56 days in Japan Itinerary

56 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

56 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Tokyo
train:  4​h 30​min
1
Takayama
— 12 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
2
Nara
— 12 nights
train:  45​min
3
Kyoto
— 15 nights
train:  3​h 45​min
4
Hakone-machi
— 15 nights
bus + train:  1​h 45​min
End: Tokyo

12
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Norikura Kogen (Highland) and Hida-Takayama Miyagawa Morning Market. Relax by the water at Iwasehama Beach and Amaharashi Coast. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Takayama: Agematsu-machi (Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest & Mt. Kiso Komagatake), Senjojiki Cirque (in Komagane) and Matsumoto (Pond Tashiro, Taisho Pond, & more). The adventure continues: explore the activities along Mikurigaike Pond, stop by Hida Bussankan, admire the sheer force of Shomyo Waterfall, and take a stroll through Gokayama.

To see photos, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Takayama planning app .

Tokyo to Takayama is an approximately 4.5-hour car ride. You can also take a train; or take a bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Nara.

Things to do in Takayama

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Matsumoto, Tateyama-machi, Agematsu-machi, Senjojiki Cirque, Amaharashi Coast
Find places to stay Sep 21 — Oct 4:
Highlights from your plan
Norikura Kogen ©
Norikura Kogen
Pond Tashiro ©
Pond Tashiro
Mt. Tateyama ©
Mt. Tateyama

12
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.
For shopping fun, head to Milkland or Aeon Mall Shijonawate. Relax by the water at Arashima Beach and Nishiarida Prefectural Natural Park. Get out of town with these interesting Nara side-trips: Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall (in Nabari), Suzuka Circuit (in Suzuka) and Kongobu-ji Temple (in Koya-cho). Next up on the itinerary: take in the spiritual surroundings of Toshodaiji Temple, stroll around Nara Park, browse for treasures at NaraKimono Rental Fuji, and admire the natural beauty at Isuien Garden.

To find ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Nara travel planner .

Drive from Takayama to Nara in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Takayama in October since evenings lows in Nara dip to 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Parks Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trips

Hirakata, Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall, Onsen Resorts, Joruri Temple, Milkland
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Mt. Wakakusa ©
Mt. Wakakusa
Hirakata Park ©
Hirakata Park

15
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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Hankyu Umeda Main Store and Mt. Kurama. You'll get in some beach time at Shirahama Beach and Toriihama Beach. Explore Kyoto's surroundings by going to Arima Onsen (in Kita), Wakasa Wada Beach (in Takahama-cho) and Yamazaki River (in Nagoya). There's much more to do: shop like a local with Nishiki Market Shopping District, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ninna-ji Temple, step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, and get the lay of the land with Walking tours.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read Kyoto trip planner.

Traveling by train from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and subway. October in Kyoto sees daily highs of 27°C and lows of 18°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Kyoto

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Takahama-cho, Miyazu, Takashima, Gotemba Beach, Kirihama Beach
Find places to stay Oct 16 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Arima Onsen ©
Arima Onsen
Amanohashidate ©
Amanohashidate

15
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.
Visit Tatadohama Beach and Shirahama Beach for some beach relaxation. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Yaizu Sakana Center and Ito Fureai Center. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Hakone-machi: Nishizawa Valley (in Yamanashi), Hokuto (Doryuno Falls, Resort Outlet Yatsugatake, & more) and Shimoda (Mount Nesugatayama Observatory, Iritahama Beach, & more). There's lots more to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, walk around Onshi Hakone Park, admire the masterpieces at Okada Museum of Art, and steep yourself in history at Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu.

For ratings, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Hakone-machi day trip planning tool .

Getting from Kyoto to Hakone-machi by train takes about 4 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and flight. While traveling from Kyoto, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Hakone-machi, ranging from highs of 19°C to lows of 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Shimoda, Hokuto, Nishiizu-cho, Nishizawa Valley, Mt. Myojogatake
Find places to stay Oct 31 — Nov 15:
Highlights from your plan
Shirahama Beach ©
Shirahama Beach
Tatadohama Beach ©
Tatadohama Beach
Dogashima Island ©
Dogashima Island

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