Over 37 million people live in the Japanese capital. Here, you can get a great first impression of Japanese culture, visit countless sights, and experience the “ordered chaos” of the mega-city.
Visit the Meiji Shrine, walk through the Yoyogi Park, and stroll around Harajuku, the city’s trendy shopping district. Get to know traditional Japan in the Nakasu-Kawabata district with the famous Kushida shrine. Throw yourself into the vibrant nightlife in Akasaka and Rappongi or visit one of the iconic karaoke bars.
We also recommend a full day bus tour from Tokyo to Mount Fuji – the highest mountain in Japan. Discover its picturesque beauty and the surrounding Fuji Five Lakes region. Experience the mountain in all seasons in Fuji Airways' 4D flight simulator and visit Lake Kawaguchi and some of the ponds in Oshino Hakkai. Explore a ninja-themed village and enjoy a delicious Japanese lunch at Oshino Shinobi no Sato. Including transfer, entrance fee, guide, and food, you can book the Fuji tour starting from 92 euros.
Stay overnight in Tokyo at a hostel for 20 euros in a 10-bed dorm.
A visit to the former capital is an absolute must-do on every trip to Japan. Countless historical buildings and over 1,000 temples invite you to take a journey back in time. The Kinkaku-ji (or Golden Pavilion) and the Fushimi Inari shrine with thousands of orange gates are especially popular.
Visit the temple complex of Kodaiji, surrounded by a zen garden and bamboo forest, and Gion, one of the last remaining geisha districts in Japan. Every spring, the Japanese celebrate the beauty of life with hanami, the practice of viewing of cherry blossoms. Kyoto has very popular places for this spectacle because of its numerous cherry trees.
The city is full when the trees are in bloom, so you should definitely book a room in advance. Save a few bucks and stay in a six-bed dorm for 23 euros.
Your journey continues by bus to Hiroshima. Many people usually associate this city with the atomic bombing in 1945. Even today, monuments such as the Peace Memorial Park, National Peace Memorial Hall, and A-Bomb Dome remind us of the former destruction of the city. Hiroshima Castle, which was rebuilt after the original was destroyed in 1945, is also worth seeing.
Hiroshima’s surroundings also offer numerous attractions. Visit the impressive Kintai Bridge south of the city or take a trip to Miyajima Island, located in Hiroshima Bay. On this island, you’ll find the famous Itsukushima Shrine with the Torii Gate standing proudly in front – one of the most common photos of Japan.
An overnight stay in a hostel costs 23 euros for a six-bed dorm.
The Shinkansen Express takes you from Hiroshima to Kumamoto for 60 euros. The landmark of the city is the reconstructed Kumamoto Castle, seated atop a hill. The impressive building was set on fire during the Satsuma rebellion in 1877. Today, it’s the city’s most popular attraction and is shining again in its former splendour, despite some ongoing renovations due to the 2016 earthquake.
Sleep at a hotel for 24 euros in one of the typical capsule rooms – a must do in Japan.
Next stop on your trip is Kagoshima. Take the Shinkansen Express for about 30 euros from Kumamoto to this seaside city on Japan's Kyushu Island. Once in Kagoshima, stroll through the Tenmonkan shopping district, visit the Kagoshima City Aquarium or check out the picturesque Kagoshima Bay, where you might be lucky enough to see dolphins.
The most popular attraction of this port city is Sakurajima Island, which can be reached by ferry. The 1,117-meter-high Sakurajima Volcano is still active today and its underground magma creates numerous hot springs – some of which are open for swimming. The majestic silhouette of the volcano is best admired from the Arimura Lava or Yunohira observatories.
Spend the night in a guest house in a six-bed dorm for 17 euros.
Flights to Okinawa from Kagoshima start at as little as 100 euros. The Okinawa Prefecture consists of 160 islands, 49 of which are inhabited. Because of the turquoise-blue water, the dreamy beaches, enchanting landscapes, and the year-round warm climate, the Okinawa Islands are truly breath-taking, but (thankfully) are much quieter than most holiday destinations and fascinate visitors with the unique changing colours of the sea. This is especially beautiful in the north of the main island, Okinawa Honto, where the emerald-green sea meets the snow-white sand of Emerald Beach.
Visit Moon Beach and try out various water sports such as diving, water skiing, surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, and windsurfing. Explore the neighbouring islands, go whale-watching, and take a glass-bottom boat ride.
On Okinawa Honto, you can pay 21 euros for a night in a ten-bed dorm at a hostel.
Flights back to Tokyo (where you can get your return flight home) start from 50 euros.