16 days in Japan Itinerary

16 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  13​h
1
Osaka
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h
2
Takayama
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Nikko
— 3 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
4
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Fly:  12​h 30​min
End: Sydney

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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Tenryuji Temple and Tofuku-ji Temple. Your inner history buff will appreciate Eikando Zenrinji Temple and Toji. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Osaka: Kyoto (Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, & more), Higashiyama (Kodai-ji Temple, Chion-in Temple, & more) and Nigatsu-do Temple (in Nara). There's lots more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Toshodaiji Temple, examine the collection at Mint Museum, contemplate the long history of Daigo-ji Temple, and don't miss a visit to Hōzen-ji Temple.

To see reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Osaka trip planning website .

Sydney, Australia to Osaka is an approximately 13-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Sydney to Osaka is minus 1 hour. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Sydney in May: high temperatures in Osaka hover around 29°C and lows are around 18°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) so you can go by car to Takayama.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Kyoto, Nara, Mii-dera Temple (Onjo-ji Temple)
Find places to stay May 1 — 5:
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Tofuku-ji Temple ©
Tofuku-ji Temple
Eikando Zenrinji Temple ©
Eikando Zenrinji Temple
Toji ©
Toji

3
nights
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Higashiyama Walking Course. Get some cultural insight at Ainokura Gassho Community and Kanda house. Explore Takayama's surroundings by going to Nanto (Suganuma Gassho Community & Gokayama) and Shirakawa-mura (Shirakawago & Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen). And it doesn't end there: admire the landmark architecture of Takayama Jinya, examine the collection at Takayama Showa Museum, and get your bearings at Takayama City Hall.

To see maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Takayama day trip planning tool .

You can drive from Osaka to Takayama in 4 hours. Other options are to take a train; or take a bus. May in Takayama sees daily highs of 27°C and lows of 17°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Nikko.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Scenic Drive Outdoors

Side Trips

Nanto, Shirakawa-mura, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Find places to stay May 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Higashiyama Walking Course ©
Higashiyama Walking Course
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community
Gokayama ©
Gokayama

3
nights
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.
Get outdoors at Lake Chuzenji and Kammangafuchi Gorge. Get some historical perspective at Taiyuimbyo Shrine and Senjogahara Field. When in Nikko, make a side trip to see Oya Stone Museum in Utsunomiya, approximately 32 minutes away. There's still lots to do: steep yourself in history at Yomeimon (Main Gate), take in the dramatic scenery at Ryuzu Waterfall, walk around Nikko National Park, and take in breathtaking views at Ryuokyo Canyon.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Nikko vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Takayama to Nikko in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Takayama in May: highs in Nikko hover around 24°C, while lows dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) so you can take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Nikko

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Nikko National Park, Oya History Museum
Find places to stay May 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Yomeimon (Main Gate) ©
Yomeimon (Main Gate)
Yudaki Falls ©
Yudaki Falls
Taiyuimbyo Shrine ©
Taiyuimbyo Shrine

5
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.
Let the collections at Tokyo National Museum and Nezu Museum capture your imagination. Get a sense of the local culture at Hase-dera Temple and Ueno. Explore Tokyo's surroundings by going to Kamakura (Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kencho-ji Temple, & more). There's lots more to do: admire the masterpieces at Tokyo National Museum The Heiseikan, contemplate the long history of Hie Jinjya, explore the historical opulence of The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Edo Castle Ruin), and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Zojo-ji Temple.

To find reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Tokyo day trip app .

Getting from Nikko to Tokyo by train takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. While traveling from Nikko, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Tokyo, ranging from highs of 28°C to lows of 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trip

Kamakura
Find places to stay May 11 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Kencho-ji Temple
Kencho-ji Temple
Hase-dera Temple ©
Hase-dera Temple
Nezu Shrine ©
Nezu Shrine

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