17 Day Itinerary for Japan (aka Operation Hello Kitty)

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Japan
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Whenever I go on a trip, I try to look up itineraries that other people have made for themselves to get an idea on how I would like to plan my trip. Some of them have been helpful (while others do not really coincide with the places I want to go to), so I thought to do the same and upload our trip’s itinerary for anyone that is curious or needs some help planning their time in Japan.

Map of our trip (sorry about how plain it is; trying to find a really good itinerary map app. Will update once found)

Map of our trip (sorry about how plain it is; trying to find a really good itinerary map app. Will update once found)

To be quite honest, I did no planning whatsoever regarding the destinations and timeline for our trip; my boyfriend previously did this trip with a friend the last time he was in Japan so we delegated the planning to him. This was his 7th or 8th trip to Japan, as he previously had family living in Nagano and Nagoya.

Before we left for our trip I nicknamed our trip “Operation Hello Kitty”, as I’m silly and like to label things as operations, and Hello Kitty seemed fitting.

Loose Itinerary for 17 days in Japan
Day 1: Travel to Tokyo
Day 2-6: Osaka with Day Trips to Kyoto, Himeji and Kobe.
Day 7-8: Miyajima with a Day Trip to Hiroshima.
Day 9-10: Beppu
Day 11-16: Tokyo
Day 17: Travel Back Home

One thing to note is that our total vacation may have been 17 days, due to travelling overseas from Canada to Japan (and back) our trip actually totals out to 16 days. Keep this in mind when you are planning and account for your travel time.

Breakdown of our Itinerary for Operation Hello Kitty
Day 1: Travel ->Land in NRT and spent the night in Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo -> Osaka (travel time was just over 3 hours via Shinkansen)
Dotonbori & Orange Street (1-2 hours)

Day 3: Osaka
Osaka Aquarium (2-3 hours)
Tempozan Market Place & Tempozan Ferris Wheel (1-2 hours)
Universal Studios (2-3 hours)

Day 4: Osaka -> Day Trip to Kyoto (approximately 30 minutes via Shinkansen each way)
Kiyomizu (2-3 hours)
Shijo Street (2-3 hours)

Day 5: Osaka -> Day Trip to Himeji (just over 30 minutes via Shinkansen each way)
Himeji Castle (2-3 hours)
Nishioyashiki Garden (1-2 hours)

Day 6: Osaka -> Quick Trip to Kobe (about 30 minutes via Shinkansen each way)
Osaka Castle (1-2 hours)
Port of Kobe (30-60 minutes)
Dinner in Kobe (1 hour)

Day 7: Osaka -> Miyajima  (~1.5 hours to Hiroshima, 5 minute Ferry ride to Miyajima)
Shopping and Sightseeing in Miyajima (2 hours)

Day 8: Miyajima -> Day Trip to Hiroshima (5 minute ferry ride)
A-Bomb Dome and Peace Park (1-2 hours)
Peace Memorial Museum (1-2 hours)
Wandering Miyajima (1 hour)

Day 9: Miyajima -> Beppu (5 minute ferry ride to Hiroshima, ~2.5 hours via Shinkansen)
Hoyoland (1-2 hours)
Wandering Beppu (1 hour)

Day 10: Beppu
8 Hells of Beppu (2-3 hours)

Day 11: Beppu -> Tokyo (~5.5 hours via Shinkansen)
Wandering Ueno District (1-2 hours)

Day 12: Tokyo
Tokyo Disneyland (All Day)

Day 13: Tokyo
Tokyo DisneySea (~5 hours)

Day 15: Tokyo
Shinjuku (3-4 hours)
Lazy day in Tokyo

Day 16: Tokyo
Akihabara (All Day)

Day 17: Travel -> Home

Note: This detailed itinerary doesn’t include all meals, window shopping and wandering aimlessly.

Though it may not seem like we did a lot, our feet would tell you otherwise. There are a lot of things that we wished that we could have seen/done that we missed.

Osaka: SpaWorld, Shitennoji Temple, Koreatown, Mino Park
Kyoto: Rokuon-Ji (Temple of the Golden Pavillion), Byodo-In (Buddhist Temple), Nijo Castle, Nonomiya Shrine, Manga Museum
Beppu: More Onsens
Tokyo: Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Crossing, Ginza, Ikebukero, Harajuku, Mt.Fuji, Great Buddha in Kamakura

Thing to Note if Doing A Lot of Sightseeing in Japan
1. You will be walking around a lot, so bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
2. Plan ahead of time what you want to see/do, and also come up with a back up plan(s) in case your plans that day change. Don’t plan to see too many things in one day, as you’ll be exhausted. Prioritize what you want to see/do on your trip.
3. Each site will take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on how thorough you want to be. For shopping and visiting districts over tourist sites, I would plan to spend more time.
4. We went from the big cities of Tokyo to the quiet little cities like Miyajima. If you are wanting to have more of a “touristy” trip, I would suggest sticking to the bigger cities; however, Miyajima and Beppu are definite places to go if you like a quieter and more relaxing time.
5. If hopping from city to city, I urge people to purchase a JR Rail Pass prior to coming to Japan. It is a definite money saver (will have a blog post dedicated to the rail and transit system soon).  Also consider travel time from city to city, and plan your destinations wisely.

I hope this helps out some of you if you are planning a trip to Japan. Let me know if you have any questions and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.


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