31 days in Japan Itinerary

31 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

31 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Manila, Luzon
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 7 nights
Fly + Taxi:  6​h
2
Yakushima-cho
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  4​h 30​min
3
Osaka
— 4 nights
Train:  30​min
4
Kyoto
— 5 nights
Train:  45​min
5
Nara
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Nachikatsura-cho
— 1 night
Train + Fly:  7​h 15​min
7
Miyakojima
— 2 nights
Ferry:  4​h
8
Iriomote-jima
— 2 nights
Ferry:  1​h
9
Ishigaki
— 2 nights
Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Manila, Luzon

7
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.
Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Kitchen Town (Kappabashi) and Ginza Itoya Hontren. Your inner history buff will appreciate Asakusa Shrine and Senso-ji Temple. There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Zojo-ji Temple, take a stroll through Yanaka, explore the historical opulence of The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Edo Castle Ruin), and make a trip to Tokyo National Museum.

For other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Tokyo road trip planning tool .

Manila, Philippines to Tokyo is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Manila to Tokyo is 1 hour. Plan for cooler temperatures traveling from Manila in December, with highs in Tokyo at 14°C and lows at 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Yakushima-cho.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Asakusa Shrine ©
Asakusa Shrine
Nezu Shrine ©
Nezu Shrine
Zojo-ji Temple ©
Zojo-ji Temple

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Mon): admire the sheer force of Oko no Taki Fall, then head outdoors with Seibu Trail, and then explore the stunning scenery at Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 10th (Tue): explore the striking landscape of Yakusugi Land.

To find more things to do, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Yakushima-cho trip itinerary tool .

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. In December, Yakushima-cho is a bit warmer than Tokyo - with highs of 18°C and lows of 12°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Yakushima-cho

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley ©
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley
Yakusugi Land ©
Yakusugi Land
Oko no Taki Fall
Oko no Taki Fall

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 a sense of the local culture at Koyasan Okunoin and Dotonbori. Explore hidden gems such as Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine and Minami (Namba). Change things up with these side-trips from Osaka: Himeji Castle (in Himeji) and Otsuka Museum of Art (in Naruto). There's still lots to do: step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, get a taste of the local shopping with Hankyu Umeda Main Store, buy something for everyone on your list at Universal City Walk Osaka, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Tenjinzaka.

To see ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Osaka trip itinerary maker site .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Yakushima-cho to Osaka takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, ferry, and train; or do a combination of taxi, ferry, bus, and train. Traveling from Yakushima-cho in December, things will get little chillier in Osaka: highs are around 13°C and lows about 4°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Shopping Museums

Side Trips

Himeji Castle, Otsuka Museum of Art, Koyasan Okunoin
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

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.
Popular historic sites such as Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Tofuku-ji Temple are in your itinerary. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Tenryuji Temple and Toji. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shoren-in Temple (Shoren-in Monzeki), make a trip to Eikando Zenrinji Temple, contemplate the long history of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and admire the natural beauty at Nanzen-ji Temple.

For where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Kyoto trip tool .

Kyoto is just a stone's throw from Osaka. December in Kyoto sees daily highs of 13°C and lows of 4°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Eikando Zenrinji Temple ©
Eikando Zenrinji Temple

4
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.
Visiting Nara Park and NaraKimono Rental Fuji will get you outdoors. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Toshodaiji Temple and Kasuga Grand Shrine. Venture out of the city with trips to Byodoin (in Uji) and Ise Grand Shrine (in Ise). There's still lots to do: take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple, pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, get to know the fascinating history of Nigatsu-do Urasando, and explore the different monuments and memorials at The Mausoleum of Emperor Shomu the Mausoleum of Empress Komei.

To find maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Nara trip itinerary maker site .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Nara in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of subway and train. December in Nara sees daily highs of 13°C and lows of 6°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) so you can drive to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Byodoin, Ise Grand Shrine
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Nigatsu-do Temple ©
Nigatsu-do Temple
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple
Byodoin ©
Byodoin

1
night
Nachikatsura-cho

Nachikatsura-cho ©
The town of Nachikatsuura-cho wows visitors with its superlative landscape and impressive cultural attractions.
On the 24th (Tue), make a trip to Daimonzaka, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Seigantoji Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Nachi Taisha, then take in the dramatic scenery at Nachi Mitaki Falls, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Hirou Shrine.

For ratings, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read Nachikatsura-cho trip itinerary maker app .

You can drive from Nara to Nachikatsura-cho in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 14°C in December, and nighttime lows around 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Parks Nature
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Kumano Nachi Taisha ©
Kumano Nachi Taisha
Seigantoji Temple ©
Seigantoji Temple
Hirou Shrine ©
Hirou Shrine

2
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Take a break from the city and head to Sunayama Beach and Aragusuku Beach. Discover out-of-the-way places like Yabiji and Kayaking & Canoeing. There's lots more to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, visit a coastal fixture at Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse, head outdoors with Toguchi no Hama, and take in the views from Ikema Ohashi Bridge.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Miyakojima planning app .

Traveling by combination of train and flight from Nachikatsura-cho to Miyakojima takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, bus, and flight. Traveling from Nachikatsura-cho in December, things will get somewhat warmer in Miyakojima: highs are around 25°C and lows about 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Yabiji
Yabiji

2
nights
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
On the 28th (Sat), take in the dramatic scenery at Pinaisara Falls and then get interesting insight from Tours. On your second day here, get interesting insight from Tours, step off the mainland to explore Iriomote Island, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Ida no Hama Beach.

To find reviews, photos, and tourist information, read Iriomote-jima trip planner .

Getting from Miyakojima to Iriomote-jima by ferry takes about 4 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Iriomote-jima can reach 26°C, while at night they dip to 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) to allow time to ride a ferry to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls

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.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Mon): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, kick back and relax at Yonehara Beach, then visit a coastal fixture at Cape Hirakubozaki, and finally take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory. On the next day, see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, walk around Banna Park, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Kondoi Beach.

For other places to visit, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Ishigaki sightseeing planning site .

Getting from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki by ferry takes about an hour. In December in Ishigaki, expect temperatures between 26°C during the day and 20°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Kondoi Beach
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

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