To be honest, one week in Japan is quite a short time to visit this interesting and dynamic country. If possible, I wish I could spend a whole month exploring all corners, small villages and islands of this island nation. However, we didn’t have much time and could only spend 7 days in Japan. In this 7-day itinerary, we have packed the main tourist destinations and a few little tips to help make your trip easier and more wonderful. So, what to do in Japan for 7 days? Let’s check out our suggestion for 7 days in Japan (Japan itinerary 7 days) to visit some most famous destinations in Japan: Kyoto, Hakone, Tokyo and Osaka from how to travel, best places to visit, where to stay… to find out the answer!

geisha in kyoto
Geisha in Kyoto
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Kyoto cityscape in Higashiyama historic district | japan itinerary 7 days
Hakone autumn
Lake Ashi and mount Fuji, Hakone | 7 days in japan
Shinjuku Gyoen park autumn tokyo (1)
Shinjuku Gyoen Park in Autumn | what to do in japan for 7 days
best shopping places in osaka
Dotonbori area, the heart of Osaka | japan itinerary 7 days
kyoto kaiseki cuisine
Kyoto Kaiseki Cuisine

What to do in Japan for 7 days: Japan itinerary 7 days

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Sunset over Mount Fuji
  • Kyoto: Culture, cuisine, temples, history, cooking classes
  • Hakone: Mount Fuji, onsen bath, village, nature
  • Tokyo: Explore Tokyo by night, architecture, food, pop culture
  • Osaka: Street food, Osaka by night and surrounding areas

This itinerary is actually ideal for 8-10 days range. However, we want to explore Japan as much as possible within a limit of 7 days so there will be a bit more schedules for a day.

Before coming to Japan …

Fuji Mountain review: how to go
JR pass card | what to do in japan for 7 days

Buy a JR Pass and you’ll never regret buying it. This JR Pass includes round-trip train tickets from Kyoto to Tokyo (and of course, you will have the opportunity to sit on the most modern bullet train in the world. Super cool! This is one of the must-experience things in Japan).

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JR tickets

Tips: You should book your JR Pass before coming to Japan. You can make your purchase a week or two prior to your trip with just a simple mouse click. See instructions for booking and how to get a JR Pass here.

fuji bullet train best places spots to take photos of mount fuji

Travel on the Shinkansen (bullet train) for cheap
Travel on the Shinkansen (bullet train) for cheap | what to do in japan for 7 days

You can also order a Wifi router here. It is also extremely helpful for searching the route, checking the train timetables or finding restaurants. In addition, with this Wifi router, you can connect up to about 10 devices. If you go in a small group of friends, you can buy a SIM card here.

| what to do in japan for 7 days

Japan 7-day itinerary detailed schedule: What to play, what to eat, where to go

7 days in Japan — Day 1: Osaka – Kyoto

Osaka Castle, Osaka
Osaka Skyline and Osaka Castle – the symbol of Osaka City.

Welcome to Japan – The land of the rising sun and miracles. Your dream journey is about to begin. However, before going to the interesting things such as where to eat and what to play, let’s talk about logistics.

In our opinion, the cheapest flight tickets to Japan are probably to Osaka, so this will be the starting point of our Japan 7-day travel itinerary (If you fly to Narita Airport, maybe you will have to adjust the schedule a bit, but not too much so rest assured).

  • The advantage of flying to Osaka Kansai Airport is that it is really affordable.
  • The downside: it’s located on an island, so it takes you 30-45 minutes on the train to get to downtown Osaka (but don’t worry, we already have a JR pass).
osaka airport
Osaka Airport | what to do in japan for 7 days

You can explore this lovely city from the moment you set your feet on it, or like us, save the last day on your schedule to discover it later, and prepare to take the train to Kyoto.

For the first night, just take your time to get rest after a long flight. If feeling hungry, you can pay a visit to the ramen shops around the neighborhood. Guaranteed that it will light up your mood and increase your strength significantly, and help you get ready to explore Japan in the most incredible way.

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Kyoto, Japan | what to do in japan for 7 days

Where to stay in Kyoto? You can choose among a variety of motels/hotels in the South Higashiyama area during your stay in Kyoto. We chose the Santiago Hostel and loved the amazing space here, and the rooms were clean for an extremely good price.

Alternatively, you can also choose Piece Hostel Kyoto – ideal location in a modern neighborhood with private or dorm room and a rooftop flower garden. (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

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Kyoto Old Town

What to do in Japan for 7 days —  Day 2: Explore the ancient city of Kyoto

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Cherry blossoms at Kiyomizu-dera-Temple | what to do in japan for 7 days

Kyoto is the 1000-year-old capital of Japan. This is a true old city because you will not see a skyscraper or any modern buildings at all. In return, the ancient city still preserves many historical and cultural relics both material and spiritual of the Japanese people together with a peaceful setting and a slow pace of life. It is estimated that more than half of all Japanese temples, shrines and palaces are situated in Kyoto.

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Cherry blossoms at Ryoanji Temple
kyoto etiquette guide
Kyoto teahouse
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| what to do in japan for 7 days

The low houses are hidden and interwoven with the green trees on clean, narrow streets where there are very few cars. I feel like I can spend a month in Kyoto and still have not discovered much here.

The easiest and cheapest way to visit this city is to buy an all-day bus card of around 500 yen at your hostel, or you can buy one directly on the bus.

Head west to the Arashiyama area and explore the old town. Take a stroll through the magical Sagano bamboo forest (one of the must-experience things when visiting Kyoto). As one of the most beautiful natural scenes in Japan, Sagano not only attracts tourists for its original beauty but also for the sound of the wind blowing through the thick bamboo forest.

Couple in kimono at Arashiyama bamboo grove, Kyoto
A couple in kimono at Arashiyama bamboo forests, Kyoto | what to do in japan for 7 days
Arashiyama Momiji Festival
Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama where Arashiyama Momiji Festival is held

If you have more time, try going to Kameyama–koen Park to see … monkeys. Have lunch at one of the ramen shops along the way.

Afternoon: Travel north by bus to Kinkaku-ji, the famous golden temple. This entire temple is inlaid with gold and recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1950. The sunset here is extraordinary, make sure you get the photos. However, this point is a bit crowded, so hopefully you will find a nice view.

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Kinkaku-Ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Evening: Walk on Pontocho Street and “hunt” geishas. Not only being the only geisha area remaining in Japan, Pontocho is also a collection of streets with old wooden houses, teahouses and exclusive restaurants that have become famous worldwide.

Pontocho Alley
Pontocho Alley, Kyoto | japan itinerary 7 days
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Gion District
gion district geisha kyoto (1)
Geisha in Kyoto

Japan itinerary 7 days — Day 3: Discover Kyoto and more

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Fushimi-Inari-taisha shrine

Morning: Get up early and head south to Fushimi Inari Shrine – the famous shrine with orange gates. Take the JR Nara Line to JR Inari Station. As soon as you exit the station, you will see the temple entrance.

Fushimi Inari Shrine - One of most famous shrine in Japan (14)
Fushimi Inari Shrine

This temple is quite crowded with tourists, so remember to go as early as possible. Take your time to get a few poses. If it is too crowded, go up to the hill a little, you can take photos without any other tourists interrupting.

Fushimi Inari Shrine - One of the most famous shrine in Japan (10)

Afternoon: Join a cooking class at Cooking Sun School. There are a lot of options, but we recommend taking a sushi making class.

Afterwards, return to downtown Kyoto and explore the Nishiki Market. Make sure you try the octopus cake there.

Natural light fills the narrow space and the high ceiling makes it feel like you're still outdoors despite being fully enclosed.
Natural light fills the narrow space and the high ceiling makes it feel like you’re still outdoors despite being fully enclosed. | japan itinerary 7 days
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Nishiki Market, dubbed as the kitchen of Japan.

Sunset: Climb a little to Kiyomizu-dera temple to admire the whole city view. After sunset, walk through Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zka – the streets are well preserved and you will feel like going back in time.

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Kiyomizu-Dera Temple in Autumn

Japan itinerary 7 days — Day 4: Travel to Hakone

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Very famous Torri gate at Hakone Jinja Shrine. | japan itinerary 7 days

Morning: Use your JR Pass and transfer to the Shinkansen (bullet train), then to Odawara and buy the Hakone Free Pass for 4000 yen. Transport by bus to the Hakone area and stay at one of the ryokan-style guesthouses here.

We stay at Fuji-Hakone, one of the most affordable motels in the area. Or explore more motels/hotels in Hakone here.

Hakone in Spring season
Hakone in Spring season

If you really want to experience the culture of Japan, then let’s try onsen bath. Hakone is famous for onsen bath and there are many options to choose from. You can try taking a bath outdoors while watching Mount Fuji (Woww!!!). Usually the onsen baths here are separated by gender, but many motels in the area have personal bathing room.

We had a great time at a private onsen in Fuji-Hakone, relaxing with a bit of wine and watching the snow falling around. An absolutely wonderful experience.

Hakone is most famous for its so many hot springs (Onsen), especially the resorts located along the flow of hot streams that have existed for a long time.
Hakone is most famous for its so many hot springs (Onsen), especially the resorts located along the flow of hot streams that have existed for a long time. | japan itinerary 7 days
Hakone Suimeisou hotel
Onsen at Hakone Suimeisou hotel

Afternoon: Use the Hakone Free Pass and hop on a cart to arrive at the cable cars for Mount Fuji sightseeing. (Hopefully the weather is nice). While on the cable car, don’t forget to try green tea eggs. People say that if you eat one, you will live another extra 7 years.

Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant and relaxing in onsen bath.

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Hakone Ropeway with Mount Fuji in the Background
Lake Ashinoko and the Owakudani Valley via the Hakone Ropeway
Hakone Ropeway | hakone blog
black boied eggs Owakudani Valley,hakone travel blog,hakone travel guide,hakone blog,2 days in hakone,hakone 2 day itinerary (1)
Owakudani eggs | japan itinerary 7 days

Japan itinerary 7 days — Day 5: Morning in Hakone, Evening in Tokyo

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Lake Ashi with background is Mount Fuji

Morning: Travel to Togendai for Mount Fuji sightseeing from another viewpoint, Lake Ashi. Sailing on the lake is quite interesting and you can take lots of beautiful photos here (tickets are included in the Hakone Free Pass).

Get off at the first stop at Hakone-machi Port and then head northeast to Moto-hakone Port. Follow this path along the hillsides and through the beautiful cedar forest.

Ashinoko Lake Japan 5
Another incredible shot of this venue | japan itinerary 7 days

Afternoon: From Moto-hakone Port, return to Odawara and then travel to Tokyo by JR Rail.

Evening: Arrive at the hotel by subway. You can either stay in Shinjuku or Shibuya area and book a room via Airbnb to save money.

In the technology capital of this world, living without Wifi is totally unacceptable. Therefore, you should rent a Wifi router or take advantage of several places in Tokyo with Wifi connection to search your way. Traffic in Japan is quite troublesome, so traveling without Wifi is a disaster.

You can rent a Wifi router here.

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Shinjuku Tokyo at night.
| best neighbourhoods in tokyo
Harajuku

Where to stay in Tokyo?

  • Couple Stay/Mid-range: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza – Close to Tokyo Station, free Wifi and Plasma TV screens in all rooms, restaurants and other services are quite good. (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
  • Budget Friendly/Social Atmosphere: Bunka Hostel Tokyo – Located in the heart of the city, this hostel has won many awards with private room or dorm room besides a restaurant and a shared kitchen for cooking, full Wifi connection. (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

7 days in Japan — Day 6: Jigokudani Yaen-koen snow monkey park, Nagano

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| 7 days in japan

Morning: Use the JR Pass to arrive in Nagano. From Nagano Station, walk to the local station called Nagano Dentetsu Station. Then take the Yudanaka line to Yudanaka Station.

From here, take the bus going straight to the gate of the Snow Monkey Park. Walk for about 30 minutes into the park, but if you’re like us, it may take longer because there are so many beautiful scenes for photos in this fairy forest. Spend the morning walking around like monkeys. This is probably one of my most enjoyable experiences when traveling to Japan.

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| 7 days in japan
Japan 7-day itinerary
Jigokudani Yaen-koen Park, Nagano

Afternoon: Return to Tokyo and go straight to the intersection of Shibuya – the most bustling intersection in the world with bright neon lights, giant screens and 2,500 pedestrians going back and forth. Chaotic but extremely orderly. From the train station, go up to the Starbucks in the Tsutaya building. The second floor of the coffee shop has floor-to-ceiling windows for a comfortable watch of people passing by. This is a very popular viewing spot of the intersection, so please wait patiently for your photo taken from the shop window.

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Shibuya Crossing | 7 days in japan

7 days in Japan — Day 7: Explore Tokyo

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| where to view autumn leaves in tokyo

Explore Tokyo by subway and visit the most famous attractions in the city. Check out some of the must-experience things in Tokyo to plan the most reasonable schedule.

The easiest and cheapest way to get around Tokyo is buy a Toei Line All Day Pass. You can use this card to take any Toei train or any bus routes in the city.

Shinjuku Gyoen park autumn tokyo (1)
Shinjuku Gyoen Park | 7 days in japan

Morning: Go to Tokyo Tower by Toei Oedo Line via Akabanebashi Station. After checking in and taking photos here, you can have some sushi at Tsukiji fish market (Toei Oedo Line via Tsukijishijo Station). Make sure you come here early because most restaurants here are closed before afternoon. Here, you will find the freshest and most delicious sushi in the world. I am still craving for sushi now.

Next, go to Sensoji Temple and see the red giant lantern at the Thunder Gate.

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Tokyo tower, the iconic of Tokyo City | 7 days in japan
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Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Evening: Frenzy with Robot Restaurant show. This is the craziest, funniest show I’ve ever seen. We got a 30% discount for our booking. It should be worth the money.

Japan 7-day itinerary
Robot Restaurant show, Tokyo | what to do in japan for 7 days

Day 8: Fly back to your country

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Meiji Shrine

Morning: Visit Meiji Shrine, which is considered to be the most famous temple in Tokyo greater area, located in the middle of a huge park with thousands of trees from all over Japan. And this is also the temple of Emperor Meiji – the first emperor after the Shogun Tokugawa government collapsed. Due to a lot of spiritual elements, this temple always has annual festivals and weddings held in a tranquil atmosphere despite the high number of visitors.

Meiji-Jingu-Shrine,Tokyo

Most of the fallen leaves have been crushed on the ground.
Most of the fallen leaves have been crushed on the ground. | what to do in japan for 7 days
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Autumn in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park

Breathe in the fresh air and walk on the wide roads with towering trees when you come to the wooden temple. On the weekend, you may also see a traditional wedding here.

Afternoon: Head back home.

  • If you have less than 7 days in Japan: If you have less than 7 days in Japan, then I recommend choosing to visit either one between Kyoto or Osaka, and Tokyo or Hakone.
  • If you have more than 7 days in Japan: There are so many beautiful things in Japan. If I had more time, I would definitely stay in Kyoto.
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Odaiba, Tokyo

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in Tokyo and from Tokyo you can refer to

Yasukuni Shrine -Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo2

Are you looking for more Japan travel guide and top things to do in Japan: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Check out here.