My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: February 25, 2021
Though Tokyo may not be the final destination on your journey, that doesn't mean you can't make the most of your limited time in the capital! If you have a half day to spare during your layover or stopover, you can head from the airport to the center of Tokyo and see some of the top tourist spots. This route takes between 7 and 8 hours, so don't be late to check in—for an international flight please make sure you are back at the airport two hours before departure!
After traveling from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo, make your way to Tsukiji Shijo Station (accessible via the Oedo Line). Luckily, it's hard to get lost on the way to Tsukiji Outer Market; the exits are clearly marked! Once aboveground, make sure you have cash—although Japan has begun to embrace cashless payments, it's a good idea to carry cash while visiting.
If you mistakenly end up at the similarly named Tsukiji Station (accessible via the Hibiya Line), don't worry! You can still get to the market, but the walk will just take a few minutes longer.
Though the famed tuna auction has moved to a new location in Toyosu, there is still much to see, do, and eat in Tsukiji. This bustling market is a can't-miss attraction in Tokyo. A number of sushi, sashimi, and other seafood restaurants offer a selection of the best meals Tokyo has to offer, often at very reasonable prices. If you don't like raw fish, there are lots of sweets and savory street snacks to sample here. Beyond that, many shops in and around the market sell high-quality Japanese ceramics that make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Fortunately for travelers, the fish market at Tsukiji gets going early, with some stores open at around 5 AM. But even if you arrive much later, you're sure to find something great to eat.
TOKYO SKYTREE is the tallest structure in Japan, towering over the capital at a whopping 634 meters. It's one of the symbols of Tokyo, and a great place to look out over the sprawling cityscape below. Keep an eye out for Tokyo Tower and the unmistakable silver sphere of the Fuji TV Building. On some clear and sunny days, SKYTREE visitors may even be able to see Mt. Fuji, located over a hundred kilometers away. If your layover permits, visit after dusk, when city lights create an unforgettable spectacle.
Though there may be long lines of people waiting to ride up to the observation decks, tourists can reduce the time spent queueing by heading to a separate ticket desk for international visitors.
If the thought of being high up makes you feel queasy, try the shops and restaurants in TOKYO Solamachi, a mall located at the foot of SKYTREE. Looking for something a bit different? You'll also find an aquarium and a planetarium nearby. If you only have time for a half day tour of Tokyo, your journey stops here. But for those with more time to spare, read on!
*Depending on the timing of your visit, you might need to allow more time to queue in line.
In contrast with the ultra-modern TOKYO SKYTREE, Asakusa preserves much of Japan's old-fashioned charm, as well as over a thousand years of history. Nowhere embodies this better than Sensoji Temple, Tokyo's oldest temple. Built in the year 628, it is beloved even today by both locals and visitors alike, and receives more than thirty million visitors a year. On your approach to the main temple you will pass through Nakamise-dori, a pedestrian walkway lined with retro shops offering Japanese snacks, treats, and knick-knacks. Despite the liveliness of this popular spot, the main temple maintains a serene atmosphere that extends to the garden and five-storied pagoda on the temple grounds. It's the perfect way to decompress from traveling, and to reenergize for the next leg of your journey.
This well-known shopping street stretches from the area between Okachimachi Station and Ueno Station, and is home to about 400 shops and restaurants. From clothing and shoes, to snacks and food, you can find all sorts of unique Japanese goods here. The restaurants in this area are generally reasonable in price and lively, with a high proportion of local customers. Sample some delicious Japanese cuisine before heading back to the airport to continue on your journey. Safe travels!