One week in Tokyo – An authentic Budget Guide

Welcome to our Tokyo Itinerary 7 days. In this article, you will find the Ultimate list of unmissable things you definitely should see when spending one week in Tokyo.
But before I’ll tell you what to do when spending one week in Tokyo, I will explain a bit about our personal experiences in Tokyo, and give you a practical insight into our Tokyo Budget.
 
When we arrived in Tokyo we actually didn’t expect anything special. I mean, we all know this scenario from your average long-haul flight, don’t we? With a serious lack of sleep getting out of the plan jet lacked and still sleepy. Just to stand in line getting sent from one place to another by the annoyed and often unfriendly airport staff. But in Tokyo everything was so different…
 
We’ve been overwhelmed by all this kindness we experienced. We almost couldn’t believe it.
At the pass control, one of the agents welcomed everyone in their native language. And this actually describes this country pretty well – You always get a little more kindness than expected.
 

Hospitality in Tokyo

 
gastfreundschaft tokio vicki viaja
 
Wherever you might go in Tokyo, people are always kind and helpful. It starts with strangers you meet on the street up to the amazing hosts you can find on Couchsurfing. The hospitality and helpfulness in Japan are just unbelievable for us Westeners.
Our Couchsurfing hosts both prepared delicious meals for us. And not only one dish as we might know it from home, but a whole bunch of. Moreover, one of them let us sleep in her apartment while she already had to go to work. But not only that. When we got up we even found a breakfast prepared for us in the living room.
 
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I’ll give you an example in order to give you a little idea of the Japanese kindness: on our second day we asked a waiting man whether we were on the right gate. Instead of just telling us that we were at the gate for the other direction or pointing out the one on the other side. He even accompanied us to the correct gate up to exactly this point where we had to enter the train. But not only that. On the way there he even bought two bottles of water for us as a present in one of Tokyo’s countless vending machines. As “it is a hot day and you need to drink much on those days“. We just couldn’t believe what just happened.

Costs of one week in Tokyo on a budget

Tokyo is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Anyway, we’ve been surprised that in the end, we haven’t even spent that much money actually.

For seven days in the Japanese capital, we have spent around 200 Euro /$240 per Person. (197,64 Euro/ $235,35 to be exact)
That is in average 28,23 Euro/ $33,75 a day. Not that bad, is it?

How did we manage that?

Accommodation

We lowered our expenditures by just using Couchsurfing instead of using hostels.
Anyway, we didn’t, of course, just do it because of the money. Couchsurfing just offers so many benefits. There is probably no easier way to meet locals and get to know their habits and way of life.
But let’s go back to the expenditures we had in Tokyo.

Food in Tokyo

The highest amount of money we spent on food. Besides the expensive restaurants, there are also pretty cheap ways to eat in Tokyo. Like small restaurants and convenience stores as the infamous 7 eleven.
Just have a look around and I am sure you can find something suitable for every budget.
And since we ate so cheap, in the end, we had enough money left to invite of host Yuki to her favorite restaurant for lunch. It was definitely worth it.

Per day, the costs for food added up to 10,64 Euro/ $12,68 per person on average. Excluded is water (2,92Euro/ $3,48 in total – we tried to fill up our bottles as often as possible with tap water, as it is drinkable in whole Japan).

Going Out

For going out we spent 18,11 Euro/ $21,58 for the whole week. (In this 18 Euro are included the costs for the snacks and the entrance we had to pay in one bar. And the beers we bought in a supermarket for our host and us.

Transport / Metro

Another high source of expenditures was the metro. Even though we tried to walk as much as possible (around 20 km per day), we had to spend a lot for transportation. On our first day, we bought a Suica card which you can use for all the different Metro companies. (Really practical because there are a lot of different lines). We paid around 09,18 Euro a day for the metro.

Entrance Fee

Our expenditures for entrance fees weren’t actually that high. But we spent 2510 Yen/18,76 Euro /$ 22,35 per Person for the Sky Tree. Which added up our costs for entrances up to 27,63 Euro/ $32,92.
The remaining 10 Euro something we spent on random things, such as snacks and a pack of Aspirin.

Our Impression of Tokyo

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Tokyo is probably the cleanest city I’ve ever been to.
Anyway, we thought this city would be more exotic and crazy in some ways. The big buildings and some of the residential areas could have as well be located in some western city.
On the other hand, many of the shopping streets and temples looked more like what we have expected of the Japanese capital.

In the following, you can find our main activities and sights. The smaller things I leave as actually I don’t have so much time to write these days, to be honest 😉

 

One Week in Tokyo- An authentic Itinerary for 7 days

Day I

Transport from Narita Airport

Price: 1000 Yen (ca. 8€ /$9)

The airport Narita is located a little bit away from Tokyo itself.
The cheapest way to get there is by Keisei Bus.
You can get the tickets directly at the airport.

Tokyo Station District

 tokyo station vicki viaja
 
In the area around the Tokyo Station, you can find a lot of skyscrapers and little restaurants. After we bought our metro card (Suica card) in the Tokyo Station we had lunch around this area.

Shibuya Crossing

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Shibuya Crossing might be comparable with the Times Square in New York. But somehow it is really different. Everywhere are lights and advertisements. Colorful and varied.
This is how we imagined Tokyo before.
Shibuya offers exactly this feeling that I like so much about big cities. You absolutely shouldn’t miss this attraction when you come to Tokyo!
Moreover, you can find the statue of Hachiko. That is the dog that was always loyal to his owner. And even after his death, he remained loyal by his side.
 

 Day II

Edo Museum

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Opening Hours: 09.30 am – 05.30 pm
 
Entrance Fee: 600 Yen (ca. 4,60€/ $5,50)
 
In the Edo Museum, you can find relics that represent life in the Edo era. The museum is interesting. Anyway, I wouldn’t precisely call it a must do in Tokyo.
But if you are into Tokyo’s history there is a lot to see. Anyway, many of the exhibition pieces, such as statistics and maps are only shown in Japanese.
 
In the entrance, you can leave your luggage. Which was practical for us as we had our backpacks with us and we were still pretty tired.
 
You can find all Information about special exhibitions, discounts etc. on their website.
 

Rikugien Park

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Opening Hours: 09.00 am – 05.00 pm

Entrance Fee: 300 Yen (ca. 2,30€/ $2,75)

A walk through the Rikugien Park makes you almost forget that you are actually in one of the biggest cities in the world. It was so tranquil and quiet.
And the best thing is. It is allowed to eat in the park. (In most parks in Tokyo it is forbidden)
That’s why we started our walk with a little lunch on a bench near the entrance.
But don’t forget your mosquito repellent. Eduardo’s legs have been bitten completely by mosquitoes.
By the way, lockers are available in case you are carrying luggage with you.

Akihabara

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Akihabara is probably the craziest part of Tokyo. In this area, you can find a lot of Gaming Centers.
When entering those centers usually, the first thing you see are those automates which allow you to fish for teddies. In the other floors, you can find all kind of gaming automates, sometimes Manga sections and any other kind of things.
 
On the streets of Akihabara, you will find all different kinds of shops, such as the biggest sex shop in the world, which is one of the main attractions of this area.
 
manga tokio vicki viaja

Day III

Ueno District

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In the Ueno market district, you might find anything you’ve never been looking for.
You can just walk around and discover a bunch of things you would probably never see at home. You can find a wide range of things between clothes and food.

Special tip: You might want to go there during the morning as it is is probably not that crowded.

Ueno Park

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Opening Hours: 05.00 am – 11.00 pm

Entrance Fee: Free of charge

Tokyo is full of nice parks. One of those is the Ueno Park. We used this nice place firstly to eat our lunch. Afterward, we had a long walk through the park.

The Ueno Park is perfect to relax. But you can also find many shrines and Museums around. Just get lost a little.

Tokyo Skytree & Asakusa

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Opening Hours: 08.00 am – 10.00 pm (last entry: 09.00 pm)

Entrance Fee: Between 2060 – 4000 Yen (ca. 15,80€ – 30,60€/ $18,80 – $36,60) (depending on ticket)

The Tokyo Skytree is located around one hour by foot away from the Ueno Park. This building is known to be the second tallest building in the world on the day of completion. So, you definitely can’t oversee it.

On the way there you pass through a really nice neighborhood that I can also highly recommend. It’s called Asakusa. In this area, you can get an idea of how the traditional Tokyo used to look like. You can also find the famous Sensoji-Buddhist temple here.

Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend the Sky Tree completely.
The entrance was about 2060 Yen. But if you wanted to go up to the top you had to pay around another 1030 Yen when arriving at the first base. So around 30 Euro altogether.
That you can’t get up completely with the basic ticket wasn’t stated clearlly, in our opinion. At least not notable enough. So we just realized after getting up. 

Moreover, the observatory is a closed room with windows. I was a little bit disappointed for not being able to go out on an open platform, to be honest.
(such as the Tapei 101, the Eifel Tower or the Empire State Building.) Thus, you can’t make really nice pictures as then inside lights are being reflected by the windows.

However, I can’t deny having had a really nice view from up there. But next time I’d definitely chose the Metropolitan Building. (See day VII)

Sky tree view vicki viaja

Yakitori Restaurant

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Later, in the evening we went with our host to her favorite restaurant for Yakitori. Yakitori are sticks with grilled chicken. Really delicious. The way of eating them might be comparable to Spanish Tapas. You order several dishes and share with each other. This way you can have a little something of all the dishes. It was absolutely worth it.

Anyway, you should consider that in Japan the prices for drinks, especially beer are usually way higher than what we are used to from Europe.

Day IV

Tokyo Tower

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Opening Hours: 09.00 am – 11.00 pm

Entrance Fee: 900 – 2800 Yen (ca. 6,88€ – 21.50€ /$8,22 – $25,60) (Depending on which platform you want to go to)

By foot, you can reach the Tokyo Tower well and easy. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t really in our favor. That’s why our pictures got a little grey-ish, as you can see.

Anyway, we didn’t go up as we’ve already been on the Sky Tree before and also the weather wasn’t really promising a good view. But if you want to go up you can buy your tickets directly on-site.

The same way as in the Tokyo Skytree, the entrance fee changes depending on how high you are planing to go to)

Imperial Palace

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Opening Hours: 09.00 am – 04.00 pm (+30 Minutes in high-season, -30 minutes in low-season), Mondays closed

Entrance Fee: Free of charge

Even though the Imperial Palace doesn’t cost any entrance, you just get a plastic ticket when entering that you have to return when leaving the park again. This procedure is used to make sure that the park doesn’t get overcrowded.

The garden of the Imperial Palace is well kept and there is a nice lake with many koi fishes.

From the Imperial Palace itself, you can unfortunately only see the leftovers. What a pity. We were kinda hoping for more. But anyway, for having a walk it is a really beautiful place.

Take care: In the beginning, it wasn’t easy to find the entrance due to many tourists standing on another side of the garden to take pictures. But if you continue walking there you will realize that this is not the entrance. The alleged entrance here is actually just used as an exit. So basically, you have to walk around the garden a little to reach the entrance. The signs didn’t really help, though.

So, better check on a map beforehand.

Shinjuku

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In the Shinjuku District, you find a variety of crazy things besides the usual shopping opportunities.

Even though there is a Robotcafé and a Owl-café we chose the so-called 8 Bit Bar.

Due to the announcement, you could play with a range of 80s Consols included into the entrance fee. Sounded great (at least for Eduardo!) Even though we used GPS and Google Maps, it wasn’t easy to find at all. After around half an hour we found ourselves in a little hallway which also lead to a sex club. After we finally entered the bar, we realized that besides the entrance fee, you had to order at least one beer per person. So, the price just to be inside the bar was already around 10€. Which wouldn’t have been such a problem for what has been promised for this bar. Luckily, we could have a glance at the inside of the bar before we paid. Because actually, there were just three consols. (Of which I just knew Tetris to be honest, but that doesn’t have to mean anything) So absolutely not worth it. And off we went! 🙂

Metropolitan Building

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Opening hours: North: 09.00 am – 11.00 pm; South: 09.00 am – 05.30 pm

Entrance Fee: Free of charge

The Metropolitan Building actually is a Government Building. But anyway, you can get up with the elevator for free.

From there you have a great view over the skyscrapers of Tokyo. Moreover, there is a restaurant in which you can listen to a piano concert while having this view over the city. (And yes, you guessed right. It is not really cheap to eat there)

Unfortunately, it was pretty tricky to find the entranc of the building which leads to the observatory (Or maybe it was just us) because you have to enter from the basement.

If you are not sure just follow the arrows and signs and you will find it eventually 😉

Day V

On the fifth day, we did a day trip to Kamakura and Zushi. You can read about it here.

Day VI

Omiya Hachimangu Shrine

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We liked the Omiya Hachimangu Shrine a lot. On the one hand, because there was a lot more to see than at some other shrines in Tokyo. On the other hand, because we went with there accompanied by our host. He could answer all of our questions. (and we had a lot of questions!) It’s always so practical to have a local with you to explain all the procedures of the temples. Another reason why I love traveling via Couchsurfing. (Did you already read my post about how to find your Couchsurfing Host faster?) 

Finally we knew what the water in the entry of the Shinto temples is for. And it was not for drinking. But for washing your hands before praying. Moreover, our host explained to us that we shouldn’t walk in the middle of the way. As this way is actually just made for the gods. Good to know!

Kichijoji

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Kichijoji is another area, which is suitable for going out and shopping.

We went there to meet a friend of Eduardo. He lives in Japan every year for a few months and speaks fluently Japanese. After a  walk through the park, it was time for dinner. We went to a small restaurant for Ramen. There was neither an English menu nor did the cook speak English. (Thus, I couldn’t read the name of the restaurant, sorry guys.)

Besides two typical Ramen dishes, he prepared one of his specialties. Ramen Carbonara. All in all, we paid around 700 Yen per head (about 06,50 Euro) for a nice amount of Ramen. And it was super delicious.

A typical Jaoanese Ramen, which is such a popular dish here, shouldn’t be missed in any Japan trip!

Japanese Bar

After our Japanese dinner, we decided to discover the nightlife of Tokyo by having a drink.

We went to another district, which had wide range of bars we could choose from.

In the first bar, we paid the price that was shown on the signs outside. Everything fine.

In the next bar, the beer seemed to be unusually cheap. Actually, it should have seemed quite suspicious to us in the first place.

But all that we thought was: What a great deal. When we entered, we’ve been guided to a table that was a little bit apart from the others. It was nice to have that little piece of privacy since it was super loud in that bar.

The first surprise was that suddenly there was an obligation to order at least one dish per person. It hasn’t been mentioned outside on the sign, though. So, we ordered the three cheapest dishes on the menu.

After another table got free we were guided to the center of the restaurant, where it was much louder.

The next surprise was waiting for us when we were about to leave and asked for the bill.

Suddenly it turned out that they have an entrance fee. Neither on the signs, on the menu or anywhere else did they mention anything about any entrance fee. Nor did any of the waiters tell us when entering the bar.

 In the end, we simply paid the 900 Yen (ca. 7,20 Euro) entrance fee just to be able to leave this bar.

So, next time we will definitely choose our bar more carefully!

shinjuku vicki viaja tokio

Day VII

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine Vicki viaja

Since we didn’t catch a lot of sleep that night we decided to keep that day a little less busy. So, our plan was to have breakfast while relaxing somewhere in a park.

While looking for a park we found the Meiji Shingu forest instead. In the middle of this little forest, we discovered the Meiji Shingu Shrine.

Since it is located in the middle of the forst surrounded by trees it provides some kind of mystical atmosphere which we liked a lot. Even though we were pretty exhausted the walk to the Shrine was really beautiful.

Also, there is even a happy ending to our search for a place to relax as the forest adjacent to the Yoyogi Park.

Yoyogi Park

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The Yoyogi Park is full of life. Kids are playing, families are relaxing in the sun and couples are having walks.

Especially on weekends, it feels like every Japanese is hanging out in the nearest park.

We could rest a little from our too short night and even have a little powernap in the warm sun. And afterward, we had a long walk through the park to enjoy the nature and the tranquility the park provided.

Harajuku

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Harajuku is another famous district in Tokyo. You can find so many unique things in this area.

There are several Cat Cafés and the offbeat Kawaii Café. (entrance is about 5 Euro) Unfortunately, the line was too long when we got there.

Moreover, you can find the Takeshita Street in Harajuku. The Takeshita Street is filled with many different shops. Besides the typical kawaii stuff, you find shops for clothes, beauty and even a Disney-store and a lot of restaurants selling crepes.

Have you also been to Tokyo? Which place would ou recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Not enough? Find 50 unusual and weird things to do in Tokyo here.

About me

Vicki

Hi, my name is Vicki. Here you can accompany my boyfriend Eduardo and me on our way through different countries of this world. Let's travel together!

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