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A towering, colorful pagoda in the foreground with beautiful Mount Fuji in the distance in Japan

Posted: 1/16/23 | January 16th, 2023

I’ve yet to meet a traveler who didn’t love their time in Japan. It’s just one of those countries that everyone loves. How can you not? The food is rich, carefully crafted, and delicious; the history and culture rich and long; the landscape breathtaking; and the people super friendly and polite.

Japan remains one of my favorite countries. No matter how long I visit, it’s never enough. I always leave wanting more.

With Japan open to travelers again, people are racing to visit! I myself will be heading back again this year, and countless people I know are finally making their first trip.

But the country always seems forbidding to many travelers. It definitely still has that “exotic” stereotype that makes people think it’s hard to travel around.

Where should you go? What should you see? How do you make the most of your time there? Luckily, thanks to Japan’s size and uber-fast trains, it’s very easy to see a lot in a very short amount of time.

To help you out, here are a few suggested itineraries based on my years of visiting that will help you see the best sites as well as get off the beaten path and get a real sense of Japanese culture:


Japan Itinerary: One Week

A traditional temple in Kyoto, Japan on a bright and sunny day

Day 1 & 2: Tokyo
Chances are you’ll be starting your trip in Tokyo, since it’s home to the country’s biggest international airport. If your trip is seven days long, activate your JR Pass right away, so that you can take advantage of the free JR trains that run through the city.

While you could easily spend your entire week in Tokyo and not get bored, here are some of the highlights:

  • Visit the fish market – Toyosu is the world’s largest fish market. The daily auction here powers much of the world’s sushi supply, and it is truly an absolute must-see! You can go for free, but food and drink tours of the Tsukiji Outer Market are available for around 13,500 JPY.
  • See Sensoji Temple – Sensoji is beautifully painted and sits in a scenic spot near a five-story pagoda and the famous Kaminari Gate. There’s a huge statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, inside the main hall. It’s always busy but is worth seeing with your own eyes.
  • Drink in Golden Gai – This alleyway of back-street bars is a lively place to drink at night and has a bit of a red-light-district feel to it. It is not to be missed. Even if you don’t drink, be sure to wander about.
  • Visit the Imperial Palace – The home of the emperor of Japan was built in…

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