13 days in Japan Itinerary

13 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Bangkok
Fly:  8​h 45​min
1
Osaka
— 3 nights
train:  45​min
2
Nara
— 2 nights
train:  45​min
3
Kyoto
— 4 nights
train:  30​min
4
Kobe
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  9​h
End: Bangkok

3
nights
Osaka

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
Head to Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Streetfor some retail therapy. Get a sense of the local culture at Osaka Castle and Minami (Namba). And it doesn't end there: get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Japan, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, look for gifts at Jikko Japanese Knife Shop Namba Skyo, and have some family-friendly fun at Sunset Owl Cafe.

To find other places to visit, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Osaka trip builder .

Bangkok, Thailand to Osaka is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of car and ferry. The time zone difference when traveling from Bangkok to Osaka is 2 hours. Prepare for cooler weather when traveling from Bangkok in December: high temperatures in Osaka hover around 13°C and lows are around 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to take a train to Nara.

Things to do in Osaka

Theme Parks Shopping Neighborhoods
Highlights from your plan
Universal Studios Japan ©
Universal Studios Japan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Dotonbori ©
Dotonbori

2
nights
Nara

Nara ©
The country's first established capital, Nara houses some of the most storied buildings and natural attractions in Japan, with eight World Heritage Sites in total.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kofuku-ji Temple, contemplate the long history of Todai-ji Temple, then stroll around Nara Park, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Grand Shrine. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Yu Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Japan City Nara Sanjo, then explore the historical opulence of Nara Palace Site Historical Park, and then contemplate the long history of Byodoin.

For traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Nara road trip website .

Take a train from Osaka to Nara in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In December, daily temperatures in Nara can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 6°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) to allow enough time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Byodoin
Highlights from your plan
Todai-ji Temple ©
Todai-ji Temple
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Kasuga Grand Shrine ©
Kasuga Grand Shrine

4
nights
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Sanjusangendo Temple. Head to Nishiki Market Shopping District and Maiko Antiques Kyotofor plenty of shopping. Step out of Kyoto to go to Otsu and see Ritsuin Temple, which is approximately 32 minutes away. There's lots more to do: don't miss a visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, take in the spiritual surroundings of Kinkaku-ji, browse the handmade items at Asahiyaki, and contemplate the long history of Heian Shrine.

To see where to stay, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Kyoto online holiday planner .

Traveling by train from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and subway. Expect a daytime high around 13°C in December, and nighttime lows around 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to take a train to Kobe.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trips

Ritsuin Temple, Asahiyaki
Highlights from your plan
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kinkaku-ji ©
Kinkaku-ji

3
nights
Kobe

Kobe ©
Walkable, small, and aesthetically charming, Kobe has served as Japan's first and premier international trading outpost since opening to trade with China in the mid-19th century.
Popular historic sites such as Himeji Castle and Mudoji Temple are in your itinerary. Do some cultural sightseeing at Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown) and Catholic Kobe Chuo Church. The adventure continues: shop like a local with Kobe Harborland, get in on the family fun at Rokkosan Field Athletic, revel in the low prices at Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets, and get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Kobe Animal Kingdom.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Kobe fast, fun, and easy.

Kobe is very close to Kyoto. January in Kobe sees daily highs of 10°C and lows of 3°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Kobe

Parks Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trip

Himeji Castle
Highlights from your plan
Kobe Municipal Arboretum ©
Kobe Municipal Arboretum
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown) ©
Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown)

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