26 days in Japan Itinerary

26 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
+2
Fly + subway + train:  16​h 30​min
1
Hiroshima
— 4 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
2
Kyoto
— 5 nights
train:  30​min
3
Osaka
— 4 nights
train:  45​min
4
Nara
— 4 nights
5
Takayama
— 3 nights
6
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Fly:  14​h 30​min
End: Melbourne

4
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Visit Itsukushima Shrine Torii and Oyamazumi Shrine for their historical value. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Taikodani Inari Shrine and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. Get out of town with these interesting Hiroshima side-trips: Okunoshima Island (in Takehara), Senkoji & Senkoji Park (in Onomichi) and Hatsukaichi (Daishoin Temple, Senjokaku, & more). There's lots more to do: see the interesting displays at Yamato Museum, admire the masterpieces at Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, take in nature's colorful creations at Shukkei-en Garden, and contemplate the long history of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read Hiroshima trip itinerary builder app .

Melbourne, Australia to Hiroshima is an approximately 16.5-hour combination of flight and train. You can also fly. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Melbourne to Hiroshima due to the time zone difference. Expect colder weather when traveling from Melbourne in December: highs in Hiroshima hover around 13°C, while lows dip to 4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Kure, Okunoshima Island, Taikodani Inari Shrine, Senkoji & Senkoji Park
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Itsukushima Shrine Torii ©
Itsukushima Shrine Torii
Daishoin Temple ©
Daishoin Temple
Senjokaku ©
Senjokaku

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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Jojakkoji Temple and Sanzen-in Temple. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Shimogamo Jinja and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. There's still lots to do: make a trip to Eikando Zenrinji Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kennin-ji Temple, contemplate the long history of Tofuku-ji Temple, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Nanzen-ji Temple.

To find more things to do, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Kyoto visit site .

Take a train from Hiroshima to Kyoto in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. December in Kyoto sees daily highs of 13°C and lows of 4°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can catch the train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Parks Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Otsu
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine ©
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

4
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.
Do your shopping at Dotonbori and Minami (Namba). Do some cultural sightseeing at Koyasan Okunoin and Osaka Castle. Venture out of the city with trips to Nishinomiya Shrine (in Nishinomiya), Arima Onsen (in Kobe) and Koya-cho (Koyasan Danjo Garan & Kongobu-ji Temple). There's lots more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, shop like a local with Hankyu Umeda Main Store, contemplate the long history of Kinpusenji Temple, and get to know the fascinating history of Hozenji Yokocho.

To find more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Osaka online road trip planner .

Osaka is very close to Kyoto. In December in Osaka, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 4°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) to allow enough time to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Koya-cho, Arima Onsen, Kinpusenji Temple, Nishinomiya Shrine, Kimiidera Temple
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Arima Onsen ©
Arima Onsen
Koyasan Danjo Garan ©
Koyasan Danjo Garan
Kongobu-ji Temple ©
Kongobu-ji Temple

4
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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Hase-dera Temple and Muroji Temple. Get in touch with nature at Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall and Nara Park. Venture out of the city with trips to Omiwa Shrine (in Sakurai), Karako Kagi Ruins (in Tawaramoto-cho) and Horyu-ji Temple (in Ikaruga-cho). The adventure continues: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Toshodaiji Temple, appreciate the history behind Todai-ji Temple, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Wakakusa, and stroll the grounds of Ishibutai Tomb.

To see ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Nara tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by train from Osaka to Nara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In December in Nara, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 6°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Sakurai, Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall, Muroji Temple, Ishibutai Tomb, Kashihara Jingu
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Horyu-ji Temple ©
Horyu-ji Temple
Toshodaiji Temple ©
Toshodaiji Temple
Muroji Temple ©
Muroji Temple

3
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.
Get some historical perspective at Ogimachi Castle Old Site Observatory and Ainokura Gassho Community. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Gokayama and Kanda house. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Takayama: Norikura Kogen (in Matsumoto), Shirakawa-mura (Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen & Tenshukakau Observatory) and Nanto (Suganuma Gassho Community & Ainokura Kaiyu Hodo). It doesn't end there: appreciate the extensive heritage of Higashiyama Walking Course and contemplate the long history of Takayama Jinya.

For photos, maps, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Takayama online vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Nara to Takayama takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Nara in January, things will get a bit cooler in Takayama: highs are around 5°C and lows about 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Tokyo.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Nanto, Shirakawa-mura, Norikura Kogen (Highland)
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Norikura Kogen (Highland) ©
Norikura Kogen (Highland)
Ainokura Gassho Community ©
Ainokura Gassho Community
Kanda house ©
Kanda house

5
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.
Head to Minato Mirai 21 and Pola Museum of Artfor some retail therapy. Your inner history buff will appreciate Samukawa Shrine and Mitsumine Shrine (Chichibu). You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tokyo: Hase-dera Temple (in Kamakura) and Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (in Narita). Next up on the itinerary: take in the spiritual surroundings of Asakusa Shrine, steep yourself in history at Hie Jinjya, take a stroll through Marunouchi, and see the interesting displays at Samurai Museum.

To find more things to do, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read our Tokyo tour builder site .

Traveling by car from Takayama to Tokyo takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. When traveling from Takayama in January, plan for a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Tokyo: temperatures range from 11°C by day to 1°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trips

Samukawa Shrine, Minato Mirai 21, Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple, Pola Museum of Art, Hase-dera Temple
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple ©
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple
Asakusa Shrine ©
Asakusa Shrine
Hase-dera Temple ©
Hase-dera Temple

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