21 days in Japan Itinerary

21 days in Japan Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Japan journey planner

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Route & dates

21 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + Drive:  19​h 30​min
1
Kutchan-cho
— 1 night
+3
train + Fly + taxi + train:  8​h
2
Hakuba-mura
— 1 night
bus + train:  3​h 30​min
3
Tokyo
— 3 nights
Fly + taxi:  6​h
4
Yakushima-cho
— 1 night
Fly + Drive:  16​h 30​min
5
Iriomote-jima
— 1 night
ferry:  1​h
6
Ishigaki
— 2 nights
Fly:  2​h
7
Miyakojima
— 2 nights
Fly + train:  5​h 15​min
8
Kyoto
— 3 nights
train + Fly:  14​h 15​min
End: San Francisco

1
night
Kutchan-cho

Kutchan-cho ©
Kutchan-cho's reputation rests on two things: skiing and potatoes.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): stroll through Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Ski Place and then sample the fine beverages at Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery. On the 12th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Niseko Hanazono Resort and then stroll around Fukidashi Park.

To see photos, reviews, maps, and tourist information, go to the Kutchan-cho trip maker tool .

San Francisco, USA to Kutchan-cho is an approximately 19.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time to Japan Standard Time, which is usually a 17 hour difference. Traveling from San Francisco in December, you will find days in Kutchan-cho are colder (32°F), and nights are slightly colder (28°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can travel to Hakuba-mura.

Things to do in Kutchan-cho

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trips

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery, Fukidashi Park
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Niseko Hanazono Resort ©
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery ©
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery

1
night
Hakuba-mura

Hakuba-mura ©
Skiing enthusiasts traveling in Japan should consider a trip to Hakuba-mura: tucked away in the Northern Alps, this village hosted several competitions during the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.
On the 13th (Fri), hit the slopes at Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort, then contemplate the long history of Ushikata Inn, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Togakushi Shrine Okusha. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort / Alpine Garden and then take a memorable drive along Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Hakuba-mura day trip planner .

Do a combination of train and flight from Kutchan-cho to Hakuba-mura in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, flight, and shuttle; or do a combination of car and ferry. When traveling from Kutchan-cho in December, plan for somewhat warmer days in Hakuba-mura, with highs around 43°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 32°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Hakuba-mura

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trips

Togakushi Shrine Okusha, Ushikata Inn, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort ©
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort
Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort / Alpine Garden ©
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

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.
Get some cultural insight at Odaiba and Tokyo National Museum. And it doesn't end there: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sensō-ji, wander the streets of Akihabara, admire the landmark architecture of Tokyo Tower, and make a trip to Meiji Jingu Shrine.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo online road trip planner .

You can do a combination of bus and train from Hakuba-mura to Tokyo in 3.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a train. Traveling from Hakuba-mura in December, expect Tokyo to be a bit warmer, temps between 54°F and 39°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Yakushima-cho.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum
Sensō-ji ©
Sensō-ji

1
night
Yakushima-cho

Yakushima-cho ©
A popular destination for Japanese tourists, Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho is a true paradise for nature lovers, with over 1,900 species and subspecies of plants.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Wed): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Yakusugi Land. Keep things going the next day: make a trip to Wilson Stump, explore the stunning scenery at Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, and then make a trip to Jōmon Sugi.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Yakushima-cho fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Tokyo to Yakushima-cho takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of flight, ferry, and car. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Tokyo in December; daily highs in Yakushima-cho reach 60°F and lows reach 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Yakushima-cho

Nature Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Yakusugi Land ©
Yakusugi Land
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley ©
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley
Wilson Stump ©
Wilson Stump

1
night
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
On the 20th (Fri), admire the sheer force of Pinaisara Falls and then scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Funauki Village, enjoy the sand and surf at Ida no Hama Beach, and then head off the coast to Iriomote Island.

To find ratings, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Iriomote-jima online tour builder .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Yakushima-cho to Iriomote-jima. Traveling from Yakushima-cho in December, things will get somewhat warmer in Iriomote-jima: highs are around 72°F and lows about 64°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to catch the ferry to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls
Funauki Village ©
Funauki Village

2
nights
Ishigaki

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, get outside with Cape Hirakubozaki, and then enjoy breathtaking views from Tamatorizaki Observatory. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Kondoi Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Yonehara Beach, and then stroll around Kabira Park.

Plan my trip to Ishigaki with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

You can ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki in an hour. In December, daily temperatures in Ishigaki can reach 72°F, while at night they dip to 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Kondoi Beach
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Yonehara Beach ©
Yonehara Beach

2
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): kick back and relax at Toguchi no Hama, then snap pictures at Kurima Bridge, then enjoy the sand and surf at Yonaha Maehama Beach, and finally take in the views from Irabu Bridge. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Sunayama Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Aragusuku Beach, and then make a trip to East Henna Cape.

To find photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Miyakojima day trip tool .

You can fly from Ishigaki to Miyakojima in 2 hours. In December, plan for daily highs up to 71°F, and evening lows to 64°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Toguchi no Hama
Toguchi no Hama
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Aragusuku Beach ©
Aragusuku Beach

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.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Tofuku-ji Temple are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Explore hidden gems such as Eikando Zenrinji Temple and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Osaka (Dotonbori & Osaka Castle). There's lots more to do: steep yourself in history at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinkaku-ji, take in the pleasant sights at Arashiyama, and take a stroll through Gion.

To find reviews, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read Kyoto trip maker tool .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Miyakojima to Kyoto in 5.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from Miyakojima in December, expect nights in Kyoto to be much colder, around 39°F, while days are little chillier, around 52°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trip

Osaka
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Gion
Gion

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