Japan 1 Week Itinerary for First Timer

December 24, 2016

A lot of people asked me recommendations where to visit in Japan and I have recommended a lot of places on my Japan Travel Guide. However if they only have limited 1 week holiday because they can't take leave too long, I am trying to provide itinerary for your first time visit!

You should be landing in Tokyo and it is much better if you land at Haneda instead of Narita because it's cheaper and closer to Tokyo. So make sure pick the right airport unless the price difference is a lot. Less than 100$ is not worth it if you get Narita considering the round trip rain ticket to Narita + time + effort that you put into. And normally you'll land in the morning, unless you go by Air Asia that reaches at night or JAL that reaches at afternoon. In that sense, we consider the day after is the first day

Usually I always say, it's the Golden Route that everyone will be following for the first time.  After all you have to be the basic tourist first before levelling up to intermediate, right? 😂   

Golden Route means you're going to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka!
You can either return from Osaka Tokyo via overnight bus (to save money), flight, or buy a ticket that flies back to your country directly from Osaka

So let's begin with my recommended Japan 1 Week Itinerary!

day 1

Let's explore East Tokyo first! Visit Asakusa's main attraction at one place, Nakamise Shopping Street and Sensoji Temple. You can also rent Kimono at Asakusa and walk around the place. Nakamise is famous for having japanese street foods and a lot of souvenirs, so don't miss it out! You can either just walk or take subway or take a taxi if your group is more than 2 persons to the nearby Tokyo Sky Tree (should be around 1000 yen)

You can take picture in front of the tower but I do not recommend you to get up to Tokyo Sky Tree because for me it's just to see the city from far away and living in the city for my whole life, it doesn't impress me much. Besides, it's over priced and sometimes when the crowd is massive, you've to wait for your time slot. Not worth it, but if you still insist go ahead

Instead I recommend you to spend time at Solamachi Mall as they have Pokemon Center, Hello Kitty Shop, Disney Store, Loft, and a lot of interesting shops! There are also a lot of restaurants and big supermarket inside. I love Solamachi so much! 

After that, you can either visit Ueno Park nearby during spring or autumn, or just go directly to Akihabara and experience the anime culture! Akihabara is really a different city, it has totally different vibe than other parts in Japan. I recommend you to visit Don Quixote (Donki) in Akihabara because it sells some stuffs that's rare to find at other branches. I find a lot of interesting anime related items here. You can also walk around to visit a lot of shops or get drown in the culture by either visiting Butler Cafe or Maid Cafe


After a long day on the first day, let's walk more leisurely at Shibuya. Take picture with Hachiko statue, shop at Tokyu Mall Depachinka next to it; Depachinka in an underground shopping area that mostly sells foods. I got my white strawberry and a lot of desserts there! Cross scramble crossing, and have a cup of coffee at Starbuck upstair Tsutaya while taking picture of the famous intersection. You can either shop local brands at Shibuya 109 or other western brand such as ZARA, H&M, & Forever 21 (that's cheaper than in Indonesia)

A lot of people also queue to Ichiran Ramen at Shibuya but there are hundreds of restaurants in this area alone so you can try a lot of restaurants before moving to Harajuku. Visiting Takeshita Dori, Harajuku is a must! Get lost in this alley where it offers a lot of unique items and Japanese street styles. Eat some crepes or buy souvenirs at the biggest Daiso store! If you have time, you can also visit La Foret Mall nearby, a more upscale shops but it provides better quality

Experience the night at Shinjuku once your shopping is over. It has direct access via Yamanote Line and Shinjuku is coming alive at night. You can shop at LUMINE and stroll around Kabuki cho and Omoide Yokocho or splurge down at Robot Restaurant or Alice in Wonderland Cafe


Wake up early and go directly to Maihama station to experience Disney all day! There are Tokyo Disneysea and Disneyland but everyone's recommendation is of course the one and only Disneysea in the world. Perfect hospitality, amazing rides, magnificent design, cute characters, smiling staffs everywhere. Your day can't get better!

You might pass Tokyo Station on your way back home for transit (depending on where you stay), and you can also shop around the station as well to buy your last Tokyo's souvenir before moving on to different city the next day


Hop onto the earliest Shinkansen you can get, and depart to Kyoto, an ancient city that's full of history and used to be the capital city of Japan hundred years ago. After dropping your luggage, head to Fushimi Inari Taisha to take picture of the famous red gate and I really recommend Kiyomizu Dera as well. This will take a lot of your time because Kiyomizu is on top of the cliff and require a lot of walking, and on your return walk, you'll be presented by a long traditional alley that sells souvenirs and foods. Indulge yourself by eating matcha ice cream here! 
At night, you can visit Gion to spot some Geisha and more shops to follow


In the morning, you can go to the west of Kyoto to see Arashiyama that is famous for its bamboo forest and bridge. Enjoy the day strolling along the area before hopping on another train to Osaka. In Osaka, you can visit Osaka Castle and visit Dotonbori after that. You can do a lot of things to do at Dotonbori such as taking picture with Glico's famous sign and replicating the pose, eating takoyaki and yakiniku, shop souvenirs, and enjoying the lively night once the sun has set down

Dotonbori is my favorite place in Osaka but if you want to explore other area, Hep Five is also famous for its big ferris wheel and Gudetama Cafe! 


It is time to enjoy Universal Studio Japan at your heart's content. The main attraction is of course The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but there are other rides and of course since it's Japan, they have their limited edition as well such as Cool Japan X USJ Rides that changes depending on the season


Flight back home to your home, make sure you're not late for your flight~! 

So that's all for my 1 week itinerary in Japan!

"Should I buy a JR Pass?"


One way Tokyo to Kyoto via shinkansen is only around 13.000 yen

While Kyoto to Osaka can be reached by local train in between 45 mins for around 500 yen, and for around 25 mins, the price will be around 1200 yen. So the price won't be that much

Besides, you can't use local train besides JR train, that means if you're traveling by Tokyo Metro or Osaka subway, you can't use JR Pass and need to pay extra. I recommend purchasing Suica and recharge it so you don't have to keep buying single ticket. 3000-4000 yen should be more than enough but I recommend always recharging per 1000 yen 

That makes this Golden Route by normal ticket is only less than 20.000 yen while JR Pass is around 29.000 yen

However, if you can't get the return flight from Osaka directly to your place, you have to buy the return ticket to Tokyo and in that sense, Shinkansen is the less hassle way and Tokyo-Osaka return Shinkansen covers up the entire pass price 

So you have to count back again how to maximize the JR Pass depending on your flight. However it's not necessarily needed to purchase JR Pass when you visit Japan with this route!

"But I haven't visited Hokkaido, Shirakawago, FujiQ, blabla"

And that is why, my friend, you don't visit Japan only in a week, neither only once in your life ;)
Make sure to come back to Japan again in the future because this country has charm that will make you craving for more!

Hope this itinerary is helpful for anyone out there, and don't forget to pin or bookmark it for future use!

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  1. Kartu suica yg di tokyo waktu itu bisa dipake buat osaka subway juga ga sih ce? Apa harus beli suica lagi di Osakanya?

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