7-day Tokyo itinerary – What to do in Tokyo, Japan for a week

Tokyo, Japan is probably one of the coolest places you’ll ever visit. It’s amazing, and it has it all. You can do crazy and quirky things here, you can spend days in Japanese gardens, you can go to karaoke or just visit museums. You’ll have so much to add to your 7-day Tokyo itinerary you’ll think a week in Japan’s capital city is not nearly enough.

The basics

Tokyo is huge, it’s the most populated city in the world, and it has so many things to do you’ll be having quite some long days. This is why I would like to start with a few tips that will help you maximize your time and enjoy more of Tokyo in your limited time.

First off, you should choose a place to stay that is well located, meaning as close to the train station as possible. It is anyway located quite in the middle of the city, so it will provide you with a great location for both daily activities and day trips, thus making you waste less time on public transportation. Check out the options I have handpicked for you below.

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BookingOption 1
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AgodaOption 1
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If you’re planning to do some day trips or thinking of visiting Kyoto as well (which you absolutely should), the JR Pass might be a great investment for you. I have detailed in this post everything you need to know about the JR Pass, and you should decide if you need it before you get to Japan, as it’ll make your life so much easier.

The next tip I’d like to tell you is to be very aware of the weather. No matter when you’re going, the weather can ruin your day if you have planned a walk in the park, but you won’t care about it if you’re visiting museums anyway. Check it out and plan accordingly, especially when trying to see Mount Fuji, as it is known to hide on quite a few days over the year.

Japan Map Collection

If you’re buying any JR Pass product with my affiliate link, whether it is a train pass, a portable Wi-Fi, or the Meet & Greet package, send me a copy of your receipt at cristina@honesttravelstories.com and you’ll get my Japan Map Collection entirely for free!

And the last tip, find a way to have internet while in Japan. Either you choose a pocket Wi-Fi or a SIM card, find a solution to this problem, as you’ll have trouble finding your way around if you don’t have internet. Offline maps can only take you so far, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.

You can check more tips and useful information in my post about preparing for your trip to Japan, which I suggest you read right after you finish this one. You will thank me later. Also, check out the helpful resources I have included in the links below. The Subway ticket might be very useful to you, and SIM cards are not bad to have either.

Also, check out the heaps of useful information at the end of this post. I didn’t want to add it at the beginning, as we ALL hate the story before the recipe the blogger needs to add to satisfy Google, but I consider this info to still be important enough to be included in the post.

Getting into Tokyo

Tokyo will be like a sensorial explosion right after you land. You’ll probably be very tired, and cranky and had not slept for what feels like a week. So keep this day simple and just do these few simple tasks after landing, and you’ll be ready for your one-week trip to Tokyo in no time.

  • Get your JRPass, if you have ordered it. You don’t have to activate it now, you can just exchange it. It’s easier to find the JR office at the airport, so take this opportunity to not waste time later.
  • Get your pocket wifi or SIM card from the airport. You don’t want to leave the airport without it.
  • If you need it, take your suICa or ICoca card and put some money on it.
  • Get to your hotel and rest! If you don’t have an idea where to stay yet, check out the hotel we stayed in while in Tokyo!
    • from Narita airport, take the Narita Express to get to central Tokyo.
    • from Haneda airport, take the monorail to Hamamatsucho and get to your hotel from there.
  • Handle the jet lag. I mean it, you’re probably pumped with adrenaline, lack of sleep, and a huge jet lag. You need to shake it off quickly so you can be in the best shape for your week in Japan’s capital.
        Japanese garden with beautiful trees and a lake view -  A must see of your 7-day Tokyo itinerary if you're wondering what to do in Tokyo, Japan for a week

Getting around Tokyo

While you might be thinking “I’ll just walk everywhere.”, you have never been so wrong in your life if this is the case. Tokyo is huge, and walking everywhere will not only be exhausting but will also take you virtually nowhere, as you’ll spend all of your time just going from A to B.

The best option to get around Tokyo, from an environmental and budget perspective, is to use the excellent public transportation system. You should use the extensive web of trains, subways, and buses that are available, especially if you have the JR Pass, as some of these are owned by the same company, so you’ll have them included (especially the JR Yamanote that runs in circles, covering plenty of tourist attractions).

To get to learn more about using public transportation in Japan, check out my detailed posts about using public transportation in Japan, using a bullet train, or other means of transportation. You’ll get step-by-step descriptions on how to buy your Suica or metro card, how to know what you have to pay and make the payment, how to reserve tickets on a Shinkansen and so much more.

Enjoy this day-by-day plan included in this map. You can see and save the map locally if you follow this link. You won’t be able to modify it, but you can make a copy and modify that for your needs. Then, just use it as it is when you get there. Convenient, right?

7 days in Tokyo itinerary – Day 1

OK so, are you ready for your week in Tokyo? I can answer this one for you, you are not ready for what it’s about to happen!

First, start with heading to the man-made island of Odaiba. Here, you must spend at least half a day at the Digital Art Museum, which is planned to move to another location in 2023. After you are amazed at this fantastic museum, you can check out a Statue of Liberty, the robot in front of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza Mall and, I shit you not (you’ll see what I did here), the Unko Museum.

In the afternoon, choose one of these two very cool things to do in Tokyo: either Go-Kart dressed like Mario or visit Disneyland and Disneysea. You won’t regret it, no matter what you choose. If you have any time left, go and check out the Odaiba beach and maybe you can catch a glimpse of the Rainbow bridge.

Day 2 of your 7-day Tokyo itinerary

Start your second day in Tokyo with a very early visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market. You can visit on your own or as part of a tour, and you get to see the fish auction that happens first thing in the morning and you can try some delicious food for breakfast.

After the visit to the bustling farmer’s market, you’ll probably enjoy a nice walk in the Hamarikyu Gardens. And if you listen to my advice and visit Japan in November, you’ll get to see the gorgeous fall foliage that makes autumn the best season to visit Japan in.

For an unusual activity, head over to the Kabuki-za Theatre to watch a classic Japanese play. You can visit yourself for a whole play, buy a ticket for just an act or even enjoy a personal tour of the theater, and you’ll get to know this aspect of Japanese culture as well.

Later in the afternoon, head over to the teamLab Planets, another Digital Art Museum that you’ll fall in love with. This immersive experience will have you entering barefoot in the art form, and you’ll have all of your senses impressed by everything you’ll feel. Spoiler alert: you need to wear trousers that you can roll up as you’ll get your feet wet.

And to finish this awesome day, go on a night out and party like it’s your last day on Earth. You can either go on a nightlife tour, enjoy a karaoke evening in any of the special bars or just head over to Roppongi for a party night like nowhere else.

Tokyo 7 days itinerary – Day 3

This will be your traditional Japan day, as you’ll probably want to keep a low profile if you have partied the night before as I kindly suggested. So, first thing, head over to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. You have to make a reservation here or you can decide to incorporate the whole day in a private tour that will cover everything for this day.

The other two places you need to visit on your third day in Tokyo are Hie Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine. Hie Shrine is where you must go if you’re not headed to Kyoto during your Japan trip, as it’s quite similar to the well-known Fushimi Inari Shrine you know from the Instagram stories you’ve seen. Yasukuni Shrine is a special place for the Japanese people as it commemorates Japan’s war dead, and a visit here will get you closer to knowing this amazing culture you have decided to know more about.

7 days itinerary for Tokyo – Day 4

Start your fourth day in Japan’s capital city by enjoying a sumo experience in Ryogoku Kokugikan. You can see the morning training, watch a tournament or even try on some moves if you feel comfortable enough.

This is also the day when you start just visiting Japan’s neighborhoods. You’ll start with the traditional neighborhood of Asakusa. You should get to know the rich history of the area and you’ll feel like in an old Japanese movie as you’ll be surrounded by temples, rickshaws, and kimono-wearing people. You must make even a quick visit to the colorful temple of Sensoji, which happens to be the oldest temple in the city.

To finish off this full day, head over to the Tokyo Skytree and enjoy a great view of the city. The best view is of course provided by the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest building in the world, and you get to see the ground that’s so far away by looking through the potentially frightening glass floor.

Day 5 – What to do in Tokyo in a week

You can start the fifth day of your Tokyo trip with a shopping session in Ginza. What to buy, you ask? Well, quite literally anything, Tokyo is a shopping heaven, and for good reason. Most people buy make-up and all kinds of skincare products, electronics, and anything with a blade: manicure sets, knives, cool multitools to have in your car just in case.

To relax a bit after your wild shopping experience, head over to a park or garden and enjoy a picnic. You can choose the Ueno Park, Rikugien garden, or even the Koishikawa Botanical Garden for this activity, and you’ll probably and understandably be tempted to not make a choice and go to all of them. Which does not sound that bad, doesn’t it?

Maybe you’ll think this is not such a good idea, but head over to the Yanaka Cemetery and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere you only get to feel in such a solemn place. Spectacular during sakura, the cherry blossom season, this park includes the tomb of the last Shogun and hosts quite a few kitties.

The last place to visit today will be Akihabara, the place where anime lovers, game fans, and pop culture enthusiasts meet to form a colorful and bustling neighborhood. You might feel this is not so different than the Digital Art Museums you have previously seen, this is how the electric views will make you feel here.

One week in Japan – Day 6 in Tokyo

This day will start with a very relaxing stroll in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. After this, head over to the Tokyo Toy Museum or the Samurai Museum and enjoy some cool Japanese cultural references. There are so many cool and quirky museums in Tokyo, it would be a shame not to try at least a few of them!

If you haven’t been to the Tokyo Skytree, you have to see the city from above at the Metropolitan Government Building. It’s not as fancy as Skytree as it doesn’t have glass floors and all that, but it’s a free option to see the views. I wouldn’t say no to that!

In the evening, go to the Robot restaurant and be amazed at the lights, the music, the show, and probably everything else. You have to make reservations in advance here, and rumors have it that the food is not that good, but the show seems to be worth it anyway.

Day 7 in Tokyo – The final day of a week’s itinerary

For your last day, you’ll have to keep it going with a morning visit to the historic Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya, one of the major hubs in Tokyo, and home to the iconic Shibuya crossing. Probably one of the most crowded places in the world, this neighborhood has it all: financial district, shopping, restaurants, and pretty wild nightlife, if you believe the rumors.

To take a short break from all of that, head over to Yoyogi Park for one last stroll through the quiet parks and gardens of Japan. You are going to need it for what’s about to happen.

And last, but not least, Harajuku is the way to finish your 7 day Tokyo itinerary. The home of teenage subcultures, underground fashion scenes, and unexpected cafes, Harajuku is where the cool kids are going and you should too. Try a delicious meal consisting of crepes that you can find at every corner and finish your vacation with a bang. All this sugar is what will keep you going for a while.

Other activities you can try while in Tokyo

I know, this itinerary 7-day Tokyo itinerary is already quite full. But if you’re the sort of person that can cover more in a day than the rest of us, here are some cool tours and activities you can choose from. Hey, you might even decide to replace some of the things mentioned above to make the trip match your priorities, and that’s OK. In the end, this trip is about you!

The first three special tours I would like you to try are quite relevant to Japan. I honestly think you must try all of these activities so you can say “I was, indeed, in Japan”. These activities are: enjoying hot springs, witnessing a Japanese tea ceremony, and going sake tasting.

While visiting the neighborhoods I mentioned in the day-to-day plan, you can choose to do so on a guided tour. These are mostly provided by locals, sometimes even licensed guides, so I’m sure you’ll get to learn a lot of interesting stuff from them. You will also enjoy being able to ask questions and get off-the-beaten-track recommendations. Check them out below:

If you are a big fan of Japanese food (I must admit I’m not, but I’m also the only person I know that’s not a fan so, I think I’m just picky), you will desperately try to eat everything while in Tokyo. Make your culinary dreams come true with a food tour of Tokyo, or choose a cooking class and impress the people back home. Choose what suits you best from the list below.

And if you, for some reason, love ramen, or at least find it quirky enough to be worth your time, you can go on a ramen-tasting tour. Yes, for real. Check them out below!

How much money do you need for 7 days in Tokyo?

Well, as always when it comes to money, it depends. If you exclude air travel, your highest expense will be transportation, if you decide to buy the JR. This is an expense you only make if you intend to also make some day trips, or if you will also go to Kyoto or Osaka (something I fully recommend if you have more time in Japan). Otherwise, do not invest in the JR Pass. Yes, I do get paid if you buy it, but I also want you to buy it only if needed, so make a simulation here before you put your payment details.

The accommodation, as always, you usually get what you pay for. You’ll spend so little time at the hotel, you will probably care less about it than in other places. All of them are extremely clean and safe, so you don’t have to worry about this. I recommend Agoda more than Booking for all accommodation reservations in Asia. It simply provides more options and better prices. But, as always, don’t forget to compare the two: you might have some credit left in Booking that will make your overall price better.

Check out my recommendations at the beginning of the post, and you can even apply one of my money-saving tips (which scored us a room at a 4-star hotel in Kyoto, by the way): book a room in a hotel you’re comfortable in, but take it with free cancellation. One day before the free cancellation expires, check out the prices again. You might find some last-minute deals you can snatch, and you can cancel your previous room without issues.

Tickets to various castles from our 2 week trip to Japan.
Like my souvenirs from Japan? I kept all of them so I could write this useful budget guide for you.

Food is extremely cheap if you don’t go overboard. We usually ate breakfast on the run, buying something from 7-11 every day, especially since we started our days at around 6 AM. Eating on high-speed trains is completely allowed (but not on other means of transportation), so we used this opportunity to eat on the go. After this, we only had one big meal after, usually for dinner, and snacked throughout the day. This not only allowed us to visit more but also kept our budget at a manageable level.

Activities are not that expensive, and some of them are even free, like parks and the Metropolitan Government Building. The most expensive ones, like the Digital Art Museum, I can honestly say were so worth it, I cannot even remember how expensive they were. To help you estimate your expenses, download my Entry fees PDF below, 2022 edition. It contains entry fees from other Japanese cities as well, so it might be handy for the rest of the trip as well (or maybe for a future trip?).

When is the best time to visit Tokyo?

The short answer would be tomorrow. The long answer would be: depends on your needs and situation. For example, in my opinion, early November is the absolute best time to visit Tokyo. It’s less crowded than April when the cherry blossom season is in full bloom (see what I did there?), has nice weather, offers plenty of beautiful scenery as the fall foliage is gorgeous everywhere and it hosts some cool shows and festivals. Read more about Japan in November in my post.

Of course, if you have always dreamt of seeing Japan during sakura, I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. Keep in mind though that it’s the busiest tourist season, so you’ll encounter crowds everywhere and will pay more for airfare and accommodation.

The other two seasons might seem unconvincing, but could be good options if you’re on a budget. Winter in Japan is quite mild, and you can enjoy winter activities if you’re traveling up north. There’s nothing like soaking in a hot spring after a day of hitting the slopes, is it?

The summer is also not so bad: while it is quite hot and humid, the most challenging problem is the higher chance of getting to meet a typhoon up close. This is especially problematic as flights are usually canceled, and if the damage is very bad, trains can be canceled as well. So you might be there for a week and do nothing, or even have your inbound or outbound flight canceled.

Day trips from Tokyo

If you have more days to spend in the area, or you decide spending the full week just in Tokyo is a bit too much, you can choose to go on a few day trips from Tokyo. The most famous options are the following:

  • Hakone – especially if you’re not going to spend a night here in a ryokan, you should visit Hakone for plenty of reasons, seeing Mount Fuji being just one of them;
  • Nikko – the Shrines and Temples of Nikko are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and they look beautiful in autumn;
  • Fuji Five Lakes – there are plenty of opportunities here for photographs, but you can also enjoy hot springs, temples and shrines, hiking, and even a museum dedicated to worshiping and climbing Mount Fuji.
  • Yokohama – the old and new combined can be seen here, as this former small fishing village was one of the first to open to foreign trade;
  • Kamakura – you can visit plenty of temples and shrines here, including a huge Buddha statue, but you can also head to the beach if you feel you can enjoy a few hours of just hearing the waves;
  • Mito – for a beautiful natural landscape, including one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan (Kairakuen Garden);
  • Nagano – you can do almost everything here, from visiting temples to enjoying hot springs to going skiing, and I’m not even over yet: you can also see snow monkeys here if the weather is cold enough for them to want to bathe in a hot spring;
  • Matsumoto – you can visit the Matsumoto castle, one of the very few original ones, and even a wasabi farm if you feel brave enough.

7-day Tokyo itinerary – The takeaway

Phew, this was a long one. I hope you have managed to prepare your week’s itinerary for the Capital city of Japan and that you have got at least a few helpful ideas for your trip. I’m sure now you know what to do in Tokyo, Japan for a week, and some other useful information to plan your trip. Until next time, I wish you “Happy travels!”

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