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7 Day Tokyo Itinerary – An Epic Week for First Time Travellers

tokyo skyline with the sun rising
The sun rises over Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan’s dynamic capital, is a mesmerizing blend of ancient tradition and cutting-edge modernity, making it an irresistible destination for first-time travellers. Its vibrant neighbourhoods offer a kaleidoscope of experiences, from bustling streets lined with neon-lit skyscrapers to serene temples nestled among cherry blossom trees.

We were lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in Japan visiting my husband’s Japanese family over the New Year period in Osaka, and we struggled to fit everything in, even with a 7 day Tokyo itinerary.

There is so much to see and do in a city with a rich cultural heritage, world-class cuisine and an endless array of attractions. Tokyo definitely promises to be an unforgettable adventure for visitors eager to explore its unique blend of past and present. It is a trip we will never forget!

From iconic landmarks like the historic Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa to the bustling shopping districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku, Tokyo’s allure lies in its ability to enchant and captivate travellers from around the globe. Whether it’s indulging in delectable street food, immersing oneself in the city’s vibrant pop culture scene, or simply soaking in the breathtaking views from the Tokyo Skytree, there’s no shortage of experiences waiting to be discovered in this dynamic metropolis.

omoide yokocho
Shinjuku

My Tips for First Time Visitors

streets of Tokyo

Packing for a trip to Tokyo requires careful consideration of essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in this vibrant metropolis. Here is an overview of the research we did before going and what we packed:

Clothing: Tokyo experiences distinct seasons, so pack accordingly. In spring (March to May), temperatures are mild, and cherry blossoms bloom, so lightweight layers and a jacket are ideal. Summers (June to August) are hot and humid, so light, breathable clothing is essential. Autumn (September to November) brings cooler temperatures and colourful foliage, requiring light layers. Winters (December to February) are chilly, so pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat.

Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as Tokyo is a pedestrian-friendly city with extensive public transportation. Choose shoes suitable for walking long distances and navigating various terrains, from bustling city streets to traditional temples and gardens. I took my trainers and some boots, but never took my trainers off!

Electronics: Don’t forget to pack essential electronics such as a universal adapter, smartphone, camera, and portable charger. Tokyo is a tech-savvy city with free Wi-Fi available in many public areas, so staying connected is convenient. Don’t worry about getting another SIM or extortionate roaming charges, you can rent a portable WiFi router whilst there.

a girl by a signpost in Tokyo

Travel Documents: Ensure you have all necessary travel documents, including your passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, flight tickets, and hotel reservations. Keep these documents organized and easily accessible throughout your trip.

Cash and Cards: While credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Tokyo, it’s advisable to carry some cash for small purchases and transactions at local establishments. Japan is still largely a cash-based society, especially in smaller shops and restaurants. We found ourselves short numerous times when we couldn’t use our bank cards, especially on the trains.

You will find that vending machines are everywhere in Japan, down back street alleys and on busy crossings. Here you will be able to buy drinks including soft drinks and water, but these are coin-operated. I’m still not 100% sure about this, we spent most of the day telling our Cola-addicted Son he couldn’t have another can!

Travel Accessories: Consider packing travel accessories such as a lightweight daypack, a reusable water bottle, a travel umbrella, and a foldable tote bag for shopping. These items will come in handy for exploring Tokyo’s bustling neighbourhoods and markets.

Convenience Stores: As with most big cities, there was a convenience store (mainly the 7-ELEVEN’s) on every corner. In fact, this is where we spent a lot of time getting our kids food, from noodle cups to Onigiri (rice balls), to our absolute favourites – Pocky!

Rubbish Bins: There are no rubbish bins on the streets, due to a deadly Sarin gas terror attack in 1995. Japanese people take their rubbish home with them, which actually results in tidier and rubbish-free streets!

Hygiene: Carry a small towel with you. Most stations and tourist areas have hand drying, but you might be caught out. I noticed several Japanese women carrying small hand towels to dry their hands, I think this is such a good idea!

Be Courteous: Embrace the courteous and respectful demeanour of the locals. They like rules and regulations, queue for everything from trains to tourist sites, and keep themselves to themselves. However, they are extremely helpful and the customer service was the best I’ve ever experienced.

Removing shoes before entering someone’s home, traditional ryokan (inns), temples, and certain restaurants are customary in Japan. Look for designated areas to leave your shoes and always ensure your socks are clean. Additionally, slippers may be provided for indoor use, so be mindful of switching between indoor and outdoor footwear accordingly.

Tokyo is a densely populated city, and maintaining a quiet and considerate demeanour in public spaces is highly valued. Avoid loud conversations, disruptive behaviour, or speaking loudly on public transportation. Additionally, refrain from eating or drinking while walking, as it is considered impolite.

Getting Around Tokyo

people on mario karts in Harajuku
Maybe not the easiest way to get around – Mario Karts Street Go Karting in Harajuku

Tokyo boasts a comprehensive and efficient transportation network that makes navigating the city convenient and accessible for both locals and visitors.

How to Get to Tokyo from Narita Airport

Getting to Tokyo from Narita Airport, one of the main international gateways to the city, offers several transportation options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Narita Express (N’EX)

The Narita Express, or N’EX, is a popular and convenient train service operated by JR East that connects Narita Airport with major stations in central Tokyo, including Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. N’EX trains are comfortable and equipped with spacious seating, luggage racks, and onboard amenities such as restrooms and vending machines.

The journey from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station takes approximately 60-70 minutes, depending on the specific destination. It offers reserved and non-reserved seating options, with discounted round-trip tickets available for foreign tourists.

Keisei Skyliner

The Keisei Skyliner is a rapid train service operated by Keisei Electric Railway that provides direct access from Narita Airport to central Tokyo, specifically Nippori Station and Ueno Station. The Skyliner offers a fast and comfortable journey, completing the trip from Narita Airport to Nippori Station in approximately 36 minutes and to Ueno Station in around 41 minutes.

Trains are equipped with spacious seating, luggage storage areas, and free Wi-Fi onboard. The Skyliner offers both reserved and non-reserved seating options, with discounted tickets available for round-trip journeys.

Airport Limousine Bus

Airport Limousine Bus services operate between Narita Airport and various locations in central Tokyo, including major hotels, train stations, and popular districts such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro. The bus journey offers a convenient option for travellers with luggage, as buses typically feature ample storage space for suitcases and other belongings.

This is the option we decided to take when we went to Tokyo. It was cheap, easy to find and we got a good view of Tokyo as we drove into the city, even if we were heavily jetlagged! The buses operate on fixed schedules, with departures available throughout the day and evening.

Tickets can be purchased at Narita Airport’s arrival terminals or in advance online, and discounts are often available for round-trip tickets or groups.

Taxi

Taxis are available outside Narita Airport’s arrival terminals and provide a door-to-door transportation option to various destinations in Tokyo. While taxis offer flexibility in terms of destination and departure times, they tend to be more expensive than other transportation options, especially for longer journeys to central Tokyo.

How to Get to Tokyo from Haneda Airport

Getting to Tokyo from Haneda Airport, located closer to central Tokyo than Narita Airport, provides travellers with convenient transportation options to reach the city centre.

Tokyo Monorail

The Tokyo Monorail offers a direct and efficient transportation option from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo, with stations including Hamamatsucho and Tokyo Teleport (Odaiba area). The monorail provides a comfortable journey, offering panoramic views of Tokyo Bay and the city skyline along the way.

From Hamamatsucho Station, travellers can easily transfer to other JR lines or the Tokyo Metro to reach their final destinations within the city. The Tokyo Monorail operates frequent services throughout the day, with trains running approximately every 4-10 minutes depending on the time of day.

Keikyu Line

The Keikyu Line connects Haneda Airport with various stations in central Tokyo and beyond, including Shinagawa, Asakusa, and Yokohama. The Keikyu Line offers both local and express train services, providing travelers with flexibility in terms of travel time and convenience.

Depending on the specific destination, travel times from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo stations range from approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

Airport Limousine Bus

Again, you can get the Airport Limousine Bus services from Haneda Airport to various locations in central Tokyo, including major hotels, train stations, and popular districts such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ginza. Tickets can be purchased at Haneda Airport’s arrival terminals or in advance online, and discounts are often available for round-trip tickets or groups.

How to Get Around Tokyo

a road, taxi, bus and train bridge in Akihabara
Buses, taxis and trains

Tokyo boasts a comprehensive and efficient transportation network that makes navigating the city convenient and accessible for both locals and visitors. It is one of the best transport systems I have ever used; efficient, clean, always on time and frequent.

We contemplated getting a hire car when we visited Japan, as we were visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Himeji and Hiroshima, but after reading several articles and speaking to family in Japan, we realised we wouldn’t need a car!

Subway (Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway):

  • Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway together operate an extensive network of subway lines covering virtually every corner of the city.
  • The subway is fast, punctual, and often the most efficient way to travel between neighbourhoods and attractions.
  • Fares are calculated based on distance travelled, with ticket prices ranging from 170 to 310 yen for a single journey. We used the Tokyo Metro Map extensively when we were there.
  • Passes such as the Tokyo Subway Ticket or Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket offer unlimited rides on Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines for a fixed duration, providing cost-effective options for tourists. We opted for the three-day subway pass which offered unlimited journeys on Tokyo Metro and Toei and are available for foreign visitors only.

Trains (JR East and Private Railways):

  • Japan Railways (JR) operates several train lines in Tokyo, including the Yamanote Line, which loops around central Tokyo and stops at major hubs like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Tokyo Station.
  • Private railway companies such as Keikyu, Keio, Seibu, and Tobu also operate numerous train lines connecting Tokyo with its suburbs and neighbouring prefectures.
  • Trains are a convenient option for longer journeys or travel outside central Tokyo, offering comfortable seating and frequent departures. However, with all the different lines needing different tickets, we often found it confusing and found ourselves paying extra at the gate as we didn’t have the right ticket!

Taxis:

Taxis are readily available throughout Tokyo, but they tend to be more expensive than public transportation. The transport system in Tokyo is so good, I don’t think you will find yourself needing a taxi whilst you are there.

They are a convenient option for short trips, late-night travel when trains are less frequent, or navigating areas not easily accessible by public transit.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

a aerial view of tokyo
View of Tokyo from the Skytree

Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis comprised of diverse neighbourhoods, each offering a unique atmosphere, culture, and attractions. We opted to stay in Shinjuku; mainly because it was central, easy to get to and had easy access to many tourist areas and sights.

Shibuya

 a girl in the centre of the street in Shibuya
Walking around the streets of Shibuya

Known for its energetic and youthful vibe, Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s busiest and most iconic neighbourhoods. It is famous for the Shibuya Crossing and is home to lots of trendy fashion boutiques, department stores, and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Budget: Look at capsule hotels such as Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya (for women) and The Millenials Shibuya

Mid-Range: These hotels cater for business and tourists alike. Try Tokyu Stay Shibuya and Sakura Fleur Aoyama

Luxury: Shibuya boasts several upscale hotels providing lavish accommodations including the Cerulean Tower Hotel and the Trunk Hotel

Shinjuku

shinjuku shopping district
Shinjuku

Shinjuku is Tokyo’s bustling business and entertainment district, characterized by its towering skyscrapers and vibrant streets. It offers a diverse range of experiences, from upscale shopping and dining in the west side to the lively nightlife of Kabukicho in the east.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden provides a serene escape from the urban hustle and bustle, especially during cherry blossom season. However, due to the sheer amount of people that visit this park in the blossom season, you will need to book!

Budget: Again, capsule hotels are a great way to stay in Tokyo. Try Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado or Premier Hotel Cabin Shinjuku

Mid-Range: If you fancy going slightly upmarket and enjoying your hotel stay as much as the trip itself, try Yuen Shinjuku Onsen Ryokan or Hundred Stay Tokyo Shinjuku

Luxury: As we went to Tokyo over the New Year, we wanted to splurge on our hotel and stayed at Hotel Century Southern Tower and I can highly recommend it. It had superb views from our room on the 35th floor, the rooms were clean and modern and the location was perfect.

Asakusa

Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji Temple

Asakusa is a historic district known for its traditional charm and cultural landmarks. Home to Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most famous Buddhist temple, and Nakamise Shopping Street, lined with traditional shops and street food stalls.

Budget: There are plenty to choose from in Asakusa, the Richmond Hotel Asakusa and Asakusa Central Hotel are in great locations and a few minutes walk from the station.

Mid-Range: Again, if you want to go a little better than budget, Asakusa has a huge range of hotels to choose from. Kaminarimon Ryokan is wonderfully Japanese and stayme THE HOTEL Asakusa Riverside has amazing views.

Luxury: Fancy splurging? Mimaru Tokyo Asakusa Station is, as the name suggests, right next to the station and as an apartment hotel, makes you feel right at home.

Akihabara

Akihabara street

Also known as Electric Town, is Tokyo’s hub for anime, manga, and electronics. It has countless shops selling anime merchandise, video games, gadgets, and electronics, making it a paradise for tech enthusiasts and pop culture fans and very much reminded me of London’s Soho (and not always child-friendly!).

Budget: Remm Akihabara comes highly recommended, mainly due to its price, location and friendly service. The rooms are small, but this is quite common in Tokyo hotels and obviously, the cheaper your hotel, the smaller your room space!

Mid-Range: hotel MONday Premium UenoOkachimachi is also highly recommended due to its location with great views.

Luxury: Although not strictly in Akihabara, The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi is just up the road and in a fantastic location. Next time we travel to Tokyo, this is where I will stay!

Ginza

sushi at Ginza

Ginza is Tokyo’s upscale shopping and entertainment district, known for its luxury boutiques, department stores, and fine dining establishments. It features wide boulevards, high-end designer stores, art galleries, and theatres, creating an atmosphere of sophistication and elegance.

Ginza’s iconic landmarks include the Wako Building, Kabuki-za Theater, and the famous Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant.

Budget: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Ginza Premier is perfect if you just want to drop your bag and run. We stayed at a Daiwa Roynet Hotel in Osaka and although the rooms were cramped, the hotel was modern and perfect for our stay.

Mid-Range: If you are looking for a hotel with a bit more room, Solaria nishitetsu hotel Ginza does just that. It is situated in a great location, but a little off the beaten track so it isn’t too noisy.

Luxury: If you are staying in Ginza because of the luxury shopping and fine dining, then you probably want to stay in a luxury hotel, and the Imperial Hotel Tokyo will do just that. It has rave reviews on all the booking sites and is in the most amazing location.

Complete 7 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Neon lights at Shibuya Crossing
Neon lights at Shibuya Crossing

Now that you’ve chosen your hotel, you know what to pack and how to get around, how do you fit everything that Tokyo has to offer into 7 days? I guess it is all down to you and your family’s preferences.

We travelled with our kids, who are 8 and 10 years old, so we had to include activities for them. There are many things I would have liked to do, but couldn’t because, as my daughter said whilst in Tokyo, “Oh mum, not another castle!?!”

However, we did create an itinerary and stuck to it, so here’s a suggested 7 day Tokyo itinerary for you. As we flew from London, the first day for us in Tokyo was spent travelling, booking into the hotel and then crashing out! We did want to explore straight away but jetlag got us!

Day 1: Shibuya and Harajuku

Meiji Shrine
Gate to Meiji Shrine

Start your day by visiting Yoyogi Park and visit the Meiji Shrine. Both of these are in the Shibuya district and are surrounded by trees and nature. It is a wonderful way to start your visit to Tokyo, take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful grounds and observe traditional rituals.

Adjacent to Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park offers a picturesque setting for outdoor activities. Rent a bicycle or enjoy a picnic beneath cherry blossom trees (in season) while soaking in the tranquil atmosphere.

the entrance to Takeshita Street

Once you have visited the park, head to Takeshita Street, Harajuku’s famous pedestrian shopping street known for its quirky fashion boutiques, street food stalls, and colourful storefronts. Explore the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in tasty snacks like crepes and cotton candy.

Takeshita Street gets extremely busy, so be prepared. It is also quite commercial, so I didn’t feel like we got a “real” Japanese experience there. However, it is still worth a visit! We preferred to visit the surrounding lanes and alleys of Harajuku, visiting the pop-up stores and finding off-the-beaten-track cafes and dessert shops.

a girl eating rainbow candy floss in Takeshita street

You can easily walk to Shibuya from Harajuku, so we decided to head to Cat Street for dinner. Here you can find plenty of restaurants offering Tonkatsu, Ramen and our favourite, Gyoza. Harajuku is also famous for crepes as they are fun, colourful and very social media friendly! We visited Santa Monica Crepes, but again, the queues were huge and we had to wait for 30 minutes. Worth it? I don’t think so…

people at shibuya crossing
Getting ready to cross the Shibuya crossing

Once we had eaten, we headed to the world-famous Shibuya Crossing. This is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world and it was fascinating taking in the sight of crowds crossing from all directions as the traffic lights change. I felt like it was a busy intersection because everyone was told to visit it because it’s a busy intersection! Haha. It seemed like everyone was there, with their phones, capturing it for social media, and not there because they needed to be.

We also paid homage to Japan’s most loyal dog at the Hachiko Statue, located near Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit. Here, you can learn about the heartwarming story of Hachiko’s unwavering loyalty to his owner.

Shibuya crossing
There is a 5-road intersection in there somewhere

One thing we would have liked to do was visit Shibuya Sky, but unfortunately couldn’t get tickets, so I would highly recommend booking before you go. Rising 229 metres tall and overlooking Shibuya scramble crossing, the observatory is the perfect way to see one of Tokyo’s most famous sights.

Finally, spend the evening shopping in Shibuya’s diverse retail landscape. Explore department stores like Shibuya 109 for the latest fashion trends, Tokyu Hands for unique goods, and Loft for stationery and lifestyle products. You can also experience Shibuya’s nightlife by dining in Dogenzaka Street or Love Hotel Hill area. These districts offer a variety of dining options, from cosy izakayas to international cuisine.

Day 2: Shinjuku

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: Start your day with a visit to another park, the Shinjuku Gyoen, one of Tokyo’s largest and most beautiful parks. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through meticulously landscaped gardens, serene ponds, and lush greenery. Unfortunately, it was shut when we visited, but this would have been high on my list if it was open!

The gardens are split into 3 distinct sections – the Japanese Traditional Garden, the French Formal Garden and the English Landscape Garden. Here you can take in the seasonal blooms, from cherry blossoms in spring to colourful foliage in autumn.

From the serene park, head into the bustling area of Shinjuku itself. When I was researching where to visit to get panoramic views of Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was mentioned several times. For a start, it’s free! It also gives you uninterrupted views of the Tokyo Tower, Skytree and Shinjuku Gyoen Garden.

the Godzilla statue at Toho Cinemas in Shinjuku

Shinjuku is also famous for dining, shopping and nightlife. In the afternoon, explore Shinjuku’s vast array of department stores, including Isetan, Takashimaya, and Odakyu Department Store. It is also home to the Kabukicho area, one of the largest adult-only entertainment areas in Asia. It has huge 3D billboards, neon lights and the famous Godzilla statue on the Toho Cinema building.

the 3d cat building

In the evening, wander through Golden Gai, a historic area of narrow alleys lined with tiny bars and eateries. Experience the unique atmosphere of this nightlife district, known for its eclectic mix of themed bars, jazz clubs, and izakayas.

Omoide Yokocho streets
Omoide Yokocho

We grabbed some Gyoze in Omoide Yokocho, also known as Memory Lane or Piss Alley! You can sample yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), yakisoba (fried noodles), and other local delicacies at one of the many eateries nestled in this nostalgic alleyway.

Day 3: Asakusa, Akihabara and Skytree

Senso-ji Temple

Begin your day with a visit to Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temple located in Asakusa. You can explore the impressive main hall, the iconic Kaminarimon Gate, and Nakamise Shopping Street, lined with traditional shops selling souvenirs, snacks, and crafts. This street dates back several centuries, and you will be able to find souvenirs such as Daruma dolls, Kimonos and fans.

Next, head to Asakusa for lunch, where you can choose from local favourites such as tempura, sushi, soba noodles or tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet). Places like Ramen Yoroiya, Sometaro and Yoshikami all come highly recommended.

akihabara

After lunch, head to Akihabara, Tokyo’s mecca for anime, manga, and electronics. Explore the vibrant streets lined with anime shops, electronics stores, and themed cafes. Here you can visit famous landmarks such as Akihabara Radio Kaikan, Mandarake Complex, and the AKB48 Theater.

a boy petting cats in a cat cafe
The kids enjoying the Cat Cafe in Akihabara

Although Akihabara is always high on the list to visit when going to Tokyo, we actually found that we only needed about an hour there. The kids were not impressed with the arcades, most of which just featured grabber machines and they much preferred the Cat Cafe!

Tokyo Skytree

Once we had visited Akihabara, we headed to Tokyo Skytree. This is one of the tallest towers in the world and a symbol of Tokyo’s modern skyline. We booked in advance, you can either go to Tembo Deck at 350m and the Tembo Galleria at 450m.

the view from the Skytree with Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji in the distance (I had to zoom in quite a lot to get it, hence the blurry shot!)

Personally, I don’t think you need to pay extra to go to the Tembo Galleria as you get a great view from the Deck. We went at sunset and we couldn’t get near a window in the Tembo Galleria as it was so packed.

It was also very hot and my daughter didn’t really enjoy it! I think, if you want to see the Tokyo Skyline, don’t pay the money and go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Towers for free.

Solamachi at the bottom of the Skytree

Attached to the Tokyo Skytre is the huge Solamachi complex offering a variety of dining options and shopping. Here you can buy anything from colourful ice creams to Harry Potter merchandise!

Day 4: Central Tokyo, Imperial Palace and Ueno

Imperial Palace

Start your day with a visit to the Imperial Palace and its beautiful East Gardens. Explore the historic grounds, bridges, and moats surrounding the palace, as well as the meticulously landscaped gardens with seasonal flowers and foliage. The Palace itself is not open to the public, but the grounds are well worth a visit.

Tokyo Station

After the Imperial Palace, head to Tokyo Station, a historic landmark and transportation hub in Central Tokyo. Marvel at the station’s impressive architecture, including its red-brick facade and domed roof, and explore the shops, restaurants, and galleries inside.

After all that walking, it’s time to enjoy lunch in the upscale Marunouchi district, located near Tokyo Station. Here you can choose from a variety of dining options, including Japanese cuisine, international fare, and gourmet cafes, while admiring the district’s elegant streetscape and modern architecture.

fivefold pagoda
Fivefold Pagoda

If you have the time, head to Ginza and Chuo Dori for a spot of shopping in its boutiques, department stores and flagship stores of international brands. However, if you have kids (who notoriously do not like to be dragged around the shops) then I would highly recommend going to Ueno Park and the Zoo.

Tiger at Ueno Park
Tiger at Ueno Park

Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. You can visit attractions within the park such as Ueno Zoo, home to pandas and other exotic animals, and the Tokyo National Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Japanese art and artefacts. The Zoo is next to the huge Shinobazu Pond and Bentendo Temple, all of which we found by accident! This was one of our favourite days in Tokyo.

Shinobazu Pond with tokyo skyline in the background
Shinobazu Pond
Trees already blossoming at Bentendo Temple

After the Zoo, the kids were shattered so we headed to a 7-ELEVEN for some cup noodles and home! However, you can wrap up your day with dinner in Ueno, where you’ll find a variety of dining options ranging from casual izakayas and traditional Japanese restaurants to international cuisine.

The area around Ueno Station and Ameya-Yokocho, a bustling market street known for its food stalls and shops selling fresh produce, seafood, and souvenirs, are great for exploring.

Day 5: Tokyo Disneyland

the castle at Tokyo disneyland

Probably something you want to skip if you don’t have kids, or maybe you’re a big kid yourself! However, it cost us only £180 for 4 of us to spend the day there so it would have been rude not to.

Some of the main attractions include:

  • Main Street, U.S.A.: the iconic entrance to Tokyo Disneyland. Marvel at the charming architecture, shops, and nostalgic atmosphere as you make your way towards Cinderella Castle.
  • Cinderella Castle: the centrepiece of Tokyo Disneyland. Capture photos, enjoy the view, and perhaps even catch a performance or parade near the castle stage.
  • Adventureland: embark on thrilling adventures. Explore attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Don’t miss the chance to take a leisurely stroll through the lush landscapes and themed environments.
  • Westernland: Next, venture into Westernland, inspired by the American Old West. Ride the thrilling Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster, take a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat, and enjoy classic attractions like the Country Bear Theater.
  • Fantasyland: Experience timeless attractions such as It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Be sure to explore the whimsical surroundings and take in the magical atmosphere.
  • ToonTown: Explore the colourful and whimsical world of ToonTown, home to beloved Disney characters. Visit Mickey’s House and Minnie’s House for meet-and-greet opportunities, enjoy interactive play areas, and take a spin on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.
  • Tomorrowland: Experience high-speed thrills on attractions like Space Mountain and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Explore futuristic environments, interact with robots, and enjoy entertainment offerings like the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area.
  • Parades and Shows: As the day transitions into the evening, make time to catch one of Tokyo Disneyland’s spectacular parades or nighttime shows. Depending on the schedule, you might enjoy the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights, Fantasmic!, or other seasonal offerings.
a family outside Disneyland

I’ll be honest with you, I am not a fan of Disneyland and we only went because my 10-year-old daughter wanted to. We managed 5 rides and around 4 hours of queueing (even with a few fast passes!!), it was cold and damp and I would much prefer to spend my day elsewhere (looking at castles and away from the hideous over-commercialism of it all).

If you want to read more about it, head to our Tokyo Disneyland blog.

Day 6: Day Trip to Mount Fuji

mount fuji through a window of a train
The closest we got to Mount Fuji was seeing it from the Shinkansen window

For travellers seeking adventure and breathtaking natural beauty, a day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo offers an unforgettable experience. Located approximately 100 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest peak and an iconic symbol of the country’s landscape.

This is something we didn’t do whilst there due to time constraints, but it is at the top of the list when we go back.

mount fuji viewed from one of the lakes

One of the best ways to do this is to opt for a guided tour or utilize Japan’s efficient public transportation system to reach the Fuji Five Lakes region, which offers some of the best views of the majestic mountain. Direct highway buses operate from various locations in Tokyo, such as Shinjuku or Tokyo Station, to the Fuji Five Lakes area or the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. These buses offer convenience and direct routes to Mount Fuji.

Lake Kawaguchi or Lake Yamanaka are popular, with stunning vistas of the snow-capped peak which is reflected in the lakes.

Alternatively, venture to one of the region’s cultural sites, such as the Chureito Pagoda. Perched on a hillside overlooking the town of Fujiyoshida, the pagoda offers a classic view of Mount Fuji framed by cherry blossoms in spring or vibrant foliage in autumn.

Day 7: Odaiba, TeamLab Planets, Tokyo Tower & Tsukiji Fish Market

Tokyo Joypolis
Tokyo Joypolis

Odaiba was a really good day out for us as a family, with plenty to see and do. We started by visiting Tokyo Joypolis, an indoor amusement park with a mix of virtual reality (VR) attractions, 3D simulation rides, a small roller coaster, arcade games, and interactive experiences. It is operated by SEGA and you could spend the whole day here, all for under £100 ($125) for a family of 4!

One of the top attractions in Odaiba is TeamLab Planets. Again, we were unable to go as we visited in the New Year period and it was extremely busy, so we needed to buy tickets in advance. TeamLab Planets is an immersive digital art exhibition where you can walk through rooms filled with floating flowers to wading through a giant digital waterfall!

Rainbow Bridge and the replica Statue of Liberty at Odaiba
Rainbow Bridge and the replica Statue of Liberty at Odaiba
The sun setting over tokyo

Odaiba is also home to Aqua City, a huge shopping and dining complex right next to the river. We had crepes from the food hall and then went for a walk along the waterfront, taking in the views of Tokyo Bay and the iconic landmarks such as the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica.

Tsukiji fish market
Tsukiji fish market

Heading back over the bay, finish your week itinerary by visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market and Tokyo Tower. Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the world’s largest and most renowned fish markets. Here you can stroll through the bustling market alleys, marvelling at the wide variety of fresh seafood, produce, and culinary delights on display. Don’t miss the outer market, where you can sample sushi, sashimi, and street food snacks.

Tokyo tower

Tokyo Tower stands tall as one of the most iconic landmarks in Tokyo, Japan. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this towering structure soars over the cityscape, its distinctive orange-and-white lattice design dominating the skyline. It was built in 1958 and rises to 333 metres, offering panoramic views of Tokyo and Mount Fuji from the observation deck.

Tokyo tower illuminated at night

I think the best time to visit this tower is at night when it is illuminated by colourful nights. You don’t necessarily have to go to the observation deck if you have already visited the Skytree or the Tokyo Metropolitan Towers, but it is definitely worth a visit.

More Things to Add to Your 7 Day Tokyo Itinerary

lanterns outside a shop in Tokyo

Cultural Experiences

  • Participate in a traditional tea ceremony to learn about the art of Japanese tea preparation and etiquette.
  • Attend a traditional kabuki performance at a theatre in Tokyo to experience Japan’s classical performing arts.

Shopping Destinations:

  • Discover the trendy neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa, renowned for its vintage clothing stores, independent boutiques, and hip cafes.
  • Explore Nakano Broadway, a shopping complex filled with anime, manga, and collectables, perfect for pop culture enthusiasts.
roppongi hills
Roppongi Hills

Museums and Art Galleries:

  • Explore the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park, home to a vast collection of Japanese art, artefacts, and cultural exhibits.
  • Visit the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills for contemporary art exhibitions and installations showcasing both local and international artists.

Relaxation and Wellness:

  • Unwind with a visit to an onsen (hot spring) resort in Hakone or Atami, offering rejuvenating baths and stunning views of Mount Fuji.
  • Enjoy a traditional Japanese-style massage or spa treatment at a Ryokan (traditional inn) or wellness centre in Tokyo for ultimate relaxation.

Useful Resources for First Timers

a shrine in a tokyo park

For first-time travellers to Tokyo, having access to useful resources can greatly enhance the planning and execution of your trip. Here are some resources to do more research:

Travel Guides and Websites:

  • Utilize comprehensive travel guides and websites dedicated to Tokyo, such as Lonely Planet, Japan Guide, and Time Out Tokyo. These resources provide detailed information on attractions, dining, accommodations, transportation, and insider tips for navigating the city.

Tokyo Metro and Subway Maps:

  • Download or obtain physical copies of Tokyo’s metro and subway maps to navigate the extensive public transportation system efficiently. Apps like Tokyo Subway Navigation and Hyperdia can help plan routes and provide real-time updates on train schedules and fares.

Japan Rail Pass:

  • Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) if planning to travel beyond Tokyo to other cities in Japan. The JR Pass offers unlimited travel on Japan Railways (JR) trains, including Shinkansen (bullet trains), for a fixed duration and can be a cost-effective option for exploring the country.
a fish ornamental display
Gakyo at Aqua City

Local Events and Festivals:

  • Check local event calendars and festival schedules to coincide your visit with cultural celebrations, seasonal events, and traditional festivals happening in Tokyo. Participating in such events offers unique insights into Japanese culture and local traditions.

Final Thoughts on Tokyo

a girl in front of a sign saying my body is made from ramen

As you prepare for your adventure in Tokyo, keep in mind that this bustling metropolis offers an endless array of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the tranquil gardens of the Imperial Palace to the vibrant streets of Shibuya, each day presents new opportunities for exploration and cultural immersion.

I hope you have enjoyed this Tokyo 7 day itinerary and will find it useful if you are visiting this amazing city. We loved our time here and will definitely head back! It is impossible to fit everything in over a week, so we still have so much to see and do.

Is a 7 day Tokyo itinerary enough?

While Tokyo is a vast and dynamic city with endless attractions, a well-planned 7-day itinerary allows visitors to experience the highlights of the city and immerse themselves in its culture, history, and cuisine.

How should I prioritize attractions and activities in Tokyo for a 7-day visit?

Prioritize attractions based on personal interests, such as cultural landmarks, shopping districts, dining experiences, and outdoor activities. Consider grouping nearby attractions to maximize time and minimize travel between locations.

Are there any day trips or excursions recommended from Tokyo within a 7-day itinerary?

Yes, consider day trips to nearby destinations such as Nikko, Kamakura, Hakone, or Yokohama to experience historical sites, natural beauty, hot springs, and more. Plan day trips based on individual preferences and available time.

How should I budget for a 7-day trip to Tokyo?

Budget considerations should include accommodations, transportation, dining, attractions, and souvenirs. Research average costs for each category and allocate funds accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

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