21 days in Japan Itinerary

21 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Tokyo
Train:  4​h
1
Hiroshima
— 3 nights
Train:  1​h 45​min
2
Osaka
— 3 nights
Train:  45​min
3
Nara
— 2 nights
Train:  45​min
4
Kyoto
— 4 nights
Train:  3​h 45​min
5
Hakone-machi
— 2 nights
Bus + Train:  1​h 15​min
6
Tokyo
— 5 nights
End: Tokyo

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.
Explore hidden gems such as JMSDF Kure Museum and Tomo no Ura. Do some cultural sightseeing at Itsukushima Shrine Torii and Mazda Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to Hatsukaichi (Miyajima, Senjokaku, & more) and Senkoji & Senkoji Park (in Onomichi). There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Mitaki Temple, contemplate the long history of Atomic Bomb Dome, don't miss a visit to Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, and pause for some photo ops at Peace Flame.

To find maps, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Hiroshima trip planner.

Tokyo to Hiroshima is an approximately 4-hour train ride. You can also fly; or drive. In September, daily temperatures in Hiroshima can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) so you can travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Mazda Museum, JMSDF Kure Museum, Tomo no Ura, Senkoji & Senkoji Park
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
JMSDF Kure Museum ©
JMSDF Kure Museum
Mitaki Temple ©
Mitaki Temple
Itsukushima Shrine Torii ©
Itsukushima Shrine Torii

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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Koyasan Okunoin and Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine. You'll discover tucked-away gems like CUPNOODLES MUSEUM OSAKA IKEDA and Arima Onsen. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Osaka: Kawasaki Good Times World (in Chuo), Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (in Higashinada) and Torodo Temple (in Koya-cho). There's still lots to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinpusenji Temple, make a trip to Hozenji Yokocho, explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, and take a stroll through Dotonbori.

To see reviews, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, read Osaka trip itinerary builder app .

Take a train from Hiroshima to Osaka in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In September, daily temperatures in Osaka can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Mon) to allow enough time to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trips

Kobe, Koya-cho, Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda, Kinpusenji Temple, Kashihara Jingu
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Kinpusenji Temple ©
Kinpusenji Temple
Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda ©
Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Tue): pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Toshodai-ji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Horyu-ji Temple, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hase-dera Temple. Keep things going the next day: make a trip to Nara National Museum, take in nature's colorful creations at Yoshikien, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nigatsu-do Temple, then identify plant and animal life at Nara Park, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Joruri Temple.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read Nara trip planner .

Getting from Osaka to Nara by train takes about an hour. Other options: drive. In September in Nara, expect temperatures between 33°C during the day and 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) to allow time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Hase-dera Temple, Joruri Temple, Horyu-ji Temple
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple
Hase-dera Temple ©
Hase-dera Temple
Horyu-ji Temple ©
Horyu-ji Temple

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.
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Kinkaku-ji and Nijo Castle. The adventure continues: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shoren-in Temple (Shoren-in Monzeki), steep yourself in history at Daikaku-ji, and examine the collection at Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum.

To find reviews, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Kyoto day trip website .

Traveling by train from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and subway. Traveling from Nara in September, plan for little chillier nights in Kyoto, with lows around 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Shimogamo Jinja ©
Shimogamo Jinja
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Sun): admire the masterpieces at Hakone Museum of Art, examine the collection at Lalique Museum Hakone, contemplate the long history of Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu, then trek along Hakone Stone‐paved Road, then explore the activities along Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Choanji Temple. On your second day here, admire the masterpieces at Okada Museum of Art, then explore the world behind art at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, then explore the galleries of Little Prince Museum, and finally get engrossed in the history at Hakone Shrine Homotsuden.

Plan a Hakone-machi trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

You can take a train from Kyoto to Hakone-machi in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and flight. When traveling from Kyoto in September, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Hakone-machi: temperatures range from 24°C by day to 22°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Tue) early enough to travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Hakone Museum of Art ©
Hakone Museum of Art
Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu ©
Lalique Museum Hakone ©
Lalique Museum Hakone

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.
Get some cultural insight at Mitsumine Shrine and Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. You'll explore and learn at teamLab Planets TOKYO and Nezu Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to Kamakura (Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple), Kencho-ji Temple, & more), Oyama Rice Terraces (in Kamogawa) and Sarushima Island (Monkey Island) (in Saru-jima). There's still lots to do: take in the spiritual surroundings of Kashima Jingu, take a stroll through Ueno, look for all kinds of wild species at Yokohama Nature Sanctuary, and steep yourself in history at Hie Jinjya.

For photos, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Tokyo road trip planner .

Getting from Hakone-machi to Tokyo by combination of bus and train takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Hakone-machi in September, you will find days in Tokyo are somewhat warmer (32°C), and nights are about the same (24°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Kamakura, Sarushima Island (Monkey Island), Mitsumine Shrine, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Oyama Rice Terraces
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Asakusa Shrine ©
Asakusa Shrine
Nezu Shrine ©
Nezu Shrine
Kencho-ji Temple
Kencho-ji Temple

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