39 days in Japan Itinerary

39 days in Japan Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Japan sightseeing planner

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Route & dates

39 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Polokwane
Fly:  30​h
1
Tokyo
— 8 nights
train:  2​h 45​min
2
Kyoto
— 5 nights
train:  1​h 45​min
3
Wakayama
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
4
Himeji
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Seki
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
6
Kiso-machi
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Takayama
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Matsumoto
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
9
Nakanojo-machi
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
10
Niigata
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h
11
Oga
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
12
Hakodate
— 1 night
shuttle + Fly:  1​h
13
Sapporo
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
14
Tokyo
— 2 nights
Fly:  30​h
End: Polokwane

8
nights
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Tokyo holds the status of most populous metropolitan area in the world--a fact you'll find tangible as you walk the bustling streets and explore its diverse neighborhoods and cultures.
You've now added Robot Restaurant to your itinerary. Visit Tokyo National Museum and Kōtoku-in for their historical value. Museum-lovers will appreciate Edo-Tokyo Museum and Owl cafe Akiba Fukurou. Change things up with these side-trips from Tokyo: Hakone-machi (Hakone Shisseikaen & Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)), Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (in Kamakura) and Yokohama Chinatown (in Yokohama). The adventure continues: stop by The Tsukiji Market, take a stroll through Odaiba, enjoy the sand and surf at Odaiba Kaihin Koen (Odaiba Seaside Park), and make a trip to Meiji Jingu.

To find traveler tips, photos, maps, and more tourist information, read Tokyo trip maker website .

Polokwane, South Africa to Tokyo is an approximately 30-hour flight. The time zone changes from South Africa Standard Time (SAST) to Japan Standard Time (JST), which is usually a 7 hour difference. When traveling from Polokwane in December, plan for colder days and slightly colder nights in Tokyo: temperatures range from 14°C by day to 5°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Sun) to allow time to take a train to Kyoto.

Things to do in Tokyo

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Hakone-machi, Kamakura, Yokohama Chinatown
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Odaiba ©
Odaiba
Sensō-ji ©
Sensō-ji
Tokyo National Museum ©
Tokyo National Museum

5
nights
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Visit Nijo-jo Castle and Fushimi Inari Taisha for their historical value. Museum-lovers will get to explore Kyoto International Manga Museum and Hikone Castle. There's lots more to do: wander the streets of Gion, take in the spiritual surroundings of Ginkaku-ji Temple, get great views at Kiyomizu-dera, and go for a walk through Arashiyama.

To find maps, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, read Kyoto itinerary planner.

Traveling by train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Fri) early enough to drive to Wakayama.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Hikone Castle
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Nijo Castle ©
Nijo Castle

2
nights
Wakayama

Wakayama ©
Split into two parts by the Kinokawa River, the city of Wakayama stands nestled in the eponymous plain, overlooked by a historic hilltop castle that was rebuilt after World War II.
On the 29th (Fri), step into the grandiose world of Wakayama Castle, look for gifts at Kanku Observation Hall Sky View, and then browse the different shops at Rinku Premium Outlets. On the next day, soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Kimiidera Temple, then step off the mainland to explore Tomogashima Island, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Awashima Shrine.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read Wakayama trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Kyoto to Wakayama takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 13°C in December, and nighttime lows around 7°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Sun) early enough to go by car to Himeji.

Things to do in Wakayama

Historic Sites Shopping Spas

Side Trip

Izumisano
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Wakayama Castle ©
Wakayama Castle
Kimiidera Temple ©
Kimiidera Temple
Tomogashima Island ©
Tomogashima Island

3
nights
Himeji

Himeji ©
The castle around which the city of Himeji has developed represents one of the best preserved in the country, and has been designated as a national treasure and a World Heritage Site.
Visiting Hinase Islands and Okura Kaigan will get you outdoors. Explore Himeji's surroundings by going to Asago (Ritsuun Gorge & Takeda Castle Ruins) and Awaji Highway Oasis (in Awaji). The adventure continues: take in nature's colorful creations at Kokoen Garden, don't miss a visit to Shoshazan Engyoji, and take in the views from Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.

Planning Himeji trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

You can drive from Wakayama to Himeji in 2 hours. Other options are to take a train; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, daily temperatures in Himeji can reach 12°C, while at night they dip to 6°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) to allow time to travel to Seki.

Things to do in Himeji

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Asago, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Hinase Islands, Awaji Highway Oasis, Amore Beach
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Koko-en Garden ©
Koko-en Garden
Takeda Castle Ruins ©
Takeda Castle Ruins
Shoshazan Engyoji ©
Shoshazan Engyoji

2
nights
Seki

Seki ©
Seki is a city located in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): revel in the low prices at Toki Premium Outlets, see the interesting displays at Museum Meijimura, step into the grandiose world of Inuyama Castle, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kasuga Shrine, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Miroku-ji Temple Kangaisekigun. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Thu): contemplate the waterfront views at Kiso River, then see the interesting displays at Little World, then contemplate the long history of Inuyama Jokamachi, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from Sarubami Castle Observatory.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Seki trip planner.

You can drive from Himeji to Seki in 4 hours. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Himeji in January, with highs in Seki at 6°C and lows at 0°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Fri) so you can travel to Kiso-machi.

Things to do in Seki

Museums Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Inuyama, Toki Premium Outlets, Sarubami Castle Observatory
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
The Museum Meiji-mura ©
The Museum Meiji-mura
Inuyama Castle ©
Inuyama Castle
Little World ©
Little World

2
nights
Kiso-machi

Kiso-machi ©
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Fri): take a peaceful walk through Akasawa Natural Forest and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Naraijuku. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: brush up on your knowledge of spirits at Mars Shinshu Distillery Hombo Shuzo, then hit the slopes at Senjojiki Cirque, and then examine the collection at Kozenji.

To see reviews, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read Kiso-machi trip website .

Traveling by car from Seki to Kiso-machi takes 2.5 hours. Traveling from Seki in January, expect Kiso-machi to be slightly colder, temps between 3°C and -4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can travel to Takayama.

Things to do in Kiso-machi

Parks Winter Sports Outdoors

Side Trips

Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest, Mars Shinshu Distillery Hombo Shuzo, Naraijuku, Senjojiki Cirque
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Senjojiki Cirque ©
Senjojiki Cirque
Naraijuku ©
Naraijuku

2
nights
Takayama

Takayama ©
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Sun): browse the eclectic array of goods at Hida-Takayama Miyagawa Morning Market, then take an in-depth tour of Gassho Zukuri Minka-en, then get to know the fascinating history of The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Traditional Houses in the Gassho Style, and finally steep yourself in history at Wada House. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the masterpieces at Hida Takayama Museum of Art, examine the collection at Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, then admire the sheer force of Hirayuotaki Fall, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Higashiyama Walking Course.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read Takayama day trip planner .

Getting from Kiso-machi to Takayama by car takes about 2 hours. In January, daytime highs in Takayama are 3°C, while nighttime lows are -4°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) so you can go by car to Matsumoto.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trip

Shirakawa-mura
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan

2
nights
Matsumoto

Matsumoto ©
A castle town, Matsumoto possesses one of the best-preserved feudal structures in the country, and maintains its historical attractions and traditions while simultaneously exuding a modern, cosmopolitan charm.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Tue): explore the world behind art at Matsumoto City Museum of Art, step into the grandiose world of Matsumoto Castle, then experience rural life at Daio Wasabi Farm, then take a stroll through Nawate Shopping District, and finally take a stroll through Nakamachi Street. Here are some ideas for day two: hit the slopes at Norikura Kogen.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, use the Matsumoto tour itinerary builder .

Getting from Takayama to Matsumoto by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 3°C, and evening lows to -4°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) early enough to travel to Nakanojo-machi.

Things to do in Matsumoto

Winter Sports Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Daio Wasabi Farm
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Norikura Kogen (Highland) ©
Norikura Kogen (Highland)
Matsumoto Castle ©
Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto City Museum of Art ©
Matsumoto City Museum of Art

2
nights
Nakanojo-machi

Nakanojo-machi ©
Start off your visit on the 11th (Thu): fly down the slopes at Kusatsu International Ski Place, appreciate the history behind Oni No Sumoba Monument, and then steep yourself in history at Netsunoyu. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Shirane, explore the world behind art at Kusatsu Tsurutaro Kataoka Art Museum, and then soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens.

To find where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Nakanojo-machi road trip planner .

Getting from Matsumoto to Nakanojo-machi by car takes about 3.5 hours. Traveling from Matsumoto in January, Nakanojo-machi is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sat) early enough to travel to Niigata.

Things to do in Nakanojo-machi

Parks Winter Sports Outdoors

Side Trip

Kusatsu-machi
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane ©
Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane
Netsunoyu ©
Netsunoyu
Kusatsu Tsurutaro Kataoka Art Museum ©

1
night
Niigata

Niigata ©
The port city of Niigata has an association with tourism, but not really one to do with the city itself.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Sat): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hakusan Shrine, sample the tasty concoctions at Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery, then indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at some of the top local onsens, and finally do a tasting at Cave D'occi Winery. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Niigata Furusatomura, then get engrossed in the history at Northern Culture Museum, then explore the activities along Fukushima-gata, and finally see the interesting displays at Niigtata Rice Cracker Museum.

For maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Niigata road trip site .

Drive from Nakanojo-machi to Niigata in 4 hours. Plan for a bit cooler nights when traveling from Nakanojo-machi in January since evenings lows in Niigata dip to 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Oga.

Things to do in Niigata

Museums Spas Baths
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Northern Culture Museum ©
Northern Culture Museum
Onsen Resorts
Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery ©
Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery

1
night
Oga

Oga
Oga is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan.As of May 2015, the city has an estimated population of 29,318, and a population density of 122 persons per km2. To see reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Oga road trip planning tool .

Getting from Niigata to Oga by car takes about 5 hours. In January, Oga is slightly colder than Niigata - with highs of 0°C and lows of -3°C. You'll set off for Hakodate on the 15th (Mon).

Things to do in Oga

Parks Outdoors Museums
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 15:

1
night
Hakodate

Hakodate ©
A gateway to the island, Hakodate has gained a reputation for its waterfront attractions, its proximity to some of the island's most popular natural sites, and its seafood.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Mon): take in the awesome beauty at Mount Hakodate, then wander the streets of Motomachi, then contemplate the long history of 旧函館区公会堂 - Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, and finally stop by Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse.

For reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read Hakodate sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Oga to Hakodate takes 7 hours. Traveling from Oga in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Hakodate, with lows of -7°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) early enough to travel to Sapporo.

Things to do in Hakodate

Historic Sites Nature Parks
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Motomachi ©
Motomachi
Mount Hakodate ©
Mount Hakodate
The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward ©

2
nights
Sapporo

Sapporo ©
A modern, bustling city known for its beer brewery, Sapporo attracts millions of visitors with its Snow Festival, during which elaborate ice and snow sculptures are exhibited all over town.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Tue): contemplate the long history of Sapporo Clock Tower, then explore the activities along Otaru Canal, and then stop by Otaru Orgel Museum Main Building. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Former Hokkaido Government Office Building, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Odori Park, then take a stroll through Susukino, and finally don't miss a visit to Tanukikoji Shopping Street.

To see reviews, photos, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Sapporo online travel route planner .

Traveling by flight from Hakodate to Sapporo takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. In January, plan for daily highs up to -3°C, and evening lows to -7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) so you can travel to Tokyo.

Things to do in Sapporo

Parks Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trip

Otaru
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Otaru Canal ©
Otaru Canal
Sapporo Clock Tower ©
Sapporo Clock Tower

2
nights
Tokyo

Tokyo ©
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Thu): admire the masterpieces at The National Art Center, Tokyo, engage your brain at National Museum of Nature and Science, then admire the masterpieces at National Museum of Western Art, and finally take a stroll through Yokohama Chinatown. On the next day, get in on the family fun at Tokyo Disneyland.

To see traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Tokyo road trip planning website .

You can fly from Sapporo to Tokyo in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or take a train. Traveling from Sapporo in January, expect nights in Tokyo to be somewhat warmer, around 1°C, while days are much warmer, around 11°C. On the 20th (Sat), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Tokyo

Theme Parks Museums Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Tokyo Disneyland, Yokohama Chinatown
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Tokyo Disneyland ©
Tokyo Disneyland
The National Art Center, Tokyo ©
The National Art Center, Tokyo
National Museum of Western Art ©
National Museum of Western Art

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