One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

When Russell and I were researching and planning our month long trip to Japan, we knew we wanted to fit in as much as we could in those four weeks. Japan may be a fairly small island country, but there is a ton to do and see. It would take an entire lifetime to explore Tokyo alone. We wanted to hit as many cities as we could, cross off as much as possible, and have the time of our lives while we were at it.

I’m happy to report that all three of those goals were achieved! We managed to travel to 6 cities over a four week period. Those cities were: Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and Tokyo. We didn’t want spend the whole four weeks only exploring the main populous cities. So we decided to break up the major “tourist” places, with some lesser known and more scenic areas around Japan.

So here is our one month Japan itinerary – the Ultimate Guide for a 4 week visit! 

Day 1 – 3: Yokohama

We arrived at Haneda Airport at around 6:30am. We were running on pretty much zero sleep (neither Russell or myself can sleep on planes), as we had two 6 hour flights plus a 7 hour layover at Singapore Airport before arriving in Japan! Before we left Australia, we researched the bus we needed to catch, so it was simply a matter of heading in the right direction to find the ticket counter!

Here is some further information if you are heading from Haneda Airport to YCAT (Yokohama City Air Terminal).

Finding our way from YCAT to our hotel in Yokohama was quite overwhelming. Given the fact that we arrived during the morning peak hour rush, it was a pretty intense experience. We struggled to manoeuvre our way through the hundreds of business men and women rushing in every direction, trying not to miss their train. Eventually though, we found the platform we needed and within minutes were on our way to our hotel.

Our first two nights in Japan were spent at the Shin Yokohama Kokusai Hotel. This hotel is fairly close to the Shin-Yokohama Station, however it took us a while to find our bearings, and we definitely took a few wrong turns in the process. (I’m directionally challenged at the best of times. So trying to figure out which way to walk was pretty entertaining!)

Japan has a very strict check-in time policy of 3pm in most hotels around the country, and we arrived at around 10am. Since we had been travelling for such a long time, we didn’t want to wait 5 hours to be able to check in, so we paid the extra money to be let into our room early.

The next day (our first and only full day in Yokohama), we headed to the Cup Noodle Museum. This is a super fun, creative, unique and cheap activity for all ages! Click here to read about our visit to the Cup Noodle MuseumIf you love cup noodles, you’ll love this place!

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

After exploring the area, we did a bit of shopping in a few of the many malls in Yokohama. Queen’s Square and Landmark Plaza are two of the more generic shopping centres that you’ll find. However if you’re after a more unique experience, hit up World Porters. This mall attracts a younger crowd, so you’ll be able to find some bargains if you shop around!

That night, we walked about 5 minutes from our hotel to the Yokohama Ramen Museum. This is a super cool museum filled with everything you didn’t think you needed to know about Ramen. There are also two downstairs floors, designed to replicate streets and houses from an old town in Tokyo.  You’ll find a dozen or so different stores selling ramen, available by using the vending machines outside of each individual store. You can also purchase ‘mini ramen’ bowls, if you want to sample more than one!

The atmosphere and design of the Ramen Museum is definitely unique. The ramen is super tasty, but even the ‘small’ bowls are fairly large! It costs 310 yen for admission into the museum and downstairs restaurants, plus whatever you decide to spend on ramen! There’s also a bar with cheap alcohol. I don’t know about you, but that sold me for sure.

Day 3 – 10: Osaka

In my opinion, Osaka is definitely a city that you should add to your itinerary no matter how long you’re visiting Japan. There’s so much to see and do. We stayed in Osaka for 7 days, and even that wasn’t enough time to see everything we had hoped to see.

We did see quite a lot, though. I’ve already published our Osaka itinerary in a seperate post, simply because I had so much to talk about! If you’re a fan of a cats, Harry Potter, bamboo forests, famous shrines, ferris wheels and a ton of other cool stuff,  you can read that post here.

Note: Osaka is a great base location to explore nearby cities and prefectures. As you can read about here, Japan’s train system is world class. You can travel to almost anywhere around the country, super quickly and easily. I suggest making the time to visit Kyoto and Nara. We didn’t personally have enough time to make it to Nara, but we did take a couple of day trips to Kyoto and absolutely loved it. You can read all about Kyoto in my Osaka post as well! 

Day 10 – 12: Hiroshima

The first thing I’ll say about Hiroshima, is that I wish we stayed longer. After spending such a long time amongst the craziness of Osaka, Hiroshima was a very welcome change of pace. The people are super friendly and there’s a beautifully peaceful vibe about the city.

It took roughly two hours to get from Osaka to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Compared to the rest of our Bullet Train journeys, this was fairly quick. When we arrived at Hiroshima Station, we then had to catch a tram to our hotel (Comfort Hotel Hiroshima). The tram ride costs a flat rate of 160 yen for adults, which you drop into a clear container before departing the tram. Super easy!

The day we arrived in Hiroshima, we just walked around and explored a little. Our hotel was very centrally located, within walking distance to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Hondori Shopping Arcade – one of the main shopping streets within the city. There’s a ton of places to eat, an endless amount of pharmacies and lots of places to shop up a storm.

Top Tip: If you’re on a budget and on the lookout for some cheap food, do yourself a favour and eat at Saizeriya on Hondori Shopping Arcade. Their menu is loaded with delicious, cheap meals to cater to anyone’s tastes (trust me, I’m a fairly picky eater). Some of their menu items are: 

  • Focaccia – 110 yen
  • Garlic bread – 170 yen
  • Soup – 150 yen
  • Various pasta – 399 – 499 yen
  • Various pizzas – 399 – 499 yen
  • Chicken and steak meals – up to 900 yen
  • Desserts – under 400 yen

Other than food, you can also get unlimited soft drinks, juice and iced teas from the drink bar for 190 yen. Water is free. And the best part of all, you can get half a bottle of wine for 200 yen. Yes, I had some with lunch. Yes, it’s cheap house wine but still, 200 yen? Can’t complain about that. It was drinkable, and that’s all that matters! 

Our first and only full day in Hiroshima was spent at the Peace Memorial and A-Bomb Dome. It’s pretty difficult to explain the feeling you get while visiting this area of Hiroshima. The park is extremely clean, quiet and relaxing. I highly recommend paying the 200 yen to visit the museum, even if you don’t know anything about the Atomic Bomb that was dropped on the city. I didn’t know a great deal about it, but it’s a surreal experience learning about the devastating events that happened. It will give you a new perspective on why the people of Japan are such friendly, accepting and wonderful people.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Hours + Pricing

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

Cost: 200 yen
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm
Closed: The main Museum building will be closed until July 2018.

Hiroshima isn’t a city with a ton of tourist attractions or crazy things to see and do. But if you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful city to visit to break up the hustle and bustle of big city Japan, I definitely recommend adding Hiroshima to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful city, with lovely people and an inspirational history.

Check back for an entire post all about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum!

Days 12 – 14: Nagoya

If there’s one thing I regret from our trip to Japan, it’s cutting our time in Hiroshima short to visit Nagoya. Each to their own, but I wasn’t a fan of Nagoya. It’s Japan’s fourth most populated city, but compared to Yokohama, Osaka and Hiroshima, it was pretty dirty and uninspiring. There isn’t a whole lot to see and do, besides the Nagoya City Science Museum and Planetarium and Toyota Museum which were both closed the day we visited.

Top tip: Make sure to check opening hours for main attractions before planning out your day. If you’re a better planner than we were, and successfully manage to experience the Planetarium and Toyota Museum, I’m sure your visit will be much more enjoyable!

If we could do our trip over again, we would have stayed in Hiroshima for a few extra days, and boycotted Nagoya all together. That being said, there are a few things to fill out your days if you ever visit Nagoya. Oasis 21 is a modern shopping complex, with a ton of cool shops and restaurants, and it’s also conveniently a bus terminal! There’s almost always some sort of event held underneath the pretty epic glass roof that’s filled with water. There are also a few larger shopping malls in the area, dozens of restaurants and in true Japanese fashion, an endless amount of convenience stores.

Days 14 – 17: Nagano

Nagano was on our itinerary for one reason: snow! We spent quite a long time during the planning stage of our Japan trip, trying to find an easily accessible way of seeing snow. Eventually, we decided on Nagano.

We arrived in Nagano early afternoon on March 14th, via the Bullet Train from Nagoya. Nagano Station is fairly small – as is the city itself – so finding our hotel wasn’t difficult. It took around 20 minutes to walk from the station to our hotel (Hotel Kokusai 21). We were pretty hungry the day we arrived, as we didn’t have enough time that morning to eat breakfast before leaving Nagoya. So the fact that there was a Japanese style Denny’s a few minutes from our hotel was pretty exciting and convenient! After checking into our hotel, we ate lunch at Denny’s then walked to Family Mart to continue our make-the-most-of-cheap-alcohol mission. I bought my 50th bottle of white wine and Russell bought his 12th bottle of whisky (okay, I’m being dramatic. We don’t drink THAT much). We also stocked up on cheap snacks.

After a brief rest in the hotel room, we headed out to explore the area. There’s a cool shopping area roughly 20 minutes from our hotel, which had a ton of cute boutiques and what felt like never-ending shopping streets.

Our first full day in Nagano was the day I finally crossed ‘see snow’ off my bucket list. Excitement was bubbling over the edge as I added layer after layer of warm clothing and made sure my camera battery was fully charged. It was the moment I had been dreaming about for most of my life. We took a bus from Nagano Station to Hakuba, which you can read about here. We had such an amazing time, that I just had to write a seperate post all about our Japan snow experience.

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

Our last full day in Nagano was the laziest day we had during our whole Japan adventure. By this stage, we were beginning to run low on money and energy, so we took a much needed ‘rest day’. We walked to Family Mart in the morning, bought more alcohol and snacks, and laid in bed watching Netflix all day. This was also the day I wrote and published my Harry Potter World post! #yayproductivity

Nagano is a great city whether you visit during the warmer or colder months. Like Hiroshima, it’s a nice place to rest and recharge, especially if you’re headed to another big city. Or, like us, the mother of all big cities: TOKYO!

Days 17 – 29: Tokyo

Ahh, Tokyo. Japan’s capital, and the world’s most populated city. With a population of around 13 million people, 47 different prefectures and endless things to do, you’ll need a lifetime to explore the entire city. We spent 12 days in Shinjuku, which is one of Tokyo’s most popular cities. Shinjuku is a great centrally located city to base your trip around, as it’s close to a lot of the main attractions and there are conveniently located train and subway stations.

I decided to write a whole seperate post about Japan’s capital city, simply because otherwise, this article would be far too long. If you’re interested in reading our 12 day itinerary filled with suggestions on things to see, places to visit, food to eat and must-see-and-do attractions, click here!


So there you have it, our one month Japan itinerary!. Like I’ve mentioned, there is a LOT to see in Japan. One month is definitely not long enough to see everything. But it’s still a good amount of time to cross a lot off your Japan bucket list! Use this guide as a starting point to plan an amazing and memorable visit to the wonderful Japan!

Have you been to Japan before? What was your favourite city? Tell me in the comments!

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One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

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50 Comments on "One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit"

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Jo
Guest

OOO nagano looks so exotic. I would love to spend a lazy day there and def do Japan soon.

Bri
Guest

I have always wanted to visit Hiroshima and Toyko! And Japan in general lol

Asmita
Guest

Wow, this is great! I’ll definitely be taking hints off of this post for my trip to Japan. Osaka is on the top of my list. Thanks 🙂

Tripidee App
Guest

So many places to see!!!!

The Lost Romanian
Guest

This is great! I love Japan and I plan to visit the whole country, like you <3 I will follow your guide!

Lucy - Travel Textbook
Guest

This is such an amazing guide! I have always wanted to visit Japan and this has made me want to book a flight riiiight now.

Lucy x

Maria
Guest

Wow, what a comprehensive post! Having never been to Japan before, but really wanting to go, I found this super inspiring but honestly a bit overwhelming 😀 Will have to take a much closer look when I actually plan a trip someday (hopefully). Also because I’m a big fat weirdo for Harry Potter I will totally go check out your post on Osaka now 🙂 Cheers and safe travels, Maria

Tasha
Guest

This is a really useful guide with lots of detail. It’s amazing that you could spend a month there! The snow in Hakana looks wonderful!

Dawn
Guest

So jealous that you got to spend a whole month there! We are so excited for our trip in August. Thanks so much for sharing your Disney tips with me. I now feel ready to brave the crowds and give it a go. If you really want to see snow, come to see us in Canada!

Telma | Blank Canvas Voyage
Guest

Rhiannon,

Spending one month in Japan?! What a dream! Can I ask you the best time to visit and how much, roughly, did you both spend?

Telma @ Blank Canvas Voyage

Larissa
Guest

I have never been to Japan, but I would love to go one day! I didn’t know they had a Noodle & Ramen Museum. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be paying those a visit. Also, I’m not sure why it never crossed my mind that it snows in Japan. That would be cool to experience! I also learned that Tokyo has cities within its city. That’s pretty cool!

Carolina
Guest

Hey Rhiannon,
You know what, if I was planning a trip to Japan I’d stop today and just print this blog article to go with.
Thank you for the detailed post.
Btw I’m also a travel blogger with extensive posts about Africa (www.myglobalattitude.com)

Carolina
#gltlove

Kelly
Guest

Great itinerary. I only spent a week in Japan and really only spent time in Tokyo. I would love to use this itinerary and explore what else Japan has to explore. Thanks!

Olivia
Guest

Wow! This is a really in depth post! I like that you included food to try too. It looks like you had a fantastic time.

Alice Chen
Guest

Awesome! I visited for 3 weeks and missed some of these places, but I definitely will be back!

KRisten
Guest

I hope someday I could even just spend one week here. A month long trip looks fab! Thanks for sharing your helpful insight in the planning process!

Núria
Guest

The post is so good and complete! I have just saved in my favourite to check it again just before my trip to Japan.
Congratulations for the cool website, it looks really beautiful!

Lots of love! xx

Lolo
Guest

I feel, that should we make it over to Japan, we should not go for less than 3 weeks, 4 would be awesome! IThere’s so many beautiful places to see and it’s so far, plus, I was born in Okinawa, so I’d want to make a trip there too! #blogpostsaturday (Ps. Come join us for TheWeeklyPostcard link up I mentioned before!)

Allison
Guest

I went to Japan about five years ago and only spent two weeks there — I really hope to go back and visit it properly. Only had time for Tokyo, Kamakura, Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka – would love to see Nagano and Hiroshoma/Fukuoka in the south!

Lisa Michele Burns
Guest

Such a great itinerary, I can’t get enough of Japan!! One month travelling this crazy beautiful country would be incredible 🙂

Megan Johnson
Guest

This sounds like an amazing trip! I want to go back to Japan so bad, it’s crazy. When I do go, I’ll definitely be back to this!

Sophie
Guest

What a lovely post! Makes me feel all so nostalgic of when I first went to these cities. I too loved Hiroshima and on my next trip I purposely have added an extra day as to be honest it’s my favourite <3 Thanks for letting me know about Nagoya, I've never been but might not make the effort this time since you said it wasn't worth the hassle 🙂 I'll also take note of that restaurant in Hiroshima that is really cheap! I'll try to spend a lot of time in Osaka too since you loved it so much (but I'm based in Kyoto this time as I can't help but love it<3)

Also I loved all your photos, off to go read the other posts :3 !

sophieannetaylor.com

Daisy
Guest

Great post! I have always wanted to go to Japan and can’t wait to get myself there 🙂 Will definitely looks towards your post when I do since you managed to go through so much detail 🙂 I’ve really wanna see the cherry blossoms, I hear they are absolutely beautiful!

Cory Varga
Guest

We are in Japan for the n-th time and we are here for a month. lovely to see that you guys spent a long time in Japan as well. Such awesome place.

Tanja
Guest

Great post! Hope you enjoyed your time in Japan – I haven’t been to Yokohama yet but will definitely check out the Ramen museum when I do!

Meg
Guest

I’d love to visit Japan and want to make sure that when I finally get there I have enough time to explore. I’ve heard from many sources that you just cannot rush Japan! Your trip sounded fantastic and I’m glad you got to tick off all the things you wanted to do. I’m sure it was fun travelling by train too and that helped you to see the country as you travelled. I’m excited to visit for the food and the culture so I will save this for future inspiration.

Kim Bui
Guest

Wow, I’m so jealous you were in Japan for a whole month! Taking lots of notes for my next trip there, thanks for the guide! 🙂

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