28 days in Japan Itinerary

28 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

28 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Des Moines
Fly:  17​h 45​min
1
Tokyo
— 8 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
2
Matsumoto
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
3
Tomigusuku
— 4 nights
Fly:  4​h 30​min
4
Hatsukaichi
— 3 nights
train:  2​h
5
Himeji
— 1 night
train:  45​min
6
Kyoto
— 6 nights
bus + Fly:  20​h 45​min
End: Des Moines

8
nights
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
Senso-ji Temple and Imperial Palace will appeal to history buffs. Head to Ginza and Asakusafor plenty of shopping. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tokyo: Yokohama (Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama Chinatown, & more), Kamakura (Hase-dera Temple, Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura), & more) and Ghibli Museum (in Mitaka). There's lots more to do: steep yourself in history at Tokyo National Museum, don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, step into the grandiose world of The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Edo Castle Ruin), and see the interesting displays at Edo-Tokyo Museum.

For maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Tokyo trip planner .

Des Moines, USA to Tokyo is an approximately 18-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of bus and flight. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time (CST) to Japan Standard Time (JST) is 15 hours. Traveling from Des Moines in January, expect Tokyo to be somewhat warmer, temps between 50°F and 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) to allow enough time to take a train to Matsumoto.

Things to do in Tokyo

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Shopping

Side Trips

Yokohama, Kamakura, Ghibli Museum Mitaka
Highlights from your plan
Senso-ji Temple ©
Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum
Kōtoku-in ©
Kōtoku-in

3
nights
Matsumoto

Matsumoto ©
A castle town, Matsumoto possesses one of the best-preserved feudal structures in the country, and maintains its historical attractions and traditions while simultaneously exuding a modern, cosmopolitan charm.
Visit Matsumoto Castle and Takayama Jinya for their historical value. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Zenko-ji Temple and Sanmachi Suji. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Matsumoto: Karuizawa prince shopping plaza (in Karuizawa-machi) and Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato) (in Takayama). There's much more to do: steep yourself in history at Kaichi Gakko Primary School, explore the activities along Taisho Pond, and wander the streets of Nakamachi Street.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, read Matsumoto travel route planner.

Traveling by train from Tokyo to Matsumoto takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Tokyo in January, expect Matsumoto to be little chillier, temps between 38°F and 26°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Sat) to allow time for travel to Tomigusuku.

Things to do in Matsumoto

Historic Sites Nature Shopping

Side Trips

Takayama, Karuizawa prince shopping plaza, Zenko-ji Temple
Highlights from your plan
Matsumoto Castle ©
Matsumoto Castle
Zenko-ji Temple ©
Zenko-ji Temple
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya

4
nights
Tomigusuku

Tomigusuku ©
Tomigusuku is a city located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.As of 2012, the city has an estimated population of 60,004 and a population density of 3117 persons per km². Popular historic sites such as Shurijo Castle and Okinawa Peace Memorial Park are in your itinerary. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Sefa-Utaki and Okinawa World Bunka Okoku Gyokusendo. Change things up with these side-trips from Tomigusuku: AEONMALL OKINAWA RYCOM (in Kitanakagusuku-son) and Yachimun no Sato (in Yomitan-son). Next up on the itinerary: browse the different shops at Ashibina Outlet Mall, get a taste of the local shopping with Shijo Hondori, get great views at Kudakajima Yohaijo, and make a trip to Makishi Public Market.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Tomigusuku travel route tool .

Getting from Matsumoto to Tomigusuku by combination of flight and taxi takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of train, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of train, ferry, and taxi. Traveling from Matsumoto in January, things will get warmer in Tomigusuku: highs are around 67°F and lows about 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Wed) early enough to travel to Hatsukaichi.

Things to do in Tomigusuku

Shopping Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Naha, Nanjo, AEONMALL OKINAWA RYCOM, Yachimun no Sato, Okinawa Peace Memorial Park
Highlights from your plan
AEONMALL OKINAWA RYCOM ©
AEONMALL OKINAWA RYCOM
Shurijo Castle ©
Shurijo Castle
Sefa-Utaki ©
Sefa-Utaki

3
nights
Hatsukaichi

Hatsukaichi ©
The city of Hatsukaichi developed from a small market town, frequented by passing samurais during the Edo period.
Get some cultural insight at Miyajima and Itsukushima Shrine. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Hatsukaichi: Shikyo no Eki Cannon Monument (in Waki-cho), Kintaikyo Bridge (in Iwakuni) and Yamato Museum (in Kure). There's still lots to do: look for gifts at Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street, take in the spiritual surroundings of Daishoin Temple, and contemplate the long history of Komyo-in Temple.

To see maps, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read Hatsukaichi trip planner .

Do a combination of taxi, flight, and train from Tomigusuku to Hatsukaichi in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and train; or do a combination of car and ferry. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Tomigusuku in January: highs in Hatsukaichi hover around 49°F, while lows dip to 36°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sat) early enough to take a train to Himeji.

Things to do in Hatsukaichi

Historic Sites Nature Shopping

Side Trips

Yamato Museum, Kintaikyo Bridge, Shikyo no Eki Cannon Monument
Highlights from your plan
Itsukushima Shrine ©
Itsukushima Shrine
Miyajima ©
Miyajima
Daishoin Temple ©
Daishoin Temple

1
night
Himeji

Himeji ©
The castle around which the city of Himeji has developed represents one of the best preserved in the country, and has been designated as a national treasure and a World Heritage Site.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): stroll through Agajo Ato Park, step into the grandiose world of Himeji Castle, then take in nature's colorful creations at Kokoen Garden, and finally don't miss a visit to Otemae Street. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun): make a trip to Awaji Highway Oasis, then make a trip to Shoshazan Engyoji, then don't miss a visit to Remains of Ako Castle, and finally don't miss a visit to Shoshazan Ropeway.

For other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Himeji road trip planner .

Traveling by train from Hatsukaichi to Himeji takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In February, daily temperatures in Himeji can reach 48°F, while at night they dip to 38°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) to allow time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Himeji

Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Awaji Highway Oasis, Remains of Ako Castle
Highlights from your plan
Himeji Castle ©
Himeji Castle
Remains of Ako Castle
Remains of Ako Castle
Koko-en Garden ©
Koko-en Garden

6
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.
Head to Dotonbori and Kyoto Station Buildingfor some retail therapy. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo-jo Castle. Get out of town with these interesting Kyoto side-trips: Osaka (Osaka Castle & Universal Studios Japan). And it doesn't end there: take in the spiritual surroundings of Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, don't miss a visit to Sannenzaka Ninenzaka, steep yourself in history at Heian Shrine, and go for a walk through Arashiyama.

For maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Kyoto online driving holiday planner .

You can take a train from Himeji to Kyoto in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive. In February in Kyoto, expect temperatures between 49°F during the day and 35°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Theme Parks Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Osaka
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

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