19 days in Japan Itinerary

19 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly + Train:  15​h 30​min
1
Nara
— 1 night
Train:  45​min
2
Osaka
— 2 nights
Train:  1​h 45​min
3
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
Train:  1​h
4
Himeji
— 1 night
Train:  45​min
5
Kyoto
— 4 nights
Train:  2​h 30​min
6
Kanazawa
— 2 nights
Train:  2​h 30​min
7
Tokyo
— 3 nights
Train + Bus:  1​h 15​min
8
Hakone-machi
— 3 nights
Train + Fly:  15​h 15​min
End: Melbourne

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 28th (Sat), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kofuku-ji Temple, steep yourself in history at Todai-ji Temple, then examine the collection at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, then stroll around Nara Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Nara vacation builder .

Melbourne, Australia to Nara is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of flight and train. You can also fly. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Melbourne to Nara due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Melbourne in December, plan for colder days and little chillier nights in Nara: temperatures range from 13°C by day to 6°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
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.
On the 29th (Sun), examine the collection at Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum and then get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Japan. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, have some family-friendly fun at Sunset Owl Cafe, then wander the streets of Dotonbori, and finally observe the fascinating underwater world at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

To find where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Osaka trip itinerary planner .

You can take a train from Nara to Osaka in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. Expect a daytime high around 13°C in December, and nighttime lows around 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) so you can travel to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Sunset Owl Cafe ©
Sunset Owl Cafe
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

2
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
On the 31st (Tue), steep yourself in history at Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, then see the interesting displays at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and then contemplate the long history of Atomic Bomb Dome. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: steep yourself in history at Itsukushima Shrine, then step off the mainland to explore Miyajima, and then step into the grandiose world of Hiroshima Castle.

To find maps, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Hiroshima trip maker site .

Getting from Osaka to Hiroshima by train takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of flight and train. In December in Hiroshima, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 4°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to take a train to Himeji.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trip

Hatsukaichi
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): admire the natural beauty at Koko-en, then step into the grandiose world of Himeji Castle, then make a trip to Shoshazan Engyoji, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Takamikura.

To see ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Himeji vacation builder site .

Traveling by train from Hiroshima to Himeji takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect a daytime high around 10°C in January, and nighttime lows around 3°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Himeji

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Mt. Takamikura
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Koko-en ©
Koko-en
Shoshazan Engyoji ©
Shoshazan Engyoji

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.
Kyoto is known for historic sites, shopping, classes, parks, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ryoanji Temple, shop like a local with Nishiki Market Shopping District, and make a trip to Gion.

To see ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Kyoto online route planner .

Traveling by train from Himeji to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 10°C during the day and 1°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) so you can take a train to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

2
nights
Kanazawa

Kanazawa
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Omicho Market, wander the streets of Higashichaya Old Town, explore the historical opulence of Kanazawa Castle, then admire the natural beauty at Kenrokuen Garden, then make a trip to Seisonkaku Villa, and finally see the interesting displays at Ishikawa Prefectural Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts. On the 8th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: appreciate the views at Aratama Valley, stroll around Ishikawa Jumoku Park, explore the world behind art at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, then admire the striking features of Kanazawa Station, then admire the landmark architecture of Tsuzumi Gate, and finally steep yourself in history at Nomura Family Samurai House.

To see maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Kanazawa tour itinerary website .

Take a train from Kyoto to Kanazawa in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 7°C in January, and nighttime lows around 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) so you can take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Parks Historic Sites Museums

Side Trips

Ishikawa Jumoku Park, Aratama Valley
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Kenrokuen Garden
Kenrokuen Garden
Omicho Market ©
Omicho Market
Higashichaya Old Town ©
Higashichaya Old Town

3
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.
Tokyo is known for historic sites, shopping, parks, museums, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: admire the landmark architecture of Tokyo Tower, take in the spiritual surroundings of Senso-ji Temple, get a sense of history and politics at Imperial Palace, and browse the exhibits of Tokyo National Museum.

For ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tokyo trip planner .

Traveling by train from Kanazawa to Tokyo takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Traveling from Kanazawa in January, expect nights in Tokyo to be about the same, around 1°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou ©
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou
Tokyo Tower ©
Tokyo Tower

3
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 12th (Sun): explore the world behind art at Narukawa Art Museum, explore the activities along Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), then explore the world behind art at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, and finally take some stellar pictures from Hakone Ropeway. Keep things going the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and then get great views at Lake Yamanaka Panorama Deck.

For where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Hakone-machi tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by combination of train and bus from Tokyo to Hakone-machi takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Tokyo in January, expect nights in Hakone-machi to be about the same, around 3°C, while days are slightly colder, around 5°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Lake Yamanaka Panorama Deck
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) ©
Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Narukawa Art Museum ©
Narukawa Art Museum

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