Discovering Japan: An Epic 2-Week Journey Through Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka, & Hiroshima

Travel Advisor Sierra ONeal with a plaid coat and jeans on standing in front of red Japanese archways.
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Sierra O'Neal

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  • Japan

  • City Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Outdoors

  • Nightlife

  • Entertainment

Tall buildings in Japan lit up by bright lights and signs with a crowded crosswalk
Curator’s statement

Japan is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, Japan offers a diverse range of attractions. Immerse yourself in the vibrant city life, indulge in delicious cuisine, witness breathtaking landscapes such as Mount Fuji, and discover the country's rich cultural heritage through visits to historic sites and traditional tea ceremonies. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an adventurous foodie, or a nature lover, Japan will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for its captivating charm.

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Where to stay

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Henn Na Hotel in Urayasu

Experience the future of hospitality at Henn Na Hotel in Urayasu, where cutting-edge technology, robotic staff, and sleek design come together to offer a unique and futuristic stay near Tokyo Disneyland.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Contemporary high-rise property with quaint, compact rooms.

Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou

Unwind in the tranquil beauty of Mount Fuji at Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou, a traditional Japanese onsen ryokan where natural hot springs, stunning views, and warm hospitality combine for a serene and rejuvenating stay.

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Travel Advisor Sierra ONeal with a plaid coat and jeans on standing in front of red Japanese archways.

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Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo neon billboards.

Arrive at Narita International Airport, redeem our 14-day JR pass, and catch a NEXpress to Tokyo Station. Stop for something to eat within Tokyo Gransta, Tokyo Station's biggest underground shopping and dining complex.

Travel to Maihama Station and stay in Urayasu at the Henn na Hotel. This hotel offers a unique experience with its robot dinosaur staff, making it a great start to your Japanese adventure. Grab something quick for dinner or a late-night snack from the convenience store (there's a Lawson’s and 7-eleven in front of the hotel).

Day 2: Tokyo DisneySea

DisneySea amusement park at night

We grabbed some iced coffee and treats from Lawson for breakfast, walked to Maihama Station, and bought a train ticket for the monorail to the resorts (cash only). HINT: Red ATMS work great for cards from the US.

Spend the whole day at this Tokyo DisneySea, a one-of-a-kind Disney park and enjoy the unique nautical and sea-themed attractions, live performances, immersive theming, and attention to detail. This is also a great romantic spot for couples — my fiance proposed here so it’s a special place for me! We ended our day at Ikspiari, which is a shopping mall and includes restaurants, near Maihama station. I still can’t get over how safe and quiet it is to walk the residential streets, even late at night.

Day 3: Shinjuku

a pathway through peaceful tree shaded park

Stay in Shinjuku at the La'gent Hotel. You can drop off your luggage at most hotels before check-in, so you don't have to worry about dragging your suitcases all over the place.

Visit Harajuku station and Takeshita street, Yoyogi Park (for cherry blossoms!), Meiji Shrine, and Tokyu Plaza during the day.

In Shinjuku and Kabukicho, the bustling district is known for its nightlife, shopping, and dining options. Visit the mega Don Quijote and a local restaurant around the area. I recommend Ramen Tatsunoya or the 2D cafe!

Day 4: More in Shinjuku

Busy downtown Japan, Tokyo featuring neon lights at night.

Stay at the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. This hotel is famous for its Godzilla head that overlooks the city.

Visit Happy Pancake for fluffy pancakes, Pokemon Center DX, Akihabara for Super Potato, Capsule Toys, Arcades, and stop at a local Ramen shop for lunch. Finish the night with some Suntory Highball and Takoyaki at Gindaco near Hotel Gracery.

Day 5: Mount Fuji

Japanese temple in front of a city and mountain

Grab some Mcdonald’s for breakfast (most other places don’t open until 10 or 11 am!) and catch a train from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchiko.

Visit Mount Fuji at Lake Kawaguchi and stay at the Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou. This beautiful onsen offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and a relaxing hot spring experience. Grab some matcha ice cream, take a paddleboat ride in Lake Kawaguchi in some swans or take the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway to ring the Tenjo Bell at the top and see Mt. Fuji, and then have a kaiseki dinner experience for a romantic night in.

Day 6-8: Mt Fuji, Kyoto temples, and ramen delights

lantern glows a red light on a white curtain covering a door on a small street

Wake up early to take the local bus to Shimoyoshida station and walk to Chureito Pagoda for breathtaking views of Mt Fuji. Grab breakfast at the hotel buffet and check out.

Grab a reserved bus to Mishima station and travel to Kyoto via bullet train. Stay at the Hotel Tavinos for three nights. Kyoto is famous for its traditional temples, shrines, and beautiful gardens.

Visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Monkey Park, and try some fresh matcha and Japanese snacks. Visit shops and food vendors. Take a ride on the Sagano Romantic Train. Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, stop for some traditional matcha tea, and walk around the Gion district. End the night with delicious Ramen and gyoza at Ramen Miyako Gion Honten. When you have time, definitely explore Kyoto Station (there is so much to do there!).

Day 9-10: Osaka

pink sunset over amusement park on the water

Travel to Osaka and stay at the Meitetsu in Shinosaka for three nights. Osaka is known for its vibrant food scene, nightlife, and shopping. The first night we grabbed a Rikuro jiggly cheesecake from Shin-Osaka station. Take the Osaka metro to the TeamLAB Botanical Garden outdoor exhibit and end the night in Dotonbori with drinks and local street food. Go to Universal Studios Japan for the second day in Osaka — experience Nintendo World, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and much more. Grab a late-night dinner at Tonkatsu MatsunoYa / MyCurry Shokudo.

Day 11: Hiroshima

Miyajima Island

We booked the Hello Kitty Shinkansen to Hiroshima around 11 am. Grabbed some eki-bens (bento box lunch) for our trip there. Travel to Hiroshima and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum. If you get there early, I definitely recommend visiting Miyajima Island. Try local Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki. Can’t forget about trying Momiji-Manju while you’re there! We Visited the Pokemon Store and had some coffee at Starbucks on our way back to the station. Explored Hiroshima Station before our next shinkansen departed and grabbed some food and souvenirs on our way back to Osaka.

Day 12: Exploration, shrines, deer, and Yakitori delights

a deer stands in the arch of a Japanese arch surrounded by fall trees

Check out of the hotel and go to Nara — that was the plan anyways! We ended up dropping our luggage off at the station at a rental locker and explored the shopping mall which included the Nintendo Store and Pokemon Store in Osaka. We grabbed some Yakitori at a restaurant there. We finally made our way to Nara and got to visit a couple of shrines and feed some deer! We ate at local food stands and then head back to Shin-Osaka to grab our bags and catch the Shinkansen to Tokyo.

Day 13-15: Tokyo city adventure and culinary delights

Pedestrians crossing busy crosswalk with yellow taxi and lit up buildings at night

Stay in Tokyo in Akasaka at JR West Group Via Inn Prime Akasaka. We stayed near the Akasaka station so we had coffee and breakfast at Tully’s Coffee, and grabbed a reservation for the Harry Potter store later that night. We strolled through Shibuya and all the vintage shops and had Domino’s pizza for dinner. The next day we got to visit Sunshine City. We enjoyed the bustling city and its many attractions, including the iconic Shibuya Crossing from up above at Shibuya Sky, had Ichiran Ramen for lunch, and got to visit Tokyo Tower and Zojo-ji Temple. On our last day, we visited Tokyo Station and explored the area to grab last-minute souvenirs, udon, and headed to the airport to catch our flight.

Need to Know

 For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor MaryAlexa Divver’s guide, Guide to New Years Skiing (Ja-Pow!) in Niseko, Japan.

Travel Advisor Sierra ONeal with a plaid coat and jeans on standing in front of red Japanese archways.

Travel Advisor

Sierra O'Neal

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Japan.