16 days in Japan Itinerary

16 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Tokyo
train:  2​h 30​min
1
Osaka
— 2 nights
train:  30​min
2
Kobe
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Nara
— 1 night
train:  45​min
4
Kyoto
— 2 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
5
Tokyo
— 9 nights
End: Tokyo


Learn more about your trip

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.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 18th (Wed): explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, observe the fascinating underwater world at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, and then take in panoramic vistas at Kuchu Teien Observatory.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Osaka online itinerary planner .

Tokyo to Osaka is an approximately 3.5-hour train ride. You can also fly; or drive. In December in Osaka, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 4°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a train to Kobe.

Things to do in Osaka

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Mt. Koya
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan ©
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

1
night
Kobe

Kobe
Walkable, small, and aesthetically charming, Kobe has served as Japan's first and premier international trading outpost since opening to trade with China in the mid-19th century.
To find photos, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Kobe driving holiday planner .

Kobe is just a stone's throw from Osaka. In December in Kobe, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 6°C at night. You will leave for Nara on the 20th (Fri).

Things to do in Kobe

Historic Sites Parks Museums
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): take in the spiritual surroundings of Kofuku-ji Temple, appreciate the history behind Todai-ji Temple, then see the interesting displays at Todaiji Temple Cultural Center, then walk around Nara Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine.

For photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read Nara online visit planner .

Traveling by car from Kobe to Nara takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 13°C in December, and nighttime lows around 6°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sat): make a trip to Heian Shrine, then contemplate the long history of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. On your second day here, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinkaku-ji and then take in the pleasant sights at Arashiyama.

For where to stay, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Kyoto trip itinerary planner.

You can take a train from Nara to Kyoto in an hour. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train and subway. Expect a daytime high around 13°C in December, and nighttime lows around 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) so you can travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Arashiyama ©
Arashiyama

9
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.
Get out of town with these interesting Tokyo side-trips: Lake Kawaguchi (in Fujikawaguchiko-machi), Kamakura (Kōtoku-in, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, & more) and Chureito Pagoda (in Fujiyoshida). The adventure continues: don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, admire the striking features of Tokyo Skytree, wander the streets of Odaiba, and make an unforgettable trip to Tokyo Disneyland.

For photos, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Tokyo trip builder tool .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Tokyo in 3 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive. In December, daytime highs in Tokyo are 14°C, while nighttime lows are 4°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums

Side Trips

Kamakura, Urayasu, Hakone-machi, Chureito Pagoda, Lake Kawaguchi
Find places to stay Dec 23 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou ©
Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou
Tokyo Tower ©
Tokyo Tower

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