Complete 2-Week Travel Guide (2024)

Tip: At many temples and sites throughout the country, you can collect a temple stamp (called a Goshuin), which makes the perfect souvenir! We learned that you need an official goshuincho book to collect these stamps.

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Day 1-2: Tokyo 

It’s the first day of your 2-week Japan itinerary! Tokyo, the sprawling metropolis and capital of Japan, is the perfect place to kick off your adventure. Soak up the city’s weird and wonderful sights, from streets full of neon flashing lights to skyscrapers and large food markets. Afterward, visit abstract art museums like Teamlab Planets and expansive gardens. 

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From the Airport

Tokyo has two international airports: Haneda and Narita. Narita is further away (60 KM east), so we recommend flying into Haneda for ease. 

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From here, it’s just a 30-minute train into the city center, or you can arrange a private transfer if you have a lot of luggage. 

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Where to Stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is a massive city with neighborhoods for every kind of traveler. Even if you choose to stay further out, the fantastic metro system makes it easy to travel between districts. 

We stayed in the neighborhood of Akasaka, which is close to many of the top things to do in Tokyo and has great restaurants and cafes. It also has excellent train connections, yet it is still away from the main crowds.

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Day 3: Day Trip to Kamakura 

Time to hit the road! Only 1.5 hours south of the busy city lies the charming fishing village of Kamakura. This coastal gem is a peaceful break from the bright neon lights, welcoming you to a stunning natural scene dotted with ancient temples.

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One of our favorite things to do in Kamakura is to explore the traditional streets, stop at the beautiful temples and shrines, and take in the views of the sea (and Mount Fuji visible inland). Moreover, this peaceful town is full of interesting history and a perfect day trip destination on your 14-day itinerary in Japan.

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Tip: Started your trip from Tokyo early? Grab breakfast and coffee at the Delifrance bakery at the train station in Kamakura. From here, you can take the bus or the train straightaway to other spots in the city.

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How to get from Tokyo to Kamakura

Getting to Kamakura from Tokyo is incredibly straightforward. All you need to do is hop on the JR Yokosuka Line or the JR Shonan-Shinjuku to Kamakura Station. This train ride takes about an hour from central Tokyo, making Kamakura the ideal day trip destination.

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Day 4: Visit the Snow Monkeys: A Must on a Japan 2-Week Itinerary

Located high up in Japan’s mountains lies the Jugokani Valley, famous for its unique red-faced snow monkeys (Japanese Macaques). These fluffy creatures are infatuated with bathing in the local onsens (natural hot pools), and witnessing them is truly a bucket list experience.

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Walk through a beautiful snowy mountain trail bordered by mammoth pine trees and a pretty river, eventually reaching the thermal spring monkeys. Don’t forget to bring your best camera – you’ll want to capture this incredible scene! See what we carry in our camera bag.

Tip: After observing the monkeys in the snow for some time, walk back to the entrance and warm yourself up with a delicious lunch or a homemade apple pie at Enza Cafe. 

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How to get to the Snow Monkeys in Japan

Hop on the bullet train (Shinkansen) directly to Nagano (1 hour 20 mins). From here, take the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Yudanaka or take the bus directly to Snow Monkey Park.

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Tip: The Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Nagano is eligible for JR Pass users. The journey takes about 3-4 hours in total. Luckily, trains in Japan are incredibly easy to use.  

Another option is to rent a car in Tokyo, which gives you a bit more flexibility on the rest of your 14-day Japan itinerary. The drive up to Snow Monkey Park takes about the same amount of time but leads you through some of the most picturesque scenery. 

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Stay in Yudanaka or Shiba Onsen

Because it’s a long journey up into the beautiful mountains, it’s worth staying the night after visiting the Snow Monkey Park. Many of the hotels in Yudanaka also have their own private onsens, allowing you to have the same relaxing experience.

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The older part of Yudanaka is especially nice, with a charming, old-town feel. We stayed at Koishiya Ryokan, which provided some great services, such as free train station pick-up, transport to the start of the Snow Monkey Park hiking trail, and a private onsen booking service.

Alternatively, stay in the hot spring town of Shibu Onsen, between Yudanaka and the Snow Monkey Park. 

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Day 5: Yudanaka to Mount Fuji

No 2-week Japan itinerary would be complete without a visit to the iconic Mount Fuji. Towering 3776 meters high, the enormous volcano can be seen from all over the country. On a clear day, you can even spot it from some of the rooftops in Tokyo (100km away)!

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Explore the famous lake Kawaguchiko at the base of the volcano, and stroll through Shimoyoshida village, where you’ll find shops, Japanese characteristic signs, and incredible views of Mount Fuji. Food Tip: We loved ‘FavCafe Fuji’ and had a surprisingly good Italian dinner at ‘Taverna La Cura’ in the village.

Lake kawaguchico Mount Fuji japan 2 week itineraryLake kawaguchico Mount Fuji japan 2 week itinerary

Mount Fuji was our favorite area in Japan — offering a perfect combination of nature, cute cafes, and relaxation. Watching the volcano appear from behind the clouds was undoubtedly one of our most memorable travel experiences to date! 

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How to get from Yudanaka to Fuji

The easiest and quickest way to get to Fuji and travel around the incredible region is by renting a car. If you’ve rented a car in Tokyo, easily drive from Yudanaka or Shiba Onsen back south towards the astonishing volcano (3.5 hours). 

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Not only will you see beautiful views, but driving in Japan will also be easy as everything is well-organized. 

Alternatively, take the train back to Tokyo and continue your journey to Mount Fuji by bus. Once you’re in the Fuji area, you can use the bus to reach most of the places.

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Where to Stay near Mount Fuji

The area around Mount Fuji is known for its onsens (hot springs), which are part of Japanese culture and are natural thermal baths heated by the volcano. We recommend staying in an Onsen hotel while you travel around Mount Fuji. 

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This is the perfect way to relax after a busy day exploring. We stayed at La Vista FujiKawaguchiko. However, anywhere around Kawaguchi Lake will put you in the center of all the things to do.

Tip: Mount Fuji is one of the most popular areas in Japan. Because of this, it’s best to book your accommodation well in advance, as prices rise in high seasons, like spring and fall.

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Day 6: Explore Mt. Fuji’s Surroundings

There are so many incredible things to do near Mount Fuji, so spend another day exploring the volcano’s impressive surroundings. Drive, bus, or bike around the other four lakes, marvel at the imposing Shiraito Falls, and walk along the stunning Momiji Corridor.

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Especially if you’re traveling during spring or fall, the colors really pop, either with beautiful pink cherry blossoms or fiery red maple trees. Stop for a break at one of the cozy cafes on the lakeside with fantastic views and explore the beautiful woodland of Hakone.

Day 7: Kyoto

Once the capital of the country, Kyoto is another must-see destination during your 2 weeks in Japan. Although large, the city has a small-town feel, blending high-rise buildings with traditional wooden teahouses and endless temples. 

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Discover stunning palaces and tranquil Japanese gardens, get lost in all the trendy art spaces, go vintage shopping, and stroll the beautiful streets wearing a kimono. Whether you’re looking for endless temples or surrounding mountains – you find it all here.

Kimono men Fushimi Inari Kyoto japan 2 week itineraryKimono men Fushimi Inari Kyoto japan 2 week itinerary

Did you know? Unlike in many places, wearing a kimono is not considered cultural appropriation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; locals encourage visitors to dress in kimonos and better understand the cultural practice. You can rent a kimono for the day in Gion (or another area of the city) and take some beautiful photos.

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How to get from Fuji to Kyoto

If you’re traveling by car, it takes roughly 4,5 hours to get to Kyoto from Mt. Fuji. By train, hop on the direct Kodama Line from Shin-Fuji to Kyoto (covered by the JR Pass). The journey is also possible by bus, but keep in mind that this takes 6+ hours. 

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Where to Stay in Kyoto

Kyoto is a large city with many things to do both on the outskirts and in the center. Where you choose to stay depends on the type of trip you’re planning. If you’re following this Japan 2-week itinerary, we recommend staying in Shimogyo (near Kyoto Station), from where you can easily do some day trips out of the city. 

Otherwise, choose a hotel in Kyoto located within Nakagyo (the central district) or Gion (the traditional Geisha district).

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Day 8: Sannenzaka, Kyoto (a Highlight on Your 2-Week Japan Itinerary)

On day 8, head out in the morning to one of Kyoto’s most traditional Japanese streets: Sannenzaka. This beautiful, stone-paved road is full of teahouses, sweet shops, and wooden houses and leads up toward the stunning 3-tiered Hōkan-Ji Temple. Later, up here, you’ll have some of the most impressive views over the city and its colorful trees. 

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At this time of the day, walking through this street feels like you just stepped back in time. Watch how locals and tourists liven up the place, browsing the many craft shops and delicious restaurants. While roaming the area, don’t forget to visit the temple and pop into a beautiful ancient tea house to join a tea ceremony. (Book a tour to learn about this time-honored tradition)

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Day 9: Day Trip to Nara, Japan

After soaking up city life, jump shortly back into nature by taking a day trip to the luscious Nara Park. Set in the city of Nara, this expansive woodland is where you’ll find hundreds of friendly (and cheeky!) deer roaming wild. 

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How to get there: From Kyoto Station, take a direct train to Nara in under one hour. The train arrives at Kintetsu Nara Station and is covered by the JR Pass. (Buy your Japan Rail Pass in advance). Alternatively, it’s an hour’s drive south with your rental car. 

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Day 10: Visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

One of the unmissable things to do on a 2-week Japan itinerary is to visit the famed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Located only a 20-minute train ride from bustling Kyoto, this towering tunnel of bamboo trees creates one of the most magical walkways. Because of this, it’s the perfect spot to snap some stunning images! 

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Kyoto japan 2 week itineraryArashiyama Bamboo Forest Kyoto japan 2 week itinerary

Spend the day immersed in nature, visiting all the beautiful temples and gardens dotted throughout the Arashiyama complex. The forest is also a sensory experience if you listen to the sound of the bamboo blowing in the wind. 

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Though the bamboo grove is the highlight, the actual walk doesn’t take too long, so make sure to explore the other wonderful things to do in the area, from the monkey park to other bamboo groves and a beautiful art gallery. 

Join a Boat Tour

Alternatively, a boat tour along the river in Arashiyama is a great way to see more of the area’s natural beauty! You can hire a boat, either driving the boat yourself or hiring a captain for a few hours.

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Day 11: Koyasan (Must-see on Your 2-Week Japan Itinerary)

From Kyoto, head south to the sacred temple village of Koyosan, situated on the high slopes of Mount Koya. This important Buddhist pilgrimage site with over 100+ beautiful temples is a must-see on your 2 weeks in Japan and a peaceful place to explore. 

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In Koyasan, spend the day wandering among the temples, visiting one of the most beautiful cemeteries and the many gardens between the trees. With an elevation of 800 meters, the air in Koyasan is quite cool. End the relaxed day with one of the best things to do in Koyasan: staying at a traditional temple stay. 

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How to get from Kyoto to Koyasan

From Kyoto Station, hop on a rapid train to Osaka Namba Station (covered by your JR Pass) in under 30 minutes. From there, jump on another train to Gokurakubashi (1.5 hours) before taking the cable car up the mountain to Koyasan.

How to get from Kyoto to Koyasan japan 2 week itineraryHow to get from Kyoto to Koyasan japan 2 week itinerary

Where to Stay in Koyasan

One of the best things to do during your 2 weeks in Japan is to stay overnight in one of the temples in Koyasan. This is the perfect way to experience how the monks have been living for hundreds of years! The lodgings are simple and traditional in line with the Buddhist teachings, with basic futons, sliding doors, and shared bathrooms. 

During your stay, you’ll also get to join the monks for a typical dinner, morning prayer, and meditation – this was one of our favorite adventures on our trip to Japan!

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Day 12: Osaka

From the mountain village, travel back to the hustle and bustle by continuing to Osaka. Here, neon lights, signs, and unique fashion come together with peaceful temples, scenic woods, and cute lantern-lit alleys. With an incredible shopping scene, delicious street food, and some of the friendliest people, Osaka is certainly a must-see on your 2-week Japan itinerary. 

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This is also a great place to end your trip, as it has good connections to other major cities (in case you have a return flight from elsewhere). Dive into the busy streets, try the city’s innovative food, and soak up all the bold and bright colors. Finally, buy tickets for Harukas 300 or Umeda Sky Building to end your day with some of the best night views over the city!

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Day 13: Shop Till You Drop in Osaka

Spend your second day in the city shopping in the different neighborhoods, each with its own characteristics. From high-end designer stores to the famous Kuroman Market full of street vendors, no direction is wrong to explore. Some of the must-see districts are: 

  • Shinsaibashisuji: Long-roofed arcade home to literally everything you can think of! 
  • Nipponbashi: Endless comic stores and Anime merchandise!
  • Orange Street: Full of furniture and antiques, but also lots of charming boutiques, stores, and hipster cafes. 
  • America-Mura: Our favorite neighborhood in Osaka – full of colorful vending machines, abstract murals, vintage shops, and trendy food spots. You’ll also see beautifully decorated street lanterns.
  • Shinsekai: Home to contemporary stores, food stalls, and outdoor games. 
  • Dotonbori: Flashing neon lights, bright Japanese signs, LED billboards, and many unique restaurants. 
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Tip: Lastly, end the day in the charming Hozenji Yokocho, a narrow, stone-paved street full of tiny traditional restaurants. In the evening, warmly lit lanterns show the way to small, bustling eateries — also frequented by the rich and famous of Osaka, Japan.

How to get from Koyasan to Osaka

Easily head down the mountain back to Gokurakubashi and travel to Osaka by train (1 hour 15 mins). Once there, the organized Japanese public transport system makes it super easy to get from A to B.

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Where to Stay in Osaka

Choose an accommodation close to the bustling areas of Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, or Namba to be close to the best things to do in Osaka.

America Mura was our absolute favorite district in the city and is also a fantastic place to stay. However, if you want to stay in this fashion hotspot, we recommend booking your hotel well in advance.

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Day 14: Final day of your 2-Week Japan Itinerary

It’s time to say farewell to this stunning country. On your final day, it’s up to your return flight: savor Osaka’s dynamic energy for one more day, diving into its delicious scene and vibrant markets if you have time.

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Or, head back to Tokyo if you’ve got a return flight from there, seeing the streets of the capital before you leave. Either way, soak up the last moments of Japan’s mesmerizing atmosphere and enjoy one more delicious local meal before heading back home. 

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Our Favorite Accommodations

No matter your budget, there are many incredible accommodation options in Japan. Stay in exclusive hotels with incredible mountain or sea views, or choose to stay in a traditional ryokan. Below are some of our favorite stays per location: 

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How to Visit Japan on a 2-Week Itinerary

This 14-day Japan itinerary starts in Tokyo and ends in Osaka (with the option to return to Tokyo if you have a return flight from there). However, there are other airports in various cities. 

Find flights to Japan ✈️

Tip: It’s best to get an eSim in advance so you’re directly connected when you land in Japan. Buy your sim online here.

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Getting Around Japan

By Car

The most flexible way of getting around Japan for two weeks is by car! This is because having your own wheels gives you the ultimate freedom to explore at your own pace. Besides, it can save you time in the long run, allowing you to visit those out-of-the-way destinations (like the Snow Monkey Park). 

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By Public Transport

Due to Japan’s incredible public transportation system and well-organized traffic, getting around without a car is also a breeze! Cities have an easy-to-navigate transportation system that connects you to most of the top things to do. 

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The metro and train lines, including the high-speed Shinkansen (bullet train), take you to many corners of the country. However, the bus system is also incredibly efficient. 

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Alternatively, for shorter distances, you can also hire a bike for the day (a fun way to explore!). Especially cities like Kyoto have many great paths throughout town to discover by bike. And if you avoid the main roads, you’ll quickly find quiet streets perfect for your cycling adventure.

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JR Pass

The Japan Rail Pass gives you unlimited access to all public transport throughout Japan, so it’s a great option if you plan on taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) several times. It’s also multi-use for other trains, ferries, and buses throughout the country. (Calculate here if it’s worth it for you). 

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How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost for 2 Weeks?

While definitely not a cheap destination, Japan’s unique charm makes it so worth it! The bulk of the costs are on accommodation, food, and transport. Keep your budget down by visiting in the low season, exploring free attractions, taking public transport, and dining on delicious street food. 

Top Tip: If you’d like to have a quick snack or an affordable takeaway lunch, we recommend going to the supermarkets 7-Eleven, Family Mart, or Lawson. You can find delicious Onigiri (a rice ball with fish inside and packed in crunchy seaweed) or even mix a cup of frozen fruits into a smoothie.

Best Time to Visit Japan

Though beautiful all year, the very best time to visit Japan is during spring (March-May) or fall (September-November). These seasons offer the most beautiful views, transforming all the sights with stunning colors. For example, in spring, you’ll see pink cherry blossoms peep out between the buildings, and in fall, watch the woodland areas burst into warm hues. 

Best time to visit japan 2 week itineraryBest time to visit japan 2 week itinerary

Although October and November do get a little colder, it means you might also be lucky enough to spot snow, especially if you head up into more mountainous areas like Koyasan. If you’re visiting in spring instead, keep in mind that hotels and tours can get booked quickly (and prices rise), so consider booking things well in advance.

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