Having spoken to people residing in Tokyo, it’s common for people to come to this part of Japan and only stay here.
We feel there is a lot more on offer in Japan as long as you are going in with an itinerary.
This includes visiting a myriad of places and understanding more about what Japan is known for. Before you book a Japanese hotel, it’s time to start planning and figuring out where you are going to be heading along with where you are going to be landing as a tourist.
We also took the time to learn key Japanese phrases to make sure we could manage in any situation. Before diving into that, let’s take a look at a perfect 3 weeks in Japan.
Best Time To Visit Japan
The first thing is to time your three weeks properly.
The best time to visit Japan is during the fall. This is when the weather is going to be pleasant and you are also going to get to see the natural beauty of Japan in full flourish without having to spend too much.
We know most people want to come in the Spring when the cherry blossoms are out but that is going to cost a pretty penny!
We would rather have you come during the fall and still get to enjoy the beauty of the region.
Itinerary For 3 Weeks In Japan
First Week – Tokyo
Let’s be honest, the average tourist is going to only be thinking about Tokyo.
We know Tokyo is a riveting place to come to and it should be a good chunk of your trip even if you are coming for three weeks. This is an international quality city with a wide array of amenities and things to do.
You are going to have a wonderful time in this beautiful region.
It is a bustling city and you are going to see loads of attractions throughout the day. It’s easy to plan to see all of the attractions in Tokyo within a week.
We would recommend landing at Haneda and then finding a hotel in Tokyo. This will make it easier for you to get to where you want to use the transit system.
To start the visit, you are going to want to head to Shinjuku. We liked this area because it’s a vibrant district that offers a slew of things to do and the general ambiance of the district is also going to win you over.
We took the time to walk through the streets, observe the architecture, and also spend time at the Shinjuku Gyoen, which is a world-class park.
The next step is going to be to head to Udagawacho. This is where you are going to get to mingle with the locals, shop around, and just have a good time with your loved ones if you are going with someone. We loved this area and find it to be quite underrated!
After this, you can take the time to check out the Shibuya SKY, which is a popular spot for those who want to experience the natural ambiance of the region.
At this point, we often tell people to head to Akihabara.
The reason has to do with the overall ambiance of the place including the gaming shops for anime lovers. You are going to find comics, anime collections, retro video games, and more all in one place here. It’s a cultural hub.
Plus, the food is great in these parts, so you are going to have a wonderful time as soon as you are here!
You can also head over to Ueno Park during this time and appreciate its natural beauty. It’s an elegant place and one where you can people-watch if that’s something you wish to do while having a small picnic. We adored this park because the weather was great and it was fun to be in the area during this time of the year.
To continue with your time, you are going to want to give one day to a place such as Ginza.
We loved Ginza because you are going to find top-tier eateries in this area and these are luxury spots with local cuisine that’s going to make your mouth water. We chose to try a lot of the restaurants and cafes in Ginza because it was fun to do so.
You can choose the ones that fit your taste buds to a tee.
Most people will also take the time to watch a show at the Kanze Noh Theater. This is a popular theater in Ginza and it is common for shows to be played here. The crowd is great and it’s comforting to spend time here because the shows are mesmerizing.
The last part of your time in Tokyo has to be spent in Shibamata. We loved this region because it’s such a traditional area where you are going to rarely see people using international standards as a way of living, which can be seen in Tokyo.
Instead, you are going to get a more classical Japanese style in this part of the region and it is fun to experience it for a day or so. We took the time to eat street food and also visit some of the streets in Shibamata to see the architecture.
Day 8 – Mount Fuji
Now that your time is done in Tokyo, it’s time to look at the rest of the nation.
Tokyo is wonderful, but Mount Fuji is an exemplary tourist attraction and quite a sight. You are going to want to check it out because it’s synonymous with what Japan is all about when it comes to natural aesthetics.
Head out to Mount Fuji and take the time to soak in the mountain range. It’s exceptional and if the day is clear, you are going to get some incredible viewpoints of the mountain range.
We would look to take the time to head to the Kawaguchiko Bridge, which is exceptional and is going to allow you to get a tremendous view of Mount Fuji in one go. We wanted to stop here because the day was good and it was easy to take pleasant photos.
Of course, there are other vantage points in the region too.
Day 9 – Nagano
Now, it’s time to head to Nagano City.
Nagano is a breathtaking place and one that has been cited for its natural beauty and traditional elegance. We loved our time here because we didn’t realize how beautiful the Alps can be from here and just the ambiance is remarkable.
We went in the fall, so the weather was still pleasant in the area, and that did add to our experience. We did a bit of shopping at the Midori Shopping Centre and then also took the time to explore the natural parks in the area.
Day 10-14 – Kyoto
Yes, Kyoto is one of the most popular Japanese cities in the world alongside Tokyo.
Most people are going to want to check out Kyoto and we agree it’s a fascinating place to go to. Whether it is the charming eateries, welcoming people, or just the religious elements in the region, you are going to get a proper dose of Japan in this fantastic city.
We loved our time here and it is one place where you have lots to do.
This includes heading out to the local temples.
We took the time to head to the Yasaka Shrine, which is quite popular in the area and it’s a nice place to relax and just experience the atmosphere. The tranquility of the shrine is fascinating and it’s something you are not going to get to experience in other parts of Japan.
Most people will also take the time to stop at Shijo Dori during this trip. It’s a great place to meet with the locals and just see what they tend to enjoy when they are here.
To continue with your time here, we would also recommend going to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. It’s heralded among the locals because you are going to want to see those bamboos that have been talked about over the years. It’s not possible to see them elsewhere, so it makes sense to check it out here when you get the time to do so!
Day 15 – Nara
Most tourists are going to overlook the elegance of Nara but we don’t think that’s the right choice. As soon as you are in the final week of your Japan trip, it’s time to head out to Nara.
Kyoto is lovely during this time of the year, but so is Nara.
Nara has a special feel because it has ample historic value for Japan and is ideal for history buffs. You are going to fall in love with the beauty of this place and how everything is set up. We took the time to stop at the Todai-Ji, which is an essential Buddhist temple and one that was made a long time ago making it a historic marvel.
You will also want to check another world-renowned Heritage Site in the name of the Byodoin Buddhist Temple. This is another beautiful temple that is well-maintained and worth traveling to during your Japan trip.
We loved our time here because it was another place to relax.
Day 16-18 – Osaka
Osaka is a famous city in Japan and one that is appreciated for being vibrant.
When you are here, you are going to be jumping into the action, which means it’s time to entertain yourself. Osaka is full of life and there is always something to do here.
It starts with the great-quality food you are going to find everywhere you turn in Osaka. The options are endless.
You are also going to want to check out Dotonbori, which is a fascinating spot for those who want to gain a better view of Osaka and experience what the locals enjoy.
We had a great time in Osaka and it was worth spending a few days here.
We highly recommend taking the time to go to the Tenroku Shopping Street. This is one of the most popular shopping streets in Japan and it’s a must-try place for those who want to spend a bit of money and find gifts for their loved ones.
There are so many options and you are also going to gain access to high-grade restaurants when you are here.
For those who want to relax a bit, we would take the time to go to Hozenji Yokocho. This is a delightful spot that has lots of high-grade coffee shops tourists can try out. The region is popular due to its temple, but it’s also great for its food.
Day 19-21 – Kobe
You are going to be getting closer to the end of your trip and now it’s time to check out Kobe.
Yes, this is the same Kobe that Kobe Bryant was named after!
Kobe is a breathtaking place and we find it to be such a high-quality city that gets underrated despite its charming beauty. You are going to want to visit the various attractions in Kobe to learn more about its ample history.
We took the time to start by going to the Kobe Motmachi Shopping Street. This is a historic street that offers a slew of items to choose from and you are going to feel like you are in the heart of Japan when you are here. There are people everywhere and it’s fun to spend your time in the region.
For those who want to be outdoors, we would take the time to go to the Nunobiki Falls.
This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world and you are going to be in awe of its beauty. The photos that you can take here are going to mesmerize you and it’s something you are going to want to take in at least once in your life.
This is all you are going to need for your three weeks in Japan.
Take the time to pick and choose the places you want to go to from this itinerary. Customization can be done by adding a few days to specific cities that are more important to you.
We highly recommend checking all of these out when you are in Japan.
Amanda Harper is a travel enthusiast with 10+ years of traveling experience across the planet. Her passion for writing and travel makes her a walking bibliography on modern-day tourism.