Eight days in Tokyo is honestly a very short time. Japan is a very interesting country that in my opinion, one would need to stay there for a few months to be able to fully enjoy the culture. For most of us, this is not really an option, so we just enjoy a few short days of holiday.
I had seven days in Tokyo and I used it as my home base to mostly do short trips during the day and explore the city at night. The day passes are very useful in short day trips and depending on how many sites you can visit, you will save a significant amount in transport money. For my rides within the city, I use and reload my ICOCA card which I purchased during my previous trip in Kyoto.
Here is my itinerary.
Day 1: Takao-san
I bought the Keio Line Mount Takao Discount Ticket for my day trip to Takao-san. This covers the round-trip fare from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi station as well as one ride each for the cable car and chair lift. You can check the different ticket types on the Keio Line website.
The main activity here is of course to climb Mount Takao and have a picnic at the peak. There are however, other things you can do around the area. The mountain is also home to the Buddhist Yakuoin Temple where a lot of believers and non-believers stop to pray and do their offerings. You can also find a Monkey Park with a wild flower garden.
There is an onsen beside Takaosanguchi station where you can relax yourself after a tiring climb of the mountain, or you can opt to visit the Takao 599 Museum instead. There are also many restaurants in the area serving various dishes to satisfy your hunger.
You can read more about Mount Takao-san on my previous blog post.
Day 2: Yokohama
The time I visited Yokohama is also the time they were holding the annual National Urban Greenery Fair called Garden Necklace Yokohama 2017. I mostly spent time at the Yamashita Park so even though I bought the Yokohama-Minatomirai Pass, I did not really make full use of it.
From Yamashita Park, there are various cruise ships and sea taxis which you can opt to ride. The Hikawa Maru, a luxury passenger liner which served as a hospital ship during the World War II is permanently docked here.
Day 3: Enoshima/Kamakura
The Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass is a must when visiting the Enoshima-Kamakura area. In my visit, I started with Enoshima Island, then took the train to the Great Buddha of Kamakura. I also went to see the Hasedera where you can find several hundreds small statues of Jizo Bodhisattva.
The pass also offers discounts on some establishments which I took advantage of to eat sumptuous desserts overlooking the beautiful coastline at Amalfi Caffe.
Day 4: Hakone/Gotemba outlets
I bought a two-day pass for Hakone, which means I have to pay extra for another round-trip fare since I am staying in Tokyo.
For the first day, I took the usual recommended route.
-Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora
-Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora to Sounzan
-Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan to Togendai
-Hakone Sightseeing Boat from Togendai to Hakone-Machi
-Instead of taking the bus back to Hakone-Yumoto, I opted to take the bus to go to Gotemba Premium Outlets, a shopping outlet for branded goods where you can take a glimpse of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
From Gotemba Premium Outlets, there is a free bus to the nearest train station – JR Gotemba station.
Day 5: Odawara/ Hakone
For my second day at Hakone, I stopped over at Odawara to see the Odawara Castle.
Afterwards, I headed straight to Hakone-Machi to visit the Hakone Temple and Hakone Sekisho (Hakone Checkpoint Museum).
There many places to visit in Hakone and many onsen to choose from so I recommend staying there overnight. Not to mention, you save on one round-trip fare as well.
Day 6: Takeshita/Asakusa/Ameyayokocho
Day 6 is a day to roam around the streets of Tokyo starting with Takeshita and Omotesando streets which are mostly full of young crowd. The Meiji Shrine is opposite Takeshita.
Afterwards I headed to Asakusa famous for its street lined with food and souvenir shops leading to Sensoji Temple. There is also a very interesting local market, which is very much less crowded than Asakusa street.
Last stop is Ameyayokocho which is more for the budget savvy shoppers and eaters. The Ueno Park, one of the most popular spots for Hanami, is also nearby.
Day 7: Tokyo Imperial palace/Akihabara/Shibuya
The Tokyo Imperial Palace can only be explored through a guided tour. Reservations used to be done online but now they have same day registrations, but you have to make sure to bring passport/identification card. Also, there are only two time slots -10am and 1:30om and the tours are only available from Tuesday to Saturday. However, the tour was in Japanese so I did not really understand any word in it.
Next stops are Akihabara and Shibuya, which are both popular streets when Japan is mentioned. Akihabara is where all anime stuff happens. Meanwhile, Shibuya is where everybody seems to be judging from the crowd at the intersections.
Challenge: Can you find the restaurant between two train tracks in Akihabara?
Day 8: Ginza/Jiyugaoka
Ginza is more of a high-end shopping street. I went here mainly to see Uniqlo’s largest flagship store with 12 floors and 4,959 square meters of retail space.
Last stop for this trip is Jiyugaoka, where you can find Tokyo’s Little Europe. I was a little disappointed, maybe I expected too much, but one good thing is I found a very cozy restaurant called the Blue Books Café.
So that’s how I spent eight days in Tokyo. It was short but I was able to go to a lot of places and needless to say, eat a lot of food. Speaking of food, check out 11 Food to Love in Japan.