17 days in Japan Itinerary

17 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Barcelona
Fly:  17​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 2 nights
train + bus:  1​h 45​min
2
Hakone-machi
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h
3
Takayama
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Nagoya
— 1 night
train:  45​min
5
Kyoto
— 2 nights
train:  30​min
6
Osaka
— 2 nights
train:  1​h 15​min
7
Himeji
— 1 night
train + Fly:  4​h
8
Nagasaki
— 1 night
train:  3​h 30​min
9
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
+2
train + subway + Fly:  18​h 30​min
End: Barcelona

2
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.
Museum-lovers will get to explore Tokyo National Museum and Ghibli Museum Mitaka. Get some cultural insight at Sensō-ji and Ginza. There's still lots to do: examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Museum, make a trip to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, and wander the streets of Odaiba.

To find photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Tokyo trip maker site .

Barcelona, Spain to Tokyo is an approximately 17.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train. Traveling from Barcelona to Tokyo, you'll lose 8 hours due to the time zone difference. While traveling from Barcelona, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Tokyo, ranging from highs of 14°C to lows of 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Hakone-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Shopping Museums

Side Trip

Ghibli Museum Mitaka
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Ginza ©
Ginza
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

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.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Wed): admire the masterpieces at The Hakone Open-Air Museum, explore the striking landscape of Pola Museum of Art, take an in-depth tour of Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum, then admire the masterpieces at Narukawa Art Museum, and finally take an in-depth tour of Hakone Shrine Homotsuden.

To see maps, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Hakone-machi journey planner.

Take a train from Tokyo to Hakone-machi in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Tokyo in December: highs in Hakone-machi hover around 8°C, while lows dip to 5°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Hakone-machi

Museums Shopping Nature
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
The Hakone Open-Air Museum ©
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Narukawa Art Museum ©
Narukawa Art Museum

2
nights
Takayama

Takayama ©
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Thu): see the interesting displays at Lion Dance Ceremony Exhibition Hall (Shishi-Kaikan), admire the masterpieces at Hida Takayama Museum of Art, steep yourself in history at Takayama Jinya, have fun and explore at Hida Takayama Retro Museum, then examine the collection at Hirata Folk Art Museum (Hirata Kinen-kan), and finally get engrossed in the history at Hida Folk Archeological Museum (Hida Minzoku Kokokan). Keep things going the next day: get engrossed in the history at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, don't miss a visit to The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses, steep yourself in history at Wada House, then get a new perspective on nature at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), then stop by Shofuen Matsuno Chaho, and finally examine the collection at Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall.

To find reviews, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Takayama trip website .

Traveling by car from Hakone-machi to Takayama takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 9°C, and evening lows to 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Nagoya.

Things to do in Takayama

Museums Historic Sites Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Shirakawa-mura
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen ©
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya

1
night
Nagoya

Nagoya ©
Known nationally as an industrial heartland, Nagoya boasts a far more cosmopolitan and cultural core than its reputation would lead you to believe.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): stop by Otsukaya Kurumamichi Honten, explore the world behind art at Tokugawa Art Museum, explore the historical opulence of Nagoya Castle, then see the interesting displays at Nagoya Chikyu Hiroba, then examine the collection at Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, and finally admire the masterpieces at Ama Shippoyaki Art Village.

To see photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Nagoya visit planner .

You can drive from Takayama to Nagoya in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a train; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 9°C, and evening lows to 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nagoya

Museums Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trip

Ama Shippoyaki Art Village
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Nagoya Castle ©
Nagoya Castle
Tokugawa Art Museum ©
Tokugawa Art Museum

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.
On the 29th (Sun), don't miss a visit to Nishiki Market, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sanjusangendo Temple, then contemplate the long history of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, and finally steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the historical opulence of Nijo Castle, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ryoanji Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kinkaku-ji, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Ginkaku-ji Temple, and finally wander the streets of Gion.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Kyoto online trip itinerary planner .

Take a train from Nagoya to Kyoto in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. When traveling from Nagoya in December, plan for somewhat warmer days in Kyoto, with highs around 13°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

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.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Tue): pause for some photo ops at Todai-ji Temple, look for all kinds of wild species at Nara Park, shop like a local with Dotonbori, then wander the streets of Minami (Namba), and finally take a stroll through Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street. On the 1st (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at Museum of Oriental Ceramics, step into the grandiose world of Osaka Castle, and then find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan.

To find traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Osaka tour itinerary planner.

Osaka is just a short distance from Kyoto. In December, daily temperatures in Osaka can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel to Himeji.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trip

Nara
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple

1
night
Himeji

Himeji ©
The castle around which the city of Himeji has developed represents one of the best preserved in the country, and has been designated as a national treasure and a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Yoneda Taishiji Temple, examine the collection at Japan Toy Museum, look for gifts at Yamasa Kamaboko Yumesenkan, then step into the grandiose world of Himeji Castle, then take in nature's colorful creations at Koko-en Garden, and finally steep yourself in history at Nishi no Maru.

For reviews, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Himeji route tool .

You can take a train from Osaka to Himeji in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In January, daily temperatures in Himeji can reach 10°C, while at night they dip to 3°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) early enough to travel to Nagasaki.

Things to do in Himeji

Historic Sites Shopping Museums

Side Trip

Yoneda Taishiji Temple
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Nishi no Maru ©
Nishi no Maru
Japan Toy Museum ©
Japan Toy Museum

1
night
Nagasaki

Nagasaki ©
The hilly port city of Nagasaki has become known internationally as one of the two Japanese cities to be destroyed by an atomic bomb towards the close of World War II.
On the 3rd (Fri), take an in-depth tour of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, see the interesting displays at Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, stroll around Nagasaki Peace Park, see the interesting displays at Dejima, then take in nature's colorful creations at Glover Garden, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Sofukuji Temple.

To see photos, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Nagasaki itinerary planning site .

Getting from Himeji to Nagasaki by combination of train and flight takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a train; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 11°C in January, and nighttime lows around 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) so you can catch the train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Nagasaki

Museums Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum ©
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Glover Garden ©
Glover Garden
Nagasaki Peace Park ©
Nagasaki Peace Park

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.
On the 4th (Sat), make a trip to Miyajima, take in the spiritual surroundings of Itsukushima Shrine, and then examine the collection at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Keep things going the next day: explore the historical opulence of Hiroshima Castle, admire the masterpieces at Hiroshima Museum of Art, appreciate the history behind Atomic Bomb Dome, get engrossed in the history at Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, then contemplate the long history of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and finally examine the collection at Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum.

To see photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Hiroshima trip maker website .

You can take a train from Nagasaki to Hiroshima in 3.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Hiroshima can reach 11°C, while at night they dip to 2°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trip

Hatsukaichi
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima ©
Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima

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