10 Days in Japan
After spending 10 days in Japan backpacking around I felt exhausted but at the same time overwhelmed with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I had successfully checked Japan off my bucket list as well as about 20 other items on my list. After many late nights and early mornings, a ridiculous amount of train rides and a couple night buses later I found myself heading back to the airport thinking if I ever had to do it again, I totally would!!
10 Days in Japan Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka Itinerary
My Japan Travel Itinerary I spent 3 days in Tokyo, 3 days in Osaka, 3 days in Kyoto and then 1 day back in Tokyo for a total of 10 days in Japan. I will briefly cover some of the main attractions in each city I visited but will also cover things like the cost of food, housing and transportation in my other post “How Expensive is Japan?”.
4 Day Tokyo Itinerary
I visited Tokyo Tower, Senso-Ji Temple, Shibuya Crossing, Godzilla, The Tokyo Skytree, Hachiko Statue and the Gundam Wing statue.
Since I was staying in the Seijo area my first night I stopped by Toho Studios where my childhood favorite Godzilla was created. There is also another more popular one not too far from Shinjuku station. It’s located on top of Hotel Gracery where you can see his head sticking out appearing to be smashing through buildings above you.
Senso-Ji Temple is an impressive and popular attraction and for good reason too. This beautiful 1500 years old Buddhist Temoke has been well preserved and is well known for its Kaminarimon Gate with the huge red chochin lantern. This place is truly buzzing with activity and sights to see.
The Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan. It became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010.
When I visited there was a really cool fog which initially disappointed me until I realized how unique it looked from any pictures I had seen of it. The fog and clouds were perfectly inverted around the tower to project the tower light show outwardly into the atmosphere.
You can visit the observation galleria and deck areas for between 1000-3000 yen, depending on your age and the options you choose.
The Tokyo tower is another icon of the city, even as a kid I remember seeing Godzilla tear this tower down in many of the movies and still serves today as a popular and worthwhile attraction for tourists. The observation deck gives you excellent 360-degree views of the city so try and come for sunset if you. This is also part of the Mariokart circuit so you may see them pass you while you’re there. I saw them and it was awesome
Ueno Street Food
You might want to consider stopping at Ueno on your way back from the Tokyo Skytree where the air is full of the aroma of delicious foods from many local and international vendors. The Park and entire Ueno area surrounding the station is full of tonnes of options for foods and fun.
I ended up coming with my Chinese friend Tai whom I had met on couchsurfing.com because I had hosted her and our friend Sue a few months back at my place in Phuket. We also went out to Shibuya crossing which is where the party and all the good bars and clubs are.
Shibuya crossing is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world with up to 1000 people crossing all over the place in this chaotic scramble of pedestrians which is truly interesting to see and experience first hand.
As if I didn’t already love dogs enough, this statue was erected after the legendary dog Hachiko who kept coming to Shibuya Station every day to meet his owner, even 10 years after his death before he too eventually passed away. This dog is the epitome of loyalty and fidelity and is the true embodiment of how dogs are and best friends.
There are also two movies that were filmed about this dog and his owner. The original “Hachi” movie was filmed in Japan while the American version later on by America was called “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” starring Richard Gere.
Gundam Wing Statue
My last but not least visit was to another childhood nostalgic spot where they have a giant life-size Gundam Wing statue. If you’re like me and grew up watching Dragonball Z, Robotech, Godzilla, Gundam Wing or any other Japanese Anime shows then you will want to make your way out to this full-size Gundam Wing Statue.
Located in the Odaiba bay area, you will also be able to do other entertaining things like the ferris wheel or get a view of the city from the other side of the water.
This was the last thing I saw on my last day in Tokyo before heading back to Narita International Airport.
3 Day Osaka Itinerary
Osaka was an excellent getaway from Tokyo and is also the home of their famous dish “Okonomiyaki”. When I was here I visited Dotonburi, Nara Prefecture Deer, Todai Ji, Nigatsu do, Osaka Castle and Himeji Castle.
Dōtonbori is one of the principal tourist destinations in Osaka, Japan, running along the Dōtonbori canal from Dōtonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba district. This place is teeming with food, drinks and fun!
If you want to visit the most beautiful of Japans’ Historic 12 castles then you’re going to want to visit Himeji Castle. Built like a fortress and surrounded by beauty, this white heron castle earned its place in UNESCO World Heritage and is a national treasure for Japan. It is the best surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture.
If feeding and petting tonnes of deer have always been on your dream list like it was mine then you are going to want to head out to Nara Prefecture. Here you can also visit Todai-Ji and Sigatsu-Do as well as many other cools places.
After seeing Himeji Castle first it kind of ruined Osaka Castle for me, although it is really cool on the outside and they even have Samurai walking around. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in WWII so what is there now is a replica and the interior is more of a museum. Himeji castle was 1000 yen for adults and Osaka was 600, If you have to choose between the two then definitely visit Himeji instead.
3 Day Kyoto Itinerary
Kyoto was the last leg of my trip but not the least. This place is where some of the best and most highly anticipated attractions are. I visited the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Nijo Castle, Golden Temple and the Kyoto countryside.
Arashiyama is an incredible experience. Literally walking through the bamboo forest was a unique experience anyone visiting Kyoto should have on their list.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Arguably the most popular attraction in Japan, this incredible display of Japanese architecture combined with Shinto influences creates a stunning spectacle comprised of hundreds of Torii gates winding through the forest paths. Known locally as a place for prosperity and good luck, individuals and business owners donate thousands of yen to have their name or business displayed on one of these famous gates.
Nijo Castle was my least favorite castle but is conveniently located in town so if you’re looking for an easier place for people to visit then this is a good spot to check out.
Kinkaku-Ji aka the Golden Pavillion sits beautifully on a small pond surrounded by a typical Japanese landscape and setting. Well worth the visit if you are in the area.
10 Days in Japan
After spending 10 Days in Japan backpacking around, sleeping on floors, trains, planes, and buses I was pretty exhausted and this trip definitely pushed me to my mental limits at times. From trying to learn and navigate the complex train system to speaking Japanese and hauling around my big bag this was an adventure for the books! If anyone has any questions please feel free to comment or DM me on Instagram @nomadicnava.
Here is a short video of my trip “10 Days in Tokyo“.
10 Days in Japan
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