Authentic Japan Itineraries and Your Japan Trip Planner

Japan

Jan 27

10 and 7 Day Japan Itineraries:
Your Japan Trip Planner

Looking for a 10 day Japan itinerary? A 7 day Japan itinerary? A trip planner? Welcome! You've come to the right place.  

Abigail King in Shinjuku Tokyo

Filming for Lonely Planet in Tokyo - Gathering Tips on Planning a Trip

Plan Your Trip to Japan

1

Read and bookmark your preferred itinerary

This collection of Japan itineraries should give you enough information to go ahead and plan your trip to Japan. The most in-depth one is the 10 day itinerary for Japan since that's the longest period most first timers have. But there are more. So browse away. 

2

Book your flights

Once the flight tickets are booked, everything else falls into place! I ALWAYS use Skyscanner to check out fares and routes. Their handy filters make it easy to adjust to your own preferences and find better deals, whether in first class or economy.

3

Book accommodation and essential extras

Some people like to have everything booked, others prefer to keep their itinerary flexible. I'm a mix of the two. However, I'd ALWAYS suggest booking the two nights in a destination before you fly to avoid having to struggle with jet lag on your first night. I also always book the last night, as well, so that I know I can relax and enjoy the end of the trip. I've made some accommodation suggestions along the way for the 10 day Japan itinerary and over on the Tokyo itinerary. Otherwise,  I'd recommend searching on these travel websites for the best place to stay. 

4

Go and have a great time in Japan!

Then tag @insidetravellab on social media and let us know how you got on!

How to Use this Trip Planner

Look at the Japan Itineraries At a Glance section first to get an idea of time and an overview of what's possible. There's a full 10 day Japan itinerary and 7 day Japan itinerary, as well as information if you have more or less time. You'll find plenty of practical advice throughout the article as well as links to more in-depth information both here and elsewhere. 

I cover a lot of ground on this site, focusing wherever possible on unusual, authentic travel. So if you're feeling overwhelmed, go whelm yourself with this clear introduction to the classical highlights of Japan.

This five day itinerary for Tokyo is also a great place to start. Most travellers fly in and out of the capital but there are routes into other cities as well and it's certainly worth considering flying in to one and out of another if you wish to venture south to Kyushu or Okinawa.

But don't stress. It's an amazing country with so much to see and do. But there aren't really "must-sees" like the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal. So, I suppose what I'm saying is: don't worry. You can't go wrong!

Japan Travel Details

Where it's important, I've included practical travel details right in the itinerary. At other points, I've linked to another part of the Japan travel blog that covers the details so that you don't get bogged down. Google may love loads and loads of words on a page, but I prefer readers! And you tell me, you like things to be kept clear. 

Japan Itineraries At A Glance

7 Day Japan Itinerary

Spend a few days in Tokyo and make the day trip to Mt. Fuji. Visit the ancient capital of Kyoto, including the Tojo Temple. Visit Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Museum and stop by in the mountains on your way back to the capital.

10 Day Japan Itinerary

Build on the classical route by heading north into Sendai or south to the tropical islands of Okinawa. Expand on Hiroshima by visiting Nagasaki, Japan's only contact with the outside world for centuries at a time. 

10 Day Japan Itinerary:First Time Classic Itinerary

Day 1 - ARRIVE IN TOKYO

 Day one works as a spare day. So, if you're looking for more things to do, check out the five day Tokyo itinerary and pick something from there.

DAYS 2 - 5 - TOKYO BASE - TWO DAYS IN TOKYO WITH TWO DAY TRIPS - MT FUJI AND SNOW MONKEYS

This 10 day Japan itinerary takes two whole days for Tokyo and two day trips from the city. I've outlined the most popular choices below. But check out the day trips from Tokyo section for more ideas. 

DAYS 6 - 7 KYOTO

Take a shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, the former capital and stunning city of temples and geisha. 

DAY 7 - 8 HIROSHIMA AND MIYAJIMA

Travel on by train again to the intriguing city of Hiroshima and the nearby peaceful Miyajima island and floating Itsukushima Shrine. Hiroshima today is a modern, dynamic, thriving city but it's still poignant to see the twisted remnants of the atom bomb damage and to see the folded paper cranes as a memorial. Make sure to visit the Peace Memorial Museum to understand more about the area. 

Spend the night on the nearby island of Miyajima. Watch out for the deer!

DAY 9 - JAPANESE ALPS

With the classics under your belt, travel to the Japanese Alps for a cool breath of fresh air and to wander down narrow streets looking for sake and shochu. 

DAY 10 - RETURN TO TOKYO

Shinkansen back to the city of Tokyo to fly home.

7 Day Japan Itinerary For First Timers

Day 1 - ARRIVE IN TOKYO

Again, this starts in Tokyo at the main international hub of Narita Airport. With less time, you may need to get up and about right away. But don't stress. Most of Japan's highlights involve experiencing her culture rather than ticking off the sights. Take it easy. 

DAYS 2 - 3 TOKYO

This 7 day Japan itinerary gives two whole days in the city to save time travelling back and forth. Yet, you may prefer to check out the day trips from Tokyo. In that case, spend one day in Tokyo, and one out on the loose!

DAYS 4 - 5 KYOTO

Spend one night in Kyoto and be strategic about how many temples you want to see. 

DAY 6 - 7 HIROSHIMA AND MIYAJIMA

Stay overnight on Miyajima island, watching the sun set over the infamous floating torii of Itsukushima. If time allows, visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum before taking the fast bullet train back to Tokyo to catch your flight home from Tokyo Narita Airport. 


10 Day Japan Itinerary In Depth

Tokyo Tower - Highlight on a 5 day itinerary through Tokyo

The Tokyo Tower - Welcome to Japan!

Day One - Arrive Tokyo

Most international flights arrive at Narita International Airport. Depending on how far you've travelled, you may just need to rest and potter about. This 10 day Japan itinerary bookmarks two full days for exploring Tokyo.

Highlights

  • Getting over jet lag
  • Discovering the spaceship toilets
  • Buying a drink from the vending machines
  • Eating a Bento Box

Where to Stay

  • The Park Hyatt Tokyo is the famous spot from Lost in Translation, with an international vibe.
  • Hotel Niwa is smaller and more affordable, with an authentic vibe and blend of old traditions 
Intricate presentation is a key part of life in Tokyo and Japan

Intricate presentation is a key part of life in Tokyo and Japan

Days 2 and 3: Explore Tokyo

Take a deep breath and get ready to explore this amazing city. Find a full itinerary on Tokyo here.

Highlights

  • Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine
  • Tokyo Tower
  • The Museum District
  • Pachinko Arcades
  • Harajuku 
  • Shibuya

DID YOU KNOW?

Before World War Two, most of Tokyo consisted of wooden buildings. During the bombing raids, fire spread across the city and so the rebuild was extensive. 


You can still find a few small pockets of the traditional side of Tokyo in areas like Yanaka. 

Mount Fuji Day Trip from Japan

Days 4 & 5 - Day Trips from Tokyo

I've suggested day trips from Tokyo here to cut down on packing and moving around. But if you have itchy feet, you can head on outta town!

If you are...

  • VERY ACTIVE - Climb Fuji in one day
  • CURIOUS - Visit the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • MILDLY ACTIVE - Hike in Hakone Park or see the Big Buddha
  • IN LOVE WITH DISNEY - DISNEY!

Getting Around

The Japan Rail Pass works wonders here to get you in and out of Tokyo and back. 

Japanese Lanterns in Kyoto

Kyoto's Old Town

Days 6 & 7 - Kyoto

Take your time in the former capital to slow down and experience the tranquil side of Kyoto. 

How to get there: around 3 hours by train from Tokyo.

Where to Stay

Check booking.com for recommendations. 

About the Ryokans

These beautiful, authentic places to stay provide a taste of old Japan. They use bamboo mats and screens and futons on the floor. Despite the description, they can be incredibly luxurious.

Miyajima Island nearby shrine

The view from Miyajima island near Hiroshima

Days 7 & 8 - Hiroshima and MiyaJima

Pay your respects at the peace memorial and ponder the events that led to the destruction at the museum. 


Then, get away from it all on scenic MiyaJima. 


How to get there: 3 hours by train from Kyoto.

Where to stay

Stay overnight on night seven on Miyajima Island. 

Look out!

The deer on the island may look cute but they'll eat your maps if you're not careful! 

Days 8 & 9 - The Japanese Alps

Explore the fresh air of Japan and escape from her cities for a while. Central Takayama offers beautiful wooden merchant houses built by the carpenters who served the Emperor.


How to get there: 5 hours 40 minutes by train from Hiroshima via Kyoto and Nagoya.

Where to Stay

Head to Takayama and stroll around wooden houses from the Edo Period. 

Sake Tasting

Look out for balls of leaves hanging above doorways. They signify there is sake within.

Folding prayers at Asakusa Shrine Tokyo

Day 10 Return to Tokyo

This marks the end of the itinerary. Hope you had fun! Let me know how you got on on social media. 


How to get back: around 5 hours by train from Takayama via Nagoya.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.

  • Dang. Just Dang. The level of detail in this itinerary has us agape. So this is going to be a frame of reference for another trip back to Japan. We do need to have more focus time to Kyushu or Okinawa.

    • Abi King says:

      I LOVED Okinawa. So beautiful and a really different vibe to northern Japan. Highly recommended!

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