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Itinerary advice, 10 days in Japan


Hi there!

Loving the site and looking forward to using the walking tours. I am hoping for advice on the travel itinerary for our upcoming trip–2 people, early 30s, first time to Japan. We’ll be flying in and out of Tokyo and have 10 full days in Japan (not including arrival and departure). We do not want to over-schedule ourselves and are trying to decide if a quick 2 or 3 night trip to Kyoto and Osaka/Nara is worth it, or if we are better off staying in Tokyo and taking several day trips to sites like Kamakura, Nikko, and the Mt. Fuji area. Any advice?

Thank you!


I think it depends on whether or not you plan to visit Japan again. Tokyo and it’s surrounding areas are so diverse, you’ll have no problem filling the 10 days you have. While I enjoy riding trains, I don’t necessarily enjoy spending time on them when I could be doing something else. That being said, I do love watching the Japanese country side passing by, but I digress.

The first time I took my wife to Japan, we landed in Fukuoka, went as far south as Kagoshima and as far north as Tokyo. A LOT of train riding, but it was her (and her sisiters’) first trip and they weren’t sure whether they’d be back. I’ve been to Japan many times, so it didn’t matter much to me, but if I had my way, I’d prefer to take several trips, each to specific regions. I think it would be sad to miss out on places like Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Utsukushima (Miyajima) island, to name a few. Also Hokkaido is another part of Japan that I think is a must visit place. Hakodate, Sapporo, Otaru, Asahiyama all hold a special place in my heart and I love the climate. Hakodate is just 4 hrs by Shinkansen and the sakura (cherry blossoms) blooming at Goryokaku is a sight to behold.

If you want to visit Osaka in the future, you could perhaps fly into Kansai, then visit Osaka and Kyoto. It’s a 2 hr train ride to Hiroshima and Himeji castle is along the way.

So it really depends on what you enjoy. A lot to do and see either way. Hope it’s not your only visit and hope you have a great trip!


Thanks very much–you do make a good point. Honestly, this may be our only trip to Japan. We love to travel, but neither of us have reasons other than pleasure to go, so you never know. Obviously we’ll have to miss out on a lot with only 10 days. As further background, we’ll be there the last week of August/first week of September, so no cherry blossoms and the weather will be hot.

Our main question is whether, with just 10 days, we’ll be happier sticking around Tokyo and doing several day trips, or if Kyoto/Nara/Osaka are distinct enough that they can’t be replaced by day trips to Kamakura, Nikko, etc. Is 2 nights long enough to warrant a separate trip to Kyoto/Nara/Osaka? And if we do that side trip, should we still try to do the day trips out of Tokyo with our seven remaining days in Tokyo?

Thanks again for the advice!


oh and we would take the bullet train is we go to Kyoto, etc. Can you easily stop around Mt. Fuji on the way from Kyoto to Tokyo via bullet train?


Honestly, I think you could do a quick trip to Kyoto/Osaka and several day trips from Tokyo too, without being wiped out. :slight_smile:

Tokyo to Kyoto is a straight shot on the bullet train; Mt Fuji can be done as a fairly easy day or overnight trip from Tokyo.

Take a look at these articles, if you haven’t already, and give a visit to Tohoku a thought, too! Quiet and beautiful! :slight_smile:


Thanks so much!

As it seems we shouldn’t really cut out anything, we’ve decided to change our plans a bit and will now fly into Tokyo, 7 days Tokyo with day trips, train to Kyoto, 3 days in Kyoto/Nara, fly out of Osaka. This cuts out a travel day giving us more time in Kyoto.

Can’t wait!


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