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Only have seven days to travel to Japan and want to make the most of your limited time? There are so many amazing destinations in Japan that it can be hard to decide which cities and sights to include. Let us help you on your way with this popular one-week Japan itinerary that includes Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Kyoto, Nara/Uji, and Osaka.
Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo
If you arrive in Tokyo in the morning and manage to get some sleep on the plane, you’ll be off to a good start! You can reach central Tokyo in 1.5 hours from Narita and 30 minutes from Haneda, and we recommend choosing a hotel in a central area like Ginza, Daimon, or around Tokyo Station. Leave your luggage at the hotel and let’s explore the greatest metropolis in the world!
The first day is dedicated to the most central parts of Tokyo. To minimize travel time, we recommend the next day itinerary, which will take approximately 5 hours to complete:
- Imperial Palace: Take a photo with the famous “Mégane bridge” in the background and enjoy a walk through the Imperial Gardens of the East.
- ningyochoight: This quaint local neighborhood is a bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit if you’re in the area for its small traditional shops selling delicious treats like ningyoyaki and hojicha iced tea.
- nihonbashi: The “Zero Kilometer” is an old and current commercial district where there are several stores from branches of other prefectures and other traditional businesses.
- Ginza: This upscale shopping district is not only ideal for finding high-end brands and products, but it is also a beautiful place to walk around and admire the modern and creative architecture. Also, don’t forget to visit the basement of the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store with all kinds of high-end food and drinks.
If you still have energy for a typical Tokyo dinner, why not head to Yurakucho for some izakaya cuisine? These types of restaurants are popular with salaried workers and office women who have just finished work and need a bite to eat after a long day.
Day 2: Tour of Tokyo
On the second day, you will spend the whole day visiting some of the most iconic places in Tokyo. Begin in Asakusa, the northern tourist hotspot, to see the impressive Sensoji Temple, then head south to Akihabara to experience Tokyo’s funniest subcultures and all things manga, anime and gaming.
Then, hop on the train to delve into the beating heart of Tokyo’s youth culture on the west side of the city. Start in Shibuya to experience the famous railway crossing, see the loyal dog Hachiko statue, and shop ’til you drop! Then you can walk or take the train just one stop to Harajuku, Tokyo’s trendy fashion district, especially popular with teenagers. End the day at the Meiji Shrine, an oasis of calm in the bustling city.
Do you want to focus on enjoying your day without having to worry about logistics while getting interesting background information? Then booking one of our private day tours is a great option!
Day 3: Kawaguchiko
For the third day, you will get up early and take the train to Kawaguchiko, a pretty little town at the foot of Mount Fuji. This is the best place to admire the majestic Mount Fuji from various angles. The endroits that you absolutely must visit are the populaire 5e station which is also haute that you can aller in voiture/bus, the view after the plate-forme au sommet du téléphérique de Kachikachi, the Oishi park with the colored fields and Mount Fuji in the background. , the eccentric Kubota Museum and the famous view of Chureito Pagoda with the mountain.
You can also book a private tour of Kawaguchiko to see all the highlights of the area comfortably and efficiently.
Day 4: Arrival in Kyoto
This morning you will take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station to Kyoto Station. If you arrive before lunchtime, you can drop your bags at your hotel and head to Nishiki Market to try delicious traditional street food like takotamago and yuba tofu skin. After lunch, head to the impressive Kiyomizu-dera temple with its large wooden stage. Then you can walk through the Higashiyama Craft District near Gion Temple, where you might see some maiko or geisha on your way to work if you’re lucky.
Day 5: Kyoto
If you can get up early today, you should head to Fushimi Inari Taisha first thing in the morning. This famous shrine with many vermilion torii gates is crowded during the day, but it’s nice and quiet early in the morning before the tour groups arrive. The next stop is Arashiyama, famous for its mysterious bamboo forest and the magnificent Tenryuji temple.
After lunch, visit Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, and Ryoanji, with its stone-filled Zen garden. If you still have time, you can stop by Nijo Castle or the Imperial Palace.
Day 6: Nara, Uji, Osaka
Today you take a trip from Kyoto to Nara, the first capital of Japan. The main sights in Nara are around Nara Park and Todaiji Temple, which houses a 15-meter-tall bronze statue of Buddha. The park is full of semi-tame deer who are happy to steal special deer cookies from you. Since some of them have been good, there are deer who will greet you politely if they want a cookie. Deer are the symbol of the city of Nara and are considered messengers of the gods.
In the afternoon, we recommend stopping at Uji, a town famous for its production of high-quality Japanese tea and its connection to The Tale of Genji, one of Japan’s classic books. Byodoin Temple is also in Uji, this temple is known to be the image shown on the 10 yen coin. In the late afternoon, it’s time to head to Osaka, many of whose attractions are best enjoyed at night. Osaka is also known as the “Kitchen of Japan” and for good reason, Dotonbori, Shinsekai and Kitashinchi have hundreds of restaurants, large and small, offering the most delicious dishes of Japanese cuisine.
Day 7: Osaka and departure
Depending on your flight departure time, you may still have time to explore Osaka. Many people don’t want to miss Osaka Castle for a trip into the city’s storied history and ride the elevator at the Umeda Sky Building for sweeping views of the city and interesting modern architecture. When it’s time to get to the airport, you can reach KIX by train in 50 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station or by bus from Namba Station in 45 minutes.
Does reading this itinerary arouse your interest in traveling to Japan? There is so much to see, do and experience in the land of the rising sun that it can be difficult to choose which activities and cities to include in your travel plan! Booking a private guide who can always adjust the itinerary according to your interests and needs makes it much easier to plan your trip to Japan by creating with them an itinerary for your day that suits your interests. Your local expert guide will also always be happy to provide advice on restaurants and sights in your city.
Japan Merveille Voyage is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious food tours, we can help you put together the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and stories of each region you visit, our knowledgeable and friendly English-speaking guides will be happy to take you to the best places!
Also, we can provide any assistance you may need for your next trip to Japan, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need help!
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Have a good trip !