Japan was on my bucket list since years and I finally spent 7 days in Tokyo. My first plan was to spend a few days in Tokyo and then go to another city in Japan but Tokyo is so big and there are so many things to see and so many unique things to do that I spent one week in Tokyo only!
I recommend to go to Tokyo as long as you are young, as it is the perfect destination for millennials. Modern, fun and like in another world! To prepare your trip, Roobens from Been Around the Globe wrote a useful guide with some things to know before going!
7 days in Tokyo – How to go around
Below you will find a suggested one week in Tokyo itinerary! The best way to go around the city is to take the subway. I was a bit scared to get lost since I don’t speak Japanese but it was very easy! The best way to use the subway is to buy a Suica card that you can also use in grocery chops.
Day 1 : Tokyo from above and Sensō-ji temple in Asakusa
When I am new in a city, one of the thing that I like to do that helps me with orientation is to go see the city from above. It gives you an overview of the city and helps you memorize the main buildings.
Where to see Tokyo from above?
To see Tokyo from above, you have a few options. The most famous option is Tokyo Skytree. You can purchase a skip the line ticket online. Once on top you will be able to walk in an open area and take pictures from the vibrant city. If the sky is clear enough you can even see Mount Fuji!
A bit cheaper but also a bit less high is the Tokyo tower. there are two observation decks in the Tokyo tower. One at 150m and one at 250m.
Finally the cheapest version is to look over the city from the Tokyo Metropolitain Government tower. Entry is free and the view is great. This is the option that we took!
I bet that you will go see Tokyo from above from the Skytree so in the area you will want to see one of the most famous Japanese buddhist temple.
Japanese buddhist temple Sensō-ji in Asakusa and cruise
Asakusa Sensoji Temple is a a must see when in Tokyo. It is a Japanese buddhist temple definitely one of Tokyo’s landmarks. You probably already saw a picture of the temple with it’s famous red lantern at the entrance aka Kaminarimon. It is a good place to see Japanese tradition in the rather modern city of Tokyo.
The temple is supposed to bring luck, happiness, good relationships, and make all wishes come true. Therefore, you will see people covering themselves with smoke as the smoke is supposed to make them feel better, but also a shrine for fortune telling and many other rituals.
After you visited the Asakusa Sensoji Temple, go shopping for souvenirs in Nakamise Dori that is the shopping street inside the temple area.
While the entrance to the Asakusa Sensoji Temple is free and open 24 hours, you will want to go between 9:30am – 7:00pm when the shops are open!
You can end your day with a cruise on along the Sumida River to see Tokyo bay illuminated!
Day 2 – Spend the day around Ueno Park
Cherry blossom and other things to do in Ueno park
Not too far is the Ueno park. The park is famous during cherry blossom season with it’s + 1000 cherry blossom trees. Not to miss if you are lucky enough to be in Tokyo between March and April. If not, there are still many things to do in Uneno Park. You can simply go for a walk and rent a duck shaped boat to cruise on the Shinobazu pond.
You can also visit one of the many museum and temples in the park, eat streetfood at the food stalls, go to the zoo, etc. The park is also very interesting in terms of architecture and you can book the Ueno architecture tour.
In the weekend there is always a festival happening in Ueno Park!
One of the famous shopping street in Tokyo is situated right next to the Uneo metro station. Ameya Yokocho is a huge street where you can find absolutely everything from food, to cosmetics and clothes.
Opens around 10h and closes around 20h
Yanaka cemetery park
If you still have time and if you are into cemeteries, you can visit the famous Yanaka cemetery park.
Day 2 – Yoyogi park and Shinjuku
Stroll in Yoyogi park and visit Meiji shrine
I would suggest to start your day in Yoyogi park. It is not the most beautiful park in Tokyo but it is definitely one of the most famous one. Reason is that it is so central and because of the very interesting people in the park. Inside the park is Meiji shrine, a commemorating and spiritual place. When I was there a lot of wedding pictures were done there. Definitely an interesting place again to see Japanese tradition.
Shopping and evening in Shinjuku
The district of Shinjuku, north from Yoyogi park is very big and therefore you can spend more than half a day there. Shinjuku is ideal for shopping. You can find everything from 100yen stores to high end department store, electronic stores etc.
Also in Shinjuku is the Tokyo Metropolitain building that I mentionned above and from which you can see Tokyo from above.
End your day in Kabukicho, an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku. As long as you don’t enter the hostess clubs you will be fine. There are great restaurants in the area as well as many things for entertainment : VR zone to try virtual reality and Sega just to name a few!
Also to finish the night, head over to Omoide Yokocho or Golden Gai. Small streets of Tokyo with many very small Izakaya (skinny bars)! Or try out the Robot Restaurant aka a robot show. It is quite expensive but i tried it and it was SO much fun!
Check my article about Shinjuku for more details on what to do and where to eat and drink in Shinjuku!
Day 3 – Fish market and luxury shopping in Ginza
Watch the Tuna auction and eat sushi at the new Toyosu fish market
A visit to Tokyo is not complete without a visit to the fish market. When i went to Tokyo the fish market and world’s famous tuna auction was at the Tsujiki fish market. Location has changed since. It is now at the new fish market : Toyosu near Shijomae Station. To see the tuna auction you need to submit an application one month in advance and tickets are given on a lottery system. So good luck! If you are lucky, you will need to be at the fish market at 5am as the auction is happening between 5:30am and 6:30am
But even if you can’t see the tuna auction, the fish market is great to walk around. It is best to come around 8am.
There are also many restaurants where you can eat sushi next to the market. It was to me the best place to eat sushi in Tokyo!
Luxury shopping in Ginza
Ginza is the wealthy district of Tokyo. It is where you will find the most luxurious stores and Michelin restaurants.
The most famous street for shopping in Ginza is Chuo Dori Street. You will find many high end stores. Don’t miss the Shiseido parlour. It is the café and restaurant by the Japanese beauty brand Shiseido.In Ginza you will also find the Shiseido Gallery that features works from both Japanese international artists.
You also have numerous department store. The most famous one is probably Ginza Mitsukoshi.
Another interesting address is the stationary store Itoya.
If your budget allows you, don’t miss to eat at one of the Michelin restaurant in the area. If you like sushi try : Sushi Sukiyabashi Jiro by Jiro One aka the sushi god! The restaurant has 3 Michelin stars!
Day 4 – Sumo match and Akihabara
Visit a Sumo Stable
Sumo is Japanese national’s sport. If you would like a sumo match, the best is to go to the district of Ryogoku where there are many sumo stables. We went to the district an decided to ask one of the stable if it would be possible to watch the training. If you are too shy to ask. You can Book a visit to a sumo stable online.
Electronics, mangas and themed cafés in Akihabara
Akihabara or Akiba is famous for it’s many electronic shops but not only! It is also the place to go for everyone into comics and mangas. you will find shop selling books and other by products. It is also the place to try out a themed cafés. You have probably heard about maid café! As a tourist, the best is to go to one of the shop where you are given a flyer from! This way you won’t get ripped off!
Roller coaster at the Tokyo Dome
If you are in search for adrenaline, you will want to go on the roller coaster at the Tokyo Dome. The roller coaster literraly goes through a building. So cool!
Day 5 – Harajuku and Shibuya
Kawaii fashion in Harajuku
Since Gwen Stefani’s song Harajuku Girl i think everyone knows this area of Tokyo. As the song says, Harajuku is a famous street with many shops especially for girls on Takeshita street. Beside the shops you will also find some very cool sweet to eat. Of course all of them very kawaii! I ate crêpes but there are also cotton candy stores, beard papa ( a famous Japanese pastry), potato chips and fried chicken pieces mixed with sweets, ice cream that never melts and much more!
A bit further off the main street you will find the coolest shop though : concept stores, thrift stores, etc
Shibuya crossing, karaoke and skinny bars
I loved losing my self in the sea of human crossing the biggest intersection in the world, in Shibuya.
Beside the famous Shibuya crossing, the area is famous for shopping but it is at night that it becomes more interesting. In Shibuya you will find places to sing karaoke, night clubs, game centers.
Tips for eating and drinking in Shibuya : Check out Niku Yokocho, where there is 26 Izakaya or Nonbei Yokocho where you can find skinny bars where only 6 to 7 people can sit in. It is very similar to Golden Gai but less touristic!
Day 6 – Take a Day trip from Tokyo
Mount Fuji is so closed to Tokyo, it would be a shame to not go see it. Ot if you are more into fun stuff you might want to go to Disney sea!
Day 7 – Enjoy your last hours in Tokyo
You have now seen everything in Tokyo! As you can see 7 days in Tokyo is not too much to see everything! My one week in Tokyo itinerary is a suggestion. You can of course mix things but it contains everything you have to do in this exciting city!
On your last day you might want to go to an Onsen, have some street food at Togoshi Ginza, go to one of the many themed cafés or try any of the unique things to do in Tokyo!