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.

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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!

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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!

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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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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!