredients is very high and the Japanese attention to detail and good taste are visible on the plate as well.

Most of the restaurants specialize in one type of meal, such as sushi, ramen or okonomiyaki. Not many restaurants offer English menus, however, most of the restaurants have pictures of all the meals or even plastic models, making choosing and ordering your food relatively easy.

The price range is huge – you can have a tasty bento lunch box or ramen for 8EUR/USD or an excellent Kobe beef steak for more than a hundred dollars. Many of the top-end (and expensive) restaurants offer excellent value lunches.

Most famous Japanese food that you definitely need to try in Japan

Here’s our selection of recommended restaurants for our 10 day Japan itinerary:

  • Hiroshima – okonomiyaki are extremely popular and taste damn good here. Try them in Nagataya next to the Atomic Dome or Hassei on Peace Blvd.
  • Miyajima – oysters and conger eel rock here. Enjoy them in Yakigaki No Hayashi on Miyajima’s main shopping street.
  • Kyoto – an excellent place to try just about anything from Japanese cuisine. Kaiseki – Japanese haute cuisine – is expensive but amazing in Kyoto. Tofu – if it’s your thing – is also particularly popular in Kyoto. Check the restaurants worth trying out, sorted according to their speciality, in our Kyoto 2 day itinerary !
  • Hakone – enjoy your kaiseki experience in your ryokan. For lunch, we recommend Gora Brewery and Grill, if you’re in Gora for lunchtime. If you’re doing the circuit around the area, Hakone Bakery & Table in Motohakone is a nice place for a quick lunch, offering various pastries and sandwiches as well as superb views of Lake Ashi.
  • Tokyo – with sushi and ramen being particularly popular, Tokyo is a great place to try just about anything from Japanese cuisine (and non-Japanese as well, if you wish so). Perhaps you’ll be surprised to hear Tokyo has a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants where a delicious meal sets you off a mere ten bucks! No kidding! Check out the restaurant selection, sorted according to the type of food they serve, in our full Tokyo 2 day itinerary !

How to get online in Japan?

taking a selfie while Michal is making pictures in Kyoto Japan

Whether you need to check a map or search for a restaurant, staying connected is convenient during travelling. There are, generally speaking, three options of how to get all the zeros and ones to your smartphone or tablet: wifi, wifi router or a data SIM card.

Wifi – most business-style hotels offer free wifi. You may also benefit from hundreds of thousands of free wifi spots throughout the country. Japan connected-Free Wifi and Travel Japan Wi-fi are among the largest providers. Both require an initial registration for free.

Data sim card – you may get a data-only SIM card that is valid from 8 to 31 days from Japan experience , for example, and get it delivered to your home before your trip. Please note this option requires an unlocked device. It’s only for data, not normal calls or SMS, but you can make calls on apps such as WhatsApp.

Pocket wifi (mobile router) – a convenient option that allows you to connect more devices. The mobile router is rented from a provider for a certain amount of days and then returned, a pick-up and return at the airport or the hotel is possible. Good options include booking from Japan Experience or Ninja WiFi .

Health and safety precautions

No special health precautions are necessary. Japan is one of the safest countries in the whole world, with low crime rates. Having said this, using some common sense is always a great idea 😊

A special hazard in Japan might come in the form of earthquakes and tsunamis (although it’s rare that earthquakes come on a life-threatening scale). Nevertheless, high-tech Japan is (usually) well prepared for these, and you can be, too – just download the NHK World TV app (Japanese news portal in English) where you’d receive notifications about any such hazards.

As always when travelling, we recommend taking out travel insurance .

In conclusion for this 10 day trip in Japan…

Have you already visited Japan? What was your favourite experience there? If you’re just planning your trip, what are you looking forward to the most? 😊

Liked this post? Share it!

Japan 10 day itinerary | Looking for ways to spend 10 days in Japan? Here you have it - 10 day Japan full travel guide! | kyoto | tokyo | hiroshima | hakone | miyajima | what to pack to japan | fuji

Photographer & Local Expert

Michal Nizky is a guest author of Wanderlust Designers. He's visited over 300 places in 60 countries and is an expert on planning trips, all while working a full-time job. He knows he can teach others all about planning and travelling while still working full-time.

Similar Posts

Ultimate Patagonia 10 day itinerary that will knock your socks off

Ultimate Patagonia 10 day itinerary that will knock your socks off

Jagged mountains, howling wind and the raw beauty of nature – that is Patagonia. This amazing part of the South American continent is one of the most scarcely populated, one of the windiest, and easily one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Our Patagonia 10 day itinerary takes you through the most exciting…

Chopstick etiquette in Japan for beginners

Chopstick etiquette in Japan for beginners

Heading to Japan? Well, there’s something super important you should know before you dive into the amazing food there: how to use chopsticks properly. It’s not just about not looking awkward at the dinner table; it’s actually a big deal of chopstick etiquette in Japan. In this guide, I’m going to share some essential of…

Japan bucket list: 7 unique and unforgettable experiences in Japan

Japan bucket list: 7 unique and unforgettable experiences in Japan

Getting dizzy with all the experiences that you could add to your Japan bucket list? I agree! Japan is all about amazing. There are many unique and unforgettable experiences in Japan to do. With this Japan Bucket list, we believe, that we can provide 100% satisfaction even to the most seasoned travellers. Beauty, tranquillity and…

Packing for Japan: what you need to know and pack

Packing for Japan: what you need to know and pack

Exciting! You’re creating your packing list for Japan! I’m excited for you, honestly – I’d like to visit Japan again. And then again. I just fell in love with the country – and the food, a lot. There’s so much we didn’t get to try! Japan is quite a special place to go to. It’s…

Rail travel in Japan: Everything you need to know about trains and the JR Pass

Rail travel in Japan: Everything you need to know about trains and the JR Pass

There are many ways of getting around in Japan. Its road and public transport networks, and even airports, are quite easy to access and understand. Some of the ways are faster, some are slower, some are more expensive, and some are cheaper. The best, though, in our opinion, is train – that’s how we were…

Where to eat in Kyoto: 13 Best places to eat in Kyoto

Where to eat in Kyoto: 13 Best places to eat in Kyoto

Kyoto is famous for its mix of traditional and modern flavours, offering a wide range of eating experiences that capture the spirit of Japanese cuisine. This guide shows you where to eat in Kyoto, and introduces the 13 best places to eat in Kyoto. Whether you are looking for a luxurious meal or a quick…

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .


A Beautiful 10 Days in Japan Itinerary | Tokyo, Kyoto, & More!

By: Author Charles

Posted on February 2, 2023

A Beautiful 10 Days in Japan Itinerary | Tokyo, Kyoto, & More!

Japan is one of those countries where it is just so hard to pick and choose where to visit during a trip. There are so many charming cities and beautiful natural landscapes all throughout the country. Having 10 days in Japan though is a perfect amount of time to get a taste of what it is all about.

This 10 days in Japan itinerary will take you through some of the top highlights all around the country. Just some of the places in this itinerary include Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara & Hiroshima. These cities will have plenty to visit as you enjoy some of their best attractions.

Read on to learn how to put together the best 10 day Japan itinerary for your next trip, and help answer any questions you may have along the way.

*  Affiliate Disclosure : This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links provided, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work I put into TripTins!

10 Days in Japan Overview

While there are many different cities all around the country, having just 10 days will make you choose certain places to visit. When putting this itinerary together there were a couple main considerations I had in mind.

First, I wanted to pick & choose places that would make sense logistically. With 10 days you don’t want to spend too much time traveling between cities. Rather you want to spend your time actually enjoying where you are.

Going off of that point, the second consideration was to have just a couple of places where you will actually stay overnight. This allows you to have that home base and then take day trips from there . So, instead of wasting time packing and unpacking, you can use your time to visit the top highlights.

With those considerations in mind, the overall 10 days in Japan looks something like this:

Day 1) Tokyo Day 2) Tokyo Day 3) Tokyo Day 4) Kamakura Day Trip Day 5) Hakone Day Trip Day 6) Kyoto Day 7) Kyoto Day 8) Kyoto Day 9) Hiroshima / Miyajima Day Trip Day 10) Nara Day Trip

While you will see several different cities listed out throughout the 10 days, in reality you will only need to book hotels for two places – Tokyo (nights 1-4) & Kyoto (nights 5-9 or 10). Everything else will be visited as day trips essentially.

I also wanted to list out some helpful tips to know about Japan and this itinerary in particular:

» Assume that day 1 and day 10 are full days . That means you should plan to arrive the night before or early on day 1 and head out later on day 10 or sometime on day 11.

» You can go about the trip in a few different ways – either starting and ending in Tokyo, starting and ending in Osaka, or starting in one of the two and ending in the other. I will go about the itinerary as if you would be flying into and out of Tokyo as that is one of the more popular options out there.

Is 10 Days in Japan Enough?

To be honest, no matter how long you have it will never be enough to fully to a country like Japan. However, I do feel like 10 days is a perfect amount of time to see some of the top highlights and cities along the way.

This itinerary in particular will have you bouncing between cities & nature, giving you a wholistic view of what this amazing country has to offer. 

If you enjoy your time in Japan your first time around, there will still be plenty more to see for a second trip to the country. But for now, try and enjoy what 10 days in Japan can offer.

Tokyo Itinerary

How to Get Around Japan

No matter what type of trip you take to Japan, odds are you will be taking a lot of public transport throughout. Luckily, Japan is one of, if not the most well connected public transport countries in the world.

So, whether you need to travel between cities, or you need to travel within cities, the train/busses/subways (and more) will have you covered.

First let’s talk through the JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass). The JR Pass is essentially a one time purchase, which can then be used for a multitude of transport throughout the country. The idea here is that you can save a lot of money by purchasing a single pass vs. purchasing individual tickets for each leg of your journey.

Japan is super connected by high speed bullet trains and you will be utilizing them (and other trains) during your time in the country. For this trip in particular, it is most useful to purchase a 14 Day JR Pass before heading out to Japan . There are 7 day and 21 day JR Passes available as well.

Essentially a JR Pass gives you unlimited travel travel on JR specific trains, subways and busses in Japan. The JR Pass can be used on many of the more expensive routes in the country and will save you some money along the way.

The best way to go about purchasing a JR Pass, is to do so prior to heading out to Japan. You can order one online, and then exchange your voucher for a JR Pass once you arrive in Japan.

It should be noted though that not all trains are included with the JR Pass , especially when dealing with travel within cities. I will talk about that more in the next few bullet points.

JR Rail Pass Japan

Japan Train Tips & Things to Know

When looking at train schedules to travel between cities during your 10 days in Japan, head on over to Hyperdia , the Japan train website . This site will give you a whole array of schedules and options for traveling on Japan’s public transport network.

Searching for Routes Between Cities

On the left hand side of the page you can browse different route options by day and time.

If you decide to get a JR Pass, you will want to uncheck the “NOZOMI / MIZUHO / HAYABUSA (SHINKANSEN)” and “Private Railway” boxes under the “More options” section. These trains ARE NOT covered with the JR Pass.

If you do not purchase a JR Pass, then feel free to keep these boxes checked.

Searching for Routes Within Cities

When looking at train schedules to travel within cities, it may be difficult to stick to JR specific routes (if you have the JR Pass) as many subways, busses, etc, are run by private railway companies.

So when looking for intra city routes on Hyperdia, I would advise not to uncheck the “Private Railway” box as that would vastly limit your options (although you could give it a try and see what comes up).

Instead I would just head to Google Maps, input your destination, and go from there. Usually trains and busses within cities cost somewhere around 200 JPY or $2 USD. This would mean that you will need to pay for individual routes within cities based on whatever the most convenient option is. 

To make things simple you can purchase an IC Card (these can be in the form of Pasmo, Suica, ICOCA). An IC card is just a reloadable card that can be used on almost all trains, subways, and busses around the country .

So, instead of purchasing individual train tickets each time, just swipe your IC card and be on you way.

In summary: If you have a JR Pass, you can use that for your longer more expensive routes, and you can also get an IC card for your travel within cities.

» Check out the Japan Helpful Tips Guide that goes into more detail about the JR Pass, how to go about buying it, and plenty more helpful things to know before heading to Japan.

Japan Train Schedules

When to Visit Japan

Before actually taking your trip to Japan, you will want to choose which time of year to travel. For the most part, the main consideration when traveling to Japan will be the weather. 

In general, the top two times of year to travel to Japan in terms of the best weather would be from March to May and from September to November. During these time periods, the temperature is comfortable and the weather is more stable.

In addition to the weather, the Spring time gives you the chance to see the famous cherry blossom trees while the Autumn offers vibrant foliage colors.

If you want to travel during the summer period between June and August, you should be prepared for some more hot & humid weather. In addition, from May to July (give or take), the rain is more prominent around the country.

Lastly, a winter trip is also possible from December to February, but you will be dealing with some colder conditions and potential snow. If looking for some of the best skiing in the world though, Japan has you covered in the wintertime.

When I went about my around the world trip , I also took into consideration the local holidays – one of which is Golden Week. This happens end of April to beginning of May. During this time you will find much of the country is traveling, making it more expensive & more difficult altogether.

Hakone Ropeway Mount Fuji View

Etiquette & Other Tips

When visiting Japan for 10 days, you may be have a bit of a culture shock. There are certainly some normal habits in parts of the world that would be considered rude if done in Japan. Here are just a few etiquette tips to consider as you are traveling around the country.

Etiquette Tips

→ Whether it is a teahouse, restaurant, or temple, many places request you take off your shoes prior to entering . Be on the lookout for this as you don’t want to just wander right in with your shoes on.

→ Smoking should not be done in the streets, out in the open. Instead, you will come across designated smoking areas throughout sidewalks in cities.

→ Do not expect to leave tips at restaurant . The price you see on the bill is the price that you pay. If you do try to tip, don’t be surprised if the tip is refused.

→  If taking local trains, do not eat or drink while on the train . While you may come across vending machines in stations all throughout the country, it is customary to not actually drink or eat on the train itself. If taking longer inter city routes, then you should not need to worry about this.

→  While credit cards are accepted in the country, you will come across many restaurants and shops that only accept cash . Be sure to always have yen on you so you are not stuck in a tricky situation.

→  Don’t expect much English spoken/understood by locals . While there are signs in train stations and throughout the country in English, many locals will have limited to no English. Having Google Translate handy will always be helpful.

→  If visiting temples, be sure to understand opening hours before you go . Each temple, market, and attraction will have different hours and can be closed on certain days of the week. Be sure to read up on the latest before you head out for the day.

→ Throughout Japan’s train stations you will come across luggage lockers . For a few dollars, you can put your luggage in a locker and then spend time exploring a place.

This is very convenient if traveling between cities and visiting somewhere in between. You will see that happen in this itinerary as you take a pit stop in Hakone.

→  Japan also offers the option to send luggage ahead for you right to your next hotel . This service is called Takuhaibin and costs around $20 per piece of luggage. Overall, it is just a very convenient way to go about traveling in Japan.

Ten Days in Japan

Japan Travel Insurance

Considering travel insurance for your Japan trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more. For years, World Nomads has been protecting, connecting & inspiring independent travelers, offering travel insurance & safety advice to help you travel confidently. Their mission is to support and encourage travelers to explore their boundaries . World Nomads has simple and flexible travel insurance that has been designed by travelers for travelers. Even if you leave home without travel insurance or your policy runs out, you can buy or extend out on the road. Get a quote for a World Nomads travel insurance policy today!

Hasedera View Kamakura

Where to Stay in Japan

As mentioned earlier, I want to make the itinerary as simple as possible when it comes to accommodation, and not have you moving around so much.

To do this, you will only need to book two hotels during your 10 days in Japan – one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto .

Below are my recommended hotel options for Tokyo (nights 1-4) and Kyoto (nights 5-9 or 10):

Tokyo Hotels

Since Tokyo is such a large city with so many distinct neighborhoods, it can get confusing to understand where the best places to stay are.

In my eyes there are a couple of neighborhoods that stick out to me when it comes to the most convenient (and fun!) options.

#1 on my list is the area of Shinjuku. You will have Shinjuku station nearby when traveling to other parts of Tokyo (and day trips), a ton of nightlife and restaurant options.

In addition, many of the activities mentioned in this itinerary not too far away. There is always something going on in Shinjuku and it will definitely not disappoint.

1) Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

2) Citadines Central Shinjuku

3) Hyatt Regency Tokyo

Not too far away from Shinjuku is the Shibuya neighborhood. Famous for the Shibuya Crossing, it is also filled with plenty of shops and restaurants all around its streets.

1) Hotel Century Southern Tower

2) Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

3) Sakura Hotel Hatagaya

Tokyo Station

Moving a bit to the east of Shinjuku and Shibuya is the Tokyo Station area. It is centrally located right nearby the main transport hub making it super easy to get everywhere, and you will also be in walking distance to some of the city’s main attractions.

1) Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi

2) Palace Hotel Tokyo

3) The Tokyo Station Hotel

Of course there are plenty of other neighborhoods to choose from but I think that should be a great starting point to help you out.

Shibuya Crossing

Kyoto Hotels

While there are many different neighborhoods to choose from I would recommend staying near the downtown Kyoto area .

Here you will find plenty of accommodation options at various price points alongside all the restaurant and shopping you can imagine.

It also offers easy accessibility to visit all other parts of Kyoto either by bus or by subway. Below are some mid range and luxury options all within walking distance from downtown (a few being a 20 minute or so walk).

1) The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo

2) Hotel Grand Bach Kyoto Select

3) Kyoto Granbell Hotel

1) Hotel Alza Kyoto

2) Kizashi The Suite

3) The Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Kyoto Hotels

10 Days in Japan Map View

Take a look at the map below which shows you where each city that is part of this 10 days in Japan itinerary is located throughout the country.

You will start the journey at the northern most point (Tokyo) and begin the journey south to Kyoto.

The itinerary also adds in several day trips along the way – including Kamakura, Hakone, Nara and Hiroshime / Miyajima .

Once the trip is complete you will then take one last train back to Tokyo or depart from Osaka.

10 Days in Japan Detailed Itinerary

Below you will find a detailed breakout of the daily attractions and activities on this 10 days in Japan itinerary. 

Throughout the remainder of this itinerary you will find a breakdown of everything shown in this overview. Feel free to scroll through and click on any more in depth posts along the way.

Japan 10 Day Itinerary #1

Day 1 – Tokyo

A couple things to note about your time in Tokyo: feel free to move around days as you see fit. The attractions and activities on the days themselves are easiest done in the order mentioned (i.e. Shibuya to Meiju Jingu to Shinjuku) but it doesn’t matter much if you switch the order of the days. You can also move around the day trip to Kamakara earlier on as well.

» Get some more details about Tokyo in the comprehensive Tokyo Itinerary up on the site

​ You will start off the ten day trip in the capital city of Tokyo. For the next three days you will explore the city hitting a variety of attractions along the way.

On your first day in Tokyo you can head off to several of the city’s main attractions including:

1) Ueno Park

2) Ameyayokocho Street

3) Senso-ji Temple

4) Tokyo Skytree

5) Akihabara

I will not go into too much detail about each and every attraction, but I will highlight each place to visit along with some pictures so you can have a better idea of what to expect.

Start off the day at Ueno Park, a vast area in the middle of Tokyo filled with plenty of greenery, temples, museums, and more!

Ueno Park Cherry Blossoms

Ameyayokocho Street

Once all finished up at the park, walk on over to Ameyayokocho Street.

If you are looking for food, gifts, clothing and plenty more, this is where you can find it all as you experience a traditional Japanese market street.

Ameyayokocho Street

Senso-ji Temple

The most famous of Tokyo’s temples is Senso-ji. Before visiting the temple itself you will walk through Asakusa street with hundreds of vendors lining the path as you make your way to the temple itself along with its five storied pagoda.

Senso-ji Temple

Tokyo Skytree

If you are interested in seeing the city from above then make your way next to the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world.

It does cost some money to head up but you will be able to take in some great views of the city down below.

Tokyo Skytree

End your day making your way through one of Tokyo’s most unique districts – Akihabara. Here is the electronic capital of the city as you will find anything from arcades to anime shops all over its streets.


Day 2 – Tokyo

On your second day in Tokyo it is time to focus in on the Shibuya and Shinjuku neighborhoods. If you are staying in either one, all you need to do is walk out your door and start off your day.

1) Shibuya Crossing

3) Omotesando

4) Harajuku / Takeshita Dori

5) Meiji Jingu Shrine

6) Tokyo Metropolitan Building

7) Shinjuku

I will list out the attractions starting in Shibuya and ending in Shinjuku but you can easily go about the day the other way around as well.

Shibuya Crossing

Probably the most famous intersection in the world, the Shibuya Crossing is a site to be seen and experienced.

Feel free to make your way through the intersection itself, and if you want a view from above head to the top floor of nearby Mags Park.

Shibuya Crossing Viewpoint

After the Shibuya Crossing, it is time to explore the neighborhood of Shibuya itself. With many shops and restaurants filling its streets and alleyways, Shibuya makes for a great place to get lost in and enjoy.


After exiting the Shibuya area, you will soon come by Omotesando Street. If you are interested in the whole shopping scene, Omotesando has you covered.

What I also found great about the street was its unique and distinct architecture from other parts of Tokyo.

Omotesando Buildings

Harajuku / Takeshita Dori

Next up on the day is one of the more crazier streets you will ever experience – Takeshita Dori.

The street is located in the heart of Harajuku and is packed to the brim with people walking along the narrow pathway.

Takeshita Dori Harajuku

Meiji Jingu Shrine

One of the must visit places in Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

As you make your way through Yoyogi Park, you will pass by the famous torii gate, sake barrels, and prayer cards as you slowly approach Meiji Jingu itself.

Meiji Jingu Shrine Sake

Tokyo Metropolitan Building

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has two different free indoor observation decks to enjoy – the North and South. If you want to see the city from above then this is a great option for you.

Tokyo Metropolitan Building

Last but not least is the Shinjuku neighborhood itself. No matter when you visit there is sure to be plenty going on with its bright lights, restaurants and bars.

I would definitely advise heading to Piss Alley and Golden Gai – two narrow streets filled with small bars and eateries.

And if you want to experience one of the crazier shows of your life, head to the Robot Restaurant for a one of a kind performance.

Shinjuku Nightlife

Day 3 – Tokyo

On your last full day in Tokyo itself, you can head to a famous fish market, check out the Imperial Palace and Gardens, and then visit any other attractions you may not have had time for previously.

1) Tsujiki Market

2) Imperial Palace & East Gardens

3) Remaining Attractions

Tsujiki Market

Head on over to Tsujiki Fish Market for one of the most well known markets in Japan.

While the market does not hold the famous tuna auction anymore (that can be found at Toyosu), you can still spend plenty of time roaming the aisles and eating your way through them.

Tsujiki Market

Imperial Palace & East Gardens

During the afternoon of day 3, head on over to the Imperial Palace and East Gardens. An absolutely massive complex located in the heart of the city, you can spend a couple hours here exploring all around.

The outer area is open all the time, where you can view the famous moat and outer structures. You can then head inside the East Gardens, where there are lakes, flowers, fauna and more to enjoy.

Imperial Palace Moat

Remaining Attractions

Odds are you may have other places you want to visit during your time in Tokyo. You should have some time on day 3 to add anything else you want to experience.

If you were not able to complete any other activities from day 1 or 2, you can add them in here as well.

Day 4 – Kamakura Day Trip

On day 4 you can take a great day trip from Tokyo to the beachside town of Kamakura . Now there is A LOT more to Kamakura than just the beach though – temples, hiking, and of course the famous Great Buddha.

It is an easy day trip to take part of with plenty of trains going in either direction multiple times per hour. Simply head to Tokyo or Shinjuku Station and be on your way. A day trip to Kamakura will include:

1. Engaku-ji Temple

2. Jochi-ji Temple

3. Daibutsu Hiking Trail 

4. Kotoku-in Daibutsu Great Buddha 

5. Hase-dera Temple 

6. Yuigahama Beach 

7. Kamakura Shopping Street

Note that I started my trip by getting off at Kita-Kamakura station (one stop before Kamakura Station) as that stop is closer to the hiking trail I mention in the guide. If you do not want to take part of the hiking trail, then you can get off at Kamakura Station instead.

» Take a look at the Tokyo to Kamakura Day Trip Guide for more!

Tokyo to Kamakura Day Trip

Day 5 – Hakone / Travel to Kyoto

Day 5 of your 10 day trip to Japan will have you on the move. Starting in Tokyo you will head on over to the beautiful city of Hakone for the day before heading off to Kyoto later in the evening.

Since this will be a travel day you will need to figure out luggage logistics and there are two ways to handle that:

1) Store the luggage in lockers at either Odawara or Hakone-Yumoto Station

2) Send your luggage ahead to your Kyoto hotel using the efficient Takuhaibin luggage forwarding service. Your hotel should be able to help out with this and for about $20 a piece, your luggage will be waiting for you in your Kyoto hotel when you arrive.

You will start the day at either Tokyo or Shinjuku Station, make your way all the way to Hakone-Yumoto and begin the famous Hakone Round Course Circuit.

This will take you on trains, cable cars, ropeways, boats, and busses as you complete one of the most scenic routes that Japan has to offer with Mount Fuji right nearby.

» Head on over to the Tokyo to Hakone Round Course Guide to learn more

Note: if you do not want to make this a travel day (Tokyo – Hakone – Kyoto), you also have the option to make this a day trip to Hakone on days 1-4 (Tokyo – Hakone – Tokyo). That way you will not need to worry as much about your luggage.

Owakudani Fuji Views

Day 6 – Kyoto

Now that you are in Kyoto, it is time to explore the city and the vast amount of attractions that it has to offer.

This itinerary goes over 3 days in the city itself and then takes you on two day trips – one to Nara and one to Miyajima and/or Hiroshima.

Similar to Tokyo – feel free to move things around in whichever way you see fit. Depending on your travel plans out of the country, you may want to keep day 10 a bit more open, in case you need to get back to Tokyo at the end of the day to catch your flight at night or on day 11.

» Head on over to the 3 Day Kyoto Itinerary for all you need to know about the city

Your first day in Kyoto will have you seeing some of the best that the city has to offer. It will be a full day of sightseeing as you make your way down the east side of the city, stopping by plenty of temples and attractions along the way including:

1) Ginkakuji Temple

2) Philosophers Path

3) Nanzen-ji Temple

4) Chion-in Temple

5) Marayuma Koen Park

6) Kodai-ji Temple

7) Ninen and Sannen zaka

8) Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Ginkakuji Temple

Known as the Silver Pavilion, although not silver in color, Ginkakuji is one of the more well known temples in Kyoto. It has a unique sand garden, some viewpoints from above, and of course the temple itself behind the reflective pond.

Ginkakuji Temple

Philosophers Path

You can then continue south following the Philosophers Path. The path follows a stream with some beautiful trees lining the way. Heading there around cherry blossom time and you are in for a treat!

Philosophers Path

Nanzen-ji Temple

You can make the stop at Nanzen-ji Temple and roam its grounds that are full of unique buildings and structures throughout – don’t forget to check out the aqueduct out back too.

Nanzenji Temple Aqueduct Kyoto

Chion-in Temple

The Chion-in Temple has some incredible architecture to take in and enjoy. You will find a spread out temple grounds with some ornate buildings and beautiful gardens.

Marayuma Koen Park

Now that you have explored some temples, continue along to Marayuma Koen Park. Not only will you find a great spot to enjoy some nature here, but you will also find the Yasaka Jinja Shrine.

Kodai-ji Temple

Another top temple to visit along the route is that of Kodai-ji. You will find a unique and pristine sand garden here alongside ponds, temple structures, and a small bamboo grove.

Ninen and Sannen zaka

You can then make your way to two of the most famous streets in Kyoto – Ninen and Sannen zaka. These walking streets are full of small shops and eateries as you head to the final stop of the day at Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Ninenzakka Sannenzaka Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Finish off your day at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple grounds. You will find a massive temple structure along with some pagodas, the Otowa waterfall, and a great vantage point of the city of Kyoto from above.

Kiyomizu-dera Kyoto

Day 7 – Kyoto

It is time to continue exploring all that Kyoto has to offer. Day 7 will bring you some of the most well known spots in Kyoto (do be prepared for the crowds!). These will include:

1) Kinkaku-ji Temple

2) Ryoan-ji Temple

3) Tenryu-ji Temple

4) Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

5) Arashiyama Monkey Park

The first stop of the day will be at the Golden Kinkaku-ji temple. Utilizing the public transport system will be helpful here getting from one spot to the next.

Kinkaku-ji Temple

The most famous of temples in Kyoto has to be Kinkaku-ji. Its golden color makes it one of the most well known places in all of Japan. Head there close to opening time to avoid the crowds!

Kinkakuji Temple

Ryoan-ji Temple

Up next is Ryoan-ji Temple and its 15 piece rock garden. No matter where you stand you won’t be able to see all 15 rocks at the same time. Give it a shot yourself!

Ryoanji Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple

Head on over to the Arashiyama area, where you can first make your way to the Tenryu-ji Temple – the most important Zen temple in Kyoto!

Tenryuji Temple

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The bamboo grove it right nearby where you can make your way through the towering bamboo trees all around you. It is a quite a sight to be seen but be prepared to share the path with many others.

Arashiyama Japan

Arashiyama Monkey Park

Last up is the Arashiyama Monkey Park – don’t worry this isn’t a zoo where monkeys are caged in. They are free to come and go as they want around the area.

Make the way up the hill and be welcomed to plenty of monkeys roaming around and some great views of the city.

Arashiyama Monkey Park Kyoto

Day 8 – Kyoto

Your last day in Kyoto itself will take you to some more of Kyoto’s main attractions as well as one of the best food markets out there. You can follow this route for the day:

1) Nishiki Market

2) Nijo Castle

3) Imperial Palace

4) Fushimi Inari

Nishiki Market

Your first stop will be Nishiki Market, where you will find a long long corridor filled on either side with all types of food options.

You can try a bunch of different types of Japanese cuisine before continuing on with your day.

Nishiki Market

Nijo Castle

At Nijo Castle you will be able to tour around all areas of the castle including gardens, palaces, gates and plenty of other structures.

And don’t forget to check out the famous nightingale floors – a squeaking floor security system that helped catch intruders who entered the building.

Nijo Castle Kyoto

Imperial Palace

Next up is the Imperial Palace of Kyoto, which is part of a larger park area. This place is absolutely massive as it makes up a huge piece of land right inside the city.

You can spend time just wandering the park grounds and you can also choose to enter the Imperial Palace area too.

Imperial Palace Kyoto

Fushimi Inari

End your day in Kyoto by visiting Fushimi Inari – a temple with thousands of torii gates lining up the mountain. You can head up as far as you would like before turning around and heading back down.

I would recommend heading there for sunset and walking up to the Yotsutsuji Intersection, a great spot to see the sun come down over the city.

–> Don’t forget to head to the Gion area one night – maybe you will be lucky enough to spot a geisha!

Fushimi Inari

Day 9 – Miyajima / Hiroshima Day Trip

It is now time to head out of Kyoto on some day trips. The first of which is to Miyajima and/or Hiroshima.

You can choose to head to one or another, or even both of them. If you want even more time to visit each, you can consider an overnight in Hiroshima, and cut out a day somewhere else on the itinerary.

If heading to both Miyajima and Hiroshima, I would advise on a very early start to the day to take advantage of everything they have to offer.

You can start the day by taking a train from Kyoto to Hiroshima (2 hours), then transfer to Miyajimaguchi (30 minutes), and then take the ferry from there (10 minutes) to Miyajima.

In Miyajima, you can see the famous Itsukushima Shrine complex and its massive torii gate, check out some other temples such as Senjokaku and Daisho-in Temple, and then make your way to Mt. Misen by cable car or by hiking.

After seeing everything you would want to see in Miyajima, head back to the mainland by ferry, take the train to Hiroshima, and then head into the city center.

Miyajima Island

For Hiroshima, I do not think you would need a full day here and you can certainly fit in a lot in just a few hours as many of the city’s main attractions are not too far apart.

You can visit things such as the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Park, the Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima Castle.

Atomic Bomb Dome

Once done in Hiroshima, simply make your way back to Hiroshima Station and hop on the train back to Kyoto. It is sure to be a long day but it will be well worth it.

Alternatively, if you do not want to head to both in a single day, then simply just head to one of them and you will be able to take your time as you make your way around either of the two.

» Take a look at the Hiroshima and Miyajima guides up on the site for more details about each

Day 10 – Nara Day Trip

On your last day in Japan, you can make the day trip to Nara. If you have not seen the pictures or read about Nara before, imagine a town with thousands of deer roaming all around.

Heading to the park, checking out temples, going on a hike – well you are sure to pass deer everywhere you go. And there is much more to Nara than just the deer. During your time in Nara be sure to check out:

1. Sanjo-dori Street & Nakatanidou Mochi Shop

2. Kofukuji Temple

3. Nara Park

4. Yoshikien or Isuien Garden

5. Todaiji Temple Complex

6. Nigatsudo and Hokkedo (part of Todaiji)

7. Mount Wakakusayama

8. Kasuga Taisha

» Be sure to read through the Nara Day Trip Guide for everything you need to know about the day

Day 10 Note: Remember you can easily move your days around in Kyoto so your last day is not a day trip (in case you need to head to Tokyo or Osaka later on in the day to catch your flight). If your flight is on day 11 and not too early in the day, you can spend one last night in Kyoto before heading to Tokyo.

Nara Park Deer

​I hope that this itinerary has helped you out a bit more to prepare you for 10 days in Japan. There is just so much do see and do in the country, and I think this can be a great starting point for your trip.

Head over to the Japan itineraries and guides page to check out some more helpful posts. Have more or less time to spend – check out the 7 day Japan itinerary and 14 day Japan itinerary up on the site.

Feel free to comment below with any questions! Have fun out there and safe travels!

10 Days in Japan Itinerary

Related posts:

Kyoto to Nara Day Trip

Sharing is caring!

Thursday 21st of November 2019

This is just amazing! Thank you for all the great tips!

Monday 9th of December 2019

No problem Carol! Glad it has helped out. Enjoy Japan!!

The Simple Travel

  • Visa Application Helpline

Subscribe to our newsletter

Learn how to live a sustainable long-term travel lifestyle.

By signing up, you agree to the our terms and our Privacy Policy agreement.

Top 27 Places to visit in Darjeeling, Explore the Beautiful Hills of Darjeeling

Top 10 things to do when traveling to shimla: shimla travel guide, the ultimate paris travel guidelines for first timers | top attractions & things to do.

The Simple Travel

10-Day Japan Itinerary: Exploring Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

When you think of Japan, a serene and harmonious place comes to mind. The people are incredibly polite and organized, contributing to the overall calmness. But Japan is not just a peaceful haven; it’s also a leader in cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions, seamlessly blending tradition with modernity.

Having traveled to Japan twice, I can confidently say that each visit leaves me wanting more. The country’s charm lies in its unique combination of ancient culture and natural beauty that sets it apart from the rest of the world. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the tranquil temples of Kyoto, Japan offers an experience like no other.

To truly soak in the culture and beauty of Japan, a trip lasting at least 10 days is essential. Anything shorter simply won’t do justice to the wonders this country has to offer. Planning a 10-day trip can feel overwhelming with so many incredible places to visit, delicious foods to try, and comfortable places to stay.

In this guide, I’ll Walk you through a perfect 10-day itinerary, packed with must-see sights, culinary delights, and tips on where to stay. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re returning like me, this itinerary will ensure you make the most of your time in Japan.

Note: This is a super-packed activities itinerary suitable for couples or solo travelers who want to visit as many places as possible within a short time.


When is the best time to visit Japan?

a building on a hill with trees and mountains in the background

Before starting an entire plan for your trip, you must know when the right time for you is to visit. In general, the tourist season in Japan is during Spring and Autumn, which is from March to May and September to November. Now, you have to decide which time is perfect for you. 

If you ask me, I would definitely suggest that you should plan these 10 days trip around November because the weather during that time is amazing without having to face too many crowds of tourists. During this time, the temperature mostly stays between 12°C to 18°C. The temperature may fluctuate and get colder during the night. 

Since it is the start of the off-peak tourist season, the prices of flights and accommodations are going to be way more affordable! Mild temperatures, less rainfall, and great budget deals are the best reasons to visit Japan during November. 

However, if you are planning to see and experience the beautiful Sakura season (cherry blossoms), it is best to travel by the end of March or the beginning of April. It will be crowded because of other tourists, but the different places painted pink by nature is just worth it!

So here is our 10-Day Japan Itinerary

Day 1: arrival in tokyo.


Starting in Tokyo is a great idea for a 10-day trip to Japan. Tokyo is a vibrant city that perfectly represents the energy of Japan. When you arrive, you’ll likely land at either Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. You can take the Narita Express to the city center, which takes about an hour from Narita to the city center. Haneda Airport, also known as Tokyo International Airport, is closer to the city center and is a hub for budget airlines.

To get to the city center from Haneda, you can take the Tokyo Monorail, which is covered by the  JR pass . Once you’re in Tokyo, you can explore the city’s many attractions and experience its unique culture. Since it will be your first day of travel with so much journey, you are most probably going to be jetlagged. If you want to explore the city efficiently, I suggest you stay somewhere in near Shibuya. The place is filled with interesting restaurants and bars where you can explore authentic Japanese cuisine.

You can also go shopping around the area and end your day with the most beautiful sunset. If you want to start exploring right away, visit Asakusa . This district offers temples, shrines, shopping streets, and parks, providing a rich mix of culture and entertainment.

Here are some of the places at Asakusa:

Sensoji Temple


One of the main attractions of Asakusa is the Sensoji Temple. The word “Sensoji” itself means Asakusa Temple. It was built way back in the 7th century and is one of the oldest constructions in Japan. 

Nakamise Shopping Street

Nakamise Shopping Street

Located on the main approach to Sensoji Temple, the Nakamise Shopping Street is a bustling hub of traditional Japanese souvenirs, snacks, and sweets. With over 50 shops lining the 250-meter street, tourists can find a wide variety of local specialties to take home as souvenirs of their trip.

From unique trinkets to delicious treats, the Nakamise Shopping Street offers something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the chance to make your trip to Sensoji Temple even more memorable!

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center , built in 2012, is a must-see attraction for both tourists and locals due to its impressive architecture. With eight floors, the center offers information desks in multiple languages, providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the rich culture of the area.

There is also free Wi-Fi available, along with a nice café and an observation deck. You can enjoy a nice view of Nakamise Shopping Street and Sensoji Temple from the observation deck.

Best area to stay in Tokyo

Tokyo offers a variety of accommodations, including hotels and AirBnBs. Choose a neighborhood that suits your preferences and budget. Book in Shibuya in advance for great deals. For easy access to train stations, look for hotels in Ginza or Tokyo Station . Shinjuku is also a great option with a diverse environment and proximity to Shinjuku Station. You will find some  great deals on accommodation  at a variety of expense ranges depending on your budget. 

Day 2: Discover Tokyo’s Landmarks

Staying for a day in Tokyo will be so unfair! You are going to miss out on a bunch of things. On day 2, it is time for you to explore this amazing city. Here are a few places you can choose to visit during your exploration according to your preference:

Tokyo Skytree


Tokyo Skytree , standing at a height of 634 meters, is one of the tallest towers in the world and a popular tourist destination in Tokyo. Situated just a few kilometers away from the historic Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, the tower boasts a massive shopping mall and an aquarium at its base, making it a must-visit attraction for tourists in Tokyo. 

It is best to take a bus to reach Tokyo Skytree from Asakusa or Ueno Station. If you take a bus from Ueno Station, it is going to take you about 30 minutes to reach there, costing ¥220. From Asakusa, it will take about 16 to 20 minutes, costing ¥160. People usually get tickets from the counter, but you can also  book tickets in advance ,   which will cost you less and allow you to be free from the hassle of buying tickets on the spot.

Meiji-Jingu Shrine


For those seeking a peaceful escape surrounded by nature, the Meiji-Jingu Shrine is a must-visit destination. This serene shrine is nestled within a lush forest, dedicated to the memory of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Take a stroll through the tranquil grounds and immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Located conveniently near both Meiji-jingu Station and Harajuku Station, the Meiji-Jingu Shrine is just a short 10-minute walk away from either stop. For visitors looking to explore the area, taking this route is highly recommended.

Harajuku and Akihabara

Exploring Harajuku and Akihabara is always a good idea for fashion or anime freaks. Game centers, anime shops, and maid café – all are worth exploring according to your mood!

Ameyoko Shopping District


The Ameyoko Shopping District in Tokyo is a bustling market where visitors can experience traditional Japanese cuisine. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide what to try. However, after sampling a variety of dishes, there are a few standout items that are not to be missed. Here are some of my personal favorites that are sure to delight your taste buds.

  • Takoyaki at Minatoya 
  • Grilled Chicken Skewers
  • Chicken Karaage at Chicken Man
  • Chinese Street Food at Tentenraku
  • Sweets at Kimi Noen
  • Daifuku Mochi at Shimura Candy Shop

Apart from these, you can always try out the fruit stalls for amazing fruity items like salads and juices or visit the interesting pubs and standing bars for a good time. There is something for everyone in this market!

Robot Restaurant


Located in the bustling district of Shinjuku, the Robot Restaurant is a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique and unforgettable dining experience. With its futuristic theme featuring robots, dancers, and lasers, this restaurant promises to deliver an evening of excitement and entertainment like no other. Don’t miss out on the chance to add some thrill to your day plan with a visit to the Robot Restaurant!

Day 3: Day trip to the coastal town of Kamakura

On day 3 of this Japan itinerary, it is time for you to escape the busy vibes of Tokyo and take a day trip to the coastal town of Kamakura. There, you can visit several soothing temples and shrines, or you could also go to beaches and hiking spots. 

From Tokyo Station, JR Yokosuka Line directly connects to Kamakura Station. You can reach Kamakura Station from Tokyo Station within an hour, which will cost you ¥950. Yokohama Station, Shinagawa Station, and Kita-Kamakura Station will be on your way to Kamakura.

Kotoku-in Temple


The main attraction of Kotoku-in Temple is the giant Buddha statue. It is about 37ft tall and was constructed way back in 1252. You can just walk around the temple to relax and explore. 

If you start from the Hase Station, this temple is only 450 m away. You can easily walk there within less than 10 minutes. It is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, which is to the south of Tokyo. If you take a JR Yokosuka train from Tokyo Station, you can reach there within an hour.

Kamakura Hasedera


Kamakura Hasedera is famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon. The statue is the goddess of mercy. You can take beautiful pictures there and explore the gardens surrounding it 

You can also visit the Kannon Museum next to the temple to explore quite interesting elements, such as picture scrolls, Buddhist statues, bells, etc.

You can end your relaxing day trip by going back to the Kamakura Hasedera and enjoying the most beautiful sunset. I swear, it is worth it!

Kamakura Hasedera is only about 5 minutes’ walk from Hase Station (it is the third station from Kamakura, which is on the Enoden railway line). You can easily find its terminal station in Kamakura. It is located right next to the JR Kamakura Station.

Day 4: Mount Fuji and Hakone


Mount Fuji is one of the most desired views of Japan for tourists. It is an active volcano, and it last erupted way back in 1707. When the weather is clear, it can be seen from a number of places, such as Fujinomiya, Gotemba, Yokohama, etc. Another amazing way to view this beautiful scenery is while traveling between Osaka and Tokyo on a train. 

During my visit, I traveled to Hakone for a day to view it. It is at the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, where tourists and local people visit to enjoy the natural beauty. Hakone is just a few hours away from Tokyo, and you can go there by bus, train, or car. 

One of my other favorite places to view Mount Fuji is from Oshino Hakkai Village . It is another famous tourist spot that has eight beautiful ponds in Oshino. The ponds are filled with the snow that has melted from Mountain Fuji for over 80 years! The view is spectacular and worth it.

To get to Hakone from Tokyo, here are your options:

  • By Train: Using the JR Pass: Take a Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station to Odawara Station. From Odawara, transfer to the Hakone Tozan Line to reach Hakone-Yumoto Station. This route takes about 30-40 minutes on the bullet train plus an additional 15 minutes for the local train.
  • Direct Route from Shinjuku: Take the Odakyu Romancecar, a direct train from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, which takes around 80 minutes. This option doesn’t require a transfer.
  • By Bus: Direct highway buses operate from Shinjuku Station to Lake Ashi in Hakone. The journey takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. This is a good option if you prefer a more relaxed and direct route.
  • By Car: Renting a car is a flexible option, especially if you plan to explore the surrounding areas like Kamakura or Mt. Fuji. Car rentals can be arranged from the airport or city, but keep in mind it can be more expensive, costing over ¥6000 to ¥20000 for a day’s rental.

Day 5: Travel to Osaka , The Cultural Capital


After Tokyo, Osaka is one of the largest metropolitan areas of Japan. It is located in the Kansai region and was initially called Naniwa. Your 10 days Japan itinerary will be incomplete without Osaka! The most attractive elements of Osaka are the super delicious food, vibrant culture, and busy streets. Osaka is only a short train ride away from popular areas like Kyoto and Nara. You can book your train and plan your trip to Osaka with your choice of transportation and accommodation. 

If you are traveling from Tokyo, you can choose from – flight , bus, or train . The fastest train options such as Shinkansen JR Central can be a little expensive but the cheaper options can take up to 8 hours of journey. Nozomi is one of the fastest train services that can take you from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station within around 2.5 hours for approximately ¥14000. Busses are available for around ¥4000 but they are super time-consuming!

When I traveled to Osaka, I only stayed in a budget hotel because I mostly stayed out exploring and eating. If you plan to stay in Osaka for longer, I suggest you go for a  traditional ryokan  for a memorable experience of Japanese culture.  

Places to visit in Osaka

Dotonbori: Visit the Most Popular district of Osaka.


If you’re looking for the ultimate Osaka experience, make sure to visit Dotonbori district. Known as the “Mecca of kuidaore food culture,” this area is home to the iconic Dotonbori Canal and a plethora of popular tourist attractions.

Take in the vibrant colors and neon lights as you explore the bustling entertainment and shopping center. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the famous “Glico Man” billboard, which has been a fixture in the area since 1935.

Address : 1 Chome Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka

Exploring Osaka Castle Park


Now, let’s talk about all the amazing places to visit in Osaka. I would suggest that you start with the Osaka Castle Park. Osaka Castle Park mainly has two attractive spots – the castle tower and Nishinomaru Garden. 

If you enter the castle tower, you will see how modernized it is now. You can even have access to an elevator to take you to different levels. There is also an interesting museum inside that narrates so much about the history of the castle. 

Surrounding the castle tower, there is Nishinomaru Garden, which is filled with 609 cherry trees. You can. Even find a tea house and an old Osaka Guest House. The view is spectacular, and you will need an admission fee for the garden. 

Universal Studios Osaka (Japan)


If you love theme park entertainment and rollercoaster, don’t forget to check out Universal Studios Japan. It is the first-ever theme park in Asia that was built under the Universal Studios brand. 

Apart from all the super fun rides, there is so much more to do! You can click funny pictures with several famous characters, such as Snoopy and Hello Kitty. 

You can easily reach there by bus, train or ferry. 

By Train : There are several train options to reach Universal Studios Japan. You can take a train to the Universal City Station (a 5 minutes’ walk from the USJ) on the JR Yumesaki Line. You can also take one of the many direct trains from Osaka Station. It will take around 15 minutes and cost 190 yen. 

By Bus : You can take a bus from the Kansai Airport directly to Universal Studios Japan. The buses leave every hour and will take you around 50 to 70 minutes for 1600 yen. From Itami Airport, it will take you 45 minutes for 940 yen. You can also go for overnight buses from several cities all over Japan that has a stop near USJ. 

By Ferry : Captain Line is a ferry service that travels to Universal Studios, Japan, from Osaka Aquarium. The trip takes around 10 minutes for 800-yen one way and 1500 yen both ways. You will find around 1 or 2 ferries every hour. You can also purchase a ticket for the aquarium along with the ferry ride for 2900-yen one way and 3600 both ways. 

Opening hours:  Usually every day from 9 AM to 8 PM

Admission:  ¥5,400 to 6,300 (4 to 11 years old) ¥8,400 to 9,400 (12 to 64 years old) ¥7,600 to ¥8,500 (65 years or older) Passes include all the rides for as many times as you want, which you can buy from their official website, partner hotels, counter, or  Klook . 

Osaka Takoyaki Park

10-Day Japan Itinerary

Osaka Takoyaki Park is located 5 minutes of walk away from Universal Studios Japan, which is a collection of 5 amazing Takoyaki restaurants. Takoyaki roughly translates to fried octopus and the 5 different restaurants serve dishes related to this concept inspired from 5 different localities of Japan.

The different varieties of food items are something you can’t miss, so don’t forget to add this place to your trip to Universal Studios Japan! You can expect to spend around ¥1000 per person if you try their food.

Where to stay in Osaka?

You can find tons of hotels in Osaka starting from an affordable range to an expensive one. However, if you are not going to stay in Osaka for more than a day, it is best to look for budget-friendly dorms and hostels.

Day 6: Travel to Kyoto from Osaka


Once you’ve finished exploring Osaka, it’s time to make your way to Kyoto. Luckily, there are several options for traveling between the two cities. Check out my separate article on how to travel from Osaka to Kyoto , which covers everything you need to know for a smooth journey.

Unlike Tokyo or Osaka, Kyoto is a much more soothing place that holds the ancient aesthetic of Japan. As the former capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city concentrated on history and tradition. It is a must-visit for tourists because Kyoto has some of the most iconic cultural and historical sites, such as ancient temples and shrines, wonderful gardens, iconic streets, etc. 

Moreover, it is just not about the beautiful sites. It is also about the vibe of the city. If you are lucky, you can come across people in authentic Geisha attire that will portray a significant part of Japanese culture.

Kyoto is very close to Osaka, and you can reach there within 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. It will cost you around ¥1420 for a bullet train.

On your first day in Kyoto, you can do some light traveling, like walking around the streets of Gion, Geisha district, or Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. 

Where to stay in Kyoto?

Since you are going to spend more than a day in Kyoto, it is smart to look for a form of accommodation there beforehand. There are a number of options that you can try out Airbnb, hotels, and studio apartments – you can book anything in advance according to your preference. 

I found an amazing studio apartment for myself where we had access to a small kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, and WiFi. We did not even have to contact the owners because the entire process was online.

Day 7: Explore Kyoto

On your second day in Kyoto, it is time to have some fun. You can always start your exploration of Kyoto by visiting some of the iconic temples and shrines. 

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji Temple Kyoto

I started with the Kinkakuji Temple, which is also known as the Golden Pavilion since the top two floors of the temple are entirely enveloped in gold leaf. 

The temple was initially called Rokunji, which was the retirement villa belonging to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. He decided to make it a Zen temple after his death back I. 1408.

To reach Kinkakuji Temple, take a direct Kyoto Cuty Bus (101 or 205) from the Kyoto Station. It will take around 40 minutes and cost ¥230. If you want a faster route, you could take the Karasuma Subway Line that goes to Kitaoji Station, which will take you around 15 minutes and cost ¥260. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to the temple. 

Location:  1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361

Fushimi Inari Shrine


After that, you can visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine , which is famous for its thousands of crimson torii gates. An interesting fact about the Torii gates is that they represent donations from people or companies. If you look closely, you will notice the name of the donator and the date when the donation was made carved in the Torii gates along the entire trail.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is located a short walk away from Fushimi Inari Station. After reaching the second station from Kyoto Station, you will find it right outside of JR Inari Station. It is 5 minutes journey and will cost you 150 yen. 

Day 8: Day trip to Nara

Nara is such a unique place that it deserves an entire day from your 10 days Japan itinerary to be explored. There is so much to enjoy! I started my trip to Nara by visiting the famous Nara Park. It was developed back in 1880 as a central park in Nara. 

You can take the Miyakoji rapid train, which costs ¥720 and is covered by the JR Pass. It will take only 45 minutes as Nara is close to Kyoto. You can also go for Kintetsu Railway, which costs ¥1280 and also takes around 45 minutes from Kyoto Station to Kintetsu Nara Station. Since Nara and Kyoto are close enough, you can easily go back to your hotel in Kyoto through the same train services you arrive.


The most interesting part of Nara Park is that there are over 1000 deer freely roaming all over the place. The deer are super friendly and interactive with the visitors. You can feed them special crackers, which are available in several stalls all over the park. It truly is a super fun and unique experience. 

You can easily walk to Nara Park from Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara Station. It will take 5 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station and 20 minutes from JR Nara Station. If you prefer bus rides, you can easily take a bus to reach several bus stops near the park. 

Opening hours:  Everyday 24 hours

Admission:  Free

Nara National Museum

Nara National Museum

If you are a fan of historical elements and art, Nara National Museum is just perfect for you! It has the culture and art of ancient Japan, which includes Buddha Statues and scrolls. 

This art museum mainly has Japanese Buddhist art and was formed back in 1889. The building holds its original format along with a joined wing that is connected to the original building. 

The museum is located in Nara Park, so you can easily visit thereafter your fun session of feeding deer and exploring the park. 

Day 9: Trip to Kobe


An entire day trip dedicated to Kobe is just worth it. My favorite part was the Kobe beef. Kobe beef is world-famous for its amazing flavor and tender texture. You can visit several meat markets to see the process and learn more about beef. There are several restaurants out there that sell amazing Kobe beef, and you can enjoy a lavish dinner or lunch there. 

From Kyoto, you can hop on a bus or train to reach Kobe. It takes around 30 minutes by train and 1.5 hours by bus. Even though the bus seems to be the cheapest option, taking the train will save you a lot of time.

Foods in kyoto

The JR Pass will come in handy if you take the Shinkansen to reach the Shin-Kobe Station. It will only take around 32 minutes but will not drop you at Sannomiya Station, which is more convenient. To reach Sannomiya Station, you will have to take the Hankyu Kyoto Line, which will take around 70 minutes.

I absolutely loved trying out the Kobe beef dishes at  Kobe Beef Kisshokichi Honten . The meat was super fresh and tender, with lots of varieties in the dishes. 

Location:  2 Chome-4-14 Motomachidori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0022

Opening hours:  11 AM to 3 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM 


The Kitano-cho neighborhood is popular for having several beautiful European-styled mansions and buildings. There are also many embassies and consulates all over the area. It was a great place to walk around and visit different types of houses and see the beautiful architecture. 

The area Is located at the base of the Rokko mountain range, and you can get there by 10 to 15 minutes of walking from the Sannoniya or Shin-Kobe Stations. 

You can visit about 2 to 8 houses for ¥650 to ¥3000. The tickets are available at the desks of respective houses, and you can also purchase combination tickets for a better value. 

Sannomiya-Motomachi Area


End your day with a nice visit to the Sannomiya-Motomachi Area. The area is filled with hundreds of food stalls and restaurants that you can try out for some fun street food items. I had a lot of snacks such as duck skin crisp, pork belly, and lemon cocktail, which was an amazing end to my day trip. 

The area Is located a 5 minutes’ walk from Motomachi station, where you can find the most famous Chinatown of Japan, Nankin-machi. The stores are located in that area. 

Location:  1 Chome-3-18 Sakaemachidori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0023

Day 10: Back to Tokyo

On your last day in Tokyo from a 10-day trip, consider making the most of your daytime hours. Start your morning with a delightful breakfast at a nearby café, enjoying a peaceful moment as you plan your day. After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll in a nearby park to soak in the fresh air and serene surroundings. It’s a great way to relax and reflect on your journey before saying goodbye to Tokyo.

If you’re interested in shopping, spend some time exploring Tokyo’s vibrant markets or shopping districts. Look for unique souvenirs or gifts to take home with you. For lunch, treat yourself to another round of delicious Japanese cuisine. Try a new dish or revisit a favorite spot to savor the flavors one last time. In the afternoon, consider visiting a museum or cultural site that captures your interest. Dive into Japan’s rich history and art scene for a memorable experience. 

How much will you spend for 10-Day Japan Itinerary?

In general, it takes around $60 to $80 per day per person if you are looking for a budget-friendly trip to Japan. However, for a luxurious experience, it may take up to $200-$250 per day per person.

Planning a 10-Day Trip to Japan from the USA: A Detailed Cost Breakdown

Flights : Round-trip airfare: The cost of flights from the USA to Japan typically ranges from $800 to $1,200 per person, depending on factors such as the time of year, the departure city, and how far in advance you book.

Accommodation :

  • Budget: Expect to pay $50-$100 per night for budget-friendly options such as hostels or budget hotels. For a 10-day trip, this totals around $500-$1,000.
  • Mid-range: Mid-range hotels generally cost between $100-$200 per night. For 10 days, the total would be approximately $1,000-$2,000.
  • Luxury: High-end hotels and traditional Japanese inns (ryokans) can cost $200-$400+ per night. Over 10 days, this would amount to $2,000-$4,000 or more.


  • Japan Rail Pass: For traveling between cities, a Japan Rail Pass is a cost-effective option. A 7-day pass costs about $200, and a 14-day pass is approximately $315. For a 10-day trip, a 14-day pass may be most convenient if you plan to visit multiple cities.
  • Local transportation: Metro and local train tickets are relatively inexpensive, with daily costs around $10-$15.
  • Budget: $10-$20 per day if dining at convenience stores and budget eateries, totaling $100-$200 for 10 days.
  • Mid-range: $30-$50 per day for a mix of budget and mid-range dining, totaling $300-$500 for 10 days.
  • Luxury: $70-$100+ per day for high-end dining, totaling $700-$1,000+ for 10 days.

Sightseeing and Activities

  • Cultural experiences: Entrance fees to temples and museums typically range from $5-$15. Unique experiences such as traditional tea ceremonies or sumo wrestling events can cost $50-$100 per activity.
  • Popular attractions: Tickets for major attractions like Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan are about $70-$100 each. Budget $200-$500 for activities over 10 days.


  • Shopping and souvenirs: Plan to spend $100-$300, depending on your shopping habits.
  • Travel insurance: Typically costs between $50-$100 for a 10-day trip.

Total Estimated Cost

  • Budget trip: $2,000-$3,000 per person, including flights, accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and miscellaneous expenses.
  • Mid-range trip: $3,000-$5,000 per person.
  • Luxury trip: $6,000-$10,000+ per person.

By adjusting your accommodation, dining choices, and activities, you can manage your expenses to fit your budget. Booking flights and accommodations well in advance can also help you secure better rates. Additionally, purchasing a Japan Rail Pass can save you money if you plan to travel extensively by train.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Japanese food vegetarian-friendly?

Japanese food has great vegetarian options if you do your research beforehand. If you randomly decide to eat vegetarian food somewhere, you may not find good items. It is best to look for good Japanese restaurants that sell pure vegetarian food, as sometimes the chef may garnish vegetarian food with fish or meat flakes.

Is it worth going to Japan for 10 days?

If you want to have a proper trip to Japan, 10 days is the optimal timeframe. You are not going to regret it if you like the idea of their culture and lifestyle. However, you can also make a 7 days trip and skip a few destinations according to your preference. Some people also stretch a few days to have a trip of two weeks because there is just so much to see!

Do I need cash in Japan?

Even though most places accept credit cards in urban areas, temples, and shrines may not accept that. You need cash in rural areas to buy tickets and snacks. 

Should I get yen before going to Japan?

It is recommended to exchange some yen before your trip, but not all of it. You can exchange money at the airport or at a bank in Japan. It is also recommended to bring a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, as many places in Japan accept credit cards.

Related Posts

The best maldives itinerary: cost-breakdown of maldives vacation packages (4 to 7 days), new zealand itinerary & tour packages to design the perfect vacation, the ultimate guide to the best time to travel to japan, best macau trip itinerary: a day macau trip plan from hong kong or mainland china.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Type above and press Enter to search. Press Esc to cancel.

The Portable Wife

Home » Travel » Destinations » 10 Day Japan Itinerary: Golden Route & Hidden Gems

10 Day Japan Itinerary: Golden Route & Hidden Gems

The Ultimate Japan 10 Day Itinerary - Matcha ice cream cone with Osaka Shinsekai street in background

If you had asked me five years ago how to spend 10 days in Japan, I would have given the same boring answer everyone else does. A few days each in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, with maybe a day trip thrown in. Luckily, I’ve explored a lot more of the country since then, and I’m here to share an alternative 10 day Japan itinerary.

Kyoto Kitano Tenmangu temple lanterns with cherry blossoms.

Don’t let the title fool you: this guide still covers all the must see places in Japan , from ancient temples to flashing billboards. But instead of strictly sticking to the traditional “Golden Route”, you’ll take a few detours to explore samurai towns, visit hot springs, and marvel at Mount Fuji.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. My stays in Shizuoka and Kyoto were both hosted as part of a press trip. For more information, click here .

Table of Contents

Days 1-2: tokyo, day 3: nagano, day 4: kanazawa, days 5-6: kyoto, day 7: day trip from kyoto, day 8: shizuoka, day 9: nagoya and osaka, day 10: osaka.

  • Map of 10 Days in Japan Itinerary

Know Before You Go

Don’t Forget Your Japan Rail Pass!

Buying a Japan Rail Pass will save you a ton of time and money during your ten days in Japan.

I’ve purchased a JR pass for two out of three Japan trips, and here’s why:

– Free bullet trains and reservations : Quickly travel all over Japan to maximize vacation time.

– Easy to use: Just show your pass to the gate attendant and walk to your train!

– Affordable day trips: Visit popular places like Nara, Lake Biwa, and more without spending a fortune.

There are passes for 7, 14, and 21 days. Here’s how to decide whether to buy the 7 or 14 day pass:

– If you’re flying round trip out of Tokyo , you should buy the 14 day pass to cover your return trip from Kyoto.

– If you’re flying into Narita , I also recommend the 14 day pass so that you can take the Narita Express into Tokyo without paying 3,000+ yen.

– If you’re flying into Haneda and out of Kansai International , it’s cheaper to buy the 7 day pass and request to start it on day 3. You can still pick up the pass as soon as you arrive in Japan. Just tell the attendant you want the activation date to be whatever date you leave Tokyo for Nagano.

And here’s a pro tip: you can make all of your shinkansen reservations when you pick up your JR pass. It’s a great way to save time and ensure you always get a seat.

Order your Japan Rail Pass now for speedy delivery!

10 Day Japan Itinerary

Nighttime skyline of Tokyo, the first stop on the 10 day Japan itinerary.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing at night with light up signs.

Shake off that jet lag with a visit to Shibuya Crossing , one of the world’s busiest intersections. Take the subway to Shibuya Station and head upstairs to the Starbucks, where you’ll have an overhead view of all the action.

This area is chaotic nearly 24/7 with a mix of pedestrians and cyclists making their way through the zebra crossings, so keep your wits about you when trying to snap a ground-level photo. That being said, it’s worth taking a few passes through the intersection to really absorb the different angles and flashing billboards. It’s the kind of place that’ll make you say “ah, I’ve arrived in Japan!”.

Shibuya Sky

View of Mt Fuji and Tokyo city from rooftop deck of Shibuya Sky.

The first time I spent 10 days in Japan, Shibuya looked very different with far fewer tall buildings and sprawling shopping complexes. Today, the district is positively stacked with stores, restaurants, and entertainment thanks to places like Shibuya Stream and Shibuya Scramble Square.

One of the area’s newest popular attractions is Shibuya Sky , a three-storey observation area located on floors 45-46 plus the rooftop of Shibuya Scramble Square. Thanks to its central location, high altitude, and 360 degree views, Shibuay Sky handily takes the crown as the best places for panoramic views over Tokyo.

On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji in the distance, and it’s become a popular spot to watch the sunset in Tokyo.

To ensure you don’t get stuck waiting in line for an entry ticket, I highly recommend buying your timed entry tickets in advance . You’ll get a QR code emailed that you can show on your phone for fast entry.

While there are plenty of signs directing visitors to the right elevators for Shibuya Sky, you should know that you need to take one of the elevators on the 1st or 2nd floor on the exterior of Shibuya Scramble Crossing in order to reach the 14th floor where the Shibuya Sky entry gates are. From there, you’ll be directed to another elevator that goes directly up to Shibuya Sky.

Once you’re up there, the views are absolutely incredible. And in true Japanese style, there are organized queues at a couple locations to snap photos with no people in the background.

Panoramic view over Tokyo city and skyscrapers with Mt Fuji in the distance.

Don’t skip past the interior floors either! You can get great views over Shibuya Crossing, enjoy a drink from the bar and cafe, shop for Shibuya-themed souvenirs, and partake in some interactive exhibits before heading back down the elevator.

84Cafe (Secret Nintendo Bar)

Inside 84 Cafe Secret Nintendo Bar with various plushies and artwork.

My visit to 84 Cafe –a.k.a. the “secret Nintendo bar”–will live among my top travel memories of all time. Anyone who grew up with Nintendo’s games (or still playes them today!) needs to make this a non-negotiable in their 10 day Japan itinerary.

84 Cafe started out as a private space for Nintendo staff to kick back, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. Relics from visitors like Koji Kondo and Chokan, the cafe’s owner (real name Toru Hashimoto), cover the walls, furniture, and even the ceiling. Everywhere you look, there’s another new autographed sketch or rare video game box to take you down memory lane.

In 2022, Chokan opened the space to the public, so we can all bask in the nostalgia and get the inside scoop of what it’s like to work at Nintendo and develop some of its most iconic games. He worked on some of my favorite childhood games including Yoshi’s Island, Pokemon, and Hey You, Pikachu!, so I had tons of fun chatting with him.

Because the cafe’s location is a secret and it’s a place best explored with no spoilers, I won’t go into many more details here. In order to access the cafe, you’ll need to make a reservation online (with advance payment). Bookings are 90 minutes long and come with free Japanese snacks and a drink.

Thankfully, you don’t need to worry about stumbling about Shibuya looking for the place or not being able to communicate in Japanese. After your reservation is confirmed, you’ll be emailed a meeting spot and time where your English-speaking guide will escort you to the cafe and help translate between you and Chokan.

Shibuya Shops

Interior of GBL store with Studio Ghibli merchandise.

As mentioned earlier, Shibuya is best known for its abundance of stores that carry everything from high fashion to anime-themed merchandise. You can easily spend a whole day browsing and buying your way across town, but to keep this 10 day Japan itinerary on track, I suggest limiting yourself to Shibuya Loft and Miyashita Park .

Ghibli fans and stationary/organization lovers need to check out GBL and HIGHTIDE in Miyashita Park, while Shibuya Loft is a department store with a trendier, cooler vibe than that of Parco or Isetan. Both locations have loads of cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat before heading to the next destination.

Yoyogi Park

Large wooden torii gate over path through forest in Yoyogi Park Tokyo.

For a calming change of pace, take a stroll around Yoyogi Park . Located less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Scramble, a quiet walk through these shaded pathways is the perfect palette cleanser from the hectic streets of Shibuya.

Inside this magical, tree-filled green space lies Meiji Jingu, a large shrine complex with a famous iris garden that blooms in June. You’ll also find the much-photographed wall of ceremonial sake barrels not far from the shrine’s entrace.

Two sacred trees with rope between them inside Meiji Jingu shrine.

The Meiji treasure house and annex stores kimonos and personal effects of current and former royal family members. You can go inside for 500 yen. There’s also the inner garden, where irises bloom in late June (also 500 yen admission).

However, it costs nothing to pass through the main complex and it’s a must-see while in Tokyo.

Many pedestrians walking around Harajuku Takeshita street in Tokyo.

Jump back into the bustling city life in Harajuku , Tokyo’s epicenter of all things cute and cool. Takeshita Dori is famous for eclectic shopping, like anime pencil cases and over-the-top Lolita dresses.

The main street can be extremely overwhelming if you aren’t used to crowds, so don’t be afraid to slip away down one of the connecting alleys. In fact, these side roads are home to some of the best boutiques and thrift shops in Harajuku.

Be sure to enjoy a sweet crepe at Angels Heart before moving on (I recommend the strawberry and chocolate).

Blue and brown facades of old Tokyo cafes with bikes out front.

From Harajuku Station, take the subway to Shinjuku , where people flock for shopping and nighttime entertainment options. Full of flashing billboards and upbeat music bursting from arcades and bars, Shinjuku feels like the beating heart of Tokyo.

But before you get sucked into the maze of streets, head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for amazing and free views over the city. You can access the observation decks via the 1st floor elevator, though be prepared for a short-ish queue depending on the day and time of your visit.

Afterwards, walk back towards Shinjuku Station and keep going east. You’ll soon reach Shinjuku Park , a massive green space in the heart of Tokyo.

Pay the 200 yen admission fee and wander the numerous garden paths, which are lined with cherry blossoms in the spring. There’s also a greenhouse, Chinese garden, and an open field with great views of the city skyline.

Omoide Yokocho, Golden Gai & Kabukicho

Dark hazy alley of Omoide Yokocho with hanging lanterns and pedestrians.

At this point, it should be close to dark, and that’s when Shinjuku comes alive.

Tucked away next to the tracks of Shinjuku Station, Omoide Yokocho is one of the coolest places you’ll visit during this 10 day Japan itinerary. Meaning “Memory Lane”, this lantern-lit alley is jam-packed with tiny izakaya (Japanese pubs), yakitori shops, and watering holes.

I loved peering into the restaurants through the hazy coal fire smoke. It felt like a place stuck out of time.

From Omoide Yokocho, head east to reach Golden Gai , the seedier and more famous cousin of Omoide Yokocho.

Dark alley of Golden Gai Tokyo lined with air conditioners and bar signs.

Though it’s a cool place to walk around, I don’t recommend going inside any bars without a guide. It’s one of the few places in Japan where foreigners are often overcharged, and some places only allow Japanese patrons.

Instead, book a Golden Gai tour with a local who can help you get an authentic Shinjuku experience.

Wrap up the night at the infamous Kabukicho , Tokyo’s “red light district”. You’ll find endless streets of hostess clubs, love hotels, and karaoke bars beneath the flashing lights. Despite its reputation, Kabukicho is perfectly safe and plenty of fun if you stick to the private karaoke rooms and stay out of the clubs.

Shinjuku Kabukicho alley at night with illuminated signs and pedestrians.

Tokyo Tower

Pedestrians walking down sidewalk towards Tokyo Tower in distance.

Day two of this 10 day Japan itinerary kicks off at Tokyo Tower, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Considered the Eiffel Tower of Japan, the red and grey structure serves as a radio tower, observation deck, and nighttime illumation complete with color changes according to the season.

Given that you’ll have seen Tokyo from above twice already (with the potential for a 3rd viewing later today), you can skip the paid observation deck and instead stroll around Shiba Park and Zojo-ji . Dating back to the 1600s, Zojo-ji’s beautiful red temple and main gate look particularly cool amid the backdrop of modern Tokyo Tower.

Long staircase lined with vermillion torii gates at Hie Shrine.

Want the experience of passing beneath hundreds of torii gates without the crushing tourist crowds? Tokyo’s Hie Shrine is the answer.

There are a few ways to reach the shrine via metro from the Tokyo Tower area, but you can easily access the shrine from all of the nearby stations (the south side even has an escalator!). The torii are located on the southwest side, but I find that the view from the top of the shrine looking down the stairs (pictured above) is better than the view from the street level.

Said to enshrine the guardian diety of Tokyo, Hie is among the city’s most important places. People also come here to pray for business success, and it’s common to see dozens of well-dressed men and women milling about the complex during lunch and after the work day ends.

Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace with view of pond and skyscrapers.

Next, take a brief walk northeast Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, where the city’s iconic mix of old and new architecture is most apparent.

The  Tokyo Imperial Palace  serves as the official royal residence of Japan, thus the palace itself is only open one day a year. However, you can check out the Kokyo Gaien National Garden on the complex’s east side any time for great views and a peaceful atmosphere.

Street view of Akihabara's many colorful billboards and tourists spending 10 days in Japan.

After exploring the gardens, walk over to Tokyo Station and catch the Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station. It’s time for anime billboards, arcades, and otaku culture in Akihabara , Tokyo’s Electric Town!

Pop into Super Potato for retro gaming collectibles, Don Quijote for funky and affordable souvenirs , and TAITO Station for multiple floors of arcades and crane games.

Grab lunch from a street food vendor (taiyaki and takoyaki are always good options), or visit a maid cafe for an over-the-top dining experience you’re sure to remember.

Akiba is also a great place to shop for manga. Animate and Mandarake both have large collections, though most copies are in Japanese.

Even if you aren’t into otaku culture, it’s still a must-see area when visiting Tokyo.

Japanese post box and cherry blossom tree in front of colorful stores and arcades in Akihabara.

Before you head to the next neighborhood, take a slight detour west to pop into Kanda Myojin Shrine , one of my favorites in the city. The 400-year-old site with its manga-themed ema (wooden prayer votives) are yet another example of Japan’s juxtaposition of old and new.

Front of Kanda Myojin Shrine with planter boxes and stone lion statue.

Visiting Eorzea Cafe

Fans of the online MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV should try to make a reservation at the Eorzea Cafe, where you can consume FFXIV-themed food and drink surrounded by gorgeous replicas of in-game items and characters.

As long-time players of the MMO (and the FF series in general), my husband and I had a blast here. There’s even a mini-Cackpot game where you can win a huge honey toast or a free drink.

Reservations can be made one month in advance and book up quickly, so I suggest setting a reminder on your calendar to reserve your table ASAP.

Interior of Eorzea Cafe Tokyo with wooden pillars, tables, and stained glass arch window.

You can easily spend the rest of the day in Asakusa , Tokyo’s historical Edo period neighborhood. The main draw for tourists is Senso-ji , a massive temple and one of Japan’s top sightseeing attractions.

Explore Nakamise Dori and the surrounding alleys before walking to Sumida Park for river views and cherry blossoms in the spring.

Asakusa is rich with history and culture, so I suggest booking a guided tour to discover the hidden gems.

If you have more time and energy, cross the river to reach Tokyo Skytree . This radio tower/mall/aquarium/observation deck is a true amalgamation of Tokyo life. Aside from the popular panoramic overlook , the Skytree is a great place to find cute character cafes and shops (they had a Kirby themed pop-up last time I visited).

Alternate Option: Studio Ghibli Museum

The Studio Ghibli Museum was a major highlight of my first 10 day Japan itinerary. This whimsical interactive space celebrates Miyazaki’s film studio and life, from Spirited Away sketches to a life-size Cat Bus.

You’ll need about 4 hours for this excursion (including travel time), so you’ll need to adjust your itinerary to squeeze in a visit.

Museum tickets must be purchased in advance and sell out very quickly, sometimes in a single day. US travelers can go through Lawson’s online portal to buy tickets. Lawson’s sells tickets for the following month beginning at 10:00am Japan time on the 10th of the month (i.e. tickets for March dates go on sale February 10th).

Where to stay in Tokyo

Interior of Tokyo Prince Hotel king size room with bed, window, desk, dresser.

Tokyo’s excellent train and subway system means you can stay pretty much anywhere.

However, for this Japan ten day itinerary, I suggest staying in either Shinjuku , Shibuya , Minato , or Kanda . All of these wards offer a wide range of accommodation, food/drink, and access to Tokyo’s main subway lines.

I’ve personally stayed at the Tokyu Stay Shinjuku and the Tokyo Prince Hotel (located right next to Tokyo Tower). The former is a solid mid-range option with plenty of nearby restaurants, shops, and metro stations, and ideal if you’re planning on late nights of drinking or karaoke.

Depending on the dates of your 10 day Japan trip, the Tokyo Prince Hotel costs about as much as any other nice hotel in the city center but comes with spacious rooms, killer views (half of the rooms overlook Tokyo Tower), and gorgeous facilities and restaurants. Plus it’s a short walk to the stations with direct links to Narita and Haneda Airports, so your jet-lagged self won’t have far to navigate after arriving.

Matsumoto Castle and reflecting pond against blue sky.

This is where my alternative 10 day Japan itinerary goes off the beaten path . Instead of hopping on the shinkansen and heading south along the Golden Route, you’ll travel north to Nagano prefecture.

The Japanese Alps run through the region, providing great opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other nature activities. It may sound intense if you aren’t physically active or an “outdoorsy” person. But thankfully, you don’t need to be an athlete to experience the highlights.

Here are a few ways to spend your day in Nagano:

  • Hike the serene, cedar-lined shrine path of Togakushi
  • Chase waterfalls (and Terrace House locations) in Karuizawa
  • Marvel at Matsumoto Castle on your way to hike Kamikochi , Japan’s most beautiful national park
  • Visit the snow monkey hot spring of Jigokudani

Check out my complete guide on things to do in Nagano to plan your visit!

Snow monkeys bathing in hot spring with snowfall

Where to stay in Nagano

Chisun Grand Nagano lounge with green sofa and wood open bookshelf

If you’re closely following this 10 day Japan itinerary, I highly recommend staying at the Chisun Grand Nagano . It’s a short walk from Nagano Station, and very affordable. I was pleasantly surprised at the spaciousness of my room, which had a gorgeous view of the mountains. And the in-room massage chair was a welcome treat after long days of hiking.

Book your stay at Chisun Grand Nagano!

Accommodation near Karuizawa station could also work depending on how you spend your day.

Woman in pink kimono walking in evening under lanterns.

Kanazawa is easily in my top five favorite Japanese cities. Thanks to sheer luck and some strategic positioning, Kanazawa was relatively untouched by war and natural disasters since the Edo era.

Chaya Districts

Couple in yukata walking down street in Kanazawa.

Walking through the famous “chaya” districts is like stepping back in time, with many Japanese tourists dressed in traditional yukata and kimonos.

Several of these historic districts, known for their geishas and tea houses, have been preserved since the 1600s.  Nishi Chaya, Kazue-machi, and Higashi Chaya are the most intact, with several tea houses and shops still operating in Higashi Chaya.

In the evening, the warm glow of lanterns combined with the tea house hostesses shuffling about in kimonos makes for a magical experience.

Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle behind bridge and trees.

Constructed in the 1500’s, Kanazawa Castle rises above the city center. In the spring, cherry blossoms add a lovely pop of pink around the main entrance.

Walking the exterior of the castle is free of charge. But if you pay 310 yen for admission, you’ll find beautifully restored wooden beams and cultural artifacts inside the turrets and storehouse.

Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa with old trees, mossy ground, stream, and tea house in distance.

Just across from the castle lies Kenroku-en , one of the “Three Great Gardens” of Japan. This impressive green space includes reflecting pools, moss gardens, a traditional tea house, and panoramic viewpoints over the city.

And if you’re traveling to Japan in October , you’ll also see some stunning red Japanese maples!

Admission is 320 yen and well worth it.

Interactive Museums

If you’re curious about samurai or ninja life, check out the Nomura Clan Samurai House and Myoryuji ninja temple . While the samurai museum takes walk-in guests, you’ll need to make a reservation to tour the ninja temple. However, being able to explore its secret passageways and hidden traps is worth the inconvenience.

And if samurai are really your thing, you could squeeze in a trip to the Kanazawa Ashigaru Museum . Like the Nomura Clan House, this building is a living museum to Edo-era footsoldiers who served the Kaga clan.

Read my complete Kanazawa itinerary to plan this portion of your 10 day Japan itinerary.

Note: There’s a lot to see in Kyoto, the next stop, so I suggest taking the 7:00am JR Thunderbird from Kanazawa to Kyoto Station for an early start.

Where to stay in Kanazawa

Interior of room at Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi including bed, wall desk, shoji screens, and gold wall art.

In keeping with the Old World theme, I suggest spending the night in a ryokan. These Japanese inns offer a unique cultural experience, with tatami floors, futon beds, and (usually) a traditional breakfast.

Sumiyoshiya has stylish rooms at an affordable price, while Motoyu Ishiya offers the ultimate ryokan experience complete with Japanese garden views.

However, if a ryokan is out of your budget (or you’re not keen to sleep on the floor), I personally recommend Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi .

We had the pleasure of meeting the hotel’s owner, and he and his staff couldn’t have been more lovely. It was clear to see how much care the owner put into choosing the materials and furnishings, including natural stone floors and a ryokan-like central courtyard space.

Plus, your stay comes with an insanely good Japanese breakfast and night-time udon soup. And the location is hard to beat–10 minutes’ walk from the station and central to all of the town’s major sights.

Book your stay at Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi here!

Save me for later!

The Best of Japan in 10 Days - collage of red pagoda, Himeji Castle, and snow monkey onsen

Kyoto is my favorite city in Japan, if not the world. Surrounded by mountains and split by a river, it’s a dazzling blend of nature and man-made design. It has a distinctly different feel than other large Japanese cities, namely because of all the preserved temples, shrines, and historic districts.

Getting Around Kyoto

Unlike other cities, Kyoto’s main mode of public transit is bus. While there are metro and train lines connecting key sites, it’s often better to use the local and sightseeing buses to get around.

The Raku sightseeing buses travel clockwise and counterclockwise to all the major tourist spots. It’s a flat rate fare (230 yen in 2020) no matter where you get on or off, and they accept change and ICOCA cards.

There’s also a JR bus route that stops at popular sites like Nijo Castle and Kinkakuji. JR pass holders can ride for free.

Although you can purchase a two day Kyoto subway + bus pass, you won’t save much money over the regular fares (assuming you follow this itinerary).

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle roof against blue sky with pink sakura branches in foreground.

Start your day at Nijo Castle , the former home of the Ieyasu shogunate that’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the walls, you can tour the elegant Ninomaru Palace and grounds.

Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji

Gold Kinkakuji temple reflecting in pond surrounded by autumn trees.

The next stop is Kinkakuji , a.k.a. the Golden Pavilion. Take the JR Bus here from Nijo Castle and get ready to be wowed. Kinkakuji is a glittering Zen temple covered in gold leaf, and the view of the building from across the reflecting pool is unforgettable.

After passing through the pretty tea house gardens, hop on the Raku bus towards Ginkakuji , a.k.a. the Silver Pavilion. The temple has a slightly confusing name because it’s not actually silver!

Ginkakuji’s official name is Higashiyama Jisho-ji,and it was supposed to be a shiny silver version of Kinkakuji. However, the project to cover the facade in silver leaf never happened, and the temple remains a humble wooden structure. Ginkakuji has two fantastic gardens, including one made of raked sand.

Philosopher’s Path

Kyoto Philosopher's Walk pathway leading along stream and beneath cherry blossom trees.

Just a short walk away from Ginkakuji, you’ll find the northern entrance to the Philosopher’s Path . This scenic footpath runs along a canal and is lined with charming cafes, shops, and cherry blossoms in the spring.

Keep an eye out for Suzuki Shofudo , an adorable papercraft shop with a frog mascot. I brought back several souvenirs from here during my first 10 day trip to Japan.

It takes around 20 minutes to walk the entire 2km path without stopping. And when you reach the southern exit, you’ll be just around the corner from Eikan-do Zenrin-ji .

People travel from all over the world to see the incredible autumn colors on display here. However, the complex is remarkable no matter what the season, especially the famous garden with a reflecting pool and stone bridge.

View out of wooden gate towards trees and stone pathway in Nanzenji temple.

Nearby Nanzen-ji is also a must see. Situated near the base of Kyoto’s eastern mountains, Nanzen-ji is one of Japan’s most important Buddhist temples.

Because of its hillside placement, the huge temple gate offers lovely views, and the vast grounds are a peaceful escape from the city.

Heian Shrine

Kyoto Heian Shrine exterior with empty rocky courtyard and trees in background.

From here, it’s a 15-minute walk to Heian Shrine . You’ll pass beneath Kyoto’s iconic giant torii gate that spans Jingu-michi street, so have your camera ready at the crosswalk!

Unlike the city’s other ancient buildings, Heian Shrine was built relatively recently in 1898 to commemorate Kyoto’s 1100th birthday. Don’t miss the splendid garden that wraps around the outer complex, which boasts a huge pond and covered wooden bridge.

I don’t often make restaurant recommendations in my itineraries. But there are some truly fabulous dinner spots around Heian Shrine that deserve mentioning:

  • Mughal is Kyoto’s premier Indian restaurant–the head chef came over from London’s Dishoom!
  • Hatsune Sushi is a cozy local spot serving traditional Kyoto-style sushi at an affordable price
  • Masutomi dishes out delicious soba, including a popular duck set

Kitano Tenmangu

Plum blossom trees with path leading to red zen bridge.

If you’re visiting Kyoto during plum blossom season, you have to check out Kitano Tenmangu . There’s a sprawling plum grove that’s absolutely dripping with flowers in late winter.

Students and their parents visit the temple before important exams to pray for good luck and pet the cow statue’s heads to increase their wisdom. And if you visit on the 25th of the month, you can browse Tenjin Market for antiques, clothes, crafts, and food.

Kyoto Imperial Palace

trip to japan 10 days

Hop on one of the buses (there are multiple options) from Kitano Tenmangu mae to Kyoto Imperial Palace . This was the Imperial family’s home until 1898, when the capital was relocated to Tokyo.

In the past, a reservation was required to explore the vast grounds, but today it’s freely accessible (though you can’t go inside any buildings).

If you’re doing this 10 day Japan itinerary in late February, you’ll get to see the castle’s gorgeous plum blossom garden in bloom!

Kyoto International Manga Museum

From here, walk south on Karasuma-dori Street to reach the Kyoto International Manga Museum . Anyone who loves libraries or has even a passing interest in manga (Japanese comics) needs to see this place.

There are towering shelves packed with every manga series imaginable, as well as exhibits and art galleries in English/Japanese that showcase both famous and up-and-coming illustrators.

Kyoto Pontocho alley in evening with lanterns and wood facades.

Head east towards the river to reach one of my favorite places in Japan: Pontocho Alley .

This long, lantern-filled alley is lined with old-fashioned wooden facades and mysterious entrances to dark narrow corridors. The atmosphere is distinctly Japanese and reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film.

You could pop into a sit-down restaurant in Pontocho for lunch, or save your appetite for the next stop: Nishiki Market .

Nishiki Market

To be frank, I was hesitant about including Nishiki on this 10 day Japan itinerary because it’s become pretty touristy. Locals no longer come here to do their grocery shopping, and most vendors have shifted gears to cater to foreigners.

However, Nishiki Market is still a phenomenal place to sample Japanese cuisine like grilled oysters, taiyaki (fish-shaped pastry with sweet bean paste), and dango (grilled dumplings with sweet sauce).

I consider Japanese department stores a sightseeing experience, and one of my favorites is Daimaru . It’s Kyoto’s 2nd largest, with 10 floors packed with clothes, accessories, electronics, and more.

Highlights include the giant handkerchief selection on 1F, and the elegant kimonos and super cute stationary on 6F. But the best thing about Daimaru is the enormous basement food hall, where hundreds of stalls sell everything from tempura to bread to traditional sweets.

Rengeoin Sanjusangendo

Sanjusangendo temple with autumn leaves and pond.

After a few hours of hedonism, hop on the sightseeing bus and humble yourself with a visit to Rengeoin Sanjusangendo . This Buddhist temple will blow you away with its 1,001 tall statues of the Goddess Kannon arranged in rows.

Admission is 600 yen. You’ll need to change into slippers when you enter, so be sure to wear good socks on this day!


Old street in Kyoto lined with wooden buildings, with view of Kiyomizu pagoda at the end.

From here, it’s a 20 minute walk to another jaw-dropping temple: Kiyomizu-dera . Easily the most popular temple in Kyoto (if not all of Japan), Kiyomizu-dera is a large complex of buildings and gardens set on a hill among a forest of trees and bamboo.

The multi-story wooden main hall has an observation deck with outstanding views over Kyoto, and it’s especially magical when the leaves turn red and gold in autumn.

Back down the hill you’ll find Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka , the picturesque and historic neighborhood streets with views of Kiyomizu’s pagoda. Please respect the “no photography” signs where posted.

Two maikos in red kimonos and parasols spending 10 days in Japan.

At this point, you’re approaching the heart of Gion, Kyoto’s famous “geisha district”.

This area is full of beautiful alleys, traditional shops, and elegant tea houses. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a geisha or maiko apprentice on their way to an appointment (but please appreciate them from a distance).

There’s a lot to see and do in Gion, but these highlights are not to be missed:

  • Hanamikoji is the district’s main street, where you’ll find lots of shops and street food counters operating under the pretty sakura lanterns. It’s a great place to pick up traditional wagashi –Japanese sweets–as a souvenir (Kagizen Yoshifusa is my favorite wagashi shop).
  • Yasaka Shrine sits at the end of Hanamikoji, and is one of Japan’s most culturally significant shrines thanks to the Gion Matsuri festival held every summer.
  • Behind Yasaka lies Maruyama Park , a lush green space that’s home to multiple temples and Japanese gardens.

This historic distict holds a ton of secrets and charms, and the best way to discover them (and spot a few geisha along the way!) is on a walking tour with a local.

Book your Gion evening walking tour here !

Gion is also the epicenter of Japanese haute cuisine known as kaiseki . Every aspect of the meal, from the ingredients to the plating to the order in which dishes are served, is governed by Japanese principles of nature, balance, and order.

While kaiseki dinner is quite expensive (upwards of $100 per person), the flavors and overall experience are well worth the cost if you can swing it.

Where to stay in Kyoto

Kyoto Traveler's Inn western style hotel room with blue and white floral bedding.

I’ve been to Kyoto a few times, and one of my favorite places to stay is Kyoto Traveler’s Inn .

It’s conveniently located across from a sightseeing loop bus stop and a giant torii gate (so you’ll never get lost!). Gion and Pontocho are a short walk away.

Plus, they offer a mix of Western and Japanese-style rooms depending on your preference. And the staff are super friendly and speak enough English to help you navigate the city.

Book your stay at Kyoto Traveler’s Inn now!

Kuramadera entrance with lantern and cherry blossoms

Part of why I love Kyoto is the sheer number of awesome destinations within day trip distance. You can explore ancient shrines where sacred deer roam, ride a scenic train beneath cherry blossoms, kayak next to a floating torii gate… the options are endless!

To help you choose, I wrote a guide to the top day trips from Kyoto . Nature lovers will especially love the destinations, though anyone can appreciate these beautiful excursions.

Small deer walking in front of large wooden pagoda in Nara.

That being said, my recommended day trip from Kyoto is Nara , the former capital of Japan that’s full of roaming deer. It’s hard to top the experience of hand-feeding baby animals while walking through moss-covered temple grounds.

I’ve written an entire Nara day trip itinerary that covers the main sights:

  • Isuien Garden
  • Todai-ji Temple (home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue)
  • Kasuga Taisha

Nara deer sleeping on hill in front of plum blossom tree.

Colorful shrines, Mount Fuji views, matcha cafes… Shizuoka City has some of the best things to do in Japan in 10 days.

While Shizuoka prefecture’s natural beauty draws in a fair number of tourists, the region’s capital remains off the beaten track for international travelers. In fact, you’ll surprise a lot of Japanese people by telling them you visited the places listed here (at least in my experience)!

Sunpu Castle

Side view of Sunpu Castle with white exterior and wooden bridge over moat.

Start your journey at Sunpu Castle , the former home of the Ieyasu shogunate. The castle remnants and grounds have been converted into a bustling park with pretty views towards the distant mountains.

Just a few blocks away is CHA10 , a modern green tea cafe with a killer matcha nitro and fluffy cheesecake. Shizuoka prefecture produces over 40% of Japan’s green tea, so drinking a glass (or three) is a must while you’re here.

View of Mount Fuji peak from overlook point, with brown grass and red plants in foreground.

Once you’re feeling refreshed, walk over to Shizuoka Station’s bus terminal and journey to the Nihondaira for Mount Fuji views (check the timetables and other travel information here .) .

This observatory and park at the top of Mount Udo is free to enter, and boasts 360 degree panoramic decks overlooking Shizuoka prefecture and the ocean. Seeing Fuji-san rising behind the city bay was among my top memories from my 10 days in Japan.

Kunozan Tosho-gu

Close-up view of ornate carvings on wooden gate of Kunozan Toshogu shrine.

From here, you can take a scenic cable car ropeway down to Kunozan Tosho-gu , where renowned shogunate leader Tokugata Ieyasu is enshrined.

Kunozan is a complex of colorful buildings surrounded by lush forests, with beautiful ocean views from the top. It’s the kind of mystical place that entices people to visit Japan.

As mentioned previously, this place is off the beaten path even for Japanese tourists, so you can take your time and soak up every angle and detail without the press and noise of crowds. There were only four or five other people here during my visit in late February.

Open gates of Kunozan Toshogu shrine with view of torii gate, plum blossom, and trees in distance.

Miho no Matsubara

If the weather is clear and you have the time, head out to Miho no Matsubara . This tree-lined beach with Mt. Fuji views is one of Japan’s best scenic points. It’s tough and time-consuming to get here via public transit, so your best bet is to take a taxi (use the Japan Taxi app or call and ask your hotel to order one for you).

Where to stay in Shizuoka

Interior of hotel room with two beds, desk, two chairs, and window.

For an ultra-convenient and comfortable stay, book at the Hotel Associa Shizuoka .

You’ll be in the heart of the city with easy access to the train station, restaurants, and matcha cafes. Their rooms are incredibly spacious (even by Western standards), and the upstairs bar and dining areas offer stunning views over Mount Fuji.

Book your stay at Hotel Associa Shizuoka today!

Osaka alley at night with red lanterns and stone path.

To make the most of this 10 day Japan itinerary, I don’t recommend spending the night in Nagoya. Instead, you’ll check out the city’s highlights before continuing south to Osaka for some nighttime exploring.

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle complex on a cloudy day.

Nagoya is a popular stopover between Tokyo and Kyoto thanks to its iconic castle. Constructed during the Edo-period, Nagoya Castle was one of Japan’s largest until it was bombed in 1945.

Restoration efforts are still ongoing, most recently with the main palace getting rebuilt and reopening in 2018. Surrounding the castle, you’ll find a mix of Japanese gardens, ponds, hanging wisteria, and a plum blossom grove that blooms near the end of winter.

To get here from Nagoya Station, you can either walk 30 minutes or take two metro lines (about 12-15 minutes’ journey depending on the route). Luggage lockers at Nagoya Station are plentiful, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a place to store your bags during this stopover.

Nagoya Castle Restoration

Nagoya’s main keep is set to be torn down and rebuilt between 2024 and 2028. It’s hard to say whether or not the castle will still be worth visiting during some or all of the restoration timeline, so I suggest doing a bit of reading online and adjust your 10 days in Japan accordingly.

Atsuta Jingu

Wall of ceremonial sake barrels next to sacred tree spotted during 10 day Japan itinerary.

After exploring the castle, take the Meijo subway line south to Atsuta Jingu, a serene respite in the middle of Nagoya city. The shrine complex is famous for its tall cypress trees and lush walking paths lined with flowering trees during spring and summer.

Before you leave Nagoya, enjoy a delicious lunch of hitsumabushi . This miso-glazed grilled eel is served with condiments like hot tea and pickled vegetables, and is a must eat food in Japan .

If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, grab an unagi bento from the station before catching the shinkansen train to Osaka.

Visting Ghibli Park

Fans of Studio Ghibli will love the recently opened  Ghibli Park . Located a short bus + tram ride east of Nagoya city center, this whimsical wonderland was built up around the old replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from  My Neighbor Totoro .

While it used to be a huge fuss for non-residents to gain admission, it’s now possible to buy Ghibli Park tickets internationally! All tickets require an  advanced online reservation , so be sure to plan this excursion out well before your departure.

If you are going to put this in your 10 day Japan itinerary, I suggest going straight from Nagoya Station to the park, as it will make the transit less complicated. Once your Ghibli time is up, you can skip Atsuta Jingu entirely and go to Nagoya Castle.

Osaka Dotonbori

Osaka Dotonbori canal at night with illuminated billboards and boat traveling down waterway.

Drop your bags and dive right into the famous Osaka nightlife at Dotonbori . You’ll pass beneath colorful billboards, neon lights, and some giant sea creatures as you weave through the crowded streets.

Be sure to check out Hozenji Yokocho and the riverfront Glico Sign and Ebisu Bridge .

If you’re hungry for dinner, you’re in the right place! Osaka is a street food mecca, and there’s plenty of it in Dotonbori.

Takoyaki (fried balls of octopus) and okonomiyaki (egg and cabbage pancakes with mix-ins and savory sauce) are the city’s specialties. For a sit-down meal, I highly recommend okonomiyaki at Fukutaro .


Osaka Shinsaibashi street at light with illuminated signs and giant gyoza.

Before you turn in for the night, cross the river to reach Shinsaibashi , Osaka’s premier shopping district. Even if you aren’t looking to buy, its vibrant shopfronts and covered markets are a must see after dark.

Where to stay in Osaka

For this short trip to Osaka, I recommend staying near Namba Station . Most of the activities are walkable from here, and the rest can be easily reached via public transit.. Plus, you’ll have an easy connection back to the shinkansen station or airport.

Hotel WBF Namba Motomachi is a great option for budget travelers. The rooms are simple and small, but the location is perfect for exploring Osaka on foot in a short time.

Osaka Shinsekai street with covered shopping arcade and pedestrians.

Close out your 10 day Japan itinerary with an epic exploration of Osaka. There’s a lot of walking involved today, so wear your comfiest shoes!

Sumiyoshi Taisha

Osaka Sumiyoshi Taisha temple gate with tree at sunrise.

You’ll have an early yet magical start at Sumiyoshi Taisha , a 1,600-year-old Shinto shrine. The sprawling complex includes twisting trees and a lovely pond with a red footbridge.

It’s best to visit before 9am, when the grounds are still quiet and the priests are conducting their morning chores.

Exit on the eastern side and cross the street to reach Sumiyoshitorii-mae tram stop (it’s the raised platform in the median). Then, take the Hankaidenki-Hankai tram to Dobutsuen-mae.

Green ice cream cone with busy Shinsekai street in background.

Hop off the tram and walk north to Shinsekai , the Insta-famous street with a view of Tsutenkaku tower. There are tons of restaurants and shops in the area, including a massive Don Quijote.

The whole place has the feel of a carnival with music, game centers, and abundant street food vendors. The retro covered shopping arcade feels as though it hasn’t changed since the late 80s, which is Osaka’s vibe in general.

Tennoji Park and Keitakuen Garden

Osaka Tennoji Park view of pathway along river with red zen bridge crossing waterway.

From here, it’s a short walk to Tennoji Park , a huge green space in the middle of Osaka. The red zen bridges and view of the radio tower make for yet another striking combo in this urban landscape.

Definitely pay the 150 yen admission to Keitakuen Garden for unique views of the city skyline.

There are several paths that loop and cross Keitakuen Garden, so keep an eye on the small wooden signs as you explore. You’ll eventually need to exit north to reach the next set of temples.

Isshinji and Shittenoji

Osaka Shittenoji Temple red and white exterior with two skyscrapers rising in the distance.

Exit the garden to the north and pass by Isshinji Temple on your way to Shittenoji , an impressive and ancient Buddhist temple with a gorgeous pagoda. I loved that you could see the modern skyscrapers rising behind the historic buildings.

If you’re visiting on the 21st of the month, you’re in luck! Shittenoji hosts a monthly Daishie Market where vendors sell all sorts of artisan crafts, clothes, antiques, ingredients, and tasty food. It’s an excellent place to pick up a few souvenirs.

Kuromon Market

Exterior of takoyaki storefront in Kuromon Market with large cartoon octopus on top.

After exploring the temple complex, it’s time to eat! Walk west to Ebisucho Station and take the Sakaisuji Line to Nippombashi Station. This will drop you right outside Kuromon Market , one of the busiest food markets in Japan.

Kuromon Market is 100 years old, but only started selling street food around 2016 due to an influx of Chinese tourists. Before then, it was a shopping market frequented by locals.

Kuromon can be pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t speak Japanese, so I strongly recommend booking a guided food tour with a local . I had the best time sampling and learning about Japanese cuisine with Hiro, our local guide.

Book your Kuromon Market food tour here!

Den Den Town

Man cycling down street of Den Den town next to covered sidewalk.

Like Akiba, Den Den Town is filled with arcades, figure sellers, manga stores, and electronic shops. While there aren’t as many colorful billboards lining the streets, there’s still plenty to see and do here.

Super Potato has a location here, and Super Kids Land is jam-packed with figures, model kits, trading cards, and other nerd culture favorites. For gaming, check out Namco’s classic arcade or The Silver Ball Planet if you like pinball.

Osaka Castle

Side exterior view of Osaka Castle with pink cherry blossom branches in foreground.

Depending on where you ended up, it’s a 30-ish minute journey by metro to Osaka Castle . Photos do not do this place justice.

The five-storied layers of white, gold, and teal are absolutely breathtaking when viewed up close, especially through a veil of plum and cherry blossoms. You can also pay 600 yen to visit the castle tower for stellar views over the city below.

However, the lines are always super long, so I recommend skipping the tower and simply enjoying the views from the surrounding park.

Front of Osaka Castle against partly cloudy sky.

Umeda Sky Building

And speaking of awesome overlooks, you’ll cap off your 10 days in Japan at the Umeda Sky Building . The 40th floor observation deck provides unparalleled panoramic views over Osaka.

You’ll need to make an online reservation , and I suggest choosing a sunset time slot for the ultimate experience.

Map of 10 Day Japan Itinerary

Google Maps snapshot of 10 day Japan itinerary

Before you embark on your 10 day trip to Japan, there are a few things you should know.. These detailed guides cover everything from packing lists to cultural taboos:

  • Common mistakes to avoid in Japan
  • Solo traveler’s guide to Japan
  • Comprehensive Japan travel checklist

My favorite Japan travel books

These books are full of fun and practical information about traveling in Japan (I own all three!):

  • Super Cheap Japan: Budget Travel in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima and Surrounding Areas
  • Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen
  • Lonely Planet Japan

You’ll find pretty much everything you need in the above resources. But if you’re after the TL;DR version, here are the must-knows:

  • Many Japanese train stations have coin-operated luggage lockers where you can store bags of all sizes. Sometimes it’s more practical to store your luggage and start sightseeing right away rather than travel to your hotel to drop your bags.
  • Always carry cash, as many small restaurants don’t accept credit cards
  • Rent a pocket wifi or SIM card for mobile data on the go
  • Download offline Google Maps for every city you’re going to visit (in case you lose service and get lost)
  • Don’t eat or drink while walking or on public transit (except for bullet trains), and be prepared to carry your trash/recycling around because bins are scarce
  • If you have dietary restrictions, scout out restaurants in advance and have a way to communicate your needs in Japanese (ex. make some English/Japanese allergen cards)
  • Learning some simple travel phrases goes a long way

The Best Time to Spend 10 Days in Japan

The best time to visit Japan is a matter of personal preference–including how much money you want to spend.

That being said, if you’re going to follow this 10 day Japan itinerary, I highly recommend mid-October through mid-November . You’ll get to experience autumn colors in all their glory, from the mountains of Nagano to the temples of Kyoto.

Autumn is also a more affordable time to visit compared to the popular sakura season in March-April. And the weather will be mild and pleasant–around 60°F / 15°C–everywhere except parts of Nagano.

Frankly, any time other than mid-June through August is a good choice. Summer is best avoided, as the weather is hot, muggy, and generally miserable.

Where to stay in every city

In case you missed my hotel recommendations within the article, here’s a summary of where to stay:

Tokyo: Tokyu Stay Shinjuku or Tokyo Prince Hotel

Nagano: Chisun Grand Nagano

Kanazawa: Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi or Sumiyoshiya

Kyoto: Kyoto Traveler’s Inn

Shizuoka: Hotel Associa Shizuoka

Osaka: Hotel WBF Namba Motomachi

4 thoughts on “10 Day Japan Itinerary: Golden Route & Hidden Gems”

Great article. Waiting to visit after reading this article. Thank you so much for the valuable information

Thanks, Nipuna! I hope you have a wonderful time in Japan 🙂

This is such a great itinerary! So glad I stumbled upon it! Would you recommend we fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka?

Hi Carly, yes it’s definitely easier if you can fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka (or vice versa if you want to flip the itinerary). However, the 10 day Japan rail pass will cover the return journey if you can’t find a good flight option or it’s too expensive.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .


Japan Itinerary 10 Days: Perfect for First Time Visitors

By gowithguide travel specialist: tien t..

Itinerary Ideas

Japan Tour Guide - Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka

Japan is a fantastic country to travel during your holidays not only does it have many beautiful natural wonders but also has a fascinating culture. Whether you want to bask in the neon lights of Tokyo, climb Mount Fuji or simply get lost in the beautiful streets of Japan. If you're a first timer in traveling to Japan and don't know where to go then don't fret, because we have prepared a Japan itinerary 10 days guide that you can follow to enjoy Japan to its fullest. 

Day 1 to Day 3: Exploring Tokyo

Three days in Tokyo are barely just enough to explore the main attractions of the capital of Japan. Since this is a Japan itinerary 10 days guide, there's not much time on our hands but If you have the chance then try exploring as much as possible! 

Day 1 Tokyo (Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree, Sky Duck, Imperial Palace, Meiji Jingu, Akihabara)

Asakusa (9:00 ~ 10:30).

blog image

Asakusa is a great first destination as it brings you straight to one of Japan's cultural hotspots, Sensoji Temple . The street that takes you to Sensoji has many old stores that sell excellent street food and most shopkeepers here know English! Upon entering the temple, there will be many things worthy of taking a picture of such as the 'Thunder Gate' (Kaminarimon).  

Tokyo Skytree (10:30 ~ 13:00)

Skytree was built to take the place of Tokyo Tower

Afterwards, you can climb up to the Sky Tree and get a breathtaking panoramic view of Tokyo! The Skytree also has an aquarium, a planetarium and a big shopping center underneath if you're looking to do a bit of shopping!

Take the Sky Duck (13:00 - 13:45)

blog image

The  Sky Duck is an amphibious vehicle that will take you on a thrilling tour from the waterways of Tokyo to the Kameido area near Akihabara. You can then explore the vast area of popular ramen and gyoza shops as well as the post-war buildings that have been preserved for the exhibition.

Imperial Palace (14:00 ~ 15:30)

The  Imperial Palace is a 25 minutes train trip away from Akihabara and is a must if you visit Tokyo. The whole palace seems like a different world when all of it surrounding are skyscrapers and modern tech as far as the eye can see. If you want to a tour of the inside of the Palace, then you have to book at least four days beforehand on their website . However, you can explore the outside of the palace without any hassle so take your time!

Meiji Jingu Shrine (16:00 ~ 17:30)

blog image

The Meiji Jingu shrine can be found in Shibuya and is a popular "power spot" for those who wish for long-lasting marriage and safety. As such, occasionally traditional Shinto weddings where the bride and groom are guided by priests and shrine maidens can be seen here if you're lucky! Also, the shrine has a wide array of flora that blossoms beautifully during Summer.

Akihabara (18:00 ~ end of the day)

blog image

The land of everything electronics and also the gathering place for anime and manga fans alike. There's also many gaming stores thanks to the rise of the "Otaku" culture, and if you're looking for any kind of electrical equipment such as cameras, to phones, there's no better place than Akihabara . This is the ideal place to end the first day since there are simply so many interesting things to see here!

Day 2 Tokyo (Tsukiji, Go Kart, Odaiba, Ginza, Harajuku)

Tsukiji fish market (9:00 - 10:30) [go earlier if you can].

The lively Outer Market filled with many people

Getting up early in the morning to dine at one of the finest sushi in Japan is one of the best experience to have while in Japan. If you want the highest quality sushi in Tokyo then visiting Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the best places to do so. You can even browse the many exotic street foods there as well and see an authentic Japanese fish market. 

Tokyo Go Kart (11:00 - 14:00)

blog image

Not many things are quite better than driving around on a Go Kart and enjoying the breeze while exploring Tokyo. The Tokyo Go Kart is an awesome activity that can do you to visit many famous sightseeing spots without catching a train, and you can even dress up as your favorite video game or anime character! If you're looking to book a Tokyo Go Kart trip as well as any other activities in Tokyo, then you can do so  here .

Odaiba (14:30 - 17:00)

blog image

After a trip on the Go Kart, there's no better place to go than the Odaiba , the Tokyo Bayside. Take a picture with the famous Rainbow Bridge and visit the automobile theme park of Toyota. If you're a fan of Takoyaki, then a trip to the Takoyaki Museum is also a must, as they have some of the best Takoyaki stores located there.

Ginza (17:30 - 19:00)

blog image

It wouldn't be a trip to Tokyo if there isn't any shopping. Ginza is perhaps the best if you want to shop for gifts or luxury goods. There is no shortage of famous brands here from Gucci to Hermes and Chanel. For those who want stylish clothes with a more affordable price then the famous Uniqlo is here as well.

Harajuku (19:20 - however late you want)

blog image

Harajuku is the place to experience the Japanese fashion culture at its fullest. Here, fashion is not restricted by the outside world and you can see many bizarre and out-of-the-ordinary clothing. From Lolita to Gothic and even cosplays, Harajuku's fashion sense is all about expressing one's individuality.

Day 3: Yokohama and leave for Hakone (Minato Mirai 21, Cup Noodles Museum, Kirin Beer Village, Yokohama's China Town)

Now that you have visited most of the major sightseeing sites of Tokyo, its time to go further and discover the rest of this Japan Itinerary 10 days guide.

Leave for Yokohama in the morning

Minato mirai 21 (10:00 - 12:30).

The unique shape of the Yokohama Landmark Tower

Minato Mirai is right beside the Yokohama Harbor and has many attractions for you to visit. There are many shopping malls for those who want to do a bit more and an interactive museum named Orbi Yokohama that is very popular as it was developed under the collaboration of SEGA and BBC Earth.

Cup Noodles Museum (12:40 - 14:00)

An original Cup Noodles made from ingredients that you like

Learn how Momofuku Ando came up with the creation of instant noodles at the Cup Noodles Museum and explore its many changes from branding to various flavorings across history. Afterwards, make your own cup noodle with your favorite toppings and cup art (you can draw it yourself), it's truly an experience that can only be done in Japan! 

Kirin Beer Village (14:30 - 15:30)

The Yokohama Brewery, the oldest and largest of all of the Kirin Beer breweries

Fans of beer will fall in love with this 'beer village' because Yokohama is where Japanese beer first came to life. Visit the Yokohama Brewery to see the process of making over 2000 cans of beer per minute and during the tour, you'll be able to taste a variety of delicious freshly brewed beer. There are also non-alcoholic options for those who can't drink as well.

Yokohama's Chinatown (16:00 - 17:30)

Chinatown where you can thoroughly enjoy Chinese cuisine

Have dinner at Yokohama's Chinatown for something a bit different. Although Chinese cuisine is vast, there's a little bit of everything here from Shanghai cuisine to Beijing and Szechuan cuisine as well, so definitely give this place a try!

Take a train to Hakone which can take roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Day 4 Hakone and leave for Kyoto (Hakone Hot Spring, Lake Ashi, Glass Museum)

After arriving at Hakone, don't miss the chance to rent a room at a Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) to try their public hot spring baths!

Hakone Hot Spring (9:00 - 10:00)

blog image

Hakone is famous for its onsen and many of them have a fantastic view of Mount Fuji. The water here is said to help recover from muscle and joint pains while also making your skin more beautiful. Try Goura Onsen  for the famous five water hot springs or Yumoto Onsen which has been in service for 1200 years.

Cruise on Lake Ashi (10:30 - 15:00)

blog image

The cruises available at Lake Ashi allows visitors to see the most popular sightseeing spots on the water, namely Mount Fuji and Hakone Shrine. They link at three ports which are Togendai Port, Moto-Hakone Port, and Hakone-machi Port, stop by at Togendai for some excellent seafood restaurants that you can enjoy while enjoying a view of the lake.

Explore the Museum of Glass (15:30 - 17:00)

The contemporary glass art is represented by many works filled with character

At the Hakone Glass Museum , the beauty of glass is fully extracted for you to see. There are over 100 glass art with Venetian roots dating over 100 years ago as well as modern glass art. Check out the Corridor of Light which is over 9m in height and comprises of over 160,000 beads of crystal glass which changes in a myriad of colors depending on the season.

Afterwards, leave Hakone in the evening for Kyoto which will take roughly 3 hours

Day 5 to 6: Exploring Kyoto

Previously named as the Western Capital of Japan, Kyoto is perhaps the best destination to experience traditional Japan.

Day 5: Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Kinkakuji, Arashiyama Monkey Park, Sanneizaka, Gear Theatre)

Fushimi inari (9:00 - 10:30).

The path through the Senbon Torii

Most famous for its 10,000 torii gates that have been donated by devoted worshipers of the shrine since the Edo period. It is said that the gods of Fushimi Inari would grant protection and prosperous business. As the shrine is connected to Mount Inari, you can hike to the mountain's summit quite easily for a breathtaking view of Kyoto. 

Kinkakukji (11:00 - 12:30)

blog image

This beautiful golden three-story temple is an iconic figure of Kyoto that you must have seen at least once before. It wouldn't be a trip to Kyoto without at least checking out Kinkaku-ji ! 

Arashiyama Monkey Park (12:30 - 15:30)

blog image

There's no better place to see the Japanese Macaques than Arayamashi Monkey Park . Unlike other zoos, there are no cages that make for the best closeup experience with these cute furry fellas. 

Sanneizaka (16:30 - 18:30)

blog image

The street of Saneizaka is one of the best ways to spend the night in Kyoto. This beautiful street is lined with historical Japanese houses that are souvenir stores and restaurants for you to have a look!

Gear Theatre Art Complex 1928 (19:00 - 19:40)

An impressive story unfolds through world-class performances.

The Gear Theater is the newest addition to Kyoto's lineup of attractions, here you can enjoy top-notch performances ranging from mime, magic,  breakdancing and much much more which will definitely leave you amazed. Don't worry about any language barrier because the whole show is non-verbal and is performed purely in action!

Day 6: Kyoto and Leave for Nara (Kiyomizu-dera, Gion, Nishiki)

Kiyomizu dera (9:00 - 10:30).

blog image

The Kiyomizu-dera temple is a popular tourist spot that attracts many visitors due to its long history and beautiful scenery from the temple and its surroundings as well. See for yourself why this place is deemed as a "national treasure"!

Gion (11:00 - 14:00)

blog image

This is the go-to place to see Geishas and Meikos performing traditional dances and sing songs.  The street of Gion is reminiscent of Edo Japan and is packed with Japanese teahouses that you would often see in movies. So why not sit down for a cup of tea and enjoy the entertainment provided by Kyoto's finest Geishas and Meikos.

Nishiki (14:30 - 16:00)

blog image

Nishiki Market is the accumulation of 400 years of development to become Kyoto's number one market. It sells not only a variety of seafood but also Kyoto's special delicacies. Walk around and try their many food samples!

Leave for Nara

Day 7: Nara and leave for Osaka (Mount Yoshino, Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha, Todaiji)

Mount yoshino (9:00 - 12:00).

Mt. Yoshino in spring when the cherry blossoms open en masse

If you're visiting during the Cherry Blossom season, then don't hesitate to hike Mount Yoshino for an absolutely stunning view of over thousands of flowers blooming. It is said that the cherry trees have been the objects of worship since 1300 years ago and many historical sites are located here as it was also a gathering place for lords and Shoguns to participate in flower viewing. The mountain is also beautiful during the Fall or Winter so it's okay if you can't make it for Cherry Blossom season.

Nara Park (12:00 - 15:00)

Deer are like mascots for Nara Park

This huge 660-hectare park is the center of Nara and is the best place to see Nara's major attractions and meet its friendly neighbors.

The best thing is?

The deers of Nara Park aren't afraid of humans, so you can have a lot of close encounters and even feed them! In addition, the park also has significant landmarks such as Kasuga Taisha and Toudaiji which we will explore after Nara Park.

Kasuga Taisha (15:30 - 16:30)

blog image

This brilliant vermillion shrine can be found within Nara Park. In addition to being deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kasuga Taisha is also famous for its bronze lanterns that were donated by its worshippers, they are only lit twice every year during the city's lantern festivals, and there are 12 'mini' shrines in total that surrounds Kasuga, each with their own purposes.

Todaiji (16:30 - 17:30)

blog image

Todaiji is one of the most important temples of Japan as it has wide influence due to being the head temple of all Buddhist temples within the nation. The Daibutsuden or Great Buddha Hall is the largest wooden building in the world housing one of Japan's largest bronze statue of Buddha.

Leave for Osaka which will take around an hour by train.

Day 8 to 9: Exploring Osaka

Osaka is a vibrant, lively and unique side of Japan. It is of course by no means less impressive than Kyoto or Tokyo!

Day 8: Osaka (Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium, Tsutenkaku, Shinsekai, Spa World)

Osaka castle (9:00 - 11:30).

blog image

Osaka Castle is the very symbol of the city and its easy to understand why. With its massive structure and vast surrounding park, it is hard to miss. If you enter the castle you will be able to learn about its history and its original creator Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Osaka Aquarium (12:00 - 14:00)

blog image

With 8 floors consisting of over 30,000 of sea life, you'll definitely be left amazed after seeing what a magical world the ocean can be. Just recently, the Osaka aquarium just opened a new interactive area where you can touch the friendly inhabitants of the aquarium as well, so visiting here is a must! 

Tsutenkaku (14:30 - 16:00)

With a nostalgia that evokes the feeling of Showa, Tsutenkaku was designed by Tachuu Naito, the man who also designed Tokyo Tower.

If Tokyo has the Tokyo Tower then Osaka has Tsutenkaku. Designed by the same architect of the Tokyo Tower, Tsutenkaku or Osaka Tower is famous for its overview of the city. There's also a museum on the 3rd floor which tells you about the history and its former design before it was taken apart.

Shinsekai (16:30 - 18:00)

blog image

Spa World (18:00 - however long you like)

blog image

Since Osaka does not have many hot springs, they make up for that by creating a whole amusement park specifically for onsens! Since it is relatively close to Shinsekai, you must be tired after your trip around the city, so take a dip their European or Asian baths and even various themed saunas! There's also various arcades and restaurant for you to enjoy after your bath. Their website can be found here .

Day 9: Osaka and leave for Hiroshima (Universal Studio, Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori)

Universal studio japan (9:00 - 15:00).

blog image

This is the second most visited amusement park after Disneyland in Japan. You can enjoy various themed rides ranging from Harry Potter to Jurassic Park.

Shinsaibashi (15:30 - 17:00)

blog image

Shinsaibashi is the shopping central of Osaka. It has many shops from traditional Japanese stores to modern luxury brands. Before the street mostly comprised of dried goods and grocery stores but gradually it has become a place for youth looking to buy trendy clothing!

Dotonbori (17:30 - 18:30)

Finish your trip to Osaka by visiting the famous Dotonbori where the Glico sign is located. There is a variety of restaurants and diners that you can enjoy while enjoying the sights of downtown Osaka. Try out the Okonomiyaki, udon or blowfishes which are the local specialties here!

Leave for Hiroshima 

Day 10: Hiroshima (Peace Museum, Atomic Bomb Dome, Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima Castle)

Hiroshima peace memorial museum (9:00 - 11:00).

blog image

Learn what happened when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima through pictures, videos and scorched items such as clothes, everyday items and even the steps of a person. The museum offers full multilingual audio and videos for visitors as well.

Atomic Bomb Dome (11:30 - 12:00)

blog image

Despite being so close to the hypocenter of the bomb, this Atomic Bomb Dome which once was a building used to promote Hiroshima's industrial goods was one of the last standing buildings after the Hiroshima Bombing. Thanks to the donations across the world, the building was preserved as a memorial for world peace.

Itsukushima Shrine (12:30 - 14:00)

This gorgeous shrine is famous for its seemingly "floating" phenomenon that happens whenever the high tide comes. The Itsukushima shrine and its iconic torii gate can be seen reflecting beautifully on the water.

Hiroshima Castle (14:30 - 17:00)

Although this castle was reconstructed after the bombing, its beauty and charm are still retained. Almost every part of the Hiroshima castle is dedicated to Samurai culture, and you can even dress up as one if you like!

This marks the end of this 10 days trip to Japan.

After you have completed this Japan itinerary, you should have visited some of the most popular destinations that Japan has to offer. We hope this Japan Itinerary 10 days guide has helped you figure out what to do once you're in Japan.

Of course, there's always a more comfortable option...

Maybe you want someone to help create the best Japan travel itinerary without the hassle of researching for hours on end. Look no further than having a local guide to make your 10 days in Japan the best one. At  GoWithGuide  we offer the best itinerary for Japan and Local Guides to help you on your journey. 

What makes us different?

You have the freedom to personally  create your own tour  and decide where you want to go. Simply  send a message  to our local guides to get a suitable Japan vacation itinerary and quotation for a memorable experience.

There's more,

Maybe you want someone to  create a tour for you instead? Then why not  Request a Tour . Just type what you would like to see and our guides will send you quotes and recommendations depending on what you're interested in.

Over at  GoWithGuide , we offer the best professional Local Guides across Japan to give you convenient 10 days in Japan itinerary suggestions or as many days as you want. You can also check our  Private tours to Tokyo .

Aside from our top rated tours in Japan, we are now also expanding to more countries all over the globe!

  • Paris Private Tours
  • Rome Private Tours
  • Barcelona Private Tours
  • Lisbon Private Tours
  • Athens Private Tours
  • Florence Private Tours
  • Mexico City Private Tours
  • Amsterdam Private Tours
  • New York Private Tours
  • London Private Tours

Blogs that might interest you

Tokyo Tower: Price, Hours, Complete Guide

Tuna auction in Tokyo: Toyosu Fish Market Guide

Shinjuku Shopping: Best Places to Shop

Monkey Onsen: Best Places To Seeing Snow Monkeys in Japan

Popular Japan Tour Guides

Gifu Tour Guide - Akiko W.

Hello! My name is Akiko from Gifu prefecture. I am a National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter. I like going out with my family, talking with my friends over coffee at a cozy cafe, reading books, baking bread and cake when I have time. I passed the national tour guide test in 2017 and have worked as a guide since then. I have guided in Gifu city, Seki city, Takayama city, Shirakawago , Mino city and Nagoya city. I have lived in Gifu for more than forty years. Gifu prefecture is rich in nature so you can enjoy the rural atmosphere. Gifu city has a beautiful river 'Nagara river' and Mt.Kinka which has Gifu castle on the top. You can go up the mountain on foot or use a ropeway. The view from Gifu castle is so fantastic. At the foot of the mountain , there are many places to visit such as parks, a temple having a big image of Buddha, and a street preserving the historic atmosphere. At Nagara River, you can enjoy seeing a traditional way of fishing ‘cormorant fishing’ which is thought to have started 1300 years ago. Many cafes have unique service called 'morning service' in Gifu along with Aichi In the morning (until about ten thirty or eleven) when you order a cup of tea or coffee, they serve toast and salad ! Near Gifu park , you can find a nice Japanese style cafe where you enjoy good coffee and seeing a Japanese style garden. Seki city is a small city but so famous for its cutlery. At Japanese sword museum in Seki, you can see authentic Japanese swords! Mino city next to Seki city is well known for its hand made Japanese paper 'Hon minoshi' designated as intangible cultural asset by UNESCO . Until recently it was not easy to guide guests because of COVID-19 pandemic; however the situation is getting better. Some strict rules about COVID-19 have been lifted. Please visit Gifu. I am looking forward to seeing you. Please feel free to ask me when you need information about Gifu. Thank you for reading my introduction.                                                                                                                                  

Shimizu Tour Guide - Sayori H.

Hello, I can show you the real Japan. You can taste, see and feel the country. I'd like to show the beautiful culture for you to experience. I can organize the day tour from Shimizu port for Cruise customers. Tea ceremony, strawberry picking experience, anything you are interested, I would love to help you plan your tour. I can communicate in both English and Japanese. I look forward to welcoming people from different parts of the world. Thank you                                                                                                                                  

Shiga Tour Guide - Koichi W.

Hi! I'm Koichi. I was born in Osaka, I studied in Kyoto when I was a university student. Now I live in Shiga next to Kyoto. I am a national government licensed tour guide. I have been guiding about 160 groups over the past twelve months. I usually guide my customers mainly in Kansai region including Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Shiga by public transportation systems. Well, I am curious about Japanese history, especially the history of Japan's ancient times since I was raised next to the world biggest mausoleum of the ancient Emperor called "Nintoku" in Sakai city Osaka which has just become one of the world cultural heritage sites. I dug out some ancient earthen ware vessels around there when I was a primary school student like the adventure archaeologist “Indiana Jones" (It’s our secret!!). That was my hobby. Now, one of my hobbies is outdoor activities such as mountaineering, kayaking, skiing and others. So I would like to take you to some good places where you can enjoy Japanese unique nature. I love to guide foreign visitors from all over the world. I think it is my calling or heavenly given job. Let's go and enjoy together! I hope to see you soon.                                                                                                                                  

Okinawa Main Island Tour Guide - Tateo U.

My name is Tateo. I am officially registerd English tour guide and introducing about Okinawa's history,culture, and nature.I am elderly person but have gone through lots of expericences that happened during US occupation after WW2. For the example, change of monetary system(US dollar to Yen),Change of traffic regulation(driving vehicle from right to left).The reversion of Okinawa to main land Japan was biggest historical event.The US administered Okinawa for 27 years. As a result, thing were Americanized in many aspects. Historically, Okinawa was once independent nation until 1872.During Kingdum era, Okinawa actively traded with China, South Asia Countries, Korea, and Japan. In the end, our culture is quite differ much from main land Japan. For instance, architectural technique, daily customs, and culture are also unique. Okinawa is the only prefecture belong to subtropical climate zone. Even winter time, it's neither hot nor cold. People can enjoy marine sport all through the year.Canoeing, Kayaking, Diving, and Snorkeling are popular. Besides, beatiful white sand beaches and attractive coastline are abundant. Green sea water and blue sky have been lured people from all over the world. Traditional music and dance are worth seeing. Please visit Okinawa and enjoy extraordinary trip. I will be looking forward to seeing you soon.                                                                                                                                  

Plan your trip to japan.

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Related Blogs

15 Most Popular Foods You Have To Eat In Japan

15 Most Popular Foods You Have To Eat In Japan

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ come & enjoy the beauty of japan with our highly rated japan private tours.   updated: october 15, 2022 as many of you already know, japan ....

10 Best Places for Pokémon Go in Tokyo

10 Best Places for Pokémon Go in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Come & enjoy the beauty of Japan with our highly rated Japan private tours.   LAST UPDATED: October 15, 2022 TLDR: The 10 best places for P...

Coelho C.

Tokyo's Top 10 Sites for Anime and Manga Lovers

Tokyo, and in particular akihabara, has a plethora of museums, shops, cafes, and other sites targeted towards anime and manga lovers.  as such, tokyo ....

Triplelights official blog B.

10 Useful Apps while traveling in Japan (2020)

Don’t understand japanese, but still want to have a trip to japan let me help you with this issue it is always challenging to travel to a new place,....

Mieke A.

Follow us on social media

Travel, Hiking, Food

Japan 10 Day Itinerary: How to Spend 10 Days in Japan as a First Time Visitor

If you are traveling to Japan for the first time, this complete Japan 10 day itinerary shows you the most essential places to visit in Japan. This Japan itinerary will also show you essential travel information for your 10 days in Japan, such as how to get around, where to stay, what to do and other information.

The land of the rising sun is one of the most popular countries to visit in the world. Known for its rich culture, amazing food, incredible shopping and quirky things to do, Japan is a place you will not regret visiting.

Japan is a place where you will find things cute and innovative, people polite and helpful, trains that are always on time, and a place where everything just goes smoothly. As a traveler, there really is no better travel experience elsewhere than Japan (and that’s why I have been 5 times).

Japan is also one of the safest countries I have ever visited (and one of the best places as a female solo traveler).

If you are a first time traveler to Japan, then this 10 day itinerary for Japan is meant for you! In this first timer Japan itinerary I will include the best cities to visit, things you need to know before visiting Japan, and best places to eat and stay in each city.

Be warned this is a very long post, because I am including very detailed tips and things you need to know before traveling to Japan since I assume this is your first time visit to Japan. All of the tips mentioned in this Japan 10 day itinerary can help make your Japan holiday more smooth and trouble free!

Planning a Trip to Japan?

I love traveling to Japan and document my itineraries, hotels and travel tips, since Japan can be quite overwhelming to plan.

From first timers’ favorites like Osaka , Kyoto and Tokyo to fun day trips, quirky things to do and hotel reviews, I have a ton of blogs on Japan.

Tokyo itinerary: Harajuku cotton candy

This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases .

Where to Go in Japan For First Time Visitors?

The most popular cities to visit in Japan for a first timer include Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. This is exactly what this itinerary will cover.

Overview of this first-timer 10 day Japan itinerary:

  • Day 1 : Osaka
  • Day 2 : Day Trip from Osaka
  • Day 3-4 : Kyoto
  • Day 5 : Day Trip from Kyoto
  • Day 6 – 10 : Tokyo + day trip from Tokyo

This itinerary also assumes you have 10 full days in Japan. If you include travel and flight time during your 10 days in Japan, you will need to modify this itinerary by taking a day off from Tokyo and skip the day trip from Osaka or from Kyoto.

You can also do this 10 day Japan itinerary in reverse order and go to Tokyo first instead of Osaka. But for me I always like to save the best for last because Tokyo really is something that no other cities can rival.

For efficiency purposes, I do NOT suggest flying out from the same city that you originally flew in unless it is a lot cheaper. You can save yourself at least 4-5 hours just by flying out of Tokyo instead of Osaka (and vice versa).

Before we go into the detailed itinerary for Japan, I want to show you some of the most important things you should know about Japan.

What You Should Know For the First Time in Japan

  • The currency in Japan is Japanese Yen . One USD is equivalent to 135-150 Yen.
  • The voltage in Japan is 100V (it is 120V in the US and 230V in Central Europe). Therefore you CAN technically use American electronics in Japan without an AC adaptor. But if you are visiting from Europe, you will need an adapter .
  • You can drink tap water in Japan.
  • Japan is a cash heavy society, many stores and restaurants do not accept credit hard. I suggest you carry at least a hundred dollars of cash with you everyday. Don’t worry, Japan is safe, nobody will steal your cash.
  • ATM at 7-Eleven or Lawso n are great for taking out cash. If you are American, I highly recommend getting a Charles Schwab ATM card . They will reimburse you global ATM transaction fees and ATMs generally give you the best exchange rate. Also NEVER accept the offer to have an ATM convert for you, always select to be charged in Yen. If you are not from the US or do not have a Charles Schwab ATM Card, try to get a Wise Card or Revolut Card instead.
  • Download Google Maps to help you find directions and navigate trains in Japan. Also download offline maps on Google Maps in case you do not have internet.
  • Download Google Lens so you can translate a photo.
  • You should get an IC card when you land in Japan, this card can be preloaded and used to pay for public transportations, vending machines and other things. You don’t necessarily need a travel pass for Tokyo, an IC card is sufficient!
  • The best way to get internet in Japan include getting a physical sim card (you can get this shipped to you), an eSim card (we used this and it worked brilliantly), or rent a pocket wifi to share with your travel companions.
  • To expedite your immigration and customs process when arriving in Japan, use the official Visit Japan Web . You will get one 2D codes for immigration clearance and customs declaration. You don’t HAVE to use this, but it is faster.
  • Utilize luggage shipping services in Japan, so you don’t have to carry your heavy suitcases around. We used this company but there are others. Your hotel front desk will also be able to help you and answer any questions.
  • Prescription Drugs need to be declared before bringing them into Japan. Check the official Ministry of Health website to see what drugs are banned and what procedures are needed to bring medicines into Japan.
  • Tipping is not required or expected in Japan. You do not need to tip at restaurants.

Best Time (and Worst Time) to Visit Japan

Spring (mid March to mid April), Fall (mid October to late November) and even December are good time to visit Japan.

Randen Tram in Arashiyama during cherry blossom season in Japan

Late March – mid April is when Japan’s iconic cherry blossom (sakura) is blooming. The weather in the spring is less humid yet warm but it does get extremely crowded during the cherry blossom season. If you visit just after cherry blossom season finishes, you will see a lot less crowds and that’s what I did once.

Fall (mid October – late November) is also a great time to visit Japan because the weather is starting to cool down and it will be less humid. During the fall months in Japan you can see some of the best foliage and fall colors. In fact fall rivals spring in Japan in terms of popularity and beauty.

If you visit the towns and hotels near Mt. Fuji in October/November you will see the top of Mt. Fuji covered in snow. You won’t see that if you go in September.

Winter in Japan can be a nice time to visit if you want some holiday cheers and don’t mind the cold. There are various Christmas markets in Tokyo in December that are pretty neat to visit.

The worst time to visit Japan is during the summer months and Golden Week. Summer in Japan is very hot and humid, and it is peak typhoon season.

In 2024, Golden Week in Japan is from April 29th to May 5th . During this week you can expect a ton of Japanese domestic tourists traveling around, making it more expensive and crowded to travel.

Where to Stay in Japan for 10 Days

You will find a wide range of accommodations in Japan, including chain hotels, Ryokan (hot spring hotels), Airbnb, monastery (yes you can stay with monks in Japan), and hostels. There are also many unique and interesting accommodation choices in Japan.

As a summary, here are the best hotels for Japan for this itinerary based on our own experience traveling to Japan.

  • Osaka : Cross Hotel Osaka in Minami/ Namba
  • Kyoto : Cross Hotel Kyoto or Hotel Seiryu
  • Tokyo: Keio Plaza Hotel , and Hotel Century Southern Tower

The best hotel booking website for Japan are Agoda , Expedia and Booking.com or you can always book directly with the hotels. I usually check all 4 sources to see which site is cheaper and has better cancellation policy.

First Timer Japan 10 Day Itinerary in Detail

Below is a super detailed itinerary to help show you how to spend 10 days in Japan. Keep in mind that this itinerary assumes you have 10 full days in Japan, and that you are flying into Osaka and out of Tokyo.

You can easily turn this itinerary to a 2 week Japan itinerary if you got a few more days! Since I give you multiple options for day trips, it is easy to just add them onto this 10 day itinerary.

Day 0: Arrival into Osaka

Welcome to Japan! You will be flying into Osaka on this day.

After landing in Osaka and going through immigration you will be on your way to your hotel. To get to central Osaka from the airport, you can take trains or a limousine bus.

Note that there are 2 airports in Osaka :

  • Kansai International Airport (KIX)
  • Osaka International Airport (otherwise known as Itami Airport, with the code ITM.

They each have different airport transportation options, so be sure to check which airport you are flying into.

  • Haruka Express (Kansai Airport only) is the fastest train from Kansai Airport to Osaka City Center (Tennoji and Shin-Osaka Station). It requires a JR Pass or the ticket costs 2000-3000 yen (depending on where you get off). You can buy tickets here if you don’t have a JR Pass.
  • Kansai-Airport Rapid is another non-JR train that costs 1000-1200 Yen to Tennoji Station or Osaka Station. It’s slower and cheaper than the Haruka Express. You can buy tickets here .
  • In addition you can take a Limousine Bus from the airport to Osaka city center.

Where to stay in Osaka : for a first-time visitor, it’s best to stay in the Namba area near Dotonbori. The area is super lively and convenient and you can head straight back to the hotel after drinking and eating. We stayed at Cross Hotel Osaka both times we visited Osaka and found it super convenient.

Japan Itinerary Day 1: Explore Osaka

Places to visit in Osaka:

  • Kuromon Ichiba Market

Namba Yasaka Jinja

  • Minami/ Namba

During your first day in Japan and in Osaka you will be exploring the many markets and districts of Osaka. Osaka is known for food and that is what you will be doing today!

Opening Time : 9:30am – 10:30pm daily Ticket Price : 1500 yen for adults ; 700 yen for children 4-12; children under 4 are free. Free if you have the Osaka E-Pass between 9:30am – 4pm.

Umeda Sky Building photo in Osaka in the fall. Japan 10 day itinerary

Umeda Sky Building is a very famous landmark building in Osaka. Famous for its distinctive architecture and beautiful panoramic views of the city, Umeda Sky is a popular destination for first-time Osaka visitors.

Umeda Sky Observatory view photo first time in Japan itinerary

Umeda Sky Building actually has two 40-story towers that are connected at the top by a circular open-air observatory called Floating Garden Observatory (Kuchu Teien Observatory). The escalator to the observatory is a sight itself with its tube-like tunnel.

Umeda Sky Escalator photo

There is an area that has love locks where you can put personalized colorful locks. Note that the love locks got so popular you have to buy them online ahead of time now instead of in the store at Umeda Sky.

Umeda Sky Lovelock in Osaka Japan

You will also find a cafe (SKY 40), shop, Chinese restaurant Sangu, and a bar on top of Umeda Sky.

You can spend about an hour at Umeda Sky.

Alternatively, if you do not want to go to Umeda Sky, another popular observatory in Osaka is Harukas 300 , the tallest building in Osaka.

Kuromon Ichiba Market [Avoid Visiting on Sundays]

Opening Hours : 8am – 6pm but some stalls may open later and a lot of stalls are closed on Sunday

Osaka Kuromon Market 10 days in Japan itinerary

Located about 30 minutes from Umeda Sky in the Namba district is the famous Kuromon Ichiba Market, a covered public food market. It has been around for over 170 years so you can imagine there are a lot of history and good famous stalls there.

Spanning across a few streets with about 150 stalls, Kuromon Ichiba Market is a food market that primarily sells fresh produce and cooked food (mostly seafood) although you will find stalls selling other things (like the cute Totoro towel we bought).

If you are craving cooked seafood then you should definitely not miss this market. You will find delicious (cooked) oysters, scallops, toro (tuna), crab legs, uni, unagi (eel) and also wagyu and tako tamago.

Opening Hours : 6:30am – 5pm daily

Osaka Yasaka Jinja shrine lion head

Located 15 minutes walk from Kuromon Ichiba Market is the Instagram-famous Namba Yasaka Jinja , a Shinto shrine known for its lion head shrine.

Although a small temple, Namba Yasaka Jinja is a nice escape from the bustling Osaka. The shrine has been restored several times after wartime fires and what you see now is a restoration after the war.

If you happen to visit Osaka in January (the third Sunday of January), you can witness the tug-of-war ritual at the shrine.

Walk Around Shinsekai District (新世界)

Osaka Shinsekai photo for first time in Japan

Shinsekai is an interesting neighborhood about 20 minutes walk from Namba Yasaka Jinja. Its name means “New World” and it was originally built modeling New York and Paris as an entertainment district.

Known for its big signs and its retro vibe with many old eateries and establishments, Shinsekai is a great place to explore during the day or at night, although some areas could be seedy at night. If you are looking for some snacks, then the most popular food in Shinsekai is Kushikatsu , Japanese fried skewers. You will find a ton of restaurants offering it in Shinsekai.

Some of the most iconic features of Shinsekai District include the view of Tsutenkaku Tower , narrow alleyways with izakayas , Spa World , a large hot spring complex, a Mega Don Quijote store that sells all sorts of things, and Shinsekai Tsutenkaku shopping street filled with shops and souvenir stores.

Walk Around Minami/ Namba Area

You will now go back north to the busy Minami/ Namba area. Some of the most noteworthy areas to check out include:

  • Amerikamura : a western-influenced teen hang out area with restaurants, bar and shops
  • Shinsaibashi-suji : the famous shopping street in Osaka with shops and malls
  • Dotonbori : the lively district by the river known for its restaurants and eateries

It is best to visit Dotonbori at night and it is perhaps the most well known area in Osaka. You may recognize Dotonbori by the giant Glico Running Man sign along the Ebisu Bridge. The area is known for its neon lights, food stalls and restaurants.

Some of the best food to eat at Dotonbori include takoyaki (octopus dough balls), crab restaurant (Kani Doraku), skewers , Andrew’s Egg tarts , candied fruit skewer , kobe beef , gyoza (at Osaka Osho) and much more.

Osaka takoyaki octopus balls

Come to Dotonbori hungry because this is a food lover’s haven, even though it is quite touristy. Besides food, you can also do a relaxing 20 minute boat tour on the river and see the lights from the river. This boat ride is free for  Osaka e-Pass  and  Osaka Amazing Pass  holders.

Japan itinerary Day 2 : Day Trip From Osaka

On your second day of your 10 days in Japan, you have a few options in terms of what day trip you want to take from Osaka.

Himeji Castle

The most popular day trip from Osaka is to Himeji Castle (姫路城), one of the most beautiful castles in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Unlike Osaka Castle which has been re-built and turned into a museum, Himeji Castle is still the original castle inside. Its beautiful white exterior and historical significance makes it one of the most popular day trips from Osaka.

You need to pay for tickets to get in and there used to be free English tours offered by volunteers but since the pandemic it is not clear if they resumed the tour.

You can check out their website to contact them. Alternatively you can hire a guide so you can learn more about the castle.

Miyajima (Itsukushima) or Hiroshima

Miyajima floating shrine torii gate

I’m sure you have seen photos of floating red torii gates in Japan. The good news is that you can visit Miyajima Island for its iconic floating torii gate from Osaka as a day trip.

Although a very long day trip, you can have the chance to explore the floating torii gate and the island as well as try some local eats. You can spend the entire day on the island or couple it with a day trip to Hiroshima in the afternoon.

You can read my detailed Osaka to Miyajima Day Trip guide for all the information.

Alternatively you can always do a day trip to Hiroshima without going to Miyajima Island as many people say Hiroshima is one of their favorite cities in Japan!

Universal Studios/ Nintendo World from Osaka

A very popular day trip idea near Osaka is to spend the day at Universal Studios and check out Nintendo World.

Only in 2023 did Nintendo World open up in Los Angeles. If you are not going to California then the best option to check out this unique area of the park is to do it in Osaka.

If you do plan on spending the day at USJ, then I would recommend getting the Express Pass . Even on a weekday lines for rides can be anywhere from 1-3 hours, without the Express Pass you will basically spend most of the day stuck waiting in line and not doing many rides.

After your day trip, hop onto the train to Kyoto at night . The train from Osaka to Kyoto takes between 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on which train you take.

Day 3 of 10 Days in Japan: Explore Kyoto

During your 3rd day in Japan (and first day in Kyoto), you will visit the famous Fushimi Inari and explore the markets and some temples of Kyoto.

To get around Kyoto and see the temples it is best that you utilize the public bus system . You can use your IC cards to ride the bus (or you can pay coins or buy a day-pass). Kyoto’s metro system is not as comprehensive as Tokyo so local buses (with Google Maps or the other travel apps I mentioned above) are the best way to go.

Things to do in Kyoto

  • Admire the torii gates at Fushimi Inari
  • Check out Nishiki Market for Lunch
  • Temple hopping in Northern Higashiyama
  • Walk the Philosopher’s Path
  • Explore Gion & Pontocho at night
  • Take photos of the iconic Yasaka Pagoda
  • Visit the georgeous Kiyomizu-Dera
  • Explore the streets of Southern Higashiyama
  • See the Beautiful Kinkajuki (Golden Pavilion)

Where to Stay in Kyoto There are different areas you can stay in Kyoto based on your budget and plans. If you want to be close to the photo spots so you can take those IG photos without people early in the morning, then I suggest you stay in South Higashiyama. If budget is no concern then consider Park Hyatt , otherwise consider Hotel Seiryu . If you want to go out at night and be close to Gion then consider staying near Kamo River. We stayed at Cross Hotel Kyoto on our most recent trip. If you don’t mind being a bit further away but at a more unique hotel, then consider Hotel Kanra Kyoto . We stayed there the first time we went to Kyoto and I LOVED it with its wooden bath tub and traditional Japanese decor.

Morning: Fushimi Inari (伏見稲荷大社)

Japan Kyoto travel guide fusimi inari

Dedicated to the Shinto god of Inari, Fushimi Inari is perhaps one of the most famous shrines in Japan known for its thousands of red torii gates. It has more than 1000 years of history and it’s one of the most important shrines in the region.

At Fushini Inari, you will find inscriptions on the other side of the torii gates. These torii gates are actually donations from individuals and companies, so the donors’ names (mostly companies) are inscribed onto the torii gates.

Most people stop exploring after a climbing the torii gates for 15-20 minutes, but you can actually climb all the way up to the top, giving you a view of Kyoto. You will also see less and less people the higher you go.

Fushimi Inari is not too far from Kyoto, only about a 10 minutes train ride on the Nara Line. Since Fushimi Inari is super popular, you should aim to visit by 7:30am at the latest to avoid the crowds.

After visiting Fushimi Inari, you will come back to explore Kyoto.

Lunch: Nishiki Market (錦市場)

After Fushimi Inari, come back to Kyoto to visit the renowned Nishiki Market, a 400 year old food market that spans a total of 5 blocks.

Similar to Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka, Nishiki Market is a covered food and produce market with over 100 vendors. It is a popular market among tourists and locals alike.

You will find some Kyoto specialities at Nishiki Market and some of the best foods to eat at Nishiki Market include yuba (tofu skin) and yuba krokke (croquette), tempura, senbei (rice crackers), mochi, fish cakes, soy milk donuts, fu manju (gluten bun), potato tempura and fishcake, sea bream skewer, and hamo (pike eel) tempura.

Stores are typically open from 10am to 6pm but many stalls are closed on Wednesday or Sunday. Therefore it’s best to come around lunch time since if you go right when they open, some of the stalls may actually be still closed.

Afternoon: Temple Hopping in Northern Higashiyama

There is no shortage of temples in Kyoto and the Higashiyama Ward is known for its shrines, historical buildings and temples.

Since there are so many temples, I will break up the Higashiyama ward into two parts: north and south.

During your first day in Kyoto, you will be covering the most important shrines in north Higashiyama (and as you guessed it, we will focus on south Higashiyama tomorrow).

Some of the most famous temples in Northern Higashiyama include:

  • Nanzen-ji Temple
  • Eikan-do (Zenrin-ji) temple
  • Honen-In Temple
  • Ginkakuji the “Silver” Pavilion
  • Philosopher’s Path connecting Nanzen-ji to Ginkakuji

If you have the energy and time, I definitely recommend walking at least part of the Philosopher’s Path to visit all the temples mentioned above.

The first time I walked this was right after cherry blossom season and it was beautiful. As you can imagine during peak cherry blossom season the path would be extremely beautiful but also very crowded.

Kyoto philosopher's path in the spring

For the Kyoto temples mentioned above, you generally need to have a ticket to enter although they are not very expensive and most temples close at 5pm so allocate your time accordingly!

Night: Explore Gion & Pontocho

Gion is known for its association with Geisha (traditional Japanese female entertainers) and it is one of the last remaining Geisha districts in Japan.

Kyoto Gion district at night

Gion is beautiful to visit especially at night and you will find a lot of private tea houses and restaurants in Gion. If you are lucky enough, you can see a geisha in Gion (I’ve never seen one unfortunately).

The best way to explore Gion is to walk around and check out the traditional houses, high end shopping and restaurants on some of the most famous streets in Gion, such as Hanami Lane and Shijo Dori.

Note that in 2024, Kyoto is banning tourists from some private alleys in Gion due to harassments of Geishas by tourists. You also cannot photograph Geishas. Please be respectful when visiting Kyoto and follow rules.

After exploring Gion, be sure to cross the Shijo Bridge (Shijo Obashi) to the west then go north to Pontocho, one of the most beautiful and cool streets in Kyoto.

Pontocho is a pedestrian only narrow street and you will find it lined with traditional restaurants, bars and shops. If you didn’t get a chance to eat in Gion then you should definitely find a place to eat in Pontocho Alley.

Day 4 in Japan: See More of Kyoto

During your second full day in Kyoto you will explore south Higashiyama to visit some of the most famous shrines in Kyoto as well as Kinkakuji, the golden shrine Kyoto is famous for.

Explore South Higashiyama

In fact you’ve already been to south Higashiyama the night before! Gion is technically located in South Higashiyama.

Hokan-Ji temple early in the morning for photoshoots in Kyoto

Some of the best places to visit in South Higashiyama include:

  • Yasaka Pagoda photo (arrive by 7am): the most instagrammable alley in Kyoto
  • Kiyomizu-dera (arrive by 8am): the iconic Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka : shopping areas in Kyoto with stores and cafes opening at 9am
  • Isibekouji : the most atmospheric stone-paved pedestrian alleyway in Kyoto with traditional Japanese architectures (no photos allowed)
  • Kodai-ji Temple: a temple complex with a beautiful Japanese garden (incl. rock garden), a tea house and bamboo grove. They also have evening illuminations.

After exploring South Higashiyama, take a break to grab some lunch and maybe dessert before heading to the Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji.

Afternoon: See the Beautiful Kinkajuki (金閣寺)

Kinkakuji is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Kyoto and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kinkakuji is gold in color on its 2 top floors and this unique appearance attracts tourists across the world.

Kinkakuji is not located in South Higashiyama so you will need to take a local bus to get there.

After getting back to Kyoto you can walk around a little more before grabbing dinner. I highly recommend you try one of the Kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto. I have tried both Kikunoi Roan and Nishikawa and both were quite delicious.

Kikunoi Roan what to eat in Kyoto

Read Next : Essential 2 Day Kyoto itinerary

Japan Itinerary Day 5: Day Trip From Kyoto to Arashiyama or Nara

It’s another day trip time! And now you are faced with a dilemma on which day trip you want to take from Kyoto.

Arashiyama Day Trip From Kyoto

The two most popular day trips from Kyoto include the bamboo grove of Arashiyama and Nara .

If you want to visit the renowned bamboo forest near Kyoto , you will head over to Arashiyama early in the morning (by 7:30am to photograph the bamboo grove without people).

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove from Kyoto

Aside from the bamboo grove, Arashiyama has a number of temples, Japanese gardens and a monkey park you can visit. You can also take a tourist train through the Arashiyama mountains to see the beauty of the area. There are also some really interesting tofu restaurants that are Arashiyama is known for.

Check out my detailed blog on what to do and eat in Arashiyama .

Nara is also a popular day trip option from Kyoto

Nara is a historical city located about an hour by train south of Kyoto. It is known for its temples, shrines and wild deer in Nara Park.

Nara Park Temple and day trip from Kyoto

If you are doing a day trip to Nara from Kyoto you probably will spend the entire day in Nara Park and check out the famous temples like Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji .

Nara Park is also famous for its friendly deer population. It’s actually why I went to Nara Park during one of my visits to Japan.

deers in Nara Park

The park itself is huge and there are hiking trails in the park. I hiked to the summit of Mt. Wakakusa on a pretty easy and family friendly trail when I went to Nara.

Nara Park Hiking trails view from the top

If you want the best of day trips from Kyoto, consider this bus tour ! This tour takes you to Nara, Arashiyama bamboo grove and even some places in Kyoto that you may or may not have time to get to during the two previous days!

Day 6 in Japan: Travel to Tokyo and Explore Shinjuku in Tokyo

After your eventful few days in and near Kyoto, it is time to travel to your final city in Japan: Tokyo. You will be traveling by the Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo. If you are wondering how many days in Tokyo you need, be sure to read my complete Tokyo itinerary.

Food on the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan

If you bought those JR Pass it’s time to use that and get your money’s worth. It takes about 3 hours on the bullet train so you should be in Tokyo around noon.

Tokyo is honestly one of my favorite cities in the world. It is so busy yet so organized and clean. It is a mixture of traditional Japanese architecture and modern western atmosphere. You will find both the old and new in Tokyo.

Most importantly Tokyo has EVERYTHING. There are amazing restaurants, great bars, cute cafes, dazzling stores, super hero street Go Kart , and much much more. It is also a great base to do some day trips (like to Mt. Fuji area ).

I hope you are shipping your luggage from Kyoto to Tokyo so you don’t have to worry about dragging your stuff around and checking into your hotel. Time is of the essence when you only have 10 days in Japan!

Where to stay in Tokyo: Century Southern Tower

Where to stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is a large city with many good areas to stay. But for me personally, I always stay in Shinjuku because that train station has so many train lines and buses. You need to take the metro to get around Tokyo anyway so you want to stay near a transportation hub. In Shinjuku I’ve stayed at Hyatt Regency , Keio Plaza Hotel , and Hotel Century Southern Tower . If you want the best view of Tokyo Tower, you should stay at Tokyo Prince Hotel , Prince Park Tower , the Tokyo EDITION or the new Janu Tokyo . If you want to stay at unique places in Tokyo, check out Book and Bed Tokyo (a hostel), Artist Hotel , Henn na Hotel (only robots, no humans), or this Godzilla Themed hotel .

Saving Money on Tokyo Attractions Tokyo has some really famous attractions like teamLabs, Shibuya Sky, City View, SkyTree, etc. You can save a lot of money on these attractions (and even Tokyo Disneyland) with this Tokyo attraction pass .

You will be spending the rest of your day in Shinjuku, one of the most lively areas in Tokyo.

To be honest Shinjuku is best enjoyed just by walking around during the day and at night. There are large department stores and camera stores. If you are coming from North America you probably have never seen this type of liveliness (even I don’t think New York City can compare).

If you want some peace and tranquility, stop by the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden during the day. Featured in the animated film The Garden of Words , Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is one of the nicest parks in Tokyo.

It was designed by a French landscaping designer and features a few different gardens like the French Garden, English Garden and a traditional Japanese Garden. This garden is a nice escape from the hustling and bustling of the big city.

There are many observation decks in Tokyo but if you are looking for a free one, then be sure to go up Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to get a nice view of the city.

On your first night in Tokyo, you should get food and drinks in Shinjuku. You will find karaoke bars, restaurants, Pachinko, hostess bars, nightclubs and much more.

The best places to explore in Shinjuku at night include:

  • Kabukicho (red light district)
  • Ryu no Miyako Inshokugai (new food court, cool atmosphere but bad food)
  • Omoide Yokocho (alleyway with izakayas)
  • Golden Gai (small area with over 200 tiny bars)

Tokyo Kabukicho at night in Shinjuku

Or you can go to the New York Bar (featured in the movie Lost in Translation) at Park Hyatt in Shinjuku.

You can always do a food tour in Golden Gai or a night foodie tour in Shinjuku if you don’t know where to go eat and drink. These tours are usually led by a local showing you a few famous places to eat and drink since you might not be able to go to the really local places without knowing Japanese.

Japan itinerary Day 7: Tokyo (Tsukiji, Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya)

On your second day in Tokyo you are gonna hit a lot of famous spots and neighborhoods. I hope you are well rested because you’ll be out all day again.

Start your morning at Tsukiji Outer Market , the famous fish market that you probably heard so much about.

Tsukiji Outer Market (avoid Wednesday and Sundays)

Actually in 2018 Tsukiji “inner market” moved to Toyosu Market. The inner market is where the famous tuna auction took place. What is left in the original location is the “outer market” of Tsukiji.

The Tsukiji Outer Market is essentially a food market, with over 400 shops and restaurants. You can still buy raw seafood (in smaller packages) or you can get sushi and other food The best things to get from Tsukiji Outer Market include:

  • Tamagoyaki (grilled egg cake)
  • Strawberry mochi
  • Origiri (rice balls)
  • Matcha ice cream
  • Menchi katsu (ground meat cutlet)
  • Sea urchin bun and many more

Tsukiji Grilled Egg Cake

If you are overwhelmed by all the choices you can do this food and drinking tour in Tsukiji to try the best places. This tour tells you the history of Tsukiji Market and takes you to some really local spots that you may not have found by yourself.

Go early in the morning as Tsukiji Outer Market closes around 2pm . It is also closed Wednesday and Sunday .

Explore Ginza

Ginza is an upscale and expensive neighborhood known for its luxury boutiques, restaurants, and fancy hotels. It is only about a 10 minute walk from Tsukiji Outer Market.

Some of the best places to check out in Ginza is the LV Cafe (Le Cafe V), designer boutiques and luxury mall such as GINZA SIX, Kabuki-za theater , flagship UNIQLO Store (the largest in the world), Art Aquarium Musuem , and Hayao Miyazaki’s NTV Clock if you are a Miyazaki fan.

Art Aquarium Museum is included in this Tokyo attraction pass .

Visit Meiji Temple

Located in Shibuya, Meiji Temple is one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. It was built in 1920 to honor Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken after their death a few years prior.

The temple is located in a serene forest with the main hall and several other buildings.

At the shrine you can buy different kinds of amulets for different types of wishes. You can also purchase Ema (votive tablets), write your wishes on it and hang it around the tree in front of the main shrine.

You may also witness a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony at the shrine when you are there.

Check Out Cutesy Fashion in Harajuku

Not far from Meiji Temple is Harajuku, a district known for its young fashion culture as well as designer stores. The two most famous streets in Harajuku are Omotesando (labeled as the Champs-Elysees of Tokyo) and Takeshita Dori , the heart of Harajuku.

It’s always fun to walk around Harajuku to see the teenage fashion and get those colorful cotton candies or delicious crepes. Or you can go take the instagram photo at the mirrored kaleidoscope at Tokyu Plaza.

If you are a vintage Chanel fan, be sure to check out AMORE Vintage Omotesando but expect to wait in line to get in.

Absorb the Energy in Shibuya

Next hop over to Shibuya, one of the most well known areas in Tokyo. Even if you don’t know Shibuya by name, you are probably familiar with its pedestrian crossing, featured in the movie Fast and the Furious : Tokyo Drift .

You can simply walk across Shibuya Crossing, or you can sit in the Starbucks right next to it and people watch. I have even driven a Go Kart while dressed up in a costume across Shibuya Crossing, not once, but twice!

Again, walk around Shibuya to check out the pedestrian streets, cafes, malls and stores.

Pokemon Center in Shibuya Tokyo

Some of the most noteworthy stores you can check out in Shibuya include:

  • Parco: large shopping center
  • Shibuya 109: one of the most well known shopping mall in Shibuya, catered to females
  • Loft: super cool and unique stationery store
  • Tokyu Hands: arts and crafts and other household items. They have all sorts of things
  • MEGA Don Quijote: Sells pretty much everything from souvenirs to food/snacks to gadgets to beauty products to houseware to other quirky Japanese things
  • Pokemon Center if you are a fan! But expect super long line

Of course let’s not forget about food. If you want to sample the best Japanese food and drinks in the area, you can also do this Shibuya bar hopping night tour .

Lastly, if you are in Shibuya, you must check out Shibuya Sky , the newest and most trendy observation deck in Tokyo. This is where all the instagrammer go to take videos of the moving escalator against a Tokyo sunset.

You should definitely reserve tickets ahead of time since they do get sold out, especially for sunset time. You will 99% not be able to get a day of tickets for sunset time. In addition, Shibuya Sky is included in this Tokyo attraction pass .

Day 8 in Japan: Tokyo (Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara, Roppongi)

On your third day in Tokyo you will explore a few more famous districts in Tokyo.

You may have noticed by now that there are different districts in Tokyo and most of the time you are just walking around. This is where the charm of Tokyo is at.

You are not really in Tokyo to see that many tourist attractions, because everything can be a tourist attraction. You just explore different areas of Tokyo, eat to your heart’s content and shop till you drop.

Morning: Explore Asakusa

Asakusa is a historical and culturally rich district in north east of Tokyo.

The vibe of Asakusa is completely different from Shibuya and Shinjuku. In Asakusa you will find historical temples, shopping streets, a cultural center, Asakusa Hanayashiki amusement park, and river cruises.

The best way to see Asakusa is to walk through Kaminarimo Gate (Thunder Gate) to the fun shopping street of Nakamise-dori to grab some souvenirs and street food before arriving at Senso-Ji Temple , the most famous attraction in Asakusa.

Other notable places to explore include Hoppy Street, a busy street lined with Izakaya restaurants and bars, Shin-Nakamise Shopping Street , a covered pedestrian “market” with a ton of boutiques and food vendors and Kappabashi Dougu a specialty street that sells kitchen equipments and other kitchen goods.

Asakusa Kagetsudō

Check out Ueno

Make your way to Ueno, another culturally rich district in Tokyo. Most people tend to skip this area but I think it’s worth visiting.

Be sure to check out the Ueno Park (esp. during cherry blossom season), Ueno Zoo if you are traveling with kids, Tokyo National Museum if you are an art lover, Ameyoko Shopping Street and perhaps Nezu Shrine during the spring.

Explore Akihabara

Akihabara is known as the “electronic” district in Tokyo. You will find huge department stores selling all sorts of electronic products .

In Akihabara, you will also find stores with manga , anime merchandise , video games , maid cafes , arcades and the famous Japanese claw games .

If you are into Japanese anime and manga, you can probably spend hours in Akihabara. I personally loved trying out all the massage chairs in the electronic stores.

Evening: Enjoy Nightlife in Roppongi

Roppongi is a popular nightlife and entertainment area in Tokyo. It is also an area known to have a large number of expats.

Fun fact: the first time I went to Tokyo, we met a number of expats on the street and we ended up going to different bars and nightclubs together in Roppongi.

The famous Mori Art Museum and Roppongi Museum are both located there. Roppongi is also the home of many shopping centers as well as Tokyo City View , an observation deck offering 360 panoramic views of Tokyo. It is where most people take their photo of the Tokyo Tower from.

Tokyo City View is included in this Tokyo attraction pass .

Japan Itinerary Day 9: Day Trip From Tokyo

On this day you can either choose to stay in Tokyo and explore more (especially if you are flying out the next day) or go on a day trip (or overnight trip).

There are so many day trip options from Tokyo, such as

  • Mt. Fuji Area (Five Lake District)
  • Atami (hot spring)
  • Hitachi Seaside Park (mid-April to early May)
  • Ghibli Studio Museum

I’ve taken a lot of these day trips and they each offer something unique. But most people choose to go to either Hakone, Kamakura or Mt. Fuji Area.

Hakone Day Trip ship

Hakone is known for its hot springs, volcanic valley, Hakone Shrine (torii gate in the water), cruise on Lake Ashi, and view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. You can go by yourself or with a tour . The tour takes you to some of the most visited spots in Hakone hassle free.

Kamakura is famed for its giant buddha statue, temples, shrines and its proximity to the beach. It is only about an hour from Tokyo, making it one of the closest places to visit as a day trip from Tokyo.

Read my complete day trip guide to Kamakura from Tokyo to see the best things to do and eat there.

Five Lake Area near Mt. Fuji is another popular place to go from Tokyo. Although best enjoyed overnight, you can certainly do a (pretty long) day trip there. Many people make the trip to visit Chureito Pagoda, take the ropeway, see a couple of the lakes, and see Mt. Fuji of course.

Kozantei-Ubuya-view-of-Fuji Mountain in Japan

If you are interested in spending a night there and see Mt. Fuji from your hotel, check out my detailed guide on the hotel we stayed at and what we did. Alternatively, you can take a day tour to Mt. Fuji area.

Day 10 in Japan: Last Day in Tokyo

On your last day in Japan (and in Tokyo), spend the time to explore a couple of new areas or you can also go back to places you really liked to explore more.

TeamLab Planets & Odaiba

TeamLab Planets TOKYO is a popular digital art museum offering immersive exhibits that draws visitors from all over the world.

It is one of the most Instagram famous places in Tokyo, with its colorful and beautiful exhibits in various different rooms while you walk in water or on a mirror (don’t wear a short skirt when you visit).

Tickets cost 3800 Yen ($26-27 USD) and you should absolutely book online ahead of time.

If Odaiba is too far for you, you can go to teamLabs Borderless starting February 2024 near Tokyo Tower instead. Then you can go up Tokyo Tower after Borderless.

After you visit TeamLABs, be sure to walk over to the Unicorn Gundam Statue in Odaiba to take this photo. You can also explore the area but I personally don’t think it’s anything special.

Both teamLab PLANETS and teamLab Borderless are included in this Tokyo attraction pass .

Drive a Street Go Kart in the afternoon

Street Go Kart is something unique to Japan. It originally started to mimic the famous video game Mario Kart by allowing you to dress up as a Super Mario character while driving a Go Kart on the streets of Tokyo.

Mario Kart Tokyo

But after much legal fight with Nintendo, you can no longer wear a Super Mario costume while driving it. You can now dress up as other super heroes instead.

There are tours that you can take in Tokyo to experience this unique activity and they include photoshoots like this tour or this one .

If you want to see what it’s like, read my detailed Tokyo Street Go Kart Guide .

Explore Other Parts of Tokyo

If you have some free time during this day, you should explore other parts of Tokyo based on your interest.

If you are a watch lover, you would love Nakano , especially Nakano Broadway, the best place to buy used watches in Tokyo . Tokyo has an amazing used watch market and you never have to worry about fakes.

Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo

You may have seen this cat temple in Tokyo all over Instagram and Tiktok. The temple is called Gotokuji Temple and it’s about 40 minutes from Shinjuku by train.

While you are going there, don’t forget to stop by the Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory (same metro line), and buy these viral Totoro cream puffs!

I haven’t been to these but you know they are on my list for when I go again next year (my goal is to go to Japan every year).

This will conclude your 10 amazing days in Japan. Again, if you include travel days in your 10 day Japan itinerary then you may need to skip out on some of the day trips I listed above. But you can always come back to Japan and see more, am I right?

Is 10 Days Enough For Japan?

10 days is a fantastic amount of time to get a glimpse of Japan and visit some of the most famous places in Japan.

Of course 10 days is not enough to see everything, Japan is huge after all! If you have 2 weeks in Japan you can spend more time doing day trips or overnight trips, see the snow monkey, go to the Ghibli Park near Nagoya or spend a night sleeping in a monastery near Osaka.

10 Day Trip to Japan Cost

Japan is not a cheap country, so make sure you learn about these money saving tips for visiting & traveling around Japan .

Below is a breakdown of potential cost of traveling in Japan (does not include airfare since it can vary so much depends on where you are traveling from).

  • Hotels in Japan cost : minimum $100 – 150 USD a night; can be as much as $800-$1000 at luxury hotels
  • Food cost in Japan : $40 – $150 a day on food, depending on what you eat (7-ELEVEN is cheap with good food)
  • Transportation cost in Japan : $7 – 10 USD a day on trains and buses within a city; $100 USD on one way bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo; $10-$20 USD a day if you do day trips (depends on distance)
  • Shopping : $100 USD at least on make ups, souvenirs, cute things, etc, but obviously depends on what you are buying

Therefore on average you are looking at spending about $2000 – $3500 not including flights or much shopping during your 10 day trip to Japan.

How to Get Around Japan?

  • Public transportation (subway, trains, buses) is the best way to get around Japan. Public transportation is very efficient, always on time, extremely safe and super convenient; although subways and trains are not operating 24/7.
  • If you don’t want to take public transportation in Japan (or if the trains stop running), then your next best option is to take a taxi . The best app to call taxis in Japan is the GO/ Taxi App , followed by Didi and Uber . Uber works in Japan by calling you a taxi, it does not give you the same ride share option like in the US and Canada.

The best apps to navigate public transportation in Japan include Google Maps , Japan Transit Planner App, and Japan Travel .

How to Pay for Trains and Buses in Japan?

The easiest (and best) way to pay for public transportation in Japan is to use an IC card (either a physical card or digital format), a preloaded and rechargeable card that allows you to tap and pay for public transportation (train, metro and bus) and at convenience stores, shops and arcade games. You need an IC card per person (family cannot share one)

Japan itinerary first time: Pasmo Passport Hello Kitty card

PASMO and Suica are the most popular IC cards in the Tokyo region; Icoca is the most popular IC cards in Osaka, Kyoto and the Kansai region. These cards all work regardless of which city you are in (you can use the PASMO card in Osaka for example).

If you follow this Japan itinerary, you will be getting an ICOCA Card when you land in Osaka.

Due to semiconductor shortage, you can only buy a Welcome Suica card at the airport and a PASMO Passport at the airport and some specific stations in Tokyo in person. However Japan is now testing out tap-to-pay system for credit cards so maybe in the future you won’t even need an IC card.

How to add mobile SUICA Card to your iphone

In addition, you can add an IC card to your Apple Wallet or Apple Watch. You can follow instructions on Apple’s official website . You may need to use a Master Card or AMEX Card to recharge, as VISA credit card didn’t work for Apple Pay recharge in 2023, but some people say now it’s working again in 2024.

What is the JR Pass? Do I need a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for this Japan 10 day Itinerary?

JR Pass is a cost-effective option for people who plan to take multiple long-distance trips on the Shinkansen high speed train within a short period of time (7 days, 14 days or 21 days).

Japan Rail Pass photo

It is a pass that you must purchase before you land in Japan . It basically asks you to pay a fixed amount and it will cover all the trains/subways on the JR line (it does not cover trains and metros that are not owned by JR).

You should always use the JR Pass Calculator to estimate how much your planned train rides will cost to see if it’s worth buying a JR Pass given the increase in price since October 2023.

What to Eat in Japan in 10 Days

I’m sure you already know sushi comes from Japan, but there is just so much to eat in Japan (and teriyaki chicken is not one of them).

Traditional Japanese cuisines are very different from what you see in western countries. Food in Japan generally do not have strong flavors and many food is made with seasonal vegetables and root vegetables. For example you will never find a whole restaurant dedicated to Tofu in the US or UK, but it’s a thing in Arashiyama in Japan.

While you will find popular Japanese food like Sushi (but are different kinds too), ramen, tempura, gyoza in all the cities in Japan, the real beauty is in regional food in each of the cities you visit. Each city has their own speciality food that you can’t find anywhere else (many are included in this itinerary above).

The best website to look for restaurants in Japan is tabelog ; anything above a 3 is good and anything above a 4 is exceptional. You will rarely find Japanese people giving 5 stars to restaurants and a 3 star is the baseline (so a 3 means the food is good and expected).

Personally I would recommend getting breakfast at a local convenience store as convenience store food is really good. Almost everyone I know gets breakfast and fried chicken and coffee from convenience store every morning.

Try to get drinks from vending machines (vending machines are awesome in Japan) and you can even get hot soup from them.

Don’t miss out on a traditional kaiseki meal ; this multi-course meal is usually made with seasonal ingredients and can be more pricey. I always love the Michelin Star Kaiseki meals every time I visit Japan.

You will also find a lot of street food in Japan , especially in the markets mentioned in this Japan itinerary. Try everything! Go hungry!

Besides traditional Japanese food, you will also find a lot of western food in Japan, ranging from pizza to steak to burgers to pasta. You will always find something to eat in Japan so don’t worry.

Is Japan Safe?

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world with extremely low crime rate. It is not to say there is no crime in Japan but you don’t really have to worry about petty crimes such as pick pocketing in Japan as you do in many other countries.

You will often see elderly women on the train with their purse open because they know people will not steal their wallets. Japan is great for solo traveling because it is safe and people are extremely friendly.

I have solo traveled in Japan a few times and felt completely at ease every time. Regardless of how safe a country is, it is still best to exercise your best judgment when traveling.

Japanese garden at Tenjyuri Temple in Arashiyama

What To Pack For Your 10 Days in Japan Trip

As for any International trips, you will need to pack the necessities like clothes (for the season), underwear, toiletry, medication, etc. So here I will just talk about a few other things you should absolutely bring with you to Japan:

  • Deodorant : This may seem strange but Japan is not known to sell deodorant sticks in its drug stores. You should bring the ones you use, otherwise it would be very difficult to find western style deodorants.
  • Apple Air Tags : This goes without saying that if you have checked in luggages you should put Apple Air tags in so you know where your luggages is in case they get lost.
  • Extra bag : Japan has so much to buy even if you are not planning on shopping. On our most recent trip we bought so many Totoro and Pokemon things as well as Japanese hair dryer, hair mask, skincare products and other random things. So bring an extra duffle bag so you can shop in Japan.
  • Cash or ATM Card : You need cash in Japan. The best way to get cash is through ATMs but if you don’t have an international debit card then you will need to bring cash to convert to Japanese Yen.
  • Travel plug/ converter for Japan : You don’t need this if you are from the US but if you are traveling from Europe or South America then you need a travel converter .
  • Compression Socks for your long flight to prevent swelling and improve circulation.
  • Bag hanger : because Japanese people do not want you to leave your bag on the floor, it is considered dirty by the Japanese!
  • Small hand towel : there is no hand dryer or paper towel in most Japanese bathrooms. Japanese people always bring their own so should you
  • Small trash bags : you also won’t find many trash cans on the streets in Japan. Wonder how Japan is still so clean? People bring their trash home with them so you should be prepared to do that too.
  • Portable Phone Battery is a must when traveling in Japan. You will be out all day so you thank yourself for bringing this.

Tokyo dessert matcha parfait

Etiquettes in Japan

Japan has some unique etiquette and societal rules that are different from the western countries. Be sure to be aware of Japanese norms so you do not offend the locals.

  • Japan train etiquette: you cannot eat or talk on the phone (or be loud) on the train.
  • Shorts are not considered fashionable items in Japan! Even in the middle of the summer, most women wear long skirts and men wear long pants with short sleeve shirts. Also do not wear your Lululemon leggings. You will not see Japanese women with leggings out on the street. People won’t say anything if you do, but locals don’t do that.
  • Slurping when eating noodles in Japan is considered polite, opposite from western etiquette. So slurp as loud as you can!
  • When riding an escalator, stand on the left side (instead of the right) to let people pass
  • Eating on the street is frowned upon. Even for street markets where you can get food, there are designated spots to stand near the store to finish your food. Do not walk and eat!
  • Taking a Bath at a hot spring in Japan means you have to wash yourself first before you can get into the pool. You may also not
  • Don’t be loud. Japanese people are very quiet and they follow social norms. Don’t be an annoying tourist with your loud voices please.
  • Do not tip in Japan. Don’t bring your home culture to Japan, respect local customs please.

Best Japan Travel Booking Sites

If you found this Japan 10 day itinerary useful, please take a look at some of the best sites for booking hotels, tours and other activities in Japan.

Some of these sites have affiliate links where we make a small fee when you book something (at absolutely no cost to you). Thank you for your support to allow me to continue to provide high quality and useful travel information to readers like yourself.

Best hotel booking sites for Japan : Agoda or Booking <- can print out confirmation in multiple languages Best eSim for Japan . If you are from the US and have T-mobile , you can use free international roaming and won’t need an eSim or Sim card for Japan. Best tour booking site for Japan . I recommend booking on Klook because many times the official Japanese websites for attractions won’t take your credit card (I know because we tried). Best food review site for Japan : anything above a 3 is good! This is way more accurate than Google Maps reviews Best Apps to check Japan train and bus schedules and routes : Google Maps, Japan Transit Planner or Japan Travel Best no-fee ATM card for Japan: Charles Schwab , Wise , Revolut Best travel insurance for Japan : this or this

World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Other Japan Travel Guides From Me

To help you plan your first trip to Japan, be sure to check out other resources below:

  • Tokyo Mario Kart
  • How many days in Tokyo: Complete Tokyo Itinerary for 2 – 7 days
  • Tokyo to Kamakura Day Trip Guide
  • Best Tokyo Attraction Pass to Save Money
  • 2 Day Kyoto itinerary
  • Best Hotel near Mt. Fuji
  • One Day Osaka Itinerary
  • 2 Days in Tokyo for First Time Visitors
  • Arashiyama Travel Guide
  • How to get to the Kyoto Bamboo Forest
  • Osaka to Miyajima and Hiroshima Day Trip Guide

Like this post? Pin this Japan 10 day Itinerary to Pinterest!

Pinterest Pin: Japan Travel Guide Planning a first trip to Japan

Read my privacy policy .

  • Kale by LyraThemes.com.
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar
  • Skip to footer

Lita of the Pack

US National Parks, Van Life & Travel Tips!

in Japan · February 26, 2024

The Best 10 Day Japan Itinerary

girl looking up at buildings in neon streets of osaka

I ndulge in ramen as the delightful aroma fills the air, weave through the bustling streets of Shibuya, and admire the incredible sight of Mount Fuji 🗻. Get ready to plan the ultimate 10 day Japan Itinerary , blending the vibrant cities, serene nature, and rich Japanese culture. Prepare to fall in love ❤️ with this spectacular country.

Our recent winter trip to Japan was nothing short of enchanting . One of my favorite memories was bathing in an onsen (hot spring) while mountains towered overhead. Despite merely scratching the surface of what Japan has to offer, every moment was packed with unforgettable experiences. The warmth of the people, the delectable cuisine, and the breathtaking sights are things I will always remember. As soon as I left, I began to plan a return trip.

Yet, planning a trip to Japan can be incredibly confusing and stressful. So, I’ve created a comprehensive 10 day itinerary and a quick guide to planning your Japan travel and alleviate your concerns. In this post you’ll find a detailed itinerary, a guide on when to visit, Japan travel tips, and ideal accommodation options.

Curious about our favorite ramen spot or a must-visit destination in Japan? Feel free to share your thoughts down below in the comments. Prepare yourself for an incredible journey!

You Might Also Like These Posts:

  • The Ultimate Day Trip to Nikko Japan
  • A Peaceful Escape: One Day in Hakone Japan

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. I may get a small commission if you use them at no extra charge to you. Thanks for the support!

Table of Contents

10 Day Japan Itinerary

Itinerary breakdown.

One to Three Days Tokyo & Nikko

Two Days in Osaka

One to Two Days in Kyoto & Nara

One Day in Hakone

Last Day Back to Tokyo

Girl Walking streets of Tokyo at sunset

Tokyo is the largest city in the entire world 😮, so you could explore for months and not see everything there. However, for this 10 day Japan itinerary, I recommend spending 2-3 days at the beginning of your trip and one at the end to focus on the highlights.

Below are some of the places in Tokyo that I think are incredible and worth spending time seeing . The best thing about Tokyo is there are tons of restaurants to try and great public transportation. So, you can see a ton in just a few days!

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji is one of the most famous temples in all of Japan. It’s colorful building and beautiful architecture attracts visitors from all over. It’s definitely worth adding to your 10 day Japan itinerary!

shopping streets of sensoji

One of the coolest parts of visiting Senso-ji is walking through Nakamise , a busy shopping street 🛍. There are a variety of vendors of Japanese souvenirs and delicious traditional snacks. It’s the kind of place you could spend hours exploring.

snacks in mitsukoshi

Visit the largest department store in Japan when you go to Mitsukoshi. This large department store has everything from clothing to fantastic restaurants. On the bottom floor, you’ll be able to visit a whole food hall. It’s a fun place to check out!

Akihabara at dusk

Geek out in the Akihabara area of Tokyo. This neighborhood is know for being a large center of anime, manga, and video games 🎮. Throughout these streets you’ll find electronic stores, video game centers, and tons of vending/claw machines.

I am not even interested in video games, but I loved seeing this neighborhood, because it’s so different from anywhere else I’ve been!

Japanese Gardens

japanese gardens in tokyo

There are a number of absolutely beautiful gardens in Tokyo. Visiting a garden is a fantastic way to escape the craziness of Tokyo and enjoy peaceful moments in nature 😌. Japanese gardens are a wonderful part of their culture and I recommend exploring.

We visited the Kiyosumi Garden and it was a wonderful place to stroll through.

girl at gardens in Japan

Beautiful Japanese Gardens in Tokyo

  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
  • Hamarikyu Garden
  • Kiyosumi Garden

Tsukiji Fish Market

If you are a seafood lover, then you need to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market 🐠. This huge complex used to be the largest fish market in the world ! Despite it losing that rank, it’s still a great place to visit for fresh fish and a delicious meal.

There are a variety of vendors and restaurants to explore in the market. We had to skip it on our trip, but my husband has been and he was delighted.

Shibuya & Shibuya Sky

girl standing in the middle of shibuya crossing in Tokyo

You can’t visit Tokyo without exploring the Shibuya area. This area is most similar to Times Square in New York City. It’s an extremely lively area , home to two of the busiest train stations in the world, and known for the fun shops & nightlife spots there.

On your visit to Shibuya, you have to visit Shibuya crossing, the busiest pedestrian crossing in Tokyo 🚶‍♀️. During its busiest hours over 1500 people can be seen crossing from all sides at once.

girl on top of tower with glass of viewpoints over tokyo

Walk through the crossing or travel up Shibuya tower to get a vantage point from above! If you want, you can pay to visit Shibuya Sky, the very top of the tower!

Mejii Shrine

The Mejii Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meijii. He was the one responsible for opening up Japan 🇯🇵 to the rest of the Western World in the 19th century. It’s a wonderful place to learn about Japanese history.

Girl with led lights all around

TeamLab is a unique experience that you will always remember. You’ll walk through TeamLab barefoot to explore experiential and immersive art exhibits . Each room has a different theme and it will leave you in awe.

trip to japan 10 days

Before visiting, I had seen this place all over instagram and I was worried it would be over hyped. But, my whole family loved it so much!

Ginza Shopping district with 13 story tall Uniquo

Ginza is a popular shopping district in Tokyo. It’s a bit more upscale with stores like Prada and Dior lining Chuo-Dori, the main shopping street in this area. Even if you don’t like shopping, it’s an interesting place to visit.

🍜 Our favorite ramen shop, Kyūshū Jangara Ginza, in all of Tokyo was in Ginza!

I highly recommend visiting the 13 story Uniqlo store on your visit to Ginza. This store has interactive exhibits, exclusive designs only available at this store, and a coffee shop. We spent over 40 minutes exploring!

Spend a Day at DisneySea or Disney Land

Center of DisneySea

If you’re interested in amusement parks or a big Disney fan, then you should definitely spend a day at Disney Land or DisneySea . I don’t even like theme parks usually and I was blown away by DisneySea!

DisneySea is a unique park in Tokyo that has different international waterfront themes throughout like Cape Cod or the Mediterranean. The food there is incredible and you won’t want to miss out on the variety of popcorn flavors.

fun underwater ride at disneysea

While Disney Land exists in other places in the world, I’ve heard great things about the Tokyo location! Visit here for a magical day full of fun 🪄.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

View of sunrise from Tokyo Hotel

Choosing where to stay in Tokyo can be a very overwhelming decision . Because Tokyo is so large, there are a huge variety of neighborhoods and hotels to choose from. I hope that my recommendations can help guide your trip a little bit.

Many people say that Shinjuku is a great place to stay for first-timers, because it the quintessential “Tokyo experience.” But, it is also incredibly packed and densely populated.

trip to japan 10 days

Similarly, Shibuya area is a densely packed neighborhood with great food and access to trains. If you want something quieter that’s more central choose a hotel in Chiyoda City , which is home to Tokyo Station. Finally, choose Ginza if you want a hotel and neighborhood that is more upscale.

Great Hotels in Tokyo

  • Prince Park Hotel
  • Imperial Hotel
  • Mitsui Garden Hotel

What to Eat in Tokyo

Ramen bowl with eggs on top

Because Tokyo is such an international city, it really has flavors and foods from all over Japan . So, it’s a great place to start your Japanese food tour and try a bunch of different flavors.

Restaurants in Japan are often small and seat fewer people. It’s fun to try different spots and stop in for just a quick bite or wait in line for a ramen spot. There are so many cheap eats in Tokyo that you’ll find plenty to explore!

sandwiches lined up in japanese 7-11

Best Food in Tokyo

  • Ramen (noodle soup)
  • Tempura (fried food in batter)
  • Shabu Shabu (hot pot)
  • Yakitori (chicken skewer)
  • Convenience Store Food (7-Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart)- try onigiri, fried chicken, or egg salad sandwiches

girl standing on a bridge

Nikko is the perfect day trip from Tokyo at just a little over an hour away. Take the train or drive to incredible mountainous region. Once you’re there you’ll be captivated by the gorgeous waterfalls, ornate shrine, and serene lake.

Toshogu Shrine & Shinkyo Bridge

Toshugu shrine ornately decorated in gold leaf

Toshugu Shrine in Nikko is known as the most ornately decorated shrines in all of Japan as it is covered in gold leaf. Wander around the grounds to see all of the incredible details on the buildings.

This shrine was built in the 1800s as a memorial for Tokugawa Ieyasu and features 12 different buildings nestled amongst the trees.

girl standing on a bridge over a river

After visiting the shrine, walk down to the stunning Shinkyo Bridge , one of the most famous bridges in the country. You’ll be amazed at the beauty of this bridge as it sits over the running river below it with mountains behind.

Kegon Falls

Frozen waterfall in Japan

Nikko is a mountainous town that is well known for its cascading waterfalls. Kegon is arguably one of the most stunning in all of Japan as the water falls off the tall cliffs and dives into the water below.

This waterfall is a fantastic destination year round, but it is one of the most popular sights in the fall.

View over Nikko with Lake and waterfall

There are multiple ways to see this waterfall but I recommend taking the Akechidaira Ropeway up the the incredible viewpoint 🤩. From there, you’ll be able to see the mountains, Lake Chuzenji, and Kegon Falls.

Ryuzu Falls

Ryuzu Falls with two lines of cascading water into a pool

Ryuzu Falls is a gorgeous waterfall where two cascades drop into the pool below 💦. It’s one of the prettiest spots in all of Nikko, so don’t miss it! You can view Ryuzu Falls directly behind a rest area at the bottom of the Falls park or walk along the serene Falls Park path.

streets of osaka

Did you know that Osaka is the tenth largest city in the world ? Before I visited, I had no idea that it was so densely populated. We only had a day in Osaka and honestly, I wish I had more! So, I recommend spending at least 2 days exploring the Osaka highlights.

Osaka is known for having some of the best food in all of Japan 🍘. So, don’t miss out on trying the great cuisine and exploring this lively city!

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

Bridge at Sumiyosha Shrine

Visit one of the oldest shrines in Japan and begin your morning at Sumiyoshi Taisha. This shrine is one of the most beautiful and one of the only shrines considered to be purely Japanese in style.

We visited on New Years Day and got to experience the customs that are important on that day.

One of the most beautiful parts of this shrine is the Sorihashi Bridge that leads to the buildings itself. When you view this shrine from across the water, it appears like a circle ⭕️ with the reflection from the water. You won’t want to miss it!

Abeno Harukas

views over osaka

Abeno Harukas was the tallest building in all of Japan until this past year. It towers above the city at 300 meters tall.

You can pay to take a lift up to the observation deck of the tower and get 360 degree panoramic views over the city. We loved visiting to get this vantage point up above and we thought it was far better than Shibuya Sky in Tokyo.

Shinsekai neighborhood Osaka

Shinsekai literally means “New World,” but visiting this neighborhood you’ll find that it has retro old-school vibes. This area was once very seedy, known for drinking and raucous behavior, but now it’s turned around.

Find tons of great restaurants, fun shops, and even get your chance at riding a slide down the tower there. It’s an exciting area to explore and spend a few hours!

Osaka Aquarium

whale shark swimming in a tank

Osaka has the largest aquarium in the entire world (this is starting to be a Japan theme). This huge aquarium has a large route that you follow where you can see things like penguins, otters, and whale sharks! It was absolutely incredible!

canals with neon signs of dotonburi

If you love a fun nightlife scene, then Dotonbori is the place for you. This lively area has plenty of bars, karaoke spots, and restaurants that line the canal there. Visit for a night on the town or to just take in all of the neon lights.

We spend New Years Eve there and I don’t think there’s a better place to be!

Where to Stay in Osaka

sunrise over skyscrapers in osaka

Like Tokyo, Osaka is a very large city so there are an overwhelming amount of options to stay. I’ve tried to break it down a little bit for you so that you have an easier time choosing where to stay.

Stay in the Umeda area if it’s your first time and you want to have a little bit of everything like great food, location, and shopping. For a fun nightlife area, choose Namba , which has great access to Dotonbori. Traveling with family? Opt for the Osaka Bay area.

Great Hotels in Osaka:

  • Intercontinental Osaka

What to Eat in Osaka

trip to japan 10 days

Osaka is known for having incredible street food and if you aren’t trying the fun options, then you’re missing out! Wander the streets of Osaka and you’ll find plenty of delicious food to try. Below are some of the foods you can’t miss!

Best Foods in Osaka

  • Takoyaki (octopus puffs)
  • Okonomiyaki (savory pancake)
  • Fugu (pufferfish)
  • Kushikatsu (Fried skewers)
  • Yakinuku (grilled meat)

deer outside of a temple

What was once the capital of Japan, now stands as a monument to the past. Visit the Nara area to explore the incredible temple grounds, learn about this capital city, and of course, visit the famous bowing deer.

I recommend spending just half a day in Nara on your way from Osaka to Kyoto. It’s easy to see this area in a few hours and visit the deer.

Tōdai-ji Temple

trip to japan 10 days

Tōdai-ji temple is one of the most famous temples in all of Japan. At this temple, you’ll find significant history and a 15 meter tall Buddha. In fact, the Buddha hall of this temple was considered the largest wooden building for many years.

Wander through the temple and learn about its significance in Japanese history before wandering further around the grounds.

trip to japan 10 days

The deer in Nara are considered to be sacred animals. These deer wander around the temple grounds and tourists love to visit them. They are famous for bowing when you offer them food. It is truly a unique sight to behold!

Be careful they can be aggressive at times!

Learn about the traditional Japanese customs when you visit the lovely city of Kyoto. This city was once the capital of Japan, but now it still harkens back to its history. Get a meal with a geisha, experience a traditional tea ceremony, or explore the amazing shinto shrines in the region.

I recommend spending 2-3 days in Kyoto. There’s plenty to do and see in this city. Kyoto is vastly different from Tokyo, so it’s fun to explore both in your 10 day Japan itinerary.

Fushimi Inari

trip to japan 10 days

Fushimi Inari is one of the most popular destinations in all of Kyoto with the red torii gates that line the shrine and climb uphill. It’s a wild spectacle to see all of these gates in a row! You can wander through these gates and follow them all the way to the top of the mountain, but it will take 2-3 hours.

If you want to avoid crowds, then you’ll need to get to Fushimi Inari very early in the morning . We went during New Years, which is the busiest time of year so we didn’t have any luck with having space to ourselves.

trip to japan 10 days

Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Visit this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sight and see why so many people have fallen in love with this incredible temple. It’s a historic zen buddhist temple with three stories covered in gold leaf.

This temple sits beautifully over a pond below and has a nice walking path around its grounds. You’ll have plenty of vantage points of the lovely temple and the reflection in the pond below. It’s a must-see on your trip to Kyoto!

Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)

trip to japan 10 days

Kyoto is known for having plenty of beautiful temples and the Silver Pavilion is another one that you won’t want to miss visiting. It’s a zen temple that is nestled amongst the mountainous area. The grounds are covered with moss, ponds, a sand garden, and nice pathways.

If you walk a little deeper through the grounds, you’ll find a fantastic view over the area below 👀. It’s a wonderful place to spend golden hour and stroll through.

Philosopher’s Path

Girl walking on the philosopher's walk by water and flowers blooming on her left

After visiting Ginkakuji, simply walk down the hill to get to the beautiful and serene Philosopher’s Path. This stone walkway follows a canal for 2 kilometers to the neighborhood of Nanzenji.

In the spring, the path is lined with cherry blossoms and it’s quite a sight to behold! But, it’s also a nice place to go for a walk throughout the year.

Iwatayama Monkey Park

japanese macaque looking out

You may have seen the famous photos of Japanese macaques hanging in hot springs. But, you don’t have to travel far to see these adorable creatures 🐒. Simply, visit the Arashiyama area in Kyoto to visit the monkey park.

You’ll have to walk 20 minutes up a steep path to see these cuties.

Once you get to the center of town, it’s a short walk before the steep climb up. But, there are over 120 in this park and it’s totally worth it to see them!

baby japanese macaque licking a pole

Sagano Bamboo Grove

girl standing up and looking up in middle of bamboo

Once you’re in the Arashiyama area, then you’ll definitely want to visit the incredible bamboo forest . Walk through this path as bamboos 🎋 shoot up on either side of you and create a peaceful scene.

You can choose to just go directly from the main street to the forest or visit the Tenryu-ji Temple directly in front of the grove. There are a few lovely walking areas on the temple grounds.

Again, this spot is very crowded so you can visit early in the morning to avoid crowds!

house with bamboo at the end

Gion is the traditional geisha district of Kyoto. This area is a wonderful place to explore the storied history of Kyoto. You may see geishas walking around the streets and you can even pay to share a meal with them, which is a memorable experience!

Samurai Experience

boy chopping a piece of bamboo with a sword

Okay if you want a truly unique experience in Kyoto, then you can learn all about the samurai tradition and learn some sword skills at a samurai class ⚔️. Samurai used to rule the Kyoto area many years ago, but the tradition still lives on.

family in samurai outfits with serious faces

We didn’t know what to expect from the samurai training, but it was too much fun! We felt our inner warriors come out!

Where to Stay in Kyoto

onsen in Kyoto

When choosing where to stay in Kyoto, it’s a bit simpler than the other cities. Choose a hotel or stay in a traditional ryokan in Kyoto. I recommend either staying in the downtown area , which is central to everything or finding a hotel in Gion, the traditional area.

Great Hotels in Kyoto

  • Sora Niwa Terrace

What to Eat in Kyoto

trip to japan 10 days

Kyoto, like the other cities in Japan, has so many incredible cuisine options. It also has a lot of traditional specialities that are different to those in Tokyo or Osaka. Explore the list below for the best foods to try when you’re in Kyoto.

trip to japan 10 days

Best Foods in Kyoto

  • Soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • Matcha or Green Tea
  • Kyo-wagashi (Kyoto sweets)
  • Obanzai (traditional Kyoto meal)

Travel from Kyoto by bullet train to get to Hakone, where you can spend the day in a gorgeous mountainous setting. 🏔 Hakone is well known for its views of Mt Fuji as well as the hot springs throughout the area.

I recommend spending a day staying at a ryokan and visiting the beautiful natural sights around the area!

See Mount Fuji

trip to japan 10 days

Most visitors that go to Hakone hope to see incredible views of Mt Fuji. At 12,000 feet above sea level , this mountain is an incredible sight. On a clear day, you can see this beautiful mountain from a handful of spots.

We got to see Mt Fuji in all of its glory when the clouds dispersed and it was incredible. You can visit from above or choose to see this mountain from the lake below.

Great Mt Fuji Viewpoints:

  • Hakone Pirate Ship in Lake Ashi
  • Onshi-Hakone Park

Hakone Open Air Museum

trip to japan 10 days

One thing you shouldn’t miss in Hakone is the incredible Hakone Open Air Museum . This beautiful museum combines the natural setting with stunning pieces of artwork as sculptures are placed throughout the grounds.

Admission is 1600 yen per person or 1400 yen if you have the Hakone Free Pass.

trip to japan 10 days

If you are an art lover, you will love exploring the Picasso hall and interacting with the variety of sculptures on the property. It’s definitely a unique place to visit!

Ryokan and Onsen

trip to japan 10 days

Hakone is known as being one of the best areas to visit the traditional Japanese inns (ryokans) and hot springs (onsen). You can choose to either visit a public bath house or stay overnight at a ryokan, which has hot springs on the property.

Staying at a ryokan was probably the highlight of my entire trip in Japan, so you do not want to miss it! ⭐️

trip to japan 10 days

Where to Stay in Hakone

trip to japan 10 days

Visiting Hakone is not complete without a visit to a ryokan. These traditional Japanese inns are famous in this area. The inns offer a unique experience that include incredible local food, modest rooms, and onsen baths.

Staying at a ryokan in Hakone was by far one of my favorite things that we did!

Great Ryokan in Hakone:

  • Gora Kadan – It’s a splurge and it books out early, but it’s so worth it!
  • Hakone Kyuan
  • Gora Kansuiro
  • Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori

tokyo at night

Spend one final day in Tokyo visiting the highlights that you missed on your first trip. Then, prepare to fly home or continue on to your next adventure. It’s truly the best place to start and end your trip!

Japan Trip Planning

Things to know before going to japan.

streets of shinsekai in Japan

💴 Japan uses the yen as their currency. It’s smart to bring some cash with you before you go.

🛂 You do not need a visa if you are from the US and are staying for less than 90 days. You’ll just need a passport that is valid through your stay with proof of a return ticket.

🍜 Restaurants in Japan are all over, but they’re generally smaller . You can make reservations for restaurants but those tend to be very fancy. So, expect to just wander into various places to try them out!

🚌 Public transportation is extensive throughout the country . You can look into how to get from place to place on Google or Apple Maps.

🍣 Some of the very best Japanese food and treats are at the convenience stores. Make sure to check out 7-eleven, Lawson and Family Mart.

🗣 It’s not as common for people to speak English in Japan. You should download Google translate or get a catchphrase book to learn some Japanese.

🏨 Hotel rooms are smaller in many of the cities. You can stay at business hotels that have smaller rooms and are cheaper, but are still nice accommodations.

When to Go to Japan

Many people will tell you that the best times of year to visit Japan are in the autumn or the spring. In the fall, the colors cover the trees and visiting the mountainous areas is spectacular. While, the spring the sakuras (cherry blossoms) 🌸 bud and are incredibly beautiful.

That being said, autumn and spring are the most crowded times of year, so keep that in mind when planning!

Winter is a magical time with snow covering much of the mountains. We visited in winter and loved it! However, I wouldn’t recommend summer unless you like the heat because it gets incredibly hot in Japan.

Budget for Japan

trip to japan 10 days

Figuring out a budget for Japan can definitely be a hard question. There are ways to see Japan for less, but it does tend to be one of the pricier countries to visit. Hotels and flights are usually the most expensive, while food is generally cheaper.

I would budget $1000 or a little more for round trip flights from the US to Japan. ✈️

However, you can visit Japan for less than $100 a day. There are budget hotels in Japan as well as hostels. Then, you can eat cheaper street food and stick to public transit. But, if you wanted a nicer, fancier trip you might spend about $500 a day. So, your Japan budget will really depend on the trip you want!

How to Get Around Japan

Bullet train in Japan

One of the best thing about visiting Japan is the incredible public transportation, which is the easiest way to get from place to place. In most cities and areas there are a variety of transit options including:

  • Bullet train

trip to japan 10 days

You can look up your trip itinerary on the JR Pass website to see if it’s worth it to buy a JR Pass or get individual tickets. You can explore more on the site and get a Japan Rail Pass guide.

But, I highly recommend getting a reusable metro card (IC card) from Pasmo or Kitaca to use to get around. These cards can be used for the train, vending machines, and even to purchase things at convenience stores.

Final Tips for Visiting Japan

Girl staring out over Osaka from observation deck on high tower

Planning a trip to Japan can be so overwhelming, but I hope this guide helped. When you visit the cities try to leave time open in your schedule to explore and find places that interest you. There’s truly so much to see!

Allow yourself to fall in love with Japan 💕, its culture, and its food. You won’t regret visiting.

There are plenty of ways to fill your 10 day Japan itinerary, but I believe that this is truly the best way. Get a fantastic mix of nature, city life, and history . You’ll see why so many people that visit Japan want to go back.

Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this itinerary!

📍 Pin The Best 10 Day Japan Itinerary to Pinterest

trip to japan 10 days

About Lita Talisman

About lita of the pack.

trip to japan 10 days

Reader Interactions

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Latest on Instagram

Lita Talisman


Living & traveling with @sunburntpickle in our van 🚐 📍56/63 NPs, 50/50 states, 48 countries ⬇️Van life, US Travel & MS

trip to japan 10 days

Have Questions?

If you have questions please contact me .

Inspiring you to get out and see the world!

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you come back soon!

  • Privacy Policy


  1. 10 Days in Japan: A First-Timer's Complete Itinerary

    trip to japan 10 days

  2. The Essential Guide to 10 Days in Japan for First Time Visitors

    trip to japan 10 days

  3. 10 Day Japan Winter Itinerary

    trip to japan 10 days

  4. 10 Days Itinerary: Tokyo and the Best of Eastern Japan

    trip to japan 10 days

  5. 10 Day Japan Itinerary: Golden Route & Hidden Gems

    trip to japan 10 days

  6. Japan Itinerary 10 Days

    trip to japan 10 days


  1. I Find This Weird In Japan + My Last Day In Tokyo🇯🇵

  2. Japan 10 days Tokyo-Osaka

  3. JAPAN Travel Vlog

  4. Day 3 Japan

  5. VLOG #4

  6. Last Day in Tokyo Japan + Everything We Packed for 5 Weeks of Travel With a Baby!


  1. 10 Days in Japan: A First-Timer's Complete Itinerary

    Days 1-3: Tokyo. Day 4: day trip from Tokyo. Days 5-6: Kyoto. Day 7: Nara and Osaka. Day 8: Miyajima and Hiroshima. Day 9: morning in Kyoto → Tokyo. Day 10: Tokyo in morning/afternoon → airport. Japan is a decently large-sized island country located in Eastern Asia, being slightly smaller than California .

  2. 10 Days in Japan: Top 5 Itineraries for First Visit 2024/2025

    1. 10-Day Classic Japan Itinerary (Most Chosen) 3 nights in Tokyo. 1 night in Hakone. 3 nights in Kyoto. 2 nights in Osaka. This itinerary is ideal for you to explore Japan's major highlights in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Experience the best of Japan, including plenty of hands-on, authentic activities that would make your trip memorable.

  3. Japan itinerary: How to get the best out of Japan in 10 days

    To replicate our 10 day Japan trip, excluding flights, would cost around £2400 ($3100) for two people. That's around £900 ($1200) for the accommodation; £500 ($650) for travel; and a budget of £100 ($150) per day for food and activities. You could save money by doing some self-catering or sticking to cheaper restaurants.

  4. 10 Days in Japan (Itinerary)

    The fastest way to get to Kyoto from Tokyo is to take the Nozami train because the ride takes a mere 2 hours and 20 minutes. As of November 2019, a one-way ticket on the Nozami runs $130 one-way, $260 round-trip. The steep price of the bullet trains is the reason we purchased the JR Pass (paid $288/each).

  5. 10 Days in Japan: Itinerary, What to Do & Where to Go

    The old imperial capital is Japan's most intriguing major tourist destination, where temples dot the backstreets, geishas shuffle around, and gardens and shrines hide in the deepest recesses. Unload at least four days in Kyoto to take the city in at a relaxed pace and leave room for a couple of awesome Kyoto day trips.

  6. 10 days in Japan: Travel itinerary

    10 days in Japan: Travel itinerary. February 10, 2020. Itineraries. One of the best ways to get to know what Japan has to offer is to explore the best-of-highlights route from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka. This itinerary allows you to see most of Japan's famous landmarks and truly get a taste of the culture. You will travel from the modern ...

  7. Japan in 10 Days: The Ideal Itinerary For A First-Timer

    Japan in 10 Days: The Ideal Itinerary For A First-Timer. November 30, 2022 by Guada Wilkinson. Our first-time favorite 10-day Japan itinerary aims to inspire you and serve you as an outline. It's not written in stone. We encourage you to customize this based on your interests and needs that you've identified.

  8. The Ultimate 10-Day Japan Tour Itinerary

    The first destination on any 10-day Japan tour will most likely be Tokyo. Tokyo offers it all: temples and shrines, beautiful parks and amazing food, and rich history and culture. The city's contrasts will surely strike you, from the bustle of Shibuya Crossing and beauty of iconic Tokyo Tower to the quiet and zen of Yoyogi Park.

  9. How To Spend 10 Days in Japan: Itinerary For First Time Visitors

    Here is a quick overview of this 10 day Japan itinerary. You can also check out the map below. 3 days in Tokyo. 1 day in Hakone. 2 days in Kyoto. 1 day in Osaka. 1 day in Nara. 1 day in Himeji or Kobe. 1 day travelling back to Tokyo/Osaka for flights.

  10. 10 Days in Japan

    Thanks to Japan's efficient transportation, you can visit at least four regions in 10 days. First-timers will enjoy touring iconic sites in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Foodies can feast on sushi, sample Osaka's street eats, and try their hand at making gyoza. Culture enthusiasts will appreciate a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto and an art tour of Naoshima island, while those eager to ...

  11. The Best Way to Spend 10 Days in Japan

    With 10 days in Japan, you can arrive in Tokyo and, after spending 2-3 days in the capital, ride the Shinkansen westward to Kyoto. Stay 2-3 nights here as well; either continue west to Hiroshima for 1-2 nights before returning to Tokyo, or head back east immediately, stopping for a night or two in the Fuji Five Lakes region before touching down ...

  12. The Ultimate guide to 10 days in Japan 2022

    Flying from Sydney Australia to Tokyo Japan takes just 10 hours on a direct flight, with more than 5 flights leaving per day. Flying from London England to Tokyo Japan takes 13 hours on a direct flight with more than 5 flights leaving per day. Flying from Los Angeles California to Tokyo Japan takes 12 hours on a direct flight 12 hours with more ...

  13. 10 Day Japan Itinerary for First Timers

    10-Day Japan Itinerary Day-by-Day. Day 1 - Fly to Tokyo. Days 2-3 - Explore Tokyo's Highlights. Day 4 - Day Trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and/or Aokigahara Forest. Day 5 - Day Trip from Tokyo to Nikko. Day 6 - Hakone. Day 7-8 - Kyoto. Day 9 - Day Trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima. Day 10 - Osaka.

  14. 10 Day Japan Itinerary For First-Timers I The Boutique Adventurer

    The pass covers virtually every train in Japan - including most bullet trains - and costs just USD$270 for 7 days rail travel. 14 and 21-day options are also available. As is a very reasonably priced upgrade to first class. Amazing value for Japan's excellent trains. You're most likely going to need Google Maps on hand.

  15. 10 days in Japan: a unique itinerary for first-timers

    Our 10 day Japan itinerary. Day 1 - Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun for your 10 day trip to Japan! Day 2 - Dreamy Miyajima and Surprising Hiroshima. Day 3 - arriving in Kyoto and the Southern Higashiyama district. Day 4 - Kyoto with temples, Higashiyama district, and Philosopher's Path. Day 5 - Kyoto with Fushimi Inari Shrine ...

  16. The Essential Guide to 10 Days in Japan for First Time Visitors

    Click here to check out our detailed article on the best day tours to visit Mt Fuji. Day 5 - Explore Tokyo. Day 6 - Catch train to Kyoto (2:30 hrs), Gion evening tour. Day 7 - Explore Kyoto. Day 8 - Universal Studios Day Tour. Day 9 - Nara or Hiroshima Day Tour. Day 10 - Depart Osaka.

  17. A Beautiful 10 Days in Japan Itinerary

    Day 3 - Tokyo. Day 4 - Kamakura Day Trip. Day 5 - Hakone / Travel to Kyoto. Day 6 - Kyoto. Day 7 - Kyoto. Day 8 - Kyoto. Day 9 - Miyajima / Hiroshima Day Trip. Day 10 - Nara Day Trip. * Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links ...

  18. 10 Day Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate First Timer's Guide

    Day 4 out of 10 days Japan: Day Trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and Hakone Onsen Town. Today, escape the city to get in touch with Japan's natural beauty and hot springs at Hakone. Known for its mountain scenery and onsen villages with traditional ryokan inns and open air baths. A relaxing change of pace.

  19. 10-Day Japan Itinerary: Exploring Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

    Planning a 10-Day Trip to Japan from the USA: A Detailed Cost Breakdown. Flights: Round-trip airfare: The cost of flights from the USA to Japan typically ranges from $800 to $1,200 per person, depending on factors such as the time of year, the departure city, and how far in advance you book.

  20. 10 Day Japan Itinerary: Golden Route & Hidden Gems

    Depending on the dates of your 10 day Japan trip, the Tokyo Prince Hotel costs about as much as any other nice hotel in the city center but comes with spacious rooms, killer views (half of the rooms overlook Tokyo Tower), and gorgeous facilities and restaurants. Plus it's a short walk to the stations with direct links to Narita and Haneda ...

  21. Japan Itinerary 10 Days: Perfect for First Time Visitors

    Hiroshima Castle (14:30 - 17:00) Although this castle was reconstructed after the bombing, its beauty and charm are still retained. Almost every part of the Hiroshima castle is dedicated to Samurai culture, and you can even dress up as one if you like! This marks the end of this 10 days trip to Japan.

  22. Japan 10 Day Itinerary: How to Spend 10 Days in Japan as a First Time

    The most popular cities to visit in Japan for a first timer include Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. This is exactly what this itinerary will cover. Overview of this first-timer 10 day Japan itinerary: Day 1: Osaka. Day 2: Day Trip from Osaka. Day 3-4: Kyoto. Day 5: Day Trip from Kyoto. Day 6 - 10: Tokyo + day trip from Tokyo.

  23. The Best 10 Day Japan Itinerary

    in Japan · February 26, 2024. The Best 10 Day Japan Itinerary. I ndulge in ramen as the delightful aroma fills the air, weave through the bustling streets of Shibuya, and admire the incredible sight of Mount Fuji 🗻. Get ready to plan the ultimate 10 day Japan Itinerary, blending the vibrant cities, serene nature, and rich Japanese culture.