Something has been going on in Japan that’s been attracting tourists from all over the world. Maybe it’s the strong cultural presence, exotic food, or the strong metropolis of Tokyo. But one thing is for sure; there is probably more to do in Japan than anywhere else in the world.
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Day 1: A Different World
You’ve done it! You’ve made it to Japan, over the course of this 8-day trip you will see a culture beautifully different than anywhere else in the world. The Japanese people are respectful and elegant in everything they do. You’ll need to adapt to their attention to detail and adventurers to get the most out of this country.
- Upon arrival at the Haneda Airport, you’ll be right in the thick of it; you’ll be surrounded by a foreign language and culture
- Not so far from the airport spend some time in Odaiba, an area of Tokyo where you’ll see some familiar cartoon characters. Odaiba is a melting pot of influences of all kinds of the buildings, clothing, food, and souvenirs all themed after characters.
- Be dazzled by the bright lights and tall robots. Ride the rides of the popular Joypolis amusement park
- Walk out of the metropolis and find some open space in Shiba Park
- Take a cab to the Roppongi district to finish the first day in Japan. Roppongi is known for its popular nightlife between locals and tourists
Day 2: Fresh Air in the Crowded City
After a lot of running around on day one, you’re surely a bit tired. But there is much to see in only seven more days! Explore some of Tokyo’s great parks where you can mingle with the locals and enjoy the scenic shrines and sculptures in the parks.
- 11:00 – 13:00: Tokyo is a busy place, but there are more than a couple of places to escape the concrete jungle and stroll through nature. Start the day walking through Yoyogi Park
- 13:13 – 14:00: Go to Meiji Shrine Honden which is one of the biggest shrines in all of Japan
- 14:05 – 15:30: Explore the Harajuku district, here you will find many great stores and restaurants
- 15:40 – 17:00: Get lost in the iconic Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. This large park has a beautiful flowing river running through it as well as iconic cherry trees
- 17:00 – EOD: Being in the park you’ll be Shinjuku just in time to eat dinner and catch the wild Japanese nightlife. Stay a bit later in the area and see the buildings light up with neon signs in every direction
Day 3: Getting Around the City
There are some sites today that may seem further than you’d like to go, but when in Tokyo…do as much as you can. If you haven’t rented a car, you can always take a cab as Tokyo is a very walkable city.
- 11:00 – 12:30: Start day three off with another one of Tokyo’s great parks. In Chiyoda you can enjoy a rental kayak or canoe on its river or rent a bike
- 12:45 – 14:00: After being in Tokyo for awhile, go learn about its history in the Tokyo National Museum
- 14:08 – 15:15: Visit the Senso-ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. In the area around the temple, there are restaurant and stores to also hang out at
- 15:35: – 16:35: Wonder where all of the sushi restaurants get their fish? Head over to the Tsukigi Market to see a massive fish market in action, maybe get dinner for yourself
- 16:35 – EOD: Again, there is an amazing amount of activities to do in Japan. Take the extra time today to explore the city
Day 4: Adult Sized Playgrounds
Tokyo has its way of staying young even through old age. No matter who you are theme parks will always be fun! Spend the first half of the day at a famous and interestingly designed aquarium and then move on over to Disneyland in the Koto district.
- 11:00 – 14:00: Go over to the Tokyo Sea Life Park and venture below sea level to see some exotic fish
- 14:01 – 15:00: On the way over to Tokyo Disneyland, stop at the Kasai Seaside Park for a Ferris wheel ride and open space
- 15:05 – 21:00: Yes, Tokyo even has its own Disneyland. Ride the rides and see the sites of the Tokyo Disneyland amusement park
- 21:00 – EOD: Since this is your last night in Tokyo, miss a few hours of sleep to adventure through the bright city lights
Day 5: Going West
Make up some sleep on the 3-hour train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto or stay awake and check out the beautiful scenery between the two cities.
- 10:00 – 13:00: The Shinkansen (bullet train) is the best way to get from Tokyo to Kyoto. You typically do not need to buy your seat in advance and tickets should cost around $120, if that seems a little pricey the train itself is quite pleasant and it’s totally worth it to get to Kyoto
- 13:30 – 15:00: Once off of the train take a cab to Kiyomizu – Dera to see your first Kyoto site, it’s a quite different feel from Tokyo
- 15:00 – 16:00: Find a ride or walk to the Rengeoin Sanjusangendo temple and stare back at the hundreds of life-size wooden statues of the goddess Kannon
- 16:10 – 18:00: As the sun starts to set go into the gateways of the Fushimi Inari Taisha for a truly magically experience
- 18:00 – EOD: There is a lot to see in Kyoto, go down alleys, and climb to the top of hills; explore the city as best you can
Day 6: Going a little more west
In addition to wondering around Kyoto utilize the notable sites below to enhance an already legendary vacation.
- 11:00 – 13:00: Arrive at the picturesque Nijo Castle and enjoy the tranquil and Zen gardens
- 13:15 – 14:15: Get in some last meditation among monks in the tranquil Buddhist temple of Kinkaku-ji
- 14:45 – 17:00: Make friends with the natural monkeys in the bamboo forest of Arashiyama
- 17:00 – EOD: One last temple before departure day, visit the Todai-ji which homes the worlds largest bronze statue of Buddha
Day 7: Departure
Rumors say that because the air pressure is so low over Japan, the flight is always pretty bumpy!
- Poking above the cherry pink trees you’ll see the Osaka Castle, keep heading in that direction to get the full experience
- Osaka International Airport
Estimated Cost: $1600