How to SPEND TIME in Tokyo: Suggested Itineraries for 2020

Tokyo is probably the most amazing cities on the globe. It’s fast-paced, futuristic, and bursting with weird and wonderful activities to hold you busy, incorporating gorgeous shrines, palaces, and temples; hip clubs and bars; and fashionable people and shopping, not forgetting cherry blossoms.

Tokyo lives up to all or any the hype you’ve found out about it.

You never know very well what you’ll get here. One second you’ll come across several women dressed up in pig masks and ’80s dresses and another you’re in a robot café.

Or a centuries-old temple.

It’s also one of the primary cities on earth, home to over 13 million people — almost 40 million in the event that you count the higher Tokyo Area. It’s massive!

And in addition, it’ll take the time to view it all. And there happen to be so many nooks and crannies to check out that it’s easy to acquire lost.

Here’s my advised itinerary on how best to go to the best restaurants, sites, and activities in Tokyo:

Tokyo Itinerary Highlights

Day 1 : Fish Market, Ueno Park, Asakusa, & more!

Day 2 : Imperial Palace, Below the Girders, Quirky Cafes, & more!

Day 3 : Shinjuku, Shibuya, Robots, & more!

Day 4 : Have a EXCURSION

Day 5 : Tokyo Tower, Sumo, Samurai, & more!

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 1

Go to the Tsukiji and Toyosu Fish Market By 2018, the primary fish market relocated to Toyosu. The brand new market is usually twice how big is Tsukiji, producing it the biggest fish market on the planet. Just help to make sure to obtain a visitor’s pass when you enter.

Eat just-captured sushi for breakfast and marvel at the chaotic atmosphere at the world’s largest tuna market. The auction here powers a lot of the world’s sushi supply, in fact it is truly breathtaking. Throughout you will be fish with colors and shapes you didn’t understand existed. I’ve never found more seafood I couldn’t discover.

The old outer market to purchase food and shops continues to be in the same location, in Tsukiji. You can still head there to consume and look around however the main market is currently in Toyosu.

Tsukiji Fish Market: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, +81 3-3542-1111. Admission can be free.

Toyosu Fish Market: 6 Chome-6-2 Toyosu, Koto, +81 3-3520-8205. Start Monday-Saturday from 5am-5pm, though most shops don’t open until 7am. Admission is usually free.

Relax in Ueno Park Ueno Park is a pleasant spot to spend your day. It’s an ideal spot to photograph the countless cherry trees and also have a picnic. Don’t miss these sites in the park:

  • Tokyo National Museum — This museum is certainly in the north end of the park. Set up in 1872, this massive building houses among the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts from Asia, particularly Japan. 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-1111, tnm.jp. Open daily 9:30am-5pm (8pm of all Fridays). Admission is 620 JPY.
  • Tosho-gu Shrine — This 17th-century Shinto shrine may also be within the park. It’s beautiful with carved gold doors and ornate carvings. 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-3455, uenotoshogu.com/en. Start daily 9am-5:30pm. Admission is certainly free, though to head out further in to the shrine, you’ll need to pay 500 JPY.

National Museum of Western Art Opened in 1959, that is among the only free galleries in the country to spotlight Western art. The assortment of almost 5,000 pieces extends from the Renaissance completely to the 20th century.

7-7 Uenokoen, +81 3-3828-5131 , nmwa.go.jp. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm (8pm on Fridays). Admission is certainly 500 JPY for adults, 250 for university students, and free for seniors and anyone under 18.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum Built-in 1933, this small museum used to become the state residence of the Prince and Princess Asaka. The prince experienced studied in Paris and wished to provide the art deco style to Japan, which clarifies the building’s style and decorations. In 1983, the residence started to be a museum and is currently home to a rotating group of modern art exhibitions.

5-21-9 Shirokanedai, +81 3-3443-0201, teien-art-museum.ne.jp/en. Start daily 10am-6pm. Admission is certainly 200 JPY, with discounts designed for students, children, and seniors.

Stroll Along the Meguro River The Meguro River weaves almost five miles through the town and makes for an impressive stroll. There’s a path with a little bit of green space that comes after the water, so a lot of locals walk or exercise there. In the spring, you’ll manage to see a large amount of cherry blossoms.

Have a look at Asakusa If you would like to check out a few of Tokyo’s historic religious sites, make sure to spend time wandering around Asakusa. Two places that I’d recommend you visit will be:

  • Senso-ji — That is Tokyo’s most popular and famous temple. It’s beautifully painted and sits in a scenic spot near a pagoda and the stunning Kaminari Gate. There’s an enormous statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, in the main hall. Consider the “wooden wishes” cards hanging off aside: you can compose your own and sign up for the artistic display. It’s very busy throughout the day, so maybe browse the grounds at night. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3842-0181, senso-ji.jp. The lands are open 24/7, although temple itself is normally open daily 6am-5pm. Admission is normally free.
  • Asakusa Shrine — Not definately not Senso-ji is normally this Shinto shrine. That is a lot more peaceful than Senso-ji as there happen to be fewer people and you’ll in a position to check out people praying, meditating, or accomplishing traditional rituals. It had been built through the Edo period and survived the air raids of World War II. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3844-1575, asakusajinja.jp. Start daily 9am-4:30pm. Admission is normally free.

Contain Dinner with Ninjas For a distinctive dining experience, check out Ninja Akasaka, a ninja-themed restaurant designed as an Edo-era building, with waitstaff clothed in stereotypical all-black garb and been trained in a variety of tricks and illusions. You’ll order off old scrolls while staying entertained by the skillful tricks of your server! It’s super fun.

Tokyu Plaza Akasaka, +81 3-5157-3936, ninjaakasaka.com. Open daily 5pm-10:30pm (9:45pm on Sundays)

Take in Golden Gai If you are searching for something interesting to accomplish during the night, this alley of backstreet bars is normally a cool spot to start out at. There isn’t much going on here throughout the day, but arrive sundown, these zigzag hallways and closet-sized beer rooms happen to be filled up with interesting people and cheap drinks.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 2

Drop by the Imperial Palace The Imperial Palace, home to the Emperor of Japan, is definitely a terrific spot to understand about Japan’s history and culture. Formerly Edo Castle, it had been built-in the 15th century, plus some of the walls and moats from that point are still used even today. When the Emperor shifted from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, he got Edo for his new palace and renamed it the Imperial Palace.

If you can’t get inside (or acquire super close), the building can be amazing. It is encircled by beautiful grounds and a park, and there’s a moat around the stone walls. You can even start to see the changing of the guard ceremony, though it’s relatively low-key and unassuming. Admission to the lands is usually free.

Go to the National Art Center Opened in 2007, this museum and gallery doesn’t already have a permanent collection but instead houses a never-ending group of temporary exhibitions, from impressionism to modern art. Examine their website to observe what is becoming demonstrated.

7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, +81 3-5777-8600, nact.jp. Open up Wednesday-Monday 10am-5:30pm. Admission varies by exhibit.

Eat Below the Girders Not definately not Ginza may be the Yurakucho neighborhood. Below the elevated train tracks at Yurakucho Station can be a 700m-long extend of restaurants and bars. There happen to be wine bars, beer pubs, and casual restaurants filled up with businessmen. If you need to acquire a sense of local city life, that is an excellent neighborhood to explore following the workday has ended.

Superhero Go-Karting Need to speed around the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart while putting on a costume? Of course, you do! MariCar is usually a real-life Mario Bros. go-kart company that enables you to decorate and race around the town. So long as you possess a global driving permit (that you can get when you have a valid driver’s license), you may take part.

4-12-9 Sotokanda, +81 80-8899-8899, maricar.com/en/akihabara.html. Start daily 10am-10pm. The course will need 1-2 hours and costs 9,000 JPY per person. There happen to be multiple locations around the town.

Have a look at a Sento A sento is normally a normal Japanese public bathhouse. JAPAN aren’t shy in sentos and that means you need to end up being more comfortable with nudity! They are usually separated by gender. A budget-friendly sento can cost you slightly below 1,000 JPY.

Go to a Quirky Café Tokyo has a variety of amazing, weird, and wonderful cafés. Monster cafés, owl cafés, cat cafés, vampire cafés, dog cafés, religious-themed cafés, plus much more! If you’re seeking for something unusual to accomplish, find what weird and quirky cafés are in your area (they’re all over the city so you do not have to proceed far to discover one!). Here are a few suggestions:

  • Kawaii Monster Café
  • Vampire Café
  • Christon Café (Christian-themed café)
  • Dog Heart (dog café)
  • Cat Café Calico

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 3

Stroll Around Shimokitazawa Filled with vintage shops, this Bohemian neighborhood, often when compared to New York’s East Village showcases the quieter side of Tokyo. Whether you’re seeking to shop or simply want to take the scene, it creates for a cool neighborhood to explore.

Stroll through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden This park has ended 144 acres with some 20,000 trees. A lot of the original park was destroyed in World War II through the air raids but was rebuilt and reopened in 1949.

During spring, this beautiful park is probably the best spaces to check out cherry blossoms. The best part may be the Japanese landscape garden, which includes several ponds with bridges and islands. It’s a peaceful little oasis within the busyness of the town.

11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, +81 3-3350-0151, env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/index.html. Open up Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is definitely 200 JPY.

Visit Shibuya Crossing That is potentially the busiest & most famous intersection on earth. This area is definitely buzzing during the night, with bright lights and frenzied activity, like Times Square on steroids. Ensure that you go to the statue between Shibuya Station and the intersection; it’s a tribute to Hachiko, the loyal dog manufactured famous in the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Eat at the Robot Cafe This restaurant can be an absolute sensory overload. Lasers, robots, monsters…it features everything! It can be a tourist trap (expensive), nonetheless it is certainly epic, unlike anything you’ve ever found and worth the purchase price if you wish to accomplish something completely unusual!

1 Chome-7-1 Kabukicho, +81 3-3200-5500, shinjuku-robot.com/pc. There will be three performances a day on weekdays beginning at 4:45pm, with afternoon matinees on weekends.

Hang with the Harajuku girls Harajuku can be an electric and quirky part of town. You’ll often discover teenage “Harajuku girls” travelling town in unique clothing and colorful hairstyles — imagine a 1990s Gwen Stefani video become more active. There’s also a monthly Harajuku Fashion Walk, where costumed cos-players parade around — for dates, browse the group’s Twitter account (@harajuku_fw).

Experience a Tea Ceremony No visit to Japan is normally complete without having a normal tea ceremony. While they are usually long and expensive experiences, there are some budget-friendly options for anybody looking to go through the ceremony without breaking the lender. Below are a few worth looking into:

  • Kyoto-kan (500 JPY per person, Yanmar Tokyo Building 1F 2-1-1)
  • Nadeshiko (2,700-4,400 JPY per person, 2-7-24-2F Asakusa)
  • JUST HOW of Tea (5,500 JPY per person, Coredo Muromachi 3 3F)

Watch Traditional Japanese Theatre Kabuki theatre is normally a traditional type of Japanese performance regarding dance and drama. The costumes and makeup happen to be heavily stylized, producing for an extremely visual performance. The Kabukizaka Theatre, situated in Ginza, is the foremost locale to see among these incredible displays. You can buy tickets for a whole show or simply one act if you’re not prepared to commit to an extended performance (they’re in Japanese and last a couple of hours).

4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, +81 3-3545-6800, kabuki-za.co.jp. Performances are placed almost daily. Check the web site for the most up-to-date schedule. Be prepared to pay at least 1,000 JPY for a single-act ticket.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 4

Time to have a break from the town and leave on a excursion. Below are a few suggestions:

Visit Daibutsu (the fantastic Buddha) Produce a excursion to Kamakura, where one can visit a 13m bronze statue of Buddha. Built-in 1252, the statue was made within a temple, however the temple was washed away — on several occasions — by storms. The statue now sits on view air.

4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, +81 467-22-0703, kotoku-in.jp. Open up daily 8am-5:30pm. Admission is 200 JPY.

Acquire Touristy at Tokyo Disneyland I’m a sucker for Disney attractions! That is a fun choice for anybody traveling with children, also for any adults who just love carnivals. Opened in 1983, it has got seven themed areas to explore and may be the third most visited theme park on the globe!

1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, +81 45-330-5211, tokyodisneyresort.jp/tdl. Start daily 8am-10pm. Admission is normally 7,400 JPY for adults and 4,800-6,400 JPY for children, based on age.

Hike Mount Mitake Located just over one hour from Tokyo is normally Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The park covers 1,250 square kilometers of rolling hills, mountains, and forests. There are several hiking trails, if you can also have a cable car to the very best and hike to the shrine that sits on the peak, some 930m above sea level.

Gaze at Mt. Fuji from Hakone Located just over one hour from Tokyo, Hakone is among the best places to move away from the city, relax for some days, and ingest the view of Mount Fuji. There are many guesthouses in the region, many with their own private onsen (hot springs).

Go to the Ghibli Museum If you’re a fan of famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s work (Spirited Away, Howl’s Shifting Castle, Princess Mononoke), then you’ll want to look at this amazing exhibition. It had been created by Miyazaki himself and can be an immersive experience that any film buff will take pleasure in. Gleam new short film on a monthly basis, only open to visitors. The museum won’t have up a complete day, but it’s not in an exceedingly central location so you’ll have to plan accordingly.

1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, +81 570-055-777, ghibli-museum.jp. Start Wednesday-Monday 10am-6pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY for adults, with discounts designed for youth and children. There happen to be limited tickets available every day so book beforehand.

Tokyo Itinerary: Day 5

Go to the Tokyo Tower Built-in 1957 and resembling the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower is usually taller (at 333m) than its European version and produced entirely of steel. You pays to go completely to the very best floor to take the view, but in all honesty, the primary observation deck offers one that’s equally as good.

4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, +81 3-3433-5111, tokyotower.co.jp. Open up daily 9am-11pm. Admission is usually 900 JPY for the primary deck or 1,600 JPY for the very best.

Go to the Samurai Museum No visit to Japan will be complete without studying samurai. While these were known for his or her martial skill, there is a lot more to the culture than simply mastering the katana (a normal sword). The museum offers some incredible displays of traditional weapons and armor, a few of which you may also put on.

Kabukicho 2-25-6, +81 3-6457-6411, samuraimuseum.jp/en. Open daily 10:30am-9pm. Admission is certainly 1,900 JPY per person. You can explore the museum all on your own or in an organization tour, which are executed every thirty minutes.

Walk over the Rainbow Bridge This can be the city’s most popular bridge and will be offering some lovely views of both sides of Tokyo Bay. Built-in 1993, the bright lights up during the night with rainbow colors — hence the name. It creates for a nice walk throughout the day or during the night.

Enjoy a Sumo Match Kokugikan, Japan’s most well-known sumo wrestling arena, hosts tournaments 3 x every year. The sumo wrestling that people see today goes back to the 17th century, though its origins date back even more, and it’s still the most popular traditions in the united states. If you’re around at the proper time, that is a must-perform! Tickets offer out quickly so act quick. A visit to among the sumo stables nearby could be interesting but should be arranged well beforehand.

1 Chome-3-2-8 Yokoami, Sumida, +81 3-3623-5111, sumo.or.jp/kokugikan. Ticket prices vary, but be prepared to pay around 2,200 JPY.

Drinks at the Park Hyatt NY Bar may be the iconic bar from Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation. On the 52nd floor, it actually lives up to the hype of the film. The atmosphere is normally classy, the drinks are excellent, and the enjoy is completely stunning. There can be live jazz every evening, and while you will find a cover charge (around 2,500 JPY), it’s definitely worthwhile!

3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku, +81 3-5322-1234, hyatt.com. Start Sunday-Wednesday 5pm-12am and Thursday-Saturday 5pm-1am.

Where you can Eat

Tokyo is indeed huge and features so many eating options, that it might be impossible to choose just several favorites. Here will be just some of the best restaurants in Tokyo:

  • Bifteck Kawamura Ginza — The steak here basically melted in my own mouth and exploded with flavor. I came across it a little too high-end and overpriced for me personally though. 6 Chome-5-1 Ginza, Ginza MST Bldg. 8F, Chuo, 104-0061, +81 3-6252-5011, bifteck.co.jp.
  • Ichiran Shibuya — This ramen spot served among the best meals I experienced my entire trip. The thick, flavorful broth is usually to die for. I also like how you take in within your own little private booth. Funky. Anticipate a hold out during peak lunch and dinner times. 1 Chome-22-7 Jinnan, Shibuya, 150-0041, +81 3-3463-3667, en.ichiran.com/index.php.
  • Isakaya Juban — Just a little hole-in-the-wall izakaya restaurant (believe Japanese tapas) with locals having drunk on sake and ingesting tasty small plates. I was big fan of its salmon and grilled squid. 2 Chome-1-2 Azabujuban, Minato, 106-0045, +81 3-3451-6873, izakayajuban.com.
  • Kakimaru — An incredible seafood and tapas place. Make sure you acquire the oysters. Note: While Google Maps will list the restaurant as Kakimaru, when you are there, the restaurant will get referred to as Uohama. 6 Chome-1-6 Roppongi, Minato, 106-0032, +81-3-5413-3689.
  • Position Sushi Bar — This standing up sushi location is among the many in town. It’s ideal for an instant bite: you stand, consume sushi, and receive out. It includes a robust menu and it’s cheap! 1 Chome-12-12 Nishishinjuku, Kasai Bldg. 1F, Shinjuku, 160-0023, +81 3-3349-1739, uogashi-nihonichi.com.
  • Tenmatsu Tempura — The tempura here’s well known because of its lightness. It’s a little establishment with establish tempura menus. 1 Chome-8-2 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo, 103-0022, +81 3-3241-5840, tenmatsu.com/english.html.

For more eateries, have a look at this post on the very best eateries in Tokyo.

Extra Resources

To see how many other fun and interesting activities ‘re going on in the town during your visit, here are some magazines and websites you’ll want to look at:

  • PERIODS Tokyo
  • Tokyo Weekender
  • Tokyo Journal
  • Metropolis Japan

***

Tokyo is an enormous city. You could spend an eternity here but still not discover everything there is definitely to see. But in the event that you stick to the itinerary and suggestions above, you’ll manage to have a great and insightful go to and keep this sprawling capital with a nuanced perspective of what life in Tokyo is similar to. On top of that, you’ll have the ability to carry out it without breaking the lender!

Book Your Visit to Japan: Logistical Guidelines

Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They will be my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world so you always understand no stone is remaining unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they possess the most comprehensive inventory. If you wish in which to stay a hotel or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. The best places in which to stay Japan happen to be:

  • Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki
  • Sheena and Ippei
  • Hostel Chapter Two Tokyo

For more places to remain, have a look at my article on the best hostels in Tokyo. It includes a long set of them!

Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I employ to save lots of money when I travelling — and I believe can help you too!

Make sure to browse the Japan Rail Pass if you’ll be touring around the united states. It will come in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and may save you a huge amount of money!

Searching for more travel tips for Japan Have a look at my in-depth Japan travel guide for more methods to save money, costs, tips ab

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How to SPEND TIME in Tokyo: Suggested Itineraries for 2020