If you’re Japan-bound and on the hunt for an epic 4 weeks in Japan itinerary, you’ve landed in the perfect spot!
A full month in Japan is nothing short of incredible, and you’re in for an absolute blast. I’ve got to admit; I’m pretty jealous of the adventures that await you.
I’m Olivia, an Aussie traveller who’s been lucky enough to explore Japan solo in 2023 for a fantastic two-week adventure, which was part of a three-week trip including South Korea, which was incredible by the way.
Plus, I’ve visited the Land of the Rising Sun three other times, mainly for some epic skiing. I’ve discovered that Japan is not only incredibly easy to get around but also one of the safest places for travellers. So whether you’re riding solo like I was, travelling with your family, your best friends or your partner, you’ve made an excellent choice selecting Japan for your next holiday.
In this post, we’ll not only cover the perfect 4 weeks in Japan itinerary but also dive into the nitty-gritty of how to get around, when the best time to visit and more tips and tricks.
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✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner
➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars
✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads
➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com
✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
- 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary: For First Timers!
- Days 1-6: Tokyo – The Ultimate Tokyo Adventure
- Where to stay in Tokyo
- Days 7-14: Kyoto
- Where to stay in Kyoto
- Days 15-18: Osaka
- Where To Stay In Osaka
- Days 19-21: Hiroshima and Miyajima
- Where to stay in Hiroshima
- Days 22-30: Okinawa
- Where to Stay in Okinawa
- Where to stay in Miyako Island
- The Best Time to Visit Japan: Finding Your Perfect Season
- How to Get Around Japan: 4 Weeks In Japan Itinerary
- FAQ’s: 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary
- The Wrap-Up: 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary
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4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary: For First Timers!
Alright, thrill-seekers and go-getters, this one’s for you!
We’re diving headfirst into the first 4 weeks in Japan itinerary. If you’re the kind of traveller who wants to experience it all – from bustling cityscapes to serene temples, exotic cuisine to stunning natural wonders – then this action-packed itinerary is tailor-made just for you.
Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a wild ride!
Summary – 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary
Here is an overview of your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary. Keep reading for the detailed, day-by-day plan!
✔️ Days 1-6: Tokyo
✔️ Days 7-14 Kyoto
✔️ Days 15-18 Osaka
✔️ Days 19-21 Hiroshima and Miyajima
✔️ Days 22-30 Okinawa
Days 1-6: Tokyo – The Ultimate Tokyo Adventure
Your 4 days in Tokyo itinerary begins in Tokyo, the bustling heart of Japan, where modernity meets tradition.
Here’s a whirlwind itinerary to help you make the most of your first six days in this incredible city.
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive at the Airport: Get ready for Tokyo to welcome you with open arms. You will either arrive at Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport.
If you arrive at Narita, take the Narita Express Train (included on the JR Pass), the Shinkansen train (what I chose), or a limousine bus to Tokyo city centre. From there, reach your hotel using the subway or a taxi.
If you arrive at Haneda airport you can hop on the Monorail (covered by the JR pass), the limousine bus or catch a taxi.
Check-in and Local Bite: After checking into your hotel, sit back, relax and enjoy local cuisine and perhaps a Japanese beer to unwind after your long journey.
Day 2: Shinjuku Exploration
Use the Yamanote Line to Reach Shinjuku: Hop on the Yamanote Line to reach Shinjuku, a bustling area that offers a mix of experiences.
Shinjuku Highlights: In Shinjuku, you can explore various attractions, such as the Shinjuku 3D Billboard, Korean Street Food in Shin Okubo, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, go-karting in costume, Kabukicho Tower, a cat cafe, and Omoide Yokochō for yakitori.
Day 3: Shibuya and Harajuku Adventure
Begin at Shibuya Crossing: Start your day by navigating the famous Shibuya Crossing, a sight and experience that showcases Tokyo’s hustle and bustle.
Shibuya Sky: While in the area, consider booking a visit to Shibuya Sky for breathtaking views of Tokyo. I was blown away by the views, despite initially being skeptical of the price!
Shibuya Shopping: Explore the trendy shops, boutiques, and cafes on Shibuya’s Center Street.
Lunch at Ichiran Ramen: Satisfy your hunger with a bowl of Ichiran Ramen. This is an experience in itself, sitting in an individual booth, receiving your ramen with a bow.
Head to Harajuku: Stroll to Harajuku, either by walking or taking the subway.
Takeshita Street: Dive into the world of Harajuku fashion on Takeshita Street, known for its unique boutiques and fun street food.
Cafe Reissue: For coffee lovers, Cafe Reissue offers 3D latte art for picture-worthy coffee. Think 3D hello kitty, pandas or whatever you want, they will craft the perfect latte design for you!
Shibuya Nightlife: If you’re up for it, explore Shibuya’s nightlife scene with its array of bars, clubs, and dining options.
Day 4: Asakusa Culture and Shinjuku Nightlife
Ginza Line to Asakusa: Take the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station for a day of cultural exploration.
Senso-ji Temple: Visit Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street for traditional Japanese souvenirs.
Lunch at Asakusa Yokocho: Enjoy a wonderful culinary experience at Asakusa Yokocho, inspired by Japan’s festival culture.
Shinjuku Nightlife: At night, explore the vibrant nightlife of Shinjuku. Start at Golden Gai, move on to Omoide Yokocho, and then wrap up at Kabukicho the newest entertainment complex featuring a virtual DJ, arcade and restaurants and bars.
Guided Bar Crawl: Join a guided bar crawl tour for a memorable night out. This is what I did and had an absolute blast! Met so many incredible people and got a real taste of Japanese nightlife.
Day 5: Ueno Park and Art Exploration
Yamanote Line to Ueno: Take the Yamanote Line to Ueno Station for a day of culture and nature.
Ueno Park: Explore Ueno Park with cherry blossoms (in Spring), temples, and the iconic Benten-do Temple.
Ueno Zoo: Visit Ueno Zoo if you’re interested in seeing animals from around the world. Personally, I try and avoid zoos but do your own research.
Lunch in Ueno: Savor Japanese favourites at local eateries within Ueno.
Tokyo National Museum: Dive into Japan’s rich cultural heritage at the Tokyo National Museum, located within Ueno Park.
Team Lab Planets: In the evening, experience an immersive digital art display at Team Lab Planets for an unforgettable sensory journey. Make sure to book in advance as tickets sell out fast!
Day 6: Akihabara and Ameyoko Farewell
Yamanote Line to Akihabara: On your last day in Tokyo, visit Akihabara, known for its tech and pop culture.
Akihabara Exploration: Delve into the world of electronics, manga, and anime merchandise in Akihabara. Even if you’re like me and aren’t a big anime fan, it’s still worth the visit for its unique vibe that you won’t find anywhere else.
Themed Café for Lunch: Enjoy a themed café for lunch, whether it’s a maid café or a Gundam-themed restaurant. Talk about a one-of-a-kind experience!
Ameyoko Market: Head to Ameyoko, a bustling market street, for your last-minute souvenirs and a taste of vibrant market life.
Where to stay in Tokyo
If you’re looking for a vibrant and convenient base to explore Tokyo, I wholeheartedly recommend staying in the lively district of Shinjuku.
This neighbourhood truly embodies the dynamic spirit of the city, with its bustling streets, neon-lit nightlife, and range of accommodations to suit every traveller’s needs.
From the iconic Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to the thrilling Kabukicho entertainment district, you’ll find so much to do on your doorstep. Plus, the well-connected Shinjuku Station makes it a breeze to venture to other parts of Tokyo and beyond.
Let’s cover some accommodation options in Shinjuku perfect for every budget.
Budget: Unplan Shinjuku
⭐ 7.9/10 (2,254 reviews)
If you’re on a budget, Unplan Shinjuku is the savvy choice in Tokyo.
It provides a wallet-friendly and incredibly fun accommodation right in the heart of vibrant Shinjuku.
With its clean, modern design, it’s a smart pick for those who prefer to allocate their funds for unforgettable experiences rather than lavish stays.
Mid-range: Hotel Matsunoi (Where I stayed!)
⭐ 8.4/10 (615 reviews)
Hotel Matsunoi offers a sweet spot in the mid-range hotel category.
It’s where I personally stayed during my adventures in Tokyo and I found it a great value stay.
This hotel strikes the perfect balance between comfort, style, and affordability. It’s ideal for travellers who appreciate a comfortable (and private room with a private bathroom) in a great location in Shin Okubo, the thriving Koreantown on Shinjuku’s doorstep.
Luxury: Park Hyatt Tokyo
⭐ 9.2/10 (266 reviews)
For the ultimate luxury experience, you simply can’t beat the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
With its iconic skyline views, impeccable service, and lavish amenities, it’s a haven of sophistication and relaxation.
Staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo is like stepping into a world of indulgence, making it my top choice for those seeking the crème de la crème of accommodations in Shinjuku.
Plus the rooftop bar offers some of the best views in the city.
Days 7-14: Kyoto
The next leg of your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary introduces you to the cultural heart of Japan, where every temple, shrine, and historic street tells a story of the past.
Here’s how I recommend you spend your time in Kyoto.
Day 7: From Tokyo to Kyoto
Today you’ll be leaving the bustling city lights of Tokyo for the serene beauty of Kyoto.
Shinkansen to Kyoto: Board the Shinkansen, Japan’s famous bullet train that will take you to Kyoto in about 2 hours. The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto offers stunning views of Japan and if you sit on the right side of the train you’ll be able to see Mt Fuji (weather permitting of course).
Tip: Reserve seat E, the window seat for the best views!
Check Into Your Kyoto Hotel: When you arrive in Kyoto, check into your hotel and drop your bags off.
Go for a walk and bite to eat: Check out your local neighbourhood by taking a long walk and finding a place to stop for some food. I find this the best way to get familiar with the area I’m visiting.
Day 8: Arashiyama’s Natural Beauty
Trust me, you’re in for a treat today!
JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station: Kick off your day by taking the JR Sagano Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station.
Bamboo Grove: Wander through the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, a place where the sheer height of the bamboo creates a magical atmosphere. Just prepare for loads of tourists!
Monkey Forest: Hike up to Arashiyama monkey forest to see loads of snow monkeys! This was one of my highlights in Kyoto. It’s so incredible seeing them roam around, play and interact with each other.
Day 9: The Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-ji
Visit Kinkaku-ji: Begin your day by visiting Kinkaku-ji, the stunning Golden Pavilion. This iconic Zen temple is a true masterpiece, covered in gold leaf that will make you go WOW.
Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion): Next, explore Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, known for its elegant simplicity and stunning Japanese rock garden.
Philosopher’s Path: From there you can take a stroll along the iconic Philosopher’s Path, a scenic walkway that follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees (in Spring that is).
Eikan-do Zenrin-ji: Next, explore Eikan-do Zenrin-ji, a temple renowned for its beautiful autumn leaves. The temple’s gardens, stone bridges, and historical artefacts provide a perfect glimpse of Kyoto.
Day 10: Fushimi Inari & More Kyoto Wonders
Fushimi Inari Shrine: Begin your day at the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vibrant torii gates that create a tunnel-like path. Don’t forget to explore the inner shrine areas, as there are fewer crowds and plenty of interesting spots.
Sanjusangendo Temple: Make your way to the remarkable Sanjusangendo Temple, home to 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The sheer scale and beauty of the temple’s interior are pretty insane.
Tea Ceremony Experience: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with a traditional tea ceremony. There are various venues in Kyoto where you can participate and it’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the art of tea preparation and etiquette.
I didn’t get the chance to do this, but this is one thing I do wish I got the chance to experience.
Day 11: Gion and Higashiyama – The Historic Heart of Kyoto
Explore Gion: Today, you’ll delve into the historic districts of Gion and Higashiyama. Explore charming streets, discover traditional tea houses, and wander through the shops.
Higashiyama: Continue your journey through Higashiyama, where you can explore preserved streets, visit Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, and soak in cultural richness.
Dress up in a Kimono: for an added touch, why not rent a kimono to stroll around the streets in traditional fashion?
Kiyomizu-dera Temple: Next, visit the iconic Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers breathtaking views of Kyoto from its wooden stage.
Pontocho: As it begins to get dark, head to the nearby Pontocho, an alley lined with traditional wooden buildings.
This area is known for its range of fantastic dining options, from intimate traditional restaurants to modern eateries. It’s an excellent place to eat some of Kyoto’s best food, and the streets make for gorgeous photos.
Day 12: Preserved Streets
Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka: Roam the preserved streets of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka.
These charming lanes are lined with traditional shops and make for the perfect escape from the tourist hustle and bustle.
Spend the day today exploring at a slower pace, allowing yourself to discover hidden gems and soak in the true heart and soul of Kyoto.
Day 13: Nijo Castle and Surroundings
Explore Nijo Castle: Discover the historical significance of Nijo Castle, known for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. Take a walk around the surrounding area to soak in the atmosphere.
Enjoy the afternoon off to do whatever you like! Whether it be a long lunch, relaxing in your hotel or heading out for a little retail therapy the choice is yours, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks!
Day 14: Flex Day or Day Trip
Choose your Day Trip: Your last day in Kyoto offers flexibility.
You can use it to revisit any sites you may have missed, dive into local experiences, or embark on a day trip.
Where to stay in Kyoto
Let’s now cover where I recommend you stay in Kyoto! I stayed in the Kawaramachi area which was perfect for me.
It was close to public transport, sights, and restaurants and offered an authentic taste of Kyoto.
Best Budget Stay in Kyoto: Ryokan Hostel Gion
⭐ 8.8/10 (853 reviews)
For those travellers looking for an authentic Kyoto experience without breaking the bank, the Ryokan Hostel Gion is the perfect pick.
This hostel offers a taste of traditional Japan with its cozy ryokan-style rooms, giving you a unique cultural immersion.
Its prime location in the historic Gion district ensures you’re at the heart of Kyoto’s rich heritage, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious adventurers.
Kyoto’s Mid-Range Hotel: Hearton Hotel Kyoto
⭐ 8.3/10 (510 reviews)
Personally, I stayed at the Hearton Hotel Kyoto during my own Kyoto adventures and found it to be a comfortable and convenient choice. I stayed in a single private room which was excellent value for a solo traveller.
Located in the heart of the city, it offers easy access to public transport, an abundance of fantastic restaurants, and all the amenities you could need. Plus I loved the provided PJs!
If you’re seeking a well-priced stay with modern comforts, this is an excellent option for your Kyoto visit.
Best Luxury Hotel In Kyoto: Good Nature Hotel Kyoto
⭐ 9.1/10 (1,890 reviews)
For the utmost luxury and indulgence in Kyoto, the Good Nature Hotel Kyoto would be my top pick!
With its opulent design, impeccable service, and high-end amenities, it’s a haven of sophistication.
This luxury hotel offers an unforgettable experience, making it my top recommendation for travellers who want to savour Kyoto in style.
Days 15-18: Osaka
Next up you’re headed off to Osaka, known for its street food and epic nightlife. Let’s jump into the next few days of your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary.
Day 15: Osaka Arrival
Special Rapid Service Train: Your journey from Kyoto to Osaka is a breeze as you board the Special Rapid Service train on the JR Kyoto Line (covered by JR Pass).
Alternatively, you can jump on the Shinkansen train. In a mere 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Osaka.
Hotel Check-In: When you arrive in Osaka, head to your hotel and complete your check-in.
Then head out to check out the nearby streets of Osaka and perhaps even dig into some street food!
Day 16: Discovering Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
Subway to Namba: Start your day by hopping on the subway, which will take you to Namba Station. From here, you’ll reach two of Osaka’s most exciting districts, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi.
Dotonbori Delights: Dotonbori is all about vibrant street life, neon lights, and a wealth of awesome food. As you navigate the streets, try some Japanese street food and spend some time just soaking in the atmosphere.
Shinsaibashi Shopping: Shinsaibashi, nearby to Dotonbori, is a haven for those who love to shop. Explore trendy boutiques, fashion outlets, and charming cafes in this famous shopping district.
Day 17: Osaka’s Exciting Adventures
Choose your own adventure today! Whether you’re bound for thrills at Universal Studios Japan or ready to explore the aquatic wonders of the Kaiyukan Aquarium, it’s your choice today!
Option 1 – Universal Studios Japan: If you’re in the mood for rides, shows, and a dose of movie magic, Universal Studios Japan is a great choice. Brace yourself for a day of pure entertainment and unforgettable experiences.
Option 2- Kaiyukan Aquarium: For those drawn to the mysteries of the deep sea, spend your day at the Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the world’s largest. Delve into the world of marine life and be mesmerized by the underwater creatures.
Day 18: Nara Day Trip – From Osaka to Serenity
JR Yamatoji Line to Nara Park: Begin your day by boarding the JR Yamatoji Line, your gateway to Nara’s enchanting treasures. As you make your way to Nara Park, don’t forget to look out the window and enjoy the views.
See deers roam freely, historic temples, and explore some natural beauty during your day trip.
Where To Stay In Osaka
In Osaka, you’ll find a range of fantastic accommodations to suit every budget and style. Here are my top picks for where to stay in Osaka.
Best Budget Stay in Osaka: The Pax Hostel
⭐ 8.9/10 (158 reviews)
For travellers who want to make the most of their budget without compromising on comfort, The Pax Hostel in Osaka is a top-notch choice.
It offers a friendly and vibrant atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for meeting other travellers and exploring the city’s culture.
Mid-Range Hotel in Osaka: Hotel Unizo Osaka Shinsaibashi
⭐ 8.5/10 (3,798 reviews)
When you’re looking for a comfortable and stylish place to rest after a day of exploring, Hotel Unizo Osaka Shinsaibashi is a fantastic mid-range option.
It strikes the perfect balance between affordability and the amenities you need for a pleasant stay. Plus, its central location in Shinsaibashi is a great base for your Osaka adventures.
Luxury Hotel in Osaka: Hotel Royal Classic Osaka
⭐9.10 (1000 reviews)
For those seeking a little more luxury and comfort in the heart of Osaka, the Hotel Royal Classic Osaka is the ultimate choice.
Expect nothing short of top-notch service. The hotel’s elegant setting and top-tier amenities ensure an unforgettable stay in this vibrant city.
Days 19-21: Hiroshima and Miyajima
Now it’s time to leave Osaka for Hiroshima! Hiroshima is a city that carries profound historical significance and is well worth the visit.
Day 19: Hiroshima Bound
Catch the Shinkansen: Your day begins by boarding the Shinkansen, Japan’s high-speed bullet train. Enjoy the scenic views as you travel from Osaka to Hiroshima, a journey that typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Hotel Check-In: Make your way to your hotel and complete the check-in process.
Day 20: Hiroshima’s Historic Sites
Your day is dedicated to exploring the historical sights of Hiroshima. These include the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome, both of which are within walking distance from Hiroshima Station.
Peace Memorial Park: Begin your day at the Peace Memorial Park. This park pays tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing and serves as a symbol of hope for a peaceful world.
Take your time to explore the park’s various monuments, memorials, and the Children’s Peace Monument.
Day 21: Miyajima Adventure
Ferry to Miyajima Island: Begin your day with the ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island.
Itsukushima Shrine: Once you arrive, head to the Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine’s unique location, with its torii gate seemingly floating on water during high tide, is very beautiful.
Mount Misen Hike: If you’re up for it take a hike up Mount Misen. The trails offer scenic views and ancient temples. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the island and the Seto Inland Sea.
Return to Hiroshima: Before the sun sets, return to Hiroshima.
Where to stay in Hiroshima
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Hiroshima, you’ve got some excellent options to choose from. Here are my top recommendations.
Budget Hostel in Hiroshima: 36 Hostel
⭐ 8.7/10 (510 reviews)
For the budget-conscious traveller looking for a cozy and wallet-friendly stay, 36 Hostel in Hiroshima is an excellent choice.
It offers a comfy atmosphere and a chance to connect with other travellers while keeping your expenses in check.
Mid-Range Hotel in Hiroshima: Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima
⭐ 8.4/10 (2,393 reviews)
If you’re after a bit more comfort and style without breaking the bank, the Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima is the ideal pick.
It’s got that perfect balance between affordability and the creature comforts you’d expect from a mid-range hotel.
Plus, its location in the city is super convenient for exploring all that Hiroshima has to offer.
Days 22-30: Okinawa
Trade the hustle and bustle of Japan’s city life for some island bliss. That’s right you’re headed to Okinawa to lay by the beach, snorkel, swim and explore the unique culture.
Day 22: From Hiroshima to Okinawa
Flight to Naha, Okinawa: Today marks a change of scenery as you take a flight from Hiroshima to Naha, Okinawa. The island’s tropical allure and unique culture await your exploration.
Hotel Check-In: Upon arrival in Naha, grab your rental car (yes I highly recommend you rent a car) and check into your Okinawa hotel.
➡️ Book your Rental Car in Okinawa Here
Day 23: Discovering Naha’s Treasures
Shuri Castle: Your day begins with a visit to Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of Okinawa’s rich history.
Explore the ornate architecture, and gardens, and immerse yourself in the island’s cultural heritage.
Okinawa World: Continue your exploration at Okinawa World, where you’ll encounter the island’s traditional culture, including Ryukyuan performances, a snake museum, and the captivating Gyokusendo Cave.
Makishi Public Market: Conclude your day at Makishi Public Market, a bustling hub of local life.
Stroll through the vibrant market stalls, savour Okinawan cuisine, and embrace the island’s flavours and traditions.
Day 24: Tokashiki Island Retreat
Ferry to Tokashiki Island: Board a ferry to Tokashiki Island, a serene paradise just off the coast of Okinawa. Explore its beautiful beaches and attractions and go snorkelling, all within easy reach of the Okinawa main island.
Make sure to catch the ferry back to Naha at 5:30 pm, and enjoy your dinner in Naha.
Day 25: Okinawa’s Coastal Delights
Cape Manzamo: Start your day with a visit to Cape Manzamo, a natural wonder known for its unique rock formation that resembles an elephant’s trunk. Enjoy the stunning coastal views and take gorgeous photos of this iconic spot.
Okinawa Cooking Class: Immerse yourself in Okinawan culture with a cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional Okinawan dishes and savour the flavours of this vibrant island.
➡️ Click here to book an Okinawa Cooking Class and Historic Market Tour
Whale Watching: Conclude your day with a whale-watching adventure. Depending on the season, you may have the opportunity to witness humpback whales as they migrate through the waters of Okinawa.
Day 26: Ocean Wonders and Beach Bliss
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium: Visit the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Explore the underwater world of Okinawa, featuring vibrant coral reefs, marine life, and the famous Kuroshio Sea tank.
Beach Time: After the aquarium, unwind on one of Okinawa’s stunning beaches. Whether you prefer a relaxing sunbathing session or a refreshing dip, Okinawa’s beaches will hit the spot. Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
Day 27: From Okinawa to Miyako Island
Flight to Miyako Island: Catch a flight from Okinawa to kick off your adventure in Miyako Island. This island offers even more gorgeous beaches and natural beauty.
Sunayama Beach: Once on Miyako Island, head straight to Sunayama Beach after dropping your bags at your hotel and picking up your rental car.
This was my favourite beach with its striking white sand and turquoise waters that mimic beaches seen in the Maldives. It’s the perfect first taste of Miyakojima!
Day 28: Discovering Miyako’s Treasures
Irabu Bridge: Cross the impressive Irabu Bridge that will seriously make you go WOW. This bridge connects Miyako Island to the smaller Irabu Island, offering panoramic views of the surrounding bright blue waters.
Toguchino Hama Beach: Head to Toguchino Hama Beach, a pristine stretch of coastline where you can relax, swim, and take gorgeous photos. The clear waters and soft sands make it a perfect spot for unwinding after weeks of exploring Japan as I’m sure by now you will be feeling pretty tiered!
Makiyama Observatory: Finish your day with a visit to Makiyama Observatory. See breathtaking views of the coastline and the surrounding sea, trust me it’s worth the stop off.
Day 29: Miyako’s Coastal Wonders
Cape Higashi: Your day begins with a visit to Cape Higashi, where you can take in the dramatic coastal view and rugged cliffs. Just be prepared for it to be very windy!
Aragusuku Beach: After exploring the cape, head to Aragusuku Beach. This hidden gem offers a secluded spot lined with reefs filled with fish and coral. Lay on the soft sands or pop on your snorkel and explore the underwater world.
Heart Rock: Next, discover the epic Heart Rock, a natural formation that resembles a heart-shaped opening in the rocks. It’s a photogenic spot that is worth the stop at.
Ikema Bridge: Cross the scenic Ikema Bridge, connecting Miyako Island to Ikema Island. Don’t forget to capture the beauty of this unique bridge.
Day 30: Farewell to Japan
Departure from Naha, Okinawa: Your 30-day adventure in Japan has now come to an end I’m afraid. Depart from Miyakojima airport, for your return flight home or onto your next adventure.
Where to Stay in Okinawa
Moving onto my recommended stays in Okinawa for your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary.
Mid-Range Hotel in Okinawa: Okinawa Prince Hotel
⭐ 9.2/10 (567 reviews)
For those who want to sprinkle some mid-range magic into their Okinawa trip, look no further than the Okinawa Prince Hotel.
It’s like your home away from home, only way better with the stunning ocean views. Comfort, style, and a touch of luxury – it’s all there.
Best Luxury Hotel in Okinawa: ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort
⭐ 8.3/10 (613 reviews)
Alright, if you’re going all out on this trip, you’re in for a treat at the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort.
It’s pure luxury! You’re basically living the high life right on the beach. The views are off the charts, and the pampering is next level.
Where to stay in Miyako Island
Let’s talk about where to rest your head on the beautiful Miyako Island.
Mid-Range Hotel in Miyako Island: Hotel Risingsun (Where I stayed!)
⭐ 8.1/10 (283 reviews)
When it comes to that sweet spot between budget and luxury, Hotel Risingsun on Miyako Island hits the mark.
It’s where I chose to stay, and I can vouch for the comfort and convenience it offers. You’re in for a cozy and delightful experience, with all the island vibes to make your stay just right. Plus the provided linen PJ’s were a nice touch!
Best Luxury Hotel in Miyako Island: Ronsard Resort IRABU
⭐ 9.3/10 (82 reviews)
For those seeking the crème de la crème of accommodations, the Ronsard Resort IRABU is the ultimate luxury experience.
It’s all about opulence and indulgence in a paradise setting. Just look at this place, it looks like somewhere in Mykonos! The impeccable service and breathtaking surroundings will make you feel like a true island royalty.
The Best Time to Visit Japan: Finding Your Perfect Season
One of the most crucial questions when planning your Japanese adventure is, when is the best time to visit Japan? Well, guess what? Japan offers something extraordinary in every season, so it’s all about finding your personal slice of paradise.
Let’s break it down for you.
Spring (March to May)
This is the famous cherry blossom season and for a good reason! The country transforms into a pastel wonderland.
Imagine strolling through parks, picnicking under cherry blossom trees, and sipping on matcha – pure magic.
But it’s also the busiest and priciest time to visit, so prepare for crowds and higher accommodation costs. All good things come at a cost right!
Summer (June to August)
Summer in Japan is a festival of colours and flavours.
The festivals are a burst of energy, and the fireworks are simply out of this world. Plus, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful beaches in Okinawa and the Japanese Alps for hiking.
But beware of the sweltering heat and humidity, especially in the city. During the peak summertime, walking around and exploring might be uncomfortably hot.
Autumn (September to November)
Autumn offers nature’s own colour palette.
The vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall foliage are mesmerizing.
Explore ancient temples and serene gardens with a stunning backdrop.
I visited Japan in October which was beautiful weather, perfect for loads of walking. Not too hot and not too cold! If you want to see the super red leaves you see all over TikTok, aim for towards the end of November.
Just keep in mind that autumn is also a popular tourist season, so expect crowds and book your accommodations early.
Winter (December to February)
Last but by no means least we have winter! If you’re a snow enthusiast, you’re in for a treat! Japan’s northern regions like Hokkaido are a winter wonderland with world-class skiing.
And let’s not forget the magical winter backdrops and onsen (hot spring) baths to warm up. The temples in Kyoto are especially gorgeous with dustings of snow.
Just be ready for very cold temperatures, and some rural areas may slow down during the off-season.
So, there you have it – Japan is an all-year-round wonder.
It’s about what kind of magic you want to experience. Each season offers a unique glimpse, so choose the time that resonates most with you. Whether you’re chasing cherry blossoms or cozying up in a winter wonderland, Japan’s stunning year-round.
How to Get Around Japan: 4 Weeks In Japan Itinerary
Alright, let’s talk about one of the key elements of any epic Japanese journey – how to get around this magnificent country.
On your 4 weeks in Japan itinerary you will need to get around by a number of different transport options, let’s cover what to expect.
Trains, Trains, Trains!
Japan’s world-renowned train system is a traveller’s dream come true.
With the above itinerary, I would highly recommend opting for the Japan Rail Pass, which offers unlimited travel within a specific timeframe.
Alternatively, the Shinkansen (bullet train) is not only incredibly fast but also reliable and efficient. They can zip you between major cities like Kyoto and Tokyo in no time.
If you’re unsure whether you should buy the JR Rail Pass or not I recommend working out which trains you will need to catch on your trip and tally up the cost to compare it with the JR Rail Pass cost. That’s what I did at least and ensured I got the best bang for my buck.
Local Trains and Subways
Within cities, local trains and subways are your go-to options. They are convenient and well-connected, making it a breeze to explore the city neighbourhoods.
As someone who was nervous about getting around Japan coming from not having much experience with subways, trains etc. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I navigated the system.
There are loads of signs (in English too) and Google Maps transport recommendations will be your best friend as they detail the train lines, how many stops and which exits to take.
Don’t forget to grab an IC card for easy, cashless payments. I recommend you download the Suica card straight to your phone before you go and top up with money as you go. It’s super simple, to grab your Suica card on an iPhone (I assume Android is similar but I can’t confirm) follow these steps!
- Open your iPhone Wallet
- Click the + in the top right corner
- Select Transit Card
- Search for Suica
- Load some Yen using Apple Pay
- Top it up as you go!
It’s that simple! Then just tap the card on the subway gate readers when you enter and exit and you’re good to go.
For reaching spots where trains aren’t an option, buses are your friends. Particularly when getting around Kyoto, buses are your best bet.
I find catching buses more overwhelming than trains and subways as you need to know when to get off, sometimes just by looking out the window. I found the buses, particularly in Kyoto to be easy to navigagte as there were screens and announcements (in both English and Japanese) that detailed the upcoming stops, just like subways and trains do.
Just make sure you hop on the bus on the correct side of the road! Once again, Google Maps will be your best friend for not only working out which side of the road your bus stop is but also when to hop off if there are no prompters.
On your trip, you may need to take some domestic flights, for example, getting to Okinawa.
Japan’s airlines offer an efficient network that in my experience is always on time. I also found the flights to be fairly priced.
To reach the beautiful islands of Japan, you might need to hop on a ferry. It’s a unique experience, and the scenic views are simply breathtaking.
If you want the ultimate freedom to explore at your own pace, you can rent a car.
However, driving in Japan is on the left side of the road and the roads are pretty chaotic, so keep that in mind! I personally would only recommend renting a car outside of the major cities as parking will be limited and driving will be too stressful.
I rented a car in Miyakojima which is pretty much the only way to get around and I had an excellent experience. My family has also rented a car in Hokkaido for a ski trip.
The rental services are super professional and fairly priced and as an Aussie, I am used to driving on the left. Highly recommend!
Walking and Cycling
Get ready to walk a lot! I’m talking 10,000 – 20,000+ steps per day. Comfortable shoes are non-negotiable, trust me your feet and legs are going to be sore if you’re like me and don’t walk very often!
You’ll also find that a lot of people ride bikes in Japan which can be a fun way to get around, particularly if you’re sick of walking. There are plenty of bike rental companies throughout the cities, just do some quick research to find options nearby.
FAQ’s: 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary
Moving onto some commonly asked questions about crafting the perfect 4 weeks in Japan itinerary!
Is 1 month too long in Japan?
Well, that’s the beauty of it – a month in Japan allows you to soak up all the country has to offer, from its buzzing cities to gorgeous countryside.
It’s not too long; it’s an opportunity to explore the depths of this incredible nation.
There truly is so much to see in Japan, and after this 4 weeks in Japan itinerary you’ll still be left wanting more!
How much money do you need for 1 month in Japan?
Budgets can vary, but as a rough estimate, many travellers on a mid-range budget find that $4,750 – $7,800 AUD ($3,000 to $5,000 USD) can comfortably cover expenses for a month, including accommodations, food, and activities.
That being said, it’s always wise to tailor your budget to your personal preferences. You can certainly spend less on your trip to Japan, or more if you’re seeking the ultimate luxury holiday!
Is $5000 enough for a two-week trip to Japan?
Absolutely! With $5,000 for a two-week trip, you can have a fantastic time exploring Japan.
You’ll have room for comfortable accommodations, delicious dining experiences, and memorable adventures.
The Wrap-Up: 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary
And there you have it, you’ve just completed a whirlwind 4 weeks in Japan itinerary, from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene shores of Okinawa.
This 4-weeks in Japan itinerary has taken you on a rollercoaster of cultural discoveries, natural wonders, and unforgettable moments. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, you’ve delved deep into the heart and soul of Japan.
I hope you are excited about the incredible paths that lie ahead. Get ready for Japan to leave its mark on you – your heart will be full of adventure and your camera roll full of memories.