On this occasion we would like to share with you our itinerary through Japan after our trip visiting part of the country. We stayed a total of 14 days during which we were able to get to know the most important cities and tourist sites. If you know us a little, you know that we love to make the most of trips and take advantage of every minute to get to know the destination. Below we will give you all the details about our experience traveling through Japan with a detailed itinerary and tips for your trip.
Itinerary Japan and things to do
It is clear that an itinerary through Japan may vary depending on your tastes and number of days. However, we believe that the tour we did on places to visit in Japan can give you a little bit of everything: modernity, tradition, nature, local gastronomy, culture and, above all, unique experiences. In the next lines we detail our Japan itinerary for 14 days and 13 nights to discover the country on our own. If you want more information about each destination, you just have to click on the links.
✔ 2 week Japan itinerary
- Kyoto, 3 nights. We tell you our tips on things to do in Kyoto and places to eat
- Koyasan, 1 night. Get to know everything about staying inKoyasan and things to do
- Hiroshima and Miyajima: 1 night. Here is our tour of places to see in Hiroshima and Miyajima
- Osaka, 2 nights. Here we tell you the best things to do in Osaka
- Shirakawa-go and Takayama, 1 night. Find out the places to visit in Shirakawa-go and Takayama
- Tokyo: 5 nights. We tell you the places to visit in Tokyo. The largest city in the world needs several nights to discover each neighborhood and its gastronomy
As we were saying, you can get more information about the best things to do in Japan at each stop on our itinerary. We have a detailed article on every place we sleep and/or visit. That is, things to do in Tokyo, places to visit in Osaka, things to do in Kyoto and other stops we made in the country thanks to the wonderful JR Pass. These are super detailed posts with recommendations for restaurants, hotels, transportation within each city or destination, etc. Finally, at the end of this article we give you some tips to travel to Japan on your own, so we recommend that you scroll down.
Itinerary Japan & tips for traveling on your own
1. Get your Japan Rail Pass / JR Pass for your Itinerary through Japan
The JR Pass is an exclusive train “pass” for tourists visiting Japan. This will allow you to benefit from a fixed price per day to use the Japan Railways lines. If you are going to do a 14-day itinerary similar to ours, you can use it on all trains, except for the route from Kyoto to Koyasan (€23) and from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (€76). The rest of the trips, including within cities like Osaka and Tokyo, we did ALL with the JR Pass. Check the prices in their site since we visited the country in 2019.
On the other hand, it is important that you reserve the seats at your nearest JR Pass office for non-subway routes in the cities. Likewise, in the train that goes to and from the airport, Narita Express, it is essential to reserve seats in the JR offices. It can not be done online. Finally, the JR Pass can only be purchased in your country of origin and with some advance. That is, do not wait to arrive to Japan to buy it, as it is not possible.
2. Apply for your Revolut card without commissions
The Japanese currency is the yen. We changed money in our bank before traveling to have some cash and thank God. There are many restaurants where they only allow payment in cash. We also payed with our Revolut card and took money from the ATM of the Seven Eleven supermarket with no commission. You really save a lot of money in each transaction and do not force yourself to carry so much cash which always carry its risks.
The Revolut cards are free and without maintenance fees. Well, the Revolut charges you the € 5.99 shipping. You can request them in the links that we mark you. Always choose to pay with yen.
3. Rent your pocket WIFI, mandatory for your itinerary in Japan
Like the JR Pass, the pocket WIFI was one of our amulets during our 2 week Japan itinerary. It is essential to be able to move around Japan with maps, TripAdvisor, places to visit, check train schedules, etc. We took it at the same time as the JR Pass online. You have to book it before traveling and it is collected at the airport, where they indicate you. You will have unlimited internet and connection of up to 10 devices during the days you rent it. Remember to charge it every night so that the battery lasts the whole day.
4. Arrange a travel insurance. Basic tip for your itinerary in Japan
We always arrange a travel insurance with IATI whenever we make an international trip. It is hired easily and quickly online. In addition, you have a 5% discount if you book through this link or by clicking on the following image. Luckily we did not have to use it. We hope you do not either. In any case, it is super economic and not only have medical coverage, also in terms of flight delays, loss of luggage, etc.
5. Get an universal plug adapter for travel
From the moment you land in Japan this advice will serve you, since even on the Narita Express train that takes you from the Tokyo airport you can charge your devices. In this country they use other types of plugs, exactly like the one in the United States. We take the one you see in the next photo of Herschel and allowed you to charge two USB and an electronic device at the same time.
5. Take a raincoat to your itinerary through Japan
In a Japan itinerary of 14 days, be assured that at least one day it will rain, we had a few and taking a good raincoat was the best thing we did. Especially if you travel in the months that go from June to September.
If you even had a cover for your suitcase, you’ll appreciate it. Since many times the rain catches you on the way to the station or your hotel.
6. Tips for traveling to Japan. Ride a bike.
In all the places we visited in Japan, they are more than used to moving by bike. We loved the experience of renting a bike in Kyoto and touring the city. We recommend it 100%. You will notice how even many mothers and fathers take their two children by bike, it’s amazing!
7. Breakfast in Japan: Family Mart, Seven Eleven and Lawson
Breakfasts in Japan are based on fish, soup and / or rice. If you’re not used to it, a recommendation is to go to any supermarket / 24-hour Lawson or Seven Eleven or Family Mart to get your breakfast. Here you can buy coffee to go, sandwiches, cookies and fruit. We liked the Japanese “rice sandwiches”. That is, rice, seaweed and tuna or salmon or chicken. These supermarkets open all day, so you can also come here to get any fast food or dinner.
In the same way, in the big cities you have the Eggs n’ Things franchises where you can eat good Eggs Benedict. If not, you will always have Starbucks… We show you two examples of our breakfasts in Japan: poor option (€ 5) and rich option (€ 15).
8. Things to do in Japan and places to eat. Try the Japanese food!
Besides the places to visit in Japan you have to know the best restaurants to eat. In general, eating in Japan is cheap compared to Spain, you can often eat for € 10 per person or even less. Of course, if you’re going to eat sushi or good meat, things change.
In this country you can not leave without trying the sashimi, the sushi, the tempura, the gyozas, the takoyaki, the udon, the miso soup, the tonkatsu, the wagyu, the hida, the kobe, the ramen, the okonomiyaki, the edamame, the mochis, the yakitori, the matcha green tea and all the desserts and ice creams that are made with it!
Surely we miss some of them, but certainly you can not miss the Japanese pizza and of which you have hardly heard. It’s the Okonomiyaki. Below we show you the one we tried in Okonomimura, Hiroshima. It is a building where only this dish is sold in different restaurants and on each floor. It is a typical dish of Hiroshima. The base is made of noodles, it also has dough, egg, sauce, dried squid, cabbage and chives or spring garlic…
9. Stay in a Ryokan or Shukubo
If you are going to visit Japan you should experience staying in a Ryokan. That is, traditional Japanese accommodation. We experience it in Koyasan (Shukubo Jokiin), although here they are especially called Shukubos because they are Buddhist temples. Normally you sleep on a tatami, you can not wear shoes inside, the walls are made of paper, they have thermal baths called onsen. An experience that you can only live in Japan.
10. Look for the cheapest flights to Japan
In order that our 2 week Japan itinerary was complete, we took a direct flight from Madrid to Tokio with Iberia. Here you can choose the different stop-offs, prices and connections, even combine one arrival airport and a different departure airport. As we took the JR Pass and there are very fast trains, we arrived and departed from Tokyo and then took trains inside the country.
We hope that this post about places to visit in Japan and tips for traveling on your own has been helpful. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below, surely your question can help other travelers.