If you only have one chance to visit Japan, where should you go? If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the options, our Ultimate 9-day Japan Trip itinerary is the perfect place to begin!

For more ideas see all our sample trips.

Tokyo Tower, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Tower

Highlights of this sample trip include:

  • Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto
  • Beautiful hotels & a luxurious traditional ryokan
  • Tsukiji Market & an unforgettable sushi experience
  • Onsen (hot springs) & kaiseki dining in Hakone
  • The best of Kyoto, including ancient temples & Nishiki Market
  • Sake tasting & Japan’s most iconic shrine in Fushimi
  • And more!

Sample Trip Overview

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo!
Day 2: Private Tsukiji Market tour & sushi-making class
Day 3: Private morning tour & once-in-a-lifetime sushi dinner
Day 4: Travel to Hakone & stay at luxury ryokan
Day 5: Free day to enjoy onsen (hot springs) in Hakone National Park
Day 6: Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto & evening tour of Gion geisha district
Day 7: Private morning tour of Kyoto & afternoon visit to Arashiyama
Day 8: Day trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine & sake tasting in Fushimi brewery district
Day 9: Departure from Osaka*, Japan

*Note: This sample trip starts in Tokyo and ends in Osaka, but we can redesign it to match your needs.

Chureito Pagoda, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan
Chureito Pagoda, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi

Sample Trip Details

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo!

Welcome to Japan! On arrival in Tokyo you’ll be met by our representative and transferred in style by private car to your hotel.

In Tokyo you’ll stay at Conrad Tokyo, one of our absolute favorite hotels in the city. Conrad Tokyo features a gorgeous lobby, world-class restaurants, spacious modern rooms, and fantastic views over Tokyo’s skyline and Tokyo Bay.

Your Hotel in Tokyo: Conrad Tokyo (Including Breakfast)

The Tokyo skyline at sunset
The Tokyo skyline at sunset

Day 2: Private Tsukiji Market tour & sushi-making class

Today you’ll be immersed in Tokyo’s culinary culture, beginning with a visit to the world-famous Tsukiji Market.

After exploring the market, you’ll proceed to a private cooking class where you’ll learn more about some key ingredients, and try your hand at making a Japanese home-cooked lunch!

You’ll have the afternoon free to relax or continue exploring Tokyo. Our pre-departure information will be full of ideas on what to see and do in your free time in Tokyo.

Day 3: Private morning tour & once-in-a-lifetime sushi dinner

After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, you’ll go on a private tour of some of Tokyo’s most historic neighborhoods.

Begin in the beautiful, well-preserved Yanaka neighborhood. From here you will continue to Ueno, home to the city’s most famous park, some excellent museums, and the bustling Ameyoko-cho market.

For this evening, we will make reservations for you at one of Tokyo’s most exclusive sushi shops (see a sampling of our favorite sushi-ya in Tokyo).

The lake at Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan
Ueno Park Ueno Park (photo by Marcin Chady CC BY)

Day 4: Travel to Hakone & stay at luxury ryokan

Today you will leave Tokyo behind and travel to nearby Hakone, which is famous for its onsen (hot springs), and – on clear days – stunning views of Mount Fuji. Hakone is the perfect place to escape and unwind.

You’ll be taking the scenic “Romance Car” train from Shinjuku directly to Hakone-Yumoto Station, in the heart of Hakone. The journey takes about 90 minutes.

In Hakone you’ll stay at Gora Hanaougi, a lovely traditional ryokan with wonderful cuisine, open-air baths, and beautiful natural surroundings.

Every one of the Hanaougi’s rooms has its own private open-air onsen bath providing views of the surrounding nature. Rooms feature the perfect blend of Japanese aesthetics with western comforts. You’ll find tatami mats and the warmth of stunning woodwork.

Hanaougi’s gorgeous kaiseki meals feature fresh vegetables from local farms and fish from inshore waters, and are served in the comfort of your room.

Your Ryokan in Hakone: Gora Hanaougi (Including Breakfast & Dinner)

Day 5: Free day to enjoy onsen (hot springs) in Hakone National Park

You’ll have a day completely free to relax and soak in onsen, or head out to explore beautiful Hakone.

For more on what Hakone offers, see our full article on Hakone.

Hakone Shrine in Lake Ashi, Hakone, Japan
Hakone Shrine in Lake Ashi

Day 6: Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto & evening tour of Gion geisha district

Today you’ll board the world-famous shinkansen (bullet train) for the 2-hour trip to Kyoto.

Kyoto is what most travelers dream of when envisioning Japan. It was the capital for over one thousand years, and remains the cultural and traditional heart of Japan.

This evening you’ll have a private tour of the famous Gion geisha district. Chances are quite good (though it’s not guaranteed!) that, during your walking tour, you will come across geiko and maiko on their way to evening appointments.

In Kyoto you’ll stay at Hotel Kanra, central Kyoto’s best boutique hotel. The stylish rooms blend a Japanese aesthetic with ultra-modern conveniences. Electric bicycles are available for sightseeing, and after a day exploring you can relax in your room’s aromatic cypress bath.

Your Hotel in Kyoto: Hotel Kanra (Including Breakfast)

Day 7: Private morning tour of Kyoto & afternoon visit to Arashiyama

Arashiyama's bamboo grove in Kyoto, Japan
Arashiyama’s bamboo grove in Kyoto

In a city with 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, it’s not possible to visit all the must-see destinations, but this morning you’ll have a private guide to show you some of Kyoto’s hidden gems and famous treasures.

You’ll have the afternoon free. We recommend spending a few hours in the pleasant Arashiyama district, a quiet area (most famous for its bamboo grove) that feels worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto.

Day 8: Day trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine & sake tasting in Fushimi brewery district

Today you’ll head to nearby Fushimi, just 15 minutes from Kyoto, to first visit Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of Japan’s most iconic Shinto shrines, best known for its thousands of red torii gates.

After Fushimi Inari, you’ll head to the Fushimi sake district. Fushimi is one of Japan’s most important sake producing areas, and here you’ll have the chance to learn some sake-tasting essentials while tasting local samples!

Day 9: Departure from Osaka, Japan

Depending on your flight time, you may have one last morning to enjoy Kyoto.

In good time for your departing flight, you’ll be transferred to Osaka’s Kansai Airport in style by private vehicle.

Come back to Japan soon!

Sunset from Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan
Sunset from Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

Please note that this is a customized itinerary: we bring your ideas to life in a seamless itinerary designed just for you!

If you only have one chance to visit Japan, where to go? Our Ultimate 9-day Trip - featuring Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto and more - is the perfect place to begin.