Sensoji Temple, Tokyo - Japan Itinerary

Japan Itinerary: Exploring Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo in 10 Days

Traveling to Japan can be a refreshing and enriching experience, as it offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique and distinct culture that is vastly different from those found in Europe and the United States – that’s why we wrote this Japan Itinerary!

One of the highlights of traveling to Japan is visiting the bigger cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, which are bustling metropolises that offer a wide range of cultural attractions, shopping, and dining options. These cities are known for their high-tech infrastructure and modern amenities, which can be a stark contrast to the more traditional aspects of Japanese culture.

At the same time, it is also worth seeking out Japan’s hidden gems that can be found in smaller towns and rural areas, where visitors can get a taste of more traditional Japanese life. These might include visiting temples and shrines, participating in local festivals, or exploring the country’s natural beauty.

Japanese cuisine is another aspect of the culture that many travelers find particularly appealing. From sushi and ramen to tempura and okonomiyaki, there is a wide variety of dishes to try, and many visitors find that the food in Japan is both delicious and visually appealing.

Finally, it is worth noting that Japan is known for its advanced technology and infrastructure, which makes it an easy and convenient place to travel. The country has a well-developed transportation system (which makes it easy to travel through Japan on a budget), including an extensive network of trains and buses. 

Japan Itinerary: Exploring Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo in 10 Days

Exploring Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo in 10 days offers a unique and exciting opportunity to experience Japan’s rich culture and history. Especially as these three cities are all located in close proximity to one another, allowing you to spend more time visiting cultural attractions, dining options, and other activities that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning traveler.

One of the highlights of visiting these cities is the opportunity to experience the culture shock that often comes with traveling to a foreign country. Japan is known for its unique blend of traditional and modern culture. Visitors usually find themselves struck by the contrast between the buzzy cities and the more rural, traditional areas of the country. 

As you explore these cities, be sure to take the time to try out the local Japanese cuisine and seek out the more off-the-beaten-path attractions. Many travelers find that it is these lesser-known experiences that end up being the most memorable and rewarding. 

Additionally, a handy tip for traveling in Japan is to make sure to bring along a portable WiFi device, as this will allow you to stay connected and navigate your way around the cities more easily.

2 days in Osaka itinerary

Since you’ll only have two days to explore Osaka, you’ll want to make the most of your time and see as much as possible. In this itinerary, we’ll take you to some of the city’s most instagrammable spots, including the iconic Glico Man sign and the beautiful Osaka Castle. 

Osaka, Japan itinerary, Day 1:

  • Start the day by visiting Dontonbori Street, one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations. Don’t miss the iconic Glico Man sign, a popular photo spot.
  • After taking some photos, try some of Osaka’s famous street food, including takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (thick savory pancake). These dishes are must-tries when visiting Osaka as they are iconic in the Japanese cuisine
  • In the afternoon, visit Osaka Castle, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. We advise you to take a tour around the castle’s grounds and learn about its history. You can also visit the castle’s museum, which displays the castle’s history and its role in Japan’s feudal period.
  • In the evening, head to Shinsaibashi, a popular shopping district in Osaka. Browse the many stores and shops, and pick up some souvenirs. You’ll find everything from fashion and accessories to electronics and home goods.

Osaka, Japan itinerary, Day 2:

  • Start the day by visiting the Umeda Skybuilding, an observation tower with panoramic views of Osaka. Take the elevator to the top and enjoy the views from the open-air observation deck.
  • In the afternoon, head to Universal Studios Japan, one of the city’s top attractions. Enjoy the many rides and attractions, and don’t miss the chance to meet some of your favorite characters. Be sure to check the schedule and plan your visit around the shows and parades you want to see.

4 days in Kyoto itinerary

With four days to explore Kyoto, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide range of attractions and experience the many facets of Kyoto’s unique culture. In this itinerary, we’ll take you to some of the city’s most iconic and picturesque locations, including the Gion District, home to the Hokan-ji Temple and the Kiyomizudera Temple, as well as the beautiful Higashiyama-ku neighborhood. 

We’ll also take a trip to Arashiyama, where you can marvel at the stunning bamboo forest and visit the Monkey Park. These are just a few of the many attractions that Kyoto has to offer, and we hope that this itinerary will help you make the most of your time in the city.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 3:

  • Start the day by exploring the Gion District, known for its beautiful streets, shrines, and temples.
  • Visit Hokan-ji Temple, a beautiful Zen temple located in the heart of Gion.
  • Head to the Kiyomizudera Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning views of the city and its iconic wooden stage.
  • After exploring the temples, take a walk through the charming streets of Gion and stop by any shops or cafes that catch your eye.
  • In the evening, make your way to Pontocho Alley for dinner. This narrow alley is lined with traditional Japanese restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to try some local cuisine.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 4:

  • Take a day trip to Arashiyama, a scenic area located just outside of Kyoto.
  • Visit the Bamboo Forest, a picturesque grove of tall bamboo trees that will transport you to another world.
  • Head to the Monkey Park, where you can observe and interact with a group of playful Japanese macaques.
  • After your trip to Arashiyama, return to Kyoto and spend the evening at your wandering around the city.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 5:

  • Visit the stunning Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. This iconic temple is covered in gold leaf and set against a backdrop of beautiful gardens.
  • In the afternoon, participate in a traditional tea ceremony at a local teahouse. This ancient ritual is an important part of Japanese culture and is a unique opportunity to experience it firsthand.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 6:

  • Start the day with a food tour at Nishiki Market, a bustling market known for its local produce, seafood, and specialty foods.
  • In the afternoon, take a hike to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a popular shrine known for its thousands of torii gates that lead up a mountain. Make sure to come here early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • If you have time, visit a local onsen (hot spring) to relax and soak in the natural hot springs. Note that some onsens may not allow guests with tattoos, so it’s best to check in advance.

4 days in Tokyo itinerary

With four days to discover Tokyo, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide range of attractions and experience the many facets of Tokyo’s unique culture. 

In this itinerary, we’ll take you to some of the city’s most iconic and popular attractions, including the Tokyo Tower and the Shibuya Sky viewpoint. 

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 7:

  • Start your day with a visit to teamLab Planets, an interactive art exhibit featuring immersive digital installations.
  • After teamLab Planets, head to the Senso-Ji Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple located in Asakusa.
  • Take a walk through the bustling streets of Asakusa and browse the local shops and stalls.
  • In the evening, make your way to Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world. Watch the crowds of people cross the street from the observation deck at the top of the scramble crossing.
  • Afterward, dine at the Prince Park Tower, next to Tokyo Tower. Make sure to go before 5 pm to avoid the extra fee.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 8:

  • Start the day at the Tsukiji Market, a massive fish market that’s home to some of the freshest seafood in the city. You can watch the tuna auctions and browse the stalls selling everything from fresh fish to kitchen equipment.
  • In the afternoon, visit a pet cafe where you can cuddle with adorable animals while enjoying a cup of coffee.
  • End the day with a visit to Yodobashi Camera Akihabara, a nine-story electronic store that’s a paradise for tech lovers.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 9:

  • Spend the morning at the Meiji Jingu, a beautiful shrine in Tokyo’s heart.
  • After visiting the shrine, head to the Imperial Palace, the official residence of the Emperor of Japan. You can take a guided tour of the palace grounds or simply admire the beautiful gardens from the outside.
  • In the afternoon, explore the trendy neighborhood of Harajuku, known for its street fashion and shopping. Walk along Takeshita Street and browse the colorful stores and boutiques.
  • In the evening, head to the Golden Gai, a small area in Shinjuku filled with tiny bars and restaurants. It’s a great place to grab a drink and chat with locals.

Kyoto, Japan itinerary, Day 10:

  • Start the day with a visit to the Shibuya Sky, a new observation deck located on the top floor of a high-rise building in Shibuya. From here, you’ll have a 360-degree view of the city.
  • Afterward, visit Roppongi Hills, a complex with various attractions, including a museum, an observation deck, and a shopping center.
  • In the afternoon, visit the Tokyo Skytree, a towering observation tower that offers panoramic views of the city.
  • Finish the day with a visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where you can visit the observation decks on the 45th floor for free. The views from here are stunning at sunset.

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