Did you know that Japan is an amazing honeymoon destination? Japan offers everything you could ever dream of for that perfect post-wedding trip, and with an abundance of unique culture, fascinating history, spectacular natural scenery, outstanding hospitality, superb gastronomy and fun activities, Japan has something for everyone. In fact, there are way too many awesome things to see and experience to fit them all into one trip, so where should you begin when planning your honeymoon trip to Japan? Let us help you get started with this 14-day itinerary which has it all: culture, nature, highlights and the most efficient route to make the most of your time!
How to Get Around Japan
The easiest and most economical way to travel between most of the places on this honeymoon itinerary is by train. In Japan, riding the bullet train (shinkansen) is fast, comfortable and ensures a hassle-free experience. Usually, traveling by high-speed rail is expensive, but foreign tourists visiting Japan have the option to buy an all-you-can-ride Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) at a very reasonable price.
Upon arrival in Japan, you can activate the pre-purchased pass and make reservations for all your long-distance rides at JR ticket offices at the airport or any major JR station throughout the country. It’s handy to write down your schedule beforehand, including the dates and times you’d like to travel, to make the reservation process a breeze. Some shorter rides on JR buses or trains within cities can also be done using the JR Pass, but for these you don’t have to (and can’t) make reservations. For train and bus timetables it is easiest to check Google Maps which has most public transport in Japan at hand. It is also recommended to check Google Maps for the current opening hours of all of the sightseeing spots you are planning on visiting.
Accommodation and Bed Sizes
Another piece of advice before we proceed with the details of the itinerary, is about bed sizes in Japan. When you book your accommodation it’s a good idea to double check the details of bed sizes and configurations. Many hotels in Japan, especially the more budget-friendly ones, have small double beds as a standard, usually 140 or even just 120 cm in width. While you’ll probably want to be cozy with your significant other during your honeymoon, these standard Japanese beds may seem a tad too small for many international tourists. Go for queen (160 cm) or king-sized (180 cm) beds for more comfort or opt for twin beds if you prefer.
- Day 1 and 2: Tokyo
- Day 3: Day trip to Hakone from Tokyo
- Day 4: From Tokyo to Magome and Tsumago
- Day 5, 6 and 7: Kyoto
- Day 8: Day Trip to Nara from Kyoto
- Day 9: Naoshima
- Day 10, 11 and 12: Naoshima to Hiroshima via Okayama, and Day Trip to Miyajima
- Day 13: Hiroshima to Osaka via Onomichi
- Day 14: Departure from Kansai International Airport
- Japan Wonder Travel Tours
- Other articles you might be interested in
Day 1 and 2: Tokyo
Congratulations on your recent wedding, and welcome to Japan! You will arrive at either Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport, both well-connected to central Tokyo. Depending on your arrival time, you may have the afternoon or evening to spend in Tokyo. As it’s your first day here and you may be a bit tired or jet lagged from the trip, how about a peaceful visit to a beautiful Japanese garden? It’s a great way to ease into your Japan adventure and to get acquainted with the quieter side of Tokyo. The Hamarikyu Gardens or Shinjuku Gyoen are excellent choices, but there are also a few other gardens that are definitely worth a visit. Choose the garden that is closest to your hotel to make the most of your time and enjoy yourself while you acclimatize to the city. If you still have energy in the evening, why not visit the centrally located Tokyo Tower and admire this iconic symbol of Tokyo beautifully lit up at night? You can also go up the tower if you like, and afterwards you can have dinner in the nearby Daimon area which has plenty of low-key Japanese restaurants where you can walk in without a reservation.
Let’s enjoy day 2 to the fullest! If you want to see all the best sites that Tokyo has to offer in a short period of time, booking a private highlight tour is a great idea. If you prefer to discover the city by yourself, the following areas are not to be missed: Shibuya and nearby Harajuku to experience Japan’s youth culture up close, the famous Meiji Shrine and the traditional area of Asakusa. Visiting these four spots will definitely make for a full day’s explorations.
As this is your honeymoon, tonight might be the perfect evening to splurge on dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant for that special feeling of luxury. Tokyo is known as the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, so there is plenty to choose from. It’s recommended to make your reservation well before arriving in Japan as some places book out weeks or even months in advance. If you’re staying at a 4- or 5-star hotel, the hotel concierge will be more than happy to assist you with this.
Where to stay in Tokyo
Day 3: Day trip to Hakone from Tokyo
Today you’re going on a day trip to Hakone, a volcanically active area with an amazing view of Mt. Fuji on clear days. But even if you’re out of luck and the iconic mountain isn’t visible, there are plenty of other impressive sights to enjoy in this area which is located a 2 hours’ train ride west of Tokyo. Owakudani with its billowing volcanic gas, vast Lake Ashi inviting you to take a scenic boat ride and the Hakone Checkpoint with its interesting history are all places that shouldn’t be missed. And how about a nice, relaxing soak in a hot spring at one of the many onsen hotels before heading back to Tokyo? You can also combine your onsen bath with dinner afterwards, and then head straight back to your hotel in Tokyo for a restful night of sleep.
Day 4: From Tokyo to Magome and Tsumago
On day 4 you will wake up in time to catch the 9 am train towards Magome, a picturesque mountain village on the famous Nakasendo road where you will arrive a bit after noon. Tucked away in the lush Kiso Valley, here you’ll get to enjoy nature and traditional Japanese architecture as you hike the trail between the villages of Magome and Tsumago. The Edo era townscapes are well-preserved in these two former post towns that used to serve as rest stops on one of the old roads connecting Edo (now Tokyo) with Kyoto. Immerse yourself in history and learn more about how Japanese people used to live back in the day. That’s also why we recommend staying overnight here so you can take it easy and spend the next morning walking around the village, feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.
Where to stay in Magome or Tsumago
Day 5, 6 and 7: Kyoto
After checking out of your accommodation on day 5 you will head to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The journey takes around 2.5 hours, so why don’t you buy a colorful bento lunch box to enjoy on the way? If you arrive in Kyoto before 3 pm, you’ll still have time to visit one or two of the city’s many highlights before most of them close for the day. The Kiyomizu Dera is especially attractive at the end of the day and has a romantic terrace providing a wonderful view of the city. Once evening descends on Kyoto, the Pontocho area lights up its many lanterns. We recommend choosing one of the small local restaurants here for a low-key, heartfelt atmosphere.
Day 6 and 7 are reserved for sightseeing in Kyoto as there are so many stunning places to see that even two full days will feel too short. All of these sites offer great photo ops for your honeymoon photo album, moments that you will cherish and want to revisit for decades. Here is a list of spots that you should definitely add to your list:
- Fushimi Inari Taisha: thousands of red torii gates line the winding road to this famous hill-top shrine. It’s open 24/7, so for the best pictures we recommend to go early in the morning or late in the evening
- Kinkakuji (Golden Temple): this shimmering golden temple is truly breathtaking, especially on clear days when you can see its reflection in the lake
- Arashiyama: you can easily spend half a day in this corner of suburban Kyoto, famous for its bamboo forest. Make sure to stop by nearby Okusaga, the atmospheric backstreets of the Sagano area. It’s especially recommended to get around here by bicycle
- Ginkakuji (Silver Temple): Ginkakuji is where an art-loving shogun had his retirement villa. The garden of this relatively quiet temple has a very nice, relaxing vibe
- Philosopher’s Path: take a romantic stroll on this waterside path lined by cherry trees that are at their most impressive during the cherry blossom season in spring. The autumn foliage period is equally gorgeous in Kyoto
- Gion: if you’re hoping to spot a maiko or geiko (geisha) on her way to work, strolling around Gion is your best bet. This is an area with many popular tea houses where geisha are working every evening
Getting around Kyoto is easiest by bus or by rental (electric) bicycle. If you want to travel by bus you can buy a one-day pass at Kyoto Station which enables you to get around cheaply and conveniently.
Would you prefer to walk around Kyoto with a private guide, listening to all the fascinating tales of this marvelous city? This private full day tour in Kyoto is fully customizable!
Where to stay in Kyoto
Day 8: Day Trip to Nara from Kyoto
Today you will go on a day trip to Nara, the ancient city known as Japan’s first capital before it moved to Kyoto. Most of Nara’s famous attractions are centered around Nara Park where you will also find the Todaiji temple with its impressive Daibutsu Buddha statue and the Kasuga Taisha shrine with its many famous lanterns. The large park is also teeming with cute deer that are very friendly with humans and aren’t scared to come close to you. You can buy special deer senbei crackers to feed them, and if you’re lucky you will meet one who knows proper manners and will bow to you before getting a cracker! Naramachi is also a nice area to walk around as there are many well-preserved wooden merchant houses giving the district a distinctly traditional atmosphere. If you have enough time you can also stop by the lovely Isui-en garden, a beautifully made landscape garden that has been around since the 17th century and provides a great backdrop for a romantic stroll.
Want to make sure you’ll see it all and also get all the interesting historical facts and anecdotes that go with the sites? In that case, we recommend booking a full-day private tour in Nara.
Day 9: Naoshima
Today you will take the train to Uno via Okayama and Chayamachi. From Uno, you will board the ferry to Naoshima island. The whole journey takes a bit more than 2.5 hours, so plan accordingly – it’s better to leave early in the day. Naoshima is known as Japan’s art island, and visiting this special place with wonderful modern art set on a scenic island will surely become one of your fondest Japan memories. Enjoy art outdoors as well as indoors in world-famous museums like Benesse House, the Ando Museum, the Lee Ufan Museum and the Chichu Art Museum. In summer, you can swim on Gotanji beach in the south, and if you’re in the mood for a relaxing bathhouse experience in the evening, make sure to stop by Naoshima Bath.
Where to stay in Naoshima
Day 10, 11 and 12: Naoshima to Hiroshima via Okayama, and Day Trip to Miyajima
After checking out of your accommodation on day 10, board the ferry to Takamatsu or Uno and then take the train to Okayama. We recommend making a few hour stop to check out the nearby Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area, a scenic historic district with well-preserved Edo era warehouses that is especially famous for its many canals. Also known as ‘the Venice of Japan’, you can take a delightful gondola ride on Kurashiki’s waterways which is very fitting for a romantic honeymoon. In the afternoon, it’s time to head to Hiroshima where you will arrive just in time for dinner.
The next day you will head to Miyajima on a day trip, a sacred island south of Hiroshima city known for its seaside ‘floating’ torii gate. A hike up Mt. Misen is very much worth it as you can enjoy a gorgeous view of Hiroshima’s bay area from the summit.
You will have another full day to visit all the must-see sites in Hiroshima, including a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. And don’t forget to try Hiroshima’s take on okonomiyaki, a dish that was popularized in this area after the war. A great place to savor this local favorite is Okonomi-mura, a whole building floor dedicated to the savory dish.
Would you like to see Hiroshima and/or Miyajima with a private guide? Then we recommend booking this 7-hour customizable private tour where you will get to decide on the itinerary together with your local guide.
Where to stay in Hiroshima
Day 13: Hiroshima to Osaka via Onomichi
On day 13 you will leave Hiroshima and make a stop in Onomichi on your way towards Osaka. This beautiful seaside town with gentle slopes is located on the famous Shimanami Kaido scenic road. If you like cycling, we recommend renting a bicycle for the day and riding around Onomichi which has served as backdrop for several movies because of its idyllic, traditional atmosphere with winding roads. After enjoying the nostalgic townscapes, it’s time to head to Osaka for a hearty dinner. When hearing the word “Osaka”, its delicious local cuisine is what comes to mind for most Japanese people. Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most lively nightlife districts and is also the best place to try a wide range of typical Osakan foods such as takoyaki and kushikatsu. Make sure to come hungry!
Where to stay in Osaka
Day 14: Departure from Kansai International Airport
This is your last day in Japan! Depending on your flight’s departure time you may still have a few hours to spend in Osaka, so how about a visit to Osaka Castle? As one of Osaka’s most prominent landmarks, the castle, its museum and surrounding park are interesting places to visit and offer plenty of photo ops. You can learn more about the city’s eventful history and enjoy one of Osaka’s few green areas. When it’s time to head to the airport, take a direct bus from Osaka Station which will get you to Kansai International Airport in less than an hour.
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots!
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if yu have any questions or need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides!
▶Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.
▶Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.
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Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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