Welcome to Japan, where captivating traditions, modern innovation, and breathtaking landscapes collide to create a vibrant cultural tapestry. This 10-day Japan summer itinerary is your ticket to experiencing the best of what this incredible country has to offer. From ancient temples to bustling cities, serene gardens to awe-inspiring natural wonders, we’ve curated an adventure that’ll keep you cool and fully immersed in Japan’s summer vibes!

Please bear in mind that this itinerary is just a starting point; feel free to tweak it according to your preferences and the time you have available. Tokyo, in particular, is brimming with attractions and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. So, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and soak up the city’s unique charm.

Why is summer a good time to visit Japan?

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Summer is a popular time to explore Japan’s vibrant offerings. From lively festivals to breathtaking natural beauty, there’s something for everyone in this Japan summer itinerary.

First off, Japan truly comes alive during the summer months with vibrant festivals and events, offering a unique cultural experience. One of the most famous is Obon, a time when ancestral spirits are believed to return to the earthly realm. Expect lively parades, traditional dances, and dazzling fireworks displays in cities and towns across the country.

Japan’s natural beauty is at its peak in summer, with lush greenery blanketing the countryside and parks adorned with colorful flowers, including cherry blossoms in early summer and sunflowers later on. Don’t miss the chance to explore iconic locations like Kyoto’s temples in their summer splendor.

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The summer vacation period, known as Obon, sees many Japanese people taking time off from work and school, creating a lively and festive atmosphere nationwide. Expect bustling shopping streets, vibrant nightlife, and a plethora of seasonal events, providing a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

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Of course, summer in Japan offers more than just festivals and events. Cool off with swimming and water sports in coastal areas and lakes, embark on scenic hikes in the mountains, or indulge in the thrills of amusement parks and water parks. And as the sun sets, be sure to catch the spectacular fireworks displays lighting up the summer evenings in many cities.

Keep in mind that summer in Japan can be hot and humid, especially in central and southern regions. Stay hydrated, opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, and plan your activities accordingly if you’re sensitive to the heat.

10-day Japan Summer Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo

10-day Japan Itinerary Day 1_ Tokyo

Get your day off to a cracking start 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

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Kick off your day with a train journey to Kawagoe, fondly dubbed “Little Edo” for its meticulously preserved traditional architecture. Dive into exploration mode in the charming Kawagoe Old Town area.

Wander along the iconic Kurazukuri Street, boasting Edo-period clay-walled warehouse buildings. Marvel at the unique architecture and browse the array of shops offering local handicrafts, snacks, and souvenirs. And don’t pass up the chance to sample Kawagoe’s famed sweet potato treats, from chips to the delectable “Kawagoe Ichinoko” dessert.

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As the day heats up, cool down at Kawagoe Aquatic Park, where water-based fun awaits. Take a dip in the outdoor pools or soak up the sun on a lounger. With water slides and a wave pool, there’s plenty of splashing excitement for both kids and adults. Alternatively, dive into culture at the Kawagoe Festival Museum, delving into the history and craftsmanship behind the annual Kawagoe Festival held every October.

Refuel with a tasty lunch at one of the local eateries or cafes in Kawagoe Old Town. Treat your taste buds to regional delights like “Kawagoe Hikishiro” buckwheat noodles or stroll along “Kawagoe Kashiya Yokocho,” a street brimming with traditional Japanese sweets.

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After lunch, continue your exploration with a visit to Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten, a meticulously restored palace offering a glimpse into the region’s past. Wander through the impeccably preserved rooms and gardens. Then, venture to Kitain Temple, home to cultural treasures such as a stunning collection of samurai armor. Admire the intricate woodwork and bask in the serene summer gardens.

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Round off your leisurely stroll with a visit to Hikawa Shrine, a spiritual haven steeped in history. Engage in traditional rituals, make a wish, and soak up the tranquil ambiance. In the summertime, the shrine adorns itself with seasonal decorations, enhancing the vibrant atmosphere.

Day 3: Kawaguchiko

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On the 3rd day of your Japan summer itinerary, embark on a jaw-dropping day trip to Kawaguchiko, where natural beauty and unique attractions await.

Kickstart your day by hopping on a train or bus to Kawaguchiko, a charming town nestled near the majestic Mount Fuji. Once you touch down, make a beeline for the Kawaguchiko Panoramic Ropeway. Climb aboard the cable car and ascend to the observation deck, treating yourself to panoramic views of Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko, and the lush countryside. Take your time to soak in these awe-inspiring vistas and snap some Insta-worthy shots.

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After relishing the ropeway adventure, saunter over to Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the famed Fuji Five Lakes. This idyllic lake boasts mirror-like waters reflecting the grandeur of Mount Fuji. Enjoy a leisurely lakeside stroll, rent a paddleboat or canoe for some aquatic exploration, or simply unwind in a serene spot, soaking up the tranquil surroundings.boat or canoe to explore the lake, or simply find a peaceful spot to relax and appreciate the serene surroundings.

Next on the agenda is a visit to the Ice Cave (Fugaku Fuketsu) near Lake Saiko. This fascinating attraction invites you to delve into a subterranean world carved by ancient lava flows from Mount Fuji. Wander through the icy passages, marvelling at the intricate ice formations and delving into the geological history of the region. The cave’s cool climes offer a refreshing escape from the summer heat.

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Following the icy escapade, venture into the mystical Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees. This dense woodland at the foot of Mount Fuji exudes an otherworldly tranquillity. Embark on a gentle hike through the verdant trails, immersing yourself in nature’s embrace. Listen to the birdsong, feel the gentle rustle of leaves, and marvel at the unique ecosystem thriving in this enchanting forest sanctuary.

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As the day wanes, make your way to the Wind Cave (Fuketsu Wind Cave) near Lake Saiko. This natural lava tube cave offers a fascinating glimpse into the fiery origins of the region. Traverse its dark passages, admire the stalactites and rock formations, and feel the cool breeze swirling within. It’s a thrilling adventure that adds an extra dash of excitement to your day.

Afterwards, meander through the local shops and eateries near Lake Kawaguchiko. Treat your taste buds to regional delights like Hoto noodles, a hearty local favourite, or indulge in Fuji-themed desserts and delicacies.

Before bidding adieu, head to a designated viewpoint or lakeside spot to witness the spellbinding sunset over Mount Fuji. As the sun dips below the horizon, it casts a golden hue upon the iconic peak, crafting a truly magical spectacle to end your day in style.

Day 4: Kyoto

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Start the 4th day of your Japan summer itinerary by hopping on the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. With a travel time of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, it offers a comfy and efficient ride.

Upon arrival in Kyoto, drop off your luggage at your hotel before diving into exploration mode. First stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of Kyoto’s most iconic shrines. Famous for its Torii gate pathway, dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and agriculture, it’s a vibrant feast for the eyes. Wander through the crimson torii gates, meander along peaceful forest trails, and soak in the spiritual vibes.

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Once you’ve soaked up the charm of Fushimi Inari, head to Kiyomizudera Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit landmark in Kyoto. This wooden temple boasts panoramic city views from its spacious wooden terrace. Marvel at the intricate architecture, explore its halls and pagodas, and revel in the tranquil surroundings.

Refuel with a scrumptious Japanese lunch at one of the local eateries near Kiyomizudera Temple. Kyoto’s culinary scene is legendary, so be sure to try regional delights like Kaiseki (a traditional multi-course meal), Yudofu (tofu hot pot), or Kyoto-style sushi.

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After lunch, pay a visit to Yasaka Shrine, a significant Shinto shrine nestled in the Gion district. Known for its lively festivals and colourful atmosphere, it’s a delight to explore. Offer a prayer, admire the ornate buildings, and bask in the serene ambiance.

Continue your journey to Maruyama Park, a tranquil haven adorned with cherry blossom trees and serene ponds. Take a leisurely stroll, sip tea in a traditional tea house, or simply relax in this serene setting, perfect for a summer picnic.

As evening approaches, wander through the historic streets of Gion, famed for its traditional machiya houses and tea houses. Keep your eyes peeled for geisha and maiko elegantly gliding through the streets in their graceful kimono.

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For dinner, head to Pontocho, a charming alleyway brimming with restaurants, bars, and teahouses. From authentic Kyoto cuisine to international flavours, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Savour a memorable meal while soaking in the nostalgic atmosphere of Pontocho.

After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the Kamogawa River, aglow with the shimmering lights of the city. It’s the perfect way to wind down your day, reflecting on the unforgettable experiences and cultural treasures you’ve encountered in Kyoto.

Day 5: Lake Biwa, Kyoto

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Begin your adventure at the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Take a leisurely stroll along the enchanting pathway, surrounded by towering bamboo stalks that create a tranquil and surreal atmosphere. Don’t forget to capture some memorable photographs along the way.

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Next, explore Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its exquisite Zen gardens. Marvel at the meticulously arranged rocks, ponds, and lush vegetation as you soak in the peaceful surroundings and breathtaking mountain views.

Cross the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge over the Katsura River and head to Monkey Park Iwatayama. Hike up to the mountaintop park for panoramic views and the chance to observe Japanese macaque monkeys in their natural habitat.

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Afterwards, unwind with a relaxing boat ride along the Hozu River, surrounded by lush forests and rugged cliffs, offering a unique perspective of the Arashiyama area.

Refuel with a delicious lunch at one of the local restaurants in Arashiyama, sampling Kyoto’s traditional cuisine, from kaiseki to tofu dishes or matcha-flavoured sweets, while enjoying stunning views of the river or mountains.

Post-lunch, venture to Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, northeast of Kyoto.

Explore the picturesque shoreline and indulge in various recreational activities, from cycling along dedicated paths offering stunning lake views to renting a boat or kayak for a tranquil water adventure. Relax on the scenic beaches or take a refreshing swim, weather permitting.

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As the day progresses, visit charming lakeside towns like Otsu or Hikone and explore their historical and cultural attractions.

In Otsu, visit the famous Ishiyama-dera Temple, known for its association with the classic Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji,” and immerse yourself in its serene gardens and rich history.

In Hikone, explore the majestic Hikone Castle, one of Japan’s best-preserved castles, and admire its impressive architecture and surrounding gardens.

Conclude your day with a delightful dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants or savour local specialties in Otsu or Hikone, rounding off a perfect day of exploration and indulgence.

Day 6: Nara

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On the sixth day of your Japan summer itinerary, kick off your adventures by exploring Nishiki Market, also known as “Nishiki Ichiba” or “Kyoto’s Kitchen.” This historic and vibrant food market, located in Kyoto, Japan, has been a culinary focal point for centuries, attracting both locals and tourists alike.

Stretching over five blocks and approximately 400 meters in length, Nishiki Market is nestled in downtown Kyoto, parallel to Shijo Avenue. Its narrow covered street is brimming with shops, stalls, and restaurants offering a wide variety of fresh seafood, produce, Kyoto specialties, and traditional Japanese snacks.

Next, hop on a train from Kyoto to Nara, a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage and friendly deer population.

Upon arrival, head straight to Nara Park, a vast public park housing several iconic landmarks.

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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.

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Make sure to visit Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a Shinto shrine famed 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, soaking in the tranquil atmosphere.

Afterwards, treat yourself to a delicious lunch in Nara, where you’ll discover a variety of local specialties. Don’t miss out on trying Nara’s famous dish, “kakinoha-zushi,” sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves, or indulge in other traditional Japanese cuisine.

Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, take some time to explore the picturesque streets of Nara, dotted with a mix of traditional shops, cafes, and local vendors.

Wander through Naramachi, the old merchant district known for its well-preserved traditional wooden buildings. Explore the narrow streets lined with shops selling crafts, ceramics, textiles, and traditional sweets, offering a glimpse into Nara’s traditional way of life.

As the late afternoon approaches, bid farewell to Nara and catch a train back to Kyoto, where you can indulge in some shopping.

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Kyoto boasts a wide range of shopping options, from high-end department stores to traditional markets and boutique shops. Explore Kyoto’s shopping districts, such as Shijo-dori, Kawaramachi, or Teramachi-dori, where you’ll discover 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, hunt for unique items, and perhaps snag some Kyoto specialties like matcha tea, traditional ceramics, or kimono accessories. Happy shopping!

Day 7: Osaka

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On the seventh day of your Japan summer itinerary, kickstart your adventures by heading to Osaka. Your first destination is Osaka Castle, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. This magnificent feudal-era fortress is surrounded by beautiful gardens and moats. Explore the castle grounds, delve into the informative museum inside, and climb up to the top floor for panoramic views of the city.

After soaking in the history at Osaka Castle, make your way to Umeda, a bustling district renowned for its shopping and entertainment options. Umeda boasts several department stores, including the popular Hankyu Umeda and the modern and stylish Grand Front Osaka. Take your time to browse the shops, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the area.

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From Umeda, journey to Shinsaibashi, a vibrant shopping district famous for its extensive selection of fashion boutiques, department stores, and specialty shops. The highlight of Shinsaibashi is Shinsaibashi-suji, a covered shopping street stretching for about 600 meters. Enjoy perusing the shops, indulging in some retail therapy, and sampling local street food from the numerous stalls and vendors along the way.

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As evening falls, venture to Namba, Osaka’s entertainment and nightlife hub. Namba is renowned for its neon lights, bustling streets, and lively atmosphere. Explore Dotonbori, the heart of Namba, filled with countless restaurants, street food stalls, and entertainment options. Take a leisurely stroll along the canal and admire the colourful illuminated signs and billboards that line the streets.

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Don’t pass up the chance to savour Osaka’s famed street food while in Dotonbori. From takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) to kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) and regional delicacies, there’s an abundance of delicious treats to tantalise your taste buds.

For those seeking entertainment, Namba is home to various theatres 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 truly comes alive at night, so take your time to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and revel in the bustling streets before winding down for the day.

Day 8: Atami, Izu

10-day Japan Itinerary Day 8_ Atami, Izu

On the eighth day of your Japan summer itinerary, it’s time to bid farewell to the Kansai area and make your way back towards Tokyo!

Start your day in Atami, a coastal town renowned for its hot springs and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Just outside the station, you’ll discover charming shopping streets brimming with opportunities to sample different local cuisines.

Afterwards, head to one of the many beaches in the Izu Peninsula. Spend some leisurely hours by the sea, sunbathe, take a dip, or simply unwind while soaking in the picturesque views. If you’re keen on water activities, you might find options like kayaking or paddleboarding available nearby.

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Following your beach time, venture to the Jogasaki Coast, nestled in Ito City. Known for its dramatic cliffs, rocky shorelines, and scenic hiking trails, the Jogasaki Coast offers a perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll. Marvel at the stunning ocean vistas and the rugged natural beauty of the area, and don’t forget to check out the famous suspension bridge, offering awe-inspiring views of the coastline.

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Next on the agenda is a visit to the Izu Shaboten Zoo, also located in Ito City. This unique zoo boasts an extensive collection of cacti and succulents. Take a wander through the botanical gardens and appreciate the diverse plant species. The zoo is also home to various animals, including capybaras, meerkats, kangaroos, and more. You can even interact with some of the animals and feed the capybaras, a popular activity at the zoo.

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Wrap up your day with a visit to Mt. Omuro, an extinct volcano situated near Ito City. Hop on the Omuroyama Ropeway, a cable car, to ascend to the summit of the mountain. From the top, enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the Izu Peninsula and the surrounding landscape. Mt. Omuro’s unique shape, resembling a giant bowl and covered with grass, provides a serene setting for a leisurely stroll around the crater’s rim.

Finally, treat yourself to dinner at one of the local restaurants in Ito City, savouring regional cuisine that showcases fresh seafood and local delicacies.

Day 9: Yokohama

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Start your day early and take a train from Atami to Yokohama. Once you arrive, make a beeline for Minato Mirai, a contemporary waterfront district renowned for its skyscrapers, shopping centres, and entertainment hotspots.

Begin your adventure by checking out Landmark Tower, one of Japan’s tallest structures. Ride the high-speed elevator to the observation deck on the 69th floor, aptly named “Sky Garden.” From here, soak in panoramic vistas of Yokohama, Tokyo Bay, and even Mount Fuji on clear days.

Afterwards, make tracks to Cosmo World, an amusement park nestled near Landmark Tower. If you’re a thrill-seeker, hop aboard the iconic Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel, offering breathtaking views of the city and the bay.

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For lunch, wander around the Red Brick Warehouse area, a historic locale transformed into a bustling shopping and dining hub. Here, you’ll find an array of restaurants serving up both Japanese and international fare. Sit back, relax, and savour a laid-back meal while soaking up the vibes of this trendy district.

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Post-lunch, mosey over to Yamashita Park, a scenic waterfront park boasting stunning bay views. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, relish the sea breeze, and admire the picturesque scenery. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Hikawa Maru, a decommissioned ocean liner transformed into a museum, offering a glimpse into Yokohama’s maritime heritage.

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Next up, head over to Chinatown, one of the planet’s largest Chinatowns. Roam through its bustling streets teeming with Chinese eateries, shops, and markets. Indulge in authentic Chinese delicacies, sample delectable street food, or hunt for souvenirs.

As dusk falls, contemplate dining at a restaurant in the Kannai or Motomachi districts. These neighbourhoods are famed for their lively dining scenes, offering a plethora of cuisines to satisfy every palate. After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade or unwind in one of the waterfront parks, soaking in the mesmerising skyline of Yokohama lit up at night.

Day 10: Tokyo

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It’s your final day exploring Japan!

Start by paying a visit to the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. Serving as the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, the palace is ensconced by exquisite gardens and historic edifices. While entry to the palace itself is restricted, you can wander through the outer gardens and soak up the tranquil ambience. Take a leisurely stroll around the moat and relish the vistas of the palace buildings from the exterior.

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Next up, make tracks to Ueno, a bustling district renowned for its cultural landmarks and expansive park. Commence your excursion at Ueno Park, one of Tokyo’s largest green havens. Saunter along its winding pathways, admire the Shinobazu Pond adorned with lotus flowers, and revel in the verdant environs. Within the park, you’ll discover several notable attractions, including the Tokyo National Museum, boasting an extensive array of Japanese art and artefacts.

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From Ueno Park, venture towards Akihabara, Tokyo’s iconic enclave of electronics and anime. Akihabara serves as a mecca for electronics outlets, anime paraphernalia, and gaming arcades. Explore the towering complexes brimming with stores peddling everything from gadgets and gizmos to manga and collectibles. Drop by some of the themed cafes or gaming centres for an immersive experience.

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As the day unfolds, make your way to Odaiba, a futuristic waterfront district nestled in Tokyo Bay. Odaiba presents an amalgamation of shopping precincts, entertainment hubs, and seaside parks. Explore attractions such as Palette Town, home to the colossal Ferris wheel known as Daikanransha and the Toyota Mega Web showroom. Wander through Aqua City Odaiba, a shopping complex boasting diverse boutiques and dining options, and relish a meal with a view of the bay.

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Subsequently, journey to TeamLab Planets, an immersive digital art museum situated in Odaiba. TeamLab Planets showcases distinctive and interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to traverse through mesmerising light installations, engage with digital artworks, and embark on a multi-sensory odyssey.

After savouring the artistic marvels at TeamLab Planets, take a moment to bask in the illuminated skyline of Odaiba and embark on a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. Marvel at the spectacle of the Rainbow Bridge and the panoramic Tokyo cityscape.

Discovering Japan on a 10-Day Summer Journey

This 10-day Japan summer itinerary offers 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 presents 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. Each destination presents unique charms, culinary delights, and cultural experiences that leave a lasting impression.