Japan is a dream destination, known for its geishas, ryokans, hot springs, anime, food, and more. It’s being a perfect destination for families and couples as a bucket-list trip, annual holiday, children's birthday, graduation gift, or romantic celebration.
Spending 12 days would give you the chance to experience the best of Japan: from prosperous Tokyo and Osaka to tradition-filled Kyoto, from the picturesque small town of Takayama to the peace memorial city of Hiroshima. We could arrange plenty of hand-picked activities for you based on your interests and trip theme.
Let’s get started… Discover the best 12-day Japan itineraries:
1. 12-Day Traditional Japan Itinerary: Explore Major Highlights of Japan; Perfect for First-Timers
If this is your first time to Japan, you probably have some places on your Japan must-visit list like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Spending 12 days in Japan would give you an introduction to the most famous destinations and the chance to experience plenty of fun hands-on activities. We could customize this itinerary based on your requests, and we could also reserve some free days for you to rest and relax or do some exploring on your own.
Here is the suggested itinerary:
- Days 1–4: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine, Asakusa, sushi-making, and Mount Fuji)
- Days 5–8: Kyoto (geisha, ryokan, Kinkakuji Temple, sake, and feed deer)
- Days 9–10: Hiroshima (Peace Memorial Park)
- Days 11–12: Osaka (Osaka Castle, street food, and Cup Noodle Museum)
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Wonderful 10 day trip in Japan!!!
Well planned trip by Alisa . Everything was well scheduled, guides and drivers were excellent!! The cars were extremely comfortable and the hotel she chose for us was beautiful!! Enjoyed planning with her she was very professional and always offered other choices.More
Lianne Stone, May 2023
11 days trip to Japan
I am planning my trip to Japan in November with Sharon's help and she has provided amazing customer service.She is very responsive and put together very quickly an incredible plan for 11 days in Japan. She provided recommendations and made changes based on our interests and budget. She also provided information about visa restrictions and the best way to get tickets for transportation services. Thanks so much Sharon, looking forward to this trip!More
LE, May 2023
Hi Cathy! I just want to thank you for making our Japan trip so much fun & memorable! We loved everything that you had scheduled for us! All the guides and drivers were great & punctual! We love Japan so much that we’re planning to go back next year to different part of Japan! We’ll definitely contact Asia Highlights for our trip again! SereneMore
Serene Storslett, May 2023
Quick, easy and detailed service
Alisa was our advisor from Asia highlights and she prepared for us a wonderful 28 day trip to Japan, taking into consideration our needs and desire not to be traveling everyday and to have a mixture of slow and busy days. We've not yet taken our trip, but very much looking forward to it Thank you Alisa for the quick response and wonderful itineraryMore
Lynette Whittle, Apr 2023
Sharon Huang did an excellent job in planningour 15 day Cherry Blossom Japan tour. Shewas available during our trip to answer our questions and readily agreed to the itinerary changes.Everything was arranged - accommodation,breakfast, guide, car, entrance fees and train tickets. The guides were knowledgeable, and managed the tour very efficiently. The drivers were punctual and very patient. We visited must see places in and near Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. We also got to experience Japanese Tea ceremony, Sushi making, Sake tasting, shopping etc.We highly recommend Asia Highlights for your travel needs.More
Madhu, Apr 2023
I organized a trip to Japan for my
I organized a trip to Japan for my parents who don’t speak English and Alisa was so amazing helping make an itinerary for them. They needed a Spanish guide and she coordinated everything so they wouldn’t have any trouble when they got there. She was so patient changing and adjusting the itinerary to their needs and wants, it’s been a total pleasure working with her and she always responds promptly to any question I have. I definitely recommend this company and if you can ask to work with Alisa.More
Luisa, Apr 2023
Trip to Japan. I have had the pleasure to book with…
For the reasons above, I decided to book again with Asia highlights for our trip to Japan this year in September. Until now it’s been a pleasure dealing with Albee Ning. She was so efficient and pleasant in adjusting our itinerary. Whenever I had any questions I could count on her to answer promptly. I am very lucky to have her as our organiser for our future trip to Japan. I have had the pleasure to book with Asia Highlights when we went to China in 2018. We were extremely satisfied with the exceptional services rendered by our organiser, Robert Hui and private guide William.More
Mrs Cristina Hidalgo Loris, Apr 2023
Albee Ning and Asia Highlights - wonderful to work with.
I and my daughter planned a trip to China and Japan. We worked with Albee Ning who was fantastic in developing a itinerary based on our desires and needs. She was extremely responsive, taking into account all of our requests and worked closely with us, it wasn't just selecting from one of several pre-developed itineraries. We decided to postpone the trip until next year and received the guaranteed refund, minus a small deposit on next years trip. We look forward to working with her again on next years trip and trips in the future. We highly recommend Asia Highlights and Albee NingMore
Nancy K, Apr 2023
Handcrafted tour of Japan by Asia Highlights
My initial inquiry to this company (based in China) was answered in under 10 hours by an amazing travel consultant, named Alisa. She is such a professional in the ways she conducts herself and serves her clients. Alisa is a great communicator and listener. She is very open to requests for additional experiences which require research on her part to arrange. Alisa also provides very detailed information about each experience, location, guides, private car transfers, trains, hotels. This approach is very appealing since detailed communication is so useful and important to me. Alisa also makes the process simple and easy to follow. Answered tons of questions and created the perfect tour for us. We are looking forward to this once in a lifetime visit to Japan and are so grateful we have had the chance to work with Alisa at Asia Highlights!More
Laurie Lee, Feb 2023
Great Overall Experience
Our guide in Tokyo, Fuki, was outstanding. We saw things we would never have otherwise seen, if Fuki had not been there.More
Todd Hankinson, Dec 2022
Plenty of options and personalized tours as needed
Monica Mo was very helpful from the beginning after I enquired about my travel plans to Japan. She listened with understanding and took careful notes and clarified things to make sure she got everything.More
Ginybel Belgira, Sep 2022
Asia Highlights especially Ms. Kanae Chida superb
Asia Highlights and particularly our Tokyo guide, Ms. Kanae Chida, were the best. When Kanae met us, she asked for details of what we wished to see and she constructed an outstanding combination of visits for the day.More
Geoff Rayner-Canham, May 2019
I have arranged a 27 day tour of China, Japan and Hong Kong China
Peggie's English is impeccable and she uses lots of nuances which usually only a native English speaker would know. I have found her very prompt in responding to emails and her knowledge is terrific.More
Ailsa West, Jul 2018
Very professional, great customer service
We travelled to Japan this May (2018). We had contacted Asia Highlights to organise our trip for us. Miss Peggie Lyoo was very helpful, super-friendly, very professional and very prompt with all her replies!More
Tibor Marton, May 2018
Great job!! We had an amazing vacation to Japan. We will use Asian highlights for all of our trips to AsiaMore
Joe, May 2018
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Days 1–4: Tokyo
The capital city Tokyo is the obvious place to start and spend 3 or 4 days for lots of sights and fun activities in any season.
Feel the old vibe in Meiji Shrine and Asakusa old district, experience sushi-making with your family or spouse/partner, meander around Hamarikyu Garden to see a charming Japanese garden environment. Perhaps have one or two day-trips outside of Tokyo to soak in onsens in Hakone or visit spectacular Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko.
Days 5–8: Kyoto
Immerse yourself in the charming ancient capital of Kyoto. For a special experience, we can arrange many unique and authentic activities: try on kimonos for a memorable photo, see geishas in Gion District, visit historically-significant Kinkaku-ji Temple and Nijo Castle, stay at a traditional ryokan to experience an old-style tatami bedroom and sample sake at a brewery.
Great day-trip ideas include feeding the lovely deer in Nara or wandering through the lush bamboo groves in Arashiyama.
Days 9–10: Hiroshima and Miyajima
Hiroshima, notoriously, was the first of two Japanese cities bombed with an atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Visit Peace Memorial Park and cherish the post-war peace. Take a short ferry ride to Miyajima to see the famous “floating torii gate”.
Days 11–12: Osaka
Osaka is a flourishing trade city. Sample authentic street food in Dotonbori and visit outstanding Osaka Castle.
2. 12-Day Japan Private Family Vacation Itinerary: Experience Hands-On Activities
A memorable family trip to Japan should include opportunities to feel its rich history, immerse yourself in its youth culture, breathe in fresh mountain air, participate in hands-on activities, and enjoy quality time together at world-class theme parks. If you have other requirements, contact us and we can make it happen.
Here is a well-organized itinerary with all of the above:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (Tokyo Tower, Samurai Museum, making sushi, and anime)
- Days 4–5: Takayama (well-preserved townhouses and Hida beef)
- Days 6–7: Hiroshima (Peace Memorial Park)
- Days 8–9: Osaka (Universal Studios and Super Nintendo World)
- Days 10–12: Kyoto (geisha, ryokan, try on kimonos, sake, and feeding deer)
Days 1–3: Tokyo
Tokyo is perfect blend of historical and modern. Head to the plaza gardens outside of the Imperial Palace — Kokyo Gaien, get a full-city view from Tokyo Tower, and explore Samurai Museum. You could enjoy making sushi and doing ninja crafts with your family, satisfy your kid’s anime interest at the Pokémon Center, and visit Disney Sea to create happy family memories.
Day 4–5: Takayama
With its beautiful natural scenery, well-preserved townhouses, cozy ryokans with onsens (inns with hot springs), and delicious Hida beef, Takayama is a small town that offers a lot to enjoy.
Days 6–7: Hiroshima
Hiroshima was the site of the first atomic bombing during World War II. Visit Peace Memorial Park to cherish a peace that was won with unprecedented-and-hopefully-never-to-be-repeated devastation.
Days 8–9: Osaka
Osaka has some cultural and uniquely-fun things to do for families: make cup noodles to your own design at Cup Noodle Museum, make your own woodblock print at Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, and have fun at Super Nintendo World theme park.
Days 10–12: Kyoto
Kyoto is the cultural and historical hub of Japan. You can experience unique Japanese traditions deeper there…
- Have an afternoon tea with beautiful geishas in Gion District.
- Participate in a classic tea ceremony and enjoy a cup of truly Japanese tea.
- Stay at a traditional ryokan and enjoy high-class kaiseki (the finest dish-by-dish feast).
- Visit famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple to understand the history of Japan.
- Try on kimonos for a family photo.
- Feeding the lovely deer in Nara has made many a happy family moment.
We can adjust this itinerary to your preferences and add or remove destinations/activities as needed. Contact us for more suggestions based on your interests.
3. 12-Day Japan Itinerary of Picturesque Countryside Views
- Tokyo – Nagoya – Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and Kanazawa – Kyoto
Discover Japan’s most charming and less-crowded small towns with this itinerary, enjoying fresh mountain breezes, unique Japanese farmhouses, and serene green bamboo groves.
Here is a well-planned itinerary for a great experience:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa old town, Samurai Museum, and Japanese garden)
- Days 4–5: Nagoya (Ghibli Park and technology museums)
- Days 6–8: Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and Kanazawa (charming farm/townhouses)
- Days 9–12: Kyoto (geisha, ryokan inns, bamboo groves, and friendly deer)
Start your incredible trip in Tokyo, the energetic and exciting capital of Japan. Explore Tsukiji Fish Market and Asakusa District to get a feel of the local culture, experience sushi making, and shop for anime products.
Over the next two days, head to the industrial city of Nagoya to visit some technology museums for both educational and fun experiences. Ghibli Park is a cute animated-movie theme park that both children and adults love.
Starting on day 6, you would spend three days to discover amazing countryside views in Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and Kanazawa. Visit well-preserved townhouses, traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, and taste delicious Hida beef.
Finish your trip in wonderful Kyoto. See geishas in Gion District, stay at a traditional ryokan for a night, feed deer in Nara, and walk leisurely through bamboo groves in Arashiyama.
Contact us to customize this itinerary for you.
4. 12-Day Japan Itinerary with Fun Outdoor Activities
- Tokyo – Lake Kawaguchiko – Karuizawa – Nagoya – Kyoto
If you want to visit Japan’s main highlights and also enjoy some interesting outdoor sports, then this itinerary is perfect for you. Take a bike ride along Lake Kawaguchiko to enjoy postcard-worthy views of Mount Fuji, go for a light hike at the national park in Karuizawa, and enjoy yourself in adorably animated Ghibli Park.
Here is a well-crafted itinerary that takes it all in:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine, sushi-making, ninja crafts, and samurai museum)
- Days 4–5: Lake Kawaguchiko (Mount Fuji and biking)
- Days 6–7: Karuizawa (light hiking)
- Days 8–9: Nagoya (Ghibli Park and technology museums)
- Days 10–12: Kyoto (geisha, shrines, ryokan, and sake)
This journey through Japan begins in Tokyo. In 3 days there, you’ll visit famous sightseeing spots and experience some interesting activities, such as sushi-making, ninja crafts, or wearing samurai armor.
The following 2 days at Lake Kawaguchiko, you can take a bike ride around the lake to enjoy the spectacular sight of Mount Fuji and stay at a ryokan with an onsen (hot spring bath). Head to the mountain town of Karuizawa to enjoy more of Japan’s natural beauty. Take a light hike in the national park to experience green forests, clear lakes, and wildlife.
Continue your trip to Nagoya to visit industrial and technological museums for educational and fun experiences. Immerse yourself in the lovely animation world of Ghibli Park. And end your memorable trip perfectly in Kyoto, known for its centuries-old culture, including geishas, shrines, sake, and ryokans.
How Much Does 12 Days in Japan Cost?
Japan rivals Europe both in terms of facilities and service standards, which means that travel in Japan costs more than in China or in Southeast Asian countries.
US$400 (and above) per person per day is the typical cost for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a group of 2–4 people. This includes a private guide, private car, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, all intercity transport within Japan, and hand-picked 4-star hotels. An extra US$100 or more per day is required if you’re looking to stay in 5-star hotels. Thus, the total cost for 10 days in Japan starts at about US$4,800 or so per person (international flights not included).
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.