1 Month Japan Itinerary for First Timers

by | Last updated Apr 16, 2024 | Itineraries, Japan Live Work and Play

Plenty of traditional Japanese gates to see on your one month holiday in Japan

 

Japan is a country rich in history, culture, unforgettable landscapes, tech gadgets and fabulous food. No doubt, you will have in your mind places you want to visit in Japan – just like I did. Planning a trip to Japan can be a lot fun, but also daunting. That’s where this 1 month Japan itinerary comes in. If it’s your first time in Japan, this one month Japan itinerary for first timers, features some of the most memorable sites and attractions to visit on a Japanese holiday.

In this post I’ll show you exactly how you can spend 4 weeks in Japan. It is based on my Japanese travels. I’ll also advise on the Japanese transport and accommodations available to you plus, I’ve included lots of tips so you can start planning your memorable holiday in Japan. I’ve divided the post into 2 sections. The first section is devoted to planning your Japan itinerary which starts and finishes in Tokyo. While the second section is my suggested Japan 4 week itinerary. So let’s get into this 1 month Japan itinerary.

 

Table of Contents

Is one Month Long Enough in Japan?

 

If I had the choice I would spend a lot longer than one month in Japan. But one month in Japan is a very good start to begin discovering this amazing country. Now before you read any further, I must warn you that this itinerary of Japan is jam-packed with things to see and do every day. Providing you with as many opportunities as possible to experience Japan. Some days you will need to be very prompt on your departure, but as everything in Japan runs like clockwork, you should be fine to fit everything in. Afterall, I did!

 

Prepare for Your 1 Month in Japan Trip

 

Who is this Japan 1 Month Itinerary for?

 

If you are wondering who can go on this Japan holiday, well, anyone! This Japan 1 month itinerary is very comprehensive and versatile and there is something in this itinerary for everyone. No matter if you are travelling solo to Japan or with a friend or partner as a backpacker to Japan or coming to Japan on a family holiday to explore Japan with kids, there is something for everyone in this itinerary.

 

Best Time to Visit Japan

 

The Japanese archipelago is over 1900 miles or 3000 km in length. Meaning, Japan is large and has a variety of different climate zones. Generally speaking, the best time to travel to Japan is either Autumn in Japan (September, October, November ) or Spring in Japan (March, April, May). But particularly late March and early April so you can catch a glimpse of the Japan cherry blossoms. This is when I visited Japan and even though it is Spring in Japan, it was extremely cold. Winter in Japan (December, January, February) is also beautiful but can be extremely cold in some areas due to snowfall. While Summer in Japan (June, July, August) is known for its heat and humidity with lots of tourists. So if you are visiting Japan during those times, be sure to prepare for the weather you may encounter accordingly!

If you want to visit Japan for special Japanese events, such as ‘golden week’, ensure you book rail seats in advance as it can be very busy. If you plan on hiking Mt Fuji, July is the best time to visit Japan for this. For skiing in Japan the best time is the winter months.

 

READ MORE: Work and Ski Japan

 

TIP: You will be doing a lot of walking on this one month in Japan itinerary so I highly suggest you have comfortable shoes and clothes for the climate you will be visiting in.

 

How to Get to Japan

 

As Japan is surrounded by ocean, the best way to get to Japan is to fly. Major international airport hubs are outside of Tokyo and Osaka. Another option to arrive in Japan is by boat. A number of ocean liner cruisers visit Japanese ports. But most international visitors to Japan arriving in Japan on their first visit arrive at Narita International Airport by plane. You can check airfares to Japan here.

 

How to Get from Tokyo’s Narita Airport into the City Centre

 

Narita Airport is around 1 hour out of centre of Tokyo. So when you arrive, you need to figure out how to get into the city. There are a few options to get into Tokyo from Narita Airport. You can take a taxi from Narita Airport into Tokyo but this is the most expensive option. Therefore consider the Narita Express which is a fast and convenient train service taking you from Narita Airport to major Tokyo train stations such as Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station and Shinjuku Station. This can take around 6-90 minutes depending on which station you are getting off at. Another train is the Keisei Skyliner that is a fast and direct service from Narita Airport to Ueno Station in the heart of Tokyo. Depending on where your accommodation is located this is a great option to get you from Narita Airport into Tokyo.

 

BOOK Your one-way Skyline Ticket from Narita Airport to Tokyo here

 

The next option to get into Tokyo from Narita Airport is by limousine bus. This bus service will take you from Narita Airport to popular destinations in down Tokyo including some bus stops at train stations in Tokyo and some major hotels. This was the option I took when I first arrived in Tokyo as a transfer from Narita Airport to my hotel was included in the cost of the accommodation. It took around 60 minutes and was quite scenic as we passed open land before travelling into Tokyo. It was my first glimpse of Japanese countryside and Tokyo.

 

BOOK Your one-way Shuttle Ticket from Narita Airport to Tokyo here

 

How to Travel around Japan During Your Month Holiday in Japan

 

Japan has a number of different options available to travel in and around Japan. From buses to car rentals to taxis, but unless you have a decent grasp of the Japanese language, most of these options will give you a rough time. Airplanes are also an option, but they’re expensive and the waiting time at the airport will be longer than some of the flights to get you to the places on this one month Japan travel itinerary. Fortunately, Japan has some of the most efficient public transportation in the world with its Shinkansen Bullet Trains and train systems. You might still encounter some difficulty with language but the train stations are standardized and easier to navigate. Plus the Japanese have designed the fabulous Japan Rail Pass to make your travels in Japan efficient and enjoyable.

This Japan itinerary I have designed can be done by hiring a car and driving or by train by purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. For your first visit to Japan, I highly recommend the route I have suggested, which, can be done in reverse. You will get to see all the major Japan bucket list items you should see, plus loads more. And there is plenty of opportunity to discover things not on my itinerary.

 

Japanese Accommodation – Where Will You Stay in Japan?

 

Japan offers some great accommodation for your holiday. It ranges from westernised hostels and hotels to compact but cheap capsule hotels to traditional ryokans for a taste of authentic Japanese culture. The accommodation suggested in this Japan itinerary is mostly westernised hostels and hotels. Options are listed under each town/city where you will require accommodation. I found all my Japan holiday accommodation options through Booking.com. You can also find traditional Japanese accommodation like ryokans at Booking.com also.

 

TIP: If you want to stay connected while in Japan, I suggest you get Pocket wifi and a Japanese SIM card. And if you don’t know how to read Japanese, though many signs are in English, having access to Google will come in very handy, trust me on this! And downlowd apps such as Google Maps so you can find your way around – I used this regularly to find my way around the big Japanese cities.

 

How Much Will One Month in Japan Cost?

 

To work out how much a trip to Japan will cost you, create a spreadsheet as follows. TIP: Pay as much as possible in advance so you know how much spending money you have to take.

Airfare to Japan $_____
Accommodation (per night) $_____ x 30 = $_______
Transport around Japan – flights $_______
Day tours $_______
Meals x 3 per day $_______
Entrance Fees $_____
Extras (souvenirs, etc) $______

 

What to Pack for a Japan Holiday

 

What you should pack for a trip to Japan will depend on the season you are visiting Japan. In the warmer months you will need light clothing as it can get very hot and humid in Japan, but you may need a light jacket in the evening. While in the winter months, Japan can be very cold and you will need to wear layers of clothes to stay warm. If you are heading to the Japan ski resorts read my post on packing ski wear. My biggest tip for what to pack to wear in Japan is to invest in a good pair of walking shoes as on this 4 week Japan itinerary you will be doing plenty of walking.

 

Here is a Quick Summary of Your 1 Month in Japan

 

Days
1-4: Arrive and enjoy Tokyo
5: Day trip to Yokohama
6: Day trip to Mt Fuji & Hakone
7-8: Nagoya
9-12: Kyoto – alternative here – as Kyoto and Osaka are only half an hour or so away from each other, you could base yourself in one of these cities longer and do day trips.
13-15: Osaka
16–18: Kobe
19-20: Hiroshima
21: Fukuoka
22-23: Nagano
24-25: Fukushima
26–29: Sapporo
30: Return to Tokyo to depart Japan

 

One Month Japanese Itinerary

 

Kick off your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary in Tokyo. On arriving at Narita Airport, don’t forget to pick up your pocket sim before catching your chosen transport into Tokyo. Check in to your Tokyo accommodation and get ready to discover Japan.

 

Tokyo (Day 1-4)

 

Japanese People Walking Across Busy Shibuya Crossroads Intersection In Tokyo Japan

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

 

Recommended Stay in Tokyo: 3-6 days

 

What to See and Do in Tokyo

 

As the most well-known metropolis in the country, it’d practically be a crime not to visit Tokyo for at least a few days during your month-long holiday in Japan. The number of things to see is almost limitless – but you can still pack the most “essential” sightseeing spots into a few days. Some of these include the Sensō-ji Temple, the Meiji Shingu Shrine, and Shinjuku for its popping city life. Odaiba Seaside Park also has a lot of one-of-a-kind museums, art galleries, and other attractions. If you’re a fan of anime, Akihabara District and Nakano Broadway are some other places you might want to visit. The Ghibli Museum is also located in Tokyo and is a definite must-see if you’re a fan of Ghibli movies like Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Totoro. Plus there is the Imperial Palace and the Observation Deck of the Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views of Tokyo. Make time to shop till you drop in the shopping emporiums in Ginza. And experience a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.

 

READ MORE: How to Spend 3 Days in Tokyo

 

When in a new city I always like to do that city’s hop-on hop-off tourist bus. This is because it takes me to all the best spots, gives me a commentary about the place, and provides me with the opportunity to hop off the bus and explore the place before getting back on the bus to the next spot. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like to do it.

 

BOOK your Tokyo Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour

 

BOOK your Traditional Tea Ceremony Experience

 

Visit Tokyo Disneyland and/or Disneysea

 

You may want to include in your time in Tokyo a visit to Disneyland Tokyo, it would have to be one of the top Tokyo attractions for kids to Japan of all ages. This kid, who was in her 20s at the time, just loved visiting Disneyland Tokyo. If you have been to other Disneyland’s around the world, like I have been to Disneyland in Los Angeles, you can expect the same sort of thing. There are many lands to discover, shows to see, rides to go on, foods to enjoy and shopping of Disneyland souvenirs to purchase. You can easily spend a whole day here. The only negative I found was that announcements are made in Japanese first, then other languages. When I was at a show, it was spoken in Japanese and everyone was laughing, but not me, I had to wait for the English to understand what was so funny!

You can make your way to Tokyo Disneyland by public transport, but I purchased my Tokyo Disneyland ticket that included a private pick-up from my hotel. I found this so much easier and also appreciated the lift home after a long day of walking.

You can purchase your transfer and ticket to Tokyo Disneyland here.

If you prefer to make your own way to Tokyo Disneyland, get your Tokyo 1 day passport here.

If you have been to Disneyland before you may be looking for something different to do, particularly if you are travelling to Japan with kids, so maybe consider a day visit to DisneySea. DisneySea, like most these parks, is divided into worlds. There is the American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Mediterranean Harbour, Mystery Island and Mermaid Lagoon to name a few. There are plenty of rides to enjoy, mostly water-themed. It’s also close to Disneyland, so you can combine a visit to both on the one day.

You can purchase your transfer and ticket to DisneySea here.

If you want to combine a visit to both Disneyland and DisneySea with a private transfer, you can purchase your ticket online here.

 

Where to Stay in Tokyo

 

I suggest you book 6 nights accommodation in Tokyo. This will cover your arrival, 4 days of sightseeing in Tokyo, plus 2 day trips. One to Yokohama and the other to Mt Fuji. Tokyo is home to all styles of accommodation from traditional Japanese style to modern western style. Read my post on different styles of Japanese accommodation here. If seeking a hostel stay for your time in Tokyo check out Imano Tokyo Hostel. Only 1.5km from the city centre and not only has bunks for single travellers available but rooms for families and groups of 2-4 people. Get pricing and to book here for a stay at Imano Tokyo Hostel. Looking for a budget hotel check out the Ibis Styles or for a medium price hotel check out the Mitsui Gardens in Tokyo Bay. As you are staying in Tokyo close to a week, you may be interested to rent a small apartment. One such apartment is the one-bed T-Home. For more hostel, hotel and apartment options check out Booking.com.

 

Day 5 – Day trip to Yokohama from Tokyo

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance Tokyo to Yokohama: As Yokohama is only an 18 minute train trip (and the leave every 15 to 20 minutes) from Tokyo, Yokohama is being done as a day trip from Tokyo on this one month itinerary of Japan.

Yokohama began as a small fishing village. It’s willingness to open its arms to foreign trade from the 17th century onward – during which most of Japan wanted to keep closed off from the rest of the world – has led Yokohama’s growth into the second biggest city in the country today. It is the capital of the Kanagawa Prefecture and lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo. While in this major commercial hub, soak in some of the sites with a stroll through Yamashita Park or Minato Mirai 21. Both of these have stunning scenery and attractions aplenty. You may also want to swing by Chinatown. Built from the ground up by immigrants who were welcomed into this port city these past centuries. Maybe a visit to the free Nogeyama Zoo is on the cards.

 

BOOK Day Trip to Yokohama

 

Day 6 – Day trip from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance Yokohama to Mt Fuji: 120km, taking just over 2 hours by train and is an easy day trip from Tokyo.

Mt. Fuji is the most iconic landmark in Japan, bar none. It offers a beautiful view both from the top of its peak and from the ground below. In July and August, you can hike up one of the many trails. Or you can catch a glimpse of this picturesque volcano by visiting or staying at one of the many nearby camping grounds. There are lakes at the bottom of the volcano known as the Five Lakes which offer many things to do. Read my post Day Trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo, it provides loads of options of how to spend your day visiting Mt Fuji. Something not to miss during this 1 month Japan itinerary.

 

BOOK Full Day Tour to Mount Fuji

 

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Day 7-8 – Nagoya

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance Tokyo to Nagoya: 350km or about 4.5 hours

 

What to See and Do in Nagoya

 

After a week spent exploring Tokyo, it is time to hit the road or Shinkansen for a trip to Nagoya. Though not as well-known as some of Japan’s other major cities, Nagoya and its surrounding areas were the heart of Japanese culture and politics around 500 years ago. For a taste of some of that history, you need look no further than the Tokugawa Art Museum, which displays an array of artifacts from samurai armor to kimonos to ceramics, bequeathed by the descendants of one of Japan’s most famous warlords. The Railway Museum is also a worthwhile stop if you’re curious about one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the world.

If you want to squeeze a little more out of your stay, take a bus tour up to Takayama and Shirakawago to get an up-close look at a traditional farmhouse village designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

BOOK One Full Day Tour of Nagoya

BOOK Visit to Takayama and Shirakawago

 

Where to stay in Nagoya

 

Nagoya has a number of comfortable accommodation options for your short stay. Nagoya Cafe Restaurant and Guest House offers pod style and dormitory rooms for travellers. There is a cafe restaurant on the ground floor and accommodation on the second floor. Meet other travellers while travelling on this 1 month Japan itinerary. Check out availability and rates for Nagoya Cafe Restaurant and Guest House here. For a comfortable hotel room check out the Hotel Unizo. More hostel and hotel options in Nagoya can be found here.

 

Day 9-11 – Kyoto

 

Recommended Stay: 2-3 days (an alternative is to stay 5-6 days as Kyoto is only half an hour or so from Osaka, so you could base yourself here and do day trips saving you moving accommodation).
Distance Nagoya to Kyoto: just under 130km taking just under 2 hours by train

 

What to See and Do in Kyoto

 

To learn more about Japanese history and culture, there is no better place than Kyoto. The city is filled to the brim with temples, Zen shrines, tori gates and beautiful gardens and there is hardly a dull one amongst them. Whether you decide to go to Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Tofuku-Ji Temple, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, or one of the many other beautiful religious and historic sites in Kyoto, you’re guaranteed an awe-inspiring look at architecture and the traditional Japanese way of life. Maybe discover a traditional teahouse here.

That’s not all Kyoto has to offer, though; you can take a stroll through Arashiyama, a bamboo forest unlike any other, book a seat at an authentic Japanese tea ceremony, or buy a ticket to see a live samurai performance. There’s even a mountain park filled to the brim with monkeys called Iwatayama Monkey Park – though note that these are wild monkeys and it’s quite a hike, so you want to be sure you’re prepared for an adventure.

 

BOOK Full Day Tour Best UNESCO and Historical Sites of Kyoto Tour

 

Where to stay in Kyoto

 

For hostel accommodation in Kyoto check out Ryokan Hostel Gion and for a budget hotel option see Kamoya Ryokan and for a medium priced hotel see Ibis Styles Kyoto Station. More options can be found here.

 

Day 12-14 – Osaka

 

Recommended Stay: 2-3 days (an alternative is to stay 5-6 days as Osaka is only half an hour or so from Kyoto, so you could base yourself here and do day trips saving you moving accommodation).
Distance Kyoto to Osaka: 56km taking about 55 minutes

 

What to See and Do in Osaka

 

Osaka rests in the heart of the Kansai region of Japan and is a huge economic center in the country. Some of the main highlights include Osaka Castle, which is not just gorgeous and extensive but filled to the brim with Japanese history; Kuchu Teien Observatory, a very cool-looking building with a design like no other boasting a panoramic view from its rooftop; and the National Bunraku Theatre, a puppet theatre that uses a traditional Japanese style of performance (and no worries, an English translation is available via rented headset). For the nightlife, check out Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street for a little bit of excitement and some photo-worthy illumination.

If you’re not all shrined out after Kyoto, there is one shrine you might want to take a gander at. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, is one of the oldest shrines in Japan from before Buddhism came to the country. Sumiyoshi doesn’t suffer from Kyoto’s heavy crowds, and as such, you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and unique architecture in relative peace. Maybe try local delicacies of okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) and takoyaki (fried octopus ball) at the Kuromon Ichiba Market. Why not take a Japanese cookery class to learn how to make some of the food so you can make and enjoy at home. Or enjoy a visit to Universal Studios.

 

BOOK Main Sites Osaka Tour

BOOK Osaka Food Tour

Learn to make Ramen & Gyoza in Osaka – BOOK A Cookery Class

 

Where to stay in Osaka

 

For a bed in a hostel in Osaka check out Osaka Guesthouse HIVE  and for a budget hotel option see APA Hotel Shin-Osaka-Ekiminami and for a medium priced hotel see Hotel Route-Inn Osaka Honmachi. More options can be found here.

 

Day 15-17 – Kobe

 

Recommended Stay: 2-3 days
Distance Osaka to Kobe: is only 34km so only half an hour or so

 

What to See and Do in Kobe

 

One of the great things about Kobe is that much of its city life can be experienced in one location, Kobe Harborland. Not only do you get a great view of the harbor, you get access to great shopping and restaurants where you can sample some world-famous Kobe beef. If you’re too much of an animal lover to indulge in that, though, you’re in luck because Kobe Animal Kingdom is just a hop, skip and a jump away. It’s especially perfect if you have kids. In addition to a petting zoo, there’s a hawk show, a camel ride, and a chance to feed penguins.

For a peaceful retreat from the city, take the Nunobiki Ropeway to the top of one of hilly Kobe’s mountains. Here, you can spend a relaxing afternoon visiting various attractions, including Kobe Nunobiki’s expansive and fragrant Herb Gardens, Monkey Kazura Bridge, and Nunobiki Falls.

 

Where to stay in Kobe

 

Staying in Kobe for a couple of nights so for a bed in a hostel in Kobe Guesthouse Maya. For a budget hotel option see Hotel Monte Hermana Kobe Amalie and for a medium priced hotel check out The Royal Park Canvas – Kobe Sannomiya. More options can be found here.

 

Day 18–19 – Hiroshima

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance: Kobe to Hiroshima: 300km or just over 4 hours by train – your morning will be all travelling

 

What to See and Do in Hiroshima

 

Though most well-known for being bombed at the end of the last world war, Hiroshima is a beautiful city in its own right. You can pay tribute to the lives lost with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, featuring the hollowed shell of a building at ground zero and a gallery talking about the lives of people in Hiroshima before the bombing. Take a breath of fresh air through Shukkei-en Garden or stop at Orizuru Tower for a gorgeous view of the city.

If you have time, take a day trip to Itsukushima Shrine, the “floating” shrine. It is an expansive complex built on the water of the coast of Miyajima Island where you can learn about different traditional deities and (if you’re visiting from May to November) may even get a chance to ride a boat under the floating red O-Torii, a traditional wooden Shinto gate built in 1875 and is the eighth such gate since the shrine was originally built.

TIP: take the streetcar to get around in Hiroshima. The city is quite big, but the trains and streetcars will take you to every corner of Hiroshima. The streetcar costs a flat rate of ¥180 within the inner city and ¥280 beyond the city.

 

BOOK Hiroshima Walking Tour

 

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Where to stay in Hiroshima

 

For a bed in a hostel only .7km to the centre of Hiroshima check out WeBase Hiroshima.  For a budget hotel option see Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima. And a medium priced hotel see KIRO Hiroshima by THE SHARE HOTELS. More options can be found here.

 

Day 20 – Fukuoka

 

Recommended Stay: 1 day
Distance Hiroshima to Fukuoka: 282km just under 3 hours travel

 

What to See and Do in Fukuoka

 

Fukuoka is a city set right on the water and is a perfect place to get some fresh seafood, whether at a sit-down restaurant or one of the many outdoor stalls set up within the city. The trip starts right at Hakata Station, which is both the main means of transportation and a bustling mall chock full of great shopping opportunities. Not too far away is Ohori Park, which is a great place to rent a paddleboat so you can see the ducks and seagulls up close and personal. If you have time, stop at the local aquarium, Marine World Umino-Nakamichi, which has many glowing reviews about the aquarium’s focus on making the visitors’ experience as fun and memorable as possible.

 

Where to stay in Fukuoka

 

it’s only a one night stay in Fukuoka. A hostel close to the centre of town is Fukuoka Guesthouse HIVE.  For a comfortable hotel option see Best Western Plus Fukuoka Tenjin-minami. More options can be found here.

 

Day 21-23 – Nagano

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance: Fukuoka to Nagano is a long trip of about 8 hours so day 21 mostly spent in transport.

 

What to See and Do in Nagano

 

After such a long trip you may not wish to start sightseeing straight away but there is plenty to see and do if you do. The first stop in Nagano is Zenko-Ji Temple, which includes not only the temple itself but a history museum and many Buddha statues. Another great place to visit is Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, where you can see the Japanese macaques bathing in the hot springs of the mountains. If you’re up for a little adventure, you may want to spend an extra day in Nagano in order to explore the Togakushi Folk Museum, particularly their Ninja Trick Mansion that is built like a maze with narrow hallways, hidden passages, and an entire room set at an angle. Nagano was the scene of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games held February 7-22 1998. If you are visiting during the winter months you may want to ski or snowboard for the day. Or perhaps get a job in the Japanese ski fields for a season.

 

BOOK Day Tour to see Snow Monkeys and Zenkoji Temple

 

Where to stay in Nagano

 

For a hostel stay in Nagano city check out 1166 Backpackers. Seeking a hotel room check out Comfort Hotel Nagano. If wanting to do a bit of skiing you are best to look at the ski resort of Hakbua. A great option on the mountain is the Hakuba Matata Lodge.

 

Day 24 – 25 Fukushima

 

Recommended Stay: 1-2 days
Distance: Nagano to Fukushima is a few hours away, not direct by train you will need to go back to Tokyo to change.

 

What to See and Do in Fukushima

 

Stepping into Fukushima is like taking a step back in time; it is a place overflowing with stunning landscapes and historic buildings. One great place to start is castle town Aizu-Wakamatsu, which has attractions ranging from its impressive Tsuruga Castle to hot springs to Ōchijuku, a former post town along a once-popular trade route. To take in some of its natural beauty, take a day trip to the Bandai region where you’ll get a chance to hike amongst the dormant volcanos, such as Azuma Kofuji – or, if you’re around in wintertime, a chance to ski down the slopes. In springtime, a visit to Hanamiyama Park is also an absolute must to see the ethereal spread of cherry blossom trees spanning the mountainside.

 

Where to stay in Fukushima

 

For a hostel stay in Fukushima city check out Yumori Onsen Hostel. For a hotel room check out Richmond Hotel Fukushima Ekimae and for more accommodation options visit Booking.com.

 

Day 26-29 – Find the Heart of Hokkaido in Sapporo

 

Recommended Stay: 3-4 days
Distance: Fukushima to Sapporo is a good 8 hours on the Shinkansen, but well worth it.

 

What to See and Do in Sapporo

 

Sapporo is located on Hokkaido, which is a separate island to the north of the main island (called Honshu by the Japanese). Hokkaido honestly deserves a week-long trip all to itself, but since this itinerary is dedicated to Japan as a whole, you can cut down on the time by focusing your attention on Sapporo and its surrounding areas. Some highlights include Mt. Moiwa, where you can take a ropeway to one of the best views of the city; Moerenuma Park, an artistically designed area that includes bike rentals and a pyramid-shaped museum; and the Historical Village of Hokkaido, a beautifully preserved area where you can learn a ton about Hokkaido’s history and culture.

If you’re planning your holiday during the winter, be sure to stop by the Sapporo Snow Festival as well, where people come from all across Japan to create truly astounding ice and snow sculptures. It is one of the most famous attractions in Japan for a reason and is certainly not to be missed.

 

Where to stay in Sapporo

 

The stay in Sapporo is longer than some of the other cities, and there are plenty of comfortable and central options. For a bed in a hostel see Untapped Hostel. Hotel options to check out are Quintessa Hotel Sapporo or Tokyu Stay Sapporo. For more accommodation options in Sapporo visit here.

 

Day 30

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and on this last day of this 1 month Japan itinerary leave Sapporo and travel back to Tokyo (about 9 hours on the train). Depart Japan.

 

What to do Now? Make a Japan Bucket List

 

My one month Japan itinerary is just the start of your own trip to Japan. There may be things you want to do apart from sightseeing. These could include taking part in a tea ceremony. Enjoy being pampered in a onsen (traditional Japanese bath). See a sumo wrestling match. Discover the art of Geisha. Maybe take a Japanese cooking class. Stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese accommodation). Hike to the top of Mount Fuji. If you have specific things you want to see and do while in Japan ensure you include them on your Japan bucket list and then slot them into your itinerary.

 

Extend Your Stay Longer than 1 month in Japan

 

If a month in Japan isn’t long enough and you have more time to explore it, by all means, please do. There are a number of visas available that allow you to have an extended stay in Japan. A tourist visa will allow a stay of up to 90 days. There is the Working Holiday Visa and the Work Permit allowing stays of one year and longer. With one of these you can work and travel in Japan and get a job such as Teaching English in Japan or get a job in the Japanese ski resorts to work and ski Japan.

 

Don’t have 1 month to spend in Japan? What about 3 Weeks in Japan itinerary!

 

If you don’t have a month to spend in Japan what about 3 weeks in Japan. Here is a suggested 3 week Japan itinerary. You could follow my 1 month in Japan itinerary up until day 19 when you visit Hiroshima. From here head back to Tokyo to leave for home. This would be a great 21 day Japan itinerary.

If you only have 2 weeks in Japan available, I would suggest to a 2 week Japan itinerary where you visit Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka – Hiroshima – Tokyo. Visiting these four cities is very doable during a 14 day visit to Japan.

 

My top tips for your Japan Holiday

 

  • Etiquette is a wonderful quality to have in Japan. Manners are very important and you should be aware of some basic rules. 
  • Don’t eat in public, particularly while walking. 
  • Wear a mask if you get a cold. 
  • Keep conversations quiet while on public transport and never put your feet on the seats. 
  • Follow rubbish separation laws. TIP: Always have a plastic bag with you to put your rubbish in as bins are not easily found. 
  • Always use an umbrella when raining. 
  • Travel by train. Japan has one of the best train systems I have ever used. They are fast, reliable, comfortable and JapanRail has great rail passes.
  • Stand to the left on escalators.
  • Purchasing items. When making a purchase, put your money on the tray.
  • Tipping and Bargaining. Tipping is not required in Japan and tips maybe given back to you. It is also considered rude to bargain.
  • Buying snacks and light meals is easy in the Konbini (convenience store). There will be many in most cities from 7/11, Family Mart to Lawson. You can stock up on snacks, or eat in the cafes and restaurants.

 

Final Words on this One Month Japan Travel Itinerary

 

All good things must come to an end. And this is the end of my one month Japan travel itinerary. I hope my sample Japan travel itinerary helps you plan and tailor a dream trip to Japan. It is not difficult at all visiting Japan as a solo traveller, with another person or your family. Let me know in the comments if you have tried my one month in Japan itinerary or if you have any suggestions on other things a first time traveller must do and see in Japan. 

 

For More Travel Inspiration on Japan.
Japan Working Holiday
Japan Holiday Accommodation
Tips for Travelling Japan on the Japan Rail Pass
Tips to stay safe during an Earthquake or Tsunami in Japan
Work and Ski Japan – How to Get a Job in a Japanese Ski Resort
Learn to Cook Japanese Food on a Japanese Cookery Class

 

One Month Japan Itinerary Will Take You To Many Places In Japan. You Will See People Dressed In Kimons. Torii Gates. Mt Fuji and Shibuya Crossing In Tokyo.

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Sharyn McCullum Travel Writer and Founder Of Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad, Work Online, Travel Blog Enjoying At Beer At The Coldstream Brewery In The Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to live work play travel around the world with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

48 Comments

  1. Bejal

    Wow! This is one of the most informative and helpful Japan itineraries I’ve seen. I’ve pinned for later and definitely one I’ll be referring to when we go!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thank you. It is the itinerary I created for myself, and thought others would be interested too.

      Reply
  2. Zoe

    I’ve never been to Japan, but sure is on the travel list. Nice post, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I hope you get to Japan one day. It is a very interesting place.

      Reply
  3. Tia

    Love this, very handy, Japan is on our list, so I will be saving this for reference. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Japan is a great place to visit I hope you enjoy your visit when you finally tick it off your list.

      Reply
  4. Jeanine

    This is a great itinerary it doesn’t seem a month is enough. You’ve thought of everything. I hear the bullet trains are really good.

    Reply
  5. Olivia

    This seems like the perfect first time itinerary for Japan! This is such a bucket list trip for me. I’ll definitely be saving this for when I finally visit!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      This 1 month itinerary for Japan pretty much takes you to all the places you need to visit on a first visit. I hope you can tick Japan off your bucket list.

      Reply
  6. Helen Story

    What a dream trip this would be! Great blog, so much information but easy to work through. Glad to have found you.

    Reply
  7. Elyse

    Thanks so much for this great guide, Japan definitely looks like such an interest in country

    Reply
  8. Krista

    What a fantastic guide to visiting Japan. I would love to spend a month or more exploring the country. There are so many things to see here!

    Reply
  9. amy aed

    It is so beautiful! I absolutely cannot wait until I visit Japan, and am just waiting for the borders to become properly open again. My biggest dream? Japanese tea ceremony!!!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Japan is a beautiful place and the traditions are something special to experience. I hope you get to experience a Japanese tea ceremony.

      Reply
  10. Dragana

    Hey, this is such a great and informative post. I love it! I think this is one of the best articles about Japan I have read. Japan is one of the places I want to visit in the future for sure!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Japan is an incredible place to visit and I hope you can visit in the future.

      Reply
  11. Alex

    Absolutely LOVE this. My Grandmother was from Japan and an extended trip over there is very high on my bucket list. Thank you so much for the information!

    Reply
  12. Kelly

    This is such a helpful itinerary! I have never been to Japan, but I’d love to go someday! I’ve actually transited in Tokyo several times. I need to take the time to go out and visit!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      You won’t be disappointed when next time you ‘transit’ through Tokyo. I hope you can expand your transit to a few days – at least. It is such an interesting city to visit.

      Reply
  13. Kathryn

    What an incredibly comprehensive breakdown of your month long itinerary! Such an incredible trip this must have been. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  14. Cristina

    This is a superb itinerary. I have never been to Japan, but after reading your guide, I would love to visit it one day 🙂 I am saving your itinerary for the future.

    Reply
  15. Travel A-Broads

    I’ve wanted to visit Japan for years now, and I can’t even imagine how phenomenal it would be to spend a whole month here! Thanks for the recommendations for when I finally get the opportunity to visit! Xx Sara

    Reply
  16. Linda Jane

    A month in Japan sounds amazing and I think this itinerary would be ideal. I’d love to see the cherry blossom in flower & the beautiful gardens in spring. I’ll save this itinerary for later! Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Josy A

    Oooh you were so lucky to spend a whole month in Japan for your first visit! I guess my only comment on your itinerary would be for me, I’d like a little more time in Japan’s countryside/smaller cities. I always feel most at home once I get away from the largest cities.

    *You missed Nara! I hope you can go back as it’s my favourite place to visit – I could easily make a 1 month plan just for Nara. 😀

    Reply
  18. Lynda

    Japan is a pretty fascinating country. If I ever go, I hope I have a month to explore what it has to offer. (I also hope I have a guide!)

    Reply
  19. Jessy Hamel

    I have always wanted to go to Japan. Loved reading this post. Definitely took some notes because this was so informative. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I hope you have a great time when you visit Japan on my itinerary.

      Reply
  20. Linda (LD Holland)

    One month in Japan would be a real treat. We visited in the Fall and had far less time and we know we want to go back and see more. We always thought Spring would be a great time for a second visit. And we definitely don’t want to miss Hokkaido.

    Reply
  21. Chelsea Messina

    I love Japan!! I visited for 2 weeks on a work trip so there wasn’t much time to sightsee, but I plan on going back with my fiance! Thanks for all the great tips and suggestions.

    Reply
  22. Sabrina

    A Very useful guide!

    Reply
  23. Michele | He Works So I Travel

    I wouldn’t know where to begin when planning a trip to Japan. Luckily, I found your post. This is a very useful guide.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thank you. I’ve tried to include all the best bits of Japan to see and do. You could easily go for longer to see more and spend more time in each city. I’m glad you found my guide useful.

      Reply
  24. Karen

    Love this epic guide to spending one month in Japan. So many incredible experiences – something for everyone! And especially appreciate the cultural tips to help manage expectations.

    Reply
  25. cass

    I was so excited to read this post and see your suggestions when I saw the title! I love that you included a variety of suggestions. I’d really love to go to Hokkaido on my next visit! (Plus to visit Mt Fuji would be amazing!!)

    Reply
  26. Anja | Anja On Adventure

    Such a lovely route to discover Japan! I only had 16 full days to explore and I am so jealous you had a whole month to adventure in Japan!

    Reply
  27. Lauren

    I can’t wait to be back in Japan this week! Definitely saving this itinerary for then and see what we can fit in.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      That is pleasing to hear. I hope you get back to Japan soon – it is such a wonderful and interesting place! I hope to move abroad and live there for 6-12 months soon.

      Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Good to hear! I am looking to move abroad and live in Japan for 6-12 months. Can’t wait.

      Reply
  28. Lissa

    Thanks for the itinerary. I spent 3 weeks in Tokyo and Kyoto solo traveling and now here in Japan for 6 weeks with my teenage son. This itinerary helps greatly. 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thanks. I did my best to create an action packed itinerary to see as much as possible.

      Reply
  29. Laureen Lund

    It’s been 20 years since I was in Japan. I’d love to go back and visit Hokkaido. We did not see that on our trip before. Great post.

    Reply
  30. anukrati

    Japan holds a prominent place on my bucket list, and I sincerely hope to check it off soon.

    Reply
  31. Anja

    Great itinerary but I am sad to see Fukuoka is the only Kyushu place on the itinerary…so a month is probably not enough to see everything. Saying that, my first ever trip was like 6 days, Tokyo and Kyoto only and I loved it immensely and saw a lot of both cities including most of Kyoto’s famous temples

    Reply
  32. Stephanie

    This one month itinerary for Japan is perfect! I’ve never been and it includes all the top places in Japan that I’d love to visit.

    Reply
  33. Terri

    Visiting Japan will be a dream come true for me. I hope that I can save up to visit in 2025. I’d love to spend a month but it is hard to leave my pets for so long. I want to do forest bathing in an ancient woods.

    Reply

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