If you’re planning a trip to Japan and have only one week to explore this fascinating country, you’ll need to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your time. Luckily, Japan has something for everyone, from bustling cities to serene countryside, ancient temples to modern skyscrapers, and delicious cuisine to unique cultural experiences. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with a guide to what to do in Japan for a week, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful country. Whether you’re interested in history, food, culture, or outdoor activities, Japan has something to offer.

What to Do in Japan for a Week

With our guide to what to do in Japan for a week, you can plan your itinerary to make the most of your time in this amazing country. So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Japan!

Key Takeaways

  • Plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your time in Japan.
  • Tokyo and Kyoto are great places to start your trip, but there are many other cities and regions to explore.
  • Japan offers something for everyone, from history and culture to food and outdoor activities.

One Week Itinerary

If you’re planning a trip to Japan and only have one week to explore, it’s important to make the most of your time. Here’s a suggested itinerary that will allow you to see some of the country’s most popular destinations in just seven days.

Day 1: Tokyo

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Start your trip in Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital city. Spend the day exploring some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as the Tokyo Tower and Asakusa Kannon Temple. 

You can also visit the Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shrine. In the evening, head to the Shinjuku neighborhood to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 2: Tokyo

Spend another day in Tokyo, visiting some of the city’s other famous attractions. Check out the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, and the famous Shibuya Crossing. You can also visit the Tokyo National Museum and the Senso-ji Temple.

Day 3: Kyoto

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Take a bullet train to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital city. Spend the day exploring the city’s many temples and shrines, such as the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the Fushimi Inari Shrine. You can also visit the Gion district, known for its traditional tea houses and geisha.

Day 4: Hiroshima and Miyajima

Take a day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima, two of Japan’s most historic and beautiful destinations. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which commemorates the atomic bombing of the city in 1945. Then take a ferry to Miyajima Island, famous for its floating torii gate and Itsukushima Shrine.

Day 5: Osaka

What to Do in Japan for a Week

Head to Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, and explore its many attractions. Visit Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, and the Shitennoji Temple, one of the country’s oldest Buddhist temples. You can also check out the Dotonbori neighborhood, known for its street food and nightlife.

Day 6: Hakone and Mount Fuji

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Take a day trip to Hakone, a mountainous region known for its hot springs and stunning views of Mount Fuji. 

Visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum and the Owakudani Valley, where you can see volcanic activity up close. You can also take a cruise on Lake Ashi and enjoy views of Mount Fuji.

Day 7: Tokyo

Return to Tokyo for your final day in Japan. Spend the day shopping in the trendy Harajuku neighborhood or exploring the Ueno Park and Zoo

You can also visit the Odaiba district, known for its futuristic architecture and entertainment venues.

This itinerary is just a suggestion, and there are many other destinations in Japan that you could visit depending on your interests. However, it provides a good starting point for planning your trip and ensures that you get to see some of the country’s most famous landmarks and attractions.

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Top Attractions

If you’re visiting Japan for a week, you’ll want to hit some of the top attractions in the country. Here are some must-see places in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Miyajima.

Tokyo

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Tokyo, the bustling capital city, is a must-visit destination in Japan. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in Tokyo:

  • Visit the famous Tokyo Tower, which offers stunning views of the city.
  • Explore the Senso-ji Temple, one of the oldest and most famous temples in Tokyo.
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
  • Enjoy the traditional Japanese pop culture by visiting the Akihabara district.
  • Have fun at Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.

Kyoto

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Kyoto is a city that’s rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in Kyoto:

  • Visit the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which offers stunning views of the city.
  • Explore the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of torii gates.
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
  • Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience.
  • Visit the Nishiki Market for some delicious Japanese street food.

Osaka

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Osaka, the third-largest city in Japan, is known for its food, nightlife, and entertainment. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in Osaka:

  • Visit the Osaka Castle, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
  • Explore the Dotonbori district, famous for its neon lights and street food.
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Osaka Castle Park.
  • Enjoy a fun day at Universal Studios Japan.
  • Visit the Umeda Sky Building for stunning views of the city.

Hiroshima

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Hiroshima is a city that’s famous for its tragic history and its resilience. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in Hiroshima:

  • Visit the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome to learn about the city’s history.
  • Explore Hiroshima Castle, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Shukkei-en Garden.
  • Enjoy a traditional Japanese okonomiyaki meal.
  • Visit the Mazda Museum to learn about the history of the famous car manufacturer.

Miyajima

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Miyajima, a small island near Hiroshima, is known for its beautiful nature and its famous Itsukushima Shrine. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in Miyajima:

  • Visit the famous Itsukushima Shrine, which is famous for its floating torii gate.
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Momijidani Park.
  • Enjoy a hike to the top of Mount Misen for stunning views of the island.
  • Visit the Miyajima History and Folklore Museum to learn about the island’s history.
  • Try some delicious oysters, which are a specialty of the island.

Overall, there are plenty of things to see and do in Japan, and a week is just enough time to experience some of the top attractions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Miyajima.

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Food and Drink

When it comes to food and drink, Japan has a lot to offer. Whether you’re a foodie or not, you’ll find something to enjoy during your week in Japan. From sushi to street food, there’s something for everyone.

Sushi

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If you’re a sushi lover, Japan is the place to be. You can find sushi restaurants all over the country, from high-end to affordable. 

Some of the famous sushi restaurants in Tokyo include Sushi Saito, Sukiyabashi Jiro, and Sushi Dai. These high-end restaurants can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from $100 to $300 per person.

However, if you’re on a budget, you can still enjoy delicious sushi at more affordable prices. Conveyor belt sushi restaurants, known as kaitenzushi, are a great option. You can find them all over Japan, and the prices are usually around $1 to $5 per plate.

Street Food

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Japan’s street food scene is also worth exploring. You can find a variety of tasty treats, from savory to sweet. Some of the popular street food items include takoyaki (octopus balls), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).

If you’re in Tokyo, head to Harajuku for some of the best street food in the city. Takeshita Street is a popular spot for street food vendors, and you can find a variety of treats there. You can also check out the Tsukiji Outer Market for fresh seafood and other street food options.

Ramen

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Ramen is another must-try dish in Japan. You can find ramen restaurants all over the country, and each region has its own unique style. Some of the popular ramen styles include shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and tonkotsu (pork bone broth).

If you’re in Tokyo, head to Ichiran Ramen or Ippudo Ramen for some of the best ramen in the city. Prices at these restaurants range from $10 to $20 per bowl.

Overall, Japan’s food and drink scene is diverse and exciting. Whether you’re a foodie or not, make sure to try some of the country’s famous dishes during your week in Japan.

Take a look at some of the famous places where you can get a killer Ramen.

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Culture and History

Japan is a country steeped in rich culture and history. From ancient temples and shrines to samurai and anime, there is so much to explore and learn about during your week-long trip.

Temples and Shrines

What to Do in Japan for a Week

Visiting temples and shrines is a must-do activity in Japan. These religious sites offer a glimpse into Japan’s spiritual side and are often surrounded by beautiful gardens. Some of the most popular temples and shrines to visit include:

Make sure to dress appropriately when visiting these sites, as they are considered sacred places. It’s also important to be respectful of the customs and traditions of the Japanese people.

Ryokans and Onsens

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For a truly authentic Japanese experience, stay at a ryokan and visit an onsen. Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns that offer a unique and immersive experience. They often feature tatami floors, futon beds, and communal baths.

Onsens, or hot springs, are a popular pastime in Japan. They are said to have healing properties and are a great way to relax and unwind. Some of the best onsens to visit include:

Remember to follow proper etiquette when visiting onsens, such as bathing before entering the hot springs and not wearing swimwear.

Samurai and Anime Culture

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Japan’s history is filled with stories of samurai warriors and their code of honor. You can learn more about this fascinating part of Japanese history by visiting samurai museums and watching reenactments.

Anime, or Japanese animation, is also a big part of Japanese culture. Fans of anime can visit Akihabara in Tokyo, which is known as the “electric town” and is a hub for anime and manga culture.

If you want to have the best experience of Japan, its a must that you do your own research as well. Here are a few sources that can help you design your own itinerary based on your preferences.

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Transportation and Accommodation

When it comes to traveling in Japan, transportation and accommodation are two key factors to consider. Here are some options to help you navigate Japan easily and comfortably during your one-week trip.

Bullet Train

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One of the best ways to travel around Japan is by taking the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train. 

These high-speed trains are efficient, punctual, and offer a comfortable way to travel between major cities. 

You can purchase tickets at the train station or online, and there are different classes available to fit your budget. 

For example, the Nozomi train is the fastest and most expensive, while the Hikari train is slightly slower but more affordable.

Pocket WiFi and SIM Card

Having a reliable internet connection is crucial when traveling in Japan, especially if you’re navigating unfamiliar streets or using translation apps. 

One option is to rent a pocket WiFi device, which provides high-speed internet access for multiple devices. 

Another option is to purchase a SIM card for your phone, which can be used for data and voice calls. You can find both options at the airport or at electronics stores throughout Japan.

Economy and Cost

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Japan is known for being an expensive country to visit, but there are ways to save money on transportation and accommodation. 

For example, you can purchase a Japan Rail Pass before your trip, which offers unlimited travel on JR trains, including the bullet train. 

Additionally, you can find affordable accommodation options such as capsule hotels or hostels. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and location.

Interesting fact: The bullet train has a remarkable safety record, with zero passenger fatalities since its inception in 1964.

In conclusion, transportation and accommodation are important factors to consider when planning your one-week trip to Japan. By taking advantage of the bullet train, pocket WiFi or SIM card, and affordable options, you can make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

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Seasonal Activities

Japan is a country that offers something unique and special in every season. From cherry blossom viewing in spring to winter sports in the north, there is always something to do regardless of the time of year you visit. Here are some seasonal activities that you can enjoy during your one-week stay in Japan.

Cherry Blossom

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If you visit Japan between late March and early May, you will have the chance to witness the beautiful cherry blossom season or Sakura

This is a time when the entire country turns pink, and people gather in parks and gardens to enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

Some of the best places to see cherry blossoms include Ueno Park in Tokyo, Maruyama Park in Kyoto, and Hirosaki Castle in Aomori.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, you can also attend a hanami party, which is a traditional Japanese custom of having a picnic under the cherry blossom trees. 

Some popular hotels to stay at during this time include the Conrad Tokyo, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, and the Aman Tokyo.

Autumn

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Autumn is another popular season in Japan, especially for those who love fall foliage. The leaves change color in late September to early December, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. 

Some of the best places to see autumn foliage include Arashiyama in Kyoto, Nikko in Tochigi, and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Toyama.

Aside from viewing the foliage, you can also enjoy seasonal food and drinks such as chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and sake. Some popular restaurants to try during this time include Kikunoi in Kyoto, Ishikawa in Tokyo, and Kitcho in Osaka.

Winter

What to Do in Japan for a Week

Winter in Japan is a magical time, especially for those who love winter sports. The northern regions of Japan, such as Hokkaido and Tohoku, receive heavy snowfall, making them perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. 

Some popular ski resorts to visit include Niseko in Hokkaido, Zao Onsen in Yamagata, and Nozawa Onsen in Nagano.

Aside from winter sports, you can also enjoy hot springs or onsen during this time. Some popular onsen to visit include Gora Kadan in Hakone, Arima Onsen in Kobe, and Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma.

In conclusion, Japan is a country that offers something unique and special in every season. Whether you’re visiting during the cherry blossom season, autumn foliage season, or winter sports season, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

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Unique Experiences

If you’re looking for unique experiences during your week in Japan, you won’t be disappointed. Here are a few must-see attractions that will make your trip unforgettable.

Mount Fuji

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No trip to Japan is complete without seeing Mount Fuji. This iconic mountain is located just outside of Tokyo and is visible on clear days from the city. 

You can take a day trip to see the mountain up close and even hike up to the summit. If you’re not up for a hike, you can still enjoy the stunning views from the surrounding areas.

Capsule Hotels

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Capsule hotels are a unique and affordable way to experience Japanese culture. These hotels offer small, capsule-like rooms that are just big enough for one person to sleep in. 

While they may not be the most luxurious accommodations, they are a fun and interesting way to experience Japan. Some capsule hotels even offer amenities like communal baths, saunas, and lounges.

Sumo Wrestling

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Sumo wrestling is a traditional Japanese sport that is both fascinating and entertaining to watch. If you’re in Tokyo during the sumo wrestling season, be sure to catch a match. 

You can purchase tickets in advance or try your luck at the door. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a sumo wrestler up close and take a photo with them.

Overall, Japan offers a variety of unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. 

Whether you’re hiking up Mount Fuji, staying in a capsule hotel, or watching sumo wrestling, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time.

Travel Tips

If you’re planning to spend a week in Japan, there are a few travel tips that can help you make the most of your trip. Here are some specific tips for Japan and guides and tours that can help you plan your itinerary.

Specific Tips for Japan

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” There is an extensive list of things that are frowned upon in Japan but are normal outside Japan. You must take extra care on these matters. 

Learn Some Basic Japanese Phrases

While many Japanese people speak English, it’s always helpful to learn some basic phrases such as “hello,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” This will make it easier to communicate with locals and show your respect for their culture.

Carry Cash

While credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s always a good idea to carry cash with you. Many smaller shops and restaurants may not accept credit cards, and some ATMs may not accept foreign cards. It’s also customary to pay in cash at temples and shrines.

Respect Cultural Customs

Japan has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect their customs and traditions. For example, when visiting temples and shrines, remove your shoes and dress modestly. When eating, don’t start eating until everyone has been served and say “itadakimasu” before you start eating.

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Guides and Tours

If you’re a traveler who doesn’t like to plan, you don’t need to worry. Whether it is a snap tour or a guided one, you will have a wholesome experience in Japan.

Take a Guided Tour

If you want to learn more about Japan’s history and culture, taking a guided tour can be a great way to do so. Many tours are available in English, and can take you to popular tourist destinations such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.

Use a Travel Guidebook

A travel guidebook can be a valuable resource for planning your trip. It can provide information on popular tourist destinations, transportation options, and cultural customs. Some popular guidebooks for Japan include Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.

Download a Travel App

There are many travel apps available that can help you navigate Japan. Some popular apps include Google Maps, Japan Travel by NAVITIME, and Hyperdia. These apps can provide information on transportation options, restaurant recommendations, and popular tourist destinations.

By following these travel tips and utilizing guides and tours, you can make the most of your week in Japan and have a memorable trip.

Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling to Japan

Q: Is 1 week long enough in Japan?

A: Even though it seems short, you can visit many places in Japan within a week if you plan your itinerary right. And even if you only visit a few places, the experience is still going to be magical

Q: Is $5000 enough for a week in Japan? 

A: It’s more than enough. According to ChampionTraveller, a family of four can spend a hi-fi week in Japan for $1900 and for couples it goes up to $2600. 

Q: Where should I go first time in Japan?

A: For first time travelers, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka is a must. If you plan well and have time to visit more places, then Okinawa is just the place to go for you!

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