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  • Lauren Wood

12 Day Japan Itinerary

Here's the exact itinerary for the 12 day trip I took to Japan in March of 2023. This includes travel days, so it's really more of a 10 day itinerary for Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

My cousin Carson and I traveled to Japan in March and spent 10 days visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We chose this time of year for the cherry blossoms, which were just starting to bloom by the tail end of our trip. Carson stayed longer and was able to view them in full bloom, which was toward the end of March in 2023. It's a short window, so if you are only traveling to Japan for the blossoms, make sure to give yourself plenty of time, as the cherry blossoms bloom at different times throughout the country and can be a little unpredictable.

Thursday, March 9

* LAX to SFO 8 am to 9:30 am

* SFO to NRT 12:25 pm to 4:45 pm +1 (arrives Friday)

I used Alaska Airlines points to fly in business class on Japan Airways. This took me on a sort of roundabout trip (traveling through SFO and then from Osaka back to SFO, rather than taking the direct flight from LAX to Tokyo), but it was worth it to fly business on points.

Friday, March 10

* Arrive at NRT at 4:45 pm

* Stay: Conrad Tokyo

Tokyo Restaurants:

* Den

* No. 20 in the world

* Florilège

* No. 30 in the world


* Hakkoku

* Udatsu

* Sukiyabashi Jiro

* Sushi Saito

* Sushi Arai

* Sushisho Masaii

Things to see in Tokyo:

* Tsukiji Fish Market (go early)

* Visit an animal cafe

* Shibuya Sky at sunset. Need a res.

* KANTARO sweets

* Shirohige Puff (cream pastries)

* Golden Gia (street with lots of tiny bars)

* Udon shin

* Omoide Yokocho (small alleyway with lots of bars and restaurants) - Memory Lane - this was one of my favorites in Tokyo. We just posted up at one of the little restaurants and grubbed on meat on a stick. It sounds boring but it's not!

* Studio Ghibli - Aichi?

* Hobo Shinjuku

* Bar in Shibuya that’s a church

* Mipig cafe (mini pigs)

* Team Lab

Saturday, March 11

* Stay: Conrad Tokyo

* The Imperial Palace

* Tokyo Tower

* DINNER: 6 pm Den Kushi Flori

* B1 GEMS AOYAMA CROSS, 5-46-7, Jingumae, Shibuya ward, Tokyo city

Sunday, March 12

* Stay: Conrad Tokyo

* Breakfast at Micasadeco Cafe - the pancake place in Shibuya - quite literally the best pancakes I've ever eaten IN MY LIFE. Do not skip this place!

* High tea at the Peninsula for my birthday

* DINNER: 6 pm Sushisho Masa

* Seven Nishiazabu B1F, 4-1-15 Nishiazabu Minatoku Tokyo

Sushisho Masa was a 52 course omakase menu at a small 9 counter sushi bar. One of the best meals of my life. Definitely get a reservation early to enjoy this experience.

I always get travel insurance when I travel internationally. Yes, most credit cards will cover you for basic travel issues, but most don't cover you for all the things you need. I get travel insurance as an extra layer of protection because they have greater coverage for cancelled trips, illness, travel delays, lost baggage and medical coverage. Use the link above to shop travel insurance.

Monday, March 13

* Check out of Conrad

* Shibuya Crossing

* Harajuku / Takeshita Street

* Cat/animal cafe

* Meiji Jingu - the temple next to Harajuku

* Check into Ritz Carlton Tokyo

Tuesday, March 14

* Banksy exhibition

* TeamLabs

* Stay at Ritz Tokyo

Wednesday, March 15

* Travel to Fukuoka for baseball game

* Shin Shin ramen

* Stay at Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk

* Baseball game at 6:00 pm

We strolled along the river after the game and ate at one of the hawker stands. I can't recall the name, but if you choose one that's busy, you can't go wrong. They often have a line but are worth the wait.

Thursday, March 16

* Travel to Kyoto by Shinkansen train

* The Hideaway Bar - a MUST go for cocktails. Get there as soon as they open if you want a seat. They don't take reservations.

* Stay at The Hotel Mitsui Kyoto

* 284 Nijoaburanokoji-cho, Aburano-koji St. Nijo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0051

Friday, March 17

* Sake tasting - booked through AirBnB experiences

* Fushumi shrine (one of my favorites - the photos above in orange)

* Kiyomizu-dera Temple

* Stay at The Hotel Mitsui Kyoto

Saturday, March 18

* Bamboo forest

* Silver Temple - Teneryu-ji Temple

* The CommonOne Bar

* Gion District

* Stay at The Hotel Mitsui Kyoto

* Dinner at Noguchi Tsunagu - a traditional "kaiseki" Japanese meal of many courses. Sort of what you would expect from most restaurants that offer prix fixe menus. This restaurant has a Michelin star and was worth the hype.

Sunday, March 19

* Head to Osaka

* LV cafe

* Dotonbori - this was one of my favorite things in Japan. I loved the bright neon lights and food stands. Don't miss out on the Takoyaki (octopus balls that Osaka is well-known for).

* Stay at St. Regis - this was a beautiful hotel but the absurdly priced massage was one of the worse I've had in my life. Skip the massage, but definitely still stay at the St. Regis.

I did a little shopping on my trip to Japan (some birthday gifts to myself) so I stopped by the Rimowa store on my last day and picked up a new Rimowa carry-on to match the existing checked back I was traveling with. Rimowa is Japanese, so I am guessing you might get a little bit of a deal but TBH I didn't even check if it ended up saving me money or not. Use the link below to shop my favorite luggage.

Monday, March 20

* KIX to LAX - 5:50 pm to 12:00 pm

* Arrive at noon Monday

I flew direct from Osaka to LAX on my way home. My original flight itinerary had a flight from Tokyo to Osaka, then a flight from Osaka to LAX and since I was already planning to travel to Osaka, I just called the airline and cancelled the NRT to KIX leg, which worked out perfectly.

Have questions? Feel free to email me:

A 10 day itinerary for travel to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Japan
Japan 10 Day Itinerary

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For more destination guides, browse a list of Destinations A to Z. Head over to my Tips page for everything from packing guides to travel products and camera gear. To shop the items I love most when I travel, shop my Amazon Storefront.

Happy Travels!



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