A friend some time ago asked me for recommendations on her first trip to Japan. We decided to meet up for a coffee so that I could share Japan through my rose tinted love shaped glasses. Coffee turned out to dinner turned out to drinks. Why? Because I couldn’t stop blabbering how awesome Japan was. Is. At the end of the night, I told her “I will write it for you!” I did and here is the saner version of Japan itinerary from me to you.
Day 1 – Konichiwa Japan, Capsule Hotel and Sushi & Sake
You arrive, YAY!! I am officially super envious of you. Narita seems quite simple for Japan no? The first thing to do after they officially let you into Japan is to collect your JR Pass*. Now let’s take JR to the city so you can keep your luggage and start exploring. BTW, where are you staying? There are many places to choose, depends on what interest you. We stayed in Asakusa because it’s said as the oldies part of Tokyo and I am all for vintage.
Whichever area you decided, choose to stay either in an AirBnB apartment (so you can experience living like a local), or a Ryokan (like we did) or capsule hotel (because it’s cool!). Get in, enjoy the quirkiness of your accommodation and get rest because we are going out later.
Since at least half of your day has gone by, let’s keep today simple shall we? Your first meal in Japan? Sushi my friends. There many great sushi joints in Tokyo, depends on your neighborhood. My best bet is to ask the concierge or your host for a personal recommendation, ask for a walking distance one so you can polish it down with sake (sake on a chilly night? Amazeball) and walk drunk back to your room, like a salaryman. Let’s adapt the tradition, especially the ones that involve being tipsy.
Day 2 – Tokyo Disneyland, Mickey Mouse and Ramen
All right, today’s itinerary is Disneyland. Why? Because it’s Disneyland! You might have been to the other ones, but this is Japan. They have the best Disneyland in Asia. You must go, have fun, be a kid and send me those Minnie mouse ears headband.
After a whole day of happiness in the happiest place in the world (too cheesy?), you must be hungry. I suggest a visit the neighborhood stall for a bowl of ramen, the staple food here. You know, I have never eaten ramen before (yes, I have been living under a rock) and I have been in love with it ever since. It’s perfect because it involves a vending machine to place your order, modifiable to your liking (the gravy, the add-ons, etc.) and it’s has a minimlastic atmosphere for eating a meal in a restaurant. You have the experience it to understand what I mean.
Let’s rest early today shall we? Since I am going to wake up at 4 AM tomorrow to smell the fish.
Day 3 – Tsukiji Fish Market, Meet Hachiko and Explore Tokyo Neighborhoods
Up up up! Brush your teeth and drag your friends. You are going to experience of the best market in the world. Tsukiji fish market, the world largest fish market. Bring your camera and participate in tuna auction. It is awesome in’ it? You are a part of culture today and it’s not even sunrise yet. Speaking of which, are you hungry? Choose your fish and they will prepare the sushi right in front of you. How’s that for a choice of breakfast?
Let’s go back to freshen up and or sleep a little more before heading to town of your choice. If you are into fashion first stop should be Harajuku and be immerse. Vi went crazy here. My tip: bring extra and extra Yen.
Head down to Akihabara if you are a geek, souvenirs hunt at Asakusa (Maneki Neko for a friend who is a cat lady?) and at night visit Roppongi if you are into the high life. Whatever your tea is Japan has a cup of it. Or maybe you want to do what we did? We roamed around the whole day to the main neighborhoods in Tokyo without much planning. Just walking and stopping for a snack (temple shaped cookies and dragon shaped waffles) every now and then. We ended up meeting Hachiko, the loyal dog statue and witnessed a traditional Japanese wedding at Meiji shrine. It was fun.
For today’s meal suggestion, try a local franchise, either Yoshinoya or MOS burger.
Day 4 – Mt Fuji, Hakone, Black Egg and Shinkansen
Surprise, surprise!! I am taking you to Mount Fuji today. Well, actually not me, but the tour guide, which you book by yourself after reading this. You guys, Mount Fuji is a must. (Disclosure: everything I mentioned here is a must according to me, but if I really, really have to pick one I would go to Mount Fuji because it’s magnificent).
Enjoy your day here, take some iconic pictures, visit the shrine, buy the air as a souvenir and don’t sleep off on the bus because you will be passing the golden field of Hakone which will take your breath away as the sighting of Mount Fuji. Also, don’t forget to multiply your lives seven times by eating the longevity egg here.
All right, it’s time go back to the city by Shinkansen, the bullet train. Which I casually mention here, but really BULLET TRAIN you guys. It. is. Awesome. I can imagine you are having a fantastic time! Enjoy the train ride back to Tokyo and I will catch you next time on the other half of your Japan trip. If you have a dinner plan, try the curry rice or if you are too beaten off by all the marvelousness of Japan, stop by at a Lawson and grab the cup noodle and unusual snacks. Eat it in your bed while watching some questionable Japanese games shows on TV.
*JR Pass or Japan Rail Pass is a train pass that you can pre-order online (highly recommend it). On the day you arrive can collect it at Narita. JR Pass allows you to take unlimited JR train rides everywhere, even between cities. Trust me, it’s worth to buy, especially if you are planning to visit other cities in Japan, which is covered in next itinerary. Oh yeah, we will no longer be in Tokyo, if you have more plans to do here, do it today or extend your days as pleased and join us next week. Thanks for reading.