7 Days in Japan: A Complete itinerary for the first time visitors

Before I visited Japan, the impression I had for it is clean and tide, lots of delicious food. While when visited there for 7 days, I found it’s far beyond that. Japan is now a place where I plan to visit at least once a year.

Japan is a developed country which is very modern but also preserved the culture very well. You can see there are lots of old temples in the cities. What I like Japan is very clean and people are polite. You can easily to get great food from the convenience stores by the streets.

If you are a foodie, Japan will not disappoint you.

If you are an outdoor adventurer like me, Japan will not disappoint you.

If you are a fan of parks, museums, galleries, Japan will not disappoint you.

Following I will show you my 7 days itinerary in Japan. Attention: the average steps we walked were around 15000 per day. It’s kinda packed 7 days from Tokyo to Osaka. But we had seen so many beautiful things and enjoyed the trip a lot. In brief, we flew into Tokyo and left from Osaka. The main places we visited were Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka.

Duration: 7 days

People: 2

Cost: US$1000 per one person (including air tickets, hotels, food, transportation, etc)

Before You Go: prepare for the trip

1. Which airport?

There are two international airports in Tokyo – Haneda Airport(HND) and Narita International Airport(NRT). The location of Haneda is closer to the city center of Tokyo, while Narita is 50 miles away from the center. If you are international travelers, you will mostly fly into Narita International Airport. Haneda is operating almost all domestic flights in Japan, but Narita is for the International airlines. Both of them have trains or buses to the city center. Check the transportation info of Haneda and Narita.

If you want to start your trip from Kyoto or Osaka, you can fly into Kansai International Airport(KIX). There are several ways to go to those cities. Click here more about the transportation of KIX.

2. Where to stay?

There are several points I will consider when choosing accommodation in Japan:

  1. Which area will I spend the most time?
  2. Is it convenient to access the train station?
  3. How is the cost?
  4. How is the feedback from others?

In this trip, I booked my rooms in Agoda and Booking. I really like all the rooms, they are better than I thought and the cost is affordable.

Note: I don’t recommend Airbnb in Japan. Recently Airbnb cancels the booking in Japan under the new law. While Airbnb has got the support for customers. There are many rentals removed from Airbnb. 

Below are where I stayed in the 7 days, you can take it for the reference:

Tokyo:

I was so confused when I saw the Tokyo subway map for the first time, it’s like a giant cobweb in the underground. Finger cross, I wish I won’t get lost. While you know you can get to anywhere by the metro. After you decided where to visit, just pick up the hotel which is close to the station. It’s easier to get around. The popular living area is Uneo, Asakusa, Shinjuku, Shibuya. This time I choose to live in Asakusa area, which is close to the places I will visit and very convenient to go to Mt. Fuji.

Via Inn Asakusa (2 nights, no breakfast, cost $124.00 for 2 people)

– 5 mins walk to Ginza Line Asakusa Station (Exit no.7);

– 7 mins walk to Toei Asakusa Line Asakusa Station (Exit A5)

The reason I booked this hotel is the location and price. 5 – 7 mins to the Asakusa train station, and the cost for my room is JPY 12,851.00 for 2 nights. It’s a very good price in this area. When I got into the hotel, it’s much better than I thought. It’s very clean and comfortable. The room is small, but they have almost all things you need. I’m in awe of the indoor designer. They are really good at making good use of the space.

Mt. Fuji:

Kawaguchiko Station Inn (1 night, no breakfast, cost $54.00 for 2 people)

– 2 mins walk to Kawaguchiko Station 

Kyoto:

Gojo Guest House (1 night, no breakfast, cost $68.00 for 2 people)

– 5 mins walk to Kiyomizu-Gojo Station

Osaka:

Hotel WBF Yodoyabashi-Minami (1 night, no breakfast, cost$70.00 for 2 people)

– 9 mins walk to Yodoyabashi Train Station

– 10 mins walk to Kitahama Subway Station

3. Where to visit?

There are lots of places worth visiting in Japan. You can’t visit all of them on a short trip. So, if there’re some places you can’t visit on this trip, never mind, make it on the next trip. If you are the first time visitor, put the places you want to visit the most on your list first. Then you can see should you add or delete anything.

In my 7 days trip in Japan, I spent 2 days in Tokyo, 2 days in Mt.Fuji, 1.5 days in Kyoto, and 1.5 days in Osaka.

Here are the places I have been:

1st day in Tokyo(Travel day): Tokyo Skytree

2nd day in Tokyo: Sensoji Temple, Tsukiji fish market, Odaiba Seaside Park, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi

3rd day in Mt. Fuji: Shiba-sakura Festival, Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko(Eastern and Northern part)

4th day in Mt.Fuji: Lake Kawaguchiko(Southern part), Gotemba Premium Outlets

5th day in KyotoArashiyama, Nishiki Market, Fushimi Inari Taisha

6th day in Kyoto and Osaka: Radom blocks around Gojōbashihigashi in Kyoto, Osaka Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street

7th day in Osaka(Travel day): Nippombashi, Kuromon Ichiba Market

You can check my detailed itinerary with pictures below. There are many other places I want to visit, but the time is limited. Will come next time!

4. How to get around?

Suica card and Google Maps APP are great tools you must have in Japan. Suica card is a smart card which used for taking JR East trains, subways and buses in Tokyo (By the way, it’s also workable in Okasa). With it, you don’t have to buy the tickets every time. Put enough money into the card on the machine and it can be used for many times.

How to get Suica card? When you arrived at the airport, you can

5. How to get Japanese yen?

You might wonder should you exchange money in your country or in Japan? It depends on the exchange rate in your country and whether your card is fee free of withdrawing money from ATM.

I exchanged money in China, cause and good rate and my card will be charged for the bank fee if I withdraw from ATM in Japan.

No matter exchange money in your country or in Japan, do remember to have a backup plan.

6. What to pack?

Japan quality is a name card for Japan, it represents high standard and quality. It’s easy to get good stuff here. Bring the necessaries and pack light.

There are two things I think we have to get prepared:

Travel Adapter: The voltage in Japan is 100V and it’s 2 pins, the adapter is necessary to use the electricity and protect your equipment. When bringing your hair dryers on the trip, you have to use it with a power converter. If you have phones, cameras and other electronics to be charged at the same time, the adapter with multi-USB ports is more efficient.

Mobile internet: We don’t have to stay connected all the time, but when we need to check a route in Google Maps, we need the internet. If you have the international service on your phone, it could cost a lot. Usually there are two cheaper solutions, SIM card and pocket wifi hotspot. I preordered and got my SIM card before I started my trip. The card is for 7 days. So when I arrived in the Narita Airport, I activate my card and get connected. You can check here for SIM card and pocket wifi hotspot.

If it will be rain, don’t worry, you can buy the umbrella in convenience stores easily.

7. Some facts about Japan

Taxi is pretty expensive. Better to choose your accommodation around the subway station.

Bring adapter, because it’s 100V in Japan and it’s 2pins.

Japan is a developed country.

It’s so difficult to find dustbins everywhere, bring some small bags alone for garbage.

Okay, now you are going to see the details of my complete 7 days itinerary in Japan.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Tokyo Narita Airport, Skytree

Hotel: Via Inn Asakusa

Route: Tokyo Narita Airport – Oshiage Station (Skytree) – Via Inn Asakusa (our hotel)

The first day is a travel day. We arrived in Tokyo around 3 pm. One thing only we planned to do is to see the awesome night view of Tokyo from Skytree!

We flew into Tokyo Narita Airport and arrived at 2:55 pm, got our luggage in 1 hour, and then headed to buy Narita Sky Access train ticket to Ginza Line Asakusa Station (the station close to our hotel). Our train was 4:07 pm on that day. Sky Access ticket cost JPY1,260 for one adult.

Note: in the terminal, you can easily find the table to buy Sky Access tickets. But there are few trains of it, so check the timetable with the worker when you buy the tickets. If the timetable if not fit you well, you can also alter to take Skyliner which is faster and expensive (JPY2,470/adult).

We planned to put our luggage in the hotel first and rest for a while, then 15 mins walk to Skytree in evening. But when we arrived at Oshiage Station SKYTREE, there’s something wrong in the station, and we have to get off the train and wait more than 1 hour (It happens in Japan, we met this situation twice). So we gave up to go to the hotel first, we went to Skytree directly. Woohoo, not bad! We are not tired.

One thing I like in Japan is you can easily find the affordable Coin Lockers (JPY500 for a large suitcase and JPY300 for bags). No burdens to bring your luggage everywhere lol. After we put our luggage in the coin lockers in Skytree building, we grabbed rice balls from 711 and walked around to buy Skytree ticket.

Skytree

Open Hours: 10:00 – 21:00

Ticket Price for 350 Floors: JPY 2060.00 for one adult (18 years up) Check here for more price info.

Skytree is a broadcasting tower with observation deck and restaurants. It’s a landmark of Tokyo. The height of it is 634 meters. Visitors can buy the ticket for 350 Floors or even higher 445 Floors (need to pay extra JPY 1030.00). We bought for 350 Floors. You can preorder the tickets online or buy them when you arrive. It didn’t take us much time to buy the ticket at the 4F entrance floor. I don’t think there’s a need for the fast ticket with additional cost.

The view in 350F (Tembo Deck) is really amazing, especially the moments when the night came down, and lights up, Tokyo is so pretty and fascinating. We spend around one and half hours there to see the city lights up.

Around 7:40 pm we left 350 floors and went down to get our dinner. This building has a big shopping area. Restaurants are easy to be found there. After the dinner, we walk a bit around the shopping area, just got used to the cosmic culture of Japan.

Our hotel is 15 mins walk from Skytree, we walked there and had this view of Skytree.

The first day was good!

Day 2 Sensoji Temple, Tsukiji fish market, Odaiba Seaside Park, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi

Hotel: Via Inn Asakusa

We bought the one-day ticket (JPY 800.00) for taking Tokyo Metro and Toei subway (this ticket can’t use for other kinds of train) in the whole day. If your route can be covered mostly by them, then it’s a good option for you. We bought the ticket from our hotel.

As this is our last day in Tokyo, so we pick out some places out and make the route like a circle for saving time. Check my route below.

(Click here to learn how to make a trip route with Google maps.)

Asakusa: Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. A famous attraction with a huge Japanese lantern. It’s 2 mins walk away from our hotel. Usually, people go through the Kaminarimon gate first and then go to Nakamise shopping street. By the end of the shopping street, the second gate comes. Then you can see the main hall.

Our route is reversed, cause the main hall is the closest to our hotel. So we started from there to the Kaminarimon gate. If you are interested, you can go to the main hall and walk around and read some histories of it.

I don’t recommend to buy any things except here if it’s not unique. It’s not cheap and you can find many same things in the real shopping area with a better price.

We took the subway to the next stop, Tsukiji Fish Market.

Tsukiji Fish Market

If you are a foodie or food adventurer, Tsukiji Market will make you satisfied! It’s a big local market for people to buy food, fish and vegetables. While now it’s also a popular tourist place for people to enjoy the local food.

There are an inner market and outside market. Lots of restaurants are in the outside market. Some of the restaurants are very famous for the good taste. You can plan your lunch or brunch here for some good fresh sushi. Try some fresh food and you will find they are much better than the Japanese food you had in your country.

There is a street with all popular restaurants.  They have limited places to sit in, so if you don’t come early, you have to line up and wait for hours. Just image you get the freshest sushi from the chief and see how they make, you will feel it’s worthy.

I had Unadon (grilled eel rice) and it’s amazingly tasty! Much better than I had in other countries.

This is one place I like and definitely will visit again next time. I enjoyed the food adventure!

Note: Tsukiji Fish Market will be closed on October 6, 2018. It will be moved to Toyosu Market and running again on October 11, 2018. Check here for more information.

Odaiba Seaside Park

Odaiba is in Tokyo Bay, a very popular entertainment district. It made up by 3 parts, Palette town, Diver city and Odaiba seaside park. If you interested in taking views from the towering Ferris wheel, and visiting Toyota Mega Web, you should go to Palette town.

In my trip, I only visited the Odaiba seaside park. You can see the famous Rainbow bridge and Status of Liberty there. They have good trials for walking by the seaside and there are many beautiful trees. If I have enough time, I will stay there for the whole afternoon and see the night view. It says the night view is amazing there.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is a sign of Japan. It’s a communications and observation tower. If you decided to see the night view from Skytree like me, then you can save money and don’t have to go up of it. (Highly recommend seeing the night view of Tokyo Tower from Roppongi hill.)

After the Tokyo Tower, I decided to walk to Roppongi area with my friend. We took trains mostly, but walking in the street is a good chance to explore and encounter local things, people, and buildings.

Roppongi

Roppongi is a shopping area with tons of food, there are lots of bars and restaurants. Roppongi hill has the best night view of Tokyo (the night view with Tokyo tower). It has the indoor observation deck in the 52F and sky deck in the rooftop. If you are a photographer, you shouldn’t miss this place! Mori Art Museum is upper there in Roppongi. The National Art Center is nearby.

It’s good to come here in the evening. Have the dinner and enjoy the night view. We did some shopping in this area at night. What a great way to finish the day.

Day 3: Tokyo – Kawaguchiko Station, Shiba-sakura Festival, Fuji Mountain, Lake Kawaguchiko

Hotel: Kawaguchiko Station Inn (Our hotel is just 2 mins walk from the Kawaguchiko Station, which is super convenient. And from our hotel, we can see the Fuji Mountain. The room we lived in was for 6 people, each bed has curtains around. The room and bed are very clean and comfortable. If you want to save for a little bit, you can consider it.)

On the third day, we went to see the Fuji Mountain! We took the bus in the morning and it’s heavily raining in Tokyo. We were worried about the weather in the Fuji area and afraid we can’t see the mountain. While the weather turned to be very good in hours later. On the road, we can see the beautiful blue sky and clouds.

Tokyo – Kawaguchiko Station

How to take the bus from Tokyo to Fuji?

We ordered our bus tickets here online. The bus is from Fujikyoku bus company. Our bus was started at Akihabara bus station and the destination is Kawaguchiko Station. It’s about 2 hours on the way.

Here we arrived at the Kawaguchiko Station. Fuji Mountain was just there!!

Shiba-sakura Festival

The time I visited Japan was at the beginning of May, that’s the time of Shiba-sakura Festival. So after we put our luggage well, we went to buy tickets to Shiba-sakura Festival. (The cost was JPY2000/person, including all bus cost and event ticket.) It takes us around 50 mins to there, where was like in the mountains. It was sunny outside, but in the mountains, the weather is chilly and windy. If it’s on the Sunny day, we should see Fuji mountain with millions of flowers. We missed that.

Cycling around Lake Kawaguchiko (Eastern and Northern part)

After 2 hours, we got out from there and head back to Kawaguchiko Station. We didn’t choose the bus tour and decided to rent bicycles and cycling around the Lake Kawaguchiko. There are many shops around the station where you can rent bicycles, the cost we had was JPY1000 for 3 hours. Cycling around the lake and see the Fuji mountain was really a great experience I ever had! If you like outdoor activities, you will love this way to see Mt. Fuji. Isn’t it blessed to cycling around Mt. Fuji?

Along the road, everywhere was amazing! If you are tired of walking or cycling, there are coffee shops which facing the Mt. Muji, parks, museums for you to rest.

There are two places recommend:

At evening, we walk along the road and see the sunset. There’s a spot I recommend to see the sunset if you have the time to go there, it’s Arakura Sengen Shrine, you will have a stunning and unique view to see Fuji Mountain. I met a man in the shop of renting bikes, he told me he went hiking Mt. Fuji and it’s very good. I would like to try that next time.

I met a man in the shop of renting bikes, he told me he went to hike Mt. Fuji and it’s every good. I would like to try that next time.

Day 4 Lake Kawaguchiko(Southern part), Gotemba Premium Outlets

Accommodation: Overnight bus

Cycling around Lake Kawaguchiko(Southern part)

When I got out of the hotel in the morning, the weather is extremely nice. Super sunny day with blue sky and no clouds. I can even see the snow clearly on the mountaintop. This is the view when I get out from the hotel.

After we checked out, we went to rent bikes again and cycled the Southern part of Lake Kawaguchiko.On the southern part of the lake, there are parks around the lake, lots of trees. You can see people fishing, kayaking, and cycling. You can see the Mt. Fuji along the way.

I can’t express how beautiful the Mt. Fuji and the lake by my simple words, I was falling in love with it at that moment. Find a nice spot to sit down, and enjoy the beauty quietly. You won’t forget the feeling. Yagizaki Park is amazing! Below is the photo I took from there. You should visit there without any regrets.

Our night bus from Gotemba station was 9:30 pm. So we took the bus from Kawaguchiko station at 1:30 pm and spent our afternoon in Gotemba Premium Outlets.

Byebye Fuji, see you next time!

Gotemba Premium Outlets

Gotemba Premium Outlets is only one outlet which you can see the Fuji mountain! And there are around 200 different brand stores. If you have the needs to do some shopping, you should come here to check it out. They have coin lockers here for storage too.

Overnight Bus

There’s no direct bus or train you can take from Kawaguchiko Station to Kyoto, you have to transfer. JR and overnight bus are two options people usually go with. For saving, we decided to try the overnight bus this time.

If you go with faster and comfortable JR, you should take the bus fromKawaguchiko Station to Mishima Station first, then take the train “Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen” to Kyoto Station. Here is the timetable for the train.

For night bus route, you have to take the bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Gotemba Station. Then take the night bus from Gotemba Station to Kyoto Station. The night bus is at 9:30 pm. I booked the ticket for night bus online before the trip.

Day 5: Kyoto, Arashiyama, Nishiki Market, Fushimi Inari Taisha

Hotel: Gojo Guest House

The night bus was good. You can lie down the seat and have the curtain to create your own space. It’s comfortable and quiet on the bus. But my knees were hurt after slept for the whole night. But the night bus did save a lot comparing to the one-night hotel cost and JR train.

We arrived at Kyoto around 5:30 am. Then we headed to our hostel. Kyoto gave us different feeling, it’s not crowded as Tokyo. The streets are wider and you can see lots of traditional Japanese houses. Our hostel looks really amazing when we saw it at first glance. Our room is Japanese style and we have to make our own bed. It was a really good experience, and the bed was super comfortable. After we rest a while in the hostel, we went to Arashiyama.

Arashiyama

Arashiyama is one of the most popular places you should visit. It’s a mountain which located in the west part of Kyoto and famous for the bamboo forest. Beautiful Temples are also spread in the mountains. We took 50 mins bus. It’s a little bit crowded when we were there. When in the season of cherry blossom or maple, Arashiyama will be the perfect place to visit.

Here are several attractions:

  • Togetsukyo Bridge
  • Tenryu-ji Temple
  • Okochi-Sanso Villa
  • Jojako-ji Temple
  • Gio-ji Temple

As we started from the bus station, the beautiful Togetsukyo Bridge was just in front of us. The bamboo forest was on the right side. After passing the shopping area, you will sense the bamboo forest will not far away. Before I came here, I saw lots of photographers shoot here, and that’s very impressive. When I saw it, it’s an amazing feeling to get lost among the bamboos forest.

After the bamboo forest, we passed several temples and hike a little bit on the mountain. After we went down from the mountain, we walked around the roads of living area. I was so amazed by the gardening of Japanese. Almost every house planted flowers and they were blooming stunning.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market was our next stop after Arashiyama. It’s a local food market which is like Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. You can get almost all kinds of Japan food from there. We had very good Japanese noodles on the streets. It’s a place we recommend you to try any Japanese food you like.

Note: If you have been to the local market in Tokyo, you can skip this place. Here is not as big as the one in Tokyo, and less food. There are many good restaurants you can find on the street. 

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha is always a crowded place and the most popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. With more than thousands vermilion torii gates, the view of it is really stunning! When you entered, you will see the main hall, behind it, there is a way to go to the giant torii gates. You must see the pictures like this in below:

Besides the giant torii gates, there are lots of smaller torii gates too. These were donated by companies, and you can see the company names on it. You can walk along and walk up to hike.

Highly recommend this place. It’s truly amazing!

We headed back to the place where we live in the evening. These were all we visited on the 5th day.

Day 6 Radom blocks around Gojōbashihigashi in Kyoto, Osaka Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street

Hotel: Hotel WBF Yodoyabashi-Minami

This day, my friend and I decide to spend several hours to explore the blocks in the living area around where we stayed. To experience the living locally.

Kyoto is one of the most preserved places in Japan. It’s not as busy as Tokyo, and not as modern as Osaka. You can really slow down to enjoy some typical Japanese culture and peace. The beauty of Kyoto is in every corner. So  I like the style of Japan architecture. The material, color, design, and details are all fascinating to me.

If your schedule is not busy in Kyoto, I recommend you can leave some time to ride bikes and go around to explore this ancient Japanese city. I believe it will amaze you.

Around the noon, we started to head to Osaka. The train to Osaka is around 1 hour, which is not far away. The first time when we arrived at Osaka, we felt many differences. People stand at the right side when they take the elevator, which reverts to Tokyo. The streets are wider than Tokyo.

In the later afternoon and night, we went shopping in Osaka around Shinsaibashisuji.

Day 7 Sakai-Suji Avenue, Kuromon Ichiba, Kansai International Airport(KIX)

This was the last day we stayed in Japan. It’s a shopping and travel day. We headed to Nipponbashi Station of Sakai-Suji Subway Line in the morning and went to Sakai-Suji Avenue. It clustered with the electric appliances, anime books and toys. We picked some to bring home for friends. If you are a fan of Japanese anime, you should stop by.

We walked along the avenue and arrived at Kuromon Ichiba in the noon. Kuromon Ichiba is a marketplace for food. There are lots of fresh seafood, great beef, Japanese food vegetables. We had great sushi and beef there. Sushi looks like what we had in China, but when we tried them, the taste was so different. It’s super fresh here.

At 2 pm, we went to Kansai International Airport(KIX) from our hotel. Our flight was 5:40 pm. It tooks us around 1 h 10 mins to airport.

Wrapping Up

This trip in Japan was amazing, full of joy and amazement. I truly enjoyed the time there. The hotel, food and attractions are better than I thought. My favorite part of this trip is cycling around the Lake Kawaguchiko to see Mt. Fuji. When I back home, I can’t wait to visit there again! The beauty of Japan is good memories now.

Next time, I will choose the season of cherry blossom or autumn foliage, and stay longer, to explore and enjoy the wonders there.

Thanks for reading. I hope you can find helpful information for your trip to Japan. Any questions you can comment below or send me emails. Enjoy your trip in Japan!

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