Your last stop in Kyoto is Heian Jingu Shrine, which was built to celebrate the 1100
th anniversary of Kyoto as the capital of Japan.
Osaka should be a priority in your Japan travel itinerary. The thriving metropolis retains a distinct culture and an energetic vibe unlike anywhere else in Japan.
How to Get There
Duration: 12 minutes.
Take the high-speed shinkansen bullet train from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka.
Where to Stay in Osaka
Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton Osaka is the top choice if you’re looking for luxury accommodation and superb rooms. The St. Regis is another perfect centrally-located hotel.
Budget: Dorm Hostel Osaka features a library lounge, plenty of dorms, and is very close to most attractions. It’s great for students!
Where to Eat in Osaka
Janjan Yokocho Alley – a must if you want to try
kushikatsu (deep-friend skewered meat or vegetables) Dotombori – try the food at any of the stalls for a truly immersive Japanese experience
Salon de Amanto – a restaurant run by artists that host talks and live performances
The Conrad’s 40 Sky Bar & Lounge – the best bar to take in the breeze and sip on a cocktail after a long day exploring
Osaka City Guide for more must-see sites and activities!
What to Do in Osaka – Day 8
Take the first few hours in Osaka to acquaint yourself with Dotonbori. A popular tourist destination, this street runs parallel to the Dotonbori canal and is filled with the original charm of Osaka.
There you’ll find markets, theaters, towering neon-lit buildings, shops, and a plethora of street stalls. You’ll probably pass by the famous
Gilco Man sign, so be sure to take a picture!
You can also take a river cruise across the Tonbori River or shop your trip away at Shinsaibashi-suji.
Locals hang out, drink, and mingle at Triangle Park, so this is a great spot if you’re interested in a chill, local evening. If you want more of a lively evening that you won’t forget, Shinsaibashi should be on your list!
What to Do in Osaka – Day 9
Otaku Road is a must-see destination for fans of all-things video games and anime. Next, juxtapose that modernity by visiting Osaka’s most famous shrine, the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine.
Visit the Osaka Castle to experience the sheer grandeur of its park complex, its impressive grounds, and its stunning castle walls.
Finally, enjoy panoramic views of Osaka via the Umeda Sky Building – and have dinner after on the basement floor!
Day 10 - 11: Hiroshima and Miyajima
Hiroshima is much more than its tragic past and deserves to be explored. You’re bound to put it on your favorites list after exploring its historical sights, fun galleries, and delicious cuisine.
How to Get There
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes – 2 hours and 13 minutes.
Take the train from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station. You can choose between Sakura (1 hour and 30 minutes) or Hikari (2 hours and 13 minutes).
Where to Stay in Hiroshima
Luxury: The Sheraton Grand Hotel is modern, high-end, and boasts beautiful wide rooms.
Mid-range: Mitsui Garden Hotel Hiroshima is a modern hotel that is only a few minutes’ walk to the Peace Memorial Park.
Where to Eat in Hiroshima
Yakigaki-no-Hayashi – a fantastic seafood restaurant which reflects Japanese cuisine in all its dishes
Shanti Vegan Café – healthy, vegan choices – great for breakfast!
Hassei – another okonomiyaki restaurant catered more towards locals
What to Do in Hiroshima – Day 10
Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome to learn about the history and significance of Hiroshima. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the only building that remained standing after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb in 1945.
Continue your path of reflection and walk through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Spend time looking at the
award-winning architecture and talk to the A-Bomb Legacy Successors to hear first-hand accounts of survivors’ experiences.
The museum can get graphic, but it presents an unforgettable tragedy in Japanese history that should be a focal point of any trip to Hiroshima.
Unwind and decompress by visiting Shukkei-en, a Japanese garden that sees cherry blossoms in spring. You’ll almost certainly get to see a Kimono-clad couple or two getting their weddings pictures taken.
Discover masterpieces by Monet, Picasso, and the like at the Museum of Art or visit Hiroshima Castle on a Sunday to attend a traditional dance performance and see the Samurai history exhibit.
What to Do in Miyajima – Day 11
Take a 25-minute morning ferry (covered by the JR pass) to the islands of Miyajima. Spend the ferry ride above deck so you can enjoy the views of the
Torii (traditional Japanese gates) as they stand tall above the waters.
Once on land, you’ll be met by the island’s friendliest locals: the mini deer. It will be hard to resist getting close to them, but be sure to keep your distance!
Spend your day exploring Itsukushima Jinja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning shrines in Japan. Try to stick around for low-tide so you can get as close as possible to the grand structure.
The final attraction you should see in Miyajima is Senjokaku Hall. Senjokaku Hall dates back to 1587 and is strikingly sparse. The size of one thousand tatami mats, the building itself lacks proper ceilings and a front entrance. The awe-inspiring hall also gives you the absolute best views of Satonaikai National Park.
Day 12: Nagoya
How to Get There
Duration: 3 hours and 20 minutes
Take the Hiraki train from Hiroshima to Nagoya and get ready to experience this diverse little city.
Where to Stay in Nagoya
Luxury: Book a room at either Nagoya Kanko Hotel, located right in the Naka Ward, or Hotel Nagoya Castle, perched in the center of the most luxurious area in Nagoya.
Budget: Cozy and clean, Café & Guest House Nagonoya offers great access to public transport.
Where to Eat in Nagoya
Misokatsu Yabaton – the best place to try traditional street food from the heart of Nagoya
Nikomi No Takara – try the renowned Misonikomi
Atsuta Houraiken honten – be sure to taste Hitsumabushi, Nagoya’s signature dish
What to Do in Nagoya
Head towards Osu for some top-notch shopping, specifically for handicrafts and quirky fashion. Meander for a few hours at the Tokugawa Art Museum and observe timeless treasures from three different Heian periods.
No trip to Nagoya is complete without a stop at Nagoya Castle. One of the most symbolic castles in Japan – and one of the largest – Nagoya Castle has been restored quite a few times since it was built in 1612. To this day it still emanates an unparalleled sense of magnificence.
Day 13: Nikko
Explore the unspoiled nature that Nikko has to offer on your last day before you head back to Tokyo. It’s a great weekend escape from Tokyo, and it’s the perfect way to end your Japan 14-day itinerary.
Where to Stay in Nikko
Luxury: Okunoin Hotel Tokugawa is a luxurious hotel with an indoor onsen, an incredible restaurant, and beautiful rooms.
Mid-range: Nikko Park Lodge Tobu Station is conveniently located next to a train station.
Budget: Rindo-no-le is a small ryokan that reflects Japanese hospitality.
Where to Eat in Nikko
Yasai Café Meguri – a vegan café located inside an art gallery
Komekichi Kozushi – ideal for sushi
What to Do in Nikko
Start your day at the bright red bridge that is symbolic to Nikko – Shinkyo Bridge. From there, you will find temples and shrines all the way through the forest. We recommend visiting the mausoleum of Japan’s most successful shogun, known as Tokugawa Leyasu.
The highlight of your visit to Nikko will be the Toshogu Shrine. It’s easily one of the most stunning temples you will ever visit. The shrine is lavishly decorated and consists of more than a dozen buildings set in the beautiful forest. This shrine is particularly unique, as gold leaf and wood carvings decorate the buildings – a break from the traditional simplicity of shrine architecture.
Spend the rest of your day adventuring through Nikko National Park. Then make your way to Lake Chuzenji to see Japan’s most favorite waterfalls: the Kegon Falls.
Day 14: Tokyo and Departure
Sadly, you’ll spend your last day checking out, heading back to Tokyo, and bidding farewell to everything that Japan has to offer.
This 14-day Japan travel itinerary only scratches the surface of all the history, art, and culture you can immerse yourself in when you visit Japan. The country needs
months for true exploration, but this two-week itinerary is a great place to start!