16 days in Japan Itinerary

16 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + Drive:  20 h 15 min
1
Nagano
— 1 night
Bus:  1 h
2
Yamanouchi-machi
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h
3
Takayama
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
4
Kyoto
— 3 nights
Train:  2 h 15 min
5
Toyooka
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
6
Osaka
— 1 night
Train:  1 h 30 min
7
Koya-cho
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  21 h 15 min
End: San Francisco

1
night
Nagano

Nagano ©
Near the confluence of the Chikuma and Sai rivers, Nagano combines historic sites with nearby forested alps dotted with shrines.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Sat): fly down the slopes at Suginohara, delve into the lush surroundings at Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Togakushi Shrine Okusha, then look for gifts at Yawataya Isogoro Honten, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Zenko-ji Temple. On the 15th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for all kinds of wild species at Iizuna Highlands Oyachi Marsh, don't miss a visit to Togakushi Shrine Chusha, and then get to know the fascinating history of Ueda Castle.

To see maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Nagano attractions planner.

San Francisco, USA to Nagano is an approximately 20.5- hour combination of flight and car. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Japan Standard Time (JST), which is usually a 17 hour difference. Expect slightly colder temperatures when traveling from San Francisco in March; daily highs in Nagano reach 50°F and lows reach 37°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Yamanouchi-machi.

Things to do in Nagano

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Suginohara, Ueda Castle
Highlights from your plan
Zenko-ji Temple ©
Zenko-ji Temple
Suginohara ©
Suginohara
Togakushi Shrine Okusha ©
Togakushi Shrine Okusha

2
nights
Yamanouchi-machi

Yamanouchi-machi ©
The resort town of Yamanouchi-machi has plenty of contrasting, but complementary things going for it.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Mon): head outdoors with Shigakogen Plateau, get outside with Okushiga Kogen Ski Area, hit the slopes at Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area, then indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, then identify plant and animal life at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, and finally take in the natural beauty of Jigokudani Funsen.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Yamanouchi-machi tour itinerary builder.

You can take a bus from Nagano to Yamanouchi-machi in an hour. Other options are to take a shuttle; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 50°F in March, and nighttime lows around 37°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) early enough to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Yamanouchi-machi

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Okushiga Kogen Ski Area ©
Okushiga Kogen Ski Area
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park ©
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area ©
Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area

2
nights
Takayama

Takayama ©
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Tue): get to know the fascinating history of The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses, browse the exhibits of Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), then admire the landmark architecture of Takayama Jinya, and finally wander the streets of Sanmachi Suji. On the 18th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: hunt for treasures at Hida-Takayama Miyagawa Morning Market, awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, get engrossed in the history at Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, then examine the collection at Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Higashiyama Walking Course.

To see reviews, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Takayama vacation planning site .

You can drive from Yamanouchi-machi to Takayama in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or do a combination of bus and train. In March in Takayama, expect temperatures between 52°F during the day and 38°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Kyoto.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Museums Shopping

Side Trip

Shirakawa-mura
Highlights from your plan
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen ©
Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen

3
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.
Kyoto is known for historic sites, shopping, and classes. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the long history of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, explore the historical opulence of Nijo Castle, don't miss a visit to Heian Shrine, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Kodai-ji Temple.

To find out how to plan a trip to Kyoto, use our trip itinerary maker.

Drive from Takayama to Kyoto in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. March in Kyoto sees daily highs of 57°F and lows of 40°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) early enough to take a train to Toyooka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

1
night
Toyooka

Toyooka ©
A vacation in Toyooka lets you explore the UNESCO Global Geopark that completely surrounds the small town, notable for its scenic islands, rock formations, caves, and sand dunes.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): make a trip to Izushi Castle Town, examine the collection at Gembudo Museum, then meet the residents at Kinosaki Marine World, then soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Street of Kinosaki Onsen. On the next day, see the interesting displays at Toyooka City Konotori Bunkakan, make a trip to Takeda Castle Ruins, and then go for a walk through Takeda Teramachi Street.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Toyooka trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Kyoto to Toyooka by train takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or fly. When traveling from Kyoto in March, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Toyooka: temperatures range from 52°F by day to 41°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) so you can drive to Osaka.

Things to do in Toyooka

Historic Sites Parks Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Asago
Highlights from your plan
Street of Kinosaki Onsen ©
Street of Kinosaki Onsen
Takeda Castle Ruins ©
Takeda Castle Ruins
Onsen Resorts

1
night
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.
For traveler tips, reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Osaka journey planner.

Traveling by car from Toyooka to Osaka takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a train. In March in Osaka, expect temperatures between 57°F during the day and 41°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to take a train to Koya-cho.

Things to do in Osaka

Historic Sites Parks Zoos & Aquariums
Highlights from your plan
Osaka Castle ©
Osaka Castle
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan ©
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

3
nights
Koya-cho

Koya-cho ©
Mt. Koya has been added to your itinerary. Take a break from Koya-cho with a short trip to Tanizeno Tsuribashi in Totsukawa-mura, about 46 minutes away.

To see photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Koya-cho trip maker.

Take a train from Osaka to Koya-cho in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In March in Koya-cho, expect temperatures between 55°F during the day and 44°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Fri) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Koya-cho

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

十丈峠 Kumano Kodo Trail, Tanizeno Tsuribashi
Highlights from your plan
Koyasan Danjo Garan ©
Koyasan Danjo Garan
Mt. Koya ©
Mt. Koya
Kongobu-ji Temple ©
Kongobu-ji Temple

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