11-Day Japan Itinerary

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11 Days in Japan

Japan is an amazing tourist destination that offers many unique experiences that you cannot find in any other part of the world. It is one of the oldest civilizations and has a beautiful and diverse history. The stunning, diverse scenery with mountains and breathtaking views offers so many different experiences that attract tourists from all corners of the world. Ready to travel to Japan?

Day 1 Highlights

Sapporo


Sapporo Clock Tower

Sapporo Clock Tower

An iconic building located in the heart of Sapporo City. This western-style (American) wooden structure is the oldest in Sapporo, dating back to the city’s establishment in the 1870s and was originally built to be the Sapporo Agricultural College building. The clock, which still works today, came from Boston and was installed in 1881. Presently, it functions as a museum, telling the history of the structure itself and the city.

Sapporo TV Tower

Sapporo TV Tower

One of the most recognizable buildings not just in Sapporo but also the whole of Japan. The tower is a rather surprising attraction in Sapporo as it is modeled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. You can travel up to the observation deck here which is located at a height of some 90 meters and take in the gorgeous views over Sapporo.

Nishitondendori Soup Curry Honpo

Nishitondendori Soup Curry Honpo

Soup curry is one of the staple dishes of Japanese cuisine. Given that Hokkaido is the birthplace of soup curry, there is a lot of competition between restaurants to establish which one serves the best in Sapporo. Nishitondendori Soup Curry Honpo definitely ranks among the top three.

Shiroi Koibito Park

Shiroi Koibito Park

Shiroi Koibito Park (白い恋人パーク) is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. The company's flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin butter cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between. It is one of the most famous souvenirs from Hokkaido.

Ishiya Chocolate Factory

Ishiya Chocolate Factory

The park is a magical space with features like the Shiroi Koibito Factory where the chocolate is produced, the Cookiecraft Studio where visitors can make their own sweet treats, and the Rose Garden where you can have an afternoon nap after feasting on too much sugar.

Nemuro Hanamaru

Nemuro Hanamaru

Sapporo is widely considered to be one of the best sushi destinations in Japan, and at the very top of that category stands Hanamaru. Hanamaru serves its dishes on a conveyor belt: each plate is color-coded and each color corresponds to a price. Guests can pick and choose whatever dish they prefer and at the end of the meal the waitresses count the stack of dishes and bring the bill.

Day 2 Highlights

Sapporo


Ski at Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Ski at Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Only one hour away from the city, this resort attracts skiers locally and globally.
Although there are total of seven courses and the slope size is not so big, the resort offers lots of powder snow and various slopes to entertain you.

Mt. Moiwa Ropeway

Mt. Moiwa Ropeway

This observation deck at the summit presents the most beautiful night view of the Sapporo cityscape. The viewing spot can be reached by taking the ropeway and a mini cable car. Aside from the observation deck, there is also a restaurant where you can have dinner with your special someone or your family while being mesmerized by an ocean of city lights below. The sight is one of the New Three Major Night Views of Japan.

Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden

Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden

Built in 1987, the Sapporo Beer Museum is the only one of its kind in Japan. It aims to educate visitors on beer culture and the brewing process. As the culture dates back to Meiji Era, it has officially earned the Hokkaido Heritage designation. If you are really interested in beer and you want to thoroughly immerse (hehe), you can indulge yourself at the Beer Garden with a variety of draft beers while munching on fresh barbecued lamb known as the Genghis Khan.

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Day 3 Highlights

Tokyo


Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

The place of residence of Japan’s Imperial family. It has a beautiful park area surrounded by grand stone walls and moats in the center of Tokyo. The main Palace area is open only on the New Year’s Greeting Event on January 2nd and the Emperor’s Birthday on the 23rd of December, but the palace exterior grounds are open for public throughout the year. There are two bridges that can be viewed right from the Kokyo Gaien plaza that’s right out from the the palace and the Imperial Palace East Gardens are amongst the best places for a stroll.

Owl Cafe Fukurou

Owl Cafe Fukurou

This owl cafe in the center of Akihabara has a unique atmosphere - more like a theme-park attraction than an animal cafe. From the outside it looks like a repurposed downtown office, but inside it's a fantasy world of sleepy owls, crystal chandeliers, uniformed staff and soft classical music.

Intermediatheque Museum

Intermediatheque Museum

Located in the Kitte Marunouchi building near the Tokyo Station, you’ll find yourself lost amidst the ancient wonders and treasures left behind for us by extinct civilizations. From early steam engines to Egyptian mummies, this kaleidoscopic wonderland has everything preserved and on display. Get inspired by the tribal art or see your kids’ faces light up by the wildlife specimens and the 19th century raconteurs of flora and fauna.
Allow yourself at least half a day to absorb the richness and literary brilliance of this place!

Ryogoku

Ryogoku

If you are curious about Japan’s national sport of sumo (wrestling), then you must head to this place which is its so-called historic center. You can find here Tokyo’s sumo stadium (Kokugikan), sumo stables, and other sumo-related attractions. If you want to watch official matches, come around January, May, or September

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree

At 634m, this is the tallest tower in the world. It is primarily a television and radio broadcast site for the Kanto Region; but for travelers, you can visit the large shopping complex, aquarium, and planetarium that are located at its base. And of course, for sky-high views of the city, Tokyo Skytree has two observation decks.

Sumida River and Park

Sumida River and Park

For a leisurely stroll, go over to Sumida River and lounge by Sumida Park which stretches on both sides of this body of water. Like what you’d expect, there are cherry blossoms here that come alive in spring, and then during July on its last Saturday, this becomes a great spot for viewing the Sumida River Firework.

Day 4 Highlights

Tokyo


Tokyo Disneysea

Tokyo Disneysea

Tokyo Disneysea is designed as a world filled with adventure, romantic stories, discovery, and fun, where adventure and imagination set sail. There are seven themed ports of call composed of high quality attractions, gorgeous live entertainment programs, delicious food, and great shopping. Tokyo DisneySea is a world where Guests can experience adventure and excitement inside a world of romance and imagination.

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Day 5 Highlights

Tokyo


Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) is one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks. Located just a short walk from Shinjuku Station, the paid park's spacious lawns, meandering walking paths and tranquil scenery provide a relaxing escape from the busy urban center around it. In spring Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms.

Giant Godzilla Head

Giant Godzilla Head

Godzilla is thankfully not wreaking havoc on the streets of Tokyo anymore, but you can still see him peeking through the 8th floor of Hotel Gracery in the Toho Building. The Godzilla Head is a popular attraction in Shinjuku with its giant 39-foot reptilian head, piercing eyes and sharp pointy teeth! You can see him from the busy street 130-feet below, or take the elevator up to get a closer peek. Keep your eyes open for the new Godzilla Viewing Room coming soon.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji (1st emperor of Japan) and Empress Shoken, the vast Meiji Shrine is a great tranquil ‘escape’ from the hectic Harajuku. As a visitor, you can partake in the routine Shinto acts: buying amulets, writing out your wish on an ema (wooden plates) and making offerings at the hall.

Cosplay Go-Karting

Cosplay Go-Karting

Dressing up as your favourite character and driving a go-kart around the Tokyo streets has to be the coolest thing you can do in Tokyo. Yes, you drive a tiny go-kart on the real streets of Tokyo amongst cars, buses, and trucks!

Digital Art Museum

Digital Art Museum

The teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum will blow your mind. It’s not only one of the most unique, cool museums in Tokyo, but the whole world. You’ll be amazed that such an incredible, beautiful experience can be created artistically, with only computer data. It’s a huge museum which is divided into differently themed rooms, but there’s no premeditated path so you can just wander wherever you feel inspired to go.

Day 6 Highlights

Osaka


Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats. The Nishinomaru Garden, encompassing the former "western citadel", is a lawn garden with 600 cherry trees, a tea house, the former Osaka Guest House and nice views of the castle tower from below. Unlike most of the rest of the castle grounds, the garden requires an admission fee.

Nakanoshima River Cruise

Nakanoshima River Cruise

Twilight river cruise past skyscrapers, illuminated gardens & fountains on a boat with live music.

Dotombori Imai Honten

Dotombori Imai Honten

Dotombori Imai Honten has been open since 1946 and is one of the most beloved udon restaurants in Osaka. Dotombori Imai Honten is located just a short walk from the famous Glico Man in Dotonbori.

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Day 7 Highlights

Osaka


Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. Opened in March 2001 in the Osaka Bay Area, the theme park occupies an area of 39 hectares and is the most visited amusement park in Japan after Tokyo Disney Resort.
Universal Studios Japan currently has ten sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland, Minion Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World.

Day 8 Highlights

Osaka


Osaka Aquarium

Osaka Aquarium

From the city’s heart, you will reach the little harbour of Cassarate by boat, just in time to take the funicular, enjoy the splendid view of the city centre, gradually expanding at your feet as you reach Lugano’s most uncontaminated summit. You will also get the chance to admire the fantastic view, which, on clear days, stretches all the way to Mount Rosa.

Maishima Pottery Museum

Maishima Pottery Museum

Maishima Pottery Museum is part of the Bay Area of Osaka and sits on a manmade island which was built for the purpose in 1998. The aim of the museum is to use the marine clay which lies in the waters around Osaka and you can come here and try to make your own pot using a potter’s wheel.

Day 9 Highlights

Osaka


Edogawa Naramachi

Edogawa Naramachi

Edogawa Naramachi is one of Nara's most famous restaurants specializing in grilled eel from Kagoshima on the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu.
At Edogawa, they boast a delicious unagi-focused menu. The chef carefully prepares the eel Tokyo-style where the eel is cut open, chargrilled then steamed and grilled again with the sweet and salty soy-based sauce.

Cup Noodles Museum

Cup Noodles Museum

One of the most iconic sights in Osaka is the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum which is dedicated to the humble instant noodle. Here you will find a range of quirky attractions such as a statue of Momofuku Ando who is credited with inventing instant ramen and you can also check out a giant replica of a cup noodle.
The museum also offers you the chance to taste and even make your own noodles as part of a series of workshops.

Day 10 Highlights

Kyoto


Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world. If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.

Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

Prepare for battle as you learn the skills of the samurai during a 1-hour class in Kyoto. Study the basic techniques of the ancient Japanese warriors and get an introduction to the samurai art.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle (Nijō-jō), complete with well-preserved walls, towers, and a moat, was built in 1603 and later served as the seat of government. The complex has several buildings containing many significant works of art, and is famous as the location chosen by the emperor to issue the rescript abolishing the country's once powerful Shogunate.

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine

One of Japan's most famous shrines, the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine is a must-visit when in Kyoto. Founded in AD 711 and dedicated to the goddess of rice-growing, Ukanomitama-no-mikoto, the shrine is still frequented by merchants and tradesmen who pray for prosperity.

Tea Ceremony Experience

Tea Ceremony Experience

Experience the wonders of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Learn about the ceremony's history and the different tea-making methods from an English-speaking tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan.

Day 11 Highlights

Kyoto


Bento Lunchbox Making

Bento Lunchbox Making

Food shaped like pandas, hearts, bunnies – anything cute basically. And it’s all in the form of sushi, or rice balls, or thin omelets, carrots, tomatoes… So how about the chance to learn how to make this cute cuisine yourself? We’re definitely in.
Ok so maybe you won’t be getting into all the sculpting and kawaii-ness, but at Cooking Sun you’ll learn how to make your very own sushi, miso soup and other tasty things.

Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion

Originally built in the 14th century as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and now a Zen Buddhist temple, the magnificent Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) is one of Kyoto's most picturesque attractions.

Gion's Geishas and Temples

Gion's Geishas and Temples

Famous as an entertainment and geisha district, Gion is an area of Kyoto that is well suited to explore on foot. Located on the eastern bank of the Kamogawa River, Gion is an eclectic mix of modern architecture and historical beauty that provides a unique taste of numerous Japanese traditions, from the elaborately dressed geishas to well-preserved 17th-century restaurants and teahouses offering a glimpse of old Japan.

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