12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Kuala Lumpur
Fly + train:  11​h
1
Nara
— 1 night
train:  45​min
2
Kyoto
— 3 nights
train:  30​min
3
Osaka
— 4 nights
train:  30​min
4
Kobe
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  10​h 15​min
End: Kuala Lumpur

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 30th (Sat), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Toshodaiji Temple, take in nature's colorful creations at Isuien Garden, explore the galleries of Nara National Museum, take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Wakakusa, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple, and finally walk around Nara Park.

For more things to do, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Nara road trip planning app .

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Nara is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and train. You can also fly; or do a combination of car and ferry. The time zone changes from Malaysia Time to Japan Standard Time, which is usually a 1 hour difference. Traveling from Kuala Lumpur in November, expect Nara to be much colder, temps between 19°C and 13°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Sat) early enough to catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Find places to stay Nov 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Mt. Wakakusa ©
Mt. Wakakusa
Toshodaiji Temple ©
Toshodaiji Temple

3
nights
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Mt. Kurama and Walking tours. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, contemplate the long history of Genkoan, and contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Biwa.

To plan Kyoto vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

Traveling by train from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and subway. November in Kyoto sees daily highs of 19°C and lows of 10°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Tue) so you can take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Lake Biwa
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 3:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Lake Biwa ©
Lake Biwa
Kamogawa River ©
Kamogawa River

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like KidZania Koshien and Mitarai Valley. Step out of Osaka with an excursion to Itami Sky Park in Itami--about 30 minutes away. There's much more to do: find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan, get to know the fascinating history of Hozenji Yokocho, get your game on at Sunset Owl Cafe, and meet the residents at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

To see reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Osaka road trip site .

Osaka is just a short distance from Kyoto. In December, daily temperatures in Osaka can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Sat) to allow time for the train ride to Kobe.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Parks Fun & Games

Side Trips

Itami Sky Park, Mitarai Valley, KidZania Koshien
Find places to stay Dec 3 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
KidZania Koshien ©
KidZania Koshien
Itami Sky Park ©
Itami Sky Park

2
nights
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Nunobiki Falls (Nunobiki-No-Taki) and Ashiya Rock Garden. Step out of Kobe to go to Himeji and see Mt Shosha hiking, which is approximately 1h 25 min away. There's lots more to do: take a peaceful walk through Kobe Municipal Arboretum, see the interesting displays at Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, admire the natural beauty at Rokko Alpine Garden, and admire the verdant scenery at Mukogawa Valley.

For where to stay, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Kobe online trip itinerary maker .

Kobe is just a short distance from Osaka. In December in Kobe, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 6°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Kobe

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Mukogawa Valley, Mt Shosha hiking, Ashiya Rock Garden
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Nunobiki Falls (Nunobiki-No-Taki) ©
Kobe Municipal Arboretum ©
Kobe Municipal Arboretum
Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum ©
Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum

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