23 days in Hokkaido, Tohoku & Kansai Itinerary

23 days in Hokkaido, Tohoku & Kansai Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Hokkaido, Tohoku & Kansai Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + Drive:  19​h 30​min
1
Teshikaga-cho
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Shari-cho
— 2 nights
taxi + Fly:  3​h 45​min
3
Sapporo
— 3 nights
Fly + taxi:  1​h 45​min
4
Towada
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
5
Hirosaki
— 2 nights
+2
Fly + taxi + train:  8​h
6
Nachikatsura-cho
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
7
Tanabe
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
8
Kyoto
— 5 nights
train + Fly:  14​h 15​min
End: San Francisco

3
nights
Teshikaga-cho

Teshikaga-cho ©
A small town amid big scenery, Teshikaga-cho sits in a national park.
Step off the beaten path and head to Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park and Abashiri Prison Museum. Change things up with these side-trips from Teshikaga-cho: Kaminoko Pond (in Kiyosato-cho), Mokoto Station Building (in Abashiri) and Kaiyodai Observatory (in Nakashibetsu-cho). There's still lots to do: explore the activities along Lake Mashu, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Io, and take in panoramic vistas at Hosooka Observation.

To see maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Teshikaga-cho route planner.

San Francisco, USA to Teshikaga-cho is an approximately 19.5-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to Japan Standard Time is 17 hours. When traveling from San Francisco in May, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Teshikaga-cho: temperatures range from 60°F by day to 49°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Shari-cho.

Things to do in Teshikaga-cho

Parks Nature

Side Trips

Abashiri, Hosooka Observation, Kaiyodai Observatory, Lake Onneto, Akan Lake
Find places to stay May 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Mashu ©
Lake Mashu
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park ©
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Bihorotoge Lookout ©
Bihorotoge Lookout

2
nights
Shari-cho

Shari-cho ©
Tourism in Shari-cho, a small town situated on Hokkaido's eastern tip, flourishes mainly because of its immediate proximity to the Shiretoko World Heritage Site.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Thu): cruise along Road to Heaven, explore the striking landscape at Godzilla Rock, contemplate the waterfront views at Shiretoko Goko Lake, then take in the dramatic scenery at Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Shiretoko Misaki. On the 8th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: make a trip to Oshinkosin Observation Deck, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then take a memorable drive along Shiretoko Pass, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Rausu.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Shari-cho travel route planner .

You can drive from Teshikaga-cho to Shari-cho in 1.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and taxi; or take a train. In May, plan for daily highs up to 60°F, and evening lows to 49°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) early enough to travel to Sapporo.

Things to do in Shari-cho

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Hokkaido
Find places to stay May 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Shiretoko Goko Lake ©
Shiretoko Goko Lake
Shiretoko Misaki ©
Shiretoko Misaki
Mt. Rausu ©
Mt. Rausu

3
nights
Sapporo

Sapporo ©
A modern, bustling city known for its beer brewery, Sapporo attracts millions of visitors with its Snow Festival, during which elaborate ice and snow sculptures are exhibited all over town.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Okurayama Lookout and Moerenuma Park. Change things up with these side-trips from Sapporo: Rusutsu Resort Ski (in Rusutsu-mura), Lake Shikotsu (in Chitose) and Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (in Yoichi-cho). Next up on the itinerary: steep yourself in history at Hokkaido Jingu, take in panoramic vistas at Sapporo JR Tower Observatory T38, and stroll around Kokuei Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park.

To see ratings, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Sapporo online driving holiday planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Shari-cho to Sapporo in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In May in Sapporo, expect temperatures between 58°F during the day and 54°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to travel to Towada.

Things to do in Sapporo

Parks Winter Sports Outdoors

Side Trips

Lake Shikotsu, Rusutsu Resort Ski, Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery
Find places to stay May 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Okurayama Lookout ©
Okurayama Lookout
Rusutsu Resort Ski ©
Rusutsu Resort Ski
Moerenuma Park ©
Moerenuma Park

2
nights
Towada

Towada ©
Tucked away among the foothills of the Hakkoda mountain range, Towada tourism revolves around its eponymous lake and the surrounding national park.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Tue): admire the masterpieces at Towada Art Center, admire the sheer force of Choshi Otaki Waterfall, then explore the activities along Oirase Mountain Stream, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Towada Shrine, and finally appreciate the history behind Statue of Maidens. Keep things going the next day: explore the activities along Oirase River, then take in the awesome beauty at Hakkoda Mountains, then contemplate the waterfront views at Ogawara Lake, and finally get curious at Misawa Aviation & Science Museum.

To see traveler tips and other tourist information, read Towada trip planner .

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from Sapporo to Towada in 2 hours. Other options are to take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. In May, daily temperatures in Towada can reach 63°F, while at night they dip to 56°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Hirosaki.

Things to do in Towada

Nature Parks Museums

Side Trips

Aomori Prefecture, Ogawara Lake, Misawa Aviation & Science Museum
Find places to stay May 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Oirase Mountain Stream ©
Oirase Mountain Stream
Hakkoda Mountains ©
Hakkoda Mountains
Misawa Aviation & Science Museum
Misawa Aviation & Science Museum

2
nights
Hirosaki

Hirosaki ©
A center of political power during the feudal era, Hirosaki today stands as a hub of culture and history in the north of the island.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Thu): indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Sannai-Maruyama Ruins, then explore the historical opulence of Hirosaki Castle, and finally walk around Hirosaki Park. On the next day, examine the collection at Tachineputa No Yakata, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Iwaki, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Iwakiyama Shrine.

For photos, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, use the Hirosaki trip app .

Traveling by car from Towada to Hirosaki takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Traveling from Towada in May, expect slightly colder with lows of 50°F in Hirosaki. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Nachikatsura-cho.

Things to do in Hirosaki

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Aomori, Tachineputa No Yakata
Find places to stay May 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Hirosaki Castle ©
Hirosaki Castle
Iwakiyama Shrine ©
Iwakiyama Shrine
Mt. Iwaki ©
Mt. Iwaki

1
night
Nachikatsura-cho

Nachikatsura-cho ©
The town of Nachikatsuura-cho wows visitors with its superlative landscape and impressive cultural attractions.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Sat): take in the spiritual surroundings of Hirou Shrine, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Seigantoji Temple, and then explore the striking landscape at Hashigui Rock. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the spiritual surroundings of Kamikura Shrine, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Hayatama Taisha, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Nachi Taisha, then take in the dramatic scenery at Nachi Mitaki Falls, and finally make a trip to Daimonzaka.

To see photos, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read our Nachikatsura-cho online trip planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and train from Hirosaki to Nachikatsura-cho takes 8 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In May, Nachikatsura-cho is somewhat warmer than Hirosaki - with highs of 74°F and lows of 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sun) so you can drive to Tanabe.

Things to do in Nachikatsura-cho

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Shingu, Hashigui Rock
Find places to stay May 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Kumano Nachi Taisha ©
Kumano Nachi Taisha
Kamikura Shrine ©
Kamikura Shrine
Hirou Shrine ©
Hirou Shrine

2
nights
Tanabe

Tanabe ©
Considered a holy space where the gods once lived, the city of Tanabe teems with spiritual, cultural, and natural beauty.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Mon): steep yourself in history at Oyunohara - Original Kumano Hongu Taisha Site, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, then indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Shirarahama Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: take some stellar pictures from Senjojiki and then hike along Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes.

To find where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Tanabe vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Nachikatsura-cho to Tanabe takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Expect a daytime high around 74°F in May, and nighttime lows around 66°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Tue) so you can go by car to Kyoto.

Things to do in Tanabe

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Shirahama-cho
Find places to stay May 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Shirarahama Beach ©
Shirarahama Beach
Onsen Resorts

5
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Koyasan Okunoin and Tenryuji Temple. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Byodoin (in Uji), Miyazu (Amanohashidate & Amanohashidate View Land) and Koya-cho (Koyasan Danjo Garan, Mt. Koya, & more). There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Nanzen-ji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kofuku-ji Temple, explore the historical opulence of Hikone Castle, and contemplate the long history of Izanagi Shrine.

Find out how to plan Kyoto trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

You can drive from Tanabe to Kyoto in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Tanabe in May, expect a bit cooler with lows of 59°F in Kyoto. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Koya-cho, Miyazu, Awaji, Hikone Castle, Kofuku-ji Temple
Find places to stay May 19 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Hikone Castle ©
Hikone Castle
Izanagi Shrine ©
Izanagi Shrine
Mii-dera Temple (Onjo-ji Temple) ©
Mii-dera Temple (Onjo-ji Temple)

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