36 days in Japan Itinerary

36 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

36 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Philadelphia
Fly + Drive:  22​h
1
Ise
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
2
Kanazawa
— 4 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
3
Ishigaki
— 2 nights
Fly:  45​min
4
Miyakojima
— 4 nights
Fly + Drive:  11​h 30​min
5
Shinkamigoto-cho, Minamimatsura-gun
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 45​min
6
Takachiho-cho
— 3 nights
Drive:  7​h
7
Matsue
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
8
Toyooka
— 4 nights
train:  2​h
9
Kyoto
— 5 nights
+3
train + Fly + foot + train:  21​h
End: Philadelphia

2
nights
Ise

Ise ©
A spiritual center of Shintoism, Ise stands as a traditional city where visitors can see the roots of Japanese culture in a number of well-preserved natural and historic sites.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Sarutahiko Shrine and Yamato-hime Shrine. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Tsukiyominomiya and Takinomiya. When in Ise, make a side trip to see Onsen Resorts in Tsu, approximately 56 minutes away. The adventure continues: contemplate the long history of Hinjitsukan, get engrossed in the history at Saiku Histrical Museum, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Aramatsurinomiya, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Ise Shrine Geku.

To see ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, use the Ise sightseeing tool .

Philadelphia, USA to Ise is an approximately 22-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Japan Standard Time is 14 hours. Traveling from Philadelphia in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Ise, with lows of 43°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can go by car to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Ise

Historic Sites Museums Baths

Side Trips

Meiwa-cho, Onsen Resorts, Takinomiya
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Sarutahiko Shrine ©
Sarutahiko Shrine
Tsukiyominomiya ©
Tsukiyominomiya

4
nights
Kanazawa

Kanazawa ©
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Gokayama and Kanda house. Get some cultural insight at Ainokura Gassho Community and Kita Family House. Get out of town with these interesting Kanazawa side-trips: Daihonzan Eiheiji Temple (in Eiheiji-cho), Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (in Katsuyama) and Maruoka Castle (in Sakai). The adventure continues: steep yourself in history at Wada House, cruise along Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, get to know the fascinating history of Yasue Hachimangu, and take in panoramic vistas at Ogimachi Castle Old Site Observatory.

To find where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Kanazawa tour itinerary tool .

You can drive from Ise to Kanazawa in 4 hours. Other options are to take a train; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Ise in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Kanazawa, with lows of 33°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Nanto, Shirakawa-mura, Maruoka Castle, Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Ishikawa Nishida Kitaro Museum of Philosophy
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Gokayama ©
Gokayama
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community
Kanda house ©
Kanda house

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.
Explore hidden gems such as Island Countryside Settlement and Kondoi Beach. Get a sense of the local culture at East Paisaji Ogoku and Cape Hirakubozaki. And it doesn't end there: stroll through Yonehara Beach, take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory, and take a leisurely stroll along Nishi Pier.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Ishigaki attractions planner.

Traveling by combination of train and flight from Kanazawa to Ishigaki takes 6.5 hours. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from Kanazawa in January: high temperatures in Ishigaki hover around 70°F and lows are around 62°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Taketomi-jima, Taketomi-cho
Find places to stay Jan 29 — Feb 1:
Highlights from your plan
Island Countryside Settlement ©
Island Countryside Settlement
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki

4
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Explore hidden gems such as Toguchi no Hama and Sunayama Beach. There's much more to do: visit a coastal fixture at Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse, step off the mainland to explore Kouri Island, enjoy the sand and surf at Aragusuku Beach, and snap pictures at Kurima Bridge.

For reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Miyakojima online tour itinerary planner .

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from Ishigaki to Miyakojima in an hour. Expect a daytime high around 69°F in February, and nighttime lows around 61°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) early enough to travel to Shinkamigoto-cho.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse ©
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse
Toguchi no Hama
Toguchi no Hama

2
nights
Shinkamigoto-cho, Minamimatsura-gun

Shinkamigoto-cho ©
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Kashigarashima Church and Oso Church. Discover out-of-the-way places like Kiri Church and Doinoura Church.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read our Shinkamigoto-cho online route maker .

Explore your travel options from Miyakojima to Shinkamigoto-cho with the Route module. While traveling from Miyakojima, expect colder days and little chillier nights in Shinkamigoto-cho, ranging from highs of 49°F to lows of 47°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can travel to Takachiho-cho.

Things to do in Shinkamigoto-cho

Historic Sites Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Aosagaura Church ©
Aosagaura Church
Fukumi Catholic Church ©
Fukumi Catholic Church
Hamagurihama Beach ©
Hamagurihama Beach

3
nights
Takachiho-cho

Takachiho-cho ©
The mountain town of Takachiho-cho remains a place of great importance to Japan's spiritual and natural heritage, and the point where these two things intersect.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Amano Iwato Shrine and Omi Shrine. Do some cultural sightseeing at Amanoyasu Kawara and Tsuno Winery. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Takachiho-cho: Taketa (Nanatsumori Ancient Tumulus & Oka Castle Ruins), Shiromi Shrine (in Saito) and Hyugasaki Umagase (in Hyuga). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kaguraden, take in breathtaking views at Takachiho Gorge, admire the sheer force of Manai Falls, and take in the dramatic natural features at Tokubetsuto Rice Terraces.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our Takachiho-cho trip itinerary planner .

You can drive from Shinkamigoto-cho to Takachiho-cho in 7 hours. Traveling from Shinkamigoto-cho in February, expect a bit cooler with lows of 35°F in Takachiho-cho. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Matsue.

Things to do in Takachiho-cho

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Hyuga, Taketa, Shiromi Shrine, Tsuno Winery
Find places to stay Feb 8 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Takachiho Shrine ©
Takachiho Shrine
Amano Iwato Shrine ©
Amano Iwato Shrine
Amano Yasugawara ©
Amano Yasugawara

3
nights
Matsue

Matsue ©
Matsue sits on the banks of the Ohashi-gawa river, channeling its waters through a series of canals and rivers that add much to the scenic aspect of the urban area.
Former Taisha Station and Susa Shrine will appeal to history buffs. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse and Hinomisaki Shrine. Get out of town with these interesting Matsue side-trips: Izumo (Izumo Taisha Shrine, Karakama Shrine, & more), Takuhi Shrine - Takubi Shrine (in Nishinoshima-cho) and Adachi Museum of Art (in Yasugi). There's more to do: take in the spiritual surroundings of Tamatsukuriyu Shrine.

For maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Matsue trip itinerary site .

Getting from Takachiho-cho to Matsue by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and flight; or do a combination of taxi and train. In February, daily temperatures in Matsue can reach 46°F, while at night they dip to 35°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Toyooka.

Things to do in Matsue

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Izumo, Takuhi Shrine - Takubi Shrine, Oki Shrine, Adachi Museum of Art, Suga Shrine
Find places to stay Feb 12 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Yaegaki Shrine ©
Yaegaki Shrine
Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse ©
Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse
Hinomisaki Shrine ©
Hinomisaki Shrine

4
nights
Toyooka

Toyooka ©
A vacation in Toyooka lets you explore the UNESCO Global Geopark that completely surrounds the small town, notable for its scenic islands, rock formations, caves, and sand dunes.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Ine no Funaya and Uradome Seacoast Marine Park. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Daijoji Temple and Street of Kinosaki Onsen. Get out of town with these interesting Toyooka side-trips: The Sand Museum (in Tottori), Natural house of San'in Kaigan Geopark sea and the earth (in Iwami-cho) and Takeda Castle Ruins (in Asago). The adventure continues: hit the slopes at Hachikita Park, take in the pleasant sights at Amanohashidate, enjoy the sand and surf at Kirihama Beach, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Omiyame Shrine.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, use the Toyooka trip itinerary maker app .

You can drive from Matsue to Toyooka in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. In February, daily temperatures in Toyooka can reach 42°F, while at night they dip to 34°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Wed) so you can go by car to Kyoto.

Things to do in Toyooka

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Kami-cho, Iwami-cho, Omiyame Shrine, The Sand Museum, Amanohashidate
Find places to stay Feb 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Ine no Funaya ©
Ine no Funaya
Takeda Castle Ruins ©
Takeda Castle Ruins
Street of Kinosaki Onsen ©
Street of Kinosaki Onsen

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.
Visit Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple and Ritsuin Temple for their historical value. Get a sense of the local culture at Myotsu-ji Temple and Sanzen-in Temple. Explore Kyoto's surroundings by going to Hikone Castle (in Hikone), Kasuga Grand Shrine (in Nara) and Byodoin (in Uji). And it doesn't end there: take in the spiritual surroundings of Tofuku-ji Temple, steep yourself in history at Ninna-ji Temple, and make a trip to Eikando Zenrinji Temple.

To find reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Kyoto trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Toyooka to Kyoto in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Toyooka in February: highs in Kyoto hover around 49°F, while lows dip to 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Otsu, Myotsu-ji Temple, Hikone Castle, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Byodoin
Find places to stay Feb 20 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Nishi Honganji ©
Nishi Honganji
Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple ©
Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine ©
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

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