42 days in Japan Itinerary

42 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

42 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: George Town, Penang Island
Fly:  14​h 30​min
1
Ishigaki
— 3 nights
ferry:  1​h
2
Iriomote-jima
— 2 nights
ferry:  4​h
3
Miyakojima
— 3 nights
+2
Fly + subway + train:  4​h 30​min
4
Hiroshima
— 3 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
5
Osaka
— 2 nights
train:  30​min
6
Kyoto
— 5 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
Takayama
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
8
Nikko
— 5 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
9
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Fly + taxi:  4​h 45​min
10
Shari-cho
— 3 nights
taxi + Fly:  3​h 45​min
11
Sapporo
— 5 nights
Fly:  13​h 15​min
End: George Town, Penang Island

3
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kondoi Beach and Cape Hirakubozaki. For shopping fun, head to Yurateiku Market or Nei Museum of Art. Step out of Ishigaki to go to Kuro-shima and see Nakamoto Beach, which is approximately 1h 25 min away. Next up on the itinerary: head outdoors with Yonehara Beach, take some stellar pictures from Cape Ongazaki, walk around Banna Park, and take in the waterfront at Nishi Pier.

To find ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Ishigaki day trip planning site .

George Town, Malaysia to Ishigaki is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of ferry and flight. Traveling from George Town to Ishigaki, you'll lose 2 hours due to the time zone difference. October in Ishigaki sees daily highs of 34°C and lows of 28°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Sat) early enough to catch the ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Taketomi-cho, Island Countryside Settlement, Nakamoto Beach
Find places to stay Oct 27 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Yonehara Beach ©
Yonehara Beach
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki

2
nights
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
On the 1st (Sun), take in the dramatic scenery at Pinaisara Falls and then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour. On the 2nd (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, kick back and relax at Hoshisuna Beach, and then kick back and relax at Ida no Hama Beach.

To find more things to do, maps, photos, and tourist information, use the Iriomote-jima attractions website .

Ride a ferry from Ishigaki to Iriomote-jima in an hour. In October, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can ride a ferry to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Oct 31 — Nov 2:
Highlights from your plan
Hoshisuna Beach ©
Hoshisuna Beach
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls

3
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Yonaha Maehama Beach and Aragusuku Beach. Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Sunayama Beach, don't miss a visit to East Henna Cape, look for all kinds of wild species at Yabiji, and step off the mainland to explore Shimojiiima Island.

To find reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Miyakojima road trip planning app .

You can ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Miyakojima in 4 hours. November in Miyakojima sees daily highs of 30°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Nov 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Aragusuku Beach ©
Aragusuku Beach

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.
Museum-lovers will get to explore JMSDF Kure Museum and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Get a sense of the local culture at Mazda Museum and Itsukushima Shrine Torii. Go for a jaunt from Hiroshima to Miyajima to see Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street about 1h 05 min away. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Mitaki Temple, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, shop like a local with Kamiyacho, and contemplate the long history of Peace Flame.

To find maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Hiroshima planner .

You can do a combination of flight and train from Miyakojima to Hiroshima in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. Traveling from Miyakojima in November, you will find days in Hiroshima are little chillier (20°C), and nights are colder (11°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Museums Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Mazda Museum, JMSDF Kure Museum
Find places to stay Nov 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
JMSDF Kure Museum ©
JMSDF Kure Museum
Mazda Museum ©
Mazda Museum
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Mon): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, then take a stroll through Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street, then look for gifts at Kimono Photo Studio Wasabi Osaka, and finally wander the streets of Dotonbori. Here are some ideas for day two: get a taste of the local shopping with Hankyu Umeda Honten, then step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, then take in nature's colorful creations at Yoshikien, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Osaka online trip itinerary planner .

You can take a train from Hiroshima to Osaka in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In November in Osaka, expect temperatures between 20°C during the day and 10°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Osaka

Shopping Historic Sites Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Nara
Find places to stay Nov 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Kimono Photo Studio Wasabi Osaka ©
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori
Nigatsu-do Temple ©
Nigatsu-do Temple

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.
Do your shopping at Nishiki Market Shopping District and Ippodo Tea Kyoto. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Gion. Step out of Kyoto with an excursion to Byodo-in Temple Museum Hoshokan in Uji--about 42 minutes away. There's lots more to do: steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kamigamo Shrine, examine the collection at Kyoto Railway Museum, and explore the historical opulence of Nijo Castle.

For traveler tips, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Kyoto tour site .

Kyoto is very close to Osaka. November in Kyoto sees daily highs of 19°C and lows of 10°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Byodo-in Temple Museum Hoshokan
Find places to stay Nov 10 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kyoto Railway Museum ©
Kyoto Railway Museum

4
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.
Let the collections at Toyama Glass Art Museum and Hikaru Museum capture your imagination. Gokayama and Naraijuku are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get out of town with these interesting Takayama side-trips: Kanazawa Hyakubangai Shopping Center (in Kanazawa), Nanto (Ainokura Gassho Community & Inami Betsuin Zuisen-ji Temple) and Matsumoto City Art Museum (in Matsumoto). The adventure continues: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, admire the striking features of Takayama City Hall, see the interesting displays at Takayama Showa Museum, and make a trip to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine.

For more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Takayama trip planner .

Drive from Kyoto to Takayama in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In November in Takayama, expect temperatures between 17°C during the day and 9°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Nikko.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Museums Shopping

Side Trips

Nanto, Toyama Glass Art Museum, Kanazawa Hyakubangai Shopping Center, Naraijuku, Matsumoto City Art Museum
Find places to stay Nov 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community
Gokayama ©
Gokayama
Toyama Glass Art Museum ©
Toyama Glass Art Museum

5
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.
Museum-lovers will appreciate Honda Collection Hall and Gunma Natural Museum. Discover out-of-the-way places like Yudaki Falls and Taiyuimbyo Shrine. Change things up with these side-trips from Nikko: Tochigi Prefectural Museum (in Utsunomiya) and Thermal Spas (in Nakanojo-machi). There's lots more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Chuzenji, take in the dramatic scenery at Kegon Falls, get to know the fascinating history of Cryptomeria Avenue, and take an in-depth tour of Kanaya Hotel History House.

To find traveler tips, maps, photos, and more tourist information, read our Nikko attractions planning website .

Getting from Takayama to Nikko by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Takayama in November, plan for a bit warmer nights in Nikko, with lows around 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Nikko

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Gunma Natural Museum, Thermal Spas, Tochigi Prefectural Museum, Honda Collection Hall
Find places to stay Nov 19 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Yudaki Falls ©
Yudaki Falls
Lake Chuzenji ©
Lake Chuzenji
Taiyuimbyo Shrine ©
Taiyuimbyo Shrine

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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Pola Museum of Art and Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Museum-lovers will get to explore Hakone Museum of Art and Nezu Museum. Get out of town with these interesting Tokyo side-trips: Fujiko F Fujio Museum (in Kawasaki), Memorial Warships Mikasa (in Yokosuka) and Japan Coast Guard Museum Yokohama (in Yokohama). Next up on the itinerary: explore the world behind art at teamLab Planets TOKYO, examine the collection at Fire Museum, take a stroll through Kagurazaka, and take an in-depth tour of Tokyo National Museum The Heiseikan.

To see where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Tokyo driving holiday planner.

You can take a train from Nikko to Tokyo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Nikko in November: highs in Tokyo hover around 19°C, while lows dip to 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Shari-cho.

Things to do in Tokyo

Museums Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trips

Hakone-machi, Memorial Warships Mikasa, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Fujiko F Fujio Museum, Japan Coast Guard Museum Yokohama
Find places to stay Nov 24 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Pola Museum of Art ©
Pola Museum of Art
Fire Museum ©
Fire Museum
Yanaka ©
Yanaka

3
nights
Shari-cho

Shari-cho ©
Tourism in Shari-cho, a small town situated on Hokkaido's eastern tip, flourishes mainly because of its immediate proximity to the Shiretoko World Heritage Site.
Get some cultural insight at Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples and Utoro Onsen. You'll explore and learn at Shibetsu Salmon Park and Kita no Alp Art Museum. There's still lots to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Shiretoko Goko Lake, see the interesting displays at Shiretoko Museum, look for gifts at Shari Kobo Shiretokoya, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Raiun Shrine.

For maps, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Shari-cho trip planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Tokyo to Shari-cho takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or take a train. Traveling from Tokyo in November, expect Shari-cho to be slightly colder, temps between 7°C and 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can travel to Sapporo.

Things to do in Shari-cho

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Shibetsu Salmon Park, Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples
Find places to stay Nov 29 — Dec 2:
Highlights from your plan
Shiretoko Goko Lake ©
Shiretoko Goko Lake
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples ©
Utoro Onsen
Utoro Onsen

5
nights
Sapporo

Sapporo ©
A modern, bustling city known for its beer brewery, Sapporo attracts millions of visitors with its Snow Festival, during which elaborate ice and snow sculptures are exhibited all over town.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Royce' Chocolate World and The Hokkaido University Museum. Shop till you drop at Northern Horse Park and Sankaku Market. Explore Sapporo's surroundings by going to Arte Piazza Bibai (in Bibai), Mitsui Outlet Park, Sapporo Kitahiroshima (in Kitahiroshima) and Chitose Outlet Mall Rera (in Chitose). There's lots more to do: explore the world behind art at Sapporo Art Museum, take a stroll around Sapporo Underground Shopping Centre Aurora Town, browse the different shops at Sapporo Factory, and see the interesting displays at Hakko Gakuen Kuribayashi Memorial Hall.

To find photos, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Sapporo trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Shari-cho to Sapporo by combination of taxi and flight takes about 4 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In December, daytime highs in Sapporo are 0°C, while nighttime lows are -2°C. On the 7th (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Sapporo

Shopping Museums Parks

Side Trips

Otaru, Chitose, Mitsui Outlet Park, Sapporo Kitahiroshima, Northern Horse Park, Arte Piazza Bibai
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Royce' Chocolate World ©
Royce' Chocolate World
The Hokkaido University Museum ©
The Hokkaido University Museum

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