A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do

We spent twelve days exploring Tokyo during our month long trip to Japan, back in March 2017. Since there are so many things to do and see in Japan’s capital, I’ve decided to put together this Tokyo itinerary, to help you plan your trip. Tokyo is as bright, bustling, beautiful and exciting as you have imagined, and it definitely cannot be explored in just twelve days.

You can, however, see a lot of what the city has to offer, and I have listed some of my favourite things to see and do in this Tokyo itinerary.

Not only is Tokyo the biggest city in Japan, it’s also the most populated metropolitan city in the world. If you only have a few days to explore Tokyo, it will more than likely seem quite overwhelming. Don’t let the sheer size and amazement of Tokyo scare you away.

There are thousands of things to see, do and love about Tokyo, so get comfortable. I’m about to share our own Tokyo itinerary, to both inspire and help you plan your own visit.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital City

Russell and I had a long list of things we wanted to see and do. We knew that although we had twelve days to explore the city, we wouldn’t see it all. That’s alright though, because it gives us an excuse to go back and see the things we missed! Here is our twelve day Tokyo itinerary.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Tokyo Itinerary: Day One

Arriving in Tokyo

Just like our previous commutes between cities across Japan, we arrived in Tokyo on the Shinkansen Bullet Train. It took roughly two and a half hours to travel from Nagano to Shinjuku New City Hotel, which would be our home for the next twelve days. If you’re unfamiliar with the Shinkansen, it’s a super high speed train, that travels between most major cities across Japan.

Travel times vary depending on the distance between cities, so be sure to bring some entertainment for the journey. If you enjoy reading, consider purchasing a Kindle. These are perfect for extended travel times, and will keep you busy for the duration of your Bullet Train ride!

Shinjuku New City Hotel - Tokyo Accomodation Review

Japan’s hotel policies are quite strict, and if you arrive before 3pm, you’ll more than likely not be able to check-in to your room. That being said, one of the best things about Japan’s hotels is they will hold your luggage for free while you wait. We arrived at around 2pm, so we dropped off our suitcases and headed down the street for some lunch.

Relaxing Afternoon in Shinjuku

We stayed at Shinjuku New City Hotel, which is a 10 minute walk to Shinjuku Station – the largest train station in Japan. Tokyo was the last stop on our month long Japan adventure, so we decided to spend our first afternoon in Tokyo taking it easy. It had been over a week since we were last able to do some washing, so that was priority for the afternoon. We loaded up a machine, then walked to the Family Mart convenience store down the road, to stock up on snacks and alcohol.

Related: Our Stay at Tokyo’s Shinjuku New City Hotel

Tokyo Itinerary: Day Two

Harajuku

Harajuku is one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s also the hub for teenage fashion and culture, with the main attraction being Takeshita Street. If you have visited Osaka before, or have read my Osaka itinerary, Takeshita Street is very similar to Osaka’s Dotonbori. There are dozens of cute clothing shops, souvenir stores and fast food options to keep you happily strolling through Harajuku for hours.

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do | Rhiannon Travels

Related: A Suggested Osaka Itinerary

One thing to remember about Japan, is that most major cities are going to be busy almost every day. If you want to try and avoid the crowds as best as possible, I suggest visiting Harajuku during the week. Weekends are painfully busy, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with people all day long. We spent a Sunday dodging selfie sticks and winding our way through Harajuku’s busy weekend crowds. It was still an awesome experience, but learn from our mistakes and visit during the week.

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do | Rhiannon Travels


Takeshita Street has a ton of fun second-hand clothing stores, and both Russell and I scored some awesome bargains. Take the time to browse each store, even if you don’t think you’ll find anything. Tokyo is a very unique city, and there are hidden gems behind every corner.

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do | Rhiannon Travels

Harajuku Quick Facts

Address: 1-chome Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: Take the JR Tamanote Line and get off at JR Harajuku Station. Take the Takeshita Exit into Harajuku
Best Time to Visit: During the week, avoid weekends and public holidays

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do | Rhiannon Travels

Shibuya & Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, with thousands of people crossing to the other side of the road every 2 minutes. For one of the best views of Shibuya Crossing, head up to the Starbucks – you can’t miss it! You will more than likely have to push your way through for a good spot, but if you’re patient, you’ll get great photos and footage of the Shibuya Crossing scramble.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital City

Shibuya Quick Facts

Access: Get off at Shibuya Station, leave via the Hachiko exit and you’ll be right amongst the action!
Best time to visit: It’s been said that Shibuya Crossing is best between 7pm and 8pm each night. This must be because there are far more people using the crossing, and therefore a much more amazing sight. We visited during the afternoon, but it was still impressive to watch.


Another cool place to visit while you’re in the Harajuku area, is the Meiji Shrine. It was under construction the day we visited, so we didn’t get a great sighting of it. But the scenic walk up to the shrine itself is well worth it.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day Three

Akihabara

Akihabara is the anime, video game and electronics hub of Tokyo. If you’re a fan of old school video game consoles, or the endless amount of anime that Japan is known for, you’ll have a blast exploring Akihabara. Even if video games and anime aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to see in the bright and colourful district. There are also a ton of food options, so you won’t be limited for choice.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital City

Shinjuku Batting Centre

After exploring Akihabara, we headed back towards our hotel in Shinjuku. The night before, we made a list of things we wanted to see and do in Tokyo for the rest of our stay. While researching, we came across the Shinjuku Batting Centre. I have absolutely no coordination when it comes to sport, so we decided to swing by (see what I did there?) the batting centre on our way back from Akihabara.

Shinjuku Batting Centre Quick Facts

Address2-21-13 KabukichoShinjuku 160-0021
Access: Take the east exit at Shinjuku Station
Cost: 300 yen (28 balls)

As long as you keep paying the 300 yen (there will be a machine inside the batting cage), you can stay for as long as you like. Just make sure to rotate turns, so the people waiting behind you don’t miss out.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day Four

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Russell and I stayed in Shinjuku for entire 12 day duration of our stay in Tokyo, which put us centrally located to a lot of the best things to do in the city. Directly across the road from our hotel, on the other side of Shinjuku Chuo Park, is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

There are two towers (Northern and Southern), and both have FREE observatories at the 202 metre mark. Each tower reaches a total height of 243 metres, so you’re extremely close to the top.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

If you visit on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of famous Tokyo attractions like Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Skytree. Each observatory has a cafe and souvenir shop, plus restrooms and seats if the amazing panoramic views are tiring you out. Did you sense my sarcasm there?


If you choose to head up to the observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for sunset, be prepared to queue for quite a while. The lines can get extremely long, which isn’t surprising since you’re getting an incredible free view of the busiest city in the world! We went up twice – once during the day and again once it had become dark on our last night in Japan.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Quick Facts

Address: 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001
Access: Take the east exit out of Shinjuku Station. OR the Tocho-mae Station on the Oedo Subway Line is located in the basement of the building! How convenient.
Cost: 100% free! (unless of course you decide to buy some snacks or souvenirs once you’re at the top. Just a heads up, it’s super overpriced)

Note: Before entering the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, you’ll be required to have a bag check. As long as you’re not taking anything dodgy up to the top, you’ll breeze through.

The rest of our 4th day in Tokyo was pretty relaxing. We wandered around the area near our hotel, had some lunch, restocked our snacks and alcohol supply and headed back to the hotel. Remember, it’s a good idea to have some ‘rest days’ while traveling. Especially if you’ve crammed in a lot into a short amount of time.

Day 5: Tokyo Mega Pokemon Centre & Shopping

Like most of the world, I hopped on the Pokemon Go bandwagon when it was a huge craze. Also like most of the world, I stopped playing after a month or so. Russell has been a lifelong Pokemon fan, so obviously the biggest Pokemon Centre in Japan had to be on our itinerary.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

The Mega Pokemon Centre is located in Sunshine City shopping mall, where you’ll find a ton of cool things to do even if you’re not a Pokemon fan. No matter which Pokemon is your favourite, or what type of souvenir you hope to return home with, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be honest – I don’t know much about the Pokemon world. All I do know is that Squirtle is my favourite, and Pikachu is yellow. But even I was impressed by the sheer size and awesomeness of the place.

You’ll find an endless amount of cool stuff to buy: badges, Pokemon cards, backpacks, notebooks, stationery, clothes, socks, books, plastic and cuddly Pokeballs, stuffed Pokemon toys, food and much more. I recommend setting aside at least a couple of hours to explore the Mega Pokemon Centre, especially if you’re a die hard fan. You’ll need as much time (and money) as possible.

Mega Pokemon Centre Quick Facts

Address: 3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-6002 (Sunshine City shopping mall)
Access: Take the east exit out of Ikebukuro Station. From there, it’s roughly a 10 minute walk.
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm
More Information: Mega Pokemon Centre website

After spending a decent amount of time doing laps around the Mega Pokemon Centre, we explored the rest of Sunshine City shopping mall. Sadly, we were running fairly low on money, so we weren’t able to shop up a storm. But it was still fun walking around and seeing some familiar and not so familiar stores.

Day 6 and 7: Tokyo DisneySea & Tokyo Disneyland

Disneyland and DisneySea are two attractions that just have to be on your Tokyo itinerary. While in Shibuya, Russell and I bought our two day Tokyo Disney Park tickets at the Disney Store. I’ve published an entire post about both of the Disney parks in Tokyo, because I had far too much to say!

Click here to read all about our amazing experience at Tokyo’s Disneyland and DisneySea. I’ve included a ton of super helpful tips on everything from food, ticket prices, fast passes, wait times and much more.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

Day 8: Odaiba

Odaiba is a popular entertainment and shopping district in Tokyo. It’s located on the man made island in Tokyo Bay, which is pretty cool if you ask me. There’s a surprising amount of stuff to see and do in Odaiba, it just depends on what you’re interested in.

We originally planned our Odaiba visit to see the giant Gundam robot outside of the DiverPlaza Tokyo Plaza shopping mall. But because we have such wonderful luck, it was taken down just before we arrived in Tokyo, to be replaced later in 2017. This was truly devastating, because I was excited to take a selfie with the giant robot I didn’t know anything about. Oh well. Next time!


There’s also a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty, plus a ton of shopping malls with various stores and restaurants. Not to mention the 5th floor of the AquaCity mall, has a ramen food court. Yeah, that’s a thing. Our broke asses couldn’t afford to eat there. But still, that’s pretty darn cool.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital City

Tip: Track down the Italian chain restaurant, Saizeriya for a quick bite to eat. There is a huge variety of super, duper cheap food, and 200 yen glasses of wine (which I took full advantage of). Unlimited drink refills and a double mozzarella pizza for under 5 bucks is also another reason to eat at Saizeriya. We ended up eating at various Saizeriya locations all over Japan, once we discovered how delicious and cheap it was!

Day 9: Tokyo Giants Baseball Game, Golden Gai & Kabuchiko

As soon as we discovered there was a Tokyo Giants home game scheduled during our stay in Tokyo, getting tickets became a priority. You can purchase tickets to sporting games online or at some convenience stores, but we decided to take the train to Tokyo Dome itself!

Right next to Tokyo Dome is Tokyo Dome City, which is an awesome theme park in the heart of Tokyo. So if you’re keen to hit up a baseball game while in Tokyo, I recommend buying your tickets from Tokyo Dome a few days beforehand.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

In true Rhiannon fashion, I decided I wanted to get drunk before heading to the game. So after I finished off half a bottle of wine and Russell had a glass of Whisky, we headed to the train station. Let me just tell you: drunkenly catching a train in the busiest city in Japan is quite an experience. Not that I encourage excessive consumption of alcohol, but it did make the experience a whole lot more fun.


The Tokyo Giants baseball game was a lot of fun. The atmosphere at a Japanese baseball game is something I’ve never experienced before. The fans of the away team get extremely into it, and almost every single one of them stand up and sing, dance and even jump up and down in support of their team. It’s very cool to watch.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital CityA Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

If you decide not to eat beforehand, you may be a bit disappointed in the selection of food. You can, however, purchase a Bento box to enjoy while you watch the game. Prices aren’t great, but that’s to be expected. I suggest bringing your own snacks and bottle of water. We didn’t think to do this, and ended up spending 400 yen EACH on two airplane sized bottles of water.

Tokyo Dome Quick Facts

Address: 1 Chome-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo, Tokyo 112-0004
Access: Suidobashi Station on the JR Chuo Line (use your Japan Rail Pass if you have one!)
Japan’s baseball season: March to October

After the baseball we headed back to the hotel, drank some more alcohol and ate some food. Then we headed out to experience Shinjuku’s night life!

The Robot Restaurant in Kabuchiko was on our list of things to do. However due to the flashing, colourful, robot experience costing a devastating $80, we settled for a photo of the sign outside instead. But if you aren’t broke and want to be part of something that will literally blow your mind, definitely budget better than us, and experience the Robot Restaurant.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

Golden Gai is Shinjuku’s well known street of super tiny bars. To be honest though, they look more like household kitchens. Most of the bars cost 1,000 yen to even walk through the door, not to mention the 500 yen or higher drink prices. So naturally, we didn’t actually go into any of the bars.

The street itself was fairly disappointing, especially after all the rave reviews we read. But I guess if you have some money to blow, the experience itself would be pretty cool. Instead, we bought cheap booze from convenience stores and wandered the streets of Shinjuku’s Red Light District.

A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan’s Capital City

Days 10 & 11: Explore Shinjuku

After 10 days of almost perfect Tokyo weather, our last few days in Japan was spent with almost 48 hours of non-stop rain. Of course this was very disappointing and rather inconvenient, but we tried to not let the weather ruin our last couple of days in Japan. So, despite constant rain, we headed out to explore more of Shinjuku.

12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience

If you’re at the end of your time in Tokyo, I suggest simply exploring. Whether that’s shopping, wandering the streets or visiting a few shrines and temples, take a day to relax and appreciate the wonder that Tokyo has to offer. Even after spending one hour in Tokyo, it’s easy to see that it’s the busiest city in the world, but it doesn’t have to feel like bedlam the entire time.

Day 12: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden & Packing

12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience

This was our last day in Japan. It was a nice sunny day, so we took advantage of that and walked to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. For 200 yen, you get entry and access to the beautiful and relaxing park. There are a ton of places to have a picnic with family, or simply walk the paths and enjoy the serenity.


We visited at the beginning of spring, so Cherry Blossoms were blooming and petals were starting to fall. Every man and his dog was snapping away on their cameras. It’s a cool sight, seeing large groups of people standing right next to a single blossom petal, taking photos from dozens of different angles. But a couple of photos while walking through the crowd was good enough for me. I did take the opportunity for a close up when I came across an unpopular blossom tree, though.

12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience 12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience 12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience


I hope you’ve found this Tokyo itinerary helpful. Like I said, you’ll need a lot more than 12 days to explore Tokyo. There is so much to see and do, this Tokyo itinerary is purely just the start of your massive Japan adventure! Whatever you do, definitely make sure to visit the Disney Parks!

Have you been to Tokyo before? What was your favourite part? Tell me in the comments below!
I’m also happy to answer as many questions that you have, so if I’ve missed anything in this Tokyo Itinerary, ask me below!

Did you like this post? Pin it for later, or share with your friends!

A 12 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Things to See and Do | Rhiannon Travels A Tokyo Itinerary: 12 Day Guide to Exploring Japan's Capital City

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!