11-Days Free & Easy Itinerary for Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hakone)

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Sensō-ji temple, Tokyo
Sensō-ji temple, Tokyo @2015

-Planning for a free & easy trip to Japan, but don’t know where/how to start? 

-Looking for itinerary ideas for your next Japan trip (with kids in tow)? 

-Want to discover the best of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hakone, but not sure how to best squeeze them all into a compact 11-days free & easy trip?

Fret not! We’ve helped to take the guesswork out of your planning by giving you our tried and tested itinerary for a 11-Days Free & Easy Japan trip. This is the actual travel route/schedule that we’ve done during our Jun-2015 family trip, so we’re sure it works!

The itinerary is reasonably paced, while at the same time comprehensive and definitely suitable for families with kids. It covers the best of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hakone. With regards to transport cost, the itinerary is designed to make the travel between the cities most cost efficient via using the 7-days JR Rail Pass.

So go ahead! Try it!

 

Read also: 4 Great Tips for your Japan Holiday

 

Akihabara Station Western Exit, Tokyo
Akihabara Station Western Exit, Tokyo

11-Days Free & Easy Itinerary for Japan

(Click on the individual cities to see our detailed travel blog on each of them)

  • Day#1: Tokyo

    • Land in Tokyo. Short rest to recover from jet lag.
      • Narita airport to Tokyo transfer via train (info)
    • Akihabara for dinner and shopping: Heaven for anime, manga and electronics fanatics (info) (map)
  • Day#2: Tokyo

    • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: One of Tokyo’s most popular garden  (info) (map)
    • Shopping and dinner at Shinjuku: Popular shopping district in Tokyo (info) (map)
  • Day#3: Tokyo

Osaka Castle Main Tower
Osaka Castle Main Tower @2015
  • Day#4: Osaka

    • Shinkansen to Osaka (3hours trip)
    • Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi: Extremely popular shopping and eating street in Osaka. Both streets are connected to each other and beside Namba train station. (info)
      • Dotonbori (map)
      • Shinsaibashi (map)
  • Day#5: Osaka

    • Nara day trip. Nara is a historical district east of Osaka. Includes:
      • Nara Park : Also know as Nara Deer Park due to its numerous free roaming deers. (info) (map)
      • Todaiji Temple : UNESCO World Heritage status. One of Japan’s most famous and significant Buddhist temple (info) (map)
      • Nigatsu-do Temple (info) (map)
      • Kasuga Grand Shrine : UNESCO World Heritage status. One of Nara’s most popular Shinto shrine (info) (map)
  • Day#6: Osaka

    • Osaka Castle : (info) (map)
    • Umeda Sky Building, Floating Garden : Observation deck offering 360degree view of Osaka city (info) (map)
Senbon Torii, Fushimi Inari, Kyoto
Senbon Torii, Fushimi Inari, Kyoto
  • Day#7: Kyoto

    • Shinkansen to Kyoto (30 minutes trip)
    • Nijo Castle : UNESCO World Heritage status castle (info) (map)
    • Nishiki Market : Sheltered narrow street selling food related products. Excellent place for cheap and fresh seafood. (info) (map)
  • Day#8: Kyoto

    • Arashiyama day trip: Arashiyama is a beautiful and laid-back district on the outskirts of Kyoto. Great natural setting with an iconic bridge, mesmerising river, beautiful bamboo walkways, enchanting temples and well-preserved historical streets. (info)
    •  Includes:
      • Togetsukyo Bridge: Iconic bridge of Arashiyama (map)
      • Tenryuji Temple:  UNESCO World Heritage status Zen temple (map)
      • Bamboo Grove: Iconic bamboo walkway of Arashiyama. (map)
      • Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street: Charming old street from Meiji Period (map)
      • Sagano Scenic Railway: Restored scenic railway from Torokko Saga station (map) to Torokko Kameoka Station (map).
  • Day#9: Kyoto

    • Kiyomizu-dera Temple: UNESCO World Heritage status Buddhist Temple (info) (map)
    • Fushimi Inari: Shinto Shrine with dense paths of torii gates  (info) (map)
    • Shinkansen to Tokyo (2.5 hours trip)
Mt Fuji. Viewed from Moto-Hakone Port
Hakone Sightseeing cruise boat, with Hakone Shrine torii gate and Mt Fuji in background. Taken from foreshore beside Moto-Hakone Port @2015
  • Day#10: Hakone

    • Hakone day trip. Fascinating area outside Tokyo with good scenery, views of Mt Fuji and various mode of amusing transports. (info)
    • Includes:
      • Hakone Tozan Railway: Japan oldest mountain railway passing through bridges and tunnels. (info)
      • Sounzan cablecar: Lovely cablecar ride. (info)
      • Hakone Sightseeing cruise: Entertaining pirate ship cruise on Lake Ashi (info)
      • Views of Mt Fuji from Lake Ashi
      • Charming towns of Hakone-machi and Moto-Hakone
  • Day#11: Tokyo

    • Sensō-ji temple: Tokyo’s oldest and one of the most significant Buddhist Temple. (info) (map)
    • Shibuya (info) (map):
      • Famous shopping district for its focus on youth fashion.
      • World-famous Shibuya Crossing; considered by some to be the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing.
      • Hachikō Statue. (info)
    • Home sweet home

 

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