Intro. This is the main 14 day itinerary to Japan for those, who has never been there before. If you want just to buy an all-inclusive tour and not care about anything else, contact us. If you want to be independent and travel on your own, follow this general itinerary and add some of your own ideas to make it custom. If you want us to get ready a custom itinerary for you, read more about it here. Need a 7 or 10 day itinerary? Search for them on our website www.travelrows.com or just shorten this one.
Note: We do not post pictures here, because we want the plan and information to be seen and print easy, without tons of scrolling down the page. For beautiful photographs of Japan sightseeings we have other pages.
Main things to know:
1. When is the best time to go to Japan for the first time?
For the first timers, the best time to go would be from March to May or from September to November. You can choose the Golden Week to go, but it’s really overcrowded. Golden Week is time, when 4 national holidays happen in 1 week. If you don’t like crowds, but want to see cherry bloom – check out Golden Week dates.
2. Must visit cities
If you are for the first (and maybe the last) time in Japan, you have to visit the following must see places: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Himeji, Osaka.
The best way to travel around Japan is train. High speed trains will take you to the main cities and attractions. Bus can be a good option too, but it will be slow, remember, you are limited with 14 days.
Remember, that you can always choose the best route of getting here or there by using google maps and your hotel’s wifi.
In case with Japan and independent travel, the best would be to stay in the city center. Japan is expensive in general, so you won’t save much by staying in suburbs.
Attractions of each day are located close to each other or as close as possible
You arrive to Tokyo and take a train or a taxi to your hotel. I always recommend to spend the first day of your trip for exploring main things near by. As soon as you check in, take a shower, look out of your hotel window and so on, go find some places to eat, walk around, relax, stare at people, buildings, things, get a cute souvenir, take some selfies. That’s it 🙂 Time to relax and get a good sleep after a long flight.
Time for your first Tokyo sightseeings and you head straight to the center of Tokyo. Our todays route will include:
- The Imperial Palace
- Ginza District for shopping
This day you will spend in the North-East side of Tokyo and the main sightseeings are:
- The Tokyo Skytree for bird view of Tokyo
- The Sensō-ji Temple Japan
- Tokyo National Museum (optional)
- Ueno Park and Zoo (optional)
Trip to Mt. Fuji. This trip will take the whole day. It includes – exploring and discovering the mountain, a cruise on lake Ashi, riding an aerial tram.
Bullet train to Kyoto. It will take about 2.5 hours to get there by train. Time to check in, look out of your window, go find some food and head to one of the attractions, not main as it’s just a half of the day. The attraction for today is:
- Gion’s Geishas
Walking around again 🙂 This place is not a certain location but a few streets to walk around. The streets are: Hanami-Koji, Shirakawa Minami-dori, Shijo-dori Street. The attractions to visit there are Silver Pavilion and the Chion-in Temple.
Time for the best Kyoto sightseeings and they are for today:
- Nijo Castle
- The Golden Pavilion
Some more places to visit and things to do:
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- The Kyoto National Museum and Municipal Museum of Art
Main things to do:
- Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine (you can move this one to previous days)
- Heading to Hiroshima
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
In the morning get up early and go visit the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine. After that, pack your stuff and head to the train station. It will take about 2 hours to get to Hiroshima. Check in, drop your suitcases, look out of the window, go find something to eat 🙂 For today you just visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and walk around until you are completely tired.
Wake up for the main places to visit in Hiroshima:
- Hiroshima Castle
- Shukkei-en Garden
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Himeji. Lazy morning and breakfast, check out and trip to Himeji. Check in, look out of the window, find a restaurant and then go for a walk to:
- Koko-en Garden or
- Taiyo Park
Taiyo Park usually goes as an option as it is a bit outside of the city but it looks weird and worth visiting.
Main sightseeings of Himeji:
- Himeji Castle
- Shoshazan Engyo-ji temple
- Walk around until you are completely tired
Trip to Osaka. Take the train to Osaka and check in your hotel. Osaka is considered to be Japan’s food capital and that means that today you will be only eating and drinking. National food, of course.
- Food paradise
For the best restaurants and food to eat in Osaka we have a separate article. Please visit it or find somethings that you would like on google maps. Do not forget to have a walk in the city center and melt down all the calories after your dinner 😉 Maybe get some Osaka related souvenirs.
Main Osaka sightseeings:
- Osaka Castle
- Shitennō-ji Temple
- Tenmangu Shrine
Time to head home. Have a very good breakfast and take a train to Tokyo. Make sure you are not late for your flight.
Bonus day. If your flight by any chance is on the 15th day, stay in Osaka for 1 more day. Spend it in Universal Studios Japan. Especially if you travel with kids. This will add to your cultural trip some extra fun.
This is it for 2 weeks. We do not add too much stuff in each and every day. The pace totally depends on you and your age. Going through sightseeings too fast? Add some more in that day. Or spend more lazy days in restaurants. You won’t feel bad as the main Japan attractions are included in the itinerary.
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