15 days in Japan Itinerary

15 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Miami
Fly + train:  23​h
1
Kyoto
— 2 nights
2
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
+3
train + subway + Fly + taxi:  4​h 30​min
3
Yakushima-cho
— 3 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  15​h
4
Iriomote-jima
— 1 night
ferry:  1​h
5
Ishigaki
— 1 night
Fly:  2​h
6
Miyakojima
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h 30​min
7
Tokyo
— 1 night
Fly:  15​h 15​min
End: Chicago

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 24th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, then take a stroll through Gion, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinkaku-ji, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Ryoanji Temple. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: steep yourself in history at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, steep yourself in history at Sanjusangendo Temple, step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Eikando Zenrinji Temple, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ginkakuji Temple.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Kyoto journey website .

Des Moines, USA to Kyoto is an approximately 20.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time (CST) to Japan Standard Time (JST) is 15 hours. Traveling from Des Moines in December, things will get somewhat warmer in Kyoto: highs are around 52°F and lows about 39°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can take a train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Eikando Zenrinji Temple ©
Eikando Zenrinji Temple

2
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Thu): get engrossed in the history at Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, examine the collection at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, then don't miss a visit to Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima, and finally see the interesting displays at Yamato Museum. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Itsukushima Shrine, then see the interesting displays at JMSDF Kure Museum, then examine the collection at Mazda Museum, and finally steep yourself in history at Atomic Bomb Dome.

To see photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Hiroshima tour itinerary builder website .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Hiroshima in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. December in Hiroshima sees daily highs of 52°F and lows of 39°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can travel to Yakushima-cho.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Museums Historic Sites

Side Trips

Kure, Itsukushima Shrine, Mazda Museum
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Yamato Museum ©
Yamato Museum
JMSDF Kure Museum ©
JMSDF Kure Museum

3
nights
Yakushima-cho

Yakushima-cho ©
A popular destination for Japanese tourists, Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho is a true paradise for nature lovers, with over 1,900 species and subspecies of plants.
Escape the urban bustle at Yakusugi Land and Nagata Inakahama. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like The Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center and Yaku Shrine. Next up on the itinerary: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Tachudake, enjoy the sand and surf at Isso Beach, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kusukawa Tenmangu Shrine, and take in the pleasant sights at Gejibe no Sato.

To find where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, read our Yakushima-cho trip builder site .

Do a combination of train, flight, and taxi from Hiroshima to Yakushima-cho in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, ferry, and taxi; or do a combination of car and ferry. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Hiroshima in December, with highs in Yakushima-cho at 60°F and lows at 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Yakushima-cho

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Yakusugi Land ©
Yakusugi Land
Nagata Inakahama
Nagata Inakahama
Isso Beach ©
Isso Beach

1
night
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Shirahama Port, identify plant and animal life at Funauki Village, then admire the sheer force of Mizuochi Falls, and finally take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Keep things going the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Hoshisuna Beach, then steep yourself in history at Wasurenaishi, and then get outside with Iriomotejima Kaigetsu.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Iriomote-jima journey maker tool .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Yakushima-cho to Iriomote-jima. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Yakushima-cho in December; daily highs in Iriomote-jima reach 72°F and lows reach 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to ride a ferry to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Hoshisuna Beach ©
Hoshisuna Beach
Funauki Village ©
Funauki Village
Shirahama Port ©
Shirahama Port

1
night
Ishigaki

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Kondoi Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Yonehara Beach, then enjoy breathtaking views from Tamatorizaki Observatory, and finally visit a coastal fixture at Cape Hirakubozaki.

To find maps, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Ishigaki travel route builder website .

Traveling by ferry from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki takes an hour. In January in Ishigaki, expect temperatures between 70°F during the day and 62°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Kondoi Beach
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Yonehara Beach ©
Yonehara Beach

2
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): snap pictures at Irabu Ohashi, kick back and relax at Yonaha Maehama Beach, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Sunayama Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Aragusuku Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Toguchi no Hama, and then head off the coast to Shimojiiima Island.

To see reviews, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Miyakojima tour itinerary planning app .

You can fly from Ishigaki to Miyakojima in 2 hours. In January, plan for daily highs up to 69°F, and evening lows to 61°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Aragusuku Beach ©
Aragusuku Beach

1
night
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.
On the 5th (Sun), admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, admire the masterpieces at Tokyo National Museum, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sensō-ji, then examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum, then don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, and finally see the interesting displays at Samurai Museum.

To find other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Tokyo vacation maker .

Traveling by flight from Miyakojima to Tokyo takes 4.5 hours. While traveling from Miyakojima, expect slightly colder days and cooler nights in Tokyo, ranging from highs of 50°F to lows of 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum
Sensō-ji ©
Sensō-ji
Edo-Tokyo Museum ©
Edo-Tokyo Museum

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