12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  12​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 3 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
2
Kyoto
— 1 night
train:  30​min
3
Osaka
— 2 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
4
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
train + Drive:  6​h
5
Shirakawa-mura
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
6
Tsumagoi-mura
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Tokyo
— 1 night
Fly:  14​h 45​min
End: London

3
nights
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sensō-ji, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Asakusa Shrine, then don't miss a visit to Kitchen Town (Kappabashi), and finally contemplate the long history of Hie Jinjya. Keep things going the next day: explore the galleries of KidZania Tokyo, then wander the streets of Ueno, and then contemplate the long history of Nezu Shrine.

To find photos, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Tokyo sightseeing website .

Sydney, Australia to Tokyo is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time (New South Wales) to Japan Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Sydney in December, expect Tokyo to be cooler, temps between 14°C and 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums Childrens Museums
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Nezu Shrine ©
Nezu Shrine
KidZania Tokyo ©
KidZania Tokyo

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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Kennin-ji Temple, and then take a stroll through Gion. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shimogamo Jinja, then step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nishi Honganji, and finally contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

To find maps, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Kyoto journey planner .

Traveling by train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kennin-ji Temple ©
Kennin-ji Temple

2
nights
Osaka

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
On the 13th (Fri), take in the spiritual surroundings of Toshodaiji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, and then shop like a local with Hankyu Umeda Main Store. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): get your game on at Sunset Owl Cafe, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hōzen-ji Temple, and then take a stroll through Dotonbori.

To find maps, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Osaka trip planner .

Osaka is just a stone's throw from Kyoto. December in Osaka sees daily highs of 13°C and lows of 4°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can travel to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Shopping Fun & Games

Side Trip

Toshodai-ji Temple
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine ©
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

2
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
On the 14th (Sat), take in nature's colorful creations at Okayama Korakuen Garden. Keep things going the next day: kick back and relax at Mikasahama Beach, stroll through Miyajima, then get to know the resident critters at Asa Zoological Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Mitaki Temple.

To see ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Hiroshima day trip tool .

Traveling by train from Osaka to Hiroshima takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and train. In December, plan for daily highs up to 13°C, and evening lows to 4°C. On the 16th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Shirakawa-mura.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Parks Historic Sites Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Okayama Korakuen Garden
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Miyajima ©
Miyajima
Mitaki Temple ©
Mitaki Temple
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima

1
night
Shirakawa-mura

Shirakawa-mura ©
Set amid quintessentially Japanese landscape, Shirakawa-mura consists of 16 quaint villages, including a historic village of farm houses, now designated a World Heritage Site.
On the 17th (Tue), get engrossed in the history at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, then wander the streets of Ogimachi, then contemplate the long history of Wada House, and finally don't miss a visit to The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses.

To see photos, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Shirakawa-mura road trip planning app .

Traveling by combination of train and car from Hiroshima to Shirakawa-mura takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and bus; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Shirakawa-mura can reach 11°C, while at night they dip to 3°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Tsumagoi-mura.

Things to do in Shirakawa-mura

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Wada House ©
Wada House
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen ©
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen

1
night
Tsumagoi-mura

Tsumagoi-mura ©
Start off your visit on the 18th (Wed): indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens and then take in the pleasant sights at Onioshidashi Volcanic Park.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Tsumagoi-mura trip itinerary planning website .

You can drive from Shirakawa-mura to Tsumagoi-mura in 5 hours. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Shirakawa-mura in December: high temperatures in Tsumagoi-mura hover around 7°C and lows are around 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Tsumagoi-mura

Baths Spas
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Onioshidashi Volcanic Park ©
Onioshidashi Volcanic Park

1
night
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Start off your visit on the 19th (Thu): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kanda Myojin.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Tokyo online driving holiday planner .

Traveling by car from Tsumagoi-mura to Tokyo takes 3.5 hours. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Tsumagoi-mura in December, with highs in Tokyo at 14°C and lows at 4°C. On the 19th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Kanda Myojin ©
Kanda Myojin

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