Japan Itinerary for 10 Days : A Local’s Tourist Guide

Planning a trip to Japan can be an exciting yet daunting task, especially if you want to make the most out of a limited time frame. With a blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity, Japan offers a unique travel experience. This Japan itinerary for 10 days covers the must-see sights and hidden gems, ensuring you have an unforgettable journey.

Day 1: Arrival and Exploring Shibuya & Shinjuku

Shibuya & Shinjuku
Shibuya & Shinjuku

 

Your 10 days in Japan adventure begins in Tokyo, the dynamic heart of the nation. Upon arrival, settle into your accommodation before heading out to explore two of Tokyo’s most vibrant districts: Shibuya and Shinjuku. Start with the iconic Shibuya Crossing, where the bustling energy of the city comes to life as thousands of pedestrians cross in unison. Don’t miss the Hachiko Statue, a touching tribute to the loyal Akita dog. As evening approaches, make your way to Shinjuku, known for its dazzling neon lights, bustling streets, and eclectic mix of entertainment options. Here, you can indulge in everything from high-end shopping and gourmet dining to exploring the lively nightlife. Shinjuku’s Golden Gai, a network of narrow alleys packed with tiny bars, offers a unique glimpse into Tokyo’s vibrant bar culture. This first day sets the tone for your Japan itinerary 10 days, blending the traditional with the ultramodern, and giving you a taste of the endless possibilities Tokyo has to offer.

 

Where to Eat in Shibuya & Shinjuku

 

Tokyo’s Shibuya and Shinjuku districts are renowned for their vibrant food scenes, offering a plethora of dining options ranging from traditional Japanese cuisine to international delights. Here’s a guide to some of the best places to eat in these bustling areas:

Shibuya

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Ninja Experience Cafe Asakusa: Ninja Experience Cafe Asakusa offers an immersive dining experience where you can enjoy Japanese cuisine while being entertained by ninja-themed performances and interactive activities.

Ninja Experience Cafe Asakusa, Taito - Ueno, Asakusa - Menü, Fiyatlar ve Restoran Yorumları

Lunch

  • Ichiran Ramen: Famous for its tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen, Ichiran offers a unique dining experience with individual booths for a focused ramen-eating experience. Customize your ramen to your taste and enjoy one of the best bowls in Shibuya.
  • Genki Sushi: For a fun and affordable sushi experience, head to Genki Sushi. This conveyor-belt sushi restaurant offers a wide variety of fresh sushi and sashimi delivered right to your table via a high-tech system.

Ichiran Opens in Midtown Wednesday, Serving Tonkotsu Ramen - Eater NY

Snack

  • Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory: Indulge in the cutest and most delicious Totoro-shaped cream puffs filled with a variety of creamy custards. This hidden gem is perfect for a sweet afternoon treat.

Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory Daita, Setagaya - Menü, Fiyatlar ve Restoran Yorumları

Dinner

  • Uobei Sushi: Another great conveyor-belt sushi option, Uobei Sushi, provides a high-tech dining experience where you order from a tablet, and the sushi is delivered directly to your seat. It’s quick, delicious, and fun.
  • Kaikaya by the Sea: For a more upscale dining experience, Kaikaya by the Sea offers a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean seafood dishes. The cozy atmosphere and creative menu make it a standout choice in Shibuya.

Tokyo Travel - Uobei Sushi - Minn Majoe | Violinist

Nightlife

  • Nonbei Yokocho: This narrow alleyway, also known as Drunkard’s Alley, is lined with tiny bars and eateries, each with its own unique charm. It’s a great place to enjoy a drink and some snacks while soaking in the retro Tokyo atmosphere.

A Slice of Old Japan in Shibuya Nonbei Yokocho

Shinjuku

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Buvette: Enjoy a French-style breakfast or brunch at Buvette, a charming café offering delicious pastries, croissants, and coffee. The cozy, Parisian atmosphere is perfect for a relaxing start to your day.

At NY Cafe [Buvette] in Yurakucho, Tokyo | Trip.com Tokyo

Lunch

  • Menya Musashi: A must-visit for ramen lovers, Menya Musashi is renowned for its rich, flavorful broth and thick, chewy noodles. The restaurant’s samurai-themed decor adds to the unique dining experience.
  • Omoide Yokocho: Also known as Memory Lane or Piss Alley, this narrow alleyway is packed with tiny restaurants and food stalls offering delicious yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and other izakaya (Japanese pub) fare. It’s a great spot for a quick and tasty lunch.

Omoide Yokocho – Neighborhood Review | Condé Nast Traveler

Snack

  • Marion Crepes: Treat yourself to a delicious Japanese-style crepe filled with various sweet or savory ingredients. Marion Crepes is a popular spot for a quick and satisfying snack while exploring Shinjuku.

Marion Crepes - GaijinPot Travel

Dinner

  • Ikinari Steak: For a hearty and affordable steak dinner, Ikinari Steak offers high-quality cuts of beef served sizzling on a hot plate. The casual, stand-up dining concept adds a unique twist to your meal.
  • Robot Restaurant: While the focus is more on the entertainment than the food, the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku offers a spectacular show with robots, lasers, and dancers. Enjoy a meal and be amazed by the high-energy performance.

ROBOT RESTAURANT: A Show which Defies Imagination - WAttention.com

Nightlife

  • Golden Gai: Explore Golden Gai, a famous nightlife district consisting of narrow alleys packed with tiny bars, each with its own distinct atmosphere. It’s a great place to enjoy a drink and meet locals and fellow travelers.
  • Omoide Yokocho (at night): Return to Omoide Yokocho for a nighttime experience. The alley comes alive with glowing lanterns and bustling crowds, offering a lively and authentic izakaya atmosphere perfect for a late-night snack and drink.

Golden Gai — Bar District Review | Condé Nast Traveler

Day 2: Temples, Shopping, and Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree & Temples
Tokyo Skytree & Temples

On the second day of your Japan travel itinerary 10 days, immerse yourself in Tokyo’s rich blend of history and modernity. Begin your day in Asakusa, home to the iconic Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most significant Buddhist temple. As you approach the temple, you’ll pass through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) and stroll down Nakamise Street, lined with traditional shops selling souvenirs, snacks, and crafts.

After soaking in the spiritual atmosphere of Senso-ji, head to the upscale district of Ginza for a different kind of experience. Known for its luxury shopping, Ginza boasts flagship stores, high-end boutiques, and department stores like Mitsukoshi and Wako. Take some time to explore the latest fashion trends, cutting-edge electronics, and gourmet delights.

In the afternoon, make your way to the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest structures in the world. Standing at 634 meters, the Skytree offers panoramic views of Tokyo from its observation decks. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance. The Skytree Town complex also includes a variety of shops, restaurants, and an aquarium, providing plenty of entertainment options.

Conclude your day with a visit to the nearby Sumida Aquarium, located within the Skytree Town. This modern aquarium features an impressive array of marine life, including a large tank that replicates the habitat of the Ogasawara Islands. It’s a perfect way to unwind and reflect on the day’s adventures as you prepare for the next leg of your 10 day Japan itinerary.

 

Where to Eat Around Asakusa

 

Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s most historic districts, offers a variety of dining options ranging from traditional Japanese cuisine to modern culinary delights. Here are some top places to eat around Asakusa:

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Asakusa Kagetsudo: Famous for its melonpan (sweet bread), Asakusa Kagetsudo is a great spot for a quick and delicious breakfast. The warm, fluffy melonpan is a local favorite.
  • Café Rest Cuzn Home GRND: This cozy café offers a hearty Western-style breakfast and brunch options, including pancakes, omelets, and coffee, perfect for starting your day.

Kagetsudo | Restaurants in Asakusa, Tokyo

Lunch

  • Daikokuya Tempura: Established in 1887, Daikokuya is renowned for its Edo-style tempura. Enjoy crispy, golden tempura served over rice or with a side of soba noodles in a traditional setting.
  • Namiki Yabusoba: For an authentic soba experience, visit Namiki Yabusoba, a historic soba restaurant known for its handmade buckwheat noodles served in a flavorful broth.
  • Yoshikami: This popular eatery offers a unique blend of Japanese and Western cuisines, specializing in hearty dishes like hamburger steaks and beef stew, all served in a nostalgic, retro setting.

Yoshoku – Yoshikami in Asakusa – Food Sake Tokyo

Snack

  • Suzukien Asakusa: Indulge in the world’s richest matcha ice cream at Suzukien Asakusa, which offers a variety of matcha flavors ranging from mild to intense. It’s a perfect treat for matcha lovers.
  • Ninja Experience Cafe Asakusa: Enjoy a snack while being entertained by ninja-themed performances and interactive activities, making for a fun and unique dining experience.

Suzukien Asakusa: The Most Rich-Tasting Matcha Gelato in the World! - Japan Travel Guide MATCHA

Dinner

  • Asakusa Imahan: For a high-quality sukiyaki or shabu-shabu experience, Asakusa Imahan is the place to go. This upscale restaurant offers premium Japanese beef cooked at your table in a traditional setting.
  • Hoppy Street: Located near Senso-ji Temple, Hoppy Street is lined with izakayas (Japanese pubs) offering a variety of grilled dishes, seafood, and cold beer. It’s a lively area perfect for an informal dinner and drinks.
  • Sometaro Okonomiyaki: Enjoy okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) at Sometaro, a charming restaurant where you can cook your own okonomiyaki on a hot plate at your table.

Asakusa Imahan Kokusai Dori Honten, Taito - Ueno, Asakusa - Menü, Fiyatlar ve Restoran Yorumları

Nightlife

  • Kamiya Bar: Established in 1880, Kamiya Bar is Japan’s oldest Western-style bar and offers a unique mix of Japanese and Western drinks. Try their signature cocktail, Denki Bran, a blend of brandy, gin, and wine.
  • Ninja Experience Cafe Asakusa (Night Performances): Revisit the Ninja Experience Cafe in the evening for ninja-themed performances and interactive experiences along with your meal.

KAMIYA BAR — Hello! Tokyo Tours

Day 3: Travel to Hakone and Onsen Experience

 

Hakone and Onsen
Hakone and Onsen

On the third day of your itinerary for 10 days in Japan, leave the bustling metropolis of Tokyo behind and set out for Hakone, a tranquil town renowned for its hot springs, scenic beauty, and stunning views of Mount Fuji. Start your day with a comfortable train ride on the Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, soaking in the picturesque countryside along the way.

Upon arrival in Hakone, begin your exploration at the Hakone Open-Air Museum. This unique museum blends art and nature, featuring a vast collection of sculptures set against a backdrop of rolling hills and lush greenery. Wander through the outdoor exhibits and enjoy the creative harmony between art and the natural landscape.

Next, take the Hakone Ropeway for a breathtaking aerial journey over the volcanic Owakudani Valley. This active volcanic zone offers an otherworldly landscape of steaming vents and bubbling hot springs. On clear days, the ropeway provides stunning views of Mount Fuji, a sight that’s sure to leave you in awe.

After a day of sightseeing, it’s time to unwind in one of Hakone’s renowned onsen (hot springs). Many ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) offer onsen facilities, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural immersion. Soak in the therapeutic hot springs, surrounded by serene natural beauty, and let the soothing waters melt away any travel fatigue.

End your day with a traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan, featuring a multi-course meal that showcases the best of seasonal Japanese cuisine. As you relax in the warm, inviting atmosphere of Hakone, you’ll find yourself rejuvenated and ready for the next chapter of your 10 day Japan itinerary.

 

Where to Eat Around Hakone

 

Hakone, a popular destination known for its hot springs, scenic views, and cultural attractions, also boasts a variety of excellent dining options. Here are some top places to eat around Hakone:

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Bakery & Table Hakone: Located near Lake Ashi, this bakery offers a variety of freshly baked breads, pastries, and a picturesque view of the lake. It’s a great spot for a leisurely breakfast or brunch.
  • Gora Brewery & Grill: This restaurant offers a delightful breakfast with freshly baked bread and local ingredients. It’s also a microbrewery, so you can return later in the day for their craft beers and grilled dishes.

Bakery & Table Hakone | HAKONE | Your Guide to All Things Hakone

Lunch

  • Togendai View Restaurant: Located at Togendai Station, this restaurant offers a panoramic view of Lake Ashi and serves a variety of dishes, including Japanese set meals, soba noodles, and Western-style options.
  • Tamura Ginkatsutei: Famous for its tofu cutlets, Tamura Ginkatsutei offers delicious, healthy meals in a traditional Japanese setting. Their signature dish, tofu katsuni, is a must-try.
  • Gyoza Center: A casual eatery in Gora known for its delicious gyoza (dumplings). The menu features a variety of gyoza fillings, from traditional pork to unique seafood options.

Restaurant Tamura Ginkatsutei | HAKONE | Your Guide to All Things Hakone

Snack

  • Amazake Chaya: This historic tea house offers traditional Japanese snacks and sweets, such as mochi and amazake (a sweet rice drink). It’s a perfect stop for a mid-afternoon break while exploring Hakone.
  • Hakone Akatsukian: Located near the Hakone Open-Air Museum, this café specializes in Japanese sweets (wagashi) and tea. It’s an ideal spot to relax and enjoy a traditional Japanese dessert.

AMAZAKE CHAYA, Hakone-machi - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

Dinner

  • Itoh Dining by Nobu: For a fine dining experience, Itoh Dining by Nobu offers a fusion of Japanese and Western cuisines, with dishes prepared using local ingredients. The restaurant’s elegant setting and beautiful views make it perfect for a special night out.
  • Nakamura: Located near Hakone Yumoto Station, this restaurant is renowned for its kaiseki (traditional multi-course) meals, showcasing seasonal ingredients and exquisite presentation.
  • Sushimiyafuji: For sushi lovers, Sushimiyafuji offers fresh, high-quality sushi in a cozy, intimate setting. The chef selects the finest ingredients to create a memorable sushi dining experience.

teppanyaki - Picture of Itoh Dining by NOBU, Hakone-machi - Tripadvisor

Nightlife

  • Hakone Yuryo: After a day of exploring, relax at this traditional hot spring inn that also features a restaurant serving delicious kaiseki meals. Enjoy a soak in the onsen followed by a multi-course dinner for a perfect Hakone experience.
  • Bar Victoria: Located in the Hakone Hotel, Bar Victoria offers a comfortable and stylish atmosphere for enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine. It’s a great place to unwind after dinner with views of Lake Ashi.

Hakone Yuryo - A hot spring resort that's easily accessible from Tokyo as a day trip

 

Day 4: Lake Ashi and Historical Sites

 

Lake Ashi and Historical Sites
Lake Ashi and Historical Sites

On the fourth day of your Japan itinerary 10 days, continue your Hakone adventure with a focus on its natural beauty and historical significance. Begin your day with a visit to the serene Lake Ashi, a crater lake formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone. The lake’s picturesque setting, framed by lush hills and the iconic Mount Fuji on clear days, provides a perfect start to your day.

Take a scenic boat cruise on Lake Ashi aboard one of the charming pirate ships. As you glide across the tranquil waters, enjoy panoramic views and the refreshing breeze. The boat cruise is a wonderful way to appreciate the natural beauty of Hakone from a different perspective.

After your cruise, visit the Hakone Shrine, nestled in a dense forest along the shores of Lake Ashi. This historic shrine, with its iconic red torii gate standing in the lake, is a place of spiritual significance and tranquility. Stroll through the serene grounds, admire the beautiful architecture, and perhaps make a wish at the shrine.

Next, explore the ancient Hakone Checkpoint (Hakone Sekisho), a historical site that once served as a crucial inspection point along the Tokaido Road, the highway connecting Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo period. The reconstructed checkpoint offers a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past, with exhibits and displays illustrating the lives of travelers and officials.

After a morning of exploration, take a leisurely walk along the Cedar Avenue (Kyukaido), a path lined with towering cedar trees that have stood for centuries. This historic road was part of the old Tokaido Highway and provides a peaceful and scenic walking experience.

Conclude your day with a visit to the Narukawa Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of modern Japanese art, particularly nihonga (Japanese-style paintings). The museum’s location offers stunning views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji, making it a perfect spot to reflect on your day and appreciate the harmonious blend of nature and culture.

As you return to your accommodation in Hakone, you’ll carry with you the serene and historical essence of the region, enriched by the experiences of the day. This balanced combination of natural beauty and historical exploration adds depth to your Japan travel itinerary 10 days, setting the stage for the cultural wonders of Kyoto.

 

Day 5: Arrival in Kyoto and Exploring Gion

 

Kyoto and Gion
Kyoto and Gion

On the fifth day of your Japan itinerary 10 days, bid farewell to Hakone and make your way to Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is renowned for its well-preserved temples, traditional tea houses, and stunning gardens. Travel to Kyoto via the efficient Shinkansen (bullet train), which offers a comfortable and scenic journey.

Upon arriving in Kyoto, check into your accommodation and get ready to explore the city’s historic charm. Start your Kyoto adventure in the Gion district, one of the most famous geisha districts in Japan. Gion is characterized by its traditional wooden machiya houses, narrow streets, and rich cultural atmosphere.

  • Gion District: Wander through the atmospheric streets of Gion, where you can spot traditional teahouses and elegant geiko (geisha) and maiko (apprentice geisha) on their way to appointments. The district is a living testament to Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Yasaka Shrine: Visit Yasaka Shrine, located at the eastern end of Shijo Avenue in Gion. This vibrant Shinto shrine, also known as Gion Shrine, dates back over 1,350 years and is famous for its annual Gion Matsuri festival in July. Explore the serene grounds, admire the intricate architecture, and make a wish for good fortune.
  • Hanamikoji Street: Stroll down Hanamikoji Street, a picturesque lane lined with traditional wooden buildings housing exclusive tea houses and high-end restaurants. The street comes alive in the evening as lanterns illuminate the historic surroundings, creating a magical atmosphere.
  • Shirakawa Canal: Take a peaceful walk along the Shirakawa Canal, a scenic waterway lined with willow trees and traditional buildings. The area is especially beautiful during cherry blossom season in spring.
  • Kennin-ji Temple: End your day with a visit to Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, founded in 1202. The temple grounds offer a serene escape with beautiful gardens and impressive artworks, including the famous “Twin Dragons” painting on the ceiling of the Dharma Hall.

As night falls, consider enjoying a traditional kaiseki dinner at one of Gion’s fine dining establishments, where you can savor a multi-course meal that showcases the artistry and seasonal flavors of Kyoto cuisine. Reflect on the day’s experiences and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty and elegance of Gion.

This exploration of Gion sets the tone for your Kyoto visit, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Your 10 days in Japan journey continues to unfold with the promise of more historical and cultural wonders in the days ahead.

 

Where to Eat Around Kyoto

 

Kyoto, known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional Japanese cuisine, offers a plethora of dining options that cater to all tastes. From traditional kaiseki meals to casual eateries, here are some top places to eat around Kyoto:

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Kissa Masters: This retro café offers a nostalgic ambiance and a variety of breakfast options, including toast, eggs, and coffee. It’s a cozy spot to start your day in Kyoto.
  • Kyocafe Chacha: Known for its matcha-themed dishes, Kyocafe Chacha offers a unique breakfast experience with options like matcha pancakes and matcha lattes.

KYOCAFE CHACHA ARASHIYAMA, Kyoto - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - Tripadvisor

Lunch

  • Nishiki Market: Also known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” Nishiki Market is a great place to sample a variety of local foods. Try fresh seafood, pickled vegetables, and Kyoto specialties like yuba (tofu skin) and matcha sweets.
  • Menbaka Fire Ramen: For a unique dining experience, visit Menbaka Fire Ramen, where the chef sets the ramen on fire right in front of you. The theatrics add excitement to the delicious ramen.
  • Omen Kodai-ji: This popular udon noodle restaurant near Kiyomizu Temple offers handmade udon served with a variety of fresh, seasonal ingredients. It’s a perfect lunch spot after temple sightseeing.

Omen Kodaiji - Inside Kyoto

Snack

  • Gion Tsujiri: Located in the Gion district, this café specializes in matcha desserts and drinks. Try their famous matcha parfait or matcha soft serve ice cream.
  • Nakamura Tokichi: This historic tea shop in Uji offers a range of matcha-based snacks and desserts. The matcha jelly and warabimochi are especially popular.

GION TSUJIRI GION HONTEN, Kyoto - Gion - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - Tripadvisor

Dinner

  • Kikunoi: For an upscale dining experience, Kikunoi is a renowned kaiseki restaurant offering beautifully presented multi-course meals using seasonal ingredients. The elegant setting and exquisite dishes make it a memorable dining experience.
  • Pontocho Alley: This narrow alley along the Kamogawa River is lined with a variety of restaurants offering everything from traditional Japanese cuisine to modern fusion dishes. It’s a great place to explore for dinner, with options ranging from casual izakayas to fine dining.
  • Gion Kappa: A cozy izakaya in the Gion district, Gion Kappa offers a wide variety of small dishes, including sashimi, tempura, and grilled items. The friendly atmosphere makes it a great place for an informal dinner.
  • Hyotei: One of Kyoto’s oldest and most prestigious restaurants, Hyotei offers a traditional kaiseki dining experience in a serene, historical setting. The meticulous attention to detail in both the food and the atmosphere makes it a special place for an unforgettable meal.

Akasaka Kikunoi restaurant review — WBP Stars

Nightlife

  • L’Escamoteur Bar: This speakeasy-style bar in Gion is known for its creative cocktails and magical ambiance. The skilled bartenders create unique drinks tailored to your preferences.
  • Beer Komachi: A small, cozy bar near Gion, Beer Komachi offers a great selection of craft beers and delicious small plates. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists to relax and enjoy a drink.
  • Bar K-ya: Located in a traditional machiya house, Bar K-ya offers a wide selection of Japanese whisky and other drinks in a warm, intimate setting. It’s a perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Kyoto.

L' ESCAMOTEUR, Kyoto - Shimogyo-ku - Restaurant Avis, Numéro de Téléphone & Photos - Tripadvisor

 

Day 6: Temples and Bamboo Groves

 

Temples and Bamboo Groves
Temples and Bamboo Groves

Day six of your 10 day Japan itinerary is dedicated to exploring Kyoto’s iconic temples and the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Kyoto is known for its numerous temples and serene natural landscapes, making it a perfect destination for those seeking both cultural and natural beauty.

Morning: Golden Pavilion and Rock Gardens

  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion): Start your day at Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. This stunning Zen Buddhist temple is covered in gold leaf and reflects beautifully in the surrounding pond. The meticulously landscaped gardens add to the temple’s serene atmosphere, making it one of Kyoto’s most picturesque spots.
  • Ryoan-ji Temple: A short distance from Kinkaku-ji is Ryoan-ji, famous for its karesansui (dry landscape) rock garden. The garden, composed of 15 stones arranged in a bed of white gravel, is designed to induce meditation and reflection. Spend some time contemplating the simplicity and elegance of this iconic garden.

Midday: Traditional Kyoto Lunch

  • Nishiki Market: Head to Nishiki Market, known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” to experience a variety of traditional Japanese foods. Sample local delicacies, such as fresh seafood, pickles, and sweets, while exploring the vibrant market stalls.

Afternoon: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Temples

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: Travel to the Arashiyama district, where you’ll find the famous Bamboo Grove. Walking through this towering bamboo forest is a surreal and calming experience. The tall bamboo stalks sway gently in the breeze, creating a mesmerizing and tranquil environment perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • Tenryu-ji Temple: Located near the Bamboo Grove, Tenryu-ji is one of Kyoto’s major Zen temples and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the temple’s beautiful gardens, designed by Muso Soseki, which blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural landscape. The Sogenchi Teien garden offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Okochi-Sanso Villa: If time permits, visit the nearby Okochi-Sanso Villa, the former residence of a famous Japanese actor. The villa’s gardens are beautifully maintained and offer panoramic views of Kyoto and the Hozu River. The entry fee includes matcha tea and a sweet treat, providing a relaxing end to your visit.

Evening: Relaxing and Dining in Arashiyama

  • Togetsukyo Bridge: As evening approaches, take a leisurely walk along the Togetsukyo Bridge, which spans the Katsura River. The bridge offers lovely views of the river and surrounding hills, especially beautiful during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.
  • Dinner in Arashiyama: Choose from a variety of restaurants in Arashiyama offering traditional Japanese cuisine. Enjoy a meal overlooking the river or in a cozy local eatery, savoring the flavors of Kyoto.

After a day filled with cultural and natural beauty, return to your accommodation to rest and reflect on your experiences. Kyoto’s temples and bamboo groves offer a unique blend of tranquility and history, enriching your Japan travel itinerary 10 days with unforgettable moments.

 

Day 7: Fushimi Inari and Nara Day Trip

 

Fushimi Inari and Nara
Fushimi Inari and Nara

On the seventh day of your Japan itinerary 10 days, embark on a journey that combines spiritual exploration with historical richness. Start your day with a visit to the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto before taking a day trip to the ancient city of Nara.

Morning: Fushimi Inari Shrine

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha: Begin your day early at Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of Japan’s most iconic and visited shrines. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Inari, the deity of rice and agriculture, and is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates that create a mesmerizing pathway up Mount Inari.
  • Hiking the Torii Pathways: Spend the morning exploring the shrine’s extensive grounds and hiking the torii-lined trails. The main path to the summit takes about 2-3 hours round trip, passing through smaller shrines and offering stunning views of Kyoto along the way. Take your time to soak in the spiritual atmosphere and enjoy the tranquility of the forested trails.

Midday: Travel to Nara

  • Train to Nara: After exploring Fushimi Inari, head to Kyoto Station and take a direct train to Nara. The journey takes approximately 45-60 minutes. Upon arrival, make your way to Nara Park, where most of the city’s key attractions are located.

Afternoon: Exploring Nara

  • Nara Park: Start your Nara adventure in Nara Park, a large public park known for its friendly, free-roaming deer. Considered sacred messengers of the gods, the deer in Nara are accustomed to human interaction and can be fed with special deer crackers available for purchase in the park.
  • Todai-ji Temple: Visit Todai-ji, one of Japan’s most significant and historically rich temples. The temple’s Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) houses one of the world’s largest bronze statues of Buddha, standing at 15 meters tall. Explore the impressive temple grounds and marvel at the grandeur of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Kasuga Taisha: Next, head to Kasuga Taisha, a beautiful Shinto shrine renowned for its thousands of stone and bronze lanterns. The lanterns are lit twice a year during the Lantern Festivals, creating a magical ambiance. Wander through the serene forest pathways leading to the shrine and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • Kofuku-ji Temple: Before leaving Nara, visit Kofuku-ji Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. This historic temple complex features several notable buildings, including a five-story pagoda and the Eastern Golden Hall. The temple’s museum, the Kofuku-ji National Treasure Hall, houses an impressive collection of Buddhist art and artifacts.

Evening: Return to Kyoto

  • Dinner in Kyoto: After a day of exploration, return to Kyoto by train. Enjoy a relaxing dinner at one of Kyoto’s many excellent restaurants, where you can savor traditional Kyoto cuisine or sample various Japanese dishes.

Reflect on your day as you return to your accommodation, filled with the spiritual and historical essence of both Fushimi Inari and Nara. This day trip adds depth and diversity to your 10 day Japan itinerary, offering a blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural immersion.

 

Day 8: Arrival in Osaka and Dotonbori District

 

Osaka and Dotonbori
Osaka and Dotonbori

On the eighth day of your Japan itinerary 10 days, travel from Kyoto to Osaka, a city known for its modernity, vibrant street life, and culinary delights. As Japan’s third-largest city, Osaka offers a dynamic contrast to the historical serenity of Kyoto.

Morning: Travel to Osaka

  • Train to Osaka: Begin your day with a short train ride from Kyoto to Osaka, which takes around 30 minutes via the JR Shinkansen or other rapid trains. Upon arrival, check into your accommodation and get ready to explore the city.

Midday: Osaka Castle and Surroundings

  • Osaka Castle: Start your Osaka adventure with a visit to the iconic Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. The castle, originally built in the 16th century, played a pivotal role in the unification of Japan during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Explore the castle grounds and the main tower, which now houses a museum detailing the castle’s history and the life of its builder, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
  • Osaka Castle Park: Surrounding the castle is Osaka Castle Park, a sprawling green space perfect for a leisurely stroll. The park is especially beautiful during cherry blossom season in spring and offers picturesque views of the castle.

Afternoon: Umeda and Shinsaibashi

  • Umeda Sky Building: Head to the Umeda district to visit the Umeda Sky Building, a futuristic skyscraper with a unique design. The building’s Floating Garden Observatory offers panoramic views of Osaka from its 39th floor, providing a great vantage point to appreciate the city’s skyline.
  • Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade: Make your way to the bustling Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, a vibrant shopping street filled with a mix of international and local brands, boutiques, and department stores. It’s an excellent spot for shopping enthusiasts to find everything from fashion to souvenirs.

Evening: Dotonbori District

  • Dotonbori: As the sun sets, head to the famous Dotonbori district, the heart of Osaka’s entertainment and dining scene. Dotonbori is known for its dazzling neon lights, vibrant atmosphere, and iconic landmarks like the Glico Running Man and the giant Kani Doraku crab sign.
  • Street Food and Dining: Dotonbori is a food lover’s paradise. Sample some of Osaka’s most famous street foods, such as takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers). The district offers a wide variety of restaurants and food stalls, ensuring you won’t leave hungry.
  • Explore the Canal: Take a leisurely walk along the Dotonbori Canal, where you can enjoy the lively atmosphere and perhaps take a boat tour to see the illuminated district from the water.

Nightlife: Namba

  • Namba: If you’re up for experiencing Osaka’s nightlife, continue to the Namba area, adjacent to Dotonbori. Namba is home to a plethora of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues where you can experience the local nightlife.

After a dynamic day of exploring Osaka’s cultural and culinary highlights, return to your accommodation to rest. The vibrant energy and delicious food of Osaka will surely be one of the highlights of your Japan travel itinerary 10 days.

 

Where to Eat Around Osaka

 

Osaka is known as Japan’s “kitchen” for its vibrant food scene and diverse culinary offerings. Whether you’re looking for street food, casual dining, or fine dining experiences, here are some top places to eat around Osaka:

Breakfast and Brunch

  • Granknot Coffee: This stylish café in the Kitahama area offers excellent coffee and a variety of breakfast options, including pastries, sandwiches, and granola.
  • Brooklyn Roasting Company: Located in Kitahama and Namba, this popular café serves delicious coffee and light breakfast fare in a trendy, New York-style setting.

Lunch

  • Kuromon Ichiba Market: Known as “Osaka’s Kitchen,” this market is a great place to sample a variety of local foods. Try fresh sushi, takoyaki (octopus balls), grilled seafood, and other street food specialties.
  • Mizuno: Located in Dotonbori, Mizuno is famous for its okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). This family-run restaurant has been serving delicious okonomiyaki since 1945.
  • Ichiran Ramen: For a focused ramen experience, visit Ichiran Ramen. This popular chain offers individual booths where you can customize and enjoy your bowl of tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen in privacy.

Kuromon Ichiba Market - GaijinPot Travel

Snack

  • 551 Horai: Known for its delicious steamed pork buns (butaman), 551 Horai is a must-visit for a quick and tasty snack. There are multiple locations around Osaka, including major train stations.
  • Rikuro Ojisan’s Cheesecake: This famous cheesecake shop offers light and fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes. It’s a perfect treat to enjoy while exploring the city.

551 Horai - Osaka Food Guide | The Travellist

Dinner

  • Dotonbori District: Dotonbori is the heart of Osaka’s food scene, offering a wide variety of restaurants and street food stalls. Enjoy takoyaki, okonomiyaki, kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), and more while taking in the vibrant atmosphere and neon lights.
  • Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M: For a high-quality yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) experience, visit Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M in Dotonbori. This restaurant offers premium Matsusaka beef that you can grill at your table.
  • Kani Doraku: Famous for its giant moving crab sign, Kani Doraku specializes in crab dishes. Enjoy a variety of crab delicacies, including crab sushi, hot pot, and grilled crab, in a traditional setting.
  • Harukoma Sushi: Located in the Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street, Harukoma Sushi is a popular spot for affordable and high-quality sushi. Be prepared for a wait, as this place is always busy.

MENU |Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M

Nightlife

  • Umeda Sky Building’s Kuchu Teien Observatory: Enjoy a drink at the bar on the 40th floor of the Umeda Sky Building, where you can take in panoramic views of Osaka’s skyline.
  • Bar Nayuta: Located in the Kitashinchi entertainment district, Bar Nayuta offers creative cocktails and an intimate, speakeasy-style atmosphere.
  • The Drunken Clam: A lively and fun bar inspired by the bar from the TV show “Family Guy.” It’s located in the heart of Shinsaibashi and offers a variety of drinks and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Sam and Dave One: This popular nightclub in Shinsaibashi offers a vibrant nightlife experience with live DJs, dancing, and a wide selection of drinks.

Day 9: Universal Studios Japan or Osaka Aquarium

Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium
Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium

On the ninth day of your 10 day Japan itinerary, immerse yourself in the exciting attractions of Osaka. Choose between a fun-filled day at Universal Studios Japan or a more relaxed visit to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Both options offer unique experiences and are perfect for all ages.

Option 1: Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is a theme park offering thrilling rides, shows, and attractions based on popular movies and characters. It’s an ideal destination for families, movie enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Start your day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can explore Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village. Don’t miss the immersive ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which takes you on a magical adventure through the world of Harry Potter.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: Experience the high-flying action of this 3D ride, which combines cutting-edge technology with thrilling storytelling.
  • Jurassic Park – The Ride: Get ready for a thrilling water ride through a dinosaur-filled jungle, culminating in a dramatic drop.
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Join Gru and his Minions on this delightful ride that’s perfect for all ages.
  • Hollywood Dream – The Ride: Enjoy the excitement of this roller coaster that offers both forward and backward riding options.
  • Parade and Shows: Throughout the day, catch various parades and shows featuring your favorite characters and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the park.

Option 2: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

For a more relaxed yet equally captivating day, visit Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in the world. The aquarium offers a mesmerizing journey through diverse marine habitats.

  • Pacific Ocean Tank: The centerpiece of the aquarium is the massive Pacific Ocean tank, home to a majestic whale shark, manta rays, and other large marine creatures. Watching these giants glide gracefully through the water is a highlight of any visit.
  • Interactive Exhibits: Engage with interactive exhibits that allow you to touch and feel various marine animals, such as rays and small sharks.
  • Japanese Forest: Start your visit in the Japanese Forest exhibit, showcasing the diverse wildlife found in Japan’s temperate forests.
  • Antarctica: Marvel at the playful antics of the aquarium’s penguins in the Antarctica exhibit.
  • Great Barrier Reef: Explore the vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Gift Shop and Dining: Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for marine-themed souvenirs and enjoy a meal at one of the aquarium’s dining options, which offer stunning views of Osaka Bay.

Evening: Relaxing and Dining in Osaka

Regardless of the option you choose, conclude your day with a relaxing evening in Osaka.

  • Osaka Bay Area: If you visited Universal Studios Japan, take a leisurely stroll around the Osaka Bay Area, enjoying the scenic views and waterfront atmosphere.
  • Local Dining: For dinner, explore Osaka’s renowned food scene. Try local specialties like takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers). Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi are excellent areas to find a wide variety of dining options.

After an exhilarating day of adventures and marine wonders, return to your accommodation to rest and reflect on the memorable experiences of the day. This day adds a delightful mix of excitement and wonder to your Japan travel itinerary 10 days, ensuring a well-rounded exploration of Osaka’s attractions.

Day 10: Final Day and Departure

 

The final day of your 10 days in Japan is here. It’s time to wrap up your journey with some last-minute sightseeing, shopping, and a fond farewell to this incredible country. Depending on your departure time, you can enjoy a few more experiences in Osaka before heading to the airport.

Morning: Last-Minute Sightseeing and Shopping

  • Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
    Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade

    : Begin your day at Shinsaibashi, Osaka’s premier shopping district. This long shopping arcade offers a mix of high-end stores, boutiques, and traditional shops where you can pick up last-minute souvenirs and gifts. Explore the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy a leisurely shopping experience.

  • Kuromon Ichiba Market: Visit Kuromon Ichiba Market, known as “Osaka’s Kitchen,” where you can sample fresh seafood, local produce, and various street foods. It’s a great place to have a delicious breakfast or early lunch and immerse yourself in the local culinary scene.
  • Namba Yasaka Shrine: If you have time, stop by the Namba Yasaka Shrine, famous for its unique lion-head-shaped stage. This serene shrine offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city and provides a glimpse into Japan’s spiritual heritage.

Midday: Osaka Castle Park or Sumiyoshi Taisha

  • Osaka Castle Park: If you didn’t have a chance to visit earlier or want to take a final stroll, head back to Osaka Castle Park. Enjoy a walk through the lush greenery, and take in the beautiful views of the castle one last time. The park is a great spot to relax and reflect on your journey.
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha: Alternatively, visit Sumiyoshi Taisha, one of Osaka’s oldest and most important Shinto shrines. The shrine is known for its distinctive architectural style and tranquil surroundings. Stroll through the peaceful grounds and admire the beautiful structures.

Afternoon: Preparing for Departure

  • Lunch: Enjoy a final meal in Osaka, choosing from a variety of local restaurants and eateries. Savor your favorite Japanese dishes and take in the lively ambiance of the city.
  • Hotel Checkout: Return to your hotel to check out and collect your belongings. Ensure you have all your travel documents, souvenirs, and personal items packed and ready for departure.

Evening: Travel to the Airport

  • Travel to Kansai International Airport: Depending on your flight time, make your way to Kansai International Airport (KIX) with ample time for check-in and security procedures. The airport is well-connected to the city via train, bus, and taxi services.
  • Airport Shopping and Dining: If you arrive early at the airport, take advantage of the duty-free shopping and dining options available. Browse through a variety of shops offering last-minute souvenirs, local snacks, and luxury goods.

Departure

As you board your flight and prepare for departure, take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences of your 10 day Japan itinerary. From the bustling streets of Tokyo and the tranquil beauty of Kyoto’s temples to the vibrant energy of Osaka, you’ve experienced a rich tapestry of Japan’s culture, history, and modernity.

Your 10 days in Japan have been filled with unforgettable memories and unique experiences. This meticulously planned itinerary has ensured you’ve seen the best of what Japan has to offer, from iconic landmarks and cultural treasures to delightful culinary adventures. As you depart, you’ll carry with you the spirit of Japan and a longing to return to this captivating country. Safe travels and see you next time!

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