Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

We’re both huge theme park and Disney fans. So as soon as we discovered that there is a Disneyland Resort in Japan, it instantly went straight to the top of our bucket list. Japan is home to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. DisneySea is the most unique Disney park in the world, and is absolutely a must-visit during your stay!

Before visiting Japan, we had only been to California’s Disney Parks – Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Although we’ve both visited these parks multiple times, we unfortunately hadn’t widened our Disney horizons beyond Anaheim. That’s why we decided to spend a day at each of Tokyo’s Disney parks, starting with DisneySea!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

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!

Getting to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Japan’s train system is world class, meaning traveling between cities throughout Japan is super easy. Getting to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea is no different!

JR train line to Maihama Station

If you’re traveling from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Shingawa, Yokohama or Akihabara, catch any of the JR train lines at one of the stations above, that’s heading to Maihama Station.

Use Google Maps for directions from your hotel to the nearest major station. The Google Maps app will give you step by step directions, including the train(s) you need to catch and the best exit to leave through. It will also give you the direction and how far you’ll need to walk once you exit the station.

Disney Resort Monorail from Maihama Station

Once you arrive at Maihama Station, you’ll then need to catch the Disney Resort Monorail. It’s super easy to find – just follow the huge crowd of people dressed as Disney characters and you’ll be fine.

The monorail is decked out in Disney and is super adorable. Even the windows are shaped as Mickey’s head. The monorail will take you directly to the entrances of both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, so just hop off at your desired park!


Tip: If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can actually use this to get to the Disney parks. Simply show your JR pass to an officer standing next to any JR entrance gate, and you’ll be let straight through without having to pay any extra! For more information, here is a detailed explanation of the trains you can catch from the main stations around Tokyo.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea Tickets

There are a few options when it comes to purchasing tickets to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The ticket you choose to buy depends on whether you want visit just one park or both.

1 Day Passport

Adult: 7,400 yen per person
Ages 4 to 11: 4,800 yen per person
Ages 12 to 17: 6,400 yen per person

2 Day Passport

Adult: 13,200 per person
Ages 4-11: 8,600 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 11,600 yen per person

3 Day Magic Passport*

Adult: 17,800 yen per person
Ages 4-11: 11,500 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 15,500 yen per person

4 Day Magic Passport*

Adult: 22,400 per person
Ages 4-11: 14,400 yen per person
Ages 12-17: 19,400 yen per person

*A Magic Passport gets you into both parks on the 3rd or 4th consecutive day. This means you can spend the morning at Disneyland then end the day at DisneySea (or vice versa).

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Where to buy tickets

We are about to give you the most important piece of advice we will share throughout this entire post.

Do NOT purchase Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tickets at the gate.

You will absolutely regret it. The lines are excruciatingly long and you will end up spending a great deal of your time waiting in lines, before you even enter the park. Instead, there are a few ways to purchase tickets before arriving at Japan’s Disney Resort.

Selected Disney Stores around Tokyo

Some Disney Stores located throughout Tokyo actually sell Disneyland and DisneySea tickets. Tickets cost the same as everywhere else, but will save you a ton of time on the day. It also means you won’t struggle with an online purchase.

The following stores sell Disney Resort tickets:

  • Shibuya Koen Dori
  • Odaiba Aqua City
  • Ikebukuro Sunshine City Alpa
  • Hachioji Tokyu Square
  • Machida 109
  • Akishima Mori Town

Online

Tickets can be purchased online via the Tokyo Disneyland Resort website. If you’re staying at a hotel, the front desk will be happy to help you purchase your tickets and print your confirmation or e-ticket.

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Selected convenience stores

Family Mart or Lawson convenience stores throughout Tokyo generally sell tickets to a lot of attractions, including Disneyland and DisneySea. If you’re unsure, just walk in and ask! Japanese people are some of the friendliest we have ever met, and will almost always go out of their way to help in any way.


We purchased our 2-day passports from the Shibuya Disney Store a few days before our first day at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. This turned out to be a great decision, as it meant we only had to wait in line for 10 minutes instead of up to an hour. If you aren’t able to purchase tickets online, plan a day out in Shibuya!

Disneyland and DisneySea: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve visited Anaheim’s Disneyland before, Tokyo Disneyland is very similar. It’s set out pretty much the same way, and you can still walk through and admire Cinderella’s Castle. The castle itself looks totally different, but the characters are the same and you can still indulge in dozens of delicious churros.


However, if you’re looking for something a bit different, while still wanting to experience the magic of Disney, we recommend visiting DisneySea.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Everything about Tokyo DisneySea is amazing. From the props and buildings, to the decorations, rides and attractions. Not to mention the huge river stretching across almost half of DisneySea, from Port Discovery to Mediterranean Harbour. The detail that’s been put into DisneySea is hard to describe, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!


In our experience (having been to Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park multiple times), DisneySea is completely different. The sheer size of everything, like the Journey to the Centre of the Earth volcano, is incredibly impressive and like nothing we have ever seen before.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Quick Eats & Food Carts

Just like every other theme park in the world (Disney or otherwise), there are food carts absolutely everywhere, catering to almost all of your sweet and savoury food cravings. These are the general snacks you’ll find throughout Disneyland and DisneySea:

Churros – 310 yen
Fried dough pastry, aka the best theme park food on Earth

Popcorn – 310 for a regular box, 1,000 to 2,300 yen for a character souvenir bucket
Flavours: Cappuccino, caramel, milk chocolate, honey, soy sauce, butter and regular salted. The flavours will vary depending on which park you visit, and the land within that park.

Ice cream – 200 yen to 300 yen

Soft drink and water – 200 yen to 300 yen

There is a good combination of Japanese and Western food options available at the snack carts throughout Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Japanese snacks include: steamed buns filled with various meat, dessert steamed buns with strawberries, mochi dumplings filled with custard, and various fried delicacies.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Food: Restaurants

The restaurants at both of Tokyo’s Disney parks are very similar to any other Disney park you’ve been to. They’re all themed, based on which land they are in. Although most sell the same general food options, you might find a bit of variety if you shop around first.


We didn’t spend too much time exploring the restaurants, as we were on the hunt for cheap and quick food. But if you like pizza, french fries, sandwiches, bakery foods, rice, pasta, Japanese cuisine and a lot more, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

As far as theme park food prices go, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are very reasonably priced. You can get a huge cup of french fries for 500 yen, a decent sized slice of pizza for around 450 yen and from what I saw, the fancier meals were better than expected at less than 2,000 yen (they usually include a main meal, drink and a side of some sort).

Time and money saving food tips

Bring your own snacks

Before arriving at Disneyland or DisneySea, stock up on snacks and drinks at one of Japan’s hundreds of convenience stores. You’re allowed to bring in your own food, so why not make the most of it?


This will not only save you money, but also tons of time throughout the day. The lines for most restaurants at both parks get super long, so bringing your own lunch and snacks will make your day a lot easier. Expect to wait at least half an hour for the most popular popcorn carts!

Bring a water bottle

There are heaps of water fountains located in both parks. Usually you’ll find at least one in each of the different lands, so there’s no shortage of cold water available for free. We were glad we decided to bring our own water bottles, as it saved so much time and money throughout the day.

Eat lunch earlier in the day

Waiting in long lines at a theme park is inevitable. But we were surprised at just how long the lines were at food carts and restaurants around the park. So we suggest eating lunch earlier as opposed to, well, lunch time.

The restaurants in particular remain fairly quiet up until around 11am, so head there earlier in the day to save some time. Every minute counts, especially if you only have one day to explore the park.

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Rides at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the part of this post you’re actually here for: Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea rides!

It’s no secret that Disneyland in general is a very busy place. No matter which Disney park you visit or what time of the day, you’re gonna have to share the park with other people. I know, it sucks.

The minimum wait time for almost every ride was around 140 minutes. Even longer on the bigger, newer and most popular rides and attractions. Unless you get lucky and visit on a quiet day, this is the average wait time for most rides.


For example, when we visited Disneyland (on a Thursday in winter) we arrived at the park around fifteen minutes before it opened. We would have arrived earlier if it didn’t take an hour to get from our hotel to the park. It just didn’t seem worth getting up at 4am to be there by 6am with everyone else.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Remember earlier in the post, when we recommended that you don’t purchase your tickets at the gate?

Well, when we arrived at Disneyland, there was a line to even enter the line. The people that hadn’t already purchased their tickets (either online, from a convenience store or a Disney Store) would have been waiting in line for over an hour. That’s just to purchase their ticket.


Guests then need to line up to enter the actual park. Since we pre-purchased our tickets at Shibuya’s Disney Store, we were directed straight to the second line. This took around twenty minutes to get through. Once the clock struck eight o’clock, the gates opened and thousands of Disneyland guests ran to their favourite ride.

Our plan was to get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain. But by the time we finally made it into the park, it was already 8:10am. The line to get a Fast Pass was crazy long, and the standby wait time for Space Mountain was well over 100 minutes.

Moral of this story? Purchase your ticket beforehand, and arrive as early as you can.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Tips for using Fast Passes

A Fast Pass is your best bet in getting on most (if not all) of the major rides and attractions. Insert your park ticket into a machine located outside of each ride that has a Fast Passes available. The machine will then print out a new ticket with the name of the ride at the top, and a one hour time frame for you to come back later in the day.

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

When you go back during your allocated time, you’ll be able to breeze past all of the people who have been standing in line for over an hour, and get on the ride in under 10 minutes! Well, most of the time. Sometimes you might have to wait a little longer than expected, but either way, it’s better than waiting 140 minutes!


Note: You can only get one Fast Pass ticket at a time. For example, if you get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain as soon as the gates open, you’ll have to wait a couple of hours until you can get another Fast Pass (for a different ride or the same ride).

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Fast Passes available at Tokyo Disneyland

These are the rides at Tokyo Disneyland that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout Disneyland. You’re welcome.

Westernland – Big Thunder Mountain

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Critter Country – Splash Mountain (water ride)

Fantasyland – Haunted Mansion, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (fast passes run out quickly)

Tomorrowland – Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Space Mountain (my all time favourite ride), Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Monster’s Inc Ride & Go Seek (interactive ride, fast passes run out fast)

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Fast Passes available at Tokyo DisneySea

These are the rides at Tokyo DisneySea that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout DisneySea. You’re welcome.

American Waterfront – Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania (fast passes run out super quick)

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Lost River Delta – Indiana Jones (super fast rollercoaster), Raging Spirits

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Arabian Coast – The Magic Lamp Theatre

Mermaid Lagoon – Mermaid Lagoon Theatre

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon TravelsA Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Mysterious Island – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth

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Age & Height Limits

As you might expect for a theme park, all of the attractions at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea require riders to be of a certain height and sometimes a certain age. To make things easier for you, here are the Disneyland and DisneySea website pages, which list each ride individually, as well as the age and height restrictions for that particular ride.

Parades

We can’t really give any advice or suggestions in regards to the Disneyland or DisneySea parades and shows, as we prioritised rides over parades. But from what we could tell by queues, the “Big Band Beat” show at DisneySea and the “Happiness is Here” daytime parade at Disneyland are unmissable!

Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Helpful Tips

Buy food before lining up for a ride

This is a great way to save time while waiting in long lines. We saw people snacking and even eating their lunch while waiting in lines for rides! It’s a pretty convenient way to kill some time, and eat some delicious food.

Get to the park early

If you only have one day at each park, we definitely recommend arriving earlier than 8am (when the park opens). The earlier the better to be honest. You’ll be able to fit more into your day, and won’t risk missing out on Fast Pass tickets.

Plan your day around Fast Passes

Before you arrive at Disneyland or DisneySea, write a list of your must see rides and attractions. Next, write down whether that particular ride is a Fast Pass attraction. When you arrive at the park, head for the ride at the top of your list and grab a Fast Pass. Then, head to number two on your list and wait in the standby line.

By the time you’ve been on that ride, eaten some food and had a look around, it will be time for you to grab your second Fast Pass ticket! Planning your day around Fast Passes is the best way to ensure you experience most (if not all) of the rides and attractions on your list!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

In Conclusion

We hope we’ve given you plenty of tips, to help you make the most of your day at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The service from every single staff member at Disneyland and DisneySea is absolutely amazing. So if we’ve have left something out, we’re positive that any of the friendly Disneyland team will be happy to help you out!


If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer, feel free to ask them down below! I’m more than happy to help out! Have you been to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea? What did you think? I’d love to know!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

Pin it for later!

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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!

Post originally published in March 2017. Updated in March 2018.

 

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

Japan is one of the most incredible countries in the world. Ask anybody who has visited, and we’re almost positive they will agree with us. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Japan, it will be one of the most wonderful and unique experiences of your life. There are some things you should know when planning a trip to Japan, though, and we’re going to tell you all about them in this post!

Compared to Western countries, Japan is very unique. Other than the obvious language barrier, traveling to such a unique country will naturally bring some difficulties. Nothing that is unbearable, and not even difficulties that will hinder your visit. But there are a few things to remember when visiting Japan, to make your experience as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

Tip: Download some Japan travel apps to help you along the way. With everything from transport and language to food and drink – theres an app to help you with almost everything!

We spent four weeks exploring Japan back in March 2017, which you can read about in our one month Japan itinerary post. We managed to explore six different cities across the country. We learned a lot during our visit, and decided to take that information and put it all into this best Japan travel guide!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide

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!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Currency & Money in Japan

The currency used in Japan is Japanese Yen.

In comparison to the Australian and US Dollar, Japan’s currency is quite similar. By that we mean, if you were to purchase something for 100 yen, converting that back into AUD or USD works out to be pretty close. That being said, currencies are always changing, so be sure to check with a currency converter before your trip.


In most aspects, Japan is a very advanced country. But when it comes to the use of a credit or debit card, they’re still pretty far behind. Most restaurants and shops don’t accept card payment, and you’ll find that a lot of businesses are still very cash focussed. Here are some tips to help with understanding money in Japan:

Japan can be done on a budget

Some things in Japan can be quite expensive, especially if you prefer to splurge a little when it comes to food and attractions. But it is possible to travel across Japan on a budget. Check out this post for tons of great tips and a suggested itinerary for exploring Japan for one month for as little money as possible!

Always have some cash with you

Having cash at all times is super important, especially on your first day in Japan. It will come in handy when you’re trying to get from the airport to your hotel, plus for stocking up on snacks and small things you might not have planned for. Given that you’ll more than likely struggle when searching for places that accept card, it’s best to keep a good amount of cash with you throughout your visit.

Withdraw cash at Convenience Stores

The best place to withdraw cash throughout Japan is at one of the convenience stores across the country. Find a 7/11 or Family Mart, as they’re going to be your best bet. Don’t worry about finding one either, they’re absolutely everywhere!

Tip: Get yourself a travel wallet, to not only keep your cash, but also your passport and any tickets you need to keep handy.

Tipping is not required in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is that tipping is not required. In fact, it’s almost considered rude. So there is no need to tip anyone in restaurants, hotels or transport staff. Awesome, right? Another way to save a bit of extra money!

Climate and Weather in Japan

We visited Japan in March 2017, at the tail end of their winter and the beginning of spring. Spring in Japan is Cherry Blossom season, and if you decide to visit during March and April, you’ll be rewarded with a pretty beautiful sight. Although we weren’t lucky enough to see the blossoms falling, we did get to experience the start of Cherry Blossom season, and it was beautiful all the same.


Since we visited at the end of winter, it was still quite cold. We had a couple of freezing days, especially our day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka. Here are some tips about japan’s weather and seasons year-round:

Cherry Blossom Season

Cherry Blossom season runs from March to May, and is the busiest time of year in Japan. Everything is more densely packed than normal, so be prepared for that! We were lucky enough to see the very beginning of Blossom season, however didn’t get to see the trees in full bloom. If you’re hoping to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom season, be sure to book as early as possible, as a lot of hotels will be fully booked if you leave it too late.

Seasons in Japan

If you’re traveling to Japan for the first time, you might not be sure what seasons fall at certain times of the year. Well, Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning they have the same seasons as countries like the United States and Canada. The seasons in Japan are roughly:

Summer: June to August
Autumn (Fall): September to November
Winter: December to February
Spring (Cherry Blossom Season): March to May

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Despite the crowds, we definitely recommend planning your trip to Japan during Cherry Blossom season. It’s absolutely beautiful and is guaranteed to blow you away. Be sure to book early, though, and prepare for large crowds everywhere you go – theme parks in particular!

That being said, although it will be busy I recommend planning your trip for spring, because it’s a beautiful experience. Be sure to book early and prepare for large crowds everywhere you go – theme parks in particular.

Japan is a very mountainous country

One of the things at the very top of our Japan bucket list, was to see snow. Lucky for us, Japan has a huge amount of beautiful mountains and countryside villages. On our way to Tokyo, we spent a couple of days in Nagano. During our time there, we took a day trip to the nearby, popular snow village of Hakuba.

If you’re hoping to experience Japan’s snow season, we highly recommend Hakuba. It was home to the 1998 Winter Olympics, and the Ski Jumping Stadium is still there today, giving guests the absolute best view in town for under 500 yen. 

A Day at Hakuba Japan Ski Resort | Rhiannon Travels

Japan’s vending machines change with the seasons

This is another quirky fact about Japan. The vending machines that you’ll find on almost every corner throughout the country, actually change with each season! During the colder months of the year (roughly November until March) you’ll find a larger selection of warm beverages like coffee and soup. During the warmer months, there will be a huge range of cold drinks to keep visitors hydrated!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Language in Japan

One of the first things we noticed when arriving in Japan, was that very few people speak English. This is obviously something we were prepared for. We knew that we were the ones visiting a different country, so we were the ones who should learn a couple of key phrases and be able to communicate clearly in some way.


It’s best to come prepared and have a few key phrases or words memorised, to make your visit as easy as possible for everyone involved. Here are some common phrases you should know before arriving in Japan:

Arigatou Gozaimas – Thank You
Konnichiwa  Hello
Sumimasen – Excuse Me
Ohayou Gozaimasu – Good Morning
Konbanwa – Good Evening
Hai – Yes

These are just a handful of the phrases you will use on a daily basis. From our experience, Japanese people are very patient and will do everything they can to help, regardless of your knowledge of Japanese. That being said, it’s simply good manners to practice some every day sentences or phrases to make situations easier!


Tip: If you’re worried about needing to know a few key phrases, or you want to expand your Japanese knowledge further than just saying thank you or hello, purchase a Japanese phrase book! Take it with you everywhere you go, and you’ll always have the perfect thing to say!

Transport in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is their impeccable public transport system. Although it might look confusing and overwhelming when you first arrive in Japan, the trains and buses are actually super easy to navigate. All train stations have directions and signage in both Japanese and English.


No matter where you need to go or which city you are heading to, it won’t be too difficult finding your way. Here are some tips for using Japan’s train system:

Use Google Maps

The ‘directions’ function in Google Maps will be your best friend. Type in your current location and where you are heading into Google Maps, and you’ll be given a list of the different train lines that will take you there. Find the corresponding platform in the station and hop on the correct train! It really is that simple.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’ve typed in your location and where you’re heading into Google Maps but you’re still a little confused, don’t worry. Japanese locals are some of the most friendly and helpful people in the world. If you’re ever stuck and need directions, don’t be afraid to speak up. Whether you ask a conductor on the train platform or somebody who is simply walking past, almost everyone will do their best to help.

We even had a few people voluntarily come up to us and offer their help, when they noticed we were struggling with directions on our first couple of days in Japan! Traveling to Japan for the first time doesn’t need to be scary – all you need to do is ask!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card the day you arrive, for ultimate ease and convenience when exploring Japan. Simply load some money onto your card (as much as you like), swipe it at the gate and walk on through. We bought a Suica card on our first day, which made traveling around the country super easy. Suica and Pasmo cards can also be used for purchases in some convenience stores.

Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass

If you plan to travel between cities across Japan, we highly recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. These are only available for visitors to Japan who will be staying in the country for less than 90 days, and must be purchased online before arriving. The JR Pass will get you onto the Shinkansen Bullet Train and various JR train lines throughout Japan.


The Japan Rail Pass can be quite expensive, so you should first decide whether it’s worth purchasing. For example, if you are only spending time in Tokyo, you won’t need a JR Pass as you can simply use Tokyo’s train or Subway system. But if you’re planning to city-hop across the country, it’s definitely worth the investment. Find out whether the Japan Rail Pass is right for you, here!

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Wifi & Sim Cards in Japan

We purchased a Pocket Wifi Device online before arriving in Japan. This turned out to be an absolute life saver, because it meant we had wifi wherever we went. We also had a spare battery and protective case to keep it all in. We definitely suggest purchasing a pocket wifi if you plan to spend a significant amount of time in Japan.


Another great option for data in Japan, is purchasing a local SIM card. Purchase one from the airport before heading out into the hustle and bustle of Japan. Make sure you have data, though, because you’ll need it for directions and using Google Maps.

Safety in Japan

Japan is definitely one of the safest countries we have ever visited. The entire month that we spent traveling around Japan was very smooth sailing, and we had no issues with crime or felt unsafe at any point. If you are planning a solo trip to Japan (in particular solo female travelers), you don’t need to worry too much.

That being said, as a general rule for travel, you should always remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, so as long as you keep your wits about you, there will rarely be any issues.


We traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly comfortable and safe walking the streets of Japan at night by myself. It’s an incredibly safe place – from our experience and what we’ve heard from other visitors to Japan – which is awesome!

Accommodation in Japan

We always stay in hotels when we travel, purely for personal preference. We like our privacy and are happy to budget a little bit extra for a comfortable and secure place to sleep. Just like everywhere else in the world, Japan has a few options when it comes to accomodation:

Hotels – Check out HotelsCombined for some awesome deals!
AirbnbAirbnb is a great option for families and groups of friends
Hostels – For budget travelers, hostels are the perfect option!
Capsule Hotels – For a totally unique and budget friendly option, capsule hotels are perfect! Read more about this awesome style of accomodation here!

The type of accomodation that you choose depends on your style, who you’re traveling with and your budget. There are a ton of options to suit everybody, whether you prefer a five star resort or a cheap budget friendly hostel. Do some research before booking, and always shop around!

What to wear in Japan

Japan is a weird and wonderful place to visit. If you’re into fashion, you’ll be in heaven winding through the streets of Tokyo, shopping up a storm. When it comes to the style in Japan, it seems that nothing is off limits. Harajuku for example, is one of the best districts in Tokyo to get a taste of Japanese fashion. There are an endless amount of unique stores, filled with everything from cat clothing to second hand bargains.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Tip for Females: From what I could tell, girls tend to show off their legs and cover up the top half of their body. During our month in Japan, we visited Disneyland, DisneySea and Universal Studios. A lot of Japanese girls were wearing shorts or skirts, despite the cold weather and I never once saw any cleavage. That’s something to keep in mind for you ladies traveling to Japan!

Food in Japan

If you love meat or seafood, you’ll feel right at home in Japan. Almost every major city is filled with dozens of Japanese and Western restaurants. There are a huge range of options available, across all budgets. If you’re like me (a picky eater who doesn’t eat much meat) don’t worry, you will still find plenty of delicious food.


Along with the plethora of Japanese restaurants selling ramen, sushi, yakitori and much more, there are also a lot of western food chains. I ate at McDonalds, Subway and KFC quite a bit, since I’m not really interested in experimenting with food. However, if you plan to sample Japan’s cuisine, you are in for a treat.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Things you should do in Japan

You’ll soon notice that Japan has quite a few quirky things you should keep in mind and be cautious of. Here are some things that you should do, during your time in Japan:

1. Do buy alcohol and snacks at Convenience Stores

As soon as you step into your very first Japanese convenience store, you’ll be hooked. These places literally have almost everything you would ever need at the last minute. From hot food and drinks to toiletries, newspapers and a huge range of delicious snacks. If you’re an alcohol drinker, Japanese convenience stores sell bottles of wine for under 500 yen, Scotch for under 2,000 yen and premixed drinks for 200 yen a pop.


If you’re craving a snack, visit your nearest convenience store. You’ll find a huge range from chips and chocolate to ice cream, cups of noodles and various hot foods. Convenience stores are one of the things we miss most about Japan!

2. Do slurp your noodles

If you visit a ramen restaurant or really anywhere that serves noodles, always slurp them! Of course this only seems to be acceptable in Japan, because everywhere else in the world frowns upon making so much noise while eating. Make the most of being able to slurp your food while you eat, without getting a ton of weird looks and stares.

3. Do try to be on time

The Japanese are very punctual people. As a whole, Japan runs very smoothly. The trains always arrive precisely on time, and if you have a meeting planned with somebody, we’re willing to bet money on the fact they’ll be there right on the dot. In this day and age, almost everyone has a phones with alarms and a clock, so use them and don’t be late!

4. Do take your shoes off when necessary

In some places, such as the fitting rooms in stores and temples or shrines, it’s expected that all visitors remove their shoes before entering. Generally there will be a sign asking people to take their shoes off. But if there isn’t, just have a look around to see what everyone else is doing.

5. Do appreciate Japan for it’s unique atmosphere

Whether you’re spending the day at one of Japan’s theme parks, hiking up one of the incredible mountains, or strolling through the winding road’s of Osaka’s Dotonbori. Japan will fascinate you in the best way possible. Be sure to appreciate every moment of your time in Japan, and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

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Things you should not do in Japan

Like anywhere in the world, there are some things you should not do when visiting Japan. Some of these are super quirky and some are pretty strange – in the best way, of course. There is a system in place for almost everything in Japan, which helps to make the country run as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the things that are frowned upon in Japan:

1. Don’t stand in the middle of an escalator

In all cities across Japan (except Osaka), it’s customary for people to stand on the left hand side, leaving the right side free for anyone who wants to walk up. Trust us when we say that this one is important, because escalators are absolutely everywhere in Japan.

2. Don’t tip

We mentioned this earlier, but tipping is considered rude in Japan. Japanese people put their heart and soul into everything they do, meaning that if somebody tips them for a job well done, it’s assumed the service was better than expected. You’ll be surprised at just how polite and friendly the Japanese locals are.

3. Don’t litter

One thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Japan, is the lack of rubbish bins in public. This especially inconvenient in busy shopping districts. Despite the lack of bins, the streets are immaculately clean (in most areas), so don’t be that person and leave your rubbish on the side of the road. Generally you’ll find bins outside of convenience stores and vending machines, so hold onto your rubbish until you can dispose of it correctly.

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4. Don’t eat while walking

I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of this one. I didn’t realise until the very end of our trip, that eating while walking in Japan is frowned upon. If you grab a quick snack while shopping, either sit down or stand out of the way while eating. I still feel ashamed about the number of times I scoffed down McDonalds fries while running for a train or window shopping. Sorry, Japan. I know for next time, though!

5. Don’t blow your nose in public

I’m also guilty of this one. We’re from Australia, where it is not frowned upon to blow your nose in public. But for some reason in Japan, it is! This is why you’ll hear anyone who is sick on trains, sniffing instead of blowing their nose. Just wait until you have some privacy, and sit in discomfort instead.

6. Don’t talk loudly on the phone in public

This mainly applies when traveling on trains. The first thing you’ll notice about catching trains in Japan, is that everyone is on their phones. Either texting, playing games or listening to music. But you will never hear a Japanese person peaking on their phone while on the train. It’s just common courtesy. The rest of the world doesn’t need to hear your conversation, so please keep it to yourself!

Things to see and do in Japan

There are a lot of incredible things to see and do in Japan. But unfortunately, whether you are spending one week or one year in Japan, you will never be able to see it all. The only way to make the most of your time in Japan, is to decide what you absolutely cannot leave without crossing off your Japan bucket list!


With that said, here are some of our favourite things to see and do throughout the six cities in Japan that we visited. These are obviously not all of the best attractions, they are just what we experienced personally, which we’ve even organised by city. You’re welcome. You can also read out super in depth one month Japan itinerary for a full recap of our four weeks in Japan!

Yokohama

There are a few fun and unique things to see and do in Yokohama, including: the Cup Noodle Museum, the Ramen Museum and the Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel. We didn’t plan our time in Yokohama very well, so the Ferris Wheel was closed on our only full day in the city. But if you’re looking for a couple of fun and very Japanese things to do, don’t leave without checking out the Cup Noodle Museum and Ramen Museum.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels

Osaka

The second biggest city in Japan that we visited, was Osaka! We spent an entire week exploring lots of amazing places across the city, which you can read about in our 6 day Osaka itinerary. Some of the highlights from our time in Osaka were the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka Castle, Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Dotonbori!

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Kyoto

We took two day trips to Kyoto during out six days in Osaka, and we’re so glad we did! Kyoto is one of Japan’s beautiful historic, country towns and there are a lot of relaxing places to spend an afternoon. The Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Shrine were two of our favourite things to see.

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Hiroshima

Hiroshima is my favourite city in Japan, at least out of the six that we visited. If you are only spending one day in Hiroshima, we highly recommend visiting Hiroshima Peace Museum and Memorial.

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Tokyo

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Tokyo has an endless amount of things to see and do. There is something for everyone, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest what your interests are. Some of our favourite attractions in Tokyo were Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Akihabara, Shinjuku Batting Centre, FREE views of Tokyo at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck and Disneyland and DisneySea.

Planning a Trip to Japan: The Best Japan Travel Guide | Rhiannon Travels


We hope this post has helped you learn how to plan a trip to Japan. Traveling to Japan for the first time can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never visited such a unique and busy country before. But with our best Japan travel guide, it will be a lot easier!

Have you visited Japan before? What surprised you the most and what was your fondest memory of the wonderful country? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to share this with your friends! 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Instagram!

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Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

During our month long stay in Japan back in March 2016, we managed to visit six different cities across the country. I can honestly say though, Hiroshima was by far my personal favourite. It’s definitely a must visit while in Japan, and we still wish we had stayed longer than one full day. There are so many beautiful places to spend a relaxing day out, so much incredible scenery to enjoy, and like the rest of Japan, some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Here are the top things to do in Hiroshima!

We took the Bullet Train from Osaka to Hiroshima, and booked our stay at the Comfort Hotel in Downtown Hiroshima. The location was perfect – within walking distance of everything we wanted to see. In less than 15 minutes, we were at the Peace Park, outdoor shopping arcade and had plenty of Japanese and Western food to choose from.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan

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!

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Museum & Atomic Bomb Dome

The Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum are two of the city’s most well-known places to visit.

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On August 6th, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima. Before this bombing occurred, the area which is now the beautiful Peace Park used to be the political hub of Hiroshima. A few years after the devastating attack, it was decided that instead of rebuilding the commercial district of Hiroshima, it would be turned into a memorial and museum. This would not only give Japanese people a way to remember the people who lost their lives, but also educate and help visitors to the city to understand what happened.

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Approximately 80,000 people were killed almost instantly as a result of the atomic bomb. 35,000 people were injured, and before the year ended, at least another 60,000 people had died due to effects from the atomic bomb. Although I have no personal relation to this attack or to anybody who lost their lives, it still saddens me greatly that something so devastating could happen to such a beautiful country.

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It costs 200 yen for entrance to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. This entry fee gives you full access to both of the museum buildings. The museum is a good way to learn about the events from August 6, and learn exactly how much damage was caused by the atomic bomb. Flash photography is restricted inside the museums, but from what we could understand, you are still allowed to take photographs as long as your flash is turned off.


I only took two photos inside the actual museum (see one of them below), as it didn’t feel right pulling out my camera and snapping away. Each to their own, though. There were people taking photos, so if you wish to do so, we suggest being respectful about it. If you are asked to stop, please be considerate and put your camera (or phone) away.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

The Peace Park is a beautiful place to relax if you decide to not visit the museum. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the park itself, so you can spend as much time as you like enjoying the peace and quiet. There’s a lake in between the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome, and it’s quite relaxing sitting on either side, watching the world go by.

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The Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the few buildings that survived the atomic bomb explosion. There is a gate surrounding the Dome itself, so you aren’t able to get too close to the building. However, you can still get a good idea of the devastation that was caused, and how incredible it is that the building survived.

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Museum Cost: 200 yen
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 30 – 31

2. Shukkeien Garden

One of the best Hiroshima sights is Shukkeien Garden. For 260 yen, you’ll get access to the garden and can stay for as long as you like. There are so many beautiful places to take photos within the park, so make sure you bring a camera! I only had my phone with me, because we spontaneously decided to walk to the garden while out shopping. But I still managed to take some pretty great photos.

Top Things to do in Hiroshima, Japan | Rhiannon Travels

The sheer amount of greenery, colourful flowers and cherry blossoms will make you glad you forked out the 260 yen for entrance. No matter which direction you walk throughout the park, you’ll want to take photos of absolutely everything. I definitely recommend Shukkeien Garden to spend a relaxing morning or afternoon. Set aside at least a couple of hours to explore the garden, as you won’t want to leave!


Cost: 260 yen
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 29 – 31

3. Downtown Hiroshima

Downtown Hiroshima is the main shopping hub of the city, and Hondori Street is the main attraction. Hondori Street is a pedestrian only street filled with tons of shops, restaurants and what seemed like an endless amount of pharmacies (strange, I know). Compared to Osaka’s Dotonbori District which is very similar, Hondori Street is a nice change from the craziness of Osaka. There are significantly less people in Hiroshima, therefore you can walk the length of the street with a lot less frustration and bumping elbows with strangers!


Some of the best food in Hiroshima is found on Hondori Street. You’ll also come across lots of Western food options (McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks etc), and a ton of Japanese restaurants and street food vendors.

Keep an eye out for the Italian restaurant chain called Saizeriya. We ate at lots of different Saizeriya locations around Japan during our month long stay. They have super cheap food, that’s always delicious and fresh. You can get a double mozzarella pizza or a bowl of pasta for under 500 yen! Bargain.

If you’re after secondhand goodies, look for Hiroshima’s BookOff store. BookOff is a chain throughout Japan selling everything from books and DVD’s to vintage video game consoles and secondhand clothing. I scored a ukelele for 500 yen, and an official Hiroshima Baseball team jersey for 2,500 yen! If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on shopping, hit up as many BookOff stores as you can. Hiroshima has one of the best BookOff stores we found, so you definitely won’t leave empty handed!

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4. Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle is a short walk from Shukkeien Garden. For 370 yen you can climb the stairs to the top of the castle, but we opted to just admire it from the outside. The castle grounds are pretty impressive too, and you don’t have to spend any money to enjoy them! Like most of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in the 1945 Atomic Bomb dropping. So it was rebuilt many years later and now contains a small museum inside.

If you choose to climb to the top of the castle, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Hiroshima city, and a birds eye view of the beautiful Shukkeien Garden!

Cost: 370 yen
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (admission closes at 5:30pm)
Closed: December 29 – 31


Hiroshima is a beautiful city with a devastating past. However, despite everything that has happened, the people of Hiroshima are still some of the friendliest and spirited that we have ever met. If you only have a short amount of time to spend in Hiroshima, please visit the Peace Park and Museum. There are a lot of top things to do in Hiroshima, but for a truly beautiful experience, take the time to learn about its history.

Have you visited Hiroshima before? What was your favourite part about the city? Tell us in the comments!

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Please note: The information shared in this post relating to the atomic bomb was gathered from research on the internet. We apologise if any of what we have written is incorrect, and please feel free to correct anything in the comments below.

 

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Given that Tokyo is the most populated city in the world, there is literally an endless amount of things to see and do. We spent 12 days exploring Tokyo during our month long trip to Japan back in March 2017. Since there are so many things to see and do in Japan’s capital city, we decided to put together this Tokyo itinerary to help you plan your trip!

Tokyo is as bright, bustling, crazy, beautiful and exciting as you have probably imagined, and definitely cannot be explored in just 12 days. You can, however, see a lot of what the city has to offer. From the exciting attractions, endless shopping and must eat food, we guarantee you’ll always have something new to see and do!

Planning a trip to Tokyo might seem like an impossible task, but with our guide to spending (almost) 2 weeks in Tokyo, it will be a lot easier!

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors

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!

Day 1 – Arriving in Tokyo

We arrived in Tokyo on the Shinkansen Bullet Train. If you’re unfamiliar with the Shinkansen, it’s a super high speed train that travels between most major cities throughout Japan. You can read more about the Shinkansen here

Tip: Arriving in Tokyo for the first time will probably be a tad overwhelming. Try not to let the intensity of such a huge city put you off – it’s honestly not as scary as it seems! Plus, if you ever need help, Japanese people are some of the friendliest we have ever met, and will go out of their way to help in any way that they can.

The journey from Nagano to our hotel in Shinjuku was around two and a half hours. We stayed at Shinjuku New City Hotel, which would be our home for the next 12 days!

Japan’s hotel policies are quite strict, and if you arrive before 3pm, you’ll probably be asked to come back later to check in. That being said, one of the best things about Japanese 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

Tokyo was the last stop on our month long Japan adventure, so we decided to take it easy on our first afternoon in the city. It had been over a week since we were last able to do some washing (gross!), so that was priority for the afternoon. We loaded up a washing machine in our hotel, then walked to the Family Mart convenience store down the road for snacks and alcohol!

Day 2

One of the reasons we decided to stay at Shinjuku New City Hotel, is because it’s only a 10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station – the busiest train station in the world. You can travel almost anywhere in Tokyo in a really short amount of time, which we think is super convenient!

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 the busy Takeshita Street. If you’ve visited Osaka before, Takeshita Street is very similar to Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi Street. You’ll find dozens of cute boutiques, souvenir stores and fast food options to keep you happily walking through Harajuku for hours on end.

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

One of the most important things to remember about Japan, is that most major cities are going to be busy almost every day of the week. If you hope to avoid the crowds as much as possible, we suggest visiting Harajuku on a weekday as opposed to the weekend. Weekends are painfully busy, and you’ll be doing more bumping shoulders with strangers, than actual shopping.


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 try to visit during the week!

A Tokyo Itinerary for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Takeshita Street is filled with fun, second hand clothing stores, and we both scored some awesome bargains! We suggest taking 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. 

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

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Shibuya & Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, with thousands of people crossing to the other side every two minutes. For one of the best views of Shibuya Crossing, head up to Starbucks. You’ll probably 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!

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.

Day 3

Akihabara

Akihabara (or Electric Town) is the Anime, video game and electronics hub of Tokyo. If you love old school video game consoles or the endless amount of Anime that Japan is known for, you’ll have a blast exploring the streets of Akihabara. Even if video games and Anime aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to see in Tokyo’s Electric Town. There are also a ton of food options for all tastes, so you won’t be limited on choice!

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Shinjuku Batting Centre

After exploring Akihabara, head to the Shinjuku Batting Centre. Whether you’re good at sport or not, I guarantee you’ll still have fun. As long as you keep paying the 300 yen fee (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!

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The Shinjuku Batting Centre is a ton of fun for all ages, and all levels of coordination. There’s snacks and drinks available inside, plus a handful of arcade games to keep you entertained while you wait for your shot!

Shinjuku Batting Centre Quick Facts

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

Day 4

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

We stayed in Shinjuku for our entire 12 days in Tokyo, which put us centrally located to a lot of the best things to do in Tokyo. On the other side of Shinjuku Chuo Park, directly across the road from our hotel, was 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 super close to the top!

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We recommend visiting on a clear day, because 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 seating areas of the incredible panoramic views are tiring you out. Did you sense the sarcasm? 


Another awesome time to head up to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation decks, is for sunset. Be prepared, though. The lines can get extremely long at this time of day, and you will more than likely be waiting for a while. It’s not surprising though – you are getting an incredible, free view of the busiest city in the world!

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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 quite overpriced)

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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 a lot into a short amount of time.

Day 5

Tokyo Mega Pokemon Centre & Shopping

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

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The Mega Pokemon Centre is located in Sunshine City shopping mall. No matter which Pokemon is your favourite or what kind of souvenir you hope to return home with, you won’t be disappointed.

You’ll find an endless amount of cool stuff to buy. From badges, Pokemon cards, backpacks and notebooks; to 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

Days 6 and 7

Tokyo DisneySea & Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea simply have to be on your Tokyo itinerary. We have another article up about our two days at Disneyland and DisneySea, which tells you everything you need to know before visiting Tokyo’s Disney parks! From the cost of food and tickets, to tips about Fast Passes, wait times and much more.

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Tip: DisneySea is the most unique Disney park in the world, so be sure to set aside an entire day for it. If you’ve visited other Disney parks, this one is sure to blow you away! We spent one day at each park, starting with DisneySea and I’m so glad we did it this way.

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Day 8

Odaiba

Odaiba is a popular entertainment and shopping district in Tokyo. It’s located in Tokyo’s man made island, Tokyo Bay. There’s a surprising amount of stuff to see and do in Odaiba, it all depends on the things you’re interested in!


You’ll find a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty, plus a ton of shopping malls with various stores and restaurants. Not to mention the fact that the fifth floor of the AquaCity Mall has a ramen food court. Yep, that’s a thing. Our broke asses couldn’t afford to eat there, but it’s still pretty darn cool!

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Tip: Track down the Italian chain restaurant, Saizeriya for a quick bite to eat. There is a huge variety of super 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!

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Day 9

Tokyo Giants Baseball Game

As soon as we discovered there was a Tokyo Giants baseball 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 during your stay, we recommend buying your tickets from Tokyo Dome a few days beforehand.

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In true Rhiannon fashion, I decided I wanted to get drunk before heading to the game. Once I finished half a bottle of wine and Russell had a glass or two 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. If, of course, you are of legal age to drink.


The Tokyo Giants baseball game was a lot of fun. The atmosphere at a Japanese baseball game is something we’ve never experienced before. The fans of the away team get super into it, and almost every single one of them stands up and sings, dances and even jumps up and down in support of their team. It’s very cool to watch.

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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.

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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

Kabuchiko

After the baseball we headed back to our 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 neon robot experience costing a devastating $80 per person, 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!

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Golden Gai is Shinjuku’s well known street of super tiny bars. To be honest though, they looked more like household kitchens to us. 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.

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Walking the streets of Australia while drinking alcohol isn’t allowed, so it was quite exciting being able to openly explore Tokyo while very, very intoxicated. I might have almost fallen asleep while drying my hands in a public restroom. Oops. Hey, we were on holiday – no judgement please!

Days 10 and 11

After 10 days of almost perfect Tokyo weather, our last few days in Japan were 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 on foot!

If you’re at the end of your time in Tokyo, we suggest simply heading out to explore. Whether that includes 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. All it takes is one hour to see for yourself that Tokyo is the busiest city in the world. But it doesn’t have to feel like bedlam the entire time! Sometimes it’s nice to simply walk around and take in the sights.

Day 12

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

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Day 12 was our last day in Japan. The sun came out and we took full advantage of this and headed straight to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. For 200 yen, you get entry and access to the beautiful and relaxing park. There are a ton of place to have a picnic with family and friends, or simply stroll around the park enjoying the serenity.


We visited at the beginning of spring, so Cherry Blossom trees were blooming and petals were starting to fall. Almost everyone we saw, was snapping away on their cameras. It’s a pretty cool sight, seeing large groups of people standing right next to a single blossom petal, taking photos from dozens of different angles.

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of this monster article! We hope you’ve found our Tokyo itinerary helpful. Like we said earlier, you’ll definitely need more than 12 days to explore Tokyo. There is so much to see and do, and this itinerary is simply the start of your massive Japanese adventure!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter and Instagram!

Have you been to Tokyo before? What is your favourite memory? If you’re still waiting for your chance to visit the busiest city in the world, let us know what you’re most excited about!

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6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

We spent the entire month of March 2017 exploring Japan. Osaka was the second stop on our epic four week Japan adventure, and we were very excited. There were a lot of things that drew us to Osaka. One of the main reasons being, the fact that Osaka is home to Japan’s Universal Studios, where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located! You’ll learn more about our (my) Harry Potter obsession later in this Osaka Itinerary!

We spent a total of six days in Osaka, and there were a few things we wanted to see in the city during that time. It was a very busy week, but we’re glad we decided to set aside 6 days to explore Osaka.

If you’re planning a trip to Japan and Osaka is on your bucket list, here is our suggested six day Osaka itinerary to help you plan your very own epic Japanese adventure!

6 Day Osaka Itinerary for First Time Visitors

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!

Where to stay in Osaka

We stayed at Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi during our time in Osaka. Our hotel was in a super convenient location, being only a 20 minute walk away from the main shopping district, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street.

Day 1 – Arriving in Osaka & Osaka Castle

Hotels in Japan have a pretty strict check-in time, usually between 2pm and 3pm. We arrived a little too early to check in, so instead of hanging around and waiting, we decided to walk to Osaka Castle. It ended up taking us around 30 minutes to walk from our hotel to the castle, but after two hours sitting on the Shinkansen Bullet Train, we definitely appreciated the walk.

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Osaka Castle has been rebuilt quite a few times, with its most recent refurbishment back in 1997. Osaka Castle now features an elevator inside the castle itself, providing easier access for anyone who is unable to use the stairs to reach the top. After making it to the observation deck, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Osaka Castle Park and the rest of Osaka City. Make sure to bring your camera for this one.


Tip: If you haven’t spent the previous two hours sitting on a train, and don’t actually feel like walking thirty minutes, you can catch the JR Loop Line to Osakajokoen StationThis is a 10 minute train ride from Osaka Station, and will cost around 160 yen.

Osaka Castle Quick Tips & Information

Directions: Take the Tanimachi Subway Line or Chuo Subway Line to Tanimachi 4-chrome Station
Cost: 600 yen
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (last entrance at 4:30pm)
Closed: December 28th – January 1st

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Day 2 – Osaka Shopping Day

Our first full day in Osaka was spent exploring the craziness of the city’s most popular shopping streets. If you love to shop, be sure to set aside quite a bit in your budget for Osaka! There are so many different stores, selling a huge range of awesome souvenirs, clothes and electronics. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the bargains, I promise that much!

Osaka is famous for its delicious Japanese cuisine, too. There are hundreds of street vendors and restaurants throughout Osaka, and even more so in Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street.

Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi Street 

Together, Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi Street make up the most popular shopping district in Osaka. Located in Minami and close to Namba Station, Dontonbori is home to a seemingly endless amount of boutiques, restaurants, souvenir stores, quirky dessert cafes, international clothing chains like Forever 21, H&M and Gap, and much more.

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If budget shopping chains aren’t your thing, take a walk down the 600m long Shinsaibashi Street. You’ll find a ton of unique shopping boutiques, restaurants and bars to suit any taste. There are also a few department stores selling all sorts of high end fashion, cosmetics and accessory labels.


While walking through the insanely busy streets of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, you’ll generally find Japanese snacks like Takoyaki (octopus filled batter balls, Yakitori (meat on a stick) and various seafood dishes.

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Amerikamura

Another area within the Minami district that you might want to check out is Amerkiamura. If you’re familiar with Tokyo’s Harajuku District, think of Amerkikamura as Osaka’s version. You’ll get a good taste of Japan’s teenage fashion and culture, while browsing the endless amount of clothing and thrift stores that line the streets.

In my opinion, a lot of the stores in Amerikamura were fairly overpriced. Most of them sold almost identical products to one another, and had been imported from the US. Since Russell and I had already visited the United States, we weren’t interested in many of the products on sale. But it was still a cool experience to walk around and soak in the bustling atmosphere.


We also found a couple of Book-Off stores while exploring this area. If you’re not familiar with what the Book Off brand is, check out this post. Essentially, Book-Off is a second hand store selling everything from clothes, DVD’s, CD’s and books, to old and new gaming consoles and games!

Day 3 – Osaka Bay

We started our third day in Osaka with a brief stop at Starbucks. It was here that I had my very first cup of coffee!

I know what you’re thinking: how on earth did you go 25 years without drinking coffee? Well to be totally honest, I have absolutely no idea.

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I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, but never got around to tasting it. After that first sip of my very first cappuccino, though, I was hooked. Don’t worry, since March last year I’ve certainly made up for the lack of coffee in my life.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

After a quick breakfast (and coffee) at Starbucks, we caught a train to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel – the largest ferris wheel in Osaka. It was a clear day, so we had amazing views of the Osaka Bay area and city in the distance.


For 800 yen, we had 15 minutes to enjoy the incredible panoramic views of Osaka. Bring along your camera and be sure to film some footage from the top. It’s one of the best stories to share with family and friends, especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan!

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While at the top of the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, we noticed that Universal Studios was on the other side of the bay. All it took was a distant sighting of Hogwarts Castle, and the nerd in me was released. We were planning to visit Universal Studios a few days later, but I still wanted to jump off the ferris wheel, swim across the bay and stand in awe outside of Hogwarts.

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After our day exploring Osaka Bay, we headed back to our hotel for a quick rest and rejuvenation, before walking to Dotonbori for some dinner. While we were researching our trip to Japan, Russell and I read a lot about Japan’s famous cheesecake, generally found in Osaka. It took us a long time and a lot of walking, before we finally found the so-called famous cheesecakes.


We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it was pretty average. It honestly tasted like someone had scrambled a bunch of eggs, filled a cake pan with said eggs, and baked it. Each to their own, but we didn’t like it at all. If you’re still curious, a fairly large size cheesecake costs around 600 yen.

Day 4 – Kyoto Day Trip

Day four was our very first day trip from Osaka to Kyoto. Let me start by saying that Kyoto is absolutely incredible. If you’re looking for a town to learn about Japan’s history, enjoy some beautiful scenery and feel as though you’re hundreds of years in the past, we definitely suggest setting aside a day or two to explore Kyoto.


The best way to travel from Osaka to Kyoto is by train. You’ll need to catch a couple of them, depending where you’re staying, but the journey is never usually longer than a couple hours. It’s absolutely worth it too, we promise.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest 

One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Kyoto, was to experience the Bamboo Forest. If you haven’t seen photos of this place, we will include our favourites below to fuel your Japan wanderlust. Imagine absolute relaxation in an incredibly traditional and beautiful part of Japan.

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Arashiyama Bengal Cat Cafe

I’m a huge cat lady. I treat my cat, Hermione, as if she were my child. So being away from her for the whole month we spent in Japan, was super hard. Lucky there is an adorable Bengal Cat Cafe in Arashiyama, which we definitely paid 600 yen to visit and spend around half an hour playing with some adorable Bengal cats.

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First sighting of Cherry Blossoms

One of the things that we were most excited about in Japan, was seeing Cherry Blossoms. For some reason, although blossoms are found all over the world, they remind me of Japan every time I see one.

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Day 5 – Harry Potter World

The day that we had been waiting for! After a pretty stressful and confusing morning with missing trains and catching the wrong one, we finally arrived at Universal Studios. After much consideration, we decided to spend a bit of extra money and purchase an Express Pass each.

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As it turned out, this was the best decision we made all day. The lines for almost all of the rides were close to three hours long. With the Express Pass, though, we were able to get on seven of the most popular rides almost straight away.

Universal Studios Express Pass

When purchasing tickets to Universal Studios Japan, there is an Express Pass available, both online and at the gate. The Express Pass gets you onto seven of the most popular rides, with significantly shortened wait times. Yeah, it’s quite expensive, and we know not everybody can afford or justify spending that much on a theme park ticket. But we only had one day to explore Universal Studios, and we both absolutely love rollercoasters and theme parks, so we were happy to spend that extra money.

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There’s one thing we can say for sure: the Express Pass pays for itself after the first ride. We decided to ride Hogwarts 4D first, and when we entered the Express Pass line, the standby line was a 140 minute wait. From the moment we showed our Express Pass, to the moment we were off the ride, was around 20 minutes.


Not to mention the fact that’s it’s literally the second best theme park ride I’ve ever been on. A close second to Space Mountain in Disneyland, Anaheim.

As you can imagine, we had far too much to say about our experience as Muggles in the Magical world, so we had to publish an entirely seperate post about the topic. Read about our day at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios here.

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Universal Studios Cost & Information

1 day Studio Pass: 7,600 yen
2 day Studio Pass: 12,800
Express Pass 7: 20,700 yen
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Purchase Tickets: Buy Universal Studios Japan tickets here

Day 6 – Kyoto Day Trip

Our final full day in Osaka was spent with another day trip into Kyoto. This time, the reason for our visit was to see the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. It took around an hour to get to Fushimi by train(s), but it was definitely worth the trip. Fushimi is known for the thousands of torii gates that lead up a beautiful path through the mountain.

Fushimi-Inari Shrine

To avoid the crowds, try and arrive early in the morning. The shrine itself is open from dawn to dusk, so the earlier you arrive, the less busy it will be. This will also give you the chance to take some pretty amazing photos. Whenever we wanted a good photo (well okay, it was normally just me) we had to wait for the crowds to subside to steal a clear shot. Luckily, other visitors tend to stop walking or move out of the way when they can see you’re taking a photo. Most of the time, anyway.

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A lot of patience went into capturing the above three photos! It probably looks like we have Fushimi to ourselves. But sadly, that’s extremely far from the truth. We were amongst hundreds of people, and had to squeeze our way through most of the time. But that’s one thing you should get used to before visiting Japan for the first time – being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people.


That just about covers our Osaka trip itinerary. We hope you found our Osaka itinerary helpful, and use it to plan your very own epic Japan adventure! Although we only spent six days in Osaka, we still managed to see a lot of cool stuff

Do you know the absolute best thing about us seeing so much of Osaka in just six days? We can help you do so too! You’re welcome.

Have you visited Osaka before? If not, what are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below! 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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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!