12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Phoenix
Fly:  16​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 2 nights
train:  3​h 30​min
2
Nara
— 1 night
train:  45​min
3
Osaka
— 2 nights
train:  30​min
4
Kyoto
— 2 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
5
Fukuoka
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
6
Chatan-cho
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  19​h 45​min
End: Phoenix


Learn more about your trip

2
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.
On the 19th (Tue), explore the world behind art at Tokyo National Museum, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sensō-ji, then make a trip to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and finally take some stellar pictures from Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 20th (Wed): see the interesting displays at Edo-Tokyo Museum and then make an unforgettable trip to Tokyo Disneyland.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Tokyo trip planning app .

Phoenix, USA to Tokyo is an approximately 16.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. The time zone changes from Mountain Standard Time (MST) to Japan Standard Time (JST), which is usually a 16 hour difference. Traveling from Phoenix in May, expect Tokyo to be slightly colder, temps between 76°F and 61°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Wed) so you can catch the train to Nara.

Things to do in Tokyo

Theme Parks Museums Historic Sites

Side Trip

Tokyo Disneyland
Find places to stay May 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Tokyo Disneyland ©
Tokyo Disneyland
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

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 21st (Thu), contemplate the long history of Byodoin, then appreciate the history behind Todai-ji Temple, then identify plant and animal life at Nara Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine.

For where to stay, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Nara trip itinerary app .

Getting from Tokyo to Nara by train takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. In May, plan for daily highs up to 77°F, and evening lows to 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Byodoin
Find places to stay May 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Fri): get a taste of the local shopping with Dotonbori and then get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Japan. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat): step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, then get your game on at Sunset Owl Cafe, and then meet the residents at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

To see maps, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Osaka visit planning tool .

You can take a train from Nara to Osaka in an hour. Another option is to drive. Traveling from Nara in May, plan for slightly colder nights in Osaka, with lows around 60°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) to allow time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay May 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Sun): take in the spiritual surroundings of Ryoanji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kinkaku-ji, then contemplate the long history of Heian Shrine, and finally contemplate the long history of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Yase Momiji no Komichi, step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Sanjusangendo Temple, and finally contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Kyoto trip itinerary builder .

Kyoto is very close to Osaka. In May in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 77°F during the day and 59°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Mon) to allow time to take a train to Fukuoka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks
Find places to stay May 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

2
nights
Fukuoka

Fukuoka ©
The largest city on the island, Fukuoka formed through the merger of two former cities that had grown up either side of the Naka River.
On the 26th (Tue), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Dazaifu Temmangu, enjoy the sand and surf at Miyajihama Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Fukuma Beach. Keep things going the next day: enjoy breathtaking views from Aburayama Shimin no Mori, then let little ones run wild at Ohori Park, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Nijino Matsubara.

For ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Fukuoka road trip planner.

You can take a train from Kyoto to Fukuoka in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or drive. In May, daily temperatures in Fukuoka can reach 76°F, while at night they dip to 60°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) early enough to travel to Chatan-cho.

Things to do in Fukuoka

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Fukutsu, Nijino Matsubara, Dazaifu Tenman-gu
Find places to stay May 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Nijino Matsubara ©
Nijino Matsubara
Dazaifu Tenman-gu
Dazaifu Tenman-gu
Ohori Park ©
Ohori Park

1
night
Chatan-cho

Known for its American military bases, Chatan-cho has lacked the tourism appeal of other towns on the island, yet offers a pleasant beach getaway.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Thu): kick back and relax at Toguchi Beach and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Chatan-cho using our trip planner.

You can fly from Fukuoka to Chatan-cho in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Fukuoka in May since evenings lows in Chatan-cho dip to 69°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Chatan-cho

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Scuba & Snorkeling, Toguchi Beach
Find places to stay May 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

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