Welcome to Japan, a land of captivating traditions, modern innovation, breathtaking landscapes, and a vibrant cultural tapestry. This 10-day Japan itinerary in summer is designed to offer you a taste of the country’s diverse offerings, taking you on a journey through ancient temples, bustling cities, serene gardens, and awe-inspiring natural wonders, while staying cool and enjoying what Japan summer has to offer!
Please note that this itinerary is just a suggestion, and you can customize it based on your preferences and the amount of time you have available. Tokyo offers countless attractions and hidden gems, so don’t hesitate to explore beyond the suggested spots and embrace the city’s unique charm.
Why is summer a good time to visit Japan?
Summer is a popular time to visit Japan.
Festivals and Events: Summer in Japan is filled with vibrant festivals and events, offering a unique cultural experience. One of the most famous festivals is Obon, a time when ancestral spirits are believed to return to the earthly realm. Many cities and towns hold lively parades, dances, and fireworks displays during this period.
Japan’s natural beauty reaches its peak during the summer months. Lush greenery blankets the countryside, and parks and gardens are adorned with colorful flowers, such as cherry blossoms in early summer and sunflowers later on. It’s an excellent time to visit iconic locations like Kyoto’s temples.
The summer vacation period, known as Obon, is when many Japanese people take time off from work and school. This creates a lively and festive atmosphere across the country, with crowded shopping streets, bustling nightlife, and numerous seasonal events. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and witness the vibrant energy of the locals.
Of course, there are many different activities you can enjoy in summer! You can enjoy swimming and water sports in coastal areas and lakes, hike scenic trails in the mountains, or visit the numerous amusement parks and water parks. Additionally, many cities have beautiful fireworks displays during summer evenings, providing a stunning visual spectacle.
It’s worth noting that summer in Japan can also be hot and humid, particularly in the central and southern regions. If you are sensitive to heat, it’s advisable to stay hydrated, wear lightweight and breathable clothing, and plan your activities accordingly.
10-day Japan Itinerary in summer
Day 1: Tokyo
Start your day early by heading to Tsukiji Market, one of the world’s largest fish markets. Although the original wholesale market has relocated, the outer market area still offers a bustling atmosphere and numerous shops and restaurants. Explore the stalls selling fresh seafood, sushi, kitchenware, and local snacks. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the freshest sushi available for breakfast.
After Tsukiji Market, make your way to Asakusa, a district known for its historic charm and cultural landmarks.
Arrive at Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest and most significant Buddhist temple. Take a stroll through the vibrant Nakamise Shopping Street leading up to the temple, which is lined with shops selling traditional goods, souvenirs, and snacks. Marvel at the imposing Kaminarimon Gate with its iconic red lantern and continue through to the temple grounds. Explore the Main Hall, offer a prayer, and take in the serene atmosphere.
Head to Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s busiest and trendiest districts. Visit the famous Shibuya Crossing, a pedestrian scramble that becomes a spectacle when the lights turn green and people cross from all directions. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and take memorable photos from the Starbucks on the second floor of the Tsutaya building, offering an excellent vantage point.
Take a stroll down Center Street, known as “Center Gai,” which is lined with shops, boutiques, and cafes. You can also explore the trendy shopping complexes like Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Hikarie. For a more serene experience, visit the nearby Yoyogi Park, a spacious park where you can relax and enjoy nature.
From Shibuya, take a short train ride or leisurely walk to Harajuku, a vibrant neighborhood renowned for its unique fashion, street art, and youth culture. Explore Takeshita Street, a bustling pedestrian street lined with shops selling quirky and fashionable clothing, accessories, and sweets. Try some famous Harajuku crepes or sample creative street food like rainbow cotton candy.
If you’re interested in high-end fashion, Omotesando Avenue, known as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées, is a short walk away. Here you’ll find luxury brand boutiques and sophisticated architecture.
As the day winds down, head to Shinjuku, a dynamic entertainment and nightlife district. Begin by exploring Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens, relax by ponds, and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
For dinner, venture into the vibrant Kabukicho area, known for its bustling streets and countless restaurants and izakayas. Indulge in delicious Japanese cuisine or try one of the many international dining options available.
After dinner, consider visiting the observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The panoramic views of the city skyline at night are breathtaking and provide a fitting end to your day in Tokyo.
Day 2: Kawagoe, Tokyo
Start your day by taking a train to Kawagoe, a city known as “Little Edo” for its well-preserved traditional architecture. Begin your exploration in the Kawagoe Old Town area.
Visit the iconic Kurazukuri Street, lined with traditional clay-walled warehouse buildings from the Edo period. Admire the unique architecture and browse through the numerous shops selling local handicrafts, snacks, and souvenirs. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the famous sweet potato treats, such as sweet potato chips or the local specialty called “Kawagoe Ichinoko,” a sweet potato-based dessert.
As the day warms up, consider heading to Kawagoe Aquatic Park, a recreational facility with various water-based activities. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the outdoor pools or relax on the sun loungers while basking in the summer sun. The park also features water slides and a wave pool, providing fun for both children and adults.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more cultural experience, visit the Kawagoe Festival Museum. This museum showcases the traditional floats and artifacts used during the annual Kawagoe Festival, which takes place in October. Learn about the festival’s history, admire the intricate craftsmanship, and gain insights into local traditions.
Take a break from your activities and savor a delicious lunch in one of the local restaurants or cafes in the Kawagoe Old Town area. Enjoy regional specialties such as “Kawagoe Hikishiro,” a type of buckwheat noodle dish, or “Kawagoe Kashiya Yokocho,” a street filled with shops selling traditional Japanese sweets.
After lunch, continue your exploration of the Kawagoe Old Town area. Visit the Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten, a restored palace that offers insights into the region’s history. Explore the beautifully preserved rooms and stroll through the surrounding gardens.
Next, make your way to Kitain Temple, a historic Buddhist temple that houses various cultural treasures, including a collection of samurai armor. Admire the intricate woodwork and explore the tranquil gardens, which are particularly picturesque during the summer months.
Take a leisurely walk and visit the Hikawa Shrine, one of Kawagoe’s most important spiritual sites. Take part in traditional rituals, make a wish, and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the shrine grounds. During summer days, the shrine also have summery decorations, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
Day 3: Kawaguchiko
A day trip to Kawaguchiko offers breathtaking natural beauty and unique attractions.
Morning: Start your day by taking a train or bus to Kawaguchiko, a scenic town located near Mount Fuji.
Once you arrive, head to the Kawaguchiko Panoramic Ropeway. Hop aboard the cable car and ascend to the observation deck, where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko, and the surrounding countryside. Take your time to soak in the awe-inspiring vistas and capture some memorable photographs.
After enjoying the ropeway, make your way to Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. This picturesque lake offers stunning views of Mount Fuji reflected in its calm waters. Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenade, rent a paddleboat or canoe to explore the lake, or simply find a peaceful spot to relax and appreciate the serene surroundings.
Mid-Morning/Afternoon: Next, venture to the Ice Cave (Fugaku Fuketsu) located near Lake Saiko. This unique attraction allows you to explore a subterranean world created by lava flows from Mount Fuji. Walk through the cave’s icy passages, marvel at the intricate ice formations, and learn about the geological history of the area. The cool temperature inside the cave provides a refreshing escape from the summer heat.
Afterward, head to Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees. This dense forest at the base of Mount Fuji offers a mystical and serene atmosphere. Embark on a light hiking trail through the forest, immersing yourself in nature’s tranquility. Take in the lush greenery, listen to the sounds of birds and rustling leaves, and appreciate the unique ecosystem that thrives in this enchanting forest.
Late Afternoon/Evening: As the day progresses, visit the Wind Cave (Fuketsu Wind Cave), located near Lake Saiko. This natural lava tube cave provides a fascinating glimpse into the volcanic activity of the region. Walk through the cave’s dark passages, marvel at the stalactites and rock formations, and feel the cool breeze that circulates within the cave. It’s an otherworldly experience that adds a sense of adventure to your day trip.
Afterward, you can explore the local shops and eateries near Lake Kawaguchiko. Indulge in local delicacies like Hoto noodles, a hearty regional dish, or try Fuji-themed desserts and treats.
Finally, before you head back, make your way to a designated viewpoint or lakeside spot to witness the breathtaking sunset over Mount Fuji. The setting sun casts a golden glow on the iconic peak, creating a truly magical sight.
Day 4: Kyoto
Start your day by taking the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. The journey takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, offering a comfortable and efficient means of travel.
Upon arrival in Kyoto, make your way to your hotel to drop off your luggage. Then head on over to Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of the city’s most renowned and distinctive shrines. Known for its famous Torii gate pathway, this shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and agriculture. Take your time to explore the vibrant red torii gates, wander through the peaceful forested trails, and soak in the spiritual atmosphere.
After visiting Fushimi Inari, head to Kiyomizudera Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Kyoto’s most celebrated landmarks. This wooden temple offers panoramic views of the city from its spacious wooden terrace. Admire the intricate architecture, explore the temple’s various halls and pagodas, and take in the serene surroundings.
Indulge in a delicious Japanese lunch at one of the many local eateries in the vicinity of Kiyomizudera Temple. Kyoto is known for its culinary specialties, so try regional dishes like Kaiseki (traditional multi-course meal), Yudofu (tofu hot pot), or Kyoto-style sushi.
After lunch, head to Yasaka Shrine, a significant Shinto shrine located in the Gion district of Kyoto. This shrine is known for its colorful festivals and vibrant atmosphere. Explore the beautifully decorated buildings, offer a prayer, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
From Yasaka Shrine, make your way to Maruyama Park, a serene and picturesque garden. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, admiring the cherry blossom trees, tranquil ponds, and traditional tea houses. During the summer months, the park offers a lovely setting for a relaxing break or a picnic.
As the day transitions into the evening, explore the Gion area, known for its historic charm and traditional architecture. Take a walk through the streets of Gion, lined with traditional machiya houses and tea houses. Keep an eye out for geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) dressed in their elegant kimono as they gracefully move through the streets.
For dinner, head to Pontocho, a narrow alley known for its array of restaurants, bars, and teahouses. This atmospheric area offers a variety of dining options, from traditional Kyoto cuisine to international flavors. Enjoy a memorable dinner while soaking in the nostalgic ambiance of Pontocho.
After dinner, take a stroll along the Kamogawa River, which runs parallel to Pontocho. This scenic area is particularly enchanting at night, with its illuminated bridges and tranquil waters.
Conclude your day trip by taking a train back to Tokyo from Kyoto. Reflect on the unforgettable experiences and memories you’ve gathered during your exploration of Kyoto’s cultural treasures.
Day 5: Kyoto, Lake Biwa
Begin your day by heading to Arashiyama, a charming district located on the western outskirts of Kyoto.
Start your exploration at the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Walk along the enchanting pathway surrounded by towering bamboo stalks, creating a tranquil and surreal atmosphere. Take your time to immerse yourself in the serene ambiance and capture some memorable photographs.
Afterward, visit Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the temple’s exquisite Zen gardens, characterized by meticulously arranged rocks, ponds, and lush vegetation. Enjoy the peacefulness of the temple grounds and admire the stunning views of the nearby Arashiyama mountains.
Cross the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge, which spans the Katsura River, and make your way to the Monkey Park Iwatayama. Hike up to the mountaintop park, where you can observe Japanese macaque monkeys in their natural habitat. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area from the observation deck while interacting with these playful creatures.
Afterward, take a relaxing boat ride along the Hozu River. Sit back and admire the picturesque scenery as you float downstream, surrounded by lush forests and rugged cliffs. The boat ride offers a peaceful escape and a unique perspective of the Arashiyama area.
Indulge in a delicious lunch at one of the local restaurants in Arashiyama. Try Kyoto’s traditional cuisine, such as kaiseki (multi-course meal), tofu dishes, or matcha-flavored sweets. Many establishments in the area offer beautiful views of the river or mountains, providing a delightful dining experience.
After lunch, make your way to Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, located northeast of Kyoto.
Explore the lake’s picturesque shoreline and enjoy various recreational activities. You can rent a bicycle and cycle along the dedicated cycling paths that offer stunning lake views. Alternatively, rent a boat or kayak to explore the tranquil waters of the lake. Lake Biwa is also known for its scenic beaches, so if weather permits, consider relaxing on the sandy shores or taking a refreshing swim.
As the day progresses, visit one of the charming lakeside towns, such as Otsu or Hikone, and explore their historical sites and cultural attractions.
In Otsu, you can visit the famous Ishiyama-dera Temple, known for its association with the classic Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji.” The temple features beautiful gardens and a serene atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for reflection and appreciation of Japanese culture.
In Hikone, you can explore Hikone Castle, one of Japan’s most well-preserved castles. Marvel at the castle’s impressive architecture, stroll through the surrounding gardens, and learn about the region’s feudal history.
For dinner, savor a delicious meal at one of the lakeside restaurants or try some local specialties in Otsu or Hikone.
Day 6: Nara
Start your day visiting Nishiki Market, also known as “Nishiki Ichiba” or “Kyoto’s Kitchen”. It is a historic and vibrant food market located in Kyoto, Japan. It has been a focal point of culinary culture in Kyoto for centuries and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Nishiki Market stretches over five blocks, extending approximately 400 meters in length. It is situated in downtown Kyoto, parallel to Shijo Avenue, and can be accessed from either end. The market’s narrow covered street is lined with numerous shops, stalls, and restaurants, offering a wide variety of fresh seafood, produce, Kyoto specialties, and traditional Japanese snacks.
Then, take a train from Kyoto to Nara, a city known for its rich cultural heritage and friendly deer population.
Upon arrival in Nara, make your way to Nara Park, a vast public park that houses several iconic landmarks.
Begin your exploration by visiting Todai-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha in Japan. Marvel at the sheer size and beauty of the statue as you explore the temple complex.
Next, head to Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a Shinto shrine known for its stunning vermilion-colored buildings and hundreds of stone lanterns lining the paths. Take a leisurely stroll through the serene forested trails surrounding the shrine, immersing yourself in the tranquil atmosphere.
Indulge in a delicious lunch in Nara, where you can find a variety of local specialties. Try Nara’s famous dish, “kakinoha-zushi,” which consists of sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves, or sample other traditional Japanese cuisine.
After lunch, take some time to explore the picturesque streets of Nara, where you’ll find a mix of traditional shops, cafes, and local vendors.
Visit Naramachi, the old merchant district of Nara, known for its well-preserved traditional wooden buildings. Stroll through the narrow streets lined with shops selling crafts, ceramics, textiles, and traditional sweets. This area offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Nara.
In the late afternoon, bid farewell to Nara and take a train back to Kyoto, where you can indulge in some shopping.
Kyoto offers a wide range of shopping options, from high-end department stores to traditional markets and boutique shops. Explore the shopping districts of Kyoto, such as Shijo-dori, Kawaramachi, or Teramachi-dori, where you’ll find a mix of local and international brands, as well as specialty stores selling traditional crafts and souvenirs.
Take your time to browse through the shops, find unique items, and perhaps purchase some Kyoto specialties like matcha tea, traditional ceramics, or kimono accessories.
Day 7: Osaka
Start your day by heading to Osaka. Your first stop is Osaka Castle, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Osaka Castle is a magnificent feudal-era fortress surrounded by beautiful gardens and moats. Explore the castle grounds, visit the informative museum inside, and climb up to the top floor for panoramic views of the city.
After visiting Osaka Castle, make your way to Umeda, a bustling district known for its shopping and entertainment options. Umeda is home to several department stores, including the popular Hankyu Umeda and the modern and stylish Grand Front Osaka. Take some time to explore the shops, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, and immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere of the area.
From Umeda, make your way to Shinsaibashi, a lively and vibrant shopping district known for its extensive selection of fashion boutiques, department stores, and specialty shops. The main attraction in Shinsaibashi is Shinsaibashi-suji, a covered shopping street that stretches for about 600 meters. Enjoy browsing through the shops, indulge in some retail therapy, and sample local street food from the numerous stalls and vendors along the way.
For the evening, head to Namba, Osaka’s entertainment and nightlife district. Namba is famous for its neon lights, bustling streets, and vibrant atmosphere. Explore Dotonbori, the heart of Namba, which is filled with numerous restaurants, street food stalls, and entertainment options. Take a stroll along the canal and admire the colorful illuminated signs and billboards that line the streets.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try Osaka’s renowned street food while in Dotonbori. From takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) to kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) and regional delicacies, there’s an abundance of delicious treats to satisfy your taste buds.
If you’re interested in entertainment, Namba is also home to various theaters and performance venues. Consider catching a show at the Namba Grand Kagetsu or Namba HIPS, where you can enjoy comedy, music, or theatrical performances.
Osaka is a city that comes to life at night, so take your time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy the bustling streets before concluding your day.
Day 8: Atami, Izu
Check out and say goodbye to Kansai area, it’s time to head back up towards Tokyo!
Start your day in Atami, a coastal town known for its hot springs and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Right outside the station, you will find beautiful shopping streets, where you can try different local cuisines.
Afterward, make your way to one of the many beaches in the Izu Peninsula. Enjoy some leisure time by the sea, sunbathe, swim, or simply relax while taking in the picturesque views. If you’re interested in water activities, you may also find options like kayaking or paddleboarding available in the area.
After the beach, head to the Jogasaki Coast, located in Ito City. Jogasaki Coast is known for its dramatic cliffs, rocky shorelines, and scenic hiking trails. Take a leisurely stroll along the coast, admiring the stunning ocean views and the rugged natural beauty of the area. Don’t miss the famous suspension bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the coastline.
Next, visit the Izu Shaboten Zoo, located nearby in Ito City as well. This unique zoo is known for its extensive collection of cacti and succulents. Take a walk through the botanical gardens and enjoy the variety of plant species. The zoo also houses various animals, including capybaras, meerkats, kangaroos, and more. You can interact with some of the animals and even feed the capybaras, which is a popular activity at the zoo.
End your day by visiting Mt. Omuro, an extinct volcano located near Ito City. Take the Omuroyama Ropeway, a cable car, to the summit of the mountain. Once at the top, enjoy panoramic views of the Izu Peninsula and the surrounding landscape. Mt. Omuro is known for its unique shape, resembling a giant bowl, and is covered with grass. Take a walk around the crater’s rim and soak in the serene atmosphere.
Afterward, you can have dinner at one of the local restaurants in Ito City, enjoying regional cuisine that includes fresh seafood and local specialties.
Day 9: Yokohama
Start your day early and take a train from Atami to Yokohama. Once you arrive, make your way to Minato Mirai, a modern waterfront district known for its skyscrapers, shopping malls, and entertainment options.
Begin by visiting Landmark Tower, one of Japan’s tallest buildings. Take the high-speed elevator to the observatory deck on the 69th floor, called “Sky Garden.” From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of Yokohama, Tokyo Bay, and even Mount Fuji on clear days.
Afterward, head to Cosmo World, an amusement park located near Landmark Tower. If you’re a thrill-seeker, hop on the famous Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel, which offers stunning views of the city and the bay.
For lunch, explore the Red Brick Warehouse area, a historic district converted into a shopping and dining complex. Here, you’ll find a variety of restaurants offering both Japanese and international cuisine. Enjoy a leisurely meal and soak up the atmosphere of this trendy district.
After lunch, make your way to Yamashita Park, a waterfront park with beautiful views of the bay. Take a stroll along the promenade, enjoy the ocean breeze, and admire the scenery. You can also visit the Hikawa Maru, a retired ocean liner turned museum that offers insight into Yokohama’s maritime history.
Next, visit Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Explore the bustling streets filled with Chinese restaurants, shops, and markets. Sample some authentic Chinese cuisine, try delicious street food, or browse for souvenirs.
For dinner, consider dining at a restaurant in the Kannai or Motomachi districts. These areas are known for their vibrant dining scenes, with a wide range of cuisines to choose from. After dinner, take a stroll along the waterfront promenade or relax in one of the waterfront parks to enjoy the illuminated skyline of Yokohama.
Day 10: Tokyo
It’s your last day exploring Japan!
Start your day by visiting the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. The palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and historic structures. While access to the palace itself is restricted, you can explore the outer gardens and enjoy the serene atmosphere. Take a walk around the moat and enjoy the views of the palace buildings from the outside.
Next, head to Ueno, a vibrant district known for its cultural institutions and park. Begin your visit at Ueno Park, one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces. Stroll through the park’s pathways, visit the Shinobazu Pond with its lotus flowers, and enjoy the lush surroundings. Inside the park, you’ll find several notable attractions, including the Tokyo National Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Japanese art and artifacts.
From Ueno Park, make your way to Akihabara, Tokyo’s famous electronics and anime district. Akihabara is a hub for electronics stores, anime merchandise, and gaming arcades. Explore the multi-story buildings filled with shops selling everything from computers and cameras to manga and figurines. Visit some of the themed cafes or game centers for a truly immersive experience.
As the day progresses, head to Odaiba, a futuristic waterfront district in Tokyo Bay. Odaiba offers a mix of shopping malls, entertainment complexes, and waterfront parks. Visit attractions like Palette Town, which features the giant Ferris wheel called Daikanransha and the Toyota Mega Web showroom. Explore Aqua City Odaiba, a shopping mall with various shops and restaurants, and enjoy a meal with a view of the bay.
Afterward, make your way to TeamLab Planets, an immersive digital art museum located in Odaiba. TeamLab Planets offers unique and interactive exhibits where visitors can walk through stunning light displays, touch and interact with digital artwork, and experience a multi-sensory journey.
After enjoying the art at TeamLab Planets, take some time to enjoy the illuminated skyline of Odaiba and take a leisurely walk along the waterfront, taking in the views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo’s cityscape.
This 10-day Japanitinerary in summer gives you an incredible opportunity to delve into the country’s rich culture, fascinating history, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant city life. From ancient temples and serene gardens to bustling metropolises and breathtaking mountains, Japan offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity.
Throughout the itinerary, you can experience the iconic highlights of Japan, such as Tokyo’s bustling neighborhoods, Kyoto’s historic sites, and the natural beauty of places like Mount Fuji and Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. Each destination presents unique charms, culinary delights, and cultural experiences that leave a lasting impression.