Short Trips from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka
Explore 35 different model itineraries recommended by non-Japanese travellers from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
Second Golden Route
The journey from Tokyo through Nagoya and on to Kyoto, Nara and Osaka is well travelled and known as Japan’s Golden Route. By making a detour off this route, you can enjoy enriching cultural experiences and see unique parts of Japan. Here are our Second Golden Route suggestions.
The North route: Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa
Experience the history and tradition of Japan in Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa, a short detour to the north of the Golden Route.
DAY 1 Nagoya – Takayama
Takayama is a beautiful, historical town with projecting latticework and eaves of uniform heights.
DAY 2 Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa
Get lost in a World Heritage listed village with thatched roof farm houses built in the traditional gassho-zukuri style.
DAY 3 Kanazawa – Kyoto
Experience the history and culture in Kanazawa, the old capital of Hokuriku.
• Nagoya – 2hr 20min by JR Limited Express – Takayama
• Takayama – 50 min by Nohi bus – Shirakawago
• Shirakawago – 1 hr 15 min by Nohi bus – Kanazawa
• Kanazawa – 2hr 10 min by JR Limited Express – Kyoto
The South route: Ise Shima – Kumano Kodo – Koyasan
Venturing south of the original Golden Route will take you through Mie and Wakayama prefectures on the Kii Peninsula, a very sacred and spiritual part of Japan. Follow in the paths of pilgrims who have been making the journey to this region for centuries.
DAY 1 Nagoya – Ise Jingu/ Toba
Visit Oise-san, a serene and most sacred shrine and the peaceful Toba Bay area, the centre of Japan’s pearl industry.
DAY 2 Ise/Toba – Kii Katsuura (Kumano Nachi Taisha ) – Hongu
Kumano Kodo is one of the only two UNESCO World Heritage listed pilgrimage routes.
DAY 3 Kumano Hongu Taisha- Koyasan
Hike the ancient trail to and around Hongu Taisha and then soak yourself in an onsen (hot spring) to revitalise.
DAY 4 Koyasan-Osaka
Try Shukubo lodging in Koyasan, headquarters of Shingon esoteric Buddhism.
• Nagoya – 1hr 20 min by JR or Kintetsu Rapid Service – Ise-shi – 2 hr 40 min by JR Limited Express – Kii Katsuura
• Nagoya – 1hr 40 min by JR or Kintetsu Rapid Service – Toba
• Kii Katsuura – 30 min by bus – Kumano Nachi Taisha
• Kii Katsuura – 15 min by JR – Shingu – 1hr 20 min by bus – Kuamano Hongu Taisha
• Kumano Hongu Taisha – 3hr by bus – Koyasan (Limited service for summer)
• Kumano Hongu Taisha – 1.5 hr by bus – Tanabe Station – 3.5 hr by bus – Koyasan
• Koyasan – 5 minutes by cable car – Gokurakubashi – 90 minutes by Nankai line – Namba/Osaka
For detailed access in Kumano area, visit Tanabe Tourism Bureau website.