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The Perfect 7-Day Japan Itinerary (Updated 2024)

A narrow path lined by beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan

Posted: 4/17/2024 | April 17th, 2024

Japan captured my heart from the moment I firs visited. The delicious food, the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant history, and the very friendly and polite people – it all blew my mind.

But Japan often feels impenetrable, especially to first-time visitors. While I think Japan deserves a minimum of 10 days, I get that some people might only have a week, so I wanted to write this, my ideal seven-day itinerary for Japan for a first-time visitor.

With only a week, there’s not much you can see unless you really rush it. And I don’t think you should do that.

So this itinerary only focuses on Tokyo and Kyoto (the most popular destinations) as well as some day trips from each. If you wanted to rush things a little, you could add in Osaka (more on that at the end).

(Note: If you purchased a Japan Rail Pass, activate it on arrival. That way, you can take advantage of the free JR trains throughout the city.)


Japan Itinerary Day 1: Tokyo

The popular and colorful Asakusa Temple in bustling Tokyo, JapanThe popular and colorful Asakusa Temple in bustling Tokyo, Japan
With all the gorgeous shrines, palaces, and temples; unique cocktail bars; and abundant shopping, you could easily spend an entire week in Tokyo. But, with only a couple of days, you’ll want to hit the highlights:

Tsukiji and Toyosu Fish Markets
Cure your jet lag with some food! In 2018, Tokyo’s main fish market moved to Toyosu. It is now twice the size of Tsukiji (the old one), making it the largest such market in the world. Here you can eat fresh sushi for breakfast, just a few feet from where it was hauled in from the sea, while marveling at the chaotic atmosphere.

You can still head to the old market in Tsukiji to eat, shop, and wander as well. I like it a lot, because there are more food options! Food and drink tours of the Tsukiji Outer Market are available for around 15,000 JPY.

Toyosu Fish Market is open Monday-Saturday 5am-5pm, though most shops don’t open until 7am. Admission is free, but you have to pick up a visitor’s pass when you enter. Tsukiji Fish Market’s hours vary by shop (usually 5am-2pm). Admission is free.

teamLab Planets
This digital art installation is a multi-sensory and immersive experience in which you become part of the artwork, walking barefoot through the four exhibition spaces and gardens as you interact with the installations’ elements in unique ways. It’s really fun! TeamLab is generally sells out in advance, so I recommend getting your tickets online ahead of time.

Take a walking tour
Walking tours are a great way to…

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