My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: November 24, 2023
This 5-day Tokyo itinerary introduces the city's must-visit landmarks for an amazing tour. Check it out for travel ideas, even if your stay is only 3-4 days.
So you're thinking of travelling to Japan's megacity for a holiday. One big question: how many days is enough to visit Tokyo?
Considering all the must-see spots and feedback from fellow travelers, we suggest at least 5 days to see the main highlights without rushing.
Our detailed itinerary below groups destinations by their proximity to one another. So whether you're in Tokyo for 3, 4, 7 days, or even longer, you can still use this sample as your compass for unforgettable travel experiences.
For example, if you have only 3 days in Tokyo, we highly recommend following the itineraries for Day 1, Day 3, and Day 4. This will ensure you cover the eastern, central, and southern parts of Tokyo.
Sensoji is the oldest temple in Tokyo and an icon of the Asakusa neighborhood. At the entrance is Kaminarimon Gate and its giant paper lantern. Beyond the gate, you'll find the Nakamise shopping avenue, which dates back to the Edo period. At Nakamise's shops, you can buy souvenirs and specialty foods like ningyo-yaki, a small cake with red bean filling that comes in various shapes.
TeamLab is an internationally renowned art collective. Its large multimedia art facility in Toyosu, "teamLab Planets Tokyo," contains four installations and two gardens. It's an immersive exhibit that you experience barefoot. In February 2024, teamLab will also open "Mori Building Digital Art Museum: Epson teamLab Borderless," a new facility in Azabudai Hills.
With a height of 634 m, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world. Its two observation platforms at 350 and 450 m are the highest places with a 360-degree view of Tokyo. You can spend a whole day at Tokyo Skytree Town, the complex that includes the tower, Tokyo Solamachi shopping mall, aquarium, and planetarium.
Ikebukuro is a busy neighborhood with many department stores and shopping malls. The Sunshine City complex includes Sunshine Aquarium and Sunshine 60 Observatory Tenbou Park, a 251 m-high observation deck. Ikebukuro is also famous for having many stores which sell anime- and manga-related merchandise.
Ueno Park is famous for its rows of sakura trees, but that's not all it contains. Inside this expansive park, you can see pandas at the Ueno Zoological Gardens or visit Ueno Toshogu Shrine. The shrine honors Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603. Ueno Park is a center of Japanese art and culture, and home to the Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Royal Museum, and National Museum of Western Art.
Tsukiji used to be the site of the world-famous Tsukiji fish market. Although the inner market has relocated to Toyosu, the Tsukiji Outer Market is still filled with food stalls, dried goods stores, and restaurants selling fresh seafood and sushi. Visit Tsukiji Uogashi, an indoor market where you can shop and watch professionals fillet tuna.
The home of the Imperial Family, Tokyo Imperial Palace is a 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station. This location was once the site of Edo Castle, which housed the Tokugawa family while they governed Japan during the Edo period. Remnants from that time can be found on the grounds. The beautiful East Gardens, a traditional Japanese garden, are open to the public. The palace's perimeter is also a popular jogging trail.
The Akihabara neighborhood is known for electronics. Large retailers line the streets, offering the latest appliances and electronic goods. Akihabara is also famous as the home for anime, manga, and video game subcultures. It's an important area for cosplayers, who wear detailed recreations of popular characters' costumes.
Ginza is known as the premier area in Tokyo for high-end shopping and entertainment. The main street is lined with department stores, luxury brands, and jewelers. The neighborhood offers high-quality experiences, including famous restaurants and other fine dining options.
Harajuku is a major source of Japanese "kawaii" culture. Young people wearing colorful street fashion gather along the lively Takeshita Street. There you can also sample some street food, such as Harajuku's popular crepes. It's located near Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu, and Omotesando, which is famous for beautiful illuminated zelkova trees. If you visit in December, don't miss the breathtaking winter light displays.
Located near Harajuku Station, Meiji Jingu is a shrine honoring Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2020 and is known for its lush, extensive grounds. Meiji Jingu is the most popular place in Japan for hatsumode, the traditional first shrine visit of the new year. The outer gardens include sports facilities and rows of ginkgo trees, with fall foliage that's considered a representative Tokyo sight.
The area around Shinjuku Station is always full of shoppers visiting department stores and electronics retailers. It's a neighborhood of skyscrapers and is where you can find the iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building. The Shinjuku cityscape is beautiful at night. It's also home to entertainment districts like Kabukicho; and Golden Gai, a collection of alleyways full of small bars. To the southeast of the station is Shinjuku Gyoen, a large park and garden. Walking through Shinjuku Gyoen in autumn is a captivating experience.
Shibuya is a center for modern Tokyo fashion and culture. It's packed with famous spots such as the bronze Hachiko Statue, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, and the Shibuya Center-Gai main street. The new Shibuya Scramble Square tower is home to Shibuya Sky, a rooftop platform with a must-see view of the Shibuya and Tokyo skyline.
The Meguro River and the surrounding Nakameguro neighborhood are popular tourist areas, especially when cherry blossoms are in bloom. The sakura trees lining both banks of the river form a pink arch: the perfect photo opportunity. Nakameguro is full of stylish cafes and restaurants, and it's a quick walk to the trendy clothing shops of Daikanyama.
Roppongi is one of Tokyo's busiest districts and a center for nightlife. Full of bars and clubs, it's always bustling until late at night. The Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes are close to the station, as are luxury brands and Michelin-starred restaurants. Because of its many art museums, the neighborhood is also often visited by art fans.
There are many different types of accommodations available in Tokyo.
You can find luxury hotels and ryokan (traditional inns), business hotels and capsule hotels for active travelers, hostels and guest houses which offer long-term stays, and more. There's bound to be accommodation that suits your plans.
Five-star hotels with top-notch service can be found near the city center, along the bay, and around Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, or Roppongi. Major train stations typically have business hotels nearby, so you can choose a place near your destination. The number of fashionable guest houses and hostels in Tokyo's eastern "old town" area is increasing, and it's a good place to stay if you want to socialize.
Where to Stay in Tokyo
If you want to actively enjoy Tokyo, it's important to read up-to-date information about transportation options. Tokyo is accessible by plane, bullet train, rail, and cruise ship. Public transportation can take you to every corner of the city. You can also use Tokyo as a base for a trip to other parts of Japan. Keep an eye out for special discount tickets and passes for the train and subway.
Learning a little about Japanese culture, social expectations, and climate before your trip will also help you to have an enjoyable stay in Tokyo.
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