Help a Reader Travel: Japan

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! Here are some travel tips and suggestions generated from reader comments on things to do throughout Japan. Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 8.19.51 PM

Yesterday, I received an email from reader Jeffrey asking how to plan out a trip to Japan. This post will cover Japan as a whole, and over the next few weeks I will hit on many of the major tourist spots within the country as well. This will include: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, along with any other destinations you’d recommend or want to know more about.

The email stated:

“I am traveling for my first time to Japan and would love it if you could post on my behalf! I have 4 days to explore and the rest is for business unfortunately… I fly into Tokyo and am able to travel via the train system to other cities as well. I would love to see other cities, I just don’t know which ones to go to.”

So let’s help out reader Jeffrey and I am sure many other Deals We Like readers with a recommended itinerary of Japan. The goal of this weekly post is to help readers get a top of travel advice from the thousands of Deals We Like readers.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” weekly special. You can check out past “Help a Reader Travel” destinations here.


The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Definitely must visit Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima all are very close by. maybe invest in a JR rail pass, the shinkansen tickets are very expensive!

  2. If you want to see as much as possible in a week, I’d recommend Osaka and Kyoto. Of course, with only 4 days that doesn’t leave you enough time to see everything in even one city, so you’d have to be very deliberate with your planning.

    If you want to stay based in Tokyo (and given the relatively short amount of time for exploring, that might not be the worst idea), Nikko is a great day trip. While not as famous as Kyoto, it is an excellent alternative for a short trip. Kamakura is also an excellent day trip – less than and hour by train from Tokyo, it’s famous for its temples and giant Buddha (it really is huge).

    Of course, if you don’t mind hopping from one site to the next, I’d recommend Tokyo for 1-2 days, Kyoto for 1-2 days, and Osaka for a day.

  3. We had a great time on an 8 day itinerary that saw Kyoto Osaka and Nagano. If you need an ATM outside Tokyo, go to the post office. Otherwise you are out of luck! All locales were different and interesting in their own right

  4. best exchange rate for atm withdrawing are 7-11 and post office. you only have 4 days so tokyo and its surrounding should be good enough. Someone already suggested Kamakura for big Buddha. You also should go to Hakone for sighseeing and onsen.

  5. 4 days is not enough to explore this beautiful country but that’s plenty of time to see the highlights.

    Kyoto is a great city and you can easily make a day trip out of it. Just wake up early, go to the Tokyo Station and buy a ticket for the high speed train (Shinkansen). It’s a little pricey but worth the experience. I don’t remember exactly but it was probably around $140 roundtrip from Tokyo to Kyoto. The trip is about 2 hours each way and is an unforgettable experience if you have never been on a high speed train before. On a clear day, you can even see Mt. Fuji in the background.

    Once you get to Kyoto, go to the visitor’s center and buy a bus tour of the city. It’s a great way to see the highlights quickly. After that, you can catch the train back to Tokyo. The trains come very frequently. They leave about every 10 minutes, start early and go till the evening hours.

    Have fun on your trip! Let me know if you need anything else.

  6. 4 days is not a lot of time to go too far afield…
    If you decide on Kyoto, online travel agencies like Japanican offer cheaper Shinkansen tickets with hotel options… maybe 2 days Tokyo and 2 Kyoto… but really depends on when you arriving/departing. Most USA flights arrive late afternoon or evening.

  7. I’m now arriving on 11/9 @ 4:00PM Japan Time – I need to be in Tokyo by 7:00 AM on 11/11.

    I’m pretty much booked in Tokyo throughout the week, but after 10:30AM on 11/14 I’m free. My flight back to USA is on 11/15 at 6:30PM Japan Time.

    Does this now mean I shouldn’t or can’t get to Kyoto? Any other recommendations? Thanks all!!

  8. I highly recommend searching recommended itineraries on japan-guide. they have a 4 day itinerary.
    Also, asking in the japan-guide forums will do a world of good.
    I have been to japan 3 times in the past 3 years, for spans of 8 days, 9 weeks, and 12 weeks. Each time Japan-guide was the best resource for everything.

  9. If in Tokyo go to Robot Restaurant for an off the charts evening experience.
    For the 4 days pre-business I would go straight to Kyoto and discover beautiful Japan

  10. I’m also planning a trip to Japan next summer with a goal of seeing Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Glad you are doing this helpful segment.

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