Japan is a vibrant and energetic country that offers abundant attractions and unique experiences for everyone to enjoy. From the graceful geisha and charming cherry blossoms to relaxing ryokans (time-honored inns) with onsens (hot spring baths) and exquisite cuisine, as well as the fun of Disney Sea and majestic Mount Fuji, Japan has a lot to offer visitors from around the world.
8 days is enough for you to visit the major cities of Japan — Tokyo and Kyoto, while also allowing you to spend 1–2 days on day trips to nearby areas such as Hakone, Nara, and the Fuji Five Lakes.
In this article, we've described four wonderful 8-day itineraries based on Japan travel's most popular themes to help you get some ideas for your Japan trip.
Alisa Liu is a star to work makes Asia Highlights even better
Alisa Liu was my contact person for Asia Highlights. She was remarkably punctual, she was thoughtful, and she handle an emergency on my end, with grace and patience. She recommended great hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka Japan that put us in the center of the action. The guides she choose were personable, punctual a knowledgeable about their cities.More
Brent Zadorozny, Oct 2023
Started using Asia Highlights to plan my trip to Japan. Sharon was very helpful, giving me all the information I would need for the tour. I would definitely use Asia Highlights again, when planning another trip to Asia.More
Rachel Nelson, Oct 2023
Our airport pick-up went very smoothly. Our guide, Vivian, on the second day was very nice, very accommodating, took into account our preferences. In Osaka, our trip to the castle was a very long walk with lots of steps to climb and quite honestly wasn’t very interesting. But Dotonburi is a must-see and we enjoyed that very much.Our trip to Hiroshima was very memorable. I highly recommend it. Our guide, Etsuko, was very knowledgeable and kind. The trip to Miyajima island, on the other hand, wasn’t too memorable. Our next city, Kyoto, is a truly wonderful place to visit. All the temples we went to were very interesting and very distinctive from each other (Kinkakuji temple, Nijo castle, Sanjusangendo temple,Kiyumizo temple, Fushimi Inari shrine, Kasuga Taisha shrine, Tojaidi temple). The sake tour was a downer and wouldn’t recommend it.Our guide, Ritsuko, was a darling. She was very knowledgeable too and kind and warm and easy to talk to. Our last tour in Tokyo was a rainy day and Sue, our guide, was able to change our tour to the next day. She was so efficient and so accommodating and so kind and very knowledgeable too.More
Mrs Cristina Hidalgo Loris, Oct 2023
Very good tour of Japan
Very good tour around Japan for 10 days, including Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. Excellent guides and experiences. Albee, the tour organiser, was always available to sort out changes to itinerary or extra requests.More
Guy Slimmon, Oct 2023
Everything is good
All of the hotels were wonderful and our guides were super friendly, knowledgeable and flexible. We had a 10 day trip that included multiple cities and lots of different sights, we squeezed in as much as we could, including a 2 day hiking trip to Mt. Fuji (our guide Sun Nan was awesome!). Our guide in Tokyo, Jennifer, was lovely and our guide for 2 days in Kyoto, Dennis, was also super great. We did a food tour in Osaka with Vivian which was nice Sallie Fujimoto-SwunMore
Ideale Tran, Oct 2023
Thank you for the wonderful experience…
Thank you for the wonderful experience we all truely enjoyed. From the beginning (making first contact with Sharon from Asia Highlights) to the end (Saying good bye to our amazing guide Lilly) the experience was top notch. Great communication while preparing the trip and excellent local knowledge of our tour guide. I can highly recommend Asia Highlights and would not hesitate to use them again for our next trip.More
Dany Gruosso, Oct 2023
Vacations in Japan
The guides Jessie and Vivian were very kind and professionals and the drivers as well. In a future vacation we will get in touch with Asia Highlights without a doubt.More
Hilda Andrade, Oct 2023
Experience with Asia Highlights
This was my first time working with a travel agent to plan an international trip and because of the seamless experience I had, I have decided to always work with an agent when booking international trips. Asia Highlights did an amazing job in ensuring we found a trip that worked well for our budget and provided us with special experiences in Japan that exceeded our expectations. From travel logistics in Japan to lodging and activities, we felt taken care of. If I had known that travel agents were this helpful, I would have worked with them in my prior travels. I definitely plan to book my next trip to Asia with this agent.More
Adie Ballantyne, Oct 2023
Jason and Cathy from Asia Highlights…
Jason and Kathy from Asia Highlights did a great job for us. They were very responsive and professional. Hotel choices and attractions made for a wonderful first time trip to Japan.More
Norman and Mary Van Zante, Sep 2023
This was one of the best experiences in…
This was one of the best experiences in Travel that I have ever had... and I have traveled extensively. The reliability of the the driver and guide, the kindness each displayed (different people in different cities same result) and the flexibility to work with my family's requests was outstanding. I now wish for this experience where ever I may travel next!More
Donna Huck, Sep 2023
First and foremost, this review is based strictly on prompt response from Asia Highlights.I was browsing Asia Highlights website on the night of September 17th 2023 and really impressed of the positive reviews. So I decided to send an e-mail for an estimate of a private tour guide in Tokyo Japan for 6 days/7 nights including hotel accommodation for my 90-year-old father and I. I provided as much information as I can what areas of interest we would like to visit. I was really expecting a 72-hour delay response from Asia Highlights given time difference in California and Japan. The following day, I received an e-mail from Kate Long. Impressive! Kate provided a very detailed suggested itinerary with great consideration for my 90-year-old father. I truly appreciated her thoughtfulness! I will definitely reach out to Asia Highlights on our next trip! Thank you Kate!More
F K, Sep 2023
Perfectly planned and organized
Albee at Asia Highlights created a diverse, fun-filled itinerary for our trip. She listened carefully to our interests and made sure that we made the best use of our time in Japan. Our local guides, drivers and vehicles were excellent. Albee was always available to answer all my questions with a lightening fast response time. A very memorable experience and I would definitely book with Asia Highlights again.More
Carol Ann Paget Brown, Sep 2023
Sharon provided great service while…
Sharon provided great service while planning and booking our Japan trip! Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to family medical reasons. Sharon was very understanding of this and helped process the cancellation and refund in a very timely manner. When we are ready to book our trip again, I will certainly be reaching out to Sharon and Asia Highlights!More
Ali Tahir, Sep 2023
I just wanted to tell you how pleased…
I just wanted to tell you how pleased we were planning and coordinating our recent Japan trip with Alisa Liu. Alisa was responsive, answered questions in a timely manner despite our 15 hour time difference, and coordinated a trip for a 6 person multi-generational tour to everyone's satisfaction. (ages7-70!)We were particularly thankful for her help as 2 typhoons bore down on Japan during our stay. She helped us rearrange train and hotel reservations, and was able to get us a refund from a hotel that would not typically offer that. I have referred other friends to her with confidence.More
Berdine Bender, Sep 2023
Not only Albee was great! Each of our guides and drivers were also a joy. Daniel was our first knowledgeable guide who spoke excellent English and was so much fun throughout the day. Jeremy was our guide for the next few days and he also was fun, flexible, and had so many interesting tidbits to share with us throughout the day. Kiko was our guide on the next leg of our journey. She had such a joyful sense of adventure and curiosity that was such a hoot. Vivian was also professional and very aware to what our needs were in the moment. Tian was incredibly flexible and when our plans literally changed when he picked us up, he showed great flexibility and took us to some really fun places at the last minute that were some of our best experiences. And finally Charlie was our last guide and he was so thoughtful and consistently anticipated our needs. By the time we realized we might need something, he would already have it taken care of. All of our guides were so thoughtful and conscious of either making sure we got time to ourselves or of being available right when we needed them. They were each fun and had their own personal flavor that they brought to the experience. We are so grateful for the consideration and flexibility that Asia Highlights showed us consistently and would highly recommend them for anyone interested in visiting Asia. Thank you so much! It was an amazing trip!More
Leah Stine, Aug 2023
Alisa is awesome!
We have been looking to go to Japan for a long time. The food, the culture, and the rich history have always intrigued us. We tried many times to set up pieces of the trip on our own, but couldn’t put together a sensible vacation. Then we found Asia Highlights and Alisa! She helped us tailor a remarkable adventure to Japan! She answered our many questions and shifted our itinerary to maximize our time in each city. I highly recommend Alisa to help you put together the trip of a lifetime. We are looking forward to our journey!More
Mark Linn, Aug 2023
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
1. 8-Day Japan Classic Itinerary (Most Chosen): Major Highlights of Japan
For first-time visitors to Japan, this itinerary is perfect for experiencing "the best of Japan" in its "golden triangle" cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Moreover, we can arrange plenty of hands-on experiences for you to create an unforgettable trip. Just contact us, and our expert travel consultant will customize a tour based on your requirements.
Here is a most-chosen-Japan-highlights itinerary:
- Days 1–2: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine, sushi-making, samurai museum, anime center)
- Days 3–4: Hakone (ryokans with onsens)
- Days 5–6: Kyoto (geisha, tea ceremony, try on kimonos, feed deer)
- Day 7–8: Osaka (Osaka Castle, Cup Noodle Museum, Super Nintendo World)
Begin your trip in Tokyo, the energetic capital of Japan. You can feel the old vibe by visiting Meiji Shrine and Asakusa District, enjoy a cup of matcha at an Edo-era Japanese garden, and participate in sushi-making and samurai armor experiences. If you have an interest in anime, head to the anime district as well.
Next, you'll head to Hakone, the home of onsens. Spend a night at a cozy ryokan and relax in an onsen. Take a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi, and on a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji towering over the backdrop.
Continue your wonderful trip with tradition-filled Kyoto. See geishas in Gion district, participate in a traditional tea ceremony, visit famous Kinkaku Temple, stay at a traditional ryokan for a night, try on kimonos for a memorable photo, and feed lovely deer in Nara.
Finally, you would end the trip in the prosperous trade city of Osaka. View outstanding Osaka Castle, make your own woodblock print at Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, and enjoy a charming night view from the Umeda Sky Building.
2. 8-Day Japan Cherry-Blossom-Season Itinerary: Best of Spring
- Tokyo – Fuji Five Lakes – Kyoto
Needless to say, the best experience of spring (March to May) is to stand under Japan's cherry trees and appreciate the blossom in the spring breeze. Our itinerary allows you to catch the most attractive cherry blossoms in the best places and enjoy hand-picked activities.
Here is the well-planned cherry blossom itinerary:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (Tokyo Tower, Sumida River, Asakusa district)
- Days 4–5: Fuji Five Lakes (Mount Fuji, ryokans with onsens)
- Days 6–8: Kyoto (geisha, Nijo Castle, sake, Arashiyama district)
Start your spring journey in Tokyo, a lively city with a perfect blend of history and modernity. Take a river boat ride on Sumida River for a great view of cherry blossoms along the riverside, sample freshly-prepared sashimi at the largest market — Tsukiji, and take a rickshaw to experience the Edo (1603–1867) vibe in Asakusa district.
In the next two days, head to the Fuji Five Lakes, the best places to view spectacular Mount Fuji. Enter Sengen Shrine to enjoy both cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji, and bike around Lake Kawaguchiko to view picturesque natural scenery with a Mount Fuji backdrop.
Finish your trip in Kyoto to get a deeper understanding of Japan's past. Visit historic Nijo Castle and Fushimi Inari Shrine, see geishas in kimonos in Gion district, participate in a classic tea ceremony, and enjoy a cup of steaming Japanese tea, feed friendly deer in Nara, and wander through the lush avenues of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
3. 8-Day Japan Rural-Style Itinerary: Explore Scenic Countryside Views
- Tokyo – Takayama and Shirakawa-go – Kyoto
Wondering how to explore picturesque and less-crowded small towns and how to enjoy Japan's charming countryside views? If so, you should check out this itinerary. You can view Japan's unique gassho-zukuri ('praying hands') farmhouses and well-preserved townhouses, indulge in Nippon's natural beauty, and sample delicious Hida beef.
Here is a well-organized Japan countryside itinerary:
- Days 1–3: Tokyo (Hamarikyu Garden, making sushi, Tsukiji Market)
- Days 4–5: Takayama and Shirakawa-go (well-preserved townhouses, unique farmhouses, picturesque countryside views)
- Days 6–8: Kyoto (geisha, ryokan, matcha, Fushimi Inari Shrine, feed deer)
Your first 3 days in Japan would be spent in incredible Tokyo, visiting its highlights. Wander amongst the Edo vibe of Meiji Shrine and Hamarikyu Garden, have a charming city-wide view from Tokyo Tower, and experience sushi making plus samurai armor and weapons.
Immerse yourself in picturesque Takayama and Shirakawa-go over the next 2 days. Explore well-preserved townhouses, unique gassho-zukuri farmhouses, and sample delicious Hida beef and traditional sake.
End your trip perfectly in the medieval capital of Kyoto, enjoying the top experiences the city has to offer, including having afternoon tea with geishas, sleeping on a tatami at a traditional ryokan, sampling acclaimed Japanese sake and matcha, visiting famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, and feeding the lovely deer in Nara.
4. 8-Day Japan Snow-Season Itinerary: Best Winter Experiences
Winter in Japan transforms the country into a picturesque, white, fairy-tale world, making it an ideal destination to celebrate Christmas and New Year with family. Traveling to Japan during winter offers a multitude of benefits: much less crowding, lower costs, and ample opportunities for unique experiences.
Here is a Japan winter itinerary for your inspiration (contact us for further details):
- Days 1–2: Sapporo (skiing, local chocolate factory, Sapporo Ice Festival)
- Days 3–5: Tokyo (samurai museum, ninja crafts, Ginza shopping district, Pokémon Center)
- Day 6: Nagano (monkeys soaking in hot springs)
- Days 7–8: Kyoto (snow-covered shrines, geisha, ryokan with an onsen, sake)
Land in Sapporo in Hokkaido to begin your winter tour. Explore the most famous local chocolate factory and take a day trip to Otaru to enjoy a snowy view around the Otaru Canal. For skiing lovers, adding a few extra days to your itinerary allows you to enjoy some of the best ski resorts in Sapporo, which offer high-quality powder snow and stunning surroundings.
Fly to Tokyo to spend 3 days in this amazing city. Experience sushi-making and put on samurai armor for a deeper understanding of Japan. Visit the famous Meiji Shrine and modern Ginza district, or head to the Pokémon Center to fulfill your childhood dreams. A day tour of Hakone, home of onsens, is a must-try in winter. Relaxing at a ryokan with an onsen for a night is definitely one of Japan's top experiences.
On day 6, you'll have the opportunity to witness a unique spectacle in Nagano: the sight of snow monkeys soaking in onsens. This picturesque scene can only be witnessed in Nagano, a small town that's easily accessible from Tokyo.
Spend your last 2 days in the impressive city of Kyoto, where you can visit snow-covered shrines and temples, indulge in a cup of steaming matcha in a traditional tea house, and see beautiful geishas dressed in kimonos in the charming Gion district.
How Much Does 8 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$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 8 days in Japan is about US$2,800-4,000 (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.