Click for Japan Travel Guide

2 Weeks in Japan Itinerary

Spend 2 Perfect Weeks in Japan. Read our comprehensive guide written by locals who lived in Japan

Shinjuku in Japan as part of a complete 2 weeks in Japan itinerary

Japan sure is one of the most incredible countries in the world and spending 2 weeks in Japan was the best trip ever. That's why, every year, we return to Japan to explore its off the beaten paths which we love so much. There are so many things to do in Japan and even though we travel extensively through the country, we realise that our Japan bucket list is slowly becoming and endless opportunity of joyful exploration.

We like learning about lesser-known Japanese districts and cities. We believe that Japan is the best place in the world and we are certain you are going to enjoy your initial two weeks Japan itinerary. In fact, 2 weeks in Japan seems like the perfect introduction to a first-time traveller. After spending several months in the country and briefly living in Tokyo, we decided to share with you our comprehensive guide on how to create your perfect two weeks in Japan itinerary.

So let's start planning together.

Table of ContentsOpen

2 Weeks in Japan Itinerary

Your 2 weeks Japan itinerary should include several day trips from your base cities. We included what we loved the most about Japan and what we would recommend to any first-timers. During this itinerary, you will visit the most incredible places in Tokyo, the capital city. You will taste some of the best Japanese food and see some amazing Kyoto temples, secret spots and beautiful, authentic neighbourhoods.

We wanted to create a 2 weeks Japanese itinerary which feels complete.

Our recommended itinerary is: Tokyo - Nikko - Kyoto - Nara - Uji - Yoshino - Osaka - Hiroshima (Miyajima) - Himeji - Kobe - Mt. Fuji - Nagano.

The second part of our 7 days in Japan itinerary will take you to the zen heart of Japan: Kyoto. With so many things to do in Kyoto, you will see why Japan's old capital city feels like the chill pill to Tokyo's agitation, a spiritual place full of subtle colours and delicious flavours. To properly enjoy Japan, we believe you should venture beyond the cities and experience at least a glimpse of Japan's pristine nature.

We visit Japan on a yearly basis and every single time, we explore a little more of what Japan has to offer. Based on our cumulated experience, we decided to put together the absolute best 2 weeks in Japan for you. We know that every itinerary is highly subjective, so we wanted to create something truly immersive for a first-time visitor to Japan.

To help you better plan your Japan trip, we also put together these articles for you

How to plan your 2 weeks in Japan itinerary

We know that your first time in Japan will require a lot of planning. Being such a foreign and mysterious country, it can easily feel overwhelming. We know we had these feelings the first time we visited Japan. In fact, this is part of the reason why we started this blog: to offer first-time visitors a wealth of information in regards to Japan and make it easy for you to learn from our previous mistakes.

If we can give you just one piece of advice, it will be to just go with it and allow yourself to get immersed in the culture. Japan is not scary, but incredible. Everything has a place, everything makes sense. People are friendly and polite and you can get anywhere with the help of sound public transportation.

When to visit Japan

The short and quick answer is Autumn. Autumn is the best time to visit Japan because the weather is lovely, the foliage is incredible and prices for accommodation tends to go down. Winter is the best time to visit Japan is you are on a strict budget or want to visit the winter festival in Hokkaido. Summers tend to be quite hot and humid. Spring is the most expensive time to visit Japan due to the cherry blossom festival and the Golden Week celebrations.

We visited Japan in all seasons and spent roughly one month in each. We loved our time during the cherry blossom festival as the whole country truly is a place of celebration. Autumn was wonderful because the crowds started thinning out and the weather was absolute bliss. Tokyo showed its true colours with the myriad golden ginkgo Biloba trees.

Getting around Japan

You can get around Japan with a lot of ease by using the extensive metro system or by train. You can get a Japan Rail Pass and make use of unlimited transportation around Japan for 7-21 days. Shinkansen is a high-speed train in Japan. It allows you to do intercity journeys in record time. For example, a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto takes just 2.5 hours. That's incredible! There are also regional and local trains which are a little slower, but they are very clean and always on time.

If there is one thing you don't have to worry about in Japan, is transportation. We recommend taking some time to familiarise yourself with the Tokyo subway map.

Language in Japan

It is well known that many Japanese don't speak good English. Well, the fact of the matter is, they do speak English, but they are a little too shy to practice their language skills with you. Most people will be happy to help despite the language barrier. Just be polite and patient. If someone is clearly uncomfortable talking to you, just smile, nod, thank them and move to the next person.

Most restaurants have images next to the menu items so you can easily just point at things which look good. Don't worry, Japanese food is pretty amazing so you won't really go wrong with anything you order. If you have any food allergies, just print them on a piece of paper and translate them to Japanese using Google Translate.

A good thing to do is to download Google Translate on your phone so you can quickly communicate with others around you if need be. Sometimes it's good to just translate items from groceries to know what you are about to buy. It's a really fun game and it's part of the Japanese experience.

Tipping in Japan

Another question we get about Japan is whether or not tipping is customary. It isn't! People in Japan are proud to do a good job and make sure customers are always satisfied. They don't do it because they expect any tips, they do it because they find it because it is the right thing to do. It's the pride culture which makes Japan tick so well. If you really loved your sushi, you can order a sake for your chef and pay for it, but even this is not needed. Simply pay what you owe, thank them with a bow and a smile and come back next time.

This makes matters easier and uncomplicated. There is no tipping required in your hotel, taxi driver or restaurant.

Day 1 - Tokyo

Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s most vibrant district.

Shinjuku District

Head to Shinjuku and get to feel what Tokyo is all about: crazy neon ads, crowds, signs and music everywhere. Shinjuku is such a cool neighbourhood because it shows Tokyo from so many angles. It has the Shinjuku Goyen Park, which is an immense green space with a pon and countless cherry blossoms. It will give you a great overview of how a Japanese zen garden really looks like. Then, just a few minutes walk away you can find yourself in Asia’s largest red district where everything looks a little dodgy but charming at the same time. Then Shinjuku’s skyscraper district is full of impressive buildings which offer killer views of the city. You can even go to the Metropolitan Government Building for free to photograph Tokyo from above. It’s the best first day in Tokyo anyone could ask for. Let the 2 weeks Japan itinerary begin!

Shinjuku in Japan as part of a complete 2 weeks in Japan itinerary

Shinjuku Goyen

Head over to Shinjuku Goyen to get over your jet lag and enjoy a lovely morning stroll in the park. Photograph the countless cherry trees and sit down on one of the benches to relax before your awesome, activity-packed 2 weeks in Japan itinerary.

Tip: There are lots of vending machines everywhere in Tokyo. Grab a hot tea from one of them, and head over to a picnic area to enjoy a nice Japanese cup of tea surrounded by beautiful nature.

Shinjuku Kabukicho

This is Asia’s largest red district where things can get seriously steamy. You should watch but not touch. And hey, why don’t you read more about 18+ activities in Tokyo if you want something tailored for adults only.

Salarymen in Japan searching for fun things to do in Shinjuku

Metropolitan Building

Have a look at Tokyo from above entirely free of charge. Just make sure you bring your camera with you so you can seriously photograph this beautiful city. A sea of colours and lights, right?

Day 2 - Tokyo

Today is all about eating your way around Tokyo.

Tsukiji Market

Start the day as early as possible with a visit to the famed Toyosu Market. You will have a chance to indulge in fresh seafood caught just hours before. Just make sure to be respectful of the rules and regulations around. As a tip, if you wake up super early, you can visit the Tuna Auction which is open to a handful of visitors only. Alternatively, just meander around and buy lots of street food from various vendors.

Yoyogi Park

Head over to Yoyogi Park so you can visit the gorgeous Meiji Shrine. There are many Japanese traditional weddings held at Meiji and very likely you will be able to see one as well. Just photograph from afar and be respectful. Check out Yoyogi massive wooden Torii gate, before heading to the Sake wall where there are many sake barrels stored right in the park.

spiritual sensoji tokyo


Time to have some colourful food in Harajuku, especially on Takeshita street. You can purchase silly merchandise as well as crazy pancakes: my favourite Tokyo food. Crazy pancakes are rolled pancakes cones filled with cream, cakes and ice cream. On Takeshita Street, you will also find colourful popcorn and multilayered candy floss with various tastes and you guessed it: colours!

Tokyu Plaza

Head over to Tokyu Plaza in Omotesando Hills and go to the top floor where there is an open-air garden. That's where all the cool kids go to chill and enjoy vires of the city. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji from this terrace.

Omotesando Hills

End the day with an evening stroll on Omotesando Hills, where you can shop, or just admire the lit-up boulevard. Here you can find an array of gorgeous shops which know how to put up a light show. Omotesando Hills have expensive shops including well-known brands like Bulgari, Apple and Tiffanys. It's a really special atmosphere at night.

Tokyo Japan Sunset

Day 3 - Tokyo

Crossing to the spiritual side of Tokyo


Senso-Ji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo, located in the districts of Asakusa. The entry to the Senso-Ji is entirely free of charge. You should also draw an omikuji, a Japanese fortune-telling paper strip.

From Senso-Ji, make your way around Asakusa, which is known to be a great district for affordable shopping. You can find many souvenirs in the area.


Head over to Shibuya and feel Tokyo’s most vibrant crossing in the world. Cross the pedestrian scramble a few times and immerse yourself in one of Tokyo’s most alive corners. You can photograph it from above from a nearby Starbucks or from the train station. There plenty more to do in Shibuya, including fun shopping and excellent dining options.


If shopping is your best friend, then Ginza will not disappoint. Ginza is the fashion district in Tokyo, lined with high-end boutiques which look especially stunning during night time. Visit during the weekend when the whole shopping street becomes open for pedestrians only.

Accommodation in Tokyo

Shinjuku is usually the prefered accommodation for first-time travellers. I tend to agree, although I personally prefer the quieter quarters of Chiyoda. As long as you are close to a subway station, it's rather difficult to get it wrong in Tokyo. Whether you are a budget, midrange or luxury traveller, we curated our favourite accommodation in Tokyo to make sure you are comfortable and enjoy your stay. Alternatively, please check where to stay in Tokyo for more options in other, quieter neighbourhoods.

Hotel Shinjuku
Check The Millennials Shibuya on

The Millennials Shibuya

One of our top picks in Tokyo.Situated in Tokyo, 450 yards from Hachiko Statue, The Millennials Shibuya is an adult only accommodation. The property has a terrace and rooms with free WiFi access. Popular points of interest nearby include NHK Studio Park, Shibuya Center Town and Meiji Jingu Shrine. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and a shared lounge for guests.

Compare prices and read reviews, check:

Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo

Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo is located right in downtown Kabukicho with super easy access to all transport links. It features large and clean rooms with free internet and a coin-operated laundrette. This is a 4-star hotel which is very well priced for Tokyo and couples particularly enjoy this location and hotel.As a tip, you should try and ask for the rooms on the top floors as they have amazing views over the city.

Compare prices and read reviews, check:

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is a 5 star hotel located in Shinjuku Skyscraper district. This can only mean one thing: amazing views over Tokyo. The comfortable rooms all come with free wifi and 21 dining options. You can enjoy a fitness centre, swimming pools, convenience stores and even a business centre. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to Tokyo Disney Resort. Unlike other luxury Tokyo hotels, Keio Plaza is actually really well priced, with rooms starting from just £150 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check:

Day 4 - Nikko

Day out in Nikko

Located just a couple of hours away from Tokyo, Nikko is home to a variety of natural and cultural wonders. Although Nikko is known mainly for the Tōshō-gū shrine and the Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss park, in reality, there is a lot more about this place than meets the eye. I recommend heading into its mountains to fully discover what Nikko has to offer. Arrange a stay in a hotel with onsen.

Watanabe Sahei

Watanabe Sahei offers free tours of the Sake brewery in Nikko where you can sample some sake and learn about how this incredible Japanese beverage is produced. It’s a lot of fun and since it’s entirely free, all you have to do is to book in advance to ensure they have time to show you around. Totally worth it.

450 Imaichi, Nikko 321-1261, Tochigi Prefecture

Shinkyo Bridge

A beautiful vermilion bridge in Nikko. You can take various photos of it, but note that you are not allowed to cross it. You can pay a small fee to stand on it and take a beautiful picture. Shinkyo bridge can only be crossed by the Royal Family.

Tōshō-Gū Shrine

Tōshō-Gū Shrine is a UNESCO Heritage Site and it belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. This very well known shrine was once part of an amusement park. Back then, the entrance was free of charge and people from all over Japan came to visit the lavish decorations were subject to amusement, talk and admirations.

Address: 2301 Sannai, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1431, Japan

Nikko Astraea Hotel

This 3-star hotel is located deep in the Japanese mountains. It will take a while to get to the hotel, but that is part of the fun. You will be able to enjoy incredible views from the tightest curves going up the mountain. Once at the hotel, make sure you soak in the onsen after the fantastic dinner this hotel has to offer.

Crossing Nikko National Park

Day 5 - Kyoto

Any 2 weeks in Japan itinerary should take you to Kyoto. Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan and was once the capital city. Incredibly well preserved, Kyoto remains one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Japan, with wooden houses, narrow streets where you can spot Geishas, and perfectly kept temples surrounded by zen gardens. Kyoto will definitely steal your heart and with so many things to do in Kyoto, we reckon you will want to be back for a longer holiday.

Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station will sure look out of space when you think of the old, quaint city, Kyoto is meant to be. The Kyoto Station is a 14+ story building, which looks incredibly modern and has more facilities than many Western malls. Once you check-in, I recommend spending some more time exploring the Kyoto Station. Partly because of the great shopping opportunities and partly because of the several floors dedicated to food establishments, which serve some of the best food you can possibly imagine.

Nishiki Market

Since you are in Kansai Area, head over to Nishiki Market, also known as Kyoto’s kitchen. Here you can sample plenty of street food, including the unusual tako tamago (octopus on a stick with an egg in its head). It’s time to try matcha sweets and ice cream and taste Japanese fluffy pancakes and freshly prepared sushi. It’s a pretty great place to get introduced to Kyoto’s delicious cuisine.


Evenings are definitely perfect for exploring the gorgeous Gion. Gion is Kyoto’s old entertainment quarters where you can reserve a Geisha show and enjoy the more alluring cultural aspect of Japan. Once you are finished, take a stroll on Shijo-Dori, a long street in Kyoto which starts from the Yasaka Shrine. It’s dotted with food establishments which offer free samples. Make sure you try everything and buy your favourites. It’s also a great place to grab dinner.

Kyoto Gion Geisha

Day 6 - Kyoto


Start the morning with a trip to the bamboo forest in Arashiyama. Make sure you arrive as early as possible to avoid crowds and be able to enjoy this beautiful alien world.

Address: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Admission Fee: FREE

There are various temples around Arashiyama which look absolutely stunning. I strongly recommend checking them out.

Okochi Sanso Villa

This beautiful villa is located in the back of Arashiyama's bamboo groves. With the entry fees, you get free matcha and a small dessert.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Admission: 1000 yen

Jōjakukō-Ji Temple

This temple has a quiet and magical atmosphere. You can admire some incredible views of the nearby mountains.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Admission: 400 yen


Nisonin Temple is a hillside temple with slightly larger and imposing buildings. You can admire gorgeous views from this temple.

Hours: 9:00 to 16:30
Admission: 500 yen

Gio-Ji Temple

It is known for its moss garden that is punctuated with tall maple trees, so it looks most beautiful during Autumn.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Admission: 300 yen

Bamboo Forest Arashiyama-Night

Fushimi Inari

Towards lunchtime, take the train to Fushimi Inari Shrine. From what I noticed, it’s best to visit Fushimi during the evening. The hike to the top and back is a loop and the further up you go, the fewer tourists you will encounter. The views are absolutely fantastic when you get to the Yotsutsuji intersection. You can admire a gorgeous sunset over Kyoto. That’s also a great coffee shop where you can grab a bite and a cup of green tea. I recommend having some snacks with you, but note there are several vending machines along the path so you can purchase water or tea if you need to hydrate.

Address: Japan, 〒612-0882 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Fushimi Ward, Fukakusa Yabunouchicho
Opening Times: 24/7
Admission Fee: FREE

Fushimi Shrine Kyoto

Accommodation in Kyoto

Gion tends to be the prefered accommodation option for most first time travellers in Kyoto. Whether you are a budget, midrange or luxury traveller, we curated our favourite accommodation in Kyoto to make sure you are comfortable and enjoy your stay. Alternatively, please check where to stay in Kyoto for more options.

Day 7 - Nara

Nara is a well known for its cute semi-wild deer which you can feed and photograph. Nara is a great day out of Kyoto. To get to Nara from Kyoto, you need to take the Shinkansen. The journey is short, about 45 minutes. Don't forget your JR Pass.

Uji (Optional)

I love tea so much with matcha being one of my favourite types of green tea. Naturally, I wanted to stop in Uji, explore the old town and buy myself some authentic matcha from the birthplace of Japanese green tea. This stop is completely optional, but the Shinkansen stops in Uji anyway, so why not take a small detour and add another lovely place to your 2 weeks in Japan itinerary?

Nara Park

The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming cute deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara's nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. Please be careful when you feed them and know that they might chase you and even try to bite if they think you have food on you. So keep those biscuits well away from reach.

Nara Deer

Horyuhi Temple

Horyuji is one of the country's oldest temples and contains the world's oldest surviving wooden structures. Definitely a must-see whilst in Nara.

Address: 〒636-0115 Nara Prefecture, Ikoma District, Ikaruga, Horyuji Sannai, 1−1
Opening times: 8:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from early November to late February)
Admission:1500 yen

Nara National Museum

Established in 1889, The Nara National Museum is one of the pre-eminent national art museums in Japan.

Address: Japan, 〒630-8213 Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Noboriōjichō
Opening times: 9:30 to 17:00 (extended hours on Fridays, Saturdays and other selected days); admission ends 30 minutes before closing
Admission: 520 yen (includes admission to both wings of the museum)

Todaiji Temple

Tōdai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples. It is well known for its Great Buddha Hall which has the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana.

Address: 〒630-8211 Nara Prefecture, Nara, Zoshicho, 406−1
Opening times: 8:00 to 16:30 (November to February)
8:00 to 17:00 (March)
7:30 to 17:30 (April to September)
7:30 to 17:00 (October)
Admission: 500 yen

Yoshikien Garden

Address: 60 Noboriojicho, Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8213, Japan
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: December 28 through February
Admission: 250 yen (free for foreign tourists)


Naramachi which translates to Nara town is the former merchant district of Nara. There are many shops, restaurants and boutiques all dotted around the quaint narrow alleyways.


Omizutori or Shunie is a series of events held annually from March 1 to 14 at Todaiji Temple. These Buddhist rituals have been held every year for over 1250 years, making it one of the oldest reoccurring Buddhist events in Japan.

Omizutori is held at Nigatsudo, a ten-minute walk from Todaiji Temple's main building.

Wakakusa Yamayaki

The Wakakusa Yamayaki is matsuri (festival) during which the grass on the hillside of Nara's Mount Wakakusayama is set on fire. The festival takes place every year on the 4th Saturday of January and sometimes can be delayed depending on the weather. conditions.

Wakakusayama is located about a 10-15 minute walk from both Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha.

Nara Japan

Day 8 - Yoshino

Take the train from Nara to Yoshino, a small town located South of Nara, into the Japanese mountains. Yoshino is very special because it has been named as the top location for sakura blooms. This means Yoshino looks absolutely fabulous during Spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. There is a path up the mountain, which leads you through a town dotted with shops, boutiques, restaurants and shrines. Although a little commercial, the town itself looks fantastic. It can get a little busy during the cherry blossom festival, but with a little patience and a small trick I'm about to reveal, you will be able to take those fantastic pictures.

There isn't anything specific you need to do in Yoshino. This is a free day of exploring, photographic, admiring.

Here is what I strongly recommend though: buy your tickets to Yoshino in advance. This is because tickets can actually sell out, especially during the cherry blossom festival. Once you arrive at the Yoshino train station, start queuing to buy your return ticket. The trick? Buy them relatively late, for around 7 pm. Here's why: Yoshino gets mega crowded, but as you will notice, most people will arrive first thing in the morning and leave before the sunset. So after 4 - 5 PM, Yoshino becomes a bit of a ghost town. The shops and restaurants close, the tourists are all gone, and there is a deep and beautiful silence left for you to enjoy. Continue trailing up the mountain for quite some time, so you can enjoy views of the Yoshino from above. Once the sun starts setting, make your way back towards the train station. Stop along the way and take those pictures you couldn't during busy times. You can also catch some beautiful pink mist just before sunset, as the clouds are coming in. It looks stunning!

Yoshino Sakura Season

Day 9 - Osaka

From Nara, take the Shinkansen to Osaka, first thing in the morning. The journey will take roughly an hour. Check-in and leave your luggage at the hotel, it's time to explore a new city.

Osaka Aquarium

Osaka is home to one of the world's biggest aquarium. I was most impressed with it. There is a seating area where you can relax and admire the whale sharks and myriad other sea creatures. It's definitely a must whilst in Osaka.

Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 552-0022, Japan
Opening times: 10:00 to 20:00 (from 9:30 in May, Octomid-
Julymid July to August); admission ends one hour before closing
Admission: 2300 yen

Osaka Ferris Wheel (Tempozan Ferris Wheel)

Located right next to the Aquarium, The Ferris Wheel will enable you to photograph parts of Osaka from above. It really looks stunning but note that it might give you a bit of vertigo. Even if you are not afraid of heights, it will still be a bit weird at times. Nonetheless, it's an experience I strongly recommend.

Opening times: 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30)
Admission: 800 yen

osaka cherry blossom

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a beautiful Japanese style castle with a large park which covers about two square kilometres with lots of green space, sports facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osaka-jo Hall). This is a popular hanami spot during the sakura season so it can get pretty busy. There are fantastic picture opportunities around, hence the Osaka Castle is not to be missed. For a fee, you can enter the castle which has been converted into a museum.

Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Japan
Opening times: 9:00 to 17:00 (entrance until 16:30); extended hours during various holidays and special exhibitions
Admission: 600 yen


Dōtonbori is the main tourist attraction in Osaka. This is a relatively large area which gets pretty colourful during night time. It's best to visit after sunset, but remember that it gets pretty crowded. There are lots of restaurants, with all sort of weirdly animated plastic statues. Here, you can find shops, boutiques and street vendors with some pretty epic food. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but one you must experience whilst in Osaka. It's also a great place to take a nighttime video, but as I said, keep your wits as it can get mega busy. Great restaurants have really long queues, so don't wait until you are super hungry to sit down and eat somewhere.

Address: Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan

things to do in osaka castle

Day 10 - Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima)

Today is a rather long day trip from Osaka, all the way to Hiroshima's famed floating gate. The best way to get there is by Sanyo Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station (about 1 hour 30 minutes to Hiroshima). To reach the ferry port from Hiroshima Station, take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (25 minutes, 410 yen one way, covered by the Japan Rail Pass). From Miyajimaguchi Station, it is a short walk to the ferry pier, from where ferries depart frequently for Miyajima. Make sure you take the JR Ferry which is also covered by your JR Pass.

Miyajima is quite a large island, but its attractions are concentrated in two main areas: the small town around Itsukushima Shrine and Mount Misen.

I recommend spending the time around Itsukushima, where you can find more cute deer and plenty of narrow alleyways which have stores and restaurants. You can get some great street food and snacks from various vendors. Make sure to buy the Momoji Manju, which are maple leaf cakes filled with all sort of goodies, including custards, matcha and chocolate.

You should check the tide timetable before your visit to ensure you reach the shrine during your preferred time. For the floating effect, you need to arrive during high tide. If you wish to go close to the gate, then make sure you arrive during low tide.

Hiroshima From Osaka Floating Gate

Day 11 - Himeji (And Kobe)

You didn't think I was going to omit a visit to the Himeji Castle, now did you? Well of course not. When I went to the Himeji, I got there on a rainy day. I honestly thought this will seriously affect my visit, but instead, it was pretty glorious. There were fewer tourists around and more pictures opportunities. Himeji looks pretty grandiose during the sakura season, so of course, that is one of the best times to visit. You can photograph a glimpse of the castle through branches of Sakura. Himeji is also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO heritage site.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 from late April through August)
Admission ends one hour before closing
Admission Fee: 1000 yen (castle only)
1040 yen (castle and nearby Kokoen Garden)

Once you finish with your Himeji Castle visit, I recommend taking a stroll back towards the train station, but by taking the narrow market street in parallel with the main boulevard. You might even find some great ramen restaurants around.

On the way back to Osaka, you can make a brief stop in Kobe. Kobe is well known for its multicultural scene as well as its fantastic Kobe beef. Kobe beef is rather expensive but it's one of those experiences once must have whilst in Japan. Very close to the train station you can hike to the Nunobiki Falls, a group of 4 waterfalls significant in Japanese art, accessible by wooded hiking trail.

Depending on how late it is, I actually recommend not sleeping in Osaka, but taking your luggage and making your way back to Tokyo as late in the evening as possible. The journey is close to 4 hours so make sure you arrive back to Tokyo just in time to get a good night sleep.

Himeji Castle Japan

Day 12 - Lake Kawaguchi (Mount Fuji)

This day can go two ways. If you didn't return to Tokyo the previous night, then you probably will spend most of the day getting back to Tokyo, checking and taking it easy. If that's the case, I recommend spending the rest of the day exploring Tokyo at your own pace. There is plenty to do, so you won't get bored, I promise.

If you arrived back to Tokyo the previous night, then I recommend taking a day trip to the Five Lakes to see Mount Fuji. You want to travel from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi, which offers fantastic vistas of the mountain. Take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station (70 minutes, about 2500 yen by direct limited express train or 100 minutes, 1320 yen by local trains with usually one transfer along the way). From Otsuki, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Kawaguchiko Station (55 minutes, 1140 yen one way). The Japan Rail Pass and other JR passes are not valid between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko.

Take a long walk around the lake, admire the beautiful mountains and ultimately spend some time admiring the gorgeous Mount Fuji. There are plenty of restaurants around, but I recommend a stop at the Ogino supermarket, which has lots of food, bakery items and plenty of snacks. We bought bags full of food to have snacks on the train back to Tokyo.

Couple Travel Mount Fujisan Japan

Day 13 - Snow Monkey Pass

You can, of course, enjoy a relaxing day around Tokyo, or you can join the adventure to the Snow Monkey Pass in Nagano. You will have to take the train from Tokyo to Nagano, then change to a local line on your way to Yodanaka. From there, you will have to take a bus to the Snow Monkey Pass, then hike to the park itself, through a beautiful forested path.

Is it worth it? I'd say so. The journey is actually pretty seamless, and not at all as complicated as it sounds. Once you get to the park, you can stay there as long as you wish, and photograph the cute snow monkeys bathing in the onsen. Many stop in Yudanaka for a quick trip around Shibu Onsen. The town looks pretty amazing. If you want, you can even spend the night in one of the ryokans and enjoy a well-deserved bath in the onsen. You can check how to use an onsen here.

Snow Monkey Park Rain

Day 14 - Airport

Your 2 weeks in Japan have come to an end, and I'm sure by now you can't wait to start making plans for another Japan itinerary. I just came back from a trip to this beautiful country and I am already missing it so much. There is so much we are yet to discover, and as you probably guessed, Japan sure changed my life forever.

End your 2 weeks in Japan by making your way to the airport. I really hope you had the best of travel times. Did you enjoy our comprehensive guide on how to plan 2 weeks in Japan? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Read More

What do you think?

Did you like this article? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Leave a comment below.

Your Comment

Jesal Shah
26 Jan 2020

HI, Loved your blog on Japan, made many things clear . Few questions.. 1. Still confused with JR pass, we are family of 4 travelling in April, planning Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and day trips from all 3 places , Jr pass necessary or individual tickets to buy from there?2how is staying in Air bnb ? Or hotels?3 Food wise, we are vegetarian family, is it available freely?thanks

26 Jan 2020

Hi Jesal,

Thank you for your message.
1. JR Pass will enable you to take most trains. Def useful around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. There are some local trains which require extra tickets on top of the JR Pass but the price is small. Overall, JR pass is worth it!
2. Hotels over airbnb in Japan. I'd say they are better.
3. Food wise, plenty of veggie options, you won't struggle :)

Have lots of fun

Shikhil Khaneja
06 Oct 2019

Awesome article Cory. Have read very less articles giving fruitful info like yours.

I am living with my wife in Japan for a few months now. I have not been outside Tokyo as of now as i was waiting for my parents to join as i didnt wanted to spend twice.
They are coming here for three weeks starting 9th oct till 1st Nov. As i will be working the same time so i will have only weekends to go outside Tokyo but can take a couple of friday or monday off to extend weekends. Please suggest a 3 weekend trips to cover a few good places.

07 Oct 2020

That's awesome! I have just the article for you:

I'm sure you will have lots and lots of fun with them.

Kind Regards,


28 Sep 2019

Hi! Thank you so much for this detailed itinerary! My husband and I will be traveling to Japan with our 3 1/2 year old daughter in November and we are SUPER excited, but also SUPER overwhelmed. I have just started researching ( I know I'm behind!), so do you think the itinerary that you provided is too aggressive with a toddler? Kindly, Danielle

30 Sep 2020

Hi Danielle,

It might be a little packed for 2 weeks in Japan with a toddler. I mean it all depends on how active you guys are in general and how well your baby responds to new environments. I would say that the overall itinerary is fine, just maybe do half of the things in a day. Aim for all, but take it easy. The key is to enjoy and your baby to get used to new places as well.

Kind Regards,

26 Sep 2019

Hi, really great article. I was wondering how much this two week itinerary would roughly cost? I really like the sound of it so I am keen to follow this! I would stay in cheap accomodation and travel with the JR pass

26 Jan 2020

Hi Helen,

I have just the article for you:

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards,


26 Sep 2019

Hi, really great article. I was wondering how much this two week itinerary would roughly cost? I really like the sound of it so I am keen to follow this! I would stay in cheap accomodation and travel with the JR pass

Phyllis Beima
25 Jan 2019

How do we plan this tour? Does someone make ourhotel reservations, handle airport transfers, the bullet train etc? Do we include city tours? It sounds like this one is truly all on our own, which is not what we are looking for. We are 70 years old and would things planned for us, but the sights you include are what we are looking for!

26 Jan 2020

Hi Phyllis,

We did everything ourselves. We found it relatively easy to plan for it all. However, you may want to contact a travel agent and ask for help. You can give them our itinerary and tell them to book everything for you. It's a nice and easy solution so you don't have to worry about it.

Kind Regards,

31 Aug 2019

Hi Cory,

Thanks for the detailed post.

I am a 35 yr old male solo traveller from London looking to visit Japan for the first time. This will be my first solo trip so a bit apprehensive.

My indicative dates are arriving Osaka on 23rd Nov morning and departing Tokyo on 8th Dec morning. I may potentially be able to add a couple of days by arriving on 21st Nov instead.

I’d like to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo with various day trips. Some forums are suggesting skipping Osaka for the first trip as I will be visiting Tokyo.

What’s the weather like at this time of the year?

Any specific must see suggestions based on my time frame and the cities I will be flying in an out of would be much appreciated.

Also, I am a vegetarian (no fish or seafood) so hoping finding veggie food won’t be a struggle.

01 Sep 2019

Hi, enjoying Japan as a first trip solo will be great. It's safe and fun country so no worries!
Tokyo and Osaka are very different cities but I personally enjoyed Tokyo a lot more. I think visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima will be more than enough as an intro to Japan, to begin with.
The weather will be on the cold side but still pleasant then. We personally love visiting during end of Autumn so I think it's a very good choice.

I'm going to link to our Japan destination page. We have a mountain of info there including where to stay guides, itineraries and must-sees.
Being vegetarian in Japan will be just fine, no need to worry. But just in case, do have a piece of paper written in Japanese: I'm vegetarian, no meat, fish or seafood, please. This way they can help :)

20 Mar 2019

I am going to Japan for two weeks in September. Japan is at the top of my travel list and I can not wait! I'm going to keep these stops in mind. I'm worried I'll love Tokyo so much and won't want to leave to see other cities.

Lisa Wilson
02 Feb 2019

I reaenjoyed your blog and advice! I am going to Japan February 26 arrival leaving late day March 12. I have read and researched a ton but now am so confused! I think the JR pass is a must? I am running the marathon on March 3. So in tok Til the am of the 4. I would like to see Tokyo and day trip to Nikko the 4 days I have in Tokyo and or day trip to Hakone. Leave Tokyo on the 4th to go to Kanawaza then Kyōto then to Osaka to Hiroshima then Tokyo the last night? What do you think?

05 Feb 2019

Dear Lisa,

for the amount of travelling you want to do, I strongly recommend the JR Pass indeed. It will make a lot of sense.
A return trip from Tokyo - Kyoto will already cost as much as the JR for 7 days! Travelling by train is quite expensive in Japan so having unlimited travel around the country with the JR Pass seems the best.

Have fun and good luck with the marathon!

Safe travels,


Kalyani Jegathesan
14 Oct 2018

Hi Cory

Thank you sharing your experience and for the useful itinerary. Is it easy travel to these places if you don't know Japanese. Do they accept credit cards or should we carry local currency? I mean not in the cities more in the tourist places. Please advise.
Thank you

15 Oct 2018

Hi Kalyani,

It is easy to travel to these places even if you don't speak Japanese. Most places accept credit cards although it is wise to have some local currency on you just in case (for smaller items, gifts and snacks).

I hope you will enjoy Japan.

Kind Regards,


26 Sep 2018

2 weeks in Japan that is very fun. Lots of new things that you meet in Japan. Thank you for sharing your holiday experience.

04 Oct 2018

Glad you enjoyed it! Have lots of un

Nick C
02 Jun 2018

My perfect itinerary would be Tokyo - Kumano Kodo - Koyasan - Shimanami Kaido (with stops in Onomichi and Imabari)-Miyajima. Different strokes for different folks!

04 Jun 2018

Koyasan is beautiful indeed! Glad you had fun in Japan and got to explore it a lot <3

08 Mar 2018

Great post thanks! Thinking of using your itinerary as a guide but traveling by car instead to see a little more of the countryside and have a bit more flexibility. Given your experience and knowledge I would be interested in knowing your opinion.

12 Mar 2018

Hi Karli,

You can absolutely rent a car and explore, however, the public transport in Japan is pretty top notch so you can get around by trains and buses only. I would say that renting a car will cost you more than getting a JR Pass. Also, cities might be a bit tricky as it will be quite difficult and expensive to find parking. I hope this helps.

Gay Long
09 Feb 2018

Hi I am 74 and intend to visit Japan with my daughter in Sept/Oct this year - I will visit Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo over a period of 3 weeks, I want to visit some areas that are real Japanese experience - Can you recommend some day trips outside of these areas.

09 Feb 2018

Hi Gran,

Thank you for your message. You can do many day trips from Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo.
Here are a few I recommend:

- Uji from Kyoto
- Nara from Kyoto
- Yoshino from Kyoto
- Itsukushima Shrine from Hiroshima
- Kobe from Osaka
- Himeji Castle from Osaka
- Nikko from Tokyo
- 5 Lakes to see Mt. Fuji from Tokyo
- Nagano from Tokyo
- Snow Monkey Park from Tokyo

Here are more recommendations for day trips from Tokyo:

Enrique Salamat
08 Feb 2018

Hi Cory thanks so much for your prompt response. if we can make it a day trip to any place we would like to go we will do so coz it is not so easy to move with little one. Also bit afraid it might are all hotels are fully booked due to high season. Appreciated if you could guide us in the time I needed your assistance...cheers.

Enrique Salamat
03 Feb 2018

Hi Cory have a nice day ! I have plan to travel Tokyo Japan sometimes April this year for 2 weeks with wife and little boy 6 yrs old.
Do we need to stay in one hotel in Tokyo the whole duration as we need to explore Japan for 2 weeks. please help me. How about luggages do we need to bring to be comfortable in case of transferring from one hotel to another.

05 Feb 2018

Hi Enrique,

You will really enjoy Japan! Could you please tell me where would you like to go apart from Tokyo? If you just take day trips, staying in a hotel in Tokyo makes sense, but if you decide to visit Kyoto, probably taking the luggage and staying in Kyoto a few nights might be better.
You can simply take the luggage with you to the train station and position it above you on the racks provided in the Shinkansen.