After spending months exploring the Japanese capital, we decided to put together a 7 day Tokyo itinerary to help you better tailor your trip. Japan is a wonderful country and Tokyo really is as colourful as you can imagine. Even though I've seen some incredible places in this world, Tokyo remains my favourite place on Earth. It is an electric city, with unique zen corners, diverse restaurants and delicious dishes. This Tokyo itinerary will take you on a journey through historic quarters, spiritual sites, peaceful parks and thrilling districts. Grab a cup of tea, get ready and let's find out what to do in Tokyo.
7 days in Tokyo Itinerary: 2019 Complete Guide for first time visitors - Contents
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 1
- Tsukiji Market
- Hamarikyu Gardens
- Imperial Palace
- Hibiya Park
- Roppongi Hills
Chiyoda is one of my favourite places in Tokyo because it is the quietest. During the day, it gets busy with salarymen who work in the many offices around the area. During the evening, Chiyoda becomes incredibly quiet, a place of night zen. I don't think I've ever been in the centre of a city and heard no noise. I would have never expected this from the world's largest metropolis. So here is the Tokyo itinerary for day 1, around Chiyoda. We'll be starting off with a visit to the Tsukiji Market, continue around various green spaces so you can relax and get over your jet lag and finally, go to the Mori Building in Roppongi Hills, to admire Tokyo from above.
It's a very good chance that you will be quite jet-lagged and you will wake up super early in the morning. This is what happened to us, so we decided to start our Tokyo itinerary by sampling Japanese food. Where? At the Tsukiji market, of course.
If you wish to attend the tuna auction, you may consider visiting from 5 am. There is no reservation system and there is limited availability on a first-come-first-served basis. The number of visitors to the tuna auction is limited to 120 per day. You can go around and visit restaurants in the inner and outer market which open from 5 am. The wholesale area is not open for tourists until 10 am. There are a few rules to remember when visiting the Tsukiji Fish market: don't bring large suitcases, don't come in high heels or sandals. Make sure to not bring small children or pets, don't smoke and don't touch anything.
Tsukiji Market is just above Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line. Alternatively, it can be reached in a five-minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line. The closest JR station is Shimbashi, from where you can walk to the market in about 15 minutes.
Outer Market: varies by shop, typically 5:00 to 14:00
Wholesale Area: open to visitors after 10:00 am
Tuna Auction: open to visitors from 5:25 am to 6:15 am (restricted to 120 visitors/day)
Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays
They are not cheap but rather high class so you can expect to find great boutiques and well-known brands. The Marunouchi Building is a 37-storey skyscraper. The Shin Marunouchi Building the highest in Chiyoda Ward. It is often called "Shin Maru Biru" for short. Tokyo Station, one of Japan's busiest railway stations and the terminal of multiple shinkansen lines. It has multiple floors full of shops, restaurants, a hotel, art gallery and department stores. It's like an underground mall, where you can easily get lost exploring.
Hibiya Park is a short distance walk from the Tokyo Station. The park itself is rather small, but it features a nice outdoor theatre and a fountain. During the cherry blossom festival, you can see people having a picnic under the cherry trees. It's a nice place for a slow walk, whilst getting over your jet lag. I expect you will be relatively tired, so it's the day when it's wise to take it slow, walk in nature and ease into it.
Once it gets darker, get the subway from Hibiya Park to the Roppongi Hills. Here, you will find a complex of restaurants, an art museum and a skyscraper with an observation deck. Opened in 2003, the 238 m tall Mori Tower houses the Tokyo City View observation deck at its 52nd floor. The observation deck is one of the best places to see Tokyo from above.
Whilst in the Roppongi district you can also visit the Mori Art Museum. This is a great place for dinner as Roppongi is known for its shopping and dining sections.
Roppongi Hills is about a five-minute walk from the Hibiya Line platform of Roppongi Station and a ten-minute walk from the Oedo Line platform of Roppongi Station.
10:00 to 23:00 (until 25:00 on Fri-Sat), 11:00 to 20:00 (Sky Deck)
1800 yen, plus 500 yen for Sky Deck
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 2
- Sumo Wrestling
- Ueno Park
Asakusa was once a great entertainment centre, nowadays being most popular for its Buddhist temple, Senso-Ji. Asakusa is definitely a great place for budget travellers and deal hunters. It's the perfect place for those interested in a calmer side of Tokyo. Start the day with a visit to a sumo stable, understand spirituality in Japan by visiting the Senso-Ji, eat street food around Nakamise Dori and take advantage of shopping opportunities around bargain shops in Asakusa. Finally, make your way to Ueno Park and immerse yourself in a world of culture and history.
Morning Sumo Wrestling (Asakusa)
Start the day with sumo wrestling. Sumo is the national sport of Japan. It is an honour to become a professional sumo player. The players must follow a daily rigorous training which involves exercising in the morning. They don't eat breakfast but only have lunch and dinner where they need to eat over 20,000 calories. Although sumo players earn a small salary, this doesn't cover their monthly expenses. As such, to save money sumo players stay in the sumo stable.
Their routine starts with the morning training practice. The morning practice can be viewed by visitors and I strongly recommend that you attend. To be able to book an appointment, you need to speak Japanese and know exactly which sumo stable allows visitors. They are very strict, hence it's best to ask a local organisation to organise a tour for you. At the end, you will be able to ask questions and even take pictures with the sumo players. We booked our morning sumo practice with Beauty of Japan.
Price: around 12,900 yen per person
Senso-Ji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo. It is located in Asakusa and is a popular tourist destination. I really enjoyed my first trip to Senso-Ji, as I got introduced to the Japanese way of life. I very much enjoy spirituality in Japan and nowhere this was more obvious than in the Buddhist temple of Senso-Ji. The entrance to the temple is free, and there are various souvenirs you can purchase on-site.
Inside the temple, you can draw an Omikuji which is a fortune telling strip. What does your future hold?
Whilst there, remember to check out Nakamise Dori, which is a street lined with shops selling all sort of food and souvenirs. It's also a great place for a snack. Japanese snacks are the best, and you can't go wrong with whatever it is that you try. Sensoji Temple is a few steps from Asakusa Station, served by the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Subway Line and Tobu Railways.
6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March)
Temple grounds: Always open
Once you finished paying your respects at Senso-Ji, allow some time to properly explore the district of Asakusa. Asakusa used to be a leading entertainment district, home to many kabuki theatres as well as various adult only quarters. Although Senso-Ji and Nakamise are the most popular attractions in Asakusa, there are various other shopping streets which I recommend. Shin-Nakamise shopping street is a covered shopping arcade full of goodies and restaurants.
On Kappabashi shopping street, you can find food, furniture, signs, lanterns and uniforms. This is a great place to buy authentic souvenirs which otherwise cost plenty more in the touristy areas. You will find shops dedicated to the restaurant industry, which sell Japanese sharp knives, red and white lanterns and many bamboo accessories. It was here that I purchased many Japanese kitchen utensils. I also found a beautiful and good quality Noren for a fantastic price. I can't recommend shopping in Asakusa enough.
Noren are traditional Japanese fabric dividers hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows. You can find them in front of restaurants and various bars.
Lunch in Asakusa
If you want something traditional, have lunch in Nakasei, a tempura restaurant with a beautiful Japanese decor. Tempura is a dish consisting of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.
Address: 1 Chome−1−39−13, 台東区Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 〒111-0032, Japan
For something a little more casual, try Hyotan which sells monja and okonomiyaki.
Monjayaki is a type of Japanese pan-fried batter, popular in the Kantō region. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients.
Address: 2 Chome-3-14 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan
Today is all about walking, hence I recommend making your way from Asakusa to Ueno Park on foot. It only takes half an hour, but it gives you the chance to wander through those cute, narrow, Japanese streets. Pay attention to the details, notice the flours and plants tucked away in corners and in front of the houses. It is a quiet neighbourhood, with some traditional and quirky homes. In all honesty, this is one of my favourite parts of Tokyo. It feels special. It's not the ordinary shopping oriented, neon-ads place, but a calmer capital, perfect for a stroll.
Once you arrive in Ueno park, there are lots of things to do here. Depending on when you visit Japan, you might visit Ueno to enjoy either spring in Japan, or the beautiful autumn foliage. Ueno is perfect for history and culture lovers, as it is home to several museums including the Tokyo National Museum, the Science Museum and the Metropolitan Art Museum. Don't forget the Shitamachi Museum which shows you how life used to be back during the Meiji and Showa period.
Rent a swan-shaped boat on the Shinobazu Pond, enjoy the sunshine and quiet on the lake and notice the huge Japanese carp swimming all around you.
Visit the Ueno Kiyomizu Kannon Temple, which has been erected as a worship place for the Goddes of conception, Kosodate Kannon. Women who wish to get pregnant, visit this temple and pray to be blessed with a child.
If you are visiting Japan with your family, add the Ueno Zoo to your Tokyo itinerary. Their main attractions are the pandas, elephants and Galapagos tortoise.
In Ueno Park, you can enjoy some delicious street food or even grab a blanket and have a picnic in the park.
Tokyo National Museum
Opening Hours: 9:30 to 17:00 (until 20:00 on most Fridays, until 18:00 on most weekends and holidays). Special exhibitions may have longer opening hours on selected days. Admission ends 30 minutes before closing.
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a holiday), New Year holidays
Admission: 620 yen (permanent exhibition), typically 1000-1500 yen for special exhibitions
Tokyo Science Museum
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 28 to Jan 1
Admission: 620 yen
Metropolitan Art Museum
Opening Hours: 9:30 to 17:30 (until 20:00 on Fridays)
Closed: 1st and 3rd Monday each month (or next day if Mon is a holiday), New Year
Admission: Varies by exhibition
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 28 to Jan 1
Admission: 620 yen
Opening Hours: 9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 29 to Jan 1
Admission: 300 yen
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 3
- Shinjuku Goyen
- Tokyo Metropolitan building
- Memory Lane
- Golden Gai
To me, Shinjuku is one of the most vibrant wards in the whole of Tokyo. It is home to the busiest train station, it has a skyscraper district, a red district and it's a shopper's paradise. If people say that Tokyo is a city of contrasts, it's because of Shinjuku. Start with a stroll in Shinjuku Goyen, one of Tokyo's largest and most beautiful parks. As you've already seen Tokyo from above during night time, explore the skyscraper district and admire the capital from the heights of the Tokyo Metropolitan building. Immerse in a world of exquisite shopping in Takashimaya, before visiting Memory Lane and having a drink in Golden Gai. Finish the day with a trip around Asia's largest red district, in pursuit of adult only Tokyo fun.
Shinjuku Goyen is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. It features various gardens, a greenhouse and several cherry blossom spots. It's a great place during the morning when the air is fresh and the park just about comes to life. There are myriad picture opportunities here. First time I visited Shinjuku Goyen, I spent over 3 hours walking around the park and I still think I could have discovered more.
Opening Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
Closed: Mondays, December 29 to January 3. There are no closing days during the cherry blossom season (late March to late April) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (first half of November).
Admission: 200 yen
Tokyo Metropolitan Building
From the peaceful park, explore the skyscraper district in Shinjuku. The Tokyo Metropolitan Building is only 30 minutes walk away from Shinjuku Goyen. I love the skyscraper district in Shinjuku. Every single building looks incredibly glorious. This is one of the many faces of Tokyo: a modern and cosmopolitan district, filled with classy shops and great restaurants. So why the Tokyo Metropolitan Building? Because you already saw Tokyo from above during night time. It's now time to enjoy this huge city during daytime. Tokyo Metropolitan Building features an observation deck which offers panoramic views of Tokyo. The good news? It's entirely FREE! Although the views are not as epic as from the open-air observation deck on top of the Mori Tower, the Tokyo Metropolitan Building is still pretty popular and rightfully so.
Opening Hours: North Observatory: 9:30 to 23:00
South Observatory: 9:30 to 17:30 (until 23:00 when North Observatory is closed)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time
Closed: North Observatory: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month (next day if national holiday)
South Observatory: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month (next day if national holiday)
Both observatories: December 29 to January 3 (except January 1)
Lunch on top of Tokyo
The Tokyo Metropolitan Building features a restaurant at 202 m above ground. This can only mean one thing: an epic meal with a million dollar view of Japan's capital. It is a bit pricier than other restaurants, but it's worth it. The food is great and the environment is classy.
If you fancy something different, you can find several sushi restaurants in the Shinjuku skyscraper district. We recommend you to try the Standing Sushi Bar (Uogashi Nihon-Ichi).
Address: Japan, 〒160-0023 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 西新宿1-12 河西ビル1F
How do you feel about exploring 14 floors worth of shops and restaurants? The Japanese are experts when it comes to great packaging. They are great at visually promoting their merchandise and be warned, you will not want to leave this shop for a while. There is a tax refund counter if you decide to purchase things from here, so make sure to bring your passport with you. If you need a pick me up snack, there are various cafes throughout the department store and various restaurants on the top floor. Let the shopping fun begin!
Address: 5 Chome-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8580, Japan
Next, on the Tokyo itinerary, it's a walk down the Memory Lane. Also known as the Piss Alley (charming, I know) or Omoide Yokocho, the Memory Lane is a small network of alleyways filled with various eateries. It is a popular place for salarymen who come here to eat the famed Japanese yakitori (chicken skewers). You can enjoy ramen, soba, sushi or kushiyaki. The eateries are small, with a tiny counter and a few chairs so it feels a little intimate. Although there is no opening or closing time for the Memory Lane itself, most restaurants open after 5 pm until late at night.
Are you ready? Because your Tokyo itinerary will take you to Asia's biggest red district. And boy, isn't it colourful and vibrant? Here, you will find myriad restaurants, bars, nightclubs, pachinko parlours and love hotels. There are various adult-only establishments, and we recommend that you look but don't touch. It is known that many places in Kabukicho run by the Yakuza and reckless tourists might be taken advantage of.
If you don't speak Japanese or have a guide to help you here, best to just meander around, enjoy the atmosphere and take some pictures. We recommend you avoid eating in the restaurants here because it's well known the quality of the food is questionable. Explore with caution and beware of exorbitant cover fees and drink spiking resulting in loss of cash and credit cards. For drinking fun, it's best to try Golden Gai.
Golden Gai is a small and atmospheric nightlife district with over 200 bars and restaurants. Most places are small with seats for just a few customers. Note that some establishments cater for regular customers so if you are being refused a seat, don't take it personally. Some will have English signs outside which is usually a clear indication tourists are welcome. Golden Gai opens after 7 pm and stays open until the morning. It will be wise to get a guide with you so you can freely enjoy bar hopping.
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 4
- Yoyogi Park
- Omotesando Plaza
Today is the day to finally see the awesome Shibuya crossing. Featured in so many movies, this pedestrian scramble is incredibly popular. Many tourists come from all over the world, just to cross and photograph Shibuya. There is plenty more to do on the day so your 4th day of Tokyo itinerary will start with a relaxing stroll in Yoyogi park, continue with a crazy lunch full of delicious kawaii food in Harajuku, ease with the discovery of a secret zen spot on top of the Omotesando Plaza and end with the grand finale: Shibuya crossing.
Must see: Check the Hachikō dog, a bronze statue in front of the train station. It is meant to remind us all of the strong bonds between man and dog. Hachikō was a loyal dog and a beloved pet, who came to wait for his owner, every day, in the same spot. They used to walk back home together from the Shibuya station. Unfortunately, one day, the owner died unexpectedly and never made it to the Shibuya station again to meet his dog Hachikō. The dog returned at the same time, every day, for the rest of his life, in the hope to see his owner once more.
Yoyogi Park is a large park in Tokyo and it features the beautiful Meiji Shrine. The shrine was completed and dedicated to Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920. There are approximately 100,000 trees in Yoyogi which make up the Meiji Jingu's forest. If you are lucky, you might see a traditional Japanese wedding. Please make sure to remain respectful and don't intrude.
Once you finished your breakfast at the Tsukiji Market, have a quiet siesta in the Hamarikyu Gardens. The garden was originally built as a feudal Tokyo residence and duck hunting grounds during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The gardens are beautiful year round and are easily accessed from the fish market. It is a great place to try matcha tea and Japanese sweets.
9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
December 29 to January 3
300 yen (Hama Rikyu only), 400 yen (also including nearby Kyu Shiba Rikyu)
Tokyo Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan's imperial family. The inner grounds are not generally open to the public. However, you can visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Note that the inner grounds are open to the public on January the 2nd (to start the year with good omen) and December 23rd (the Emperor's birthday). The Imperial Palace is about 50-minute walk from the Hamarikyu Gardens.
Lunch at Marunouchi
Marunouchi Building, Shin-Marunouchi Building or Tokyo StationAll three buildings are located just 10-minute walk from the Imperial Palace and have plenty of eateries. For the Marunouchi buildings, eateries are usually at the top floor whilst in the Tokyo Station, there are virtually everywhere. Once you finish your lunch, why not walk around the department stores. Both Marunouchi buildings have lots of shops.
There are various other complexes including tea houses and gardens which can be accessed for a fee. Close to the Meiji Shrine, you will see barrels of sake. It's a great place for a few pictures. Yoyogi park is great during autumn, however, it has a relatively low number of sakura trees. The park becomes busy during Sunday, when bands, jugglers and other entertainers come to the park to practice.
The approach to Meiji Shrine starts a few steps from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line or Meiji-Jingu-Mae Station on the Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Subway Lines. The park is always open and the admission is free.
By now, you've seen the zen side of Tokyo, the vibrant Shinjuku, skyscrapers and office buildings. It's time to check out the weird Tokyo, where fashion has no boundaries, kawaii rules the world and bizarre costumes are for sale everywhere. I'm talking about Harajuku, of course. If you ever wanted to wear something out of ordinary, have a rainbow hair and gothic makeup, well this is your chance to do so. Nothing is too weird in Harajuku. This is the place where Tokyo's young residents come to express themselves. Takeshita street is the shopping mecca for kawaii and funky clothes. You will also find several out of ordinary ice cream parlours, the Harajuku crazy pancakes and coloured cotton candy.
Lunch in Harajuku
We recommend the Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyama Honten restaurant in Harajuku. We loved the food here but note that the restaurant can get very busy. The prices are decent and the food is amazing. Address: 4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
For street food try the Harajuku crazy pancakes. They really are absolutely amazing. You can find these pretty much everywhere around Takeshita Street. Want more sweets? Try the Totti Candy Floss Factory, also on Takeshita street. It really looks and tastes glorious. There might be a short queue but it's worth waiting for.
Head over to Omotesando Plaza, which is a few minutes walk from Takeshita street. I'm not sending you on an another shopping session, but to the Starbucks located on the top floor. Grab a matcha latte and find a place to sit down in the garden which offers wonderful views of the city from above. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji. If you wait until the sunset, you will be rewarded with some pretty epic orange hues. This place is super chilled where many young Japanese locals come to just relax with a cup of coffee. You will like it here, it really is an oasis of cool in the middle of Tokyo.
Omotesandō is a tree-lined avenue stretching from the entrance to the Meiji Shrine to Aoyama-Dori where Omotesandō Station can be found. This avenue looks stunning after dark, the shops and boutiques put up a light show. You will find various well-known brands. Visit Oriental Bazaar, a shop located on the avenue which has various souvenirs, including really beautiful postcards and silk scarves.
From Omotesando, make your way to Shibuya crossing. It's about 20 minutes walk. I left Shibuya for last because I wanted you to see it during night time. I love this place, so busy, vibrant and colourful. If you arrive at Shibuya during a rainy evening, then the crossing will become a wonderful sea of umbrellas. It's actually pretty cool.
To see Shibuya crossing from above, buy a coffee in the Starbucks just next to the crossing and wait for your turn by the window on the second floor. It gets pretty crowded so expect to wait for quite sometimes. Another good option is to head over to the train station. There is a passageway which crosses the main road. From the middle of the passageway, you have clear views of the Shibuya pedestrian scramble. Perfect place for pictures.
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 5
- Ginza Shopping District
- Shimbashi Bar Hop
Nothing better than allocating a full day for shopping in Tokyo. And the best place for it? Ginza, of course. It's time to search for an evening outfit as later on, you will be going from bar to bar, experiencing what it's like to drink and eat like a local. If you the budget and want to experience a more cultural side of Tokyo, I recommend purchasing tickets for the Kabukiza Theatre. The Kabukiza is one of the best places to see kabuki, featuring plays almost every day. You can buy your tickets in advance here.
Ginza is the place to be if shopping is your favourite sport. Even if you come to Ginza for a walk around its boulevards, it's still a pretty great place. Ginza is known to be home to some of the most exquisite brands and boutiques, but it also features the largest Uniqlo and various other budget friendly stores. Apart from the shops you can find dotted around the avenue, visit these large department stores: Ginza Wako, Ginza Six, Tokyu Plaza Ginza, Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, Marronnier Gate and Itoya.
Built in 1932, the clock tower of the Ginza Wako building is the symbol of Ginza. You can find mostly luxury items in this department store. Shops are open until 7 pm.
Ginza Six was opened in Spring 2017 and it is the largest shopping complex in Ginza district. It has a rooftop garden and a Noh theatre in the basement (Noh is a form of theatre involving music, dance and drama, originating in the 14th century). It is open daily between 10:30 to 20:30 (restaurants 11:00 to 23:30).
Tokyu Plaza Ginza
Tokyu Plaza Ginza features 14 floors of shopping and eateries. It has a tax free counter so don't forget to bring your passport. It is open daily between 11:00 to 21:00 (restaurants until 23:00)
Mitsukoshi's history reaches back to 1673. This department store was opened in 1930 and it offers all sort of shops distributed over 12 stories. It is open daily between 10:30 to 20:30 (restaurants 11:00 to 23:00).
Matsuya is an 11 story shopping store which features various boutiques, shops household items and travel agencies. It is open daily between 10:00 to 22:00 (restaurants until 23:00)
Marronnier Gate is a shopping complex with three buildings. It features the Tokyu Hands department store which covers five floors. Expect to spend hours around Tokyu Hands. It really is colourful and full of all sort of cool stuff, ranging from cosmetics, through arts and crafts to souvenirs. It is open daily between 11:00 to 21:00 (restaurants until 23:00)
Love stationary? Then let's visit Itoya! We loved Itoya and we thought it's probably one of the best Japanese stationary shops. You can find all sort of papers, pens, art, crafts and paint supplies.
Lunch in Ginza
After so many hours of exploring Ginza's coolest shops, head over to Yurakucho Gado-shita, one of the coolest dining districts. Stretching over about 700 meters, dozens of restaurants are built into the brick arches below the Yamanote Line. Pick an izakaya, grab a beer and rest your legs. You can also find upscale French wine bars if you prefer, as well as funky ramen and yakitori places.
Shimbashi Bar Hopping
You may want to leave your shopping bags at the hotel, get changed and head over to Shimbashi train station. We loved our Japanese bar hopping experience and we totally recommend it to you too. We went out with Kota from Beauty of Japan and enjoyed a super fun Tokyo pub crawl. Kota met us just outside of the station and took us to sample Japanese food at some super hidden izakayas. Honestly, we couldn't have found them on our own! We ate some sashimi and some katsu snack and enjoyed sake. We then tried a really cool, retro drink called Hoppy. We ended the evening with double pints of Whiskey soda. I can't express how much fun we had. If you want to experience Tokyo like a local and truly have an authentic night out, then this pub crawl is definitely for you!
Book your Tokyo pub crawl here.
Price: starting from 4500 yen per person.
Tokyo Itinerary - Day 6
- Kimono Dress
Prepare to enjoy a day of contrasts. Start by experiencing a beautiful kimono transformation, then make your way to Akihabara, a place you either love or hate. Tip: Don't forget to visit a Maid Cafe in Akihabara. Although not many locals go there, it is perfectly cool for tourists to experience them. Once you visit Akihabara, you will notice the place has some dark secrets awaiting to be discovered.
Wearing a traditional kimono
How would you like to wear traditional Japanese kimono? I couldn't wait for this. Since we enjoyed the sumo experience and our bar hopping so much, we also booked our Japanese kimono experience with Beauty of Japan. We met early in the morning and after a short ride on a private bus, we arrived at a beautiful tea house with sliding doors, a zen garden and a pond. You know those incredible movies which feature Japanese wooden houses and samurais? It was like stepping back in time, in one of those movie's sets. It was incredible.
The Oiran makeover took more than 4 hours in total and at the end, we had a professional photographer taking incredible pictures of us indoors and outdoors. Even passers-by were trying to take pictures of us. It made us feel so cool for the day. At the end of the session, we had lunch which was included in the package. We also got to walk around the house, enjoy the pond and take some more pictures at our own accord.
We learned so much about the history of these traditional kimonos and understood the role of an Oiran back in the days. When you go to Japan, you have to add the Oiran makeover (Samurai makeover for men) to your Tokyo itinerary. From all the cultural things we experienced, this was by far the most interesting and special. Although quite pricey, you will notice that many Japanese women come for these makeovers and photo shoots.
Now that you have experienced the cultural and traditional side of Japan, it's time to dress up again, only this time as a manga character. Ok, you don't actually have to dress up if you don't want to, but nothing stops you whilst meandering through the district of Akihabara. Also known as the Electric town, Akihabara is the place to be if you love manga and anime. There is a network of streets all lined with shops dedicated to selling anime and manga collectables. There are also several sex shops in the area, with M's being the most popular.
Spend some time in Don Quijote, a bargain shop which sells everything from cosmetics, through sex toys, to cosplay items.
Address: 4 Chome-3-3 Sotokanda, 千代田区 Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
Day 7 of your Tokyo itinerary will take you outside the centre of Tokyo, to the suburbs of Shibamata, an old school district with an atmospheric network of alleyways. After lunch, you'll go to Odaiba, a man made island in Tokyo Bay.
Tokyo's Shibamata district has preserved much of its townscape, which is reminiscent of old downtown Tokyo. Walk around old wooden houses and indulge in various foods available along the alleyways. When we visited Shibamata we saw no tourists. Just cute old Japanese people, walking and shopping. It has a more authentic feel to it than many other parts of Tokyo. It felt like going into an actual neighbourhood, where people just live and go about their day, without tourists, neon ads or large department stores. This being said, there is still plenty to do here. You will find the Shibamata Toy Museum, a retro place which has arcade games, childhood sweets and plenty of collectables. There is the Shibamata Taishakuten temple and a museum dedicated to Tora-san movies.
Lunch at Kameya Honpo
We couldn't find many places which had English signs outside, so we decided to just enter a random restaurant and point at the lunch menu. We love Japanese food and every time we did this, we enjoyed amazing food without a fail. As it happens, we entered the Kameya Honpo restaurant. And to our surprise, they served one of the best lunches I enjoyed in the whole of Japan. It was that good. The presentation was fantastic too. Needless to say that we were the only non-Japanese people in the establishment but we didn't feel odd. We very much enjoyed it and we would kindly recommend it. On the way out, we also got some dangos. The dangos they sell in front of the restaurant have a flavoured sauce on top. I tried the Sakura, matcha and yuzu (Japanese citrus). The yuzu flavoured dango was the best I've ever eaten.
Take the train back to the centre of Tokyo and make your way to Odaiba. Daiba means fort and before becoming a man made island, Odaiba was a set of fort islands. These were built at the end of Edo Period to protect Tokyo against potential attacks. Towards the second half of the 1990s, several hotels and malls were built and the island began its transformation. Now it's one of Tokyo's main tourist attractions and a popular date night spot with shopping, dining and fun.
There is plenty to do in Odaiba, including the DiverCity Plaza, Aquacity and Decks Tokyo Beach, all awesome shopping centres. If museums are on your list, check out Museum of Maritime Science and the National Museum of Emerging Science. And why not visit the Panasonic Centre and the Tokyo Big Sight, Japan's largest exhibition and conference centre.
Tokyo Rainbow Bridge
Tokyo Rainbow Bridge connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo. During night time, it is beautifully illuminated in various colours.
Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Opening Hours: 11:00am to 9:00am (entry until 7:00am)
Admission: From 2500 yen
Palette Town is a shopping and entertaining complex. Visit the Venus Fort which is a shopping mall built in the style of 18th century Southern Europe, the Toyota Mega Web or ride on the Ferris Wheel (awesome views of Tokyo bay from above). If you are in Tokyo with your family, don't forget to check out Leisureland, a huge complex with game arcades, bowling, slot machines and karaoke.
Decks Tokyo Beach
Shops: 11:00 to 21:00
Restaurants: 11:00 to 21:00 (some restaurants until 24:00)
Theme Parks: various hours
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free (separate admission fees for theme parks)
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 21:00
Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00 (some restaurants until 4:30)
Closed: No closing days
DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
Shops: 10:00 to 21:00
Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00
Closed: No closing days
Museum of Maritime Science
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (or next day if Monday is a holiday), Dec 27 to Jan 3
National Museum of Emerging Science
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
Closed: Tuesdays and December 28 to January 1
Admission: 620 yen
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 21:00
Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00
Closed: No closing days
Toyota Mega Web
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 21:00 (some attractions end 1-3 hours earlier)
Closed: Small number of irregular closing days
Admission: Free (test rides: 300 yen)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (until 23:00 on most Fridays, Saturdays)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 920 yen (entire cabin: 3080 yen)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 23:50 (some parts open 24 hours)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free (attractions are paid)
Tokyo Big Sight
Hours and admission fees depend on the specific events.
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry to Risupia until 17:00)
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday), New Year holidays
Admission: Free (Risupia: 500 yen)
Places to visit outside of Tokyo
Although our Tokyo itinerary is aimed to showcase how amazing the capital is, you can also extend your stay and discover how beautiful the rest of Japan is. You can check our two weeks itinerary in Japan where we explain which cities and regions to visit and why. We recommend spending some time in Nikko. If you love the idea of onsens, then head over to Nagano, visit the snow monkey park and stay overnight in Yudanaka. Of course, don't forget to add a trip to the Five Lakes on your list, to enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Fuji.
To enjoy your stay in Tokyo, it's best to come prepared. Here are some practicalities which will make your trip better.
Make sure you download Google maps and have it available in offline mode. Tokyo is not big on street signs, so without navigating on Google maps, you can be lost in no time.
Although having Google maps in offline mode is useful, you still need the internet to check reviews, find the easiest way to local train stations and figure out how to use the Tokyo subway map. We recommend ordering a wifi device to your hotel before your arrival, to have access to the internet at all times. Trust me, this comes handy. Click to check rental prices for your wifi device.
To travel around Tokyo, get a PASMO or SUICA card. These are called IC cards and you can get them from any subway station around Tokyo. Simply recharge as you go and tap it at the subway gates. It's the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way of travelling around the city.
Alternatively, order your Tokyo metro pass for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
If you have a JR Pass, you can use it on the Yamanote line which is a circle around the Tokyo centre. You cannot use your JR Pass on the subway.
Before arriving in Japan, please take some time to familiarise yourself with customs and manners and try to respect as many as you can. The Japanese have a different culture than the West and as travellers, we should aim to be as polite as possible, as ultimately we are guests in a foreign country.
Don't forget to learn a few Japanese words or at least have Google Translate ready. Please note that not many Japanese people speak English. Don't be angry at them but be patient. Remeber that you are in a foreign country and you must be the one who makes an effort to learn the language. You can download the Duolingo app to learn a few basic phrases prior to your trip.
Are you ready to enjoy your time in Japan? I hope this Tokyo itinerary will help you experience the best of the city! Did we forget something or wish we would add something new to this article? Let us know in the comments section below.
Accommodation in Tokyo
There are plenty of great accommodation options in the heart of Tokyo. If you want to enjoy proximity to most of the city's main attraction, finding a hotel in Shibuya or Shinjuku might be a great choice. Alternatively, you can enjoy the quiet quarters of Chiyoda or immerse yourself in a more luxury option in Ginza. Whether you are a budget, midrange or luxury traveller, we curated our favourite accommodation in Tokyo to make sure you are comfortable and enjoy your stay. Please check where to stay in Tokyo for more options in other, quieter neighbourhoods.