A First-Timer’s Guide to Tokyo: Itinerary and Tips

Embarking on my first trip to Asia, I was captivated by the unique culture of Japan. Planning an 8-day itinerary in Tokyo was a challenge due to my limited knowledge, but the effort was undeniably worthwhile. This article presents a guide to eight enjoyable and relaxed days in Tokyo, perfect for first-time visitors.

Day 1: Arriving in Tokyo

Upon landing in Tokyo, my mom and I were thrilled to explore the city. We chose to stay in the quiet and picturesque Shiba area, which offered proximity to attractions while maintaining a residential ambiance. The Celestine hotel provided exceptional service, clean rooms, and breathtaking city views.

Pro tip: To find great deals on accommodations in Asia, I highly recommend using Agoda, the best hotel search engine. You can discover wonderful places like The Celestine on Agoda for your Tokyo trip.

Day 2: Navigating the Metro and Staying Connected

Tokyo’s metro system is renowned for its complexity. To ease our transportation experience, we purchased Pasmo cards, which can be obtained at any metro station or the airport. The cards allow for easy entry and exit from stations, with the fare deducted from the card’s balance. This efficient system eliminates the need for on-board ticket checks, making it the most convenient metro system I’ve encountered.

Having pocket WiFi was a lifesaver, enabling us to access Google Maps and stay connected throughout our trip. We kept our phones on airplane mode and carried the portable WiFi device with us. We experienced reliable coverage, and the rental company even provided a portable battery for extended use. Alternatively, if you prefer a global phone plan, Google Fi is an excellent option that worked flawlessly for me in Japan.

Note: Don’t forget to bring a plug converter for your trip to Tokyo. I recommend a lightweight and versatile converter available on Amazon.

Day 3: Onsen Bath Experience in Hakone

Tokyo’s proximity to other charming towns allows for easy day trips. We took a train from Tokyo to Hakone, a small town known for its onsen (hot springs) resorts. Overcoming cultural reservations, we embraced the tradition of public bathing and indulged in an onsen experience. It was a delightful immersion in Japanese culture that I would gladly repeat in future travels.

Day 4: Day Trip to Chureito Pagoda

While Mt. Fuji is visible from Hakone, we saved our Mt. Fuji experience for a day trip to the Chureito Pagoda. The hike to the pagoda from the train station was uphill but rewarded us with a stunning view of Mt. Fuji. The photo I captured from the top speaks for itself—the view was truly unforgettable.

Day 5: Exploring Tokyo DisneySea

As a Disney enthusiast, I couldn’t resist visiting one of Tokyo’s Disney parks. After careful consideration, we chose DisneySea, which offers a more adult-oriented experience compared to Disneyland. It was fascinating to witness Disney through the lens of another culture. We opted for a night pass, allowing us to enjoy the park at a lower price and savor the magic from the moment we spotted Cinderella’s castle.

Day 6: Tokyo Bay Dinner Cruise

This excursion provided a captivating blend of art and music against the backdrop of Tokyo Bay. The staff accommodated our dietary restrictions, and the boat offered a picturesque view of the city. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing, as the wind can be strong. The performers were engaging and friendly, making it one of the highlights of our trip.

Day 7: Sensoji Temple and Imperial Palace Gardens

We visited the stunning Sensoji Temple, a religious landmark in northeast Tokyo. While the temple’s interior was crowded with tourists taking pictures, we respected the sacred space and refrained from disruptive behavior. The temple’s exterior offered ample opportunities for beautiful photographs. Later, we strolled through the serene gardens surrounding the Japanese emperor’s palace, appreciating the historical landmarks.

Day 8: Tokyo Tower Observation Deck

On our last day, we took a leisurely pace and explored the beautiful gardens near the Japanese emperor’s palace. In the evening, we visited the observation deck at Tokyo Tower, which provided a panoramic 360° view of the city lights. The affordable admission fee and friendly staff made it a perfect activity for our final night in Tokyo.


This itinerary offers a glimpse into the diverse and enchanting experiences Tokyo has to offer. As a first-time visitor, I cherished every moment and look forward to returning to Japan for further exploration. Whether it’s cherry blossom chasing in Osaka or taking the bullet train to Hokkaido, the possibilities for future adventures are endless. What will your 8-day Tokyo itinerary entail?

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