You may be going to Japan for the first time and are wondering how long to stay in Tokyo or Japan, to be able to see what this amazing country has to offer?
Ok, maybe I am not the best person to write an answer to this question, due to one fact....I LOVE JAPAN!!! But when I talk to people about my round the world travels, I have had a few people ask me, 'how long should I spend in Japan?', so I thought I would write a little post on this.
Now I know Japan won't be for everyone, but majority of people who I know who have explored Japan have fallen in love with it as much as I have. On our around the world trip, we planned to stay in Japan about two and a half weeks, as I was worried it was going to be really expensive and drain our budget. I actually ended up having a severe allergic reaction and was admitted to hospital for 6 nights in Tokyo (detailed blog and pictures to follow), which did mess our plans up a bit. However, even with the slight issue of nearly dying in Japan, I didn't let it blur my opinion and we still made the most of our time, in one of my all time favourite countries.
Are you planning on just seeing Tokyo or do you want to see more of the country?
I think the major factor is if you want to just see Tokyo, or if you want to tour around the country. If you want to just explore Tokyo then I would say 6-7 nights would be more than enough to get a real feel for the place, give you time to do all of the main touristy things and then a few days of just walking around the different districts. This will also give you time to do a day trip from Tokyo, such as visiting Hakone where you can tour on a river and even see Mount Fuji on a clear day.
If you want to explore the country then it is harder to answer this question. Depending on the amount of places you want to visit, I would not recommend anything less than 2 or 3 weeks, but think 1 month would be even better, so you can travel slower and take in the Japanese culture. Getting around Japan is pretty easy with the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) but the travel time can still add up and you don't want to try and cram too much in to your itinerary and not have enough time to relax and enjoy it.
Make a list of the places and sights that you want to see and then ensure you have enough time to do these things and if not then it is an excuse to return one day! I highlighted 'you', as just remember it is your trip and you need to see the things that you want to see, not just because it is in the top 10 things to see.
Visas requirements for Japan
If you are travelling from the UK, you can enter Japan for up to 90 days, as a visitor and without a Visa. Just double check before you leave that this has not changed.
How long can you afford to stay?
This is another large factor which will determine how long you can visit Japan for! However, I was pleasantly surprised when we got to Japan, that you can explore the country on a reasonable budget. I had read a lot about visiting Japan before I left and I had come to the conclusion that it was going to be one of the most expensive parts of the trip, but it wasn't. If you are happy to eat from 7/11's (which are brilliant in Japan) and walk, rather than always getting the underground, you will be able to keep your budget down. Accommodation and your JR Pass will be the most expensive part of your trip.
In summary, I would say stay as long as you can, as it is such an amazing country to travel around. The people, the food, the vibe and the beauty will make you want to return, again and again!