As difficult as it is to explore the whole of Japan in only 14 days, this itinerary gives you the opportunity to see some of the most popular places this country has to offer!
Day 1-2: Tokyo
Visit Western Tokyo‘s busy districts of Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku for some amazing shopping experience. This will probably take a full day, but it will be completely worth it, as these areas have lots to offer. On the second day of your trip, visit the historic distric of Asakusa and contrast it to the modern Odaiba district.
Day 3 – Nikko
In a side trip from Tokyo, visit Nikko, home to Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Busshist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.
Day 4 – Tokyo to Hakone
Travel to Hakone, which is the most popular destination among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from the big city. The area is known for its hot springs, museums and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji.
Day 5-7: Kyoto
Travel from Hakone to Kyoto and stay there for four amazing nights. Go early in the day to Kinkakuji, as this beautiful Zen temple will be less crowded then. Spend some precious hours of contemplation at Japan’s most famous Zen garden: Ryoanji. On the next day, explore the famous Philosopher’s Path, which follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees.
Day 8 – Side trip to Nara
On a side trip from Kyoto visit Nara - home of Japan’s first permanent capital. Visit some of the oldest and largest temples in Japan and feed the deer that roam freely in the city.
Day 9 – Kyoto to Miyajima via Himeji
Take the shinkansen from Kyoto to Miyajima and visit Himeji Castle, which is considered to be one of Japan’s most spectacular castles. The castle is still in its original form, untouched from time or wars and is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Stay overnight at one of the ryokan on Miyajima. Don’t forget to take a picture of the Miyajima’s torii gate, which is is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views.
Day 10 – Miyajima to Kanazawa via Hiroshima
Take the ferry back to Hiroshima and see the city’s sights. Continue on to Kanazawa and spend two nights there.
Day 11 – Kanazawa
Spend a full day in Kanazawa and visit Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s best landscape gardens.
Day 12 – Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go
Travel to Shirakawa-go and stay overnight at a gassho-zukuri farmhouse, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. This clever architectural curiosity developed over many generations and its purpose is to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the area during winter times.
Day 13 – Shirakawago to Takayama
Head to the beautifully preserved old town of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. This town gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the rural side of Japan and to relax before returning to busy Tokyo. If you are visiting in the spring or in autumn, see the Takayama Festival, which is considered to be one of the best in Japan.
Day 14 – Takayama to Tokyo
See more of Takayama before returning to Tokyo. Get an outbound flight to your home city.
Prices starting at 600 Euro.