Best Itineraries for Tokyo:
Suggested Stay: 4-5 Full Days
Important Hours: Many of the many museum are closed on Mondays; Imperial Palace Gardens East are closed Mondays & Fridays.
Best Time To Visit: Our favorite time is the last week of March through first week of April for peak Cherry Blossom Season. Late November through early December is our second favorite time to visit as the Autumn colors are in full swing.
Tokyo is a sprawling metro, packed with sights that can be overwhelming if you don’t have a well planned out itinerary. We tried to focus our suggested itineraries for Tokyo to flow well so you can hit up all of the best things to see without getting burnt out. Our itinerary options for Tokyo also help you to better divide and prioritize your time in a stress-free way. You may notice how most of the suggested days below revolve around food, because eating is truly an attraction all it’s own in Tokyo. Hope you enjoy our suggested itineraries for Tokyo!
One Day In Tokyo:
With just 24 hours to work with in Tokyo we suggest doing a bit a a whirlwind tour to see a bit of everything with a well planned out day. Forget Tokyo’s amazing Japanese museums and trying to do it all to prioritize your day for the best use of your time. This suggested itinerary for Tokyo would have to be changed during Cherry Blossom Season, but either way we still like to start the first day at the famed Tsukiji Fish Market. You have to be in line as early as 3am to get one of the 120 daily slots to see the fish market, but because of the time difference American and European visitors are usual wide awake by then their first morning anyway. After the tuna auction, stick around the the market for a hearty sushi, rice, and fruit breakfast. Even if you skip waking up early for the auction entirely, still swing by for an early breakfast. Sushi by far at the top of the to do list on any suggested itinerary for Tokyo, so it’s best to get it checked off early.Following the fish market head up to the old-world Asakusa neighborhood for a visit to Tokyo’s most beloved temple, Sensō-ji. The temple has good souvenir shopping on the street leading to it and is close to Akihabara (Electic Town) which is good for lunch. In Akihabara you will get a heavy dose of the anime and manga culture that is purely Tokyo. For lunch make sure to stop by one of Akihabara’s Maid Cafes which are affordable and give you a peak into one of the many types of themed cafes and restaurants that all the rage. In the afternoon we suggest taking a break in your itinerary to get off of your feet in one of Tokyo’s relaxing parks with the best being Imperial Palace East Gardens, Ueno, Shinjuku Gyoen, and Yoyogi. In the evening visit the exciting Robot Restaurant for a crazy show along with a few drinks at the Shijuku bars before heading to Shibuya. In Shibuya you’ll see the mass migration of pedestrians between traffic lights across the craziest crosswalk on the planet. There is cheap ramen to be had for a late night snack and your fill of singing at Karaoke Kan.
•Day 1: Early morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market for tuna auction and sushi breakfast. Late morning Sensō-ji Temple with Maid Cafe lunch in Akihabara. Choice of afternoon park. Evening Shinjuku for Robot Restaurant & local bars. Late night near Shibuya Crossing for karaoke and ramen.
Early Morning At Tsukiji Fish Market for tuna auction & sushi.
Mid-day at Sensō-ji Temple and nearby sights.
Evening in Shinjuku for dinner and drinks followed by Shibuya for Karaoke.
Two Days In Kyoto:
A 2 day itinerary for Tokyo really lets you hit up almost all the main sights the wonderful city has to offer. You won’t be able to go as in depth or as slow as if you had 3 full days, but we were able to pack a lot in with careful consideration to work the meals in as attractions of their own. That’s the beauty of Tokyo, so many of the foods and eateries belong in the top 10 things to do that even meal time adds to your experience. With 48 hours to work with in Tokyo we kept a lot of day 1 the same as list above except we were able to lighten up the night time actives to fit in a glimpse at the Imperial Palace and a trip up the 2nd tallest building in the world, the Tokyo Skytree. The gardens of the Imperial Palace really get to the root of Tokyo as you can see the ruins of the ancient Edo Castle which was once the largest fortress in the world.
On the second day of our 2 day itinerary for Tokyo we like to visit the Meiji Shrine to contrast Sensō-ji Temple from day one. It is the main Shinto Shrine in Tokyo built in honor of Emperor Meiji who united Japan after defeating the shogun war loads. The nearby Yoyogi Park is a good place to rest off any lingering hangovers from Shinjuku the night before. After walking through the famous Takeshita Dori Shopping Street take the metro to the Gopanchi Restaurant for Lunch which is a recreated Edo-period warehouse and was featured on the movie Kill Bill. Working your 2 day itinerary this way will also let you see Tokyo Tower which is taller than and modeled after the Eiffel Tower. We like to spend the rest of the afternoon at the stunning Tokyo National Museum and surrounding sights of Ueno Park before a unique dinner at the Ninja Restaurant. After dinner head on over to the chaotic Shibuya Crossing for singing at Karaoke Kan and a pre-bed snack at Ichiran Ramen.
•Day 1: Early morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market for tuna auction and sushi breakfast. Late morning walk through Imperial Palace’s East Garden and row boat in the Chidorigafuchi Moat. Maid Cafe lunch in Akihabara. Afternoon Sensō-ji Temple followed by Tokyo Sky Tree Tower. Evening in Shinjuku for dinner at the Robot Restaurant and drinks at the local bars.
•Day 2: Morning Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, & Takeshita Dori Shopping Street. Early lunch at Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu followed by Tokyo Tower. Afternoon at the Tokyo National Museum & Ueno Park. Dinner at the Ninja Restaurant. Night time near Shibuya Crossing for karaoke and ramen.
Mid-day Gonpanhi Resturant for lunch along with the Tokyo Tower.
Afternoon at the Tokyo Nation Museum and Ueno Park.
Dinner at the Ninja Restaurant followed by Shibuya Crossing.
Three Days In Tokyo:
A 3 day itinerary in Tokyo is where you will finally feel like you have a handle on the complex metro system and can be confident tackling even more of the city. We like to pretty much keep days 1 and 2 the same while using day 3 to get a little off the beaten path. One of the best options is to take in the time honored sport of sumo wrestling. Even if you aren’t visit during one of the major tournaments, many of the local beya training facilities will let you watch their early morning practice. How athletic the giant fighters are is crazy and you’ll also be impressed by the sacred rituals involved in the matches. Following your sumo experience feel free to head over the sumo museum at the main stadium. Nearby are many various sumo restaurants which served the traditional Chanko Nabe food that wrestlers eat.
Unlike the other fast paced days on this suggested itinerary for Tokyo, we suggested getting off your feet for a gentle cruise down the Sumida River toward Odaiba City Island. Once on the island you’ll find tons of great architecture, the famous life-size Gundam robot, and even a osen hot springs spa. For dinner and drinks, head on up to the energetic Roppongi neighborhood which is popular is foreigners. If you aren’t traveling further throughout Japan, consider doing a side trip from Tokyo as an alternative day 3. Within a 2 hour train ride are the popular cities of Nikko and Kamakura which are our favorite side trips. Depending on the time of year you can can substitute the last day with a in a visit to see the snow monkeys or the summit of Mount Fuji on this 3 day itinerary for Tokyo.
•Day 2: Early morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market for tuna auction and sushi breakfast. Late morning walk through Imperial Palace’s East Garden and row boat in the Chidorigafuchi Moat. Maid Cafe lunch in Akihabara. Afternoon Sensō-ji Temple followed by Tokyo Sky Tree Tower. Evening in Shinjuku for dinner at the Robot Restaurant and drinks at the local bars.
•Day 2: Morning Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, & Takeshita Dori Shopping Street. Early lunch at Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu followed by Tokyo Tower. Afternoon at the Tokyo National Museum & Ueno Park. Dinner at the Ninja Restaurant. Late night near Shibuya Crossing for karaoke and ramen.
•Day 3: Morning visit a Sumo beya to watch practice followed by Ryōgoku Sumo Museum. Lunch at a Chanko Nabe Sumo restaurant. Afternoon Sumida River Cruise followed by Odaiba City Island. Evening dinner and drinks in the Roppongi Neighborhood.
•Alternative Day 3: Day trip from Tokyo to either Nikko or Kamakura. Mid-Winter consider the Snow Monkey Park or in mid-Summer consider the summit of Mount Fuji.
Morning sumo practice viewing followed by museum and sumo lunch.
Afternoon Sumida River Cruise to Odaiba City Island.
As an alternative day 3 take a side trip from Tokyo.