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2 weeks in Tokyo - Itinerary review please?

2 weeks in Tokyo - Itinerary review please?

May 28th, 2017, 05:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 9
2 weeks in Tokyo - Itinerary review please?

Hi all,

We are a family of four (late 30s, 12 and 2 year old girls) planning our first trip to Japan in December 2017. We’re going to take it slow as our 2 year old is a tubie and we’re afraid we might not be able to handle too much. I’d initially considered including Kyoto and Osaka on this trip but again, because of my youngest, have decided that we’ll explore that region later (a reason to return!) and will just stick to Tokyo for now.

Please help me look at this tentative itinerary. Am I spending too much/little time in Tokyo?

02.12.2017- Sat - Arrive Tokyo at 7 am. Check in hotel in Shinjuku and explore area-Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices, Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, Takashimaya
03.12.2017- Sun-Day Trip to Mt Fuji
04.12.2017- Mon-Tokyo-Tsukiji Fish Market, Hama-Rikyu Gardens(?) ,Imperial Palace Area, Ginza
05.12.2017-Tue-Day Trip to Nikko
06.12.2017-Wed-Tokyo-Senso-ji Temple, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, (This feels like too many museums in a day, how should I split this up?)
07.12.2017-Thu-Tokyo – Meiji Shrine, Yogogi Park, Omotesando Street, Nezu Museum, Shibuya
08.12.2017-Fri-Day Trip to Kamakura
09.12.2017-Sat-Tokyo-Roppongi Hills, Mori Art Museum, Odaiba(?) – People have suggested heading to Roppongi Hills for sunset view so should I switch this and spend the day in Odaiba?
10.12.2017- Sun-Tokyo: Nippori Textile Town. Other ideas for our last day?
11.12.2017-Mon-Tokyo Disneyland
12.12.2017-Tue-Tokyo Disneyland
13.12.2017-Tue-Depart Tokyo at 2pm.

Thank you!
LeighAnne is offline  
May 29th, 2017, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,199
Are you familiar with the takkyubin - baggage delivery service - that is available in Japan?

That Nikko day trip will take 4.5 to 6 hours of travel for the roundtrip. It looks like the limited express trains from/to Shinjuku don't run at that time of year, so the trip would involve two JR local trains, or three trains, in each direction.
mrwunrfl is online now  
May 29th, 2017, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,668
The day trips are likely to be more stressful for your two year old than would adding another destination where you would stay for a week and settle in. I'd highly recommend Kyoto as your second place to visit. And I'd suggest mostly staying put rather than all of the day trips.

Two weeks in Tokyo would be way too much for me - Indeed a week inTokyo would feel like too much - but many people love Tokyo.
Kathie is online now  
May 29th, 2017, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,439
For starters, I would go to Yoyogi Park on your first Sunday. That is when most of the action takes place, not on a Thursday.

A day trip to Mt Fuji is a long day. I would save that till later in your week.

The fish market does not open to casual visitors until 10 am, and is really not a great place for a 2 year old. It is a working market with ice, blood, men in speeding carts, and a lot of employees who are pretty tired of dodging tourists. If you are going primarily to eat, I'd say go somewhere else.

If you must go to the fish market, walk from there to Hama Rikyu gardens, then take the boat up to Asakusa and walk through the neighborhood to see Senso ji. area can occupy you for hours!

Ginza is not terribly interesting for kids during the day. If you are going to visit, go at night when the lights are on.

Shibuya is the very busy crossing with the statue of Hachiko the dog. This is also a fun area to wander, and has shops that both your children can enjoy.

Your museum day has way too much stuff. I'd call it a day at Ueno Park. I'd visit the National Museum of Nature and Science and the Shitomachi to the Tokyo National museum. Two will be plenty, and then you can explore a little of the park or the zoo if it isn't too cold outside.

Odaiba http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3008.html
can keep you all busy for a full day. Instead of going to Roppongi hills, plan on going to the observation deck at the Telecom Center, or prebook a car on the ferris wheel for sunset.

I'd recommend Hakone (Mt. Fuji) as an overnight trip. A day trip is pretty packed. You don't have to spend the night in a fancy ryokan; there are plenty of nice smaller inns in Hakone-Yumoto. Leave your main suitcases in the holding room at your Tokyo hotel and take only a change of clothes to Hakone. From the train, walk to your new hotel and drop your bags. Take your time doing the Hakone "loop" then spend the night. In the morning, walk to the station and take the train back into Tokyo. Much less stressful.

I'd choose either Nikko or Kamakura for another destination, not both. They both involve long train rides, and may be pretty cold in December.

The Miraikan (http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/) and Kidzania (http://www.kidzania.jp/tokyo/en/) are two indoor places for kids in Tokyo that you might also consider. Miraikan has an english app for use in the museum.

Whatever you do, check all websites for their closed days, and see if they offer (or recommend) advance reservations. I know Kidzania books well in advance. Also, go to this site to check out your transportation options in Tokyo.


If you have a smart phone, download the app. I used it on our recent trip and it was great! Has schedules, maps to stations, alternate routes, etc. It takes a long time to get from one side of Tokyo to another, so you are always advised to map out your destinations and clump them together based on the neighborhood.

Have fun!

PS- what is a tubie child?
lcuy is offline  
May 29th, 2017, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,439
That should have been " Shitomachi **OR** the Tokyo National museum".
lcuy is offline  
May 30th, 2017, 05:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 9
mrwunrfl, Kathie : My husband wants to take one of the day tours so we don't have to DIY. Not sure if that's any better but its really too much we can cut it out and shorten our trip but I dunno, there seems so much to do in Tokyo and we've wanted to visit in years!

Icuy: Wow! Thanks for all the tips. We'll just have to devote a day in Odaiba and re-arrange our museums. And that boat cruise is on!

Are the Tokyo subways stroller friendly? Should we avoid certain times before heading out?

Tubie means she has a tube through her nose right to her stomach for feeds. A small issue during travelling especially with disinfecting if she pulls it out and having to reinsert. Fingers crossed we'll manage
LeighAnne is offline  
May 30th, 2017, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,199
With 10 full days in the city the day trips to Nikko and Fujisan are worthwhile just to get out of the city and see some of the natural beauty of Japan. I can't comment on Kamakura. Am counting the 2nd as a travel.

Taking tour buses would make life easier. Do you have particular tours in mind? I saw one for Nikko by Viator that looked good, but another company's tour was mostly DIY.

lcuy suggested an overnight stay in Hakone-Yumoto. It would a pretty easy DIY trip. Odakyu has a limited express train that runs from Shinkuku to Hakone-Yumoto. It is called the Romancecar and has all reserved seats.

lcuy mentioned walking from the station to a ryokan. I believe that there is a shuttle that is operated by the ryokan associaton that goes from the station to the inns near the station. There is also a bus not far from the front of the station that goes to ryokan across the river.

If you could post links to the tours you are considering then we might be able to help. OTOH, maybe you would be better off with input about tours from people that take tours. Like the customer comments I saw about the Nikko tour offered by Viator.
mrwunrfl is online now  
May 30th, 2017, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 887
We took two day trips from Tokyo to Nikko, and Mt Fuji, respectively. We used Sunrise Tours, which is a quasi-government tour agency, and they are certainly reliable. However, I can't imagine travelling on long bus rides with a toddler.

In answer to your general questions about Tokyo, I would put Odaiba at the top of the list for children. I agree with others that two weeks in Tokyo is way too much. What are the interests of your 12 year old? To me, I like the rural and natural areas in Japan the best, and I imagine it would be nice to stay in such an area for several days. Your toddler would be much happier.

Oh yes, I would add a tea ceremony in Tokyo, but one of you would go with the older child, and one would stay with the toddler.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
May 30th, 2017, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 264
I agree with lcuy - if you are going to Yoyogi Park, Harajuku etc, then the day to do it is on a Sunday. It's also better to avoid the day trips on weekends when they are more crowded.
Also I have no idea where the notion that there are no fast trains to Nikko is coming from. You can easily take the bullet train to Utsunomiya and transfer to go to Nikko. Simple. A Tokyo Wide Pass can help you with your day trips.
The round trip to Nikko alone makes one pay off.
Alternatively you can use a Tobu Nikko Free Pass. You're not stopped from taking a limited express there either.
For the kids, there's also Edo Wonderland.

For Mt. Fuji, you'll need to choose between Hakone and the Fuji 5 Lakes area. The Tokyo Wide Pass can partially get you to either. Afterwards, look into a Hakone Free Pass or one of the Lake passes.
For the former, the Loop Course is a good way to see the area.
What's surprising is that nobody has really mentioned that you will be in Japan during the autumn colors - might be near the end of it, but you should still be able to see some fantastic sights. There is a list of popular places at:

For the museums, I would keep them in reserve for a rainy day - and while you will be in Japan during the best season for good weather, it is likely you still might have some days with some bad weather. Those days are best for the museums, and Tokyo has some excellent aquariums as well.
Be sure also to check the weather forecast every morning before heading out.
For Kamakura, you should include Enoshima as well. If not getting there on the Tokyo Wide Pass, use the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass.
Roppongi Hills has a nice view, but again you are not thinking strategically - it is also a popular date spot, so a weekday night would be better if you can. There are also many free spots you can go to as well.
And like before, look at the weather forecasts and stay flexible. There's no real view if the weather sucks.

Since you say you have an extra day to fill, there are limitless possibilities. There are actually numerous beautiful gardens in Tokyo in addition to the ones you mentioned.
Kusatsu makes a great outing and you should go to a hot spring at least once.
If you bundle that in with the Tokyo Wide Pass, you can save even more. Karuizawa is another possibility.
Or for something off the typical tourist trail, try the Risu-en Squirrel Park in Machida.
Plus the Showa Kinen Park is outstanding too.
If you want more ideas, there is always Yokohama, with its beautiful Sankeien Garden, Chinatown, and more.
Adastra2200 is offline  

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