26 May 12 day Japan itinerary
Planning our 12 day Japan itinerary
We now had to plan out an itinerary so we could book accommodation. Our flights were booked to arrive in Kansai and depart from Tokyo. We had decided on 12 days and split the time into 4 nights in Kyoto, 5 nights in Tokyo and our last night at an airport hotel. We left 2 nights to explore somewhere in between the two cities. Eventually, we decided to rent a car in Nagoya and drive into the mountainous region, spending the 2 nights in Takayama.
I had thought about first driving to Matsumoto, to explore the area and view the beautiful Matsumoto castle, one of Japan’s originals, still existing today. Thinking our time would be too rushed, we dropped Matsumoto. Choosing to stay 2 nights in Takayama, we would also visit Shirakawa-go. I thought this would be a great chance to stay in a Ryokan and experience a more traditional Japanese style of accommodation. Tim thought that since we would have a car we should do a specific scenic drive. He found the Hakusan Super Rindo, a tolled winding mountain road not far from Shirakawa-go.
We researched and made a list of everything that interested us, then separated it into must see’s and ‘if there’s time’. This way we got to see the places that were most important to us. There was only one planned sight we didn’t get to and it was due to me putting it on our arrival day, we were dis-orientated and tired from traveling. We did a lot of walking which allowed us to see lots of things along the way. Often we would be in the car or walking with the stroller and Fletcher would be sleeping, meaning we would just have to keep going in order for him to get the rest he needed. I think when traveling with children it’s important to plan ahead, but also be flexible and willing to just go with the flow.
Our final 12 day Japan itinerary looked like this:
Day 1: Arrival at KIX and onto Kyoto for night 1
Day 3: Kiyomizudera, walking via philosophers path to Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion). Kyoto night 3
Day 4: Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Arashiyama area. Kyoto night 4
Day 5: Shinkansen to Nagoya, rental car pickup, Inuyama Castle. Takayama night 1
Day 6: Shirakawa-go and Hakusan Super Rindo drive. Takayama night 2
Day 8: Tsukiji fish market, Sony building, Akihabara, Shibuya and Harajuku. Tokyo night 2
Day 9: ( Culture day) Odaiba. Tokyo night 3
Day 10: ( National holiday) Meiji shrine, Sensoji temple and National Science Museum. Tokyo night 4
Day 11: Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo night 5
Day 12: Last day in Tokyo then onto Narita airport hotel for night.
Day 13: Flight back home.
Want to know what we booked for our first family trip to Japan? Read it here.