The Ultimate Tokyo Travel Itinerary Guide for Newbies

For first time visitors to Japan, I have to warn you that this country is very addictive! You’ll always find something interesting and unique no matter what the season is. This Tokyo itinerary is about my recent 10-day trip in Tokyo.

If you’re someone who loves free and easy travel like I do, I would really recommend that you keep on reading this itinerary. Also, it would be ideal that you visit 1 suggested place per day (or 2 if you are feeling ambitious) and take your time while you are at the location and not in a hurry so that you could soak up on the experience and truly enjoy the moment.

Without further adieu, as a Tokyo newbie, the following are suggested main itinerary:

*Suggested Day trips outside Tokyo reachable approximately less than 2 hours by train or bus will be covered in here.

Explore the Streets of Shinjuku

First, on our list would be exploring the streets of Shinjuku– one of the busiest places in the world; which is also surrounded by one of Tokyo’s most popular entertainment and shopping districts. You should include visiting the tranquil Shinjuki Gyoen (Shinjuku Park), the modern skyscraper district of Western Shinjuku, the famous Godzilla head at Toso building, and enjoy a game of baseball at Oslo Battling center. I was told that Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan, so I decided to give it a go.

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Shibuya for Shopping!

Although Shibuya is just a ward of Tokyo, you can’t deny the fact that it’s quite famous for its fashion and culture. It’s the shopping haven of shopaholics, but there’s also the famous Shibuya crossing which was featured in many blockbuster movies such as the Resident Evil, The Fast and the Furious etc. OK! The trick of capturing the best shot of Shibuya crossing is either from the walkway between the Keio Station (Inokashira Line), where there is an open spot that you can get some good shots or from Shibuya’s Starbucks’ large windows and seating on the second floor. That was my vantage spot! However, it can be really crowded in the Starbucks to get a good seat.

I highly suggest that you should come back here during the “shopping days” at the end of your 10-day trip.

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Harajuku for Interesting Fashion and Meiji Shrine for History

Do you love crazy and unique outfits? If so, then you’ll definitely love this place! Harajuku is the home of teen fashion and cosplay (especially if you’ll go there during Sundays). There’s plenty of shopping that you can do, but what I loved most are the yummy crepes you can easily get a hold of– there are crepe stands everywhere!

Then, let’s not forget the Meiji Shrine– I’m putting it together with Harajuku because you’ll just use the same train station to go there. Meiji shrine is one of the many shrines in Japan, but what made it very interesting is the fact that it has a lot to offer about modern Japanese history. Don’t forget to write down your prayer or wishes on an “ema”!

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Yoyogi Park for a picnic

the park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. Yoyogi Park located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. Yoyogi Park is divided into two sections by the main road with other parts of the park containing Yoyogi National Gymnasium and an open theatre where community groups hold festivals and concerts. Bring a few beers and your bento box (lunch box). It’s a beautiful and relaxing place for a picnic with your friends.

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Asakusa, which include Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Dori for more History, Yummy Snacks, and Crafts.

Asakusa has the ambience of “old” Tokyo– that’s what I felt upon visiting this place. Then, you can also visit the Sensoji temple, a famous Buddhist temple, and last, but definitely not least, the Nakamise Dory that’s filled with local snacks, crafts, and several shopping lanes.

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Tokyo Sky Tree for Breathtaking Views

The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and the landmark of Japan’s capital. It’s also the centrepiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida district, and near Asakusa.

What I loved most about Tokyo Skytree is the large shopping complex it has, the aquarium located on the lower decks, and the observation decks that offer a magnificent view of Tokyo. I would suggest that you go around 3.30 PM when the sun is not too bright and yet not too dark to get an aerial shot of Tokyo (I hate my images to be over exposed). Furthermore, watching the sun sets in Tokyo on approximately 634 meters above ground is priceless.

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Alternative: Tokyo Tower

If you are not able to go up the observation deck of Tokyo Sky tree, you can go to Tokyo Tower instead! Tokyo Tower was the main broadcasting and communication tower of Japan from 1958 to 2012  (yes, 54years!) when Tokyo Sky Tree was built. I went there around 9 pm, the perfect time to see the city lights and the tower itself was lit.

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Ginza for More Shopping

If the Shibuya district didn’t satisfy your shopping cravings, then you definitely have to visit Ginza as well. You better bring a lot of cash with you, ’cause there’s a lot of nice (expensive) things that you can buy here. It is more for the upscale or I would say, generic brands.

Akihabara: The Capital of Anime

Do you love customised life-like girl dolls and have been looking for a place where you can buy different parts of the dolls, such as the limbs, legs, eyes, breasts, hair, lashes, and anything else possible? If your answer is yes, the Akihabara is the place to be! This area is very famous for its electronic shops and Otaku culture.

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Ichigaya: Fishing by the River

Give yourself a break and have one “slow” day in Tokyo.  The Ichigaya Fishing Center is one of the famous fishing spots in Tokyo. However, unlike other fishing centres, you have to know that it’s only for leisure fishing. That means, whatever you catch, you’ll have to return it after. However, if you reached a certain weight, then you can fish for another hour!

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Omotasendo: Cafes, Shopping, and People Watching

The first time I tried coming to this tiny little outpost, I’ve wandered for what felt like hours! It’s a lesson of perseverance, but I’m glad that I’ve found the perfect place with the best-tasting coffee as I scour through this shopping district – Omotesando Koffee. I braved freezing temperatures and queued up for an hour to have a taste of the alleged delicious coffee. In the end, I order the Baileys Cappuccino. It was worth it.

There you have it, these are the places I visited during my recent trip to Tokyo, Japan. Though, unfortunately, this article don’t cover my day trips outside Tokyo and my food escapades.

Like I said, suggested Day trips outside Tokyo reachable approximately less than 2 hours by train or bus will be covered in here.

The two impulses in travel are to get away from home, and the other is to pursue something – a landscape, people, an exotic place. Certainly finding a place that you like or discovering something unusual is a very sustaining thing in travel.

– Paul Theroux

7 Reasons Why Traveling Solo Should be in Your Bucket List

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Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys and it is definitely something that you should consider doing alone at least once. There will be plenty of opportunities to travel the world with family and friends, but there is something so profound about experiencing it alone. While the prospect of solo travel can be scary at first, it would be an experience worth pursuing. You would certainly not want to look back when you are in your 80s and regret not having traveled by yourself at least once.

Here are 7 great reasons to travel solo and see the world by yourself:

1. Making New Friends Along the Way

Travelling with family, friends, and/or your significant other is fun but it does limit your chances of socialising with new people because you tend to be “exclusive”. Travelling to countries by yourself allows you to make new acquaintances and even forge friendships that can transcend distances.

2. Engaging with the locals

One of the most important benefits of world travel is being able to connect with people of various cultures and practices. Being a solo traveller gives you to the chance to rub elbows with the locals and find out more about their lives and experiences. It would not only enrich your knowledge but also allow you to see your life in a slightly different perspective.

3. You are free to explore and experience any kind of adventure on a whim

Not having company means your schedule is whatever you decide it would be at any given time. Whether you suddenly decide to go hiking or just relaxing in the park, you can do so without having to plan for it. There will be no need to consult with other people whether they would be interested in your kind of activity because it is all up to you.

4. You gain deep understanding and appreciation of the places you visit

Visiting different places and being able to immerse yourself completely in the uniqueness of the culture and geography allows you to really appreciate how diverse the rest of the world is. There are fewer distractions that would take away from all your new experiences and you can stay as long as you feel like it. When I travel, I usually believe in living like the locals. Do what the locals do, eat what the locals eat.

5. It feels liberating to go to places where no one knows who you are and not accountable to anyone. 

It is a rare treat to be able to roam around where you are just another face in the crowd. You can practically disappear in the backdrop of all the places you visit and just bask in the glory of complete anonymity.

6. Alone time is healthy.

Many people do not realise that they are in co-dependent relationships, which is not at all healthy. Travelling alone gives you a chance to be independent and find out that you can, in fact, do things on your own and perhaps even become a better person because of it. You will realise that you can and will have fun on your own, and it is not something to feel guilty about.

7. Distance makes you appreciate all the important people in your life. 

While a tad cliche, distance does make the heart grow fonder. Going away on adventures alone will give you the rare chance of missing your loved ones, and for them to miss you. Coming back home will never be sweeter when you have been away for some time and you realise just how lucky you are to have such loving and understanding people in your life. What’s more is that you can even inspire your friends and family to try solo travel as well, which would give them the same benefits you just enjoyed.

All in all, solitary travel is not for loners or anti-socials. It is for people who want to experience life’s wonders at its best, sans the distractions of schedules and other constraints. It is a liberating and enriching experience that everyone should do at least once, if not more. Try it!

Peaceful and charming island of Myrina- Limnos, Greece

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If Myrina Island wasn’t so far away from everywhere, then it would probably be the world’s most visited Island. Wild and unspoilt, Myrina has preserved an amazing level of authenticity. This small island boasts amazing landscapes, charming beaches and unique sites, making it one of Greece’s perfect spots to de-stress. Myrina Island, unlike most islands in Greece, offers peacefulness.

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Sightseeing

Whether it is a romantic evening with your partner or some time alone to meditate, the most peaceful moments in this island are those that are spent watching the sun sink slowly into the sky. The landscape is rough, with tall grass and barren rock low hills and almost void of trees.

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Beaches

Myrina is a beautiful island with splendid unspoiled beaches. These beaches are very rewarding during summer. The most popular beaches include Thanos, Riha Nera, Platy, Evgatis, Keros to the east and Gomati to the north. If swimming is not your thing perhaps windsurfing and kitesurfing are what you want. The wind and geographical characteristics at these beaches are ideal for windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you need something really relaxing, there is a neat spa which uses of the hot mineral spring. This is really a remarkable island for an unforgettable experience.

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Windmills

Traditional windmills are dotted throughout the island bearing witness to the lasting farming tradition on the island. The use of windmills here was extensive thanks to the strong winds blowing on the island. For centuries these windmills were grinding grains and sesame seeds grown on the island. Whether restored or abandoned, alone or in groups, these windmills are among the most beautiful buildings that you will see. Some of the windmills on this island have been refurbished and operate as hotels.

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Conclusion

Whether you are touring throughout Limnos or staying in one of its islands, a great idea is to stop over in Myrina Island for a day. There are plenty of things to see and do. However, in my opinion, one day is enough to explore everything that this charming island has to offer.

Gateway to an ancient city called Ephesus – Kusadasi, Turkey

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For someone who only had half a day (or 10 hours, exactly) to explore Kusadasi, Turkey, I had an amazing time stretching those fleeting hours into a wonderful tour of what the town and its nearby places could offer. Here are the three highlights that I have personally chosen to share with you guys:

Shopping at the Grand Bazaar

What’s a famous place if they don’t have huge bazaars where they sell homemade wares and furniture for tourists? The first thing I did was to visit the renowned Grand Bazaar, which was located just a kilometre or two away from the Kusadasi port. It really lived up to its title of being grand- a veritable collection of shops, from arcade-style booths to large, mini-market emporiums lined up on the horizon as far as my eyes could see! It was indeed worthy of being called a shopper’s paradise.

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I saw a demonstration of how rugs are made- from cocooning to weaving and dyeing. There were endless varieties of clothes, shoes, hats, bags, leather goods, jewelries, watches and souvenirs! You could literally spend the day away trying out the clothes and haggling for the price that you are willing to buy the goods for. As for me, I was content to buy gifts for my friends and families (which came out to 4 bags, no less!), then moved on to the next attraction.

A Private Tour at the Ancient City of Ephesus

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There’s something about ancient ruins that call out to me to see and marvel at their architecture. Of course, I couldn’t resist a private tour at the famed ruins of Ephesus! I chose a private tour because public ones spend a lot of time waiting to be filled up. My guide met me after the shopping at Grand Bazaar and off we went to the Ephesus ruins.

From there she pointed out the highlights of the ruins and also told me a little bit about its rich history. The tour was completely different from the public ones because I got to see more of the secluded areas, where the public buses just went roundabout on the trodden path. My guide was an excellent companion and tour guide; very knowledgeable and accommodating.

I would very highly recommend that you visit the Ephesus at night- the ruins literally glow with modern lights and other comforts! There was an orchestra performing some local music; cocktails and wine were available, and the twinkling stars added to the ethereal effect of being in an old, ancient place where civilisation used to flourish. Magical!

The sacred shrine of The Virgin Mary at “Bulbul” Mountain

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Finally, you will want to allocate some extra time in climbing to the top of “Bulbul” mountain (about 9 kilometres from Ephesus) to see the place where The Virgin Mary spent her last days on earth. There’s a sacred shrine where you can pay homage and take pictures in to share on your Facebook or Twitter page.

Upon reaching the top, you can pray on the Virgin Mary’s shrine, drink from the holy fountain, or wish on the sacred wall. Get ready and wear your most comfortable shoes, and bring a bottle of water to have a pleasant experience!

Day trip to Mykonos Island, Greece

Mykonos which is also known as Chora and it is among the islands that make Greece a beautiful country.  Mykonos lies between other series of islands like Tinos, Paros, Naxos and Syros. Most of the tourists found themselves landing in Athens before they can move to Mykonos. The flight from Athens to Mykonos takes about 20 min whiles taking a ferry would take you 2- 5 hours depending on the type of ferry. For a person visiting the place with a limit of half a day, it would be better to take flight so that you can have enough time on the island.

Mykonos town (Chora), streets, shops, and Café’s

Walking along Mykonos town that is locally known as Chora would be the best experience for you. The place has a lot to see and enjoy. There are several café’s that are spread across the streets and hence you would never go hungry or thirsty. They offer different kinds of food and drinks. They are spacious enough to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Some of them include Piccolo along 18 Drakopoulou Street, Blu Blu lounge at Old Port street, Aroma at Andronikou and Enoplon Dinameon among others. The streets got a lot of shops where one can do shopping and they operate day and night. There are also fashion stores along the streets to ensure that you can select all your clothing along the streets.

The Elia Beach

One of the best places that you can enjoy your time is the beach. There are a lot of activities that one can do including, fishing, surfing, swimming, boat riding among others. Elia beach is located just 10 islands along the beach. The prices are affordable to many depending on what you are going to do. The beach is regularly maintained and cleaned to ensure everybody is comfortable and enjoys his or her time fully. It has luxurious sun beds with waiter services where one can take his or her lunch comfortably.

Nammos Restaurant By The Sea, Psarou Beach, Mykonos 

Psarou beach is another famous beach in Mykonos that is located just 4 km from the Chora. The beach has a lot of hotels and restaurants in it where one can refresh and take high-quality food. Among the restaurants is the Nammos Restaurant by the sea. It is well designed both interior and exterior to ensure it gives the visitor the quality he or she deserves. The restaurant offers seafood and other finest delicacies and excellent wines. They have spacious rooms where you can spend your nightlife in case you want to stay for sometimes. The staff is great, welcoming and ready to serve you at any time. The prices are also affordable. If you are planning to travel this holiday, Mykonos is the place to visit.