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The Top 5 Itineraries for One Week in Japan

The Top 5 Itineraries for One Week in Japan

By Vicky LengUpdated Sep. 4, 2023

Japan is a popular family trip destination for its food, geishas, kimono, samurai, Pokemon Center, and more. Many families make Japan their first choice for holidays, as do many couples.

One week in Japan is not a long time, but it's enough to visit the highlights of two or three cities. Tokyo and Kyoto are usually on the top of the list, and you can see their highlights in a day-trip.

In this article, we recommend to you five itineraries that travel around Japan in one week. Choose an itinerary you like, contact us, and we will provide you with professional advice and adjust it to suit you.

What to See in Japan in One Week?

geishas Geishas, Japan
  • Tokyo is the center of Japan's economy, politics, and transportation. You can feel its awesome combination of traditional history and high-tech modernity. Anime, sumo, samurai, and Disneyland are all part of the essence of the city.
  • Kyoto is a medieval capital with a long history. Shrines, geisha, and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) are highlights you can't miss.
  • Osaka, "the kitchen of Japan", is a great place to sample authentic Japanese food. Universal Studios is also there.
  • Hakone, home of onsens (hot springs), is where you can see Mt. Fuji and stay at a ryokan.
  • Hiroshima is an education in itself that calls on everyone to love peace.

We can arrange plenty of experiential activities to help you have a memorable trip. Just contact us for more suggestions based on your interests.

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The Top 5 Itineraries for a Week in Japan

1) Classic Japan: Tokyo–Kyoto with a Side Trip to Osaka, Hakone, or Hiroshima

japan travel guide

Tokyo and Kyoto are must-see cities in Japan. On a week-long trip, it is perfect to spend three days in each, and then choose one of the surrounding cities of Hakone, Osaka, or Hiroshima for a day-trip.

Tokyo: 3 days

Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, Japan

International flights to Tokyo are plentiful, so it is the ideal first stop for Japan travel. Visit Tokyo's Meji Shrine, sample local cuisine at Tsukiji Market, shop for anime books and products in Akihabara, go to the Pokemon Center (recommended for families)…

Kyoto: 3 days

Explore the Gion district and have an afternoon tea with a geisha, enjoy a steaming tea at an ochaya (tea house), meander around Fumi Inami Shrine, wear a kimono (traditional Japanese clothing) and take photos, stay at a ryokan to experience traditional Japanese accommodation...

Suggested reading: Kyoto vs Osaka: Which is Better to Visit in One Week?

Day trips from Tokyo or Kyoto:

Hakone, Osaka, and Hiroshima are all great for a day-trip, you don't have to stay overnight. You just need to book hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Mt.Fuji in Hakone Mt.Fuji and Lake Ashi in Hakone
  • Hakone: It takes about an hour to get from Tokyo to Hakone by Shinkansen (bullet train). Enjoy hot springs in any season, and look up at Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashi.
  • Osaka: It only takes 15 minutes to travel from Kyoto to Osaka by Shinkansen. Visit historic Osaka Castle, taste street food in Dotonbori. Osaka is close to Kansai Airport, so you can choose to leave Japan from Osaka.
  • Hiroshima: It's 2 hours from Kyoto to Hiroshima by Shinkansen. You may want to go to Peace Memorial Park to see the atomic bomb site. This is a great opportunity for teenagers (and anyone) to learn about this historical event.

You can tell us your preferences and requirements for your vacation in Japan, and we will customize a tour for you. If you're travelling with your kids and aging parents, you could get more ideas about How to Plan a First-Time Family Trip to Japan>>>

You enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (detail⇒).

Recommended Itinerary

2) One Week with Cherry Blossoms: From March to May

Japan tour route map

March to May is the best time to enjoy cherry blossom in Japan. It is the tourism peak season, as tens of thousands of travelers from Japan and abroad go to be in the best spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms for the short blooming period.

Having a picnic under the cherry trees while enjoying the blossoms and tasty snacks could be a memorable moment for your family, or just you and your partner.

Here is an itinerary for your inspiration (contact us for further details):

  • Days 1–3: Tokyo
  • Days 4–6: Kyoto
  • Day 7: Depart from Kansai Airport in Osaka
Cherry Blossom Tour to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka at US$3,699 Per Person

3 days in Tokyo: Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and Chidorigafuchi are the top three places to see cherry blossom. These attractions are easily accessible. You could visit them all in one day or you could just choose one of them. Visit Tokyo's landmark building, Tokyo Tower. Sample fresh sashimi and sushi at Tsukiji Market.

Chidorigafuchi in cherry blossom season Chidorigafuchi in cherry blossom season

3 days in Kyoto: Meander around the Philosopher's Path and admire the cherry blossom along the street. At Gion you can see geishas in kimonos and watch them perform. Taking a day-trip in Nara, you could feed the deer at Nara Park. Hike on Mt. Yoshino if you want to be right in the middle of swathes of cherry blossom.

Suggested reading: How to Plan a Japan Cherry Blossom Trip

Click here to plan your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

3) One-Week Countryside Itinerary: Tokyo–Kanazawa, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go

Japan tour map

For those who want to discover rural life in Japan and visit small cities that are less crowded, Kanazawa, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go are the best choices.

Here is our suggested itinerary (contact us for further details) :

  • Days 1–3: Tokyo
  • Days 4–6: Kanazawa, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go
  • Day 7: Back to Tokyo and departure

Days 1–3 Tokyo: Make sushi with your family at a local home, wear samurai armor at the Samurai Museum, stroll through Asakusa to experience the traditional Japanese style of the Edo period (1603–1867).

Days 4–6:

wintry lighting in Shirakawa-go Wintry lighting in Shirakawa-go
  • Kanazawa: gold-leaf products, Japanese-style garden of Edo period, and the national brew
  • Takayama: a well-preserved old town with onsens, ryokans, and Hida beef
  • Shirakawa-go: traditional and stylish gassho-zukuri farmhouses, beautiful wintry lighting in January and February
Recommended Itinerary

4) One Week for Anime Lovers: Tokyo–Osaka

Akihabara has many anime shops Akihabara has many anime shops

For people who like Japanese anime and games, Japan is a paradise. You'll find all the anime books and products you like. Explore any anime museums that interest you.

Tokyo: 6 days

From manga magazines to anime-themed cafes, you can find whatever anime you like in Akihabara and Ikebukuro, where most of the anime shops in Tokyo are gathered. Go to the Ghibli Museum, the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum, or the Pokemon Center if you're interested in their collections.

Every year in late March, Tokyo holds the world's largest anime expo, where you can see a variety of anime characters' cosplay and buy a variety of anime products.

Osaka: 1 day

Nihonbashi is the main anime place in Osaka: all the manga you're looking for can be found there.

Check out the summer bestseller for Japan

5) One-Week Foodie Itinerary: Osaka–Kyoto–Tokyo

sushi is the traditional Japanese food Sushi is the traditional Japanese food

Japanese cuisine is famous around the world, and a lot of travelers come to Japan for authentic ramen, sushi, sashimi, etc. How to eat well and travel well in one week?

Here is a sample itinerary for your inspiration:

  • Days 1–2: Osaka
  • Days 3–4: Kyoto
  • Days 5–7: Tokyo

2 days in Osaka: Osaka is known as "the kitchen of Japan", and Dotonbori is the food center of Osaka, where you can sample a variety of traditional Japanese cuisines. Take a day-trip to Kobe and taste the most famous Kobe beef.

2 days in Kyoto: Sample ramen, fried pork chops, and tofu dishes. Taste high-class kaiseki. Enjoy natural beauty at Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple, and see local people in kimonos.

3 days in Tokyo: Taste the freshest sashimi and sushi at Tsukiji Market, try the most authentic ramen and tempura, enjoy a steaming tea at Hamarikyu Garden, and eat traditional snacks in Asakusa.

Witness the Highlights of Mountain and Sea in West Japan

How Much Does It Cost for One Week in Japan?

japan costs

Japan is one of the most affordable destinations in the developed world. It offers memorable attractions, high-quality accommodation, delicious restaurants, and warm service.

A 4-star hotel, private guide, private car, and tickets for attractions for full-day itineraries costs 350-400 USD per person per day. Contact us for more recommendations and suggestions.

A 5-star hotel, private guide, private car, and tickets for attractions costs around 500 USD per person per day.

Prices are higher during cherry blossom season.

Suggested reading: How Much Is a Trip to Japan

Further Reading

How Long Should You Spend in Japan: From 5 Days to 4 weeks

How to Plan a Trip to Japan and Thailand

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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