18 days in Japan Itinerary

18 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  11​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 5 nights
train + bus:  1​h 45​min
2
Hakone-machi
— 2 nights
train:  3​h 45​min
3
Kyoto
— 4 nights
train:  45​min
4
Himeji
— 2 nights
train:  1​h
5
Osaka
— 3 nights
train:  3​h 15​min
End: Tokyo

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.
Head to Ginza and Takeshita Streetfor plenty of shopping. Do some cultural sightseeing at Senso-ji Temple and Odaiba. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tokyo: Yokohama Chinatown (in Naka) and Kōtoku-in (in Kamakura). There's lots more to do: browse the exhibits of Tokyo National Museum, admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, take some stellar pictures from Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and don't miss a visit to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings.

For ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read Tokyo trip itinerary planner.

San Francisco, USA to Tokyo is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 17 hours traveling from San Francisco to Tokyo. In November, daytime highs in Tokyo are 62°F, while nighttime lows are 49°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) early enough to travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trips

Yokohama Chinatown, Kōtoku-in
Find places to stay Nov 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Fri): admire the masterpieces at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, take an in-depth tour of Hakone Shrine Homotsuden, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu, then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), and finally get some fabulous bargains at Gotemba Premium Outlets. Here are some ideas for day two: hike along Hakone Stone‐paved Road, then get engrossed in the history at Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum, and then explore the striking landscape of Pola Museum of Art.

To see ratings and tourist information, read Hakone-machi trip itinerary planner .

You can take a train from Tokyo to Hakone-machi in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Tokyo in November, expect nights in Hakone-machi to be about the same, around 50°F, while days are slightly colder, around 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums Parks Shopping

Side Trip

Gotemba Premium Outlets
Find places to stay Nov 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu ©

4
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.
Do your shopping at Nishiki Market Shopping District and Asahiyaki. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Nijo Castle. Next up on the itinerary: make a trip to Gion, steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, take in the pleasant sights at Arashiyama, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Sanjusangendo Temple.

For ratings, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Kyoto trip itinerary planning site .

You can take a train from Hakone-machi to Kyoto in 4 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and train. When traveling from Hakone-machi in November, plan for a bit warmer days in Kyoto, with highs around 62°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a train to Himeji.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Asahiyaki
Find places to stay Nov 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

2
nights
Himeji

Himeji ©
The castle around which the city of Himeji has developed represents one of the best preserved in the country, and has been designated as a national treasure and a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Thu): indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, don't miss a visit to Shoshazan Engyoji, steep yourself in history at Himeji Castle, then admire the natural beauty at Koko-en Garden, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Nagoyama Reien Busharito. On the 15th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the spiritual surroundings of Ishino Hoden Oishi Shrine, take in the spiritual surroundings of Yoneda Taishiji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Iida Ebisu Shrine, then look for gifts at Yamasa Kamaboko Yumesenkan, then contemplate the long history of Nishi no Maru, and finally don't miss a visit to Otemae Street.

For maps, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Himeji road trip website .

Getting from Kyoto to Himeji by train takes about an hour. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In November, daily temperatures in Himeji can reach 62°F, while at night they dip to 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Himeji

Historic Sites Spas Baths

Side Trip

Takasago
Find places to stay Nov 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Nishi no Maru ©
Nishi no Maru
Nagoyama Reien Busharito ©
Nagoyama Reien Busharito

3
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 16th (Sat): step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, get a taste of the local shopping with Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street, then take a stroll through Dotonbori, and finally stop by Jikko Japanese Knife Shop Namba Skyo. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the spiritual surroundings of Denkoji, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kofuku-ji Temple, get engrossed in the history at Kofuku-ji Temple National Treasure Hall, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine, then look for all kinds of wild species at Nara Park, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Osaka trip app .

Traveling by train from Himeji to Osaka takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. November in Osaka sees daily highs of 63°F and lows of 48°F at night. On the 18th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Nara, Koyasan Okunoin
Find places to stay Nov 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

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