Ask just about anyone where they’d like to go after almost 3 years without travelling and we know you’ll see Japan in the top 10. There’s nothing short of things to do, even in the 2 major cities of Osaka and Tokyo.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been in Japan, we’ve got a whole 8D7N itinerary laid out for you. From visiting new attractions to getting around, these are notes you’ll want to take for a week-long Japan trip in 2023:
Just like in real estate, when it comes to picking a hotel, it’s all about location, location, location. In Osaka, that place would be The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Osaka Midosuji.
You’ll only be 5 minutes away from the nearest subway station – Yodoyabashi. That’s less than 20 minutes from the city centre so there’s less traffic and noise when you’re in need of proper rest after long hours of travel.
Book a stay at The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Osaka Midosuji.
Rates: From ¥12,700/night, ~S$124.90/night
Address: 4-2-3 Hiranomachi, Obic Midosuji Building, Chuo, Osaka 541-0046, Japan
Contact: +81 64 707 1111 | The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Osaka Midosuji website
Image credit: @seok.cessful
It’s not a trip to Osaka without at least a walk through Dotonbori. The tourist hotspot is always bustling with activity and has plenty of photo opps too. Most famous of which is the Glico Running Man, where you’ll spot hordes of tourists waiting to take their snapshot of the signboard.
Image adapted from: @joleaijiaksimi, @stephybernstein
This is not the only signboard you’ll want pics of. Restaurants in Dotonbori are known to hang up giant crabs, fish, and takoyaki to attract diners to come in. You’re bound to spot a number of them every corner you turn, including a giant man holding a piece of sushi.
Image credit: @dolly.cheong
Since you’re already in Dotonbori, you might as well feast on the many delicacies Osaka has to offer. This city is known as the kitchen of Japan, so there’s bound to be a sweet or savoury snack to try.
Image credit: @themidnightreats_nk_
You might be surprised to learn that many famous Japanese snacks originated from Osaka itself. Some originals that are on top of our list are okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and yakisoba. These fried foods are bound to fuel you with lots of energy to roam through Dotonbori right after a long flight.
Trust us when we say you’ll want to dedicate a full day to visiting Universal Studios Japan and its newest attraction, Super Nintendo World. The Mushroom Kingdom doesn’t just have plenty to see, but there’s also tons to do too.
Hop on a Mario Kart-inspired ride, then grab a bite at Kinopio’s Cafe for meals decorated with Power Stars and Toad. To play even more games and take part in activities, snag a Power-Up Band at the entrance of Super Nintendo World.
Of course, Super Nintendo World is just one small area of Universal Studios Japan. The theme park has lots more to see and do, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Minion Park.
Book tickets to Universal Studios Japan.
Adult (12-64 years old): From ¥8,400, ~S$84.13
Child (4-11 years old): From ¥5,400, ~S$54.08
Senior (65 years old and up): From ¥7,600, ~S$76.16
Address: 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Universal Studios Japan, Konohana, Osaka 554-0031, Japan
Opening hours: 9am-9pm, Daily
*Hours may vary – refer to Universal Studios Japan website for more details
Contact: +81 57 020 0606 | Universal Studios Japan website
Garden and foot baths.
Image credit: @solaniwaonsen
After traversing Universal Studios Japan for a whole day, we just know your aching body will be looking for respite. That’s easily available at Solaniwa Onsen, a bathhouse that has 9 pools of hot spring water to soak in. Each one contains different types of water that tout benefits such as clear skin and improved blood circulation.
Image credit: @solaniwaonsen
Plan your visits for after 5pm, as entry is discounted to ¥1,980 (~S$19.63) on weekdays and ¥2,200 (~S$21.81) on weekends and public holidays. You’ll still get access to all the public baths, as well as free use of the relaxation lounge, yukata, and amenities like soaps and lotions.
Book entry to Solaniwa Onsen.
Adult weekday admission: ¥2,640, ~S$26.18 (before 5pm) | ¥1,980, ~S$19.63 (after 5pm)
Adult weekend & PH admission: ¥2,860, ~S$28.35 (before 5pm) | ¥2,200, ~S$21.81 (after 5pm)
Child weekday admission: ¥1,320, ~S$13.09 (before 5pm) | ¥990, ~S$9.82 (after 5pm)
Child weekend & PH admission: ¥1,430, ~S$14.18 (before 5pm) | ¥1,100, ~S$10.90 (after 5pm)
Address: 1-2-3 Benten, Osaka Bay Tower, Minato, Osaka 552-0007, Japan
Opening hours: Thu-Tue 11am-11pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Contact: +81 67 670 5126 | Solaniwa Onsen website
Michelin Star restaurants in Osaka are aplenty, and trying one doesn’t have to come with an exorbitant price tag. At Ajikitcho Bunbu-an, you can enjoy a traditional 8-course Japanese lunch that’s certified Michelin Star worthy from just ¥6,600 (~S$65.70).
The set meal is known as a kaiseki, which is meant to show off the best produce the season has to offer. This means some courses have very limited runs, and you’ll likely never have the same meal twice even if you visit this place monthly.
Book a Michelin-Starred lunch at Ajikitcho Bunbu-an.
Price: From ¥6,600/pax, ~S$65.70/pax
Address: 3-6-4 Hommachi, Honmachi Garden City B1F, Chuo-ku Osaka 541-0053, Japan
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11am-1.45pm, 5pm-7.30pm (Closed on Mondays and 4th Sunday of every month)
Contact: +81 50 3628 1055 | Ajikitcho website
It pays to be a tourist in Japan, because only those holding a foreign passport are able to get their hands on the Osaka Amazing Pass.
This 1- or 2-day ticket doesn’t just cover rides on the Osaka Municipal subway, city bus, and private railways. You’ll also get free entry to 50 attractions around the city, such as the Tsutenkaku Tower Slide, Umeda Sky Building, and teamLab Botanical Garden.
Book the Osaka Amazing Pass.
1-Day Pass: ¥2,800, ~S$27.54
2-Day Pass: ¥3,600: ~S$35.41
Contact: Osaka Amazing Pass website
Whether you’re 7 or 77, the thrill of whooshing down a slide never changes. At the Tsutenkaku Tower Slide, that thrill starts 60m up from an observatory tower in the middle of Osaka.
The top half of the slide has see-through panels on the side, giving riders a view of Osaka’s skyline as you spiral around the tower. At the end of the short ride, you can even download a video of your experience for a digital souvenir.
Adult: ¥1,000, ~S$9.91
Child: ¥500, ~S$4.95
Address: 1-18-6 Ebisu-gashi, Naniwa, Osaka 556-0002, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-7.30pm, Daily
Contact: +81 66 641 9555 | Tsutenkaku Tower Slide website
Here’s another chance for you to get stunning views of Osaka, this time 170m above ground at the rooftop of the Umeda Sky Building. It’s an open air observation deck where you can walk in a full circle to check out different parts of Osaka.
The grand views make this quite a romantic spot. If you’re here with a partner, you can commemorate those warm and fuzzy feelings with a love lock on the rooftop. These are only available when you book your tickets through Klook. You can get them engraved with your names and a date too, before you lock them for good.
Book tickets to Umeda Sky Building.
Adult (13 years old and up): ¥1,500, ~S$14.87
Child (4-12 years old): ¥700, ~S$6.94
Address: 1-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita, Osaka 531-6023, Japan
Opening hours: 9.30am-10.30pm, Daily
Contact: +81 66 440 3855 | Umeda Sky Building website
Hear the name “teamLab” and you already know you’ll be in for a visual treat. The nighttime exhibition at the Nagai Botanical Garden is no different. In daylight, this place looks just like a regular park, but come nightfall, the gardens come alive with light projections.
Walk through the park and you’ll stumble across larger-than-life art installations of glowing eggs, bouncy balls, and floating lights. Like many other teamLab productions, you’re welcome to interact with the artwork as much as you can to make the experience as immersive as possible.
Book tickets to teamLab Botanical Garden Osaka.
Adult: ¥1,600, ~S$15.74
Child: ¥500, ~S$4.92
Address: 1-23 Nagaikoen, Higashisumiyoshi, Osaka 546-0034, Japan
Exhibition opening hours: 6pm-9.30pm, Daily (Closed on 2nd and 4th Monday of the month)
Contact: teamLab Botanical Garden Osaka website
You could spend one more night in a hotel and pay through the nose for Shinkansen tickets to get to Tokyo the next day. Or, you could kill 2 birds with 1 stone and travel as you sleep with the Night Highway Bus. You’ll board in the late evening and wake up in Tokyo just when the sun rises.
Image credit: Klook
The seats can comfortably recline, and even come with a blanket and pillow each for a cosy ride. Luggage is stowed in a locked storage compartment so you don’t have to stay awake looking after your things. Rest assured, the bus makes several stops at service areas along the way, just in case you need a washroom break or are feeling peckish.
Book the Night Highway Bus from Osaka to Tokyo.
Last-minute packers who always find that they’re missing an amenity or two should book a stay at JR-East Hotel Mets Omori. The hotel has a full bar of lotions, skincare, hair ties, cotton pads, and even a selection of relaxing bath powders for you to take up to your room.
Another plus point: This place is directly located above the Omori Station that’s part of the JR East line. That saves lots of time travelling to and from stations, especially when you have a tight schedule to follow.
Book a room at JR-East Hotel Mets Omori.
Rates: From ¥11,252/night, ~S$110.71
Address: 1-6-16 Omorikita, Arte Omori, Ota, Tokyo 143-0016, Japan
Contact: +81 35 753 1100 | JR-East Hotel Mets Omori website
When you’ve got a packed itinerary like this we do here, keeping track of all your admission tickets and train passes can be a bit bothersome. Thankfully, the Klook Pass Tokyo gives you one less thing to worry about while you’re travelling.
With the pass, you get to pick up to 4 out of 20 attractions to visit at a discounted rate, such as Shibuya Sky, teamLab Planets Tokyo Toyosu, and Unko Museum. You can even add on the Tokyo subway for discounted rides for up to 72 hours.
Book the Klook Pass Tokyo.
You’ve been one of hundreds to cross Shibuya, but now you can watch the scramble down below by booking yourself a ticket to Shibuya Sky. There’s a new observation deck on the rooftop of the recently completed Shibuya Scramble Square.
Do the touristy thing and get your shot at Sky Edge. The glass barricade gives the illusion of you standing right on the border of the precipice. But if you’ve got acrophobia, you can hang out at the Cloud Hammocks instead. Sit back, relax, and look up to catch shapes in the clouds above.
Book your tickets to Shibuya Sky.
Adult (18 years old and up): ¥2,000, ~S$19.79
Teen (13-17 years old): ¥1,600, ~S$15.83
Child (6-12 years old): ¥1,000, ~S$9.89
Preschool (3-5 years old): ¥600, ~S$5.94
Address: 2-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya Scramble Square 45-46F, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-6145, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-10.30pm, Daily
Contact: Shibuya Scramble Sky website
We really mean it when we say all 5 senses will be engaged at teamLab Planets Tokyo Toyosu. Yes, there’s the usual visual and aural magic from the lights and music. But there are also tactile elements to experience, such as the wading pool and room full of pillows.
Take a big whiff at this hanging orchid garden inside teamLab.
The sense of smell comes into play as you walk from one exhibit to the next, where different essential oil blends are spritzed into the air to evoke different emotions.
Image credit: Vegan Ramen UZU
As for taste, you’ll experience that at Vegan Ramen UZU, the on-site restaurant. Slurp up umami-rich noods and soup as digital art flashes on screens in front of you.
Buy tickets to teamLab Planets Tokyo Toyosu.
Adult (18 years and above): ¥3,200, ~S$32.68
Teen (13-17 years old): ¥2,000, ~S$20.42
Child (4-12 years old): ¥1,000, ~S$10.22
Address: 6-1-16 Toyosu, Koto, Tokyo 135-0061, Japan
teamLab opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm | Sat-Sun 9am-9pm
Vegan Ramen UZU opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm | Sat-Sun & PH 10.30am-7pm
Contact: teamLab Planets Tokyo Toyosu website
Image credit: @mrmt.mnm
Pardon our French, but this place is the shit. Quite literally. Unko means “poop” in Japanese and that’s what you’ll get at the Unko Museum. But there’s nothing foul about this place. Rather, the museum is loaded with doo-doo of all sizes and in bright pastels.
Poop marshmallow snacks.
Image credit: @unko_museum
You can take your own “poo-fies” at the numerous photo opps and even play games featuring swirls of caca. It’s all in a bid to get visitors comfortable with a normal bodily function and to even find it kawaii. Who knows, you might love poop so much by the end of the exhibit that you’ll want to pick up crappy – pun intended – souvenirs from the gift shop.
Book tickets to Unko Museum.
Adult (13 years old and up): ¥1,800, ~S$17.73
Child (6-12 years old): ¥1,000, ~S$9.85
Address: 1-1-10 Aomi, Diver City Tokyo Plaza 2F, Koto, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm | Sat-Sun 10am-9pm
Contact: Unko Museum website
You’ll be going “Genki, who?” after dining at Kura Sushi. It’s a chain restaurant in Japan, and its biggest outlet is a 2-storey building right by the Tokyo Skytree. Their menu is extensive, featuring more than 100 kinds of sushi, from the basic salmon sashimi to lesser-seen crab innards.
WIth each plate costing from just ¥115 (~S$1.14), you’ll want to come with an empty stomach to fill up on as many sushi bites as possible. Plus, for every 5 plates you collect, you get a chance at a gachapon (toy capsule) lucky draw, where you can win small trinkets.
Address: 1-8-23 Oshiage, Keisei Richmond Hotel Tokyo Oshiage 1F, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan
Opening hours: 11am-11pm, Daily
Contact: +81 36 658 8170 | Kura Sushi website
This one’s for anyone that’s been called a couch potato for enjoying their fave video game on the comforts of their sofa. At RED Tokyo Tower, you’ll embody Player One at this esports arena.
Shoot at zombies, dodge pixel obstacles, and even race against others on a simulated F1 track.
Although the video games you’ll be playing are set in virtual or augmented reality, these require the use of your body to set off motion sensors to play them. Video games aside, there’s also a playzone for kids, board game cafe, poker, and escape rooms that are all accessible with just one entry pass.
Adult (19 years old and up): ¥2,500, ~S$24.58
Teen (16-18 years old): ¥1,900, ~S$18.68
Child (6-15 years old): ¥1,000, ~S$9.83
Address: 4-2-8 Shibakoen, Tokyo Tower 3F, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: +81 12 021 0519 | RED Tokyo Tower website
RED Tokyo Tower is just one of the many amusement attractions available in Tokyo itself. If you’re less into video game characters and more into cute ones like Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse, there are theme parks for those as well. Hit up Tokyo Disney Resort or Sanrio Puroland on your trip too.
Buy tickets to Tokyo Disney Resort and Sanrio Puroland.
Check guidebooks on where to go for street food in Tokyo and most will point you in the direction of crepes in Harajuku and dango outside the Senso-ji temple. But we’ll let you in on a hidden gem for lesser-known snacks: Sangenjaya.
Located near Shibuya, this street has shop after shop of small bites. We found siew mai from a butchery going at ¥90 (~S$0.89) each, and fried chicken and veggies served on sticks. Walk further down and you’ll also find specialty coffee shops and bakeries. If you come on Sundays, the street is closed to traffic, which makes it easier to hop from one place to another.
Getting there: Take the subway to Sangen-jaya Station and exit at North Exit A. The food street is at Chazawa-dori.
Although an international chain, Starbucks fans know that the charm of the green siren is that not every store looks the same. Unique Starbucks outlets can be found worldwide, including this one at Hana-Biyori.
Following the floral theme of the park, this outlet is decorated with greenery such as potted succulents and flower chandeliers that swing from the ceiling. After getting your caffeine fix, stick around for the hourly digital light show that projects flowers all over the glasshouse.
Adult: ¥1,200, ~S$11.87
Child: ¥600, ~S$5.94
Senior (65 years and above): ¥1,000, ~S$9.89
Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo 206-8566, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-8pm, Daily
Contact: +81 44 966 8717 | Hana-Biyori website
Image credit: Klook
If you’ve got time on your hands, visit Yomiuriland while you’re at it. The amusement park is located just behind Hana-Biyori, and has 45 family-friendly rides and attractions for little ones, including a Ferris wheel and a handful of roller coasters.
Senior (65 years old and up): ¥4,000, ~S$39.58
Adult (18-64 years old): ¥5,800, ~S$57.39
Teen (13-17 years old): ¥4,600, ~S$45.51
Child (7-13 years old): ¥4,000, ~S$39.58
Preschool (3-6 years old): ¥2,400, ~S$23.75
Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo 206-8566, Japan
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 10am-8.30pm | Sat 10am-9pm
Contact: +81 44 966 1111 | Yomiuriland website
Take goldfish out of bubble bowls, put them into tanks illuminated by neon lights and projections, and you’ll get Art Aquarium.
For centuries, the Japanese have considered the humble carnival game prize as a sign of luck and prosperity. And here, they get the reverence they deserve at these mesmerising displays. There are about a dozen rare and common goldfish species to spot here, each one with unique characteristics like bubble eyes and butterfly tails.
Adult (13 years old and up): ¥2,400, ~S$23.62
Child (12 years old and below): Free entry for 2 children with every paying adult
Address: 4-6-16 Ginza, Mitsukoshi New Building 8F, Chuo, Tokyo 104-8212, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-7pm, Daily
Contact: +81 03 3528 6721 | Art Aquarium website
From Tokyo, there’s lots more to explore on the city’s outskirts. Hit up these less touristy things to do in Japan that are under 3 hours from Tokyo when you use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass (S$100.49/pax).
It covers JR trains and buses to places as far as snow resorts in Gunma prefecture, to beaches in Shizuoka. The pass is usable on public transport around Tokyo too.
Buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
Apart from public transport, another popular way to get around is by driving yourselves. Most car rentals come with GPS, so it’s easy to navigate roads. With a car, you’re free to take your time at these locations, instead of having to rush around to fit transport schedules.
Book a car rental.
Live out your cottage-core fantasies when you visit Hitachi Seaside Park. This garden located 2.5 hours from Tokyo is known for its eye-catching fields covered in blue nemophilia and red kochia, depending on when you visit.
Image credit: @stef_stef1013
If the sea of blossoms aren’t enough to satisfy your appetite for flowers, book the 1-day Hitachi Seaside Park tour (S$118.99). It also includes a visit to either Ashikaga Flower Park or Kairakuen Park that have no lack of blooms too. You’ll even get a buffet lunch thrown in, in addition to roundtrip transport.
Book the 1-day Hitachi Seaside Park tour.
Hitachi Seaside Park
Child (0-15 years old): Free
Adult (16-64 years old): From ¥450, ~S$4.45
Senior (65 years old and up): From ¥210, ~S$2.07
Address: 605-4 Onuma-aza, Hitachi Seaside Park, Mawatari, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 312-0012, Japan
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 9.30am-4.30pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
*Hours may vary – refer to Hitachi Seaside Park website for more details
Contact: +81 029 265 9001 | Hitachi Seaside Park website
Postcard shots of Mt Fuji towering in the background of lakes can be a reality if you take a day trip up to the Oshino Hakkai. The small tourist village boasts panoramic views of the mountain almost everywhere you turn. For a shot worthy to be shared on IG, head to the Kagami Lake. On clear and still days, you can spot Mt Fuji’s reflection on the water’s surface.
Oshino Hakkai Village with Mt Fuji peeking out from behind the clouds.
Complete your trip to Mt Fuji with visits to Lake Kawaguchi for more photo taking. Then if you’ve yet to squeeze in a shopping trip, you can do so at the Gotemba Premium Outlets nearby. This planned out day trip is available from S$68.35/pax, and also comes with a tour guide and lunch.
Book the Mt Fuji Day Tour from Tokyo.
Kusatsu Onsen village.
Mineral water straight from the geothermal springs can reach temperatures of 65˚C or higher – that’s way too hot to soak in. The ingenious locals at Kusatsu Onsen, however, have devised a way to cool that spring water down.
In a centuries-old tradition, women at the Netsuno-yu bathhouse sing and dance with paddles that churn the hot waters, bringing the temperature down to a manageable 40-45˚C that’s ideal for soaking. You can enjoy these cooled waters at the free public foot baths at Sainokawara Park.
Getting there: Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa Station. Transfer to the Kusakarukotsu Bus to the last stop at Kusatsu Onsen.
Address: 414 Kusatsu, Netsuno-yu Kusatsu, Agatsuma, Gunma 377-1711, Japan
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-3.30pm (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)
Contact: +81 279 88 3613 | Netsuno-yu website
What we found most useful in planning out this itinerary is booking just about everything on Klook. Using the travel platform, we searched for attraction tickets, travel passes, and even accommodation. Then with just a few clicks, we were able to instantly confirm our reservations.
These were all sent to our email addresses, which made it convenient to retrieve bookings as and when we needed them. There was no need to print any booking slips too. Instead, just showing the QR codes in the email was sufficient.
There’s much more available on Klook than what we’ve highlighted. They’ve also got travellers covered with flights, SIM cards, and airport transfers too. Now you don’t have to scramble once you touch down to look for these things. You can immediately shift gears into vacation mode and fully enjoy your long-awaited trip to Japan.
This post was brought to you by Klook.
Photography by Tasha Sun.
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