Looking for the perfect 7 Day Japan Itinerary?!
From the ancient temples and shrines of Kyoto to the modern cityscapes of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan is teeming with both old and new.
Whether you’re looking for a diverse range of amazing food, beautiful scenery, or unique cultural experiences, every region in this breathtaking country has something different to offer!
Japan is one of my absolute favorite countries to visit, and definitely the kind of place you could spend months exploring.
But don’t worry – if you only have a short time frame to visit, seeing Japan in a week is totally possible!
In this itinerary, you will find my recommendations for the best locations to visit, how to get around, where to stay, and much more.
7 DAY JAPAN ITINERARY OVERVIEW
To get the most out of your 1 week in Japan, here is an overview of my recommended route to take:
- Day 1: Tokyo to Kyoto
- Day 2: Kyoto
- Day 3: Kyoto to Nara
- Day 4: Kyoto to Osaka
- Day 5: Osaka
- Day 6: Osaka to Hiroshima
- Day 7: Hiroshima to Fuji to Tokyo
HOW TO GET AROUND JAPAN
The easiest and most convenient way to discover Japan is with a 7 Day Japan Rail Pass that is valid for use on the vast majority of railways and local buses operated by JR (Japan Rail) throughout the country.
Choose between an Ordinary Pass, or choose the Green Class Pass if you’re looking to travel in more comfort with reclining seats, a footrest, extra leg space, and a travel magazine.
The JR Pass includes the Shinkansen (bullet train), Limited Express, Local Trains, Monorail, JR Buses, and the Miyajima Ferry.
The Japan Rail Pass is definitely the best ticket to have when planning your Japan itinerary!
BUY NOW → 7 DAY JAPAN RAIL PASS
Ditch Your Backpack, Get a Suitcase!
WHERE TO BUY YOUR JR PASS
You can purchase a JR Pass online through an official Japan Rail Pass reseller and I always use Klook.
I recommend buying your pass prior to arriving – not only is it cheaper online than buying in Japan itself but it will allow you to jump right into your trip!
When you purchase your JR Pass, a voucher will be mailed to your home within a couple of days (or delivered to your hotel in Japan, if you choose!)
At the Travel Service Center, the process is very simple. You exchange this voucher and show your passport and visa.
(Note: When you land in Japan, you’ll automatically get a tourist visa in your passport at immigration. For the majority of nationalities, the visa is free if you’re in Japan for less than 90 days.)
Then, after specifying the date you’d like your pass to start and reserving your seat for the first leg of the trip, you’ll receive your pass and be ready to begin your 7 days in Japan!
Hot Tip: It’s good to get a Suica card too… for subway, private train lines, and non-JR city buses (especially in Kyoto).
Find Tours, Tickets, & Transport on Klook!
Visit Klook.com to get discounted attraction tickets, book epic tours, find transportation, and more.
With thousands of amazing travel experiences around the world, you’ll find the best deals on Klook!
Now that we’ve covered some logistics on how to get around Japan, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So, without further ado here is a complete 7 day itinerary for Japan!
DAY 1: TOKYO TO KYOTO
HOW TO GET FROM TOKYO TO KYOTO
If you’re arriving at Narita Airport, I recommend getting the 1000¥ ($10 USD) bus direct from the airport to Tokyo Station.
It only takes around 70 minutes, and offers great views as you approach and become engulfed by Tokyo city!
Once you get to Tokyo Station, follow the signs to the Marunouchi North Gate exit, and there you’ll find the JR East Travel Service Center.
This is where you will trade your JR pass voucher for your actual JR Rail Pass.
From there, head to the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line at Tokyo Station. Look for screens that show the name and departure time of your shinkansen (this info is also on your reserved seat ticket), and you’ll be able to find the right platform and car number.
The trip to Kyoto takes about 3 hours on the bullet train, so if you leave in the early morning you can be there by around 11 am.
If the weather is clear, you might even sneak a view of Fuji on the way down, so keep a lookout on the right-hand side of the train!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN KYOTO
Kyoto National Museum
For your first stop in Kyoto, I recommend briefly checking out the Kyoto National Museum.
With a wide range of exhibits showing off ancient Japanese culture and hosting many famous names in Japanese art, you’ll definitely be able to marvel at and learn something new about Kyoto’s rich history.
The entry price for adults is 500¥, and you can pay extra for exclusive seasonal exhibitions.
How to get there:
Kyoto City Bus 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop, or via a 10-minute walk from Shichijo Station on the Keihan line.
Next on your Japan 7 days itinerary, I highly suggest paying a visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto’s northwest, where you’ll find the famous Golden Pavilion, located on a small lake in the middle of a serene garden.
The building dates back to 1397, and was once the holiday retreat villa for a prominent Japanese Shogun!
You can expect to spend about an hour exploring the temple and its surrounding gardens. Opening hours are from 9 am – 5 pm and the ticket price is 400¥.
How to get there:
Kyoto City Bus 205 from Kyoto Station to Kinkakuji-michi bus stop, or Kyoto City Bus 59 from Sanjo-Keihan to the Kinkakuji-mae stop, or taxi directly to Kinkaku-ji Temple.
Finally, from Kinkaku-ji temple it is a 20-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride to Ryoan-ji Temple – the site of Japan’s most famous rock garden, attracting hundreds of visitors every day.
Meditating with the view of this immaculately well-kept Cultural World Heritage site is a perfect way to end the first day of your itinerary!
Never Lose Your Luggage Again!
DAY 2: KYOTO
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Begin the second day of your 7 day itinerary Japan at the world-famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
A trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without having visited Arashiyama!
Kyoto’s bamboo forest is one of the most photographed attractions in the city and experiencing it through your own eyes is even better than any picture you would have seen of this place!
There is one main path leading through the Kyoto bamboo grove and when you enter the parallel tunnel of bamboo trees, you’ll feel like you’ve just entered another realm.
You will also notice the temperature drop when you are wandering through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove as the canopy above almost completely cuts out the sun.
The nature that surrounds Arashiyama is absolutely breathtaking and chances are you’ll spot a few monkeys in the area too, so keep your eye peeled.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest entrance fee is 500¥ and the opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 5:30 am – 11:30 pm.
How to get there:
Find your way to Saga Arashiyama Station on the JR Sagano line using the JR Pass and it’s a short 10-minute walk from here.
Next up on this itinerary is a journey through the world-famous Tori gates of Fushimi Inari.
This must-see shrine consists of a pathway lined with over 4000 Tori gates that extends 4 km up to the very top of Mount Inari.
It takes two to three hours to walk to the top and back down, however you can turn back whenever you want!
Along the pathway, you will also see many stone foxes, symbolizing the messenger of Inari – the god of rice… and business!
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is free to enter and is open all day and night.
How to get there:
JR Nara Line from Kyoto railway station using the JR Pass, two stops to JR Inari station
Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!
We all know accidents can happen and having SafetyWing Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.
SafetyWing offers low-cost Travel Medical Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.
One of the most exclusive experiences in Kyoto is meeting a traditional Geisha performer.
Geisha are highly skilled entertainers who appear at high-end dinners, private parties, and special events to add a special touch to the proceedings, and are rarely seen in public.
Many foreigners tend to run around the red light district areas to try to get a glimpse of a Geisha girl or pay large sums to have a private performance.
Luckily, for travelers on a budget, there are some cheap options to get a taste of what a Geisha show is like!
I personally recommend Maiko Theater. While training to become Geisha between the ages of 15 and 20, these girls are known as ‘Maiko’, and this theatre gives you the rare opportunity to get to see one of them close up!
It is relatively inexpensive (3300¥ for their basic show, including a special dance and Q&A session), and you can take as many photos of (and with) her as you like!
How to get there:
Bus from Kyoto Station to Kawaramachi Gojo bus stop, then walk for 2 minutes, or 3 minutes walk east from Keihan Shimizu Gojo station (exit 4).
Next on this 7 days Japan itinerary, head to Kiyomizu-michi street and follow it uphill until you reach the popular Kiyomizu-dera (Water) Temple.
The walk leading up to the temple is almost as exciting as the temple visit, with many traditional buildings, shops, and restaurants.
The temple is built into the side of the mountain, and from the huge verandah, you can see spectacular views of the hillside and the entire city.
Below the Kiyomizu-dera temple, you can find the reason why people make pilgrimages here from around Japan and the world – the Otowa Waterfall.
The waters are divided into three streams, and visitors use long poles with cups attached to drink from the streams.
Each stream has a different meaning and benefit – long life and health, success in school/career, and love. However, you can only drink from one… so choose carefully!
Check Out This Must-Have Travel Accessory!
From Kiyomizu-dera, you can meander down the iconic Sannen-zaka alleyway.
This historical, stone-paved street is lined with many traditional Japanese buildings, shops, cafes, inns, and is also surrounded by several famous landmarks such as Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Yasaka-no-to Pagoda, and Kodaiji Zen Temple.
Once you reach the bottom of the hill, you’ve basically arrived at Gion, home to various red-light districts where you might be lucky enough to spot a Geisha! My favorite is Hanamikoji Street.
I recommend timing your arrival here for around 5:30 pm, as this is when the Geishas start leaving their homes to go to work (…and avoid the paparazzi of foreigners while doing so!)
Be careful though, you can be fined for taking photos of them, as it is considered highly disrespectful.
Put the cameras down for this one, and enjoy the chance to see one in the moment!
WHERE TO STAY IN KYOTO
LUXURY: HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO
MID RANGE: TUNE STAY KYOTO
BUDGET: LEN KYOTO HOSTEL
KYOTO RYOKAN KINOE
If you’re looking for an authentic experience to add to your Japan 7 day itinerary, I highly recommend staying at a traditional Ryokan (Japanese-style inn) during your stay.
My personal favorite is Kyoto Ryokan Kinoe which is conveniently located in central Kyoto just 5 minutes walk from Gion.
This cozy Ryokan offers spacious tatami mat rooms, 24-hour baths, and multi-course meals served for breakfast and dinner.
Staying here will make you feel like you’re a traveler back in Edo-era Japan!
For More Options In Kyoto, Search On Booking.com
DAY 3: KYOTO TO NARA
A day trip to Nara is an absolute must on your 7-day Japan itinerary and it’s best visited during your stay in Kyoto.
Once an ancient capital of Japan, Nara is home to some of the country’s most important cultural places, including the world’s largest wooden structure and the well-known Nara Deer Park.
HOW TO GET FROM KYOTO TO NARA
Using your JR Pass, take the JR Nara line from Kyoto Station to JR Nara station. Local lines run about three times an hour, and the journey takes about 70 minutes.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN NARA
Todai-ji is the architectural highlight of this one-day Nara trip. Housing the world’s largest Daibutsu (bronze Buddha statue), this Great Buddha Hall is the world’s largest wooden structure.
As you approach Todai-ji, you can see the famous Nara deer chilling freely around the temple grounds.
It’s 600¥ to enter, and you can pay extra to visit the attached museum too.
How to get there:
Bus from JR Nara station to Todai-ji Daibutsuden station, then a 5-10 minute walk to the main temple.
BUY NOW → 7 DAY JAPAN RAIL PASS
The BEST Affordable Camera For Travel
If you’re on the hunt for a professional camera for traveling, check out the Canon G7 X Mark II.
This tiny camera fits in your pocket, captures high-quality photos and videos, and has Wi-Fi so you can instantly transfer to your phone!
Nara Deer Park
From Todai-ji, it’s a short work to Nara Deer Park.
This place is full of the city’s iconic animal residents, and they aren’t afraid to say hello! You can even bow to them, and they will bow back!
You’ll see numerous street vendors selling senbei crackers that you can feed them.
But beware, as soon as a deer sees you holding one in your hand, it won’t stop following until it gets its cracker!
DAY 4: KYOTO TO OSAKA
HOW TO GET FROM KYOTO TO OSAKA
The best way to get to Osaka station, once again using your JR Pass, is on the Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line.
The Special Rapid Train will get you to Osaka Station in 28 minutes. Trains depart from platforms 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA
Amerika-mura (America Town)
For your first stop in Osaka, I seriously recommend spending time in Amerika-mura – an American-inspired district filled with vintage shops, record stores, and western foods with a Japanese twist.
The now-thriving neighborhood was once filled with empty warehouses and parking lots, but all changed in 1969 when a hip cafe opened, attracting young people and artists from around the region.
Nowadays, it’s still a vibrant hub, and has some of the most eccentric and punk fashion anywhere in Japan!
If you’re into theme parks, then put Universal Studios Japan (USJ) on your 7 days in Japan itinerary!
This huge park is Osaka’s equivalent of Tokyo Disneyland and offers a world of pop culture, family-friendly rides, and an ever-changing calendar of seasonal events. A 1-day studio pass ranges from 7,600¥ to 9,200¥ depending on the season.
See All Ticket Prices → Universal Studios Osaka
How to get there:
From Osaka Station, you can take a direct train and be there in just 12 minutes!
DAY 5: OSAKA
On the morning of day 5, I definitely recommend checking out Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most recognized monuments.
Built by General Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1583 as a display of power after unifying Japan, the castle grounds cover around 15 acres!
The surrounding park itself is also a famous spot for Hanami (Cherry Blossom) season.
It’s definitely a worthwhile visit on any Japan itinerary! You will get to learn about not only this amazing monument but the incredible history of the region too.
Osaka Castle is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day and admission is 600¥.
The BEST reusable water bottle for travel!
The GRAYL GeoPress is a top-rated reusable water bottle perfect for backpacking, hiking, and traveling.
It allows you to purify water from anywhere and keeps you safe from all waterborne diseases.
Get a GeoPress today and never buy single-use plastic bottles again. Mama Earth will thank you for it!
Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi
Located just a short 10 minutes walk away from B&S Eco Cube, Dotonbori is affectionately known as the “Kitchen of Japan”, or the heart and soul of Osaka – famous for its dining, entertainment, and nightlife.
A trip to Osaka is never complete without visiting Dotonbori!
The food options at Dotonbori are endless. Be it street snacks, fast meals, or exquisite dining, there is always something to satisfy every palate.
Most of the restaurants are open till the wee hours, offering high-quality food that will never disappoint. Make sure to try Takoyaki (grilled octopus), the local specialty!
Shinsaibashi is the largest, oldest, and busiest shopping district in Osaka. Shinsaibashi-Suji is at the center of Shinsaibashi, a covered shopping arcade located north of Dotonbori and connected by the Ebisu bridge under the Glico running man billboard.
WHERE TO STAY IN OSAKA
LUXURY: OSAKA MARRIOTT MIYAKO HOTEL
MID RANGE: HOTEL ELCIENT OSAKA
BUDGET: IMANO OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI HOSTEL
For More Options In Osaka, Search On Booking.com
DAY 6: OSAKA TO HIROSHIMA
On the second last day of your Japan itinerary, the adventure continues from Osaka to Hiroshima.
Sadly, Hiroshima is best known as the location of the world’s first nuclear bombing.
Its most poignant sites are the Genbaku Atomic Dome, Hiroshima Peace Park, and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
I believe visiting Hiroshima and learning about its history should be a core part of anyone’s 7 day trip to Japan.
HOW TO GET FROM OSAKA TO HIROSHIMA
To get to Hiroshima, you need to first go to Shin-Osaka Station where the bullet train platforms are located, which is a short 3-minute train ride from Osaka Station via the JR Tokaido-Sanyo line.
From Shin-Osaka, you can take a bullet train on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line from Hiroshima Station, which takes 1 hour and 32 minutes on the Sakura, or 2 hours and 13 minutes on the Hikari.
THINGS TO DO IN HIROSHIMA
Atomic Bomb Dome
The Atomic Bomb Dome is an impressive and somber sight.
Known before the bombing as the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, it was one of the only buildings to survive the explosion and was preserved as a symbol of the bombing of Hiroshima.
Walking around this building can be a little bit eerie, and really makes you reflect on the destruction that war causes and how lucky we are to live in a mostly war-free world!
How to get there:
Tram from Hiroshima Station to Atomic Bomb Dome station, a flat rate of 180¥.
Peace Park / Hiroshima Museum
If you cross the river from the Atomic Bomb Dome, you enter the beautiful Peace Park. The key site here is the Cenotaph, which frames the ‘eternal flame’ of Hiroshima.
It is said that this flame will be burning until all nuclear bombs are eradicated. Unfortunately, I think that this flame is going to be burning for a long time!
The Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Park, and Cenotaph are all free to visit.
For an entry price of 200¥, you can also visit the newly renovated Hiroshima Museum, which gives a very graphic and tragic historical account of the bombing and its lasting effects on Japan and the world.
To finish off your day in Hiroshima, I recommend a visit to Miyajima Island.
Miyajima’s top attraction is the bright red shrine gate of Itsukushima-jinja, which is standing out in the sea, and appears to be floating at high tide.
This spot is ranked as one of the three best views in Japan, however, right now it’s not so flash – the gate itself is currently undergoing renovations until July 2020 but after that, you’ll get to enjoy it as per normal!
How to get there:
Trains depart from Hiroshima Station every 15 minutes for the 26-minute ride to Miyajimaguchi (JR Sanyo line), from where it is a 2-minute walk to the ferry bound for Miyajima.
You can ride on the JR Ferry for free with your JR Pass, it will take you 10 minutes to reach Miyajima.
WHERE TO STAY IN HIROSHIMA
LUXURY: SHERATON GRAND HOTEL
MID RANGE: WE BASE HIROSHIMA
BUDGET: HOSTEL MALLIKA
For More Options In Hiroshima, Search On Booking.com
DAY 7: HIROSHIMA TO FUJI TO TOKYO
The last leg of this 7 day Japan itinerary is a little long, but definitely worth it for the chance to see Mt. Fuji at the end!
HOW TO GET FROM HIROSHIMA TO FUJI
I highly advise you to wake up quite early on this last day!
From Hiroshima Station, get on the Sakura Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe, and then transfer to the Hikari Shinkansen and ride it all the way to Shin-Yokohama. You will arrive at around 12:40 pm.
From Shin-Yokohama, there are still a few more trains to catch.
First, you take the JR Yokohama Line Rapid until Hachioji, which takes around 40minutes. From there, take the JR Chuo Special Rapid Service for Takao, taking around 7 minutes. Then, a 43-minute ride on the JR Chuo line until Otsuki station, where you can ride the Fuji View Express.
Fortunately, up until here, you can use your JR Pass, but as Fuji View Express is a private rail company, you can only get separate tickets or use your Suica card.
If you have any luggage, I recommend storing it at a locker at Takao station, as this is where you will come back to in order to return to Tokyo.
Locker prices are generally around 500-700¥ for a whole day, depending on if you are storing a backpack or suitcase.
Ride on the Fuji View Express until Shimoyoshida station. If all goes well, you should get in there by around 3:30 pm.
Take Your Photos & Videos To New Heights!
From Shimoyoshida, you have a 20-minute walk up to the Chureito Pagoda.
The Chureito Pagoda, also called the Chastain Tower and officially named the Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument, is a shrine located in the Fuji Five Lakes region at Mount Fuji’s northern base.
Chureito Pagoda has five stories; it is situated on a mountainside overlooking Fuji Yoshida City, with Mount Fuji itself visible in the distance.
This is one of the absolute best locations to get a shot of Fuji if she’s not being shy and hiding behind the clouds!
The locals say that the best time to visit for a full view is in the cold months of January and February, as that is when it is least cloudy.
The Chureito Pagoda is free to enter and it’s open 24 hours a day, so you can even stay to watch the sunset over this breathtaking mountain (depending on the time of year!)
I think it’s safe to say that Chureito Pagoda is an incredible sight to witness at the end of your 7 days in Japan.
HOW TO GET FROM MOUNT FUJI TO TOKYO
To get back to Tokyo, take the Fuji View Express back to Otsuki, then get on the local line bound for Takao.
From there, you can pick up your bags, and get on a rapid service bound for Shinjuku, which takes around 40-50 minutes.
Alternatively, you can get a bus from Kawaguchiko station (4 stops from Shimoyoshida station on the Fuji View line) directly to Shinjuku.
However, I recommend getting the most out of your last few hours with your JR Rail Pass, and taking the trains!
BEST TOURS IN TOKYO
WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO
LUXURY: HILTON TOKYO
MID RANGE: AKASAKA EXCEL HOTEL
BUDGET: UNPLAN SHINJUKU
For More Options In Tokyo, Search On Booking.com
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The currency in Japan is Yen (¥) and the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = 100 ¥.
There are plenty of ATMs in Japan located in most convenient stores, in front of banks, inside hotels, etc. where you can easily withdraw cash to have with you during your 7 days in Japan.
Most Japanese people can speak English, so if you are ever lost or need help with something you will be able to converse in English.
Also, all the signs at the airports, train stations, and shopping malls are written in both Japanese and English.
Before traveling to Japan, I recommend purchasing an eSIM so you have access to the internet throughout your trip.
Forget plastic SIM Cards… Get an eSIM!
Say hello to eSIM – a virtual SIM card pre-loaded with mobile data so you can get online and stay connected around the world.
OneSimCard is the best eSIM for travel, with low-cost data packages available in 150+ countries.
Simply buy online, install it on your smartphone, and you’re good to go!
BEST TIME TO VISIT JAPAN
The best time to visit Japan depends on what you plan to do.
I personally prefer the spring and summer months in Japan (April – September) when temperatures are warm and the landscapes are vividly green.
However, visiting Japan in winter (December – March) is absolutely magical because the landscapes are completely covered in glistening white snow.
Visiting Japan in winter also means you have to opportunity to go skiing and snowboarding in Japan’s alpine regions.
VISA FOR JAPAN
Japan is visa-free for travelers from over 65 countries, and you can stay in Japan for up to 90 days on a tourist visa.
Click Here to see the full list of nationalities that are eligible for the free 90-day tourist visa.
You don’t need to apply online for this as you will be granted a 90-day tourist visa at the airport when you arrive.
MAP OF JAPAN
Click here or on the image below for an interactive map of Japan.
WHAT TO PACK FOR JAPAN
When visiting Japan, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you.
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Hidden Money Wallet
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!
Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!
Quick-Dry Travel Towel
The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!
Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!
More Japan Travel Guides
Click the button below to view all articles related to Japan!
After seven eventful days of exploring Japan, this trip by far exceeded my expectations!
With many fun activities to do and attractions to see, Japan is definitely worth adding to your bucket list. I guarantee you won’t regret it!
If you have any questions at all about this Japan 7 day itinerary, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
Search and book accommodation worldwide.
Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.
Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.
Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.
Search all rental cars in your next destination.
Need travel insurance for your next trip?
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.