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1 Week in Japan: Top 5 Itineraries for First Visit 2024/2025

By Vicky LengUpdated Mar. 28, 2024

Japan is a popular family trip destination for its food, geishas, kimono-wearing experiences, ninja experiences, anime, and more. Many families make Japan their first choice for vacations, as do many couples.

A time frame of 10 days is most popular for visiting Japan, but 7 days in Japan is enough to visit the top two cities (Tokyo and Kyoto) or the top three (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka). All of these top cities are conveniently connected by Shinkansen (bullet trains).

In this article, we recommend five itineraries that maximize 7 days in Japan. Four are handpicked private tours with enjoyable experiences and stress-free travel. One is a cherry blossom season group tour, offering cost-smart, time-efficient access to popular Japan attractions. 

one week in Japan

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1. 7-Day Classic Japan (Most Chosen): Tokyo–Kyoto–Osaka

Japan itinerary Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka
  • 2 nights in Tokyo
  • 2 nights in Kyoto
  • 2 nights in Osaka

Experience the best "golden triangle" cities in Japan — Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. On a week-long trip, it is perfect to spend 2 nights in each. All three cities offer authentic experiences for everyone to enjoy and are suitable for first-timers who invariably visit whatever the season.

Start your Japan adventure from Tokyo. Feel the Edo-vibe at the city's oldest temple — Senso-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple), explore wooden Meiji Shrine in the downtown area, which is surrounded by a forest and feels like you've stepped out of the city and into nature, and have a full-city view from the world's tallest tower — Tokyo Skytree.

What else is there for a family with teenagers in Tokyo? Don't miss wearing a ninja outfit and learning about the culture, techniques, and weapons from a ninja master, making sushi for lunch with the help of an expert chef, exploring and acquiring any anime product your heart desires in Akihabara, or immerse yourself in the Pokémon Center and the Ghibli Museum.

Continue your trip to medieval capital Kyoto and immerse yourself in the culture-rich atmosphere. Explore the Gion district while wearing a kimono to take memorable photos, stroll around Fushimi Inari Shrine, stay at a traditional ryokan to experience Japanese accommodation, and feed deer in Nara.

Finish your trip in flourishing Osaka. Experience hands-on ukiyo-e printmaking to gain an insight into Japanese culture, and sample a variety of local snacks at Dotonbori. Or you could choose to immerse yourself in a day at Super Nintendo World, where vibrant Mario elements surround you and your teenage kids, creating a vivid and exciting family adventure.

Just tell us your preferences and requirements for your vacation in Japan, and we would customize this tour for you.

2. 7-Day Essence of Japan: Tokyo–Hakone–Kyoto

Japan itinerary Tokyo- Hakone -Kyoto
  • 2 nights in Tokyo
  • 1 night in Hakone
  • 3 nights in Kyoto

Tokyo and Kyoto are two cities you must visit during a 1-week trip to Japan. With this itinerary, you could explore the highlights of both cities and travel to Hakone for a night to experience a traditional Japanese inn (a ryokan) with a hot spring bath (an onsen).

On this tour, you would start in Tokyo, where you would experience the awesome combination of traditional history and high-tech modernity. Make sushi at Tsukiji Outer Market, and visit an interactive museum to appreciate the charm of advanced technology.

Head to Hakone, the home of onsens in Japan. It takes about 2 hours to get there from Tokyo by JR (Japan Railway). The best thing to do in Hakone is to stay at a traditional Japanese ryokan with an onsen, sleep on comfortable tatami mats, and enjoy a peaceful evening in a hot spring.

End your trip in Kyoto, a charming, ancient city filled with tradition. Many interesting activities could be personalized for families and couples based on your interests, such as tasting traditional food at Nishiki Market, and creating exquisite pottery as a unique souvenir.

If you have other requirements, contact us and we can make it happen.

3. 7-Day Japan Cherry Blossom Itinerary: Tokyo – Mount Fuji – Kyoto – Nara

Japan itinerary Tokyo-Lake Kawaguchi -Kyoto
  • 3 nights in Tokyo (a day trip to Mount Fuji in Lake Kawaguchiko)
  • 3 nights in Kyoto

March to April is the best time to enjoy cherry blossoms in Japan and you could find the attractive cherry blossoms almost everywhere. It would be a memorable experience for you and your family or partner to have a picnic under the cherry trees while enjoying the blossoms and tasty snacks.

With this itinerary, you could view the best cherry blossoms in top cities, and experience authentic activities to enrich your trip. Our 7-day mini-group tour (for 4–7 people) is a cost-smart choice that offers a better experience than big group tours. It maximizes your time and comfort, which is especially difficult to do on a budget during this peak tourist season. It allows you to visit cherry blossoms at well-selected locations in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

If your personal group booking reaches a minimum of four people, you could upgrade to the private tour for more flexibility.

4. 7-Day Modern and Rural Japan Itinerary: Tokyo–Kanazawa– Kyoto

Japan itinerary Tokyo-Kanazawa-Kyoto
  • 2 nights in Tokyo
  • 1 night in Kanazawa (with a day trip to Takayama and Shirakawa-go)
  • 3 nights in Kyoto

In this itinerary, you could explore modern Tokyo and Kyoto, as well as three picturesque small towns. For those who want to discover rural life in Japan and visit small cities that are less crowded, Kanazawa, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go are the best choices.

Kanazawa is famous for its gold-leaf products, Japanese-style garden from the Edo period (1603–1868), and the national brew. Take a day trip to Takayama to visit the well-preserved old town and enjoy tasty Hida beef. Shirakawa-go is a stunning small village with traditional and stylish gassho-zukuri ('praying hands') farmhouses. The village has particularly beautiful winter lighting in January and February.

We'd like to create a wonderful trip based on your needs and interests, whatever the weather.

5. 7-Day Journey into Japan's Past: Tokyo–Kyoto–Hiroshima

Japan itinerary Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima
  • 3 nights in Tokyo
  • 2 nights in Kyoto
  • 1 night in Hiroshima

This itinerary offers an excellent opportunity to dive into Japan's abundant historical treasures, so it's especially recommended for history enthusiasts. Explore the enduring legacy of the country's past in Tokyo and Kyoto through immersive activities that allow you to truly sense the traditional essence of Japan.

Take a Shinkansen from Kyoto with a convenient travel time of about 2 hours to Hiroshima, the first city to witness the devastating impact of an atomic bomb. Don't miss the chance to visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park where the atomic bomb site resides, providing an invaluable learning experience for teenagers and anyone interested in understanding this defining historical event.

You can contact us to tailor-make a tour for you if the above itinerary does not meet your requirement.

How Much Does It Cost for One Week in Japan?

cost of Japan

Japan is one of the most affordable destinations in the developed world. It offers memorable attractions, high-quality accommodation, delicious restaurants, and warm service.

A 4-star hotel, private guide, private car, and tickets for attractions for full-day itineraries costs 350-500 USD per person per day for a family of 3-5 people. Thus, the total cost for 7 days in Japan is about US$2,500-3,500

Prices during the cherry blossom season can be two to three times higher than usual.

Suggested reading: How Much Is a Trip to Japan

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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