The Ultimate 3 Week Japan Itinerary: A Detailed Day by Day Guide for 2023
by Coco Tran On October 14, 2023
After extensive research and first-hand experience, I’ve created the ultimate day-by-day Japan itinerary for an unforgettable 3 week Japan itinerary for your trip. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your vacation, from what to pack, transportation, budgeting, etiquette, and more. Let’s dive in!Japan has been on my bucket list for years, and I finally had the chance to spend 3 weeks exploring the incredible country. With rich history, stunning scenery, world-class cuisine, and fascinating culture around every corner, Japan exceeded my expectations.
The Ultimate 3 Week Japan Itinerary: A Detailed Day by Day Guide for 2023
Japan is a country of contrasts. Hypermodern skyscrapers sit next to ancient temples, and cutting-edge technology blends seamlessly with age-old traditions. It’s no wonder Japan has become one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. However, with so much to see and do, planning a trip can feel overwhelming.
This comprehensive 20 day 3 week Japan itinerary will help you maximize your time and experience the best this incredible country has to offer. I’m sharing two itineraries with you, one is a suggested itinerary with more historical sights, and the other is my own itinerary! Keep in mind that these itineraries are for efficiency, if you’d like a more slow paced itinerary you can remove places from the itinerary.
We’ll start in the electrifying capital Tokyo then make our way to highlights like Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and more. You’ll get to try world-famous Japanese cuisine, soak in hot springs, explore futuristic cities, wander through zen gardens, and immerse yourself in fascinating centuries-old culture.
By the end, you’ll have seen Japan’s essential destinations and hidden gems without rushing around. Let’s begin!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
In This Article: Table of Contents
Best Time to Visit Japan
First, let’s go over the best times to visit to help plan your 3 weeks in Japan. The weather varies greatly across the country, but here are a few key considerations:
- Spring (late March – May): Cherry blossom season! See sakura trees in full bloom across Japan. Mild weather. Busy and expensive time.
- Summer (June – August): Hot and humid across most of Japan. Festivals and events. Risk of typhoons.
- Autumn (September – November): Pleasant weather and fall foliage. Fewer crowds and cheaper prices.
- Winter (December – February): Cold but sunny weather. Ski season in the north. Lowest prices and crowds.
I spent my 3 weeks in mid-September to early October and found the weather comfortable and crowds manageable. However, spring’s cherry blossoms are incredible if you don’t mind higher prices. Avoid summer’s heat and rains unless you’re set on a festival. For the smallest crowds, visit in winter.
No matter when you go, Japan offers fantastic experiences! Just come prepared with the right clothing. Now let’s get to the fun part – the itinerary!
Japan 3 Week Itinerary Overview
This route through Japan hits many highlights and includes time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and other popular areas while also letting you explore off-the-beaten path spots.
We’ll start in Tokyo then visit scenic Hakone and majestic Mount Fuji. From there, we head to cultural Kyoto and Nara before partying in lively Osaka. Next is the famous Himeji Castle, followed by moving Hiroshima and its nearby island Miyajima.
The second half of the trip focuses on Japan’s scenic countryside like lovely Takayama, historic Shirakawago, and charming Kanazawa. We end by returning to Tokyo before flying home.
Here’s an overview of the 3 weeks itinerary Japan (option 1 With more historic Locations and sites)
- Days 1-5: Tokyo
- Day 6: Hakone & Mount Fuji
- Days 7-8: Kyoto
- Day 9: Nara (Day trip from Kyoto)
- Days 10-11: Osaka
- Day 12: Himeji (Day trip from Osaka)
- Days 13-14: Hiroshima & Miyajima
- Days 15-16: Takayama & Shirakawago
- Day 17: Kanazawa
- Days 18-20: Tokyo
- Day 21: Fly home from Tokyo
This covers most of Japan’s highlights at a relaxed pace. You can customize it based on your interests, budget, and time. Next, I’ll share essential trip-planning tips and resources before we dive into the daily details!
Before You Go: Japan Travel Tips
To have the best time in Japan, here are my top travel tips:
- Japan Rail Pass: This allows unlimited travel on all JR trains including bullet trains for 1, 2 or 3 weeks. It can save money if traveling long distances. Calculate if it’s worth it here.
- Individual Tickets: You can buy single trip tickets at stations for bullet trains and regular trains. More flexibility but can get pricey.
- Buses: Cheaper for shorter trips. Best for areas not serviced by rail.
- Subway: Large cities like Tokyo and Osaka have subway networks. Easy to use.
- Taxis: More expensive but useful for short distances when you have luggage.
Japan trip planning tips
- book your mai attractions 1-2 months out
- book hotels 3-4 months ahead
- fly into Haneda and out of the last leg of your trip also known as an open jaw ticket
When using public transportation, get an IC card like Pasmo or Suica to easily pay for subways, buses and trains. They can be purchased at stations. Google Maps works well for navigating the transit systems.
Accommodation In Japan
Japan offers a wide range of lodging options to fit any budget. Here are a few to consider:
- Hotels: Reliable and range from budget basics to luxury. Best options in big cities.
- Ryokan: Traditional inns with Japanese-style rooms, onsen baths, and excellent service. Ideal for a cultural experience.
- Hostels: Affordable dorms and private rooms. Great for meeting fellow travelers.
- Capsule Hotels: Unique option where you sleep in a small pod-like capsule. Common in Tokyo.
- Airbnb: Apartment and home rentals which can be cheaper than hotels.
Book accommodations early, especially for popular areas during busy seasons. I recommend researching locations carefully to ensure they are convenient. Now, let’s go over what to pack!
Packing List for japan
See my ultimate Japan Packing list : the right items for Japan will make your trip more comfortable. Here are the essentials to include:
- Light jacket: For cooler weather and air-conditioned indoor areas.
- Rain jacket: Essential during Japan’s rainy season (June-July). Bring compact umbrella too.
- Comfortable walking shoes: You’ll walk a lot! Avoid high heels.
- Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.
- Small bag/daypack: To carry essentials while sightseeing.
- Face masks: Wearing masks is common in Japan when unwell. Bring a supply.
- Hand sanitizer & wipes: Useful to have on trains and when out exploring.
- Electronics: Japan uses 220V outlets, so bring a travel adapter.
- Copies of passport/ID: To have on hand if needed.
- Prescription medications: Bring enough for your whole trip.
Pack light layers that can be added or removed and limit yourself to 1 suitcase and 1 small daypack to avoid inconveniences.
Other Japan Articles
Budgeting for Japan Itinerary 3 weeks
How much does a 3 week trip to Japan cost? With strategic planning, you can experience Japan’s amazing sights for around $5,000 USD per person excluding airfare. Here’s a rough daily budget:
- Accommodation: $80-150 for mid-range hotels/inns per night
- Food: $30-60 per day for meals
- Transportation: $30-70 per day for trains, buses, subways
- Activities & Entertainment: $50-100 per day for attractions, shows, etc
Prices go up during peak seasons like cherry blossom season. You can save with cheaper lodging, avoiding fancy restaurants, and using rail passes efficiently. Extra shopping, nightlife, and activities increase costs too. Budget more if you prefer 4-5 star hotels and luxury experiences.
Japan Travel Useful Apps and Websites
These essential apps and websites will help you navigate Japan: see my top 10 must have apps for japan
- Google Maps: Excellent for public transport and walking directions. Download offline maps before your trip.
- Navitime: Online train scheduler and route finder. Helpful for planning trips.
- JapanRailPass app: Booking and managing Japan Rail Passes on the go.
- WiFi rental services: Pocket wifi rental and Sim Card
- Klook & Get Your Guide: Book discounted attraction tickets before your trip.
- TripAdvisor, Japan Guide: Research top-rated activities and read reviews.
Japan Etiquette and Customs
Japan has some important social customs to know: See my all things you need to know Japan travel guide
- Remove shoes when entering homes and certain temples/restaurants.
- Bowing is the traditional Japanese greeting.
- Punctuality is taken seriously. Arrive on time or early.
- Quiet voices are appreciated on public transport and indoors.
- Cover tattoos and avoid overt public affection. Tattoos have a negative image.
- Bathing etiquette like washing before entering onsen hot spring baths.
- Say “itadakimasu” before eating and “gochisosama” after eating to show gratitude.
Following the local etiquette will make your trip smoother and show respect for Japanese culture. The language barrier can be tough but you can get by with simple English, hand gestures, and translation apps. Locals will appreciate you making an effort.
Now that you know the basics, let’s get to the fun part – the daily itinerary!
3 Week Japan Itinerary – Itinerary Japan 3 weeks
Grab your suitcase and let’s start our Japanese adventure! Here’s a detailed day-by-day plan to see the best of Japan in 3 weeks:
Tip: this itinerary follows the easy transportation on JR rail pass and is in order where it makes most sense
5 day Tokyo Itinerary // Japan three week itinerary
We’ll kick things off in Japan’s vibrant capital – Tokyo!
With over 13 million residents, this metropolis has something for everyone. Cutting-edge technology blended seamlessly with age-old traditions. You could spend weeks here alone, but 5 days hits many highlights.
- Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda airport
- Pick up Japan Rail Pass and pocket wifi if using
- Take train or airport shuttle bus to hotel
- Check in then stroll around area near your hotel
- Evening walk through Shibuya’s famous Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing is an iconic Tokyo sight with crowds of pedestrians crossing simultaneously when lights change. Grab an overhead view from Shibuya Sky observation deck. Get your first taste of Tokyo’s dazzling neon-lit streets.
- Meiji Shrine
- Harajuku shopping district
- Shinjuku Gyoen garden
- Shinjuku area
Start at serene Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Stroll down Takeshita Street in the high-energy Harajuku youth fashion district nearby.
Next, unwind at Shinjuku Gyoen – a beautiful garden with greenhouses, bridges and shrines. Finish in Shinjuku’s restaurants and izakaya pubs. Try skewers at Omoide Yokocho (“Memory Lane”).
- Asakusa Senso-ji Temple
- Nakamise Shopping Street
Soak in Japanese culture at Asakusa’s 7th-century Buddhist Senso-ji Temple. Browse handicrafts and snacks at Nakamise Shopping Street leading to it.
Then check out the anime, manga, and gaming paradise of Akihabara electronic town. Visit a maid cafe for a unique experience!
- TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum
- Odaiba area
Immerse yourself in TeamLab Borderless’s cutting-edge interactive digital art installations. This popular Tokyo attraction is located in the modern Odaiba district.
Afterwards, relax at seaside Odaiba Kaihin Park. Visit shopping malls like DiverCity, VenusFort, and Aqua City. Check out the life-sized giant Gundam statue!
End with amazing night views of Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay.
- Tsukiji Fish Market
- Hamarikyu Gardens
- Ginza shopping district
Fuel up at Tsukiji outer market with the freshest sushi and seafood. Next, unwind in Hamarikyu’s tranquil ponds and tea houses.
Then walk through upscale Ginza to window shop designer boutiques and the Sony Building. Check out kabuki theater, art galleries, and restaurants.
Spend your last evening enjoying Tokyo’s exciting nightlife and dining scenes.
Day Trips from Tokyo
Tokyo offers endless things to do. If you have extra time, consider these fantastic day trips:
- Nikko – Gorgeous shrines, temples and nature in the mountains.
- lake Kawaguchi- onsen and amazing views of Mt Fuji
- Hakone – Breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and natural hot springs.
- Kamakura – Seaside town with ancient shrines, temples, and a giant Buddha statue.
- Mt Takao – Hiking trails with panoramic views just outside Tokyo.
I’ll cover Nikko, Hakone and Mount Fuji later in this itinerary. For now, next we head south to Hakone!
Days 6-7: Hakone & Mount Fuji // japan 3 week itinerary
Escape the big city for magnificent mountain landscapes in Hakone and majestic views of Mount Fuji – Japan’s tallest peak and an iconic national symbol.
- Bullet train from Tokyo to Odawara
- Hakone loop bus tour or free pass
- Hakone Shrine and Lake Ashi
- Check in at ryokan with onsen
Ride the shinkansen about 1 hour to Odawara then take a local train to Hakone-Yumoto. Pick up your Hakone Free Pass for unlimited use of trains, buses, cable cars and more today.
Visit the famous red torii gate of Hakone Shrine rising from the lake. Cruise across Lake Ashi. Check into your ryokan and relax in soothing hot spring baths.
TIPS: For amazing views, take the Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani gondola ride up the mountain. Visit the Hakone Open Air Museum’s sculptures.
- More of Hakone
- Head to Mount Fuji Five Lakes area
- Return to Tokyo hotel
Spend the morning soaking at your ryokan’s onsen or doing any Hakone activities you missed.
Next, take a bus to Fuji Five Lakes region on the northern base of Mount Fuji. Visit Chureito Pagoda for iconic views of Fuji framed by a red pagoda. Walk lakeside trails to admire Fuji’s reflection if the weather is clear.
Return to Tokyo in the evening to rest up before continuing west.
TIP: Consider climbing Mount Fuji during summer if you’re very fit and prepared. The hike takes 5-10 hours roundtrip. Or book a Mount Fuji hiking tour for guidance.
Days 8-9: Kyoto // 3 week Japan itinerary
Next up is Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan. With over 2,000 shrines and temples, well-preserved geisha districts and sublime gardens, you could easily spend a week in this former imperial capital. But 2 days provides a solid introduction.
- Bullet train from Tokyo
- Fushimi Inari sHRINE
- Gion district
- Overnight in Kyoto
Ride the shinkansen for about 2.5 hours to Kyoto. Drop your bags at the hotel then head to Fushimi Inari Taisha. Walk under rows of vermilion torii gates winding through the forested mountain.
Later, wander the traditional wooden machiya houses and teahouses of the Gion geisha district. Look for geiko (Kyoto term for geisha) strolling in their elaborate kimono and hair ornaments.
Dine at an izakaya pub in the atmospheric Pontocho alleyway.
- Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)
- Ryoan-ji zen rock garden
- Kiyomizu-dera temple
- Higashiyama district
Admire Kinkakuji’s golden reflection shimmering across the pond. Contrast the minimalism of Ryoan-ji’s meditative rock garden with the crowded plethora of trinkets at Kiyomizu-dera, known for its huge veranda.
Explore old tea houses, craft shops and temples in the Higashiyama historic district. Have dinner in Pontocho or Gion.
Day 10: Nara
Spend a day visiting Japan’s first permanent capital, Nara. Just 45 minutes from Kyoto by train, sights include Todai-ji Temple’s giant Buddha and free-roaming deer.
- Todai-ji Temple and Giant Buddha Hall
- Deer Park
- Kasuga Taisha Shrine and lanterns
- Kofuku-ji Temple pagoda
Feed the friendly deer then admire ancient temples and shrines. See the mind-blowing 15m tall bronze Buddha statue at Todai-ji, the world’s largest wooden building.
Afterwards, return to Kyoto for the night.
Days 11-12: Osaka // japan 3 week itinerary
Lively Osaka offers a nice contrast from serene Kyoto. Visit Japan’s kitchen for amazing food!
- Bullet train to Shin-Osaka Station
- Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
- Dotonbori area
- Osaka Castle
- Umeda Sky Building
Japan’s second-largest metropolis has a lively character. Start at the spectacular Osaka Aquarium in the bay area.
Next, indulge in foodie paradise Dotonbori’s street eats like takoyaki octopus balls and gigantic neon signage.
Tour the exhibit-filled Osaka Castle then ride up Umeda Sky Building’s Floating Garden Observatory for panoramic sunset city views.
Day 12 // japan itinerary 21 days
- Local train to Kobe
- Kobe Harborland and Chinatown
- Himeji side trip
- Return to Osaka
Take a quick train to Kobe to wander waterfront Harborland’s outdoor shopping mall and Kobe Chinatown.
Next, stop in Himeji to visit Japan’s largest original castle before returning to Osaka for the night.
Day 13: Himeji
On your way from Osaka to Hiroshima, stop by Himeji to visit its impeccably preserved feudal-era castle. It’s considered Japan’s most magnificent.
- Himeji Castle
- Kokoen Gardens
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site Himeji Castle, looking pristine with its white plaster walls and stately architecture. Walk through stunning Kokoen Gardens, recently built to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Himeji Castle.
Continue to Hiroshima on the bullet train.
TIP: Purchase a Himeji Castle combo ticket covering public transport from Osaka or Kyoto, castle entry and Kokoen Gardens for a discounted rate.
Days 14-15: Hiroshima & Miyajima // japan 3 week itinerary
Next stop is the moving city of Hiroshima, where past and present coexist. Reflect at the Peace Memorial Museum and see sights around the city. Then take a ferry to Miyajima’s “floating” torii gate.
- Peace Memorial Park
- A-Bomb Dome
- Peace Memorial Museum
- Okonomimura for okonomiyaki
Spend the morning at the sobering yet hopeful memorials of Hiroshima Peace Park like the Flame of Peace and Children’s Peace Monument.
Learn about the 1945 atomic bombing at the museum. Visit the ruined A-Bomb Dome and reflect on ruins left as a memorial.
Try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki savory pancake at Okonomimura building. See Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden.
- Ferry to Miyajima Island
- Itsukushima Shrine
- Mount Misen cable car
Admire the iconic “floating” torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine at high tide then walk out during low tide for photos up close. Hike or cable car up Mount Misen for views. Consider an evening ryokan stay in Miyajima.
Days 16-17: Takayama & Shirakawago // japan 3-week itinerary
Journey to the Japan Alps’ charming highland towns of Takayama and Shirakawago for unspoiled nature and culture.
- Limited express train to Takayama
- Old Town walking tour
- Morning markets
- Hida folk village
Walk the picturesque preserved streets lined with traditional buildings. Browse the morning Miyagawa market along the river.
Visit Hida no Sato folk village to see historic thatched roof farmhouses in the countryside.
Stay overnight in a ryokan with relaxing onsen baths.
- Bus through the mountains to Shirakawago
- Explore World Heritage gassho-zukuri village
- Gokayama Washi Paper Museum
- Return to Takayama
Ride buses past alpine scenery to the remote mountain village of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the unique gassho-style houses with steeply pitched roofs perfect for heavy snowfall.
Learn about washi papermaking at Gokayama Washi Paper Museum. Return to Takayama for the night.
Day 18: Kanazawa
This day takes you to Kanazawa on the northern coast, known for well-preserved Edo-era districts, one of Japan’s top gardens and gold leaf production.
- Kenrokuen Garden
- Kanazawa Castle grounds
- Higashi Chaya historic geisha district
- Gold leaf workshops
Walk through Kenrokuen Garden’s manicured lawns, teahouses and stone lanterns. Explore Kanazawa Castle grounds and around the gates. Stroll Higashi Chaya’s narrow lanes. Watch artisans producing gold leaf, a Kanazawa specialty.
Overnight in Kanazawa.
Days 19-20: Tokyo
Return to Tokyo for your last few days to see anything you missed at a more relaxed pace with less crowds.
Revisit favorite spots or discover areas like:
- Ueno Park
- Tokyo Imperial Palace
- Tokyo National Museum
- Yomiuri Land theme park
Spend evenings enjoying Tokyo’s vibrant dining, karaoke, bars, jazz clubs or theater scene. Do last-minute souvenir shopping.
On your last day, eat at your favorite food spots and say farewell to Japan!
Day 21: Fly Home
Take a train to Narita or Haneda Airport using your Japan Rail Pass or transit card. Check in for your international departure flight home.
Sayonara from Japan!
3 week japan Itinerary (my itinerary)
My itinerary is a bit short of 3 weeks, it was a total of 19 days in Japan and included day trips and lots of time in Kyoto and a Tokyo which an emphasis on good food, ancient temples, and the newest and best attractions.
Summary of my 3 weeks in Japan :
- Tokyo (5 nights)
- Day trip to Lake Kawaguchi
- Kanazawa (2 nights)
- Takayama (2 nights)
- Kyoto (5 nights)
- Day trip to Nara
- Hakone (1 night)
- Tokyo (1 night)
Key attractions and sights:
- Tokyo – Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, Akihabara, Tsukiji
- Lake Kawaguchi – Chureito Pagoda, views of Mt Fuji
- Kanazawa – Kenroku-en Garden, geisha districts
- Takayama – Old Town, morning markets
- Kyoto – Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Golden & Silver Pavilions, Nishiki Market
- Nara – Todai-ji Temple, Nara Park deer
- Hakone – onsen, views of Mt Fuji
Detailed Itinerary : 3 weeks Japan Itinerary (16 days in Japan)
Day 1 – Tokyo
- Arrive Haneda Airport 5pm
- Airport bus to Shinjuku Station
- Check in to Shibuya Port House
- Dinner in Shinjuku – yakitori & ramen
Day 2 – Tokyo
- Explore Shinjuku in the morning
- Sushi lunch reservation at Sushi Tokyo Ten
- Shibuya Crossing & shopping in the afternoon
- Golden Gai at night for izakaya & drinks
Day 3 – Tokyo & Shibuya
- Check out of Shibuya Port House
- Explore Asakusa Sensoji Temple, shop at Nakamise-dori in morning
- Check in to Yuen Shinjuku onsen ryokan in afternoon
- Harajuku & Meiji Shrine in late afternoon
- Dinner at tonkatsu restaurant
- Relax at onsen in evening
Day 4 – Tokyo
- Explore Tsukiji Fish Market in morning
- TeamLab Planets digital art museum
- Butchers steak lunch in Shinbashi
- Akihabara shopping & arcade
- Yakiniku dinner
Day 5 – Lake Kawaguchi
- Early train to Lake Kawaguchi
- Check in to Ryokan Asafuji
- Hike to Chureito Pagoda for views of Mt Fuji
- Relax at onsen in evening
Day 6 – Kanazawa
- Return to Tokyo, pick up luggage
- Bullet train to Kanazawa
- Check in to Uan Kanazawa Hotel
- Explore Kenrokuen Garden
- Dining & nightlife in geisha district
Day 7 – Kanazawa
- Morning in samurai district
- Afternoon train to Takayama
- Check in to onsen ryokan Mozumo in Takayama
- Kaiseki dinner at ryokan
Day 8 – Takayama
- Morning markets in Old Town
- Afternoon bus to Shirakawa-go historic village
- Return to Takayama ryokan
Day 9 – Kyoto
- Morning bus to Kyoto
- Check in to Millennials Kyoto hotel
- Afternoon exploring central Kyoto
- Dinner in Gion district
Day 10 – Kyoto
- Early to bamboo forest in Arashiyama
- Tea ceremony experience
- Temples & shrines in Arashiyama
- Kimono fitting in afternoon
Day 11 – Kyoto
- Photo shoot in kimono morning
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Afternoon free for shopping & exploring
Day 12 – Kyoto & Nara
- Morning train to Nara
- Todai-ji Temple & Nara Park
- Return to Kyoto in late afternoon
Day 13 – Kyoto
- Fushimi Inari Shrine in the morning
- Central Kyoto temples in afternoon
Day 14 – Kyoto & Hakone
- Morning train to Odawara
- Hakone ropeway for mountain views
- Check in to ryokan with onsen
Day 15 – Tokyo
- Morning train back to Tokyo
- Free day for shopping & revisiting favorites
Day 16 – Departure
- Leave Tokyo in the evening
Cost Breakdown: how much for a 3 week trip to japan
Let’s break down the average costs for this 21 days in japan budget:
- Hotels/ryokans: $80-150 per night
- Total: $1600-3200 for 20 nights
Mid-range prices based on double occupancy. Can find budget hotels for $50-70/night or luxury hotels from $200-400/night.
- Japan Rail Pass: $280 for 2 week pass
- Trains/Buses: $5-20 per day
- Total: $500-800
Japan Rail Pass covers most long distance bullet train rides. Additional local trains, buses and subways extra.
- $30-60 per day per person
- Total: $1200-2400
Mix of convenience stores, casual restaurants and a few nicer meals out.
Sightseeing & Entertainment
- Temple/park admissions: $5-15 per site, around $100-150 total
- Shows, nightlife, shopping etc: $300-500
Prices add up quickly for karaoke, arcades, souvenirs etc. Budget more if planning lots of activities.
Total per person:
$3500-6000 USD as a moderate estimate, excluding flights.
Couples can share accommodations and transport costs to lower the per person total. Budget extra for splurges like luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants or first-class train seats.
You can pare down costs by staying in hostels instead of hotels, cooking instead of eating out often, avoiding shopping, and using budget airlines flying into Japan. But I recommend spending a bit more for comfort if budget allows.
Planning a trip to japan:
Ultimate japan travel planning Guide
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