39 days in Japan Itinerary

39 days in Japan Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Japan tour itinerary builder
Make it your trip
Fly to Komatsu Airport / JASDF Komatsu Air Base, Drive to Kanazawa
1
Kanazawa
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Kyoto
— 4 nights
Fly
3
Matsue
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Hiroshima
— 4 nights
Train to Hakata, Fly to Yakushima-cho
5
Yakushima-cho
— 4 nights
Fly to Ishigaki, Ferry to Iriomote-jima
6
Iriomote-jima
— 4 nights
Ferry
7
Ishigaki
— 3 nights
Fly
8
Miyakojima
— 4 nights
Fly
9
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Fly

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Kanazawa — 4 nights

An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
Visit Daihonzan Eihei-ji Temple and Suganuma Gassho Community for their historical value. Get some cultural insight at Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen. Get out of town with these interesting Kanazawa side-trips: Hataya Memorial Hall Yumeole Katsuyama (in Katsuyama), Gokayama (in Nanto) and Shirakawa-mura (Ogimachi Castle Old Site Observatory, Wada House, &more). There's still lots to do: take a memorable drive along Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, steep yourself in history at Nomura Family Samurai House, take in the spiritual surroundings of Oyama Shrine, and see the interesting displays at D. T. Suzuki Museum.

To find more things to do, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Kanazawa sightseeing planner.

Newark, USA to Kanazawa is an approximately 19.5-hour combination of flight and car. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 14 hours traveling from Newark to Kanazawa. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Kanazawa when traveling from Newark in November, with lows around 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Kyoto.
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Historic Sites · Parks · Museums · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Nov 27 — Dec 1:

Kyoto — 4 nights

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Tofuku-ji Temple and Walking tours. Visit Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji for their historical value. The adventure continues: take in the spiritual surroundings of Eikando Zenrinji Temple, steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, wander the streets of Gion, and don't miss a visit to Nijo Castle.

To see maps, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Kyoto day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Kanazawa to Kyoto takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. In December in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 52°F during the day and 39°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Thu) to allow enough time to fly to Matsue.
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Historic Sites · Tours · Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 5:

Matsue — 4 nights

Matsue sits on the banks of the Ohashi-gawa river, channeling its waters through a series of canals and rivers that add much to the scenic aspect of the urban area.
Adachi Museum of Art and Hinomisaki Shrine are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Visit Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse and Susa Shrine for their historical value. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Matsue: Oki Chibu Red Cliff (in Chibu-mura), Takuhi Shrine (in Nishinoshima-cho) and Izumo (Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo & Former Taisha Station). Next up on the itinerary: take in the spiritual surroundings of Miho Shrine, step into the grandiose world of Matsue Castle, admire the masterpieces at Shimane Art Museum, and explore the activities along Shinji Lake.

For reviews, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Matsue travel tool.

Traveling by flight from Kyoto to Matsue takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 49°F in December, and nighttime lows around 39°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Hiroshima.
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Historic Sites · Parks · Nature · Museums
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 9:

Hiroshima — 4 nights

Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
Popular historic sites such as Daishoin Temple and Peace Memorial Park - Hiroshima are in your itinerary. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and Senkoji & Senkoji Park. Explore Hiroshima's surroundings by going to Kure (JMSDF Kure Museum & Yamato Museum), Mt. Misen (in Miyajima) and Hatsukaichi (Miyajima & Itsukushima Shrine). There's more to do: see the interesting displays at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and explore the world behind art at Hiroshima Museum of Art.

To find photos, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, read our Hiroshima travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Matsue to Hiroshima takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In December in Hiroshima, expect temperatures between 52°F during the day and 39°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Fri) so you can travel to Yakushima-cho.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Parks · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 13:

Yakushima-cho — 4 nights

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley and Yakusugi Land. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Oko no Taki Fall and Wilson Stump. The adventure continues: trek along Seibu Trail, make a trip to Taikoiwa, and see the interesting displays at The Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center.

To find maps, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read Yakushima-cho journey planner.

You can do a combination of train and flight from Hiroshima to Yakushima-cho in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, bus, and flight; or do a combination of train and ferry. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Hiroshima in December; daily highs in Yakushima-cho reach 60°F and lows reach 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) early enough to travel to Iriomote-jima.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 17:

Iriomote-jima — 4 nights

Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Pinaisara Falls. Take a break from the city and head to Kayaking & Canoeing and Mizuochi Falls. And it doesn't end there: head off the coast to Iriomote Island, admire the sheer force of Nara no Taki Falls, steep yourself in history at Wasurenaishi, and look for all kinds of wild species at Funauki Village.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Iriomote-jima trip itinerary builder website.

Getting from Yakushima-cho to Iriomote-jima by combination of flight and ferry takes about 10 hours. Traveling from Yakushima-cho in December, expect Iriomote-jima to be a bit warmer, temps between 72°F and 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) early enough to ride a ferry to Ishigaki.
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Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 22:

Ishigaki — 3 nights

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Kabira Ishizaki Manta Scramble. Relax by the water at Kondoi Beach and Yonehara Beach. There's lots more to do: visit a coastal fixture at Cape Hirakubozaki, add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, and take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory.

For photos, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Ishigaki sightseeing planner.

You can ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki in 1.5 hours. In December, daytime highs in Ishigaki are 72°F, while nighttime lows are 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to fly to Miyakojima.
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Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Adventure
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:

Miyakojima — 4 nights

A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Toguchi no Hama and Yabiji. Visit Aragusuku Beach and Yonaha Maehama Beach for some beach relaxation. There's still lots to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, take in the views from Irabu Ohashi, enjoy the sand and surf at Sunayama Beach, and don't miss a visit to Boraga Limestone Cave.

To see photos and tourist information, go to the Miyakojima trip planner.

You can fly from Ishigaki to Miyakojima in 2.5 hours. December in Miyakojima sees daily highs of 71°F and lows of 64°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) to allow enough time to fly to Tokyo.
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Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:

Tokyo — 5 nights

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.
Let the collections at Samurai Museum and National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan capture your imagination. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Edo-Tokyo Museum and Ghibli Museum Mitaka. There's lots more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Senso-ji Temple, don't miss a visit to Imperial Palace, admire the masterpieces at Tokyo National Museum, and admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower.

For reviews, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, read our Tokyo driving holiday tool.

Traveling by flight from Miyakojima to Tokyo takes 4.5 hours. When traveling from Miyakojima in December, plan for a bit cooler days in Tokyo, with highs around 54°F, while nights are colder with lows around 39°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to fly back home.
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Museums · Neighborhoods · Historic Sites · Childrens Museums
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 3:

Japan travel guide

4.3
Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Historic Sites
Land of the Rising Sun
Part of a volcanic archipelago that encompasses over 6,800 islands, Japan remains one of Asia's most fascinating tourist destinations, where a blend of modernity and tradition creates a look and feel completely different from any other place in the world. A tour of Japan lets you discover big cities filled with ancient temples and innovative skyscrapers, as well as quiet country landscapes dotted with castles, perfectly manicured gardens, cherry orchards, and primeval forests seemingly untouched by the hand of mass tourism. Many tourists on vacation in Japan devote lots of time to the country's unique cuisine, prepared with painstaking attention to detail and a genius for simple yet effective presentation.
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