19 days in Japan Itinerary

19 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Brisbane
Fly:  13​h
1
Tokyo
— 3 nights
Train:  2​h 30​min
2
Kanazawa
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
3
Takayama
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Koya-cho
— 2 nights
Train:  1​h 30​min
5
Osaka
— 3 nights
Train:  30​min
6
Kyoto
— 3 nights
Train:  1​h 45​min
7
Hiroshima
— 3 nights
+2
Train + Subway + Fly:  16​h
End: Brisbane

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: don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, take in the spiritual surroundings of Senso-ji Temple, take in panoramic vistas at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and take an in-depth tour of Tokyo National Museum.

To find other places to visit and tourist information, go to the Tokyo trip itinerary planner.

Brisbane, Australia to Tokyo is an approximately 13-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Brisbane to Tokyo. Traveling from Brisbane in December, expect Tokyo to be cooler, temps between 14°C and 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Tokyo Tower ©
Tokyo Tower

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.
On the 27th (Fri), make a trip to Omicho Market, wander the streets of Higashichaya Old Town, step into the grandiose world of Kanazawa Castle, then take in nature's colorful creations at Kenrokuen Garden, then don't miss a visit to Seisonkaku Villa, and finally examine the collection at Ishikawa Prefectural Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 28th (Sat): appreciate the views at Aratama Valley, take in breathtaking views at Tedori Gorge, stroll around Ishikawa Jumoku Park, then admire the masterpieces at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, then make a trip to Kanazawa Station, and finally contemplate the long history of Nomura Family Samurai House.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read our Kanazawa online travel planner .

Getting from Tokyo to Kanazawa by train takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. When traveling from Tokyo in December, plan for slightly colder days in Kanazawa, with highs around 11°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 3°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can go by car to Takayama.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Hakusan, Aratama Valley
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Kenrokuen Garden
Kenrokuen Garden
Omicho Market ©
Omicho Market
Higashichaya Old Town ©
Higashichaya Old Town

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sun): admire the landmark architecture of Takayama Jinya, then get a new perspective on nature at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), then get engrossed in the history at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, and finally get to know the fascinating history of The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses. On the 30th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: wander the streets of Sanmachi Suji, take an in-depth tour of Hida Folk Archeological Museum (Hida Minzoku Kokokan), admire the masterpieces at Hida Takayama Museum of Art, then head outdoors with Ryokufu Resort Hida Nagareha, and finally stop by Curnontue.

To find traveler tips, maps, photos, and more tourist information, use the Takayama trip planner .

Traveling by car from Kanazawa to Takayama takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In December, daytime highs in Takayama are 9°C, while nighttime lows are 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Koya-cho.

Things to do in Takayama

Museums Historic Sites Outdoors

Side Trips

Shirakawa-mura, Ryokufu Resort Hida Nagareha
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen ©
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya

2
nights
Koya-cho

Koya-cho ©
On the 31st (Tue), take in the spiritual surroundings of Shojoshin-in Temple, make a trip to Daishino Koshikakeishi, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kodai-in Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kongobu-ji Temple, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Koya, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Saito. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: steep yourself in history at Koyasan Danjo Garan, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ichijo-in Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ryusen-in Temple, then explore the different monuments and memorials at Koyasan Okunoin, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Torodo Temple, and finally appreciate the views at Katsuragi Highlands.

To find ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Koya-cho online trip builder .

Drive from Takayama to Koya-cho in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. In December, Koya-cho is somewhat warmer than Takayama - with highs of 13°C and lows of 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) to allow enough time to take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Koya-cho

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Katsuragi Highlands
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Kongobu-ji Temple ©
Kongobu-ji Temple
Mt. Koya ©
Mt. Koya
Ryusen-in Temple ©
Ryusen-in Temple

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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Osaka: Himeji (Himeji Castle & Koko-en Garden) and Nara (Kofuku-ji Temple & Animal Shelter Zoo). There's still lots to do: find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan, examine the collection at Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum, meet the residents at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, and explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle.

To see more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Osaka trip planner.

You can take a train from Koya-cho to Osaka in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Koya-cho in January since evenings lows in Osaka dip to 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Nara, Himeji
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Sunset Owl Cafe ©
Sunset Owl Cafe
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

3
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 museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the long history of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, don't miss a visit to Gion, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Koshojibetsuin Ryozenhobyo, and step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle.

For more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read our Kyoto day trip site .

Kyoto is just a short distance from Osaka. In January, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 10°C, while at night they dip to 1°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) to allow time to take a train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

3
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 8th (Wed), steep yourself in history at Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, see the interesting displays at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and then steep yourself in history at Atomic Bomb Dome. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate the long history of Itsukushima Shrine, stroll through Miyajima, and then explore the historical opulence of Hiroshima Castle.

To see maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Hiroshima itinerary planner.

Traveling by train from Kyoto to Hiroshima takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 11°C, and evening lows to 2°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trip

Hatsukaichi
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine

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