17 days in Japan Itinerary

17 days in Japan Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Japan Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly:  14​h 30​min
1
Tokyo
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
Kusatsu-machi
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Yuzawa-machi
— 2 nights
+2
train + tram + Fly:  5​h 15​min
4
Towada
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
5
Kyoto
— 2 nights
train + Fly:  6​h
6
Ishigaki
— 1 night
ferry:  1​h
7
Iriomote-jima
— 1 night
ferry:  4​h
8
Miyakojima
— 2 nights
Fly:  15​h 30​min
End: Melbourne

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Wed): admire the natural beauty at Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, have some family-friendly fun at Samurai Armor Photo Studio, then don't miss a visit to Meiji Jingu Shrine, and finally walk around Meijijingu Gaien. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Yasukuni Shrine, take a stroll through Ueno, then admire the striking features of Tokyo Tower, then don't miss a visit to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings, and finally admire the natural beauty at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

For photos, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Tokyo driving holiday planner .

Melbourne, Australia to Tokyo is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Melbourne to Tokyo. Expect colder temperatures when traveling from Melbourne in January; daily highs in Tokyo reach 11°C and lows reach 1°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can go by car to Kusatsu-machi.

Things to do in Tokyo

Parks Tours Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Samurai Armor Photo Studio ©
Samurai Armor Photo Studio
Meiji Jingu Shrine ©
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo Tower ©
Tokyo Tower

2
nights
Kusatsu-machi

Kusatsu-machi ©
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): witness a stunning natural landmark at Yubatake, soak in some Japanese tradition at some of the top local onsens, and then walk around Sainokawara Park. On the 4th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Shigakogen Yakebitaiyama Ski Area.

To see photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Kusatsu-machi travel planning site .

Getting from Tokyo to Kusatsu-machi by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Tokyo in January, things will get slightly colder in Kusatsu-machi: highs are around 3°C and lows about -3°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Yuzawa-machi.

Things to do in Kusatsu-machi

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trip

Shigakogen Yakebitaiyama Ski Area
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Yubatake ©
Yubatake
Sainokawara Park ©
Sainokawara Park

2
nights
Yuzawa-machi

Yuzawa-machi ©
It takes just over one hour to reach Yuzawa-machi from the country's capital by bullet train.
On the 5th (Sun), tour the pleasant surroundings at Naeba Ski Resort, test the waters at a local thermal spa, and then examine the collection at Okukiyo Powerhouse. On the 6th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: fly down the slopes at Kagura Ski Resort, make a trip to Ponshukan, and then walk around Yuzawa Central Park.

Plan a Yuzawa-machi trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Kusatsu-machi to Yuzawa-machi takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Towada.

Things to do in Yuzawa-machi

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Naeba Ski Resort ©
Naeba Ski Resort

2
nights
Towada

Towada ©
Tucked away among the foothills of the Hakkoda mountain range, Towada tourism revolves around its eponymous lake and the surrounding national park.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Tue): contemplate the waterfront views at Ashura no Nagare, then stroll the grounds of Tomb of Omachi Keigetsu, then contemplate the waterfront views at Tsutanonana Swamp, and finally snap pictures at Deai-bashi Bridge. On the 8th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate the waterfront views at Itomuka no Irie, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Towada Shrine, then contemplate the waterfront views at Oirase Mountain Stream, and finally make a trip to Oirase Yusuikan.

To find out how to plan a trip to Towada, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by combination of train and flight from Yuzawa-machi to Towada takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In January, plan for daily highs up to 0°C, and evening lows to -2°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) so you can travel to Kyoto.

Things to do in Towada

Nature Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Oirase Mountain Stream ©
Oirase Mountain Stream
Towada Shrine ©
Towada Shrine

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Thu): steep yourself in history at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kodai-ji Temple, then take in nature's colorful creations at Nanzen-ji Temple, and finally don't miss a visit to Eikando Zenrinji Temple. Here are some ideas for day two: get the lay of the land with Walking tours, steep yourself in history at Tofuku-ji Temple, and then steep yourself in history at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

To find ratings, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Kyoto trip itinerary planner.

You can fly from Towada to Kyoto in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In January, Kyoto is somewhat warmer than Towada - with highs of 10°C and lows of 1°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to travel to Ishigaki.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites Tours Parks
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Eikando Zenrinji Temple ©
Eikando Zenrinji Temple
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine ©
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

1
night
Ishigaki

Ishigaki ©
Ishigaki, the most populous island in the chain, features the country's southernmost city and acts as a transport hub for exploring the landmasses that surround.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): take in panoramic vistas at Tamatorizaki Observatory, get outside with Cape Hirakubozaki, then explore the activities along Kabira Bay, and finally Head underground at Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave. Keep things going the next day: don't miss a visit to Euglena Mall, then stroll through Kondoi Beach, and then get to know the fascinating history of Island Countryside Settlement.

To see photos, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Ishigaki online journey planner .

You can do a combination of train and flight from Kyoto to Ishigaki in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. In January, Ishigaki is much hotter than Kyoto - with highs of 24°C and lows of 19°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) so you can catch the ferry to Iriomote-jima.

Things to do in Ishigaki

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trip

Taketomi-jima
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Kondoi Beach ©
Kondoi Beach
Cape Hirakubozaki ©
Cape Hirakubozaki
Tamatorizaki Observatory ©
Tamatorizaki Observatory

1
night
Iriomote-jima

Iriomote-jima ©
Taketomicho Iriomote-Jima stands as the second largest island in Okinawa.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Mon): scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then head off the coast to Iriomote Island.

For more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Iriomote-jima online tour planner .

Ride a ferry from Ishigaki to Iriomote-jima in an hour. In January in Iriomote-jima, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 19°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to ride a ferry to Miyakojima.

Things to do in Iriomote-jima

Tours Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Jan 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Iriomote Island ©
Iriomote Island

2
nights
Miyakojima

Miyakojima ©
A city jurisdiction formed after the merger of several towns in 2005, Miyakojima spans six linked-up islands.
On the 14th (Tue), kick back and relax at Sunayama Beach, take in the views from Irabu Bridge, then snap pictures at Kurima Bridge, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Yonaha Maehama Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: don't miss a visit to Boraga Limestone Cave, then kick back and relax at Aragusuku Beach, then don't miss a visit to East Henna Cape, and finally take in the views from Ikema Ohashi Bridge.

Before you visit Miyakojima, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

Ride a ferry from Iriomote-jima to Miyakojima in 4 hours. Expect a daytime high around 24°C in January, and nighttime lows around 19°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Miyakojima

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Yonaha Maehama Beach ©
Yonaha Maehama Beach
Sunayama Beach ©
Sunayama Beach
East Henna Cape ©
East Henna Cape

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