Traveling to Japan with a group of 8 and hitting all these amazing cities in the land of the rising sun! Whether you’re an otaku, snowboarder, wildlife photographer or foodie, this is everything we did in Japan in just 12 days. You can extend this trip to 2 or 3 weeks or even a month.

snow monkey jigokudani national park japan

Day 1 – Tokyo

1) Ueno District: Toshogu Shrine; National Museum; National Museum of Western Art for Rodin’s

2) Akihabara & Jimbo Cho District: Anime & electronics

MAID CAFE: Cure Maid Café: Gee Store 6F, Soto-Kanda 3-15-5, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 3258 3161 (1st cafe)

@home café: Mitsuwa Building 4F-7F, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 5846 1616

Akihabara Culture Café Schatz Kiste: Hasegawa Building 1F, Soto-Kanda 6-5-11, Chiyoda-ku

3) Asakusa District: Kappabashi “Kitchen town”; Asakusa shrine; Senso-ji


Yamituki Curry Magurobito (conveyor belt sushi 11 min from Hostel)

Sushi Matsunami (6min from Hostel) 03-3841-4317 111-0043 Taito-ku, Tokyo 1-9-5

Komagata Daikokuya (13 min from Hostel)

Bon 1-2-11 Ryusen Taito-ku Tokyo 〒110-0012 Phone 03-3872-0375 (reservation time: 10:00-21:00)


Day 2 – Tokyo –> Nagano

Tokyo //

1) @4:30am Tsukiji Fish Market

2) Ginza

3) @1:20pm Tour of Imperial Palace & Gardens meet at Kikyo-mon Gate Permit No: 403130421

4) Meiji Jingu Shrine

5) Leave for Nagano @4pm (2 hrs and 45 min to Nagano)


Nagano //

1) Hot springs & drink sake at Tenjin No-Yu (closes @10pm) or Juro No-Yu (open 24 hrs)

Day 3 – Nagano –> Kyoto

Most of my friends wanted to go snowboarding in Nagano which was the site of the Winter Olympics in 1998. I wanted to go see the snow monkeys in the hot springs which was around 2 hours away from our hostel. It’s really hard to do both activities so I recommend choosing one or the other unless you have more time in Nagano.

1) 8:30am – Snowboarding @Hakuba Happo-one (Winter Olympics)

LUNCH @12:30

2) Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park (closes @4pm)

3) Snowboard till 5pm

4) Leave @6pm for Kyoto (4 hrs and 30 mins)

Kyoto //

1) Kyoto Station

2) Pontocho nightlife


Day 4 – Kyoto


1) Fushimi Inari Shrine

2) Tofuji Temple Sanjusangendo Hall in Shichijo-dori

3) Kiyomizu-dera Temple

LUNCH: Izuju Gionmachikitagawa, Higashiyamaku +81 75-561-0019

4) Nanzenji Temple Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-Ji)

5) Heian Jingu Shrine Ekan-do 4:30-6:30pm: Gion District & Yasaka-jinja Shrine

DINNER: Kyo-Ryori for 7-course Shoren-in Temple

6) Higashiyama Hana Toro (Lighting and Flower Lane)


Day 5 – Kyoto

Nijo-jo Castle Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)

Ryoanji Temple Ninnaji Temple

LUNCH: Hafuu 471-1 Sasayacho, Nakagyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0983, Japan +81 75-257-1581

Okochisanso Garden Tenryuji Temple

Monkey Park Iwatayama Arashiyama (bamboo forest)


Day 6 – Kyoto

@9:40am Tour of Kyoto Imperial Palace Permit No: 403231175

LUNCH: Gogyo 452 Jumonjicho Yanaginobamba-dori Takoyakushi Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto +81 75-254-5567

Sanzen Temple Hike Mt Hiei Take cablecar down to Shiga (great view of Lake Biwa)


Day 7 – Kyoto –> Osaka

DETOUR // Nara

1) JR train to Nara (45 min)

2) Nara Park: Feed Deer (or Don’t)

3) Great Buddha Hall


Osaka //

1) JR train to Osaka

LUNCH: Koyoshi 1-3-12 Shibata, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Japan 530-0012

Between JR Umeda and Hankyu Umeda central train stations. Located in a small busy alley behind the Hotel New Hankyu. We are on a triangular corner near a convenience store, Daily Yamazaki.

2) Osaka Castle (closes at 4:30pm)

3) Osaka Aquarium (closes at 7pm)

DINNER: Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M, Hozenji Yokocho 6-6211-2917 (reservation sent)

4) Sumo Wrestling


Day 8 – Osaka

1) JR train to Mt Koya (around 3hrs) and hike

2) Osaka Nightlife


Day 9 – Osaka –> Hiroshima

1) @5am: Leave early for Hiroshima (around 4hrs)

2) Peace Memorial A-Bomb

3) Sake Brewery

LUNCH @12pm Okonomimura 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0034 +81 82-241-2210

Kakiya (fried oyster) 539 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0558 +81 829-44-2747

4) Miyajima Island Whiskey Brewery

DINNER back at Hiroshima Guttsuri-an 1-36 Tannacho, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 734-0034, Japan +81 82-256-1520


Day 10 – Hiroshima –> Tokyo

1) Leave early morning on the 21st (around 5 hrs)

2) Harajuku District: Nezu Institue of Fine Arts; Yoyogi Park; Meiji Jingu Inner Garden; Meiji Shrine; Japanese Sword Museum

3) Shibuya District: Shibuya Station “Myth of Tomorrow” exhibit; Hachiko (the dog statue),

4) Shidax Karaoke

LUNCH // RAMEN: Ichiran 1-22-7 B1F Jinnan Sibuya-ku Tokyo-to 150-0041 3-3463-3667


Day 11 – Tokyo

1) Aoyama District: Meiji Shrine

BRUNCH at Kushinobo Bekkan 3354-2403 Shousuke (Yakitori). 3341-2468 Tsunahachi (Tempura). 3352-1012 3) Shinjuku District: Gyo-en National Garden,

2) Sompo Japan Museum of Art – Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

3) Observation deck at Metropolitan Gov Office

DINNER at the Robot Restaurant in Kabuki-cho red light district

4) Nightlife


Day 12 – Tokyo

1) Roppongi Hills: Don Quijote

2) Mori Tower

3) Big Echo or Pasela Karaoke

4) Return home to NYC



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12-Day Extreme Japan Itinerary for Tokyo, Nagano, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima!

One thought on “12-Day Extreme Japan Itinerary for Tokyo, Nagano, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima!

  • May 29, 2016 at 4:25 am

    This itinerary has been written to make the best of the 14 day JR Pass and all travel is included within 14 days. If you do have more time to spend in Japan, then it’s easy to add a couple more days to Tokyo.


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