It’s been almost 8 months since I last left the country, so I’m pretty darn excited about this Japan itinerary.
I can’t even remember the last time I went this long without a trip abroad. While I’ve enjoyed a few local trips within Australia in the time since I returned from Europe last September, I am BEYOND READY for another international adventure.
Japan is a destination that I’ve been obsessing over for years! I’ve visited Asia a bunch of times before, but something tells me that Japan is going to be different. I’m expecting to be overwhelmed by the unique cultural norms formed by its polite but numerous inhabitants, and to have a variety of experiences that could only happen in a country as meticulously organised as Japan.
In just a few days, Rob and I will be jetting off to this country full of colourful temples, historic shrines, and perfectly manicured zen gardens. I was inspired by the Japan itineraries from Thrifty Nomads and ended up going with a similar itinerary to their 14-day option. Here’s my complete 2 week itinerary for a trip to Japan!
Day 1: Osaka
We had 2 choices when choosing direct flights to Japan from Sydney – Tokyo or Osaka. While Tokyo is generally the more popular choice for tourists heading to Japan, Osaka ended up being the cheaper option (I learned later that this is because Osaka airport has lower flight taxes than Tokyo). Our flight will land in the evening and we’ll stay in a hotel near Shin-Osaka station for the night.
We won’t be spending a lot of time in Osaka as our priorities are to see the other cities on our itinerary – we’ll hang around to see Osaka Castle in the morning before catching the bullet train on to our next destination. Next time I’ll plan to spend 2 days in Osaka to see the city properly!
Days 2-4: Hiroshima
Our first few days will be spent in Hiroshima – known for being a city mostly destroyed by an atomic bomb in World War II. We’ll be staying in a high-rise hotel near the peace park and spend 2 days in the city exploring the memorials and museums. Rob is also excited to see the historic trams from all over Japan that Hiroshima has running along its city streets! If we have time, we might take a ferry out to Miyajima, too.
Hiroshima is less popular with tourists as the city is harder to access from Japan’s major international airports. If you’re only spending one week in Japan, you might need to skip Hiroshima, but I highly recommend adding it in for a longer trip!
Days 5-9: Kyoto
After travelling from Hiroshima to Kyoto (again by bullet train), we’ll spend 5 nights staying in a boutique hotel near Gion. Kyoto is the destination I’m most excited about, with the bamboo forest and Fushimi Inari shrine right at the top of my to-do list! Mostly I’m excited to just see what Kyoto is all about as I’ve had multiple people tell me that it’s a pretty neat city.
We’ll also do a day trip to Nara to see the centuries old temples, and of course, the friendly deer. I’ve heard that the local Buddhist population in Nara has resulted in a wide range of vegetarian food, so Rob and I will definitely not go hungry while we’re there!
Day 10: Mt Fuji
The trip from Kyoto to Mt Fuji is the longest one, involving a bullet train to Mishima and then a bus transfer to the Fuji Five Lakes district. Our stay in Mt Fuji will be fairly short at just one night, but it should be enjoyable all the same! Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see the iconic mountain towering above the surrounding landscape while it’s not covered in cloud.
We’re planning on splashing out a little to stay in a tatami room (a traditional Japanese-style room) at a lakeside resort with views of Lake Kawaguchi. Oh, and did I mention that the place has a private onsen? Pretty excited to spend some time relaxing in that hot spring bath!
Aside from chilling in our fancy hotel, we might do a little hike, visit some viewpoints to hopefully get some specky views of Mt Fuji, and maybe consume some kitsch Fuji-shaped cookies.
Days 11-14: Tokyo
Our stay in Tokyo is only 4 nights, which is not a huge amount of time for such a big city, but I’m kind of glad that we’re keeping it short. Tokyo is expensive! The hotels and Airbnbs here are pretty pricey, and our bank account is not entirely happy about it. Tokyo’s famous capsule hotels are generally affordable, but unfortunately my claustrophobic tendencies mean that option is off the table!
Instead, we’ll be staying in a boutique hotel in the trendy Ebisu neighbourhood, near to Shibuya with it’s famously busy pedestrian crossing. It’s likely that we’ll be fairly tired of visiting temples and shrines by this stage, so we probably won’t do loads of sightseeing. Instead, we’ll head to Disneyland Tokyo which should be a lot of fun!
After our time in Tokyo wraps up, we’ll fly back home to Sydney.