This post contains affiliate links. Shizen Travel may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on this site at no additional cost to you. Find more details here.
14 days in Japan is the ideal trip length to experience a variety of what the country has to offer. You’ll explore the major cities, see the countryside, and get a taste of both the modern and traditional sides of Japan.
As someone who was born in Tokyo and has lived in Japan for several years, I have an intimate knowledge of the best places to see and things to do during a visit. Japan is a rich and complex country with many facets, so I suggest that during your trip you visit several cities and regions of Japan.
During your two week trip, I recommend that you visit Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Nikko. Tokyo and Osaka are modern powerhouses that reflect the bustling energy of Japan’s city life. Kyoto and Nara reflect the traditional and ancient sides of Japan, while Nikko and Kanazawa offer opportunities to venture a bit off the beaten path and see less commonly visited cities.
In this guide, I will share my top recommendations for an excellent two weeks in Japan.
What is the best 14 day itinerary in Japan?
When is the best time of year to visit Japan?
The best time of year to visit Japan is between late September and early May. Across the country, the weather is fairly pleasant with many days of sunshine.
In the fall, you’ll be able to see the incredible autumn foliage (called “kōyo” in Japanese). Personally, October and November are my favorite months in Japan. Kyoto, Nara, and Nikko are particularly wonderful because you can see ancient temples with the colorful leaves in the background.
The winter is of course the best time of year to visit if you’re looking to ski or snowboard. Japan is famous for its powdery snowfall in the mountains. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka don’t get much, if any, snow and although are chilly, have many sunny days.
Japan in the spring is most known for its iconic sakura (cherry tree) blossoms. Visitors from around the world flock to the country in late March and early April to experience the gorgeous pink blooms.
Generally, the summer is the most uncomfortable time of year to visit Japan weather-wise. Summers get hot and humid, with temperatures in most parts of the country hovering around 86° Fahrenheit (30° Celsius) or higher. Parts of Japan also experience a rainy season in June and early July.
Over your 14 days in Japan, I recommend you spend them seeing a variety of different sizes of cities and focus on getting a blend of modern and traditional Japanese life. At a high level, follow this rough guide:
- Day 0: Arrive in Tokyo
- Day 1-3: Tokyo
- Day 4-5: Kanazawa
- Day 6-8: Kyoto
- Day 9: Nara
- Day 10-11: Osaka
- Day 12: Tokyo
- Day 13-14: Nikko
- Day 15: Depart from Tokyo
In Tokyo and Osaka, you’ll experience the modern, busy energy of big cities in Japan. Kyoto and Nara are the historical capitals and cultural centers of traditional Japan. Kanazawa is a mid-size city near the coast that has many former samurai residences. Lastly, Nikko is a small city in the countryside with historical temples and shrines tucked away in the mountains.
Keep reading for more details about what to do each day during your trip in Japan. I also linked to even more in-depth itineraries I wrote for each of the cities I suggest.
If you need to shorten your trip, take a look at my 7 days in Japan itinerary.
Day 0: Arrival
How To Get To Tokyo
Tokyo has two main international airports: Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport. If possible, fly into Haneda International Airport as it is significantly closer to the city.
|Haneda to Shibuya
|Narita to Shibuya
|40 minutes (about ¥500 one way)
|1.25-1.5 hrs (about ¥3,200 one way)
|50 minutes (about ¥9,000 one way)
|2.5 hrs (about ¥35,000 one way)
Days 1-3: Tokyo
Where To Stay In Tokyo
I have a detailed guide about which neighborhoods are best for your stay in Tokyo, but my top recommendations are:
- Daikanyama, Nakameguro, or Ebisu
- Harajuku, Omotesando, or Aoyama
- Roppongi or Nishiazabu
These four areas are extremely central with many major train lines passing through them. Additionally, each of the areas are close to one or more major tourist destinations so they will make your few days in Tokyo very convenient.
In my guide to the best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo, I suggest specific hotels for each area. Below is an abbreviated list of some of my favorites:
Check out my recommendations for the best luxury hotels in Tokyo.
What To Do In Tokyo
Day 1: Harajuku, Meiji Jingu Shrine & Shibuya
To begin your 14 days in Japan, start smack in the middle of the action and head to Harajuku. Harajuku is a lively neighborhood in Tokyo best known as the heart of “kawaii” culture. In reality, this neighborhood is so much more. Yes, definitely walk down Takeshita Street to see lots of kawaii stores and things to eat, but I also suggest wandering around the nearby streets to get a feel for the more residential side to the area. If you’re interested in doing some luxury shopping, visit Omotesando Hills, an upscale shopping complex on a road often likened to Paris’ Champs-Élysée. You’ll find international and domestic luxury brands like Hermès, Chanel, Harry Winston, Issey Miyake, and more.
Next, walk to Meiji Jingu Shrine, one of the largest Shinto shrines in Tokyo. The main entrance to the shrine is next to Harajuku Station. You’ll walk roughly 15 minutes down a large pathway surrounded by forest to get to the main hall of the shrine. I love Meiji Jingu Shrine because of how secluded it feels, even though it is located very centrally.
If you have time and energy after Meiji Jingu Shrine and before heading to Shibuya, visit Yoyogi Koen. Yoyogi Koen is one of the largest parks in Tokyo and is right next to Meiji Jingu Shrine.
To end your first full day in Japan, walk (or take the train south one stop from Harajuku) to Shibuya. Shibuya is one of the most high-traffic and vibrant neighborhoods in all of Japan and is home to the iconic Shibuya Crossing. Wander through the crowds and get energized by the many neon lights of the area.
Day 2: Day Trip (Kamakura Or Okutama)
For your second day in Tokyo, take a day trip outside of the city to get a (literal) breath of fresh air. I have an article devoted to the best day trips from Tokyo that you can read for more ideas, but the two I recommend the most to visitors to Tokyo are Kamakura and Okutama.
Kamakura is a beach town an hour south of Tokyo. The city has many historical temples, one of the biggest Daibutsu (Great Buddha statues) in Japan, and excellent restaurants (read more in my detailed guide to Kamakura).
Okutama is a great day trip choice if you want to get out into nature and go hiking (more details are in my Okutama itinerary). Particularly in the hot summer months, I recommend bringing your swimsuit and taking a dip in the Tama River that runs through the Okutama region.
Day 3: Senso-ji, the Imperial Palace & Tokyo Tower
On your third day in Tokyo, start by paying a visit to Sensō-ji, one of the most photographed Buddhist temples in Japan. Arrive early to beat the crowds. Enter the Sensō-ji area through the Kaminarimon Gate so that you can walk past the many street food vendors and souvenir shops that line the road to the temple.
Next, head to the Imperial Palace to see the main residence of the Emperor of Japan (enter through the Hirakawa Gate entrance to arrive close to the palace). A popular walking and running path follows the perimeter of the palace grounds, so take a stroll if you’d like.
Finally, end the day with a visit to Tokyo Tower. The tower is beautiful no matter the time of day, but I particularly enjoy seeing it at dusk or at night when the tower lights up.
If you have time, visit the Buddhist temple behind Tokyo Tower called Zojo-ji for amazing views of Tokyo Tower. Zojo-ji closes to the public at 5PM.
What To Eat In Tokyo
Tokyo is an incredible foodie city, so a better question might be what not to eat in Tokyo (hint: Mexican food and bagels don’t quite meet my American-side’s expectations).
One of the best things about Tokyo in my opinion is that you can walk into pretty much any restaurant and know that the quality will be phenomenal. Aside from making a few reservations for special meals, I encourage you to keep an open mind and just wander into restaurants and give them a try.
As for specific dishes, you can really find everything, but I suggest:
- Sushi (both very high-end omakase or casual kaitensushi – conveyor belt sushi – are great)
- Yakiniku (grilled meat)
- Yakitori (chicken skewers)
If you’d like to get a mix of history and food knowledge, try this guided half-day tour of the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market.
If you’d like more information about specific hotels to stay at or restaurants to try in Tokyo, take a look at my 5 days in Tokyo itinerary.
Days 4-5: Kanazawa
From Tokyo, head north to the beautiful coastal city of Kanazawa. Kanazawa is a mid-size city by the Japan Sea that is well known for its fresh seafood, historical architecture, and beautiful gardens.
I visited Kanazawa on a solo trip and thought it was a fantastic place to explore either alone or with someone else. I had probably the best plate of sushi I’ve ever had in my life during my trip here and can’t wait to go back. I visited the city in the late autumn and was able to catch the end of the incredible autumn foliage (called “kōyo” in Japanese).
How To Get To Kanazawa
The best way to reach Kanazawa is via the Shinkansen (high speed bullet train). From Ōmiya Station in Tokyo, take the Hokuriku-Shinkansen for about 1.5 hours until you reach Kanazawa Station. A one-way trip will cost roughly ¥14,000.
When I took the Shinkansen to Kanazawa, I arrived just as the sun was setting and saw amazing views of the sunset over the Japan Sea.
Where To Stay In Kanazawa
One of the great parts about Kanazawa is that it is a very dense, walkable city and also a much more affordable city to visit (when compared with Tokyo or Kyoto). Particularly since you are staying 14 days in Japan, it’s nice to change it up and visit a mid-size city. As long as you stay somewhere relatively central, you will be able to easily access the main attractions.
For hotels, I suggest the following:
If you want further inspiration, I list more hotel suggestions in my in-depth guide to Kanazawa.
What To Do In Kanazawa
I suggest visiting Kanazawa in the autumn or spring when the weather is pleasant because many of the activities in Kanazawa involve being outside.
Day 4: Kanazawa Castle Park, Kenroku-en & Naga-machi District
On your first full day in Kanazawa, start by exploring Kanazawa Castle Park, an Edo Period park with gorgeous gardens and samurai artifacts.
Next, visit Kenroku-en, a large garden that neighbors Kanazawa Castle Park. Kenroku-en is immaculately manicured and houses several traditional tea houses. One of the highlights during my trip to Kanazawa was strolling through this garden.
To wrap up your day in Kanazawa, visit Naga-machi District. Naga-machi District is famous for its winding alleys lined with former samurai houses. This area is relatively small, so I suggest taking a quick peek through the streets before heading to dinner.
Day 5: Ōmichō Market, Higashi Chaya District & Utatsuyama Park Hanashoubuen
On your second day in Kanazawa, begin with a delicious meal in Ōmichō Market. This large, indoor market has dozens of different restaurants and vendors and is an awesome place to buy souvenirs and have lunch.
After your meal, walk to Higashi Chaya District. This area of winding streets is most famous for its traditional, Edo Period architecture. Kanazawa is famous for its production of gold leaf, so I recommend checking out some of the boutiques in Higashi Chaya District to pick up gold-leafed souvenirs to bring home.
If you have enough energy, from Higashi Chaya District walk up the hill to Utatsuyama Park Hanashoubuen. Utatsuyama Park Hanashoubuen is a quiet, hillside park overlooking Kanazawa. You’ll see incredible views of the city alongside peaceful temples tucked away in the surrounding forest.
What To Eat In Kanazawa
As I said earlier, Kanazawa is very well known for its high quality, fresh seafood. Enjoy as much sushi as you can!
If you’d like more ideas for what to do in Kanazawa, check out my detailed guide.
Days 6-8: Kyoto
How To Get To Kyoto
On your sixth morning of your 14 days in Japan, leave Kanazawa relatively early and take the Shinkansen to Kyoto. From Kanazawa Station, take the Thunderbird 44 Limited Express Osaka Shinkansen to Kyoto Station. The ride will take roughly 2 hours and cost about ¥7,000 one-way for an adult.
Tip: Buy an “ekiben” before boarding the Shinkansen. An ekiben is a bento box with food designed to be eaten on the train. Each box of food typically contains a variety of different small dishes and is easy to eat in a small space. The ekiben boxes will come with chopsticks and any necessary condiments.
“Eki” means “train station” and “ben” is short for “bento”. Therefore, the word ekiben is short for “train station bento”.
Where To Stay In Kyoto
I recommend staying in either Higashiyama Ward or Shimogyo Ward in Kyoto. Both areas are in the center of the city and have either walking or train routes to reach the main attractions.
If you can, I highly suggest staying in a ryokan for at least one night during your trip. Ryokans are traditional, Japanese-style inns that often feature in-house onsens (communal spring water baths) and delicious kaiseki meals (kaiseki is a traditional, multi-dish Japanese meal). I particularly recommend staying in a ryokan during your time in Kyoto because it will add to the experience of staying in Kyoto as the traditional, cultural heart of Japan.
I stayed in the below ryokans during my recent trips to Kyoto:
What To Do In Kyoto
Day 6: Arrival, Kinkaku-ji & Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Once you arrive in Kyoto, drop off your baggage either at your hotel or at a coin locker in Kyoto Station.
On this first day, you will visit two popular attractions in Kyoto that are further removed than the other sightseeing spots.
Since Kinkaku-ji closes at 5PM, go there first to see the iconic golden pavilion. The temple grounds are relatively small, but expect lots of crowds. Kinkaku-ji is one of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing destinations, but for good reason. The Zen Buddhist temple perches above a garden pond that reflects the pavilion and the sky above. No matter the time of day, Kinkaku-ji is one of the most beautiful temples in Kyoto.
After you visit Kinkaku-ji, take a bus and train for about 45 minutes east to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The towering bamboo forest surrounds a 500 meter pathway and provides a backdrop for some incredible photos. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is near the entrance of Tenryu-ji Temple, so if you have time I suggest making a quick visit to this temple as well.
Day 7: Rengeoin Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu-dera, Gion & Nanzen-ji
Today is going to be a busy one! First, visit Rengeoin Sanjusangendo to see the 1,001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. This temple complex is relatively compact so you should be able to visit it in under an hour.
Next, head to the extremely popular Kiyomizu-dera. This temple complex is best known for the Main Hall’s balcony and the incredible views of Kyoto. Take your time meandering through the maze of pathways and Buddhist buildings. Kiyomizu-dera is one of the most visited attractions in Kyoto, so arrive well before noon if you can to avoid the height of the crowds.
After Kiyomizu-dera, walk a few blocks west and enjoy lunch in Gion. Gion is a web of pedestrian streets, with the most well-known being Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. The streets of Gion are known for their traditional Japanese architecture and are a popular place to take photos.
Lastly for the day, visit Nanzen-ji to see the Zen garden and examples of centuries-old Japanese architecture. The temple area dates back to the mid-13th century and is a great example of a historical, Buddhist site.
Day 8: Fushimi Inari Taisha & Kamo River
On your final day in Kyoto, visit Fushimi Inari Taisha to walk under the picturesque torii gates. The pathways wind up Mount Inari, but you can decide how far up you want to go. It takes roughly 2-3 hours to walk to the top of the mountain. I suggest walking at least 30-45 minutes down the pathways because the crowds thin out significantly the further you venture.
After your hike through Fushimi Inari Taisha, visit the Kamo River promenade to see a side of Kyoto away from the temples and shrines. Many joggers and walkers enjoy the pathway along the river. I recommend bringing a picnic and enjoying it along the grassy river bank.
What To Eat In Kyoto
Kyoto cuisine is famous for its traditional Japanese ingredients. If you can, it’s a great place to splurge a bit and indulge in an excellent kaiseki meal. Kaiseki is a traditional, multi-course Japanese dinner where you’ll have the chance to try a variety of small dishes.
Read more about how to spend three days in Kyoto.
Day 9: Nara
How To Get To Nara
From Kyoto Station, it takes roughly 35 minutes on a direct train (Kintetsu Limited Express) to reach Kintetsu-Nara Station. Kintetsu-Nara Station is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the main attractions in the city.
At this point in the trip, 14 days in Japan may be feeling a bit tiring! It only takes a few hours to see the main sights in Nara and the city is relatively near both Kyoto and Osaka, so take it easy today if you need to and have a later start if you’d like. As long as you arrive in Nara by 1pm, you’ll comfortably be able to explore the central area and still have time to make it to Osaka for dinner.
The major tourist destinations in Nara are very close to each other, so I suggest walking between them. No need to rent a car if you just stay in the central area.
Where To Stay In Nara
For this itinerary, I recommend that you don’t spend the night in Nara and instead spend the previous night in Kyoto and the night of the ninth day of your trip in Osaka. Nara is a gorgeous city, but you can see many of the main attractions during a day trip and it is more convenient to stay in one of the larger cities instead during your two weeks in Japan.
However, if you’d like to spend the night in Nara, I recommend:
What To Do In Nara
Day 9: Deer, Todai-ji & Kofuku-ji
The main draw for many people visiting Nara is seeing the hundreds of deer roaming around the city. You won’t need to make a particular effort to see the deer – they are everywhere from the moment you step out of Kintetsu-Nara Station!
However, as exciting as it will be to see your first few deer, resist the urge to take hundreds of photos right outside of Kintetsu-Nara Station. Better spots to see more deer are further down the road toward Tobihino Park and in front of Nandaimon Gate.
If you’d like, you can buy special wafers to feed the deer from local vendors along the road. Be warned though that if the deer think you have food, they may switch from being gentle and friendly to more aggressive.
Pass through Nandaimon Gate and walk toward Tōdai-ji, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. The main hall (Daibutsuden) is one of the largest wooden structures in the world and is home to a 15 meter tall Daibutsu (Buddha statue) nestled between two Bodhisattvas. Tōdai-ji is one of the most popular attractions in Nara and is a must-see during your two weeks in Japan.
After visiting Tōdai-ji, walk to Kōfuku-ji, another historical Buddhist temple complex in Nara. If you have time, check out the neighboring Yoshikien Garden. My favorite time of year to visit Nara is the autumn. Yoshikien Garden is full of vibrant autumn foliage and it’s fun to see the deer under colorful leaves.
What To Eat In Nara
Due in part to Nara’s long history, the city is one of the best places in Japan to try traditional Japanese snacks. Many vendors along the road between Tobihino Park and Asajigahara Enchi Park sell various treats.
My personal favorite Japanese snack is “dango”. Dango is a chewy dumpling made of rice flour that is often dipped in a sweet sauce and served on a stick.
Discover more inspiration about the ideal visit to Nara.
Days 10-11: Osaka
How To Get To Osaka
After visiting Nara for a few hours, head west to Osaka. By train, it takes roughly 1 hour to reach Osaka from Nara. The trip will cost approximately ¥700-800 per adult one-way.
You can depart from either Kintetsu-Nara Station (take the Kintetsu-Nara Line then the Osaka Loop Line) or Nara Station (take the Yamatoji Line).
Where To Stay In Osaka
Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and has an abundance of excellent hotel options. I generally recommend staying in the following areas in the city (in order of preference): Kita, Minami, Honmachi, and Shin-Osaka.
The Midosuji subway line is the most convenient line to use, so I suggest booking a place that has easy access to it.
A few of my specific hotel recommendations are:
What To Do In Osaka
Day 10: Osaka Castle, Shitennoji & Dotonbori
Once you arrive in Osaka, drop off your luggage either at your hotel or in a coin locker at Osaka Station. From there, head to Osaka Castle.
Osaka Castle was initially build in the late 16th century, but was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Today, the castle is visited by millions of people a year and is one of the most popular destinations in the city.
From Osaka Castle, head south for about 30 minutes to Shitennoji. Shitennoji was founded in 593 and is one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Although the temple buildings burned down several times in the past, they were carefully reconstructed to maintain the original 6th century architecture.
For dinner, explore Dotonbori, the famous canal and street known for its eclectic, bright signage and street food options.
Day 11: Katsuo-ji or Universal Studios Japan
On your second day in Osaka, choose between visiting Katsuo-ji, a Buddhist temple north of the city or Universal Studios Japan.
Katsuo-ji is a gorgeous temple about 1.5 hours by train outside of Osaka. If you’re interested in Japanese history and culture, this is the itinerary option for you. The temple grounds are covered with thousands of Daruma dolls left by visitors for good luck. Katsuo-ji is dedicated to prayers for “victor’s luck”, so if you need to pray for a win in your life, head here!
Universal Studios Japan is another great choice for a full day excursion in Osaka, particularly if you are traveling with kids. This massive amusement park has a lot of themed attractions, but my favorites are Harry Potter World and Super Nintendo World.
I recommend buying park tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in the long entrance line. You can order tickets on Kook.
What To Eat In Osaka
Osaka is often lovingly referred to as “the kitchen of Japan”. The city is famous for its street food and bold flavors, with specialty dishes like takoyaki and okonomiyaki (these are two of my favorite Japanese dishes!).
During your time in Osaka, I suggest trying the city’s specialties, like:
- Okonomiyaki – a savory pancake made from eggs, shredded cabbage, flour, grated yam, and a often a topping of seafood, meat, vegetables, or cheese. Okonomiyaki is typically served with a brown sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito (fish) flakes, or dried seaweed.
- Takoyaki – a simple snack of batter, sliced octopus, ginger, and spring onions formed together into small dumplings. Takoyaki is also often served with a brown sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito (fish) flakes, or dried seaweed.
- Kitsune udon – kitsune udon was invented in a shop in Osaka in the Meiji era and has since become a staple dish in the city. Udon is a thick, soft noodle popular in Japan. When a thin slice of fried tofu in a sweet sauce is laid on top of the udon, then it becomes “kitsune udon”.
- Yakisoba – stir-fried noodles in a sweet and savory brown sauce mixed typically with various vegetables and seafood or meat.
This Osaka food tour is a delicious option if you’d like extra guidance as your explore the city.
Want to learn more about what to do in Osaka? Check out my detailed three day guide to Osaka.
Day 12: Tokyo
How To Get To Tokyo (Part 2)
From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen back to Tokyo and get off at either Shinagawa Station or Tokyo Station. One-way will cost approximately ¥15,000 per adult.
Where To Stay In Tokyo (Part 2)
Since you’ll head to Nikko the next morning, I recommend staying in the east part of Tokyo so that you are near your departure point. Ginza or Nihonbashi are good neighborhood options for the night.
What To Do In Tokyo (Part 2)
Day 12: Tokyo Skytree
Since you’ll spend the morning on the Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo, use the afternoon back in Tokyo to visit Tokyo Skytree. Tokyo Skytree is 634 tall and offers the most expansive views of Tokyo available. Particularly if you stay in the east part of Tokyo, it will be convenient to access Tokyo Skytree. Book a meal at the tower’s restaurant, 634, if you’d like to eat while looking out over the city.
Book tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.
Day 13-14: Nikko
How To Get To Nikko
As we near the end of your 14 days in Japan, spend a night in Nikko, one of my favorite getaway destinations from Tokyo. If you’d rather just go to Nikko for the day and keep the same hotel in Tokyo, I recommend booking an organized tour (like this one) to allow you to see the main sights quickly.
The easiest, cheapest, and most popular way to reach Nikko from Tokyo is via train. The JR and Tobu Lines both serve the Nikko area and you can choose from a variety of different train combinations to reach Nikko (I use Google Maps to suggest the specific route when I’m ready to depart). Pick the option that is most convenient for your travel plans and fits your budget. The entire train journey takes roughly 2.5-3 hours.
The route I usually take is to depart from Asakusa Station in east Tokyo and ride the limited express train to Tobu Nikko Station. This option departs twice an hour and costs roughly ¥2,750 per adult one-way. The train will either head to Kegon or Kinugawa; pick Kegon if you can because the train to Kinugawa requires a quick transfer at Shimo-Imaichi Station.
Driving from Tokyo to Nikko takes roughly 2-2.5 hours. If you’re fine driving and plan to use the car in Nikko, it may be more economical to rent the car from Tokyo and keep it for the duration of your trip.
Where To Stay In Nikko
You have the choice between staying in the downtown area or about a 30 minute drive west near Lake Chūzenji. The downtown area has more restaurants and shops and is near the major temples and shrines, while staying near Lake Chūzenji is more convenient for hiking and other outdoor sports.
I prefer staying near Lake Chūzenji because it feels more like a nature escape to be near the water and surrounded by trees. However, if I don’t rent a car, I like staying in downtown Nikko for the convenience.
In downtown Nikko, I stayed at Nikko Hoshinoyado and really enjoyed the central location. The hotel is walking distance to the main temple and shrine area.
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko is my favorite hotel in Japan and is where I stay if I have a car and visit Lake Chūzenji. This hotel is so stunning and its view over the lake is incredibly serene.
Find more hotel recommendations in Nikko in my detailed itinerary guide.
What To Do In Nikko
Day 13: Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, and Paddle Boarding or Hiking
On your first day in Nikko, head to Kegon Falls, a 100 meter waterfall that is the largest in the greater Nikko area. From Nikko Station, either drive west for about 30 minutes or take a bus for about an hour. From Kegon Falls, walk about 5 minutes to Lake Chūzenji.
If the weather is good, paddle boarding on the lake is one of my favorite activities in Nikko. I rent paddle boards through Sup! Sup! Nikko (be aware that you must go out on the lake with one of their guides if you book through this company).
Either after or instead of paddle boarding, another great option for the afternoon is to go hiking. Nikko is famous for its many waterfalls and there is a great beginner/intermediate hike from Yudaki Falls to Ryuzuno Falls, with an optional loop out to the Odashirogahara marshlands.
If you prefer not to hike, you can drive to Yudaki Falls and Ryuzuno Falls instead of walking between them.
Day 14: Temples, Shrines & Return To Tokyo
In the morning of the last full day of your two weeks in Japan, visit Shinkyo Bridge for a quick photo then walk to the large complex of temples and shrines near downtown Nikko. There are many stunning temples and shrines that you can visit, but the main ones include:
After lunch, return to Tokyo for your final night in Japan.
What To Eat In Nikko
Nikko offers a lot of great dining options. I particularly love the comfort food available like Japanese curry or simple sushi or ramen restaurants. Nikko also has many cafes and casual restaurants that I like for a relaxing coffee or midday snack.
In my detailed guide to Nikko, I list over 30 restaurants in the area that I recommend, so take a look for specific places to visit.
Want more inspiration for hotels to stay in and what to do in Nikko? Take a read through my detailed Nikko itinerary.
Day 15: Departure
Head to the airport and return home! The two international airports in Tokyo are Haneda International Airport and Narita International Airport. Haneda is significantly closer to Tokyo than Narita, so fly out of that airport if you can.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide to 14 days in Japan and that it helps inspire a wonderful trip! 2 weeks in Japan is a great amount of time to explore several cities and see a mix of modern and traditional Japanese life. If you return to Japan, consider checking out one of the tropical islands or a snowy mountain town!
- 7 Days In Japan: The Ultimate One Week Itinerary
- How To Spend Five Days in Tokyo (5 Day Itinerary)
- Okutama: Escape Tokyo For A Beautiful Day In Nature (Hiking, Sake Tasting, Shrines)
- Spend The Day In Kamakura, Japan’s Best Getaway Beach Town
- Kanazawa: Visit The Historical City On The Japan Sea
- How To Spend Three Days In Kyoto (Plus One Day In Nara) – Japan Itinerary
- Nara, Japan: Experience The Ultimate Day Trip (Deer, Temples, More)
- Nikko, Japan Travel Guide: The Best Quick Getaway From Tokyo
- The 9 Best Places To Honeymoon In Japan (Romantic Beaches, Ancient Temples, More)
- What To Buy In Japan: Best Souvenir Guide
- Japan Travel Tips: What You Need To Know For Your Trip
- 13 Most Essential Japanese Phrases For Tourists (+ Free PDF)
- How Many Days Do You Need In Japan?