18 days in Japan Itinerary

18 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Sao Paulo
Fly:  29 h
1
Tokyo
— 1 night
Train:  4 h
2
Hiroshima
— 2 nights
Train:  1 h 45 min
3
Osaka
— 2 nights
Train:  45 min
4
Nara
— 2 nights
Train:  45 min
5
Kyoto
— 4 nights
Train:  2 h 30 min
6
Tokyo
— 1 night
Train:  45 min
7
Utsunomiya
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  34 h
End: Sao Paulo

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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Sat): view the masterpieces at Gallery Marusan, savor the flavors at Farmer's Market at UNU, and then examine the collection at Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Keep things going the next day: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, appreciate the extensive heritage of Kishamichi Promenade, then indulge your thirst for a good beer at Kirin Beer Yokohama Factory, and finally take in nature's colorful creations at Kyu Iwasakitei Teien.

For photos, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, read our Tokyo day trip app .

Sao Paulo, Brazil to Tokyo is an approximately 29-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 12 hours traveling from Sao Paulo to Tokyo. Traveling from Sao Paulo in December, expect Tokyo to be much colder, temps between 14°C and 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can take a train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Tokyo

Museums Historic Sites Breweries & Distilleries

Side Trips

Yokohama, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Gallery Marusan ©
Gallery Marusan
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum ©
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine ©
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

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 23rd (Mon): head outdoors with Paddle Park, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, examine the collection at Honkawa Peace Museum, then see the interesting displays at Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum, then look for gifts at Monokoto Store, and finally browse the different shops at Asse.

For photos, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read Hiroshima trip builder .

Traveling by train from Tokyo to Hiroshima takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Hiroshima can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to travel to Osaka.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Museums Spas Shopping

Side Trip

Paddle Park
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Paddle Park ©
Paddle Park
Asse ©
Asse

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 24th (Tue), see the interesting displays at Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum, examine the collection at Modern Transportation Museum, then stop by Kimono Photo Studio Wasabi Osaka, then get a taste of the local shopping with America Mura, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with Hankyu Umeda Honten. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the dramatic scenery at Nunobiki Falls (Nunobiki-No-Taki), explore the wealth of natural beauty at Kobe Municipal Arboretum, then wander the streets of Midosuji Street, then examine the collection at Panasonic Museum, and finally steep yourself in history at Toji-ji Temple.

To see other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Osaka trip planning app .

You can take a train from Hiroshima to Osaka in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train and flight. In December in Osaka, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 4°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Shopping Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Kobe, Panasonic Museum
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Kimono Photo Studio Wasabi Osaka ©
Kimono Photo Studio Wasabi Osaka
Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum ©
Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum
Nunobiki Falls (Nunobiki-No-Taki) ©
Nunobiki Falls (Nunobiki-No-Taki)

2
nights
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Sai Shrine and Kasugayama. Escape the urban bustle at Rokuen and Waplus Nara. Get out of town with these interesting Nara side-trips: Tenri (Isonokami Jingu & Kurozuka Kofun Museum). There's lots more to do: don't miss a visit to Todaiji Keidaicho, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hokkeji Temple, explore the activities along Saho River, and browse the different shops at Nara Family.

To find traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Nara online trip planner .

Traveling by train from Osaka to Nara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. December in Nara sees daily highs of 13°C and lows of 6°C at night. On the 28th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Tenri, Sai Shrine
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Sai Shrine ©
Sai Shrine
Tokondo ©
Tokondo
Jurinin Temple ©
Jurinin Temple

4
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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Honen-in and Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple. Discover out-of-the-way places like Myoshinji Temple and Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. Venture out of the city with trips to Obakusan Manpuku - ji Temple (in Uji), 玄宮園 - Genkyūen Garden 玄宮園 (in Hikone) and Taga Taisha (in Taga-cho). There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Enkō-ji Temple, browse for treasures at Kyoto Kimono Rental Sakura, contemplate the long history of Genkoan, and admire the masterpieces at Byodo-in Temple Museum Hoshokan.

For photos, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Kyoto trip website .

Getting from Nara to Kyoto by train takes about an hour. Other options: drive; or do a combination of train and subway. In December, plan for daily highs up to 13°C, and evening lows to 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to take a train to Tokyo.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Shopping Outdoors

Side Trips

Uji, 玄宮園 - Genkyūen Garden 玄宮園, Taga Taisha
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Honen-in ©
Honen-in
Kyoto Gyoen National Garden ©
Kyoto Gyoen National Garden
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple ©
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple

1
night
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Wed): get to know the fascinating history of Higo-Hosokawa Garden, stroll the grounds of Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery, view the masterpieces at TOKYO Samurai Kembu, then take a stroll through Kanda, and finally admire the masterpieces at Tokyo National Museum The Heiseikan. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a stroll through Omiya Bonsai Village.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Tokyo online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by train from Kyoto to Tokyo takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Thu) to allow time for the train ride to Utsunomiya.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Museums Historic Sites

Side Trip

Omiya Bonsai Village
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
TOKYO Samurai Kembu ©
TOKYO Samurai Kembu
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery ©
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery
Higo-Hosokawa Garden ©
Higo-Hosokawa Garden

2
nights
Utsunomiya

Utsunomiya ©
The capital city of Tochigi Prefecture, Utsunomiya bursts at the seams with festivals, Japanese dumplings, jazz, and cherry blossoms.
On the 2nd (Thu), buy something for everyone on your list at FKD Utsunomiya Interpark Shopping Mall. On your second day here, get a new perspective on nature at Tochigi Prefectural Museum, take in the spiritual surroundings of Tagesan Fudoson Temple, soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens, then explore the world behind art at Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, and finally stroll around Tochigiken Chuo Park.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read Utsunomiya trip planner.

Getting from Tokyo to Utsunomiya by train takes about an hour. Other options: drive. When traveling from Tokyo in January, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in Utsunomiya: temperatures range from 7°C by day to 3°C at night. You'll have a few hours on the 4th (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Utsunomiya

Museums Shopping Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Tochigi Prefectural Museum ©
Tochigi Prefectural Museum
Tochigiken Chuo Park ©
Tochigiken Chuo Park

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