A beginner’s one-week Travel itinerary in Japan

First time in Japan? Make sure to check these places out

This blog is part of a series of travel tips for first-timers in Japan. Today, we will be looking at how to use your time in Japan if you are there for one week. I will make two weeks and three weeks blog post versions at a later stage.

1. Tokyo (2–3 Days)

Tokyo is a massive city that you could easily spend months in and not see everything, but some must-see highlights include Senso-ji Shrine in Asakusa, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku, Skytree, Akihabara and more. But really just wandering around aimlessly in the city was one of my favorite things to do while over there and will certainly give you a good opportunity to see hidden gems in Tokyo.

2. Hakone (1–2 Days)

The Hakone area itself has many attractions worth checking out. If you are into art, the Hakone open-air museum is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours. Owakudani is a sulfur mine, famous for black eggs which are cooked in the waters up here. If you are the sporty type, nearby Lake Ashinoko features a moderately difficult hiking trail as well as one of Japan’s most famous photo spots (pictured below). Finishing the night in your Ryokan, soaking in hot springs, and eating a delicious course meal; it doesn’t get much better than this.

Photo by Syuhei Inoue on Unsplash

3. Kyoto/Osaka (3–4 days)

Just 30 minutes away by train is Osaka, one of Japan’s biggest cities with a more open and laid-back vibe than Tokyo. Famous for street food, there are many stalls selling typical Takoyaki (Octopus dough balls) as well as Okonomiyaki (a pancake with cabbage and toppings to your liking). Osaka Castle is another place worth checking out, as well as the massive Kaiyukan aquarium featuring whale sharks.

Photo by Nomadic Julien on Unsplash

Outside of Osaka and Kyoto, Nara is a popular day trip. This town used to be the old capital of Japan and features a massive temple complex with one of the county’s largest Buddha statues as well as many domesticated deer which will bow to you in exchange for snacks. Nara is easily reachable via train from both Osaka and Kyoto and can be done as a (half)- day trip.

Photo by Agathe Marty on Unsplash

If you are traveling for the first time in Japan, this itinerary gives you a good basic overview of what Japan has to offer: a massive city full of modern technology in Tokyo, ancient temples and shrines in Kyoto as well as great nature in Hakone. If you have more time, stay tuned for my two-week itinerary, which will be released soon!

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Adam Rifi

Lover of Japan, Travel, Food & Cooking and Frugality. New to blogging but always wanted to try it!