Trying to make a Tokyo itinerary to follow may be difficult when you don’t know exactly what’s out there. This is a dilemma many first time visitors to Tokyo face. I’m here to help you with that. Below are examples of what you could do during your visit to Tokyo, depending on how long you’ll be staying in this exciting city.
1 Day Itinerary
If you only have one whole day in Tokyo, you’ll probably want to visit the main most popular sightseeing spots. The following itinerary includes what I think are the must see spots in Tokyo. 8 hours is a pretty full day, but if you’re a person who is able to stay on your feet from morning till night, you can also stay out until after dinner.
9:00-10:00: Tsukiji Outer Fish Market
- See the bustling market and eat breakfast here if you like sushi (maybe 2,500 yen)
10:15-11:15: Hamarikyu Garden
- A beautiful Japanese garden (entrance fee of 300 yen) You can also try matcha tea in the tea house there.
11:15-12:15: Sumida River Cruise to Asakusa
- Transportation with a view rather than riding the subway (fees: adults 740 yen / children 370 yen)
- See Sensoji Temple with its bright red gate and a shopping street full of souvenirs.
- There are many cafes and restaurants in the Asakusa area, so find some place good to eat (maybe 1,000 - 2,000 yen/person depending on what you eat)
15:00-16: 00: Meiji Jingu Shrine
- A grand shrine in a serene forest in the middle of the city.
- See the origin of Japanese teenage pop culture on Takeshita street. And try some of the snacks like crepes and rainbow colored cotton candy sold in stores around the area.
If you still have the energy to go on...
- See the famous crossing in front of the station and see the mind boggling sight of hundreds of people crossing at once without bumping into each other
18:15-19:00: Roppongi Hills Observatory
- Go up to the observatory and see the beautiful night view of Tokyo (fees: adults 1,800 yen / Univ. & Highschool students 1,200 yen / children age 4 to 15 600 yen)
- Roppongi Hills and the surrounding area has many restaurants to offer so maybe you can find something to eat there (maybe about 4,000 - 6,000 yen/person depending on what you eat)
2nd Day Itinerary
If you have a second day to spend in Tokyo, there are still many more places you’ll want to see. You can also add the places above you weren’t able to visit on your first day.
9:00-10:00: Tokyo Tower
- The symbol of Tokyo. You can enjoy the view of the city. And it won’t be so crowded in the morning. (Fees: adults 900 yen / elementary & junior high students 500 yen / age 4-6 400 yen)
10:30-11:00: Imperial Palace Plaza and Nijyubashi Bridge
- You can see the moat and the beautiful stone bridge across it. Some people think that they’ll be able to see an old castle, but that is not the case here.
- The Bay Area of Tokyo. There are several shopping malls as well as an outlet mall, an indoor theme park, a Ferris wheel, and a gigantic robot standing outside one of the malls. It’s a place the whole family can enjoy.
- There are restaurants and food courts and an abundance of food in Odaiba. (maybe 1,000 - 1,500 yen, depends on what you eat)
- This is a town famous for electronics and “anime”. If you like electronics, games, or “anime” characters, this is a place you’ll really enjoy seeing.
- You can also try to visit the discount store called “Don Quijote”. They sell everything from souvenirs to electronics to food. It’s a popular place to buy Japanese snacks as gifts for friends back home.
- A bustling modern city full of skyscrapers, neon lights, and department stores. A great place to go shopping.
- There are so many places to eat in Shinjuku, and it’s always crowded even after dark. You should try a Japanese “Izakaya” restaurant. They serve alcohol and all kinds of Japanese food in small servings so you can try a bit of everything.
3rd Day Itinerary
Now on your 3rd day, you should be pretty well acquainted with the city of Tokyo so you can either go on a day trip somewhere or do something you’re really interested in. Day trips destinations are about 1 to 3 hours away from Tokyo. And activities you can try include traditional Japanese culture like kimonos and tea ceremonies.
Examples of day trip destinations:
- A city situated between the mountains and the sea. It is full of shrines and temples to visit. About 1 hour from Tokyo, it is a popular place to visit on the weekend among the Tokyo locals as well.
- 1.5 hours away by the “Romance Car” limited express train. It is a hot springs resort area. Surrounded by nature, it is a beautiful place to visit. If the day is clear, you may be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji.
- About 2.5 hours from Tokyo, this is where the World Heritage Site of Nikko Toshogu Shrine is located. This grand and elaborately designed shrine stands in a mountainous area. You can also visit Nikko Edo Wonderland, a samurai theme park where you feel as if you have slipped back in time to the Edo era.
Would You Like to Have More Local Experience?
The above are popular sightseeing spots, so it’s not hard to go there, but you can always hire a tour guide just for this day trip if you don’t think you can do it on your own. Below are some tours that will take you there.
Hakone Private Tours by Local Tour Guides
Kamakura Private Tours by Local Tour Guides
Nikko Private Tours by Local Tour Guides
Examples of other activities/destinations:
Kimonos are beautiful traditional Japanese clothes. Simply put, they are elaborately designed robes with a wide sash around the middle. They are actually quite tight when you put it on so you can only take small dainty steps. You’ll be able to take amazing pictures dressed in this traditional costume. Below are some English websites for kimono rental shops.
Have you ever tried “matcha” tea? It’s like green tea but a bit thicker. “Matcha” tea is not only a drink. The making of this special tea and inviting guests to participate in this ceremony is a traditional art that has been in practice for centuries. Nowadays, not many Japanese people have ever had the opportunity to see a tea ceremony, nevertheless participate in one. It will certainly be an experience you can’t have in any other country. Below are some places you can have a tea ceremony experience. Make sure to look at the websites and make reservations in advance.
For families with kids, the Disney Resort is also a popular destination. There are several Disneylands around the world, but DisneySea is unique to Japan. The fees are a bit expensive, 7,400 yen for adults, 6,400 yen for ages 12-17, 4,800 yen for ages 4-11. But it’s so much fun time seems to fly by. It’s also a nice experience to stay at the official Disney hotels right next to the theme park. It’s the Miracosta Hotel for DisneySea and the Disneyland Hotel for Disneyland.
Disney Resort website here.
What is the Best Way to Save Time While You Take The Most of Your Tokyo Trip?
Whether you have only 1 day in Tokyo or whether you have a few more, this is a city you won’t get bored in. Figure out what you really want to see during your stay and create an itinerary for yourself. You can use the above examples as a basis and add or subtract places to tailor the itinerary to fit you. And if you need a bit of help with your trip, you can hire a local guide like the following to take you around the city.
There are many websites where you can hire tour guides, but you never know what you are getting into, whether the guides are quality guides or not. Or whether the website is trustworthy or not.
That’s why I’m recommending you TripleLights. The website offers many qualified tour guides options in Tokyo and other areas of Japan from which you can choose according to your needs and preferences.
Through the website, you can watch the guides’ personalized videos, read the reviews of each guide, check their availability and service cost to help you find the right guide in Tokyo. You also can request a Tokyo Tour just for You. Just type what you would like to see and guides all over Tokyo will send you quotes and their recommendations according to your interested and budget. To check all the most popular Tours in Tokyo click here.
Blogs about Tokyo
I hope this article gives you some insights about places to go in Tokyo and make your trip planning a less dreadful with the options I show in this article. Hope you have a great time in Tokyo!