43 days in Japan Itinerary

43 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

43 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Busselton
bus + Fly:  19​h 45​min
1
Ishigaki
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
2
Iriomote-jima
— 2 nights
ferry:  4​h
3
Miyakojima
— 4 nights
Fly + bus:  3​h 30​min
4
Onna-son
— 3 nights
Fly + taxi:  6​h 15​min
5
Yakushima-cho
— 3 nights
+3
taxi + Fly + bus + train:  7​h 15​min
6
Takachiho-cho
— 3 nights
Fly:  5​h 30​min
7
Toyooka
— 3 nights
train:  2​h 15​min
8
Kyoto
— 4 nights
9
Nachikatsura-cho
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
10
Ise
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
11
Takayama
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
12
Hakuba-mura
— 4 nights
+3
train + taxi + Fly + train:  8​h
13
Kutchan-cho
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  29​h
End: Busselton

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.
Get some historical perspective at Cape Hirakubozaki and Island Countryside Settlement. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kondoi Beach and Banna Park. There's much more to do: find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory, Head underground at Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave, and don't miss a visit to Euglena Mall.

To find ratings, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our Ishigaki tour builder site .

Busselton, Australia to Ishigaki is an approximately 20-hour combination of bus and flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Western Standard Time to Japan Standard Time is 1 hour. Expect a daytime high around 24°C in January, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can ride a ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Taketomi-jima
Find places to stay Jan 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave ©
Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave

2
nights
Iriomote-jima

Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Thu): step off the mainland to explore Iriomote Island and then scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour. On the 31st (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate the long history of Residence of Niimori, admire the sheer force of Pinaisara Falls, and then get outside with Outdoor Activities.

To see other places to visit, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Iriomote-jima tour itinerary maker app .

Traveling by ferry from Ishigaki to Iriomote-jima takes an hour. Expect a daytime high around 24°C in January, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Fri) early enough to catch the ferry to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Outdoors Tours Nature
Find places to stay Jan 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island

4
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Get in touch with nature at Sunayama Beach and Aragusuku Beach. Explore hidden gems such as Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse and East Henna Cape. The adventure continues: step off the mainland to explore Shimojiiima Island, contemplate the waterfront views at Toriike Pond, see the interesting displays at Miyakojima City Museum, and snap pictures at Ikema Ohashi Bridge.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Miyakojima trip itinerary planner .

Ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Miyakojima in 4 hours. In January in Miyakojima, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 19°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Onna-son.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 31 — Feb 4:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse ©
Higashi Hennazaki Lighthouse

3
nights
Onna-son

Onna-son ©
Located on the coast in the middle of the island, Onna-son has become known for its beaches and seaside economy.
Step off the beaten path and head to Nakijin Castle Ruins and Nakagusuku Castle Ruins. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Sefa-Utaki and Okinawa Peace Memorial Park. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Onna-son: Motobu-cho (Tropical Dream Center, Okichan Theater, & more), Zakimi Castle Ruins (in Yomitan-son) and Katsuren Castle Ruins (in Uruma). It doesn't end there: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour and look for gifts at Onna Station Nakayukui Market.

For more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Onna-son online road trip planner .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Miyakojima to Onna-son in 3.5 hours. Traveling from Miyakojima in February, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Onna-son, with lows of 14°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to travel to Yakushima-cho.

Things to do in Onna-son

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Motobu-cho, Zakimi Castle Ruins, Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, Sefa-Utaki, Nakagusuku Castle Ruins
Find places to stay Feb 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Nakagusuku Castle Ruins ©
Nakagusuku Castle Ruins
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park ©
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park
Katsuren Castle Ruins ©
Katsuren Castle Ruins

3
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Yakusugi Land and Nagata Inakahama. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley and Wilson Stump. There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Oko no Taki Fall, learn more about the world around you at Yakusugi Museum, and don't miss a visit to Jōmon Sugi.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Yakushima-cho travel planner.

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Onna-son to Yakushima-cho takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and taxi; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and taxi. Traveling from Onna-son in February, expect Yakushima-cho to be a bit cooler, temps between 17°C and 10°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to travel to Takachiho-cho.

Things to do in Yakushima-cho

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Yakusugi Land ©
Yakusugi Land
Nagata Inakahama
Nagata Inakahama
Yakusugi Museum ©
Yakusugi Museum

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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Takachiho Shrine and Amano Iwato Shrine. Get some historical perspective at Amano Yasugawara and Oka Castle Ruins. Change things up with these side-trips from Takachiho-cho: Aso (Daikanbo & Kusasenri), Shirakawa Springs (in Minamiaso-mura) and Nabegataki Falls (in Oguni-machi). Next up on the itinerary: explore the stunning scenery at Takachiho Gorge, take in the dramatic scenery at Manai Falls, and get impressive views of Mt. Aso.

To find reviews, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Takachiho-cho trip maker .

Traveling by combination of taxi, flight, and train from Yakushima-cho to Takachiho-cho takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, flight, and bus. In February, Takachiho-cho is a bit cooler than Yakushima-cho - with highs of 11°C and lows of 1°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Toyooka.

Things to do in Takachiho-cho

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Aso, Shirakawa Springs, Mt. Aso, Nabegataki Falls, Oka Castle Ruins
Find places to stay Feb 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Takachiho Gorge ©
Takachiho Gorge
Oka Castle Ruins ©
Oka Castle Ruins
Manai Falls ©
Manai Falls

3
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.
Get outdoors at Arayu and Amanohashidate. Street of Kinosaki Onsen and Izushi Castle Town are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Explore Toyooka's surroundings by going to Amarube Railroad Bridge, Sorano Eki (in Kami-cho), Takeda Castle Ruins (in Asago) and Tottori (The Sand Museum & Tottori Prefectural Museum). There's lots more to do: contemplate the long history of Ine no Funaya, observe the fascinating underwater world at Kinosaki Marine World, and soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens.

To find ratings, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Toyooka trip planner .

You can fly from Takachiho-cho to Toyooka in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Traveling from Takachiho-cho in February, you will find days in Toyooka are little chillier (6°C), and nights are about the same (1°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Toyooka

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Tottori, Arayu, Amarube Railroad Bridge, Sorano Eki, Ine no Funaya, Takeda Castle Ruins
Find places to stay Feb 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Ine no Funaya ©
Ine no Funaya
Arayu ©
Arayu
Takeda Castle Ruins ©
Takeda Castle Ruins

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.
Get some cultural insight at Shimogamo Jinja and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Visit Kodai-ji Temple and Tenryuji Temple for their historical value. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Byodoin (in Uji), Kasuga Grand Shrine (in Nara) and Hikone Castle (in Hikone). There's lots more to do: don't miss a visit to Eikando Zenrinji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Nishi Honganji, steep yourself in history at Tofuku-ji Temple, and take in nature's colorful creations at Nanzen-ji Temple.

For where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Kyoto sightseeing website .

You can take a train from Toyooka to Kyoto in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly. While traveling from Toyooka, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Kyoto, ranging from highs of 11°C to lows of 1°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Fri) so you can go by car to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Kasuga Grand Shrine, Byodoin, Hikone Castle
Find places to stay Feb 17 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Chion-in Temple ©
Chion-in Temple
Sanzen-in Temple ©
Sanzen-in Temple
Nishi Honganji ©
Nishi Honganji

2
nights
Nachikatsura-cho

Nachikatsura-cho ©
The town of Nachikatsuura-cho wows visitors with its superlative landscape and impressive cultural attractions.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sat): take in the spiritual surroundings of Seigantoji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kumano Nachi Taisha, then admire the sheer force of Nachi Mitaki Falls, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Hayatama Taisha. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hirou Shrine, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kamikura Shrine, then make a trip to Daimonzaka, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Hashigui Rock.

To see where to stay, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Nachikatsura-cho route planner.

Drive from Kyoto to Nachikatsura-cho in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Kyoto in February, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be somewhat warmer in Nachikatsura-cho, with lows of 6°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Ise.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Shingu, Hashigui Rock
Find places to stay Feb 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Seigantoji Temple ©
Seigantoji Temple
Kamikura Shrine ©
Kamikura Shrine
Kumano Hayatama Taisha ©
Kumano Hayatama Taisha

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.
On the 24th (Mon), take in the spiritual surroundings of Tsukiyominomiya, appreciate the extensive heritage of Ise Shrine Geku, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sarutahiko Shrine, then don't miss a visit to Oharai-machi, then take an in-depth tour of Sengukan, and finally don't miss a visit to Meotoiwa. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shinmei Shrine, enjoy breathtaking views from Mt. Yokoyama Observation Deck, then meet the residents at Toba Aquarium, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Taikoji Temple.

To see maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Ise holiday planner.

You can drive from Nachikatsura-cho to Ise in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. When traveling from Nachikatsura-cho in February, plan for slightly colder days in Ise, with highs around 9°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Ise

Historic Sites Parks Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Toba, Mt. Yokoyama Observation Deck
Find places to stay Feb 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Tsukiyominomiya ©
Tsukiyominomiya
Oharai-machi ©
Oharai-machi
Sarutahiko Shrine ©
Sarutahiko Shrine

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.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Higashiyama Walking Course. Let the collections at D. T. Suzuki Museum and Takayama Showa Museum capture your imagination. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Takayama: Shirakawa-mura (Wada House & Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen), Nakasendo Walking Trail, Tsumagojuku (in Nagiso-machi) and Ainokura Gassho Community (in Nanto). There's more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Norikura Kogen (Highland) and admire the striking features of Takayama Jinya.

To find photos, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Takayama online trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by car from Ise to Takayama takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Ise in February, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Takayama, with lows of 0°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) so you can go by car to Hakuba-mura.

Things to do in Takayama

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trips

Shirakawa-mura, Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Nakasendo Walking Trail, Tsumagojuku, Ainokura Gassho Community, D. T. Suzuki Museum
Find places to stay Feb 25 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community
Norikura Kogen (Highland) ©
Norikura Kogen (Highland)
Takayama Showa Museum ©
Takayama Showa Museum

4
nights
Hakuba-mura

Hakuba-mura ©
Skiing enthusiasts traveling in Japan should consider a trip to Hakuba-mura: tucked away in the Northern Alps, this village hosted several competitions during the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.
Visit Togakushi Shrine Okusha and Ganshoin Temple for their historical value. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort. Change things up with these side-trips from Hakuba-mura: Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area (in Yamanouchi-machi) and Suzaka Municipal Museum (in Suzaka). There's more to do: admire the natural beauty at Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort / Alpine Garden and fly down the slopes at Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort.

To find maps and tourist information, go to the Hakuba-mura trip tool .

You can drive from Takayama to Hakuba-mura in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 4°C in February, and nighttime lows around -2°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel to Kutchan-cho.

Things to do in Hakuba-mura

Winter Sports Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, Togakushi Shrine Okusha, Ganshoin Temple, Suzaka Municipal Museum, Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area
Find places to stay Feb 29 — Mar 4:
Highlights from your plan
Hakuba ©
Hakuba
Togakushi Shrine Okusha ©
Togakushi Shrine Okusha
Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area ©
Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area

2
nights
Kutchan-cho

Kutchan-cho ©
Kutchan-cho's reputation rests on two things: skiing and potatoes.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Niseko Hanazono Resort and Fukidashi Park. Escape the urban bustle at Rusutsu Resort Ski and Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Ski Place. There's more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Toya and learn more about the world around you at Kutchan Natural History Museum.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Kutchan-cho online attractions planner .

You can do a combination of train and flight from Hakuba-mura to Kutchan-cho in 8 hours. Other options are to do a combination of shuttle, train, and flight; or do a combination of car and ferry. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Hakuba-mura in March: high temperatures in Kutchan-cho hover around 1°C and lows are around -1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Kutchan-cho

Parks Winter Sports Outdoors

Side Trips

Fukidashi Park, Lake Toya, Rusutsu Resort Ski
Find places to stay Mar 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Niseko Hanazono Resort ©
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Rusutsu Resort Ski ©
Rusutsu Resort Ski

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