In 2017, I flew to Japan for my very first solo trip and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned and grew so much, and honestly - this is probably where my wanderlust and love for travel really began. Being able to travel solo really challenged me to take control of my life, and also take care of my self because there was no one else to rely on. It truly was an empowering learning experience, and I encourage everyone to try it out at least once in their lifetime!
If you're here reading this travel itinerary, you're already on the way there, and I am so excited for you and what's to come! Wishing you the best of luck and an amazing trip!
Be sure to purchase a Pasmo Card or Suica Card at the airport to ride the Tokyo Metro! If you're only traveling around Tokyo during your stay in Japan, this will be all that you need. Both cards can also be used to pay for items at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Family Mart.
Travel Tip: You may also come across the JR pass while researching as a method of transportation, but this is more catered towards if you were to travel multiple cities in Japan. For example, if you want to travel to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka for your first time in Japan, purchasing a JR pass would be a great decision because it's more affordable than purchasing separate bullet train tickets to get to your destination.
Note: The JR Pass is available for 7, 14, and 21 days and must be ordered online prior to your trip.
- Ueno Station: 5 mins walk near Asakusa, Private Room
- $20/night, one person (The price still surprises me! It was honestly super worth)
- Private room w/ key provided
- Pocket WiFi available for rental
- $80/night (I split with my best friend who I met for the weekend)
- Two single beds, bedroom key provided
Money ($1 CAD = ~ ¥80.57 Japanese Yen):
I budgeted around $100CAD/day. For this trip, I mainly focused on sight-seeing, and didn't go too crazy with food/shopping.
SIX DAYS IN TOKYO ITINERARY: AT A GLANCE
Day 1: Purchase a Pasmo card at the airport & settle into accommodation
Day 2: Akihabara (Gachapon hall, Pablo Mini, Donquijote, Maid Dreamin' Maid Cafe)
Day 3: Sensoji Temple, Ichiran Ramen, Shibuya Crossing, Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, DAISO
Day 4: Mori Art Museum, Pokemon Centre, J-World
Day 5: Yoshinoya, Gindaco, Ueno Zoo, Nezu Shrine, Hanazono Shrine Festival
Day 6: Disney Sea
PURCHASE A PASMO CARD @ THE AIRPORT
RENT POCKET-WIFI OR BUY A SIM CARD @ THE AIRPORT
Having access to internet will definitely make your trip easier to navigate. If your Airbnb doesn't offer pocket-WiFi, consider renting it at the airport or purchasing a sim card for your phone.
WALK AROUND AKIHABARA
Growing up, I spent hours in the library reading manga and watching anime at home. I used to borrow stacks of books, and laugh to myself as I read. My parents would always give me a weird face and look at me like I was crazy because I was having so much fun reading LOL, but yeah. That's where my passion and love for manga/anime began, so I was super excited to explore Akihabara for the first time!
VISIT THE GACHAPON HALL
The gachapon hall was one of my favourite spots in Akihabara because it was a lot of fun looking at the different prizes! There were really random ones that made me laugh, but I liked the keychains from Kuroko no Basuke the best (mainly because it's one of my fave sport animes hehe).
EAT A JAPANESE CHEESE TART @ PABLO MINI
Definitely try the original Japanese cheese tart when you're here! It's a tasty snack near the exit of Akihabara station. I also tried the chocolate one, but didn't enjoy it as much because it just tasted like chocolate pudding (very normal).
SHOP (ANIME) MERCHANDISE @ DONQUIJOTE
This place was FILLED with floors of merchandise and anime goodies. There were so many cute keychains that I wanted to buy (honestly, I could've spent so much), but I didn't end up buying anything because I asked myself, "do I really need this?" Haha, but it was a lot of fun to look at. Donquijote also sells a ton of Japanese snacks - perfect for souvenirs or to munch on during your travels.
GO TO A MAID CAFE
A very bright environment with adorable food LOL it was definitely out of my comfort zone (a little awkward because the maids make you do these cute-sy motions before you can eat), but the experience was interesting and I'd recommend trying it at least once! I actually wanted to visit the Swallowtail Butler Cafe too, but tickets were sold out (have to purchase two weeks in advance).
GET YOUR FORTUNE @ SENSOJI TEMPLE
This is Tokyo's oldest temple and was such a beautiful destination to visit. You can receive your omikuji (written fortune) by shaking a numbered stick out of a box, and opening the corresponding wooden drawer. If it's a good fortune, keep it with you - but if it's a bad one, tie the paper into a knot on the fence!
EAT RAMEN @ ICHIRAN RAMEN
I've heard of Ichiran being one of the best Ramen places, so I put it on the top of my list as something I had to try! I ordered my ramen through a ticket machine and was seated in a solo booth. The ramen and broth was very light and comforting to eat. I wish I ordered more toppings though because the dish felt a little plain to me.
WALK THE SCRAMBLE CROSSING @ SHIBUYA
This is an iconic spot in Tokyo because of all the people crossing in different directions. It's located near the exit of Shibuya station! Shibuya is also a great place to shop. Definitely check out Shibuya 109!
TAKE A PICTURE NEXT TO A HUGE DOMO @ STUDIO PARK
This was something I randomly discovered on my walk to Yoyogi Park, and I was pleasantly surprised haha. It was really cute and fun to take pictures with!
STROLL AROUND @ YOYOGI PARK
Yoyogi park had a beautiful garden of flowers, and a few benches to relax on. Definitely a nice escape from the busy city life.
FIND YOUR SERENITY @ MEIJI SHRINE
Honestly, this was one of my favourite places in Tokyo. It was so calm and serene, and offered the perfect environment to self-reflect and appreciate the simple beauty of life.
EAT A CREPE IN HARAJUKU
A trip to Harakuju would be incomplete without trying their crepes! There's literally a crepe store every few steps that you take. I ended up trying one, but tbh it was pretty expensive and there wasn't a lot of fruit in it LOL. Not worth it for the price, but YOLO. Sometimes, you just gotta treat yourself y'know hahah.
SHOP JAPANESE DOLLAR STORE GOODIES @ DAISO
There are so many fun, affordable, and useful things that you can buy at Daiso. Personally, I bought a lot of magnets as souvenirs for my friends and family!
EAT SUSHI @ THE FISH MARKET
Okay not gonna lie, my plan was to wake up at 5am to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market (heard so many good things about it), but I couldn't force myself to wake up in time LOL. So I ended up eating at a sushi restaurant nearby instead. It was called Sushizanmai, and it had the freshest seaweed I've ever tasted in my life.
Note: The Tsukiji Fish Market officially closed in 2018 and reopened as Toyosu Fish Market.
VISIT THE MORI ART MUSEUM @ ROPPONGI HILLS
There was a Marvel exhibition going on, and a gorgeous view of the Tokyo Skytree and cityscape (without having to pay much money hehe).
VISIT THE POKEMON CENTRE @ SUNSHINE CITY
If you're a fan of Pokemon, definitely make time to visit here! There was so much cute merchandise. They also offer a surprise gift if you visit during your birthday month! ID must be provided.
HAVE FUN IN J-WORLD
J-WORLD was one of my favourite places to visit in Japan! We went after 9PM - closing because they offered a late night discount. We had so much fun exploring the Anime-themed games and taking Naruto photobooth pictures that we lost track of time LOL. By the time J-WORLD was about to close, we had to run to try and see everything hahah (so definitely keep track of time while you're there). They also offer a surprise gift if you visit during your birthday month! ID must be provided.
Note: J-WORLD officially closed on February 17, 2019.
EAT JAPANESE CURRY @ YOSHINOYA
Yoshinoya is one of my favourite Japanese fast-food locations! It has one of the best Japanese curries for such an affordable price.
SNACK ON RED BEAN FISHIES @ GINDACO
Available in two flavours (custard and red bean), these red bean fishies are a must-try! It was cripsy on the outside, and had just the right amount of sweetness in the inside. Mmm, I'm drooling just thinking about it haha.
VISIT THE UENO ZOO
Tickets were realtively cheap (600 yen / $8 CAD), and offered a fun variety of animals to discover. They had polar bears and Japanese deer (if you don't have the chance to visit Nara).
TAKE A WALK THROUGH NEZU SHRINE
This shrine had the orange tori gates! We were excited because it acted as a replacement for Kyoto's famous Fushimi Inari. Although it wasn't as grand, we enjoyed the scenic, relaxing walk. Sometimes it isn't about where you go, but who you spend it with and how your mentality is shaped.
SPLURGE @ THE HANAZONO SHRINE FESTIVAL
When we visited Japan in May, we were lucky to stumble across the Hanazono Shrine Festival in Shinjuku (a seasonal event). The area was filled with fun carnival games, delicious street food, and tasty snacks. We tried the beef skewers, dango and Japanese pancakes!
Disney Sea was such a beautiful destination! I've never been to any Disney amusement parks before and was blown away by the aesthetics and architectural details. I didn't go on a lot of rides because of the queue time, but we had an amazing time and it was 100% worth the visit.
TRAVEL TIPS & LESSONS
Travel tip: Always bring water and lotion with you for flights. It's very easy to get dehydrated, and your skin ends up feeling super dry.
Travel lesson: Patience is key when traveling. Whether it's hunger or things not going as planned, it's important to not become frustrated because that negative feeling will spiral. Instead, take a deep breath and breathe. Be patient - it will be okay.