53 days in Japan Itinerary

53 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

53 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Perth
Fly:  13​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 5 nights
Fly + taxi:  4​h 30​min
2
Shari-cho
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
3
Kutchan-cho
— 4 nights
+3
train + Fly + taxi + train:  8​h 45​min
4
Nikko
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Hakuba-mura
— 4 nights
bus + train:  2​h 45​min
6
Kanazawa
— 4 nights
train:  2​h 30​min
7
Kyoto
— 5 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
8
Hiroshima
— 4 nights
+3
train + subway + Fly + taxi:  4​h 30​min
9
Yakushima-cho
— 3 nights
+3
taxi + Fly + bus + train:  7​h 15​min
10
Takachiho-cho
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  7​h
11
Miyakojima
— 4 nights
ferry:  4​h
12
Iriomote-jima
— 2 nights
ferry:  1​h
13
Ishigaki
— 5 nights
Fly:  15​h
End: Perth

5
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple and Pola Museum of Art. Get a sense of the local culture at Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu and Kinomiya Shrine. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tokyo: Ghibli Museum Mitaka (in Mitaka), Yokohama Silk Museum (in Yokohama) and Hase-dera Temple (in Kamakura). There's still lots to do: get engrossed in the history at Tokyo National Museum, wander the streets of Odaiba, see the interesting displays at Samurai Museum, and admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower.

For where to stay, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Tokyo trip site .

Perth, Australia to Tokyo is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Perth to Tokyo. Prepare for colder weather when traveling from Perth in December: high temperatures in Tokyo hover around 14°C and lows are around 4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to travel to Shari-cho.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Museums

Side Trips

Hakone-machi, Yokohama Silk Museum, Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Kinomiya Shrine, Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Pola Museum of Art ©
Pola Museum of Art
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple ©
Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple

4
nights
Shari-cho

Shari-cho ©
Tourism in Shari-cho, a small town situated on Hokkaido's eastern tip, flourishes mainly because of its immediate proximity to the Shiretoko World Heritage Site.
Take a break from the city and head to Shiretoko Goko Lake and Lake Mashu. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mt. Rausu and Notsuke Peninsula. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Shari-cho: Abashiri (Cape Notoro & Abashiri Prison Museum), Teshikaga-cho (Mashu Third Observatory & Lake Kussharo) and Kiyosato-cho (Ippon no Michi & Kaminoko Pond). It doesn't end there: take in the dramatic scenery at Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall and take a memorable drive along Shiretoko Pass.

For ratings, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Shari-cho trip itinerary planning tool .

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from Tokyo to Shari-cho in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a train; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. Expect much colder weather when traveling from Tokyo in January: highs in Shari-cho hover around -3°C, while lows dip to -9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Kutchan-cho.

Things to do in Shari-cho

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Teshikaga-cho, Abashiri, Kiyosato-cho, Hokkaido, Notsuke Peninsula
Highlights from your plan
Shiretoko Goko Lake ©
Shiretoko Goko Lake
Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall ©
Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall
Notsuke Peninsula ©
Notsuke Peninsula

4
nights
Kutchan-cho

Kutchan-cho ©
Kutchan-cho's reputation rests on two things: skiing and potatoes.
Explore hidden gems such as Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Ski Place and Cape Kamui. Step out of the city life by going to Rusutsu Resort Ski and Niseko Outdoor Center. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kutchan-cho: Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (in Yoichi-cho) and Shimamu Beach (in Shakotan-cho). The adventure continues: fly down the slopes at Niseko Hanazono Resort, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, explore the activities along Lake Toya, and stroll around Fukidashi Park.

To see more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Kutchan-cho trip planning site .

You can drive from Shari-cho to Kutchan-cho in 6.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi, flight, and train; or take a train. In January, daytime highs in Kutchan-cho are -3°C, while nighttime lows are -6°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to travel to Nikko.

Things to do in Kutchan-cho

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trips

Shakotan-cho, Fukidashi Park, Rusutsu Resort Ski, Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery, Niseko Outdoor Center
Highlights from your plan
Niseko Hanazono Resort ©
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Cape Kamui ©
Cape Kamui

3
nights
Nikko

Nikko ©
A gateway to a sprawling and diverse national park, a center of Shinto spiritualism and place of Buddhist worship, an emblem of the riches and dominance of the Tokugawa shogunate: Nikko means many things to many people.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Yudaki Falls and Ryuzu Waterfall. Step out of the city life by going to Lake Chuzenji and Fukuroda Falls. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Nikko: Haruna Shrine (in Takasaki) and Oya Stone Museum (in Utsunomiya). There's much more to do: take in breathtaking views at Ryuokyo Canyon, contemplate the long history of Yomeimon (Main Gate), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Taiyuimbyo Shrine, and explore the activities along Yunoko Lake.

To see where to stay, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Nikko visit planner .

Getting from Kutchan-cho to Nikko by combination of train and flight takes about 9 hours. Other options: do a combination of train, flight, and taxi; or take a train. Traveling from Kutchan-cho in January, things will get a bit warmer in Nikko: highs are around 7°C and lows about 3°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Hakuba-mura.

Things to do in Nikko

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Nikko National Park, Haruna Shrine, Oya History Museum, Fukuroda Falls
Highlights from your plan
Yudaki Falls ©
Yudaki Falls
Ryuzu Waterfall ©
Ryuzu Waterfall
Lake Chuzenji ©
Lake Chuzenji

4
nights
Hakuba-mura

Hakuba-mura ©
Skiing enthusiasts traveling in Japan should consider a trip to Hakuba-mura: tucked away in the Northern Alps, this village hosted several competitions during the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.
Explore hidden gems such as Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort and Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort / Alpine Garden. Get outdoors at Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort and Nozawa Onsen. Explore Hakuba-mura's surroundings by going to Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area (in Yamanouchi-machi), Shionomichi Museum (in Itoigawa) and Matsumoto Castle (in Matsumoto). There's lots more to do: hit the slopes at Hakuba, stroll through Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Togakushi Shrine Okusha.

To find photos, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Hakuba-mura road trip app .

Traveling by car from Nikko to Hakuba-mura takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and bus; or take a train. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Nikko in January, with highs in Hakuba-mura at 3°C and lows at -3°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Kanazawa.

Things to do in Hakuba-mura

Winter Sports Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Nozawaonsen-mura, Shigakogen Sun Valley Ski Area, Shionomichi Museum, Matsumoto Castle, Togakushi Shrine Okusha
Highlights from your plan
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort ©
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort
Nozawa Onsen ©
Nozawa Onsen
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort ©
Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort

4
nights
Kanazawa

Kanazawa ©
An old castle town largely unspoiled during World War II, Kanazawa features well-preserved architecture spread across a range of districts.
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Ainokura Gassho Community are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Explore hidden gems such as Daihonzan Eiheiji Temple and Chirihama Nagisa Driveway. Venture out of the city with trips to Maruoka Castle (in Sakai), Natadera Temple (in Komatsu) and Shirakawa-mura (Tenshukakau Observatory, Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, & more). There's much more to do: take a stroll through Gokayama, make a trip to Higashichaya Old Town, get a new perspective on nature at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), and examine the collection at D. T. Suzuki Museum.

For other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Kanazawa trip itinerary planning tool .

Getting from Hakuba-mura to Kanazawa by combination of bus and train takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a train. In January, Kanazawa is somewhat warmer than Hakuba-mura - with highs of 7°C and lows of 0°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can catch the train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Kanazawa

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Takayama, Shirakawa-mura, Nanto, Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, Maruoka Castle
Highlights from your plan
Takayama Jinya ©
Takayama Jinya
Chirihama Nagisa Driveway ©
Chirihama Nagisa Driveway
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum ©
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

5
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Tofuku-ji Temple and Ise Shrine Geku. Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Kyoto: Osaka (Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, & more), Nara (Todai-ji Temple & Todaiji Temple Cultural Center) and Himeji (Koko-en Garden & Himeji Castle). Next up on the itinerary: steep yourself in history at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, wander the streets of Gion, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ryoanji Temple, and go for a walk through Arashiyama.

For where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Kyoto attractions planning site .

Take a train from Kanazawa to Kyoto in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 10°C, and evening lows to 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can take a train to Hiroshima.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Theme Parks Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Osaka, Himeji, Nara, Ise Shrine Geku
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Ise Shrine Geku ©
Ise Shrine Geku

4
nights
Hiroshima

Hiroshima ©
Grapple with history and appreciate modernity in Hiroshima, a city known around the world for its tragic past and inspiring rebirth.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and Daishoin Temple. Do some cultural sightseeing at Yamato Museum and JMSDF Kure Museum. Explore Hiroshima's surroundings by going to Kintaikyo Bridge (in Iwakuni), Senkoji & Senkoji Park (in Onomichi) and Ohara Museum of Art (in Kurashiki). And it doesn't end there: contemplate the long history of Itsukushima Shrine Torii, see the interesting displays at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, pause for some photo ops at The Cenotaph, and step into the grandiose world of Hiroshima Castle.

For reviews, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Hiroshima holiday maker website .

You can take a train from Kyoto to Hiroshima in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 11°C in January, and nighttime lows around 2°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Yakushima-cho.

Things to do in Hiroshima

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hatsukaichi, Kure, Senkoji & Senkoji Park, Ohara Museum of Art, Kintaikyo Bridge
Highlights from your plan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ©
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Yamato Museum ©
Yamato Museum

3
nights
Yakushima-cho

Yakushima-cho ©
A popular destination for Japanese tourists, Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho is a true paradise for nature lovers, with over 1,900 species and subspecies of plants.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Yakusugi Land and Seibu Trail. Step out of the city life by going to Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley and Oko no Taki Fall. Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Nagata Inakahama, make a trip to Wilson Stump, and examine the collection at The Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center.

To see photos, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Yakushima-cho day trip site .

Do a combination of train, flight, and taxi from Hiroshima to Yakushima-cho in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, ferry, and taxi; or do a combination of car and ferry. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Hiroshima in January: high temperatures in Yakushima-cho hover around 17°C and lows are around 10°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Takachiho-cho.

Things to do in Yakushima-cho

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Yakusugi Land ©
Yakusugi Land
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley ©
Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley
Oko no Taki Fall
Oko no Taki Fall

3
nights
Takachiho-cho

Takachiho-cho ©
The mountain town of Takachiho-cho remains a place of great importance to Japan's spiritual and natural heritage, and the point where these two things intersect.
Take a break from the city and head to Takachiho Gorge and Nabegataki Falls. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Daikanbo and Amano Iwato Shrine. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Takachiho-cho: Nanatsumori Ancient Tumulus (in Taketa), Onsen Resorts (in Minamioguni-machi) and Ogi Rice Terraces (in Ubuyama-mura). Next up on the itinerary: admire the sheer force of Manai Falls, cruise along Kusasenri, head outdoors with Aso Panorama Line, and make a trip to Shirakawa Springs.

To see photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Takachiho-cho trip itinerary builder .

Getting from Yakushima-cho to Takachiho-cho by combination of taxi, flight, and train takes about 7.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, flight, and bus. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Yakushima-cho in February: high temperatures in Takachiho-cho hover around 11°C and lows are around 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Takachiho-cho

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Aso, Mt. Aso, Shirakawa Springs, Onsen Resorts, Nanatsumori Ancient Tumulus
Highlights from your plan
Takachiho Gorge ©
Takachiho Gorge
Nabegataki Falls ©
Nabegataki Falls
Daikanbo ©
Daikanbo

4
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Yonaha Maehama Beach and Yabiji. Escape the urban bustle at Sunayama Beach and Aragusuku Beach. There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Toguchi no Hama, take in the views from Ikema Ohashi Bridge, paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, and make a trip to East Henna Cape.

To see reviews, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Miyakojima holiday planner.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Takachiho-cho to Miyakojima in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. When traveling from Takachiho-cho in February, plan for a bit warmer days and much hotter nights in Miyakojima: temperatures range from 24°C by day to 19°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) to allow time to ride a ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
Yabiji
Yabiji

2
nights
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Tue): head off the coast to Barasu Island, add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, and then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the sheer force of Pinaisara Falls, head off the coast to Iriomote Island, admire the sheer force of Mizuochi Falls, then stroll through Ida no Hama Beach, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Funauki Village.

For ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Iriomote-jima trip maker .

You can ride a ferry from Miyakojima to Iriomote-jima in 4 hours. In February, daytime highs in Iriomote-jima are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) early enough to ride a ferry to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Parks Outdoors Tours
Highlights from your plan
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island
Pinaisara Falls ©
Pinaisara Falls
Barasu Island ©
Barasu Island

5
nights
Ishigaki

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Cape Hirakubozaki and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Get in touch with nature at Kondoi Beach and Yonehara Beach. Get out of town with these interesting Ishigaki side-trips: Nakamoto Beach (in Kuro-shima) and Ubutaki Lookouts (in Kohama-jima). Next up on the itinerary: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, stroll around Kabira Park, appreciate the extensive heritage of Island Countryside Settlement, and take in the waterfront at Nishi Pier.

To find photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read Ishigaki trip itinerary builder tool .

Ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Ishigaki in an hour. In February, daytime highs in Ishigaki are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Taketomi-cho, Island Countryside Settlement, Ubutaki Lookouts, Nakamoto Beach
Highlights from your plan
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

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