How to Spend 7 Days in Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

Early this year, I and my family have decided to go on a trip abroad for the first time altogether (except my dad due to his work). At first, we were thinking about going to Europe, but everything was so expensive, so I gave them an alternative going to a nearer place, like, Japan!

I was in charge of making the itinerary, book the hotel, basically arrange everything. With a little bit of research here and there, I finally made it and my family was happy with what I have arranged. I suppose this is what I’m good at and I supposed I should be making business out of it? But anyway, let’s not talk about my personal conundrum and get ready to the itinerary I made.

Day 1 – The Departure

Tokyo SkyTree – View from our Hotel

We went to Japan in the most peak season of the year – Christmas and New Year. I was thinking about making the flight Jakarta – Narita (Tokyo) and Osaka – Jakarta, but the price is just unreasonable. So I needed to make a better plan for my itinerary with Jakarta-Tokyo-Jakarta. I was trying so hard to find the cheapest yet still comfortable flight for all of us to go and the most reasonable flight I could fine goes to Malaysia Airlines.

We needed to transit overnight in Kuala Lumpur and landed in Tokyo around 5 p.m. So I decided that the first day, we were just staying at the hotel near Tokyo Station, and left for Osaka the next day. After arriving so late, we were so tired that we decided to just lay in bed and eat some cup noodles from Family Mart.

Day 2 – Tokyo SkyTree and Heading to Osaka

We were Staying at Playsis Tokyo Hotel in a Suite Room. After having a good night sleep and get ready, we put our luggage in the hotel’s lobby and walk to Tokyo SkyTree. The thought just came out very last minute because we could see it from the window, so I thought, why not go there and see how it looks like.

Turns out, it wasn’t bad at all, it was astounding even. We’ve got to see the entire city of Tokyo.

View from Tokyo SkyTree

We’ve spent around 3-4 hours there and head straight to the Station to go to Osaka with a bullet train (Shinkansen). Right after we arrived to Osaka, we were just laying in bed and get some rest for tomorrow.

Day 3 – Universal Studio Japan, Osaka

The third day is one of the exciting days for me because I finally get to go to Universal Studio in Japan and experience the famous Harry Potter Wizarding World! As a Potterhead, the place is indeed magical. Moreover, it was snowing that day in Osaka. It makes the Harry Potter’s ambiance even stronger.

The minute we get into the Wizarding World, we immediately bought the Butter Beer. It wasn’t really a Beer though, it was a non-alcoholic beverage and totally save to drink for everyone especially kids. During winter, this Butter Beer gives a little bit warm feeling to your body. So I really reccommend it!

We spent the whole day here until late. We went back to our accommodation at night, eat some dinner near the station and end the day.

Day 4 – One Day Trip to Kyoto

Kyoto is one of historic yet full of cultural experience in Japan. I have planned a few places to visit in Kyoto such as Kinkankuji, Arashiyama, and Fushimi Inari Taisha. But because we were tired from USJ the previous day, we ended up waking up late and leaving for Kyoto when it’s almost dark. From Osaka to Kyoto with a local train, it would approximately spend an hour, but because we use JR Pass that covers bullet trains without any additional charge, so it only takes around 29 minutes.

Kinkankuji Temple
Kinkankuji Temple’s Entrance Ticket

From three attractions I’ve planned, we could only go to Kinkankuji Temple and go straight to the Station to go back to Osaka. Luckily, there are some interesting attractions surrounded by the station too like Kyoto Tower and a few local shops.

Day 5 – Dontonburi Street and Leaving for Tokyo

As this is our final day in Osaka and I just found out that the famous Dontonburi Street is a walking distance from our Airbnb, so I decided to go there and take a look how this famous street looks like. The street was crowded with tourists and street foods. We took a bite of some Takoyaki, wandering around, and go straight to the Station to go back to Tokyo.

Day 6 – Nippori, Ueno, and Shibuya Market in Tokyo (Include New Year’s Countdown)

As a common Indonesian tourist, I decided to give one full day to go shopping. Our Airbnb in Tokyo was in between Ueno and Nippori area, so we went shopping around those two markets. Nippori is more famous for the fabric and garment market meanwhile in Ueno you can find almost anything from snacks to cloth shops like Uniqlo and GU.

Not many people know, but GU is one of Japanese cloth’s brand that has the same quality as Uniqlo at a cheaper price. I didn’t do much of research about this brand, but I think GU is one of Uniqlo’s branch that only exists in Japan. So if you get the chance to go to Japan, you might want to consider looking for some clothes here.

Right after we spent a whole day shopping, I and my brothers go to Shibuya for a New Year’s countdown. It was mostly crowd by tourists and there were no fireworks. I was confused and look for some information on google. As it turns out, New Year is one of sacred date for Japanese people. They usually spent the New Year’s Eve at home with family and start to go to the Temple the first sunrise in a New Year. I was so eager to experience the authenticity of a New Year’s tradition in Japan, but I was too tired I couldn’t get up hahaha!

Day 7 – Tokyo Disney Sea

Disney Sea has been on my list since a very long time. Since I finally make it back to Japan, I decided to go to Disney Sea. There are few of attractions you might want to experience here, but one thing you can’t miss is the Fantasmic.

Fantasmic is a nighttime show that features fireworks, water effects, laser music, mist screen projectors and many more! It was worth the wait and the cold. It was absolutely amazing.

Tokyo Disney Sea

One tip though, if you are looking forward to maximizing your experience at Disney Land, be at the entrance gate before the theme park even open and make a line to get FastPass tickets for famous rides like Toy Story Mania! and The Journey to The Center of The Earth. Also, give yourself time to watch some shows before Fantasmic like King Trithon’s Concert and Big Ben Beat Show. For more tips, go here.

Our flight back to Jakarta was in the next day, but as we did not want to take any risks, we decided to go straight to the airport after checking-out from our Airbnb and leaving for Jakarta.

If there’s anything I miss that would make the trip to Japan more enjoyable, please do comments and let me know!

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