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)
Sharon has been very helpful since the…
Sharon has been very helpful since the beginning coordinating our itinerary in order to accommodate everything we want to see, it been great working with herMore
May, Jul 2023
When I first book I was scared of what…
When I first book I was scared of what to expect, but oh my God! What an amazing experience this has been, from Sharon to all the guides Shawn and Mr. Ho, such amazing people! Their work is excellentMore
Saul Velez, Jul 2023
Albee was very helpful and responsive…
Albee was very helpful and responsive in helping me make plans for their 10 day Japanese tour.More
Bhavini Patel, Jul 2023
Alisa was a perfect tour consultant
Alisa responded to my numerous questions with efficiency and accuracy. She was constantly suggesting options to make the trip more enjoyableMore
Matha Goram, Jul 2023
I highly Recommend Asia Highlights
For our first guide Jun, he was amazing. Very accommodating. Kept in good communication & kept us on time for our activities. Reached out to me the night before to confirm meet times and locations. Our driver for this time was also so kind & driver was always on time. For our second Guide , Ho. He went above and beyond. He stayed in great communication. Stayed later with us on one of the days because we were worried about riding the train back alone but wanted to visit at the shopping center a littler longer, so he stayed with us and made sure we got off on the right stop! During our time with him he took pictures of us and sent them to us! He was very knowledgeable about every place we visited. He was kind and patient with our large group. He made our trip easy & memorable. The driver we had for this timeframe was also kind & always on time! We felt a bond with both guides given to us! If you want an easy going, stress free trip book with “Asia Highlights”!!!More
Jessalynn Flores, Jul 2023
Working to put together a custom trip…
Working to put together a custom trip with Alissa has been a great experienceMore
Marc, Jul 2023
Wonderful Service from Sharon!
Sharon at Asia Highlights has been a HUGE help in planning our trip to Japan later this year. From her initial contact to finalization of the plan, she has been very responsive, professional, patient, and knowledgeable. She was able to quickly propose an amazing itinerary and helped us customize it for our interests. She also made many great recommendations and gave us tips for the trip. I wasn’t familiar with Asia Highlights before I reached out, but after Sharon’s wonderful service, I have full confidence in them. I can’t wait for the trip and I hope it’s as awesome as Sharon’s service!!!More
Ali Tahir, Jul 2023
We had a wonderful time in Japan with guides Moni and Kazuko and with Jan in Singapore. Will always remember this trip!More
Happy Customer, Jun 2023
Just got to say
Just got to say, Monica was great in every way! So sweet and helpful with planning, itineraries, answering questions… would love to meet her in person! Thank you Monica!More
Teri, Jun 2023
Monica is fantastic
Monica is fantastic. She understood our needs, was very responsive and planned a perfect vacation for us. Highly recommend.More
Philip Sheldon, Jun 2023
Me and my son are traveling to Japan
Me and my son are traveling to Japan. Albee is magnificent. Extremely efficient, helpful, trustworthy. I am very happy she is helping us with my son's dreaming trip.More
Ana Letícia Urbanin, Jun 2023
A great way to plan a dream vacation
Due to circumstances, we had to delay our trip to Japan so this review is only about the process of designing the trip. Albee was always available, responsive to our goals, and competent. Based on how involved he was with our family trip, we know we will be back next year and resuming the plan he built. Really impressed with the quality and extent of resources we found through Albee and KimKim.More
KC, May 2023
Yeliz - Asia Highlights
Yeliz was extremely helpful and patient during our Japan trip planning and answered all my various questions. Really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka!More
Cyndie, May 2023
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful…
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful when navigating me through the trip planning process. She helped me plan a very exciting and extravagant trip.More
Jonny Abad, May 2023
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
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?
US$350-500 per person per day is the typical cost for a private tour with 4-star hotels, based on a family of 3–5 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. Thus, the total cost for 12 days in Japan is about US$4,200-6,000 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.
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Get Inspired with Some Popular 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.