12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Tokyo
1
Tokyo
— 1 day
Train:  4​h 15​min
2
Hiroshima
— 1 night
Train:  1​h 15​min
3
Kobe
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Nara
— 1 night
Train:  45​min
5
Kyoto
— 1 night
Train:  2​h 30​min
6
Kanazawa
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
7
Takayama
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
8
Matsumoto
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
9
Hakone-machi
— 1 night
Bus + Train:  1​h 30​min
10
Kamakura
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
11
Nikko
— 1 night
Train:  1​h 45​min
End: Tokyo

1
day
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
On the 3rd (Fri), stroll through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, then take in panoramic vistas at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, then admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, and finally get your game on at Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou.

To see maps, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo online trip itinerary builder .

If you are flying in from Australia, the closest major airports are Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Narita International Airport and Hyakuri Airport. In April in Tokyo, expect temperatures between 22°C during the day and 12°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to travel to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Tokyo

Parks Fun & Games
Find places to stay Apr 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou ©
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden ©
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Meiji Jingu Shrine ©
Meiji Jingu Shrine

1
night
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Sat): make a trip to Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, see the interesting displays at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and then contemplate the long history of Atomic Bomb Dome.

To see other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Hiroshima day trip planner .

You can take a train from Tokyo to Hiroshima in 4.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. In April, daily temperatures in Hiroshima can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can catch the train to Kobe.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Apr 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima
Atomic Bomb Dome ©
Atomic Bomb Dome

1
night
Kobe

Kobe ©
Walkable, small, and aesthetically charming, Kobe has served as Japan's first and premier international trading outpost since opening to trade with China in the mid-19th century.
On the 5th (Sun), take in nature's colorful creations at Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens, gain insight at Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, then wander the streets of Kobe Harborland, and finally take a stroll through Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown).

Plan a Kobe trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Traveling by train from Hiroshima to Kobe takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or drive. April in Kobe sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 14°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Nara.

Things to do in Kobe

Neighborhoods Shopping Parks
Find places to stay Apr 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown) ©
Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown)
Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens ©
Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens

1
night
Nara

Nara ©
The country's first established capital, Nara houses some of the most storied buildings and natural attractions in Japan, with eight World Heritage Sites in total.
On the 6th (Mon), take in the spiritual surroundings of Kofuku-ji Temple, pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, examine the collection at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine, then walk around Nara Park, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple.

To see maps, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, use the Nara road trip planner.

Traveling by car from Kobe to Nara takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 22°C in April, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) early enough to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks
Find places to stay Apr 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

1
night
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
On the 7th (Tue), contemplate the long history of Heian Shrine, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and then contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

For photos, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Kyoto trip itinerary builder tool .

You can take a train from Nara to Kyoto in an hour. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train and subway. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Nara in April since evenings lows in Kyoto dip to 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to take a train to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Apr 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Heian Shrine ©
Heian Shrine

1
night
Kanazawa

Kanazawa ©
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
On the 8th (Wed), don't miss a visit to Omicho Market, wander the streets of Higashichaya Old Town, explore the historical opulence of Kanazawa Castle, then admire the natural beauty at Kenrokuen Garden, and finally explore the world behind art at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

For where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read Kanazawa journey planner .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Kanazawa in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Kyoto in April, Kanazawa is a bit cooler at night with lows of 8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Historic Sites Museums Parks
Find places to stay Apr 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Kanazawa Castle ©
Kanazawa Castle
Kenrokuen Garden
Kenrokuen Garden
Omicho Market ©
Omicho Market

1
night
Takayama

Takayama ©
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): learn more about the world around you at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), admire the striking features of Takayama Jinya, then wander the streets of Sanmachi Suji, then examine the collection at Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, and finally hunt for treasures at Hida-Takayama Miyagawa Morning Market.

To find photos, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Takayama trip planner .

Traveling by car from Kanazawa to Takayama takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. April in Takayama sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 9°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Matsumoto.

Things to do in Takayama

Museums Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Apr 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya
Sanmachi Suji ©
Sanmachi Suji

1
night
Matsumoto

Matsumoto
A castle town, Matsumoto possesses one of the best-preserved feudal structures in the country, and maintains its historical attractions and traditions while simultaneously exuding a modern, cosmopolitan charm.
On the 10th (Fri), explore the historical opulence of Matsumoto Castle, take a stroll through Nakamachi Street, admire the masterpieces at Matsumoto City Museum of Art, examine the collection at Japan Radio Museum, then take a stroll through Nawate Shopping District, and finally experience rural life at Daio Wasabi Farm.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Matsumoto day trip website .

Getting from Takayama to Matsumoto by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. In April in Matsumoto, expect temperatures between 19°C during the day and 10°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can drive to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Matsumoto

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

Daio Wasabi Farm
Find places to stay Apr 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Nawate Shopping District
Nawate Shopping District
Matsumoto Castle ©
Matsumoto Castle
Daio Wasabi Farm ©
Daio Wasabi Farm

1
night
Hakone-machi

Hakone-machi ©
Sitting at the foot of Mount Fuji, Hakone-machi has become a popular retreat from Tokyo for locals and tourists alike.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sat): admire the masterpieces at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, explore the activities along Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), and then don't miss a visit to Owaku-dani Valley.

To see ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Hakone-machi holiday site .

Drive from Matsumoto to Hakone-machi in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Matsumoto in April: highs in Hakone-machi hover around 15°C, while lows dip to 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) so you can travel to Kamakura.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums Parks Nature
Find places to stay Apr 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) ©
Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)
Owaku-dani Valley ©
Owaku-dani Valley

1
night
Kamakura

Kamakura ©
The coastal town of Kamakura sits close to Tokyo, with the ancient settlement featuring a number of important historical and cultural sites.
Start off your visit on the 12th (Sun): take in panoramic vistas at Shojoken Ovservatory, then contemplate the long history of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, then contemplate the long history of Hase-dera Temple, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kōtoku-in.

To see photos, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read Kamakura trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and train from Hakone-machi to Kamakura takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Expect a daytime high around 17°C in April, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can drive to Nikko.

Things to do in Kamakura

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Apr 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Kōtoku-in ©
Kōtoku-in
Hase-dera Temple ©
Hase-dera Temple
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine ©
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

1
night
Nikko

Nikko ©
A gateway to a sprawling and diverse national park, a center of Shinto spiritualism and place of Buddhist worship, an emblem of the riches and dominance of the Tokugawa shogunate: Nikko means many things to many people.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Mon): walk around Nikko National Park, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Taiyuimbyo Shrine, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nikko Tosho-gu, and finally find something for the whole family at Tobu World Square. Here are some ideas for day two: steep yourself in history at Nikko Futarasan jinja and then take in the dramatic scenery at Kegon Falls.

To find reviews, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Nikko travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Kamakura to Nikko takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a train. In April in Nikko, expect temperatures between 19°C during the day and 15°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a train back home.

Things to do in Nikko

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Nikko National Park
Find places to stay Apr 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Nikko National Park ©
Nikko National Park
Nikko Tosho-gu ©
Nikko Tosho-gu
Taiyuimbyo Shrine ©
Taiyuimbyo Shrine

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