12 days in Japan Itinerary

12 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Lisbon
Fly:  18 h 45 min
1
Osaka
— 2 nights
Train:  45 min
2
Nara
— 1 day
Train:  45 min
3
Kyoto
— 3 nights
Train:  3 h 45 min
4
Hakone-machi
— 1 night
Bus + Train:  1 h 45 min
5
Tokyo
— 4 nights
Fly:  18 h 45 min
End: Lisbon

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.
On the 21st (Fri), take in the spiritual surroundings of Yochi-in Temple, steep yourself in history at Koyasan Danjo Garan, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kongobu-ji Temple, take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Koya, then examine the collection at Koyasan Reihokan Museum, and finally admire the landmark architecture of Umeda Sky Building. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hōzen-ji Temple, then explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, then steep yourself in history at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, and finally wander the streets of Dotombori.

For ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Osaka travel website.

Lisbon, Portugal to Osaka is an approximately 19- hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of flight, bus, and train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 9 hours traveling from Lisbon to Osaka. Traveling from Lisbon in August, things will get somewhat warmer in Osaka: highs are around 39°C and lows about 29°C. On the 23rd (Sun), you'll travel to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Koya-cho
Find places to stay Aug 21 — 23:
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Koyasan Danjo Garan ©
Koyasan Danjo Garan
Kongobu-ji Temple ©
Kongobu-ji Temple
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

1
day
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.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Sun): take in the spiritual surroundings of Toshodai-ji Temple, admire the natural beauty at Isuien Garden, admire the natural beauty at Yoshikien, pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Nigatsu-do Temple, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Nara Park.

To see ratings, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Nara trip planning website.

You can take a train from Osaka to Nara in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In August, plan for daily highs up to 38°C, and evening lows to 32°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) early enough to catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Parks Historic Sites Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple
Nigatsu-do Temple ©
Nigatsu-do Temple
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple

3
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Kennin-ji Temple and Sanzen-in Temple. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Kinkaku-ji and Nijo Castle. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Uji (Obakusan Manpuku - ji Temple & Mimurotoji Temple) and Ishiyamadera Temple (in Otsu). And it doesn't end there: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kifune Shrine, contemplate the long history of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, get to know the fascinating history of Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple, and get great views at Mt. Kurama.

To see other places to visit, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Kyoto travel planner.

Getting from Nara to Kyoto by train takes about an hour. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and subway. In August, plan for daily highs up to 39°C, and evening lows to 29°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Otsu, Uji
Find places to stay Aug 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Shimogamo Jinja ©
Shimogamo Jinja
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle
Kennin-ji Temple ©
Kennin-ji Temple

1
night
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.
To find more things to do, photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Hakone-machi online trip maker.

Traveling by train from Kyoto to Hakone-machi takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly. When traveling from Kyoto in August, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Hakone-machi: temperatures range from 29°C by day to 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) early enough to travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple (Doryoson)
Find places to stay Aug 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Hakone Stone‐paved Road ©
Hakone Stone‐paved Road
Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple (Doryoson) ©
Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple (Doryoson)
Choanji Temple ©
Choanji Temple

4
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Tokyo Tower. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Meigetsuin (Hydrangea Temple) and Engaku-ji Temple. Get a sense of the local culture at Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple) and Asakusa Shrine. Change things up with these side-trips from Tokyo: Kamakura (Kamakura Hiking Trails, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, &more), Narita (Naritasan Park & Naritasan Omote Sando) and Jindai-ji Temple (in Chofu). There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kashima Jingu, steep yourself in history at Sengaku-ji Temple, make a trip to Hozomon, and admire the masterpieces at teamLab☆Planets.

To see photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Tokyo planner.

You can do a combination of bus and train from Hakone-machi to Tokyo in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a train. Traveling from Hakone-machi in August, expect nights in Tokyo to be about the same, around 28°C, while days are a bit warmer, around 36°C. On the 31st (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Parks Museums

Side Trips

Kamakura, Narita, Katori, Kashima Jingu, Jindai-ji Temple
Find places to stay Aug 27 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Meigetsuin (Hydrangea Temple) ©
Meigetsuin (Hydrangea Temple)
Nezu Shrine ©
Nezu Shrine
Kencho-ji Temple
Kencho-ji Temple

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