Last year, one of my best friends went through a pretty rough divorce. To give him something to look forward to, I offered to take him anywhere in the world he wanted to go. “Japan,” he said, “but I want to see the Great Wall first.”

So here we go! Below is our general itinerary, though some of our day trips are on days yet to be determined.

Day 1 – Arrive in Beijing

Our flight gets in at 5:30am, so we will drop our stuff off at our hotel and spend as much of the day sightseeing as we are able to stay awake for. The Forbidden City tops that list

Day 2 – Beijing

We have a private tour guide and van to go see the Great Wall! Afterwards, we will feast on Peking Duck.

Day 3 – Travel to Tokyo

This will be our first chance to experience Japan’s rail system. I’m kind of stoked for that!

Day 4-7 – Tokyo

We have a ton of activities planned, including some amazing meals, samurai lessons, museums, and a day trip to Hakone to soak in a spa.

Day 8-12 – Kyoto

Temples, gardens, more amazing meals… Kyoto is the place I am most excited to see. We will also take day trips to Kobe and Nara.

Day 13 – Osaka

Thanks to my Chase IHG credit card and its annual free night, we have a $1000 room at the InterContinental for the cost of NOTHING!

Day 14 – Return home

If you have been to any of these places, please comment with suggestions of things not to miss. I’ll be posting some from the trip, so please follow along!

Featured image of Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo by Chris Jongkind / National Geographic

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