18 days in Japan Itinerary

18 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: London
Fly + Train:  15 h
1
Tokyo
— 2 nights
Train:  30 min
2
Mitaka
— 1 night
Train:  2 h
3
Nikko
— 2 nights
Train:  5 h
4
Matsumoto
— 1 night
Train:  2 h
5
Nagoya
— 1 night
Train:  45 min
6
Kyoto
— 2 nights
Train:  45 min
7
Nara
— 2 nights
Train:  45 min
8
Osaka
— 3 nights
Fly:  16 h 15 min
End: London

2
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Hedgehog Cafe HARRY, Harajuku as well as Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. Yanaka and Ueno are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to teamLab☆Planets and Kencho-ji Temple. Change things up with these side-trips from Tokyo: Kamakura (Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple), Meigetsuin (Hydrangea Temple), &more). There's much more to do: don't miss a visit to Hozomon, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sengaku-ji Temple, and visit Kagurazaka.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Tokyo trip planner.

London, UK to Tokyo is an approximately 15-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of flight and train. You'll lose 9 hours traveling from London to Tokyo due to the time zone difference. Traveling from London in September, things will get somewhat warmer in Tokyo: highs are around 32°C and lows about 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) to allow enough time to take a bus to Mitaka.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Fun & Games

Side Trip

Kamakura
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Hozomon ©
Hozomon
Ueno ©
Ueno
Yanaka ©
Yanaka

1
night
Mitaka

Mitaka ©
Mitaka is a city located in the western portion of Tokyo Metropolis, in the central Kantō region of Japan., the city had an estimated population of 189,168 and a population density of 11,520 persons per km². Ghibli Museum Mitaka has been added to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 27th (Mon): contemplate the waterfront views at Ochiai River and Minamisawa Springs, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Tanashi Shrine, then stop by Kichijoji, and finally see the interesting displays at Ghibli Museum Mitaka.

For more things to do, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Mitaka day trip planning app .

Mitaka is just a stone's throw from Tokyo. Expect a daytime high around 31°C in September, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) so you can go by car to Nikko.

Things to do in Mitaka

Museums Neighborhoods Nature

Side Trips

Ochiai River and Minamisawa Springs, Tanashi Shrine, Kichijoji
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Ghibli Museum Mitaka ©
Ghibli Museum Mitaka
Kichijoji ©
Kichijoji
Tanashi Shrine ©
Tanashi Shrine

2
nights
Nikko

Nikko ©
A gateway to a sprawling and diverse national park, a center of Shinto spiritualism and place of Buddhist worship, an emblem of the riches and dominance of the Tokugawa shogunate: Nikko means many things to many people.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Tue): take in breathtaking views at Setoai-kyo Canyon, boost your wellbeing at a local thermal spa, then look for all kinds of wild species at Kirifuri Highlands Kisuge Plain, then admire the sheer force of Urami Waterfall, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Cryptomeria Avenue. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Wed): admire the sheer force of Kegon Falls, take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Nantai, then trek along Odashirogahara, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Nikko Futarasan Jinja Chugushi Shrine.

To see photos, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Nikko trip site .

Traveling by car from Mitaka to Nikko takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In September in Nikko, expect temperatures between 29°C during the day and 25°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Matsumoto.

Things to do in Nikko

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Sep 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Odashirogahara ©
Odashirogahara
Mt. Nantai ©
Mt. Nantai
Kegon Falls ©
Kegon Falls

1
night
Matsumoto

Matsumoto ©
A castle town, Matsumoto possesses one of the best-preserved feudal structures in the country, and maintains its historical attractions and traditions while simultaneously exuding a modern, cosmopolitan charm.
On the 30th (Thu), explore the historical opulence of Matsumoto Castle, wander the streets of Nawate Shopping District, take a stroll through Nakamachi Street, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Zenkyuin Temple, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Fukashi Shrine, and finally explore the different monuments and memorials at Koboyama Ancient Tomb.

To find maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Matsumoto tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Nikko to Matsumoto takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Nikko in September since evenings lows in Matsumoto dip to 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) to allow enough time to take a train to Nagoya.

Things to do in Matsumoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Sep 29 — Oct 1:
Highlights from your plan
Matsumoto Castle ©
Matsumoto Castle
Nawate Shopping District
Nawate Shopping District
Nakamachi Street ©
Nakamachi Street

1
night
Nagoya

Nagoya ©
Known nationally as an industrial heartland, Nagoya boasts a far more cosmopolitan and cultural core than its reputation would lead you to believe.
On the 1st (Fri), contemplate the long history of Nagoya Castle, then wander the streets of Sakae, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Atsuta Jingu Shrine, and finally examine the collection at Nagoya Shisei Shiryokan.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Nagoya online day trip planner .

Traveling by train from Matsumoto to Nagoya takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Matsumoto in October, Nagoya is a bit warmer at night with lows of 19°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nagoya

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums
Find places to stay Oct 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Nagoya Castle ©
Nagoya Castle
Atsuta Jingu Shrine ©
Atsuta Jingu Shrine
Sakae
Sakae

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): take in the spiritual surroundings of Shimogamo Jinja, take in the awesome beauty at Mount Hiei, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sanzen-in Temple, contemplate the long history of Kifune Shrine, then take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Kurama, and finally steep yourself in history at Genkoan. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Kamogawa River, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then step into the grandiose world of Nijo Castle, and finally take a stroll through Gion.

For photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Kyoto journey builder tool .

Traveling by train from Nagoya to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 27°C in October, and nighttime lows around 18°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Mon) to allow enough time to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Nature
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Shimogamo Jinja ©
Shimogamo Jinja
Gion
Gion
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

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.
Escape the urban bustle at Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall and Mt. Wakakusa. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Toshodai-ji Temple and Omiwa Shrine. When in Nara, make a side trip to see Hase-dera Temple in Sakurai, approximately Sakurai away. The adventure continues: soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Yakuon Hachiman Shrine.

For ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Nara trip itinerary planning app .

Traveling by train from Kyoto to Nara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of subway and train. In October in Nara, expect temperatures between 27°C during the day and 20°C at night. On the 6th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trips

Sakurai, Yakuon Hachiman Shrine, Akame Shijuhachi Waterfall
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple
Mt. Wakakusa ©
Mt. Wakakusa
Omiwa Shrine ©
Omiwa Shrine

3
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine and Hozenji Yokocho. Dotonbori and Osaka Shiritsu Toyo Toji Museum are good opportunities to explore the local culture. And it doesn't end there: explore the historical opulence of Osaka Castle, find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Japan, have some family-friendly fun at Sunset Owl Cafe, and stroll through Nakanoshima Park.

To find where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Osaka trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by train from Nara to Osaka takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. Traveling from Nara in October, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Osaka, with lows of 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Historic Sites Fun & Games
Find places to stay Oct 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Dotombori ©
Dotombori
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle

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