3 Days in Tokyo: What to See, Do, and Eat
Three days in Tokyo will give you a taste of what this city has to offer, and leave you eager to come back and explore.
There are many ways to approach 3 days in Tokyo. One tactic is to schedule every minute and try to see as much as you possibly can. The other tactic is to go the sights you are most excited about, and then wander and see where the city takes you. No matter where you end up, you will not be disappointed… and you never know what you may find!
Before your trip, make sure to check out:
To ensure you have a perfect trip, have a local plan it for you. For just $25 a day, our locals will plan a completely personalized trip for you. Your itinerary will be packed with insider tips and off the beaten path suggestions. The trip will be planned to your specific travel preferences (foodie? love the outdoors? museum junkie?).
THREE DAYS IN TOKYO ITINERARY
Day One - Explore “Tourist” Tokyo
Tourists in Tokyo cling to Central Tokyo, as the area is packed with famous sights and attractions. Although this part of the city is very crowded, it will give you a great first taste of the city. Spend your first day knocking out some of the most famous sights, and then wander off and find your own Tokyo secrets.
This is a very expensive designer area that is great for exploring over-the-top shops and people watching. Be sure to wander through the 8-floor Uniqlo.
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is the home to the Emperor of Japan. The palace and its grounds are a great area to spend an afternoon exploring, or relaxing under a tree.
This is the oldest temple in Japan, and is a very holy and important sight for the country. This temple was once associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, but is now independent.
Next to Sensō-jiis is a popular shopping street called Nakamise, selling everything from traditional food, to trinkets and souvenirs.
A park that is very famous in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming.
Tsukiji Fish Market
This is the largest fish market in the world, and is one of the top sights for visitors to Tokyo. The market opens very early in the morning when the fish deliveries are made. Stop through early and have a sushi breakfast in the market.
Also in central Tokyo, this is neighborhood is famous for its excessive amount of electronic shops, and plethora of Japanese manga. Stop here to get a deeper understanding of Japanese tech culture.
A very famous shrine that is dedicated to the deities of Japan's wars.
A massive intersection where 10 lanes of traffic halt so 1000 people can race across the street.
This famous neighborhood is the center of Japan’s cosplay and anime culture.
An area to relax and soak up local culture.
Another famous shrine, dedicated to the deity of Emperor Meiji.
Day Two - Get Lost in a New Neighborhood
Wander off the beaten path to find some of these sights in Tokyo...
As the tallest building in Japan, there is no place better to get a view of Tokyo and its surrounding mountains. Tickets start at around 10 USD and advanced reservations are suggested, but if you are going to pay to see any view, this is the best one.
Ebisu is an area known for its high concentration of bars and restaurants, located on the site of a former brewery.
This is a popular commercial entertainment district in Tokyo, and it is an area that is considered “very hipster.” These streets are densely packed with tiny cafes, shops, and restaurants. You will likely want to spend many hours here.
Mori Art Museum
What is a vacation without visiting a museum? There are endless museums scattered across Tokyo, but one of the most popular is the Mori Art Museum. This modern art museum has a unique collection of pieces, and is very close to the Roppongi area.
If you prefer pre-modern museums, check out the Nezu and inspect art like Edo folding screens, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and more. These pieces had to be hidden during WWII.
Another massive entertainment and shopping district.
The tall, red tower that is the symbol of Tokyo.
Day Three - Day Trip from the City
This is a castle located 2.5 hours from Tokyo . Set out on a body of water, Matsumoto is known as the “Crow’s Castle” because of its black exterior. The castle was originally built in 1504, although it has been repaired and renovated several times over the years. Exploring the castle, its grounds, and the museum can easily occupy an afternoon. Additionally, just outside of the castle is Nawate Dori, a unique shopping street.
Nikko National Park
A massive natural park located outside of Tokyo. The park is broken down into several sections, and there is plenty to explore over a few days. As a national park, the area offers mountainous views, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, and hiking paths. Don't miss: Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, Shinkyo Bridge, Kegon Waterfall.
A natural area near Tokyo that is famous for being extremely beautiful, with stunning lakes, mountains, and hot springs. Checkout places like:
Lake Ashinoko is a can’t miss (both literally, and figuratively), as it is the symbol of the area. Relax on the shores and soak up the area, the views, and the history.
Onsen: there is a lot of geothermal activity in this area, so consider spending a night in an onsen spa.
Open Air Museum: beautiful garden with lots of sculptures, also includes a large Picasso collection.
Hakone Shrine: located on the shores of the lake, this is one of the most famous sights in the area.
Other things to do in Tokyo:
- Japanese baseball games
- Sumo matches or practice
- Weird cafe - cat/hedgehog/owl cafe
- Dine on shabu shabu
Tips for your trip to Tokyo:
- Take the time to study the rail system before arriving in, as it is very comprehensive, but can be very confusing.
- Know that people walk to the left side of stairs and streets.
- Do not wear your shoes or slippers on tatami mats.
- Have ViaHero assist you in curating your perfect, off the beaten path trip before you arrive.
- There are very few trashcans in Tokyo, so you may want to carry a plastic bag with you to gather your trash while exploring.
- Get the following apps for Tokyo travel:
Hyperdia - Explains different routes, and the timetables for railway and plane travel in Japan
Tokyo Metro App- Allows users to find the best route in the metro system
Are you ready to book your spring trip to Japan? Let our Heroes do all the planning!