While Tokyo and the surrounding areas are great, a holiday down south around Kyoto and Osaka has its own charm and delights.
This itinerary uses a few bus/train passes for each tourist area, so you probably don’t need a Japan Rail Pass or Japan Bus Pass. For long distances use a night bus.
Cost: 120,000 yen – 140,000 yen per person
Start in the south’s main city, Osaka. If flying in to Tokyo take a bus. Spend the day in Osaka.
Go to Ise, for something way more traditional! Start using a Kintetsu Rail Pass if you can.
Finish the shrines in Ise, then take the train to Nara.
Spend the whole day in Nara, checking out all the temples and shrines.
Head north to Kyoto and use the Kyoto City Bus All-day Pass or rent a bicycle from your guesthouse.
Finish up in Kyoto and finish using your 5 day Kintetsu Rail Pass to return to Osaka.
Take the train to Kobe, and spend a bit of time in a more modern, hip area.
Head south towards Hiroshima, stopping along the way in Himeji to check out it’s world famous castle. Use the cheaper buses if you have time.
Spend the day in Hiroshima.
Take a side trip to the lovely island of Miyajima.
When you have done everything in Miyajima, return to Hiroshima, then head back to Osaka.
Go south from Osaka to the Buddhist mountain retreat of Koyasan, using the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.
Spend the day in Koyasan, then return to Osaka when you are done.
Spend any remaining time to make sure you have done all you want to do in Osaka.