21 days in Japan Itinerary

21 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Osaka
Train:  45​min
1
Nara
— 6 nights
Train:  3​h 30​min
2
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Train:  2​h 45​min
3
Kyoto
— 5 nights
Train:  30​min
4
Osaka
— 4 nights
End: Osaka

6
nights
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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Nigatsu-do Temple and Yakushi-ji Temple. Step off the beaten path and head to Omiwa Shrine and Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall. Venture out of the city with trips to Matsusaka (Ibuta-ji Temple & Former Residence of Harada Jirou), Ono-ji Temple (in Uda) and Yamashirocho Shinrin Park (in Kizugawa). Next up on the itinerary: take in nature's colorful creations at Isuien Garden, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Abemonjuin, steep yourself in history at Uemiya Ruin Park, and look for all kinds of wild species at Rokuen.

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

Osaka to Nara is an approximately 1-hour train ride. You can also drive. In August in Nara, expect temperatures between 38°C during the day and 32°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) to allow time to take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Yamatokoriyama, Sakurai, Ikaruga-cho, Matsusaka, Yamashirocho Shinrin Park
Find places to stay Aug 7 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nigatsu-do Temple ©
Nigatsu-do Temple
Omiwa Shrine ©
Omiwa Shrine
Mt. Wakakusa ©
Mt. Wakakusa

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like The Railway Museum and Koura Beach. Do some cultural sightseeing at Ghibli Museum Mitaka and Shibamata Taishakuten (Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple). Venture out of the city with trips to Kamakura (Engaku-ji Temple & Ryuhoji Temple), Kembutsu Beach (in Tateyama) and Koajiro Forest (in Miura). There's still lots to do: take a stroll through Marunouchi, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Gotokuji Temple, stroll the grounds of Yanaka Cemetery, and steep yourself in history at Old Oishi Residence.

For reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo trip itinerary tool .

You can take a train from Nara to Tokyo in 3.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. Traveling from Nara in August, Tokyo is slightly colder at night with lows of 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sun) early enough to travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Kamakura, Koajiro Forest, The Railway Museum, Koura Beach, Ghibli Museum Mitaka
Find places to stay Aug 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Engaku-ji Temple ©
Engaku-ji Temple
Ghibli Museum Mitaka ©
Ghibli Museum Mitaka
The Railway Museum ©
The Railway Museum

5
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Kifune-jinja Shrine and Gio-ji Temple. Museum-lovers will get to explore Miho Museum and Kibune Gallery. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Inari Shrine (in Yawata), Omihachiman (Nishinoko Picnic Site, Byodo-ji Temple, & more) and Hyozu Shrine (in Yasu). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kodai-ji Temple, make a trip to Sannenzaka Ninenzaka, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and steep yourself in history at Mikage Shrine.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Kyoto trip site .

Traveling by train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. In August, plan for daily highs up to 39°C, and evening lows to 29°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) early enough to catch the train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Omihachiman, Hyozu Shrine, Kushuonin Temple, Inari Shrine, Miho Museum
Find places to stay Aug 18 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Kifune Shrine ©
Kifune Shrine
Kodai-ji Temple ©
Kodai-ji Temple
Gio-ji Temple ©
Gio-ji Temple

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 in touch with nature at Arima Onsen and Hirohashibairin. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Sone Tenmangu Shrine and Hozen-in Temple. Explore Osaka's surroundings by going to Sugo Shrine (in Sakai), Kajiya Line Ichihara Station Memorial (in Nishiwaki) and Tanizeno Tsuribashi (in Totsukawa-mura). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Matsue Swimming Beach, examine the collection at Glico Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Senko-ji Temple, and contemplate the long history of Hansei Tennoryo Ancient Tomb.

To find ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Osaka journey builder website .

Osaka is just a stone's throw from Kyoto. August in Osaka sees daily highs of 39°C and lows of 29°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Osaka

Parks Historic Sites Wildlife

Side Trips

Sakai, Kobe, Kajiya Line Ichihara Station Memorial, Tanizeno Tsuribashi, Hirohashibairin
Find places to stay Aug 23 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Arima Onsen ©
Arima Onsen
Glico Museum ©
Glico Museum
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living ©
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

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