I’ve written a few articles about our travels in Japan and suggested attractions and sightseeing as well as itineraries for Osaka. So, here, I’ve put together a Japan Itinerary for 7 days exploring. It’s quite a whirlwind but it pretty much mirrors what we did so it is very doable. Of course, if you have more time or just like to take things more slowly then do spend more time in each place. Accordingly, we will definitely be back to see more of Japan as 7 days is really nowhere near enough.
Firstly, if you are planning a trip to Japan then take a look at my introductory page. I look at the preparations required before booking your trip to Japan: visa requirements, getting there and around, cultural and language tips, for example.
Japan Itinerary: 7 Day
Japan Itinerary: Day 1
Firstly, start your exploration of Japan in the city of Osaka. Take a stroll along the Dotonbori canal and then discover Japanese history at the castle and museum.
The canal is a wonderful place for a pre-dinner stroll before you sample the local delights in the main restaurant and dining area.
Japan Itinerary: Day 2
Hiroshima and Miyajima Island
Then, take a ride on the famous Japanese bullet train and visit Hiroshima Peace Park. Famous for the tragic events at the end of the Second World War, the peace park is both a memorial to the past and a symbol of hope for the future.
In fact, it’s easy to take in Miyajima Island the same day as they are quite close to each other. Here you can also see the famous floating Torri Gate and explore the pathways around the shrine.
Take a cable car ride to the top of Mount Misen for even more amazing views across the surrounding area. It’s also a fun ride in itself.
Japan Itinerary: Day 3
Then take the local express train to Kyoto and spend the day exploring Japan’s history. Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan and thus steeped in history. Walk through a tunnel of Torri gates at Fushimi Inari shrine and then visit the home of the shoguns at Nijo Castle.
You can find my guide to sightseeing in Kyoto by clicking on this link. I’ve also featured Kyoto as part of my 3-day itinerary in Osaka which also gives information on travelling between the two cities by train.
Afterwards, we took the bullet train straight to Tokyo. Of course, if you have more time then do stay a night or two in Kyoto. There’s a lot more to see here and you could easily enjoy another day or two exploring.
Japan Itinerary: Days 4 & 5
You’ll need at least 2 days to explore Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. Of course, that’s not really enough time to do everything this fabulous city has to offer but it will give you a great first taste of the place.
Take a look at my guide to sightseeing in Tokyo for practical tips on where to stay and how to get around as well as top attractions to see. Ride a train across Rainbow Bridge on the fully automated Yurikamome and then shop and dine in the heart of the action in Shibuya. View Tokyo from on high at the top of the Tokyo Tower before exploring its history in one of its many top-class museums.
No visit to Tokyo would be complete without a trip on the famous Tokyo subway although I have to say, it was nowhere near as busy as I expected.
Japan Itinerary: Day 6
During your stay in Tokyo, it’s a short hop to the port city of Yokohama. Read my tips on getting to the cruise terminal by train here. Even if you’re not taking a cruise out of Yokohama, it’s a lovely city for a walk along the bay. You can also visit the Ramen Museum.
Of course, you don’t have to be booked on a cruise to experience the cruise terminal. As can be seen in the photo below there is a wooden boardwalk on top of the terminal. Thus, anyone can take a stroll up on top to view the harbour and any cruise ships which happen to be docked alongside.
Japan Itinerary: Day 7
Whether you choose to stay in Tokyo or overnight in Yokohama, a day trip to Kamakura is easily accessible. Indeed, top of my list of things to see here was the famous Giant Buddha. Read my guide to taking a day trip to Kamakura for details of how to get there and what to see.
Particularly, don’t miss Tsurgaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura. This beautiful shrine is set in lovely gardens and is also within walking distance of the railway station.
A summary of the Japan Itinerary for 7 days
In this article, I wanted to give an idea of just how much you can fit into 7 days in Japan. In fact, this is the itinerary we did when we travelled through Japan before catching our cruise ship from Yokohama. We fitted a lot in but I don’t think we overdid it and of course, we had 17 nights on our cruise across the Pacific to recover. I think we got a good introduction to the top sights in Japan and it certainly made me want to go back and see more.