13 days in Japan Itinerary

13 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Kuala Lumpur
Fly + train:  11​h
1
Nara
— 1 day
Drive:  1​h
2
Kita
— 2 nights
train:  1​h 30​min
3
Kyoto
— 2 nights
train:  45​min
4
Nagoya
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
5
Gero
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
6
Matsumoto
— 1 night
train:  1​h
7
Nagano
— 1 night
train:  1​h 30​min
8
Tokyo
— 2 nights
train + bus:  1​h 30​min
9
Hakone-machi
— 1 night
Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: Kuala Lumpur

1
day
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.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Fri): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kofuku-ji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kasuga Grand Shrine, then identify plant and animal life at Nara Park, then examine the collection at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, and finally pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Nara trip tool .

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Nara is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and train. You can also do a combination of flight, bus, and train; or do a combination of car and ferry. Traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Nara, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Prepare for much colder weather when traveling from Kuala Lumpur in November: high temperatures in Nara hover around 19°C and lows are around 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Fri) so you can travel to Kita.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 1:
Highlights from your plan
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

2
nights
Kita

Kita ©
A Kita holiday offers a great deal of varied attractions that cater to all kinds of modern urban explorers.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sat): take some stellar pictures from Kuchu Teien Observatory and then get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Japan. Keep things going the next day: explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, then wander the streets of Dotonbori, and finally take in the views from Oe Bridge.

For traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Kita tour itinerary app .

Drive from Nara to Kita in an hour. In November, daytime highs in Kita are 19°C, while nighttime lows are 10°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Kita

Theme Parks Historic Sites Parks

Side Trip

Osaka
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 2:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan ©
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

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.
On the 3rd (Mon), get engrossed in the history at Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts Fureaikan, steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. On the 4th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinkaku-ji, then explore the historical opulence of Nijo-jo Castle, then contemplate the long history of Heian Shrine, and finally wander the streets of Gion.

For maps, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Kyoto trip planner.

You can drive from Kita to Kyoto in 1.5 hours. In December, plan for daily highs up to 13°C, and evening lows to 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) so you can catch the train to Nagoya.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

1
night
Nagoya

Nagoya ©
Known nationally as an industrial heartland, Nagoya boasts a far more cosmopolitan and cultural core than its reputation would lead you to believe.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): explore the historical opulence of Nagoya Castle, then examine the collection at Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from Nagoya TV Tower.

For reviews, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Nagoya trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by train from Kyoto to Nagoya takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. While traveling from Kyoto, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Nagoya, ranging from highs of 9°C to lows of 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to travel to Gero.

Things to do in Nagoya

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium ©
Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium
Nagoya Castle ©
Nagoya Castle

1
night
Gero

Gero is a city in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Kick off your visit on the 6th (Thu): soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens, then examine the collection at Gero Onsen Gasshomura, and then make a trip to Onsenji Temple.

For reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Gero day trip planning tool .

Drive from Nagoya to Gero in 2.5 hours. In December, daytime highs in Gero are 9°C, while nighttime lows are 3°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Matsumoto.

Things to do in Gero

Spas Museums
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Thermal Spas
Gero Onsen Gassho Village ©
Gero Onsen Gassho Village

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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): go for a walk through Matsumoto Castle, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Jonen, and then steep yourself in history at Kaichi Gakko Primary School.

To see more things to do, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Matsumoto trip app .

Traveling by car from Gero to Matsumoto takes 3 hours. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Gero in December since evenings lows in Matsumoto dip to 0°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Nagano.

Things to do in Matsumoto

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Mt. Jonen ©
Mt. Jonen
Matsumoto Castle ©
Matsumoto Castle
Kaichi Gakko Primary School ©
Kaichi Gakko Primary School

1
night
Nagano

Nagano
Near the confluence of the Chikuma and Sai rivers, Nagano combines historic sites with nearby forested alps dotted with shrines.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Sat): don't miss a visit to Togakushi Shrine Chusha, hit the slopes at Iizuna Kogen Ski Area, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Zenko-ji Temple.

To see photos, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Nagano road trip planning tool .

You can drive from Matsumoto to Nagano in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train. Expect a daytime high around 7°C in December, and nighttime lows around 0°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) so you can catch the train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Nagano

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Iizuna Kogen Ski Area
Iizuna Kogen Ski Area
Zenko-ji Temple ©
Zenko-ji Temple
Togakushi Shrine Chusha ©
Togakushi Shrine Chusha

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.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Sun): make a trip to The Tsukiji Market, browse the exhibits of Tokyo National Museum, then get your game on at Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou, and finally examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the natural beauty at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, make a trip to Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble, appreciate the history behind Hachiko, then don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, then ponder the world of politics at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and finally don't miss a visit to Tokyo Tower.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo travel route planner.

Traveling by train from Nagano to Tokyo takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December, Tokyo is somewhat warmer than Nagano - with highs of 14°C and lows of 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Mon) so you can go by car to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Museums Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou ©
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden ©
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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.
For ratings, maps, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Hakone-machi day trip planner.

Getting from Tokyo to Hakone-machi by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Tokyo in December, expect nights in Hakone-machi to be about the same, around 5°C, while days are little chillier, around 8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 11th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum

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