26 days in Japan Itinerary

26 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Playa del Carmen
Fly:  20​h
1
Osaka
— 1 night
train:  30​min
2
Nara
— 2 nights
train:  45​min
3
Kyoto
— 3 nights
train:  2​h 30​min
4
Kanazawa
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Takayama
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h
6
Shirakawa
— 1 day
Drive:  1​h 15​min
7
Nikko
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
8
Hakone-machi
— 4 nights
bus + train:  1​h 30​min
9
Tokyo
— 4 nights
+2
Fly + taxi + ferry:  18​h 30​min
End: Playa del Carmen

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Wed): find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan and then shop like a local with Dotonbori. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Thu): step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, observe the fascinating underwater world at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, and then wander the streets of Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street.

For photos, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Osaka day trip planning site .

Playa del Carmen, Mexico to Osaka is an approximately 20-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of ferry and flight. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Japan Standard Time (JST), which is usually a 14 hour difference. In July in Osaka, expect temperatures between 37°C during the day and 28°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) early enough to drive to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Shopping Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jul 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

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.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Fri): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kofuku-ji Temple, pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, see the interesting displays at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple, then look for all kinds of wild species at Nara Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the spiritual surroundings of Toshodaiji Temple, take a peaceful walk through Kazugayama Genshirin, look for all kinds of wild species at Rokuen, then stop by Naramachi Nakanishi Yosaburo, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Saho River.

To find maps, photos, and other tourist information, use the Nara road trip site .

Nara is very close to Osaka. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in July, and nighttime lows around 31°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Sat) so you can drive to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Parks Historic Sites Nature
Find places to stay Jul 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Gion and Nijo Castle. Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple will appeal to history buffs. There's lots more to do: take in the spiritual surroundings of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, shop like a local with Nishiki Market, contemplate the long history of Heian Shrine, and examine the collection at Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts Fureaikan.

Planning Kyoto trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

Drive from Nara to Kyoto in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of train and subway. In July in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 37°C during the day and 28°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a train to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Jul 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

3
nights
Kanazawa

Kanazawa ©
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
Visiting Gongenmori Beach and Chirihama Nagisa Driveway will get you outdoors. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Higashichaya Old Town. And it doesn't end there: walk around Kenrokuen Garden, admire the masterpieces at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and don't miss a visit to Seisonkaku Villa.

To see reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Kanazawa trip maker tool .

Getting from Kyoto to Kanazawa by train takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in July, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, Gongenmori Beach
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Chirihama Nagisa Driveway ©
Chirihama Nagisa Driveway
Higashichaya Old Town ©
Higashichaya Old Town
Kanazawa Castle ©
Kanazawa Castle

3
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.
Appreciate the collections at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen and Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses and Takayama Jinya. Venture out of the city with trips to Nagase house (in Shirakawa-mura) and Norikura Kogen (in Matsumoto). The adventure continues: get a new perspective on nature at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), take a stroll through Sanmachi Suji, admire the masterpieces at Hida Takayama Museum of Art, and get engrossed in the history at Hida Folk Archeological Museum (Hida Minzoku Kokokan).

To find other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Takayama trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Kanazawa to Takayama in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In July, daytime highs in Takayama are 35°C, while nighttime lows are 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Mon) so you can travel to Shirakawa.

Things to do in Takayama

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Shirakawa-mura, Norikura Kogen
Find places to stay Jul 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Norikura Kogen ©
Norikura Kogen
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen ©
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen

1
day
Shirakawa

Shirakawa ©
Shirakawa is a city located in Fukushima Prefecture, in northern Honshū, Japan. On the 23rd (Tue), get engrossed in the history at Fukushima Prefecture Cultural Center Shirakawa-kan (Mahoron), contemplate the waterfront views at Yukiwari Canyon, and then identify plant and animal life at Nishinosato Promenade.

To find photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Shirakawa trip planner .

Traveling by car from Takayama to Shirakawa takes 6 hours. While traveling from Takayama, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Shirakawa, ranging from highs of 31°C to lows of 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Nikko.

Things to do in Shirakawa

Parks Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan

2
nights
Nikko

Nikko ©
A gateway to a sprawling and diverse national park, a center of Shinto spiritualism and place of Buddhist worship, an emblem of the riches and dominance of the Tokugawa shogunate: Nikko means many things to many people.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Wed): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nikko Tosho-gu, contemplate the long history of Taiyuimbyo Shrine, then admire the sheer force of Kegon Falls, and finally stroll around Nikko National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the waterfront views at Kinugawa River Source and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Kirikomiko Karikomiko.

To find maps and other tourist information, read our Nikko trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Shirakawa to Nikko in 1.5 hours. In July, daytime highs in Nikko are 31°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) so you can go by car to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Nikko

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Nikko National Park
Find places to stay Jul 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kegon Falls ©
Kegon Falls
Nikko Tosho-gu ©
Nikko Tosho-gu
Nikko National Park ©
Nikko National Park

4
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.
Get outdoors at Otago Beach and Tatadohama Beach. Museum-lovers will get to explore The Hakone Open-Air Museum and Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum. Change things up with these side-trips from Hakone-machi: Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine (in Fujinomiya), Morito Beach (in Hayama-machi) and Moroiso Shores (in Miura). The adventure continues: get impressive views of Mount Fuji, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kisami Ohama Beach, and take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Marudake.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Hakone-machi trip app .

You can drive from Nikko to Hakone-machi in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a train; or take a train. While traveling from Nikko, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Hakone-machi, ranging from highs of 28°C to lows of 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Tokyo.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Shimoda, Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine, Otago Beach, Moroiso Shores, Morito Beach
Find places to stay Jul 25 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Mount Fuji ©
Mount Fuji
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Tatadohama Beach ©
Tatadohama Beach

4
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.
Head to Ginza and Takeshita Streetfor some retail therapy. Get some historical perspective at Tokyo National Museum and Sensō-ji. Go for a jaunt from Tokyo to Mitaka to see Ghibli Museum Mitaka about 44 minutes away. Have a day of magic on the 1st (Thu) at Tokyo Disneyland. Next up on the itinerary: examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum, have some family-friendly fun at Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou, make a trip to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and wander the streets of Odaiba.

To find maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Tokyo holiday app .

Drive from Hakone-machi to Tokyo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. When traveling from Hakone-machi in July, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Tokyo: temperatures range from 36°C by day to 27°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Theme Parks Museums

Side Trips

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Tokyo Disneyland
Find places to stay Jul 29 — Aug 2:
Highlights from your plan
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple

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