Tokyo is the vibrant capital of Japan and it is often a stopover for travelers passing though the city on their way to other destinations in the country or the rest of Asia. It can be difficult to know how to navigate the city in a short time like two days. How do you possibly have an inspiring experience when there is so much to choose from?
Tokyo is surely one of the best places in Japan, and to do it justice you need more than two days. But if time is short, you can have a wonderful time all the same. You don’t have to spend all your time in a hotel by the airport. Base yourself in a central location to make the most of the limited time available. Have a fantastic travel adventure in Tokyo with our guide to a whistle-stop tour of the city – one day focuses on the modern city, while the other takes in the more traditional side of Tokyo.
Day One in Modern Tokyo
In the morning, get up as early as you can and go to Harajuku, leaving the station and walking west across the bridge. You will come into the Meiji-jingu Shrine, which you can spend some time exploring. Go back to the station at Harajuku and then walk up Omotesando, where you will find some nice shops to browse as you go up to the Nezu Museum.
Next stop is the area of Shibuya. You will need to take the subway to Shibuya, and get out of the station at the Hachiko exit. Here you will find the famous crossing at Shibuya. Go across the road as the traffic lights change, and you can grab a coffee at one of the many cafes overlooking the road and watch the world whizz by. There are plenty of large stores and shops in Shibuya that are good to explore before you head for lunch in the area.
After lunch, take the subway combinations to end up in Roppongi. You can get a coffee overlooking the streets here, and then head up the Mori Tower to the 52nd floor to get an amazing view of the city as the sun sets. Eat dinner in the local area, and you can also check out a bar in Roppongi if you want to extend the night.
Day Two in Traditional Tokyo
Get up early and head to Asakusa. This is the cultural and spiritual center of the city and it is an ideal place to start your second day of exploration. The Senso-ji Temple and the Asakusa-jinja Shrine are worth an investigation. When you have finished looking around this area, take the subway to Ueno.
In Ueno, head towards Ueno-koen Park and walking across it you get to the lovely Tokyo National Museum. After a trip round the museum, go to the Tosho-gu Shrine. Have a snack before heading to Tokyo Station are to eat lunch – aim to eat lunch a little after 1 as this is a much quieter time after the business rush has died down. Now you have a choice of going to the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum or head to the Bridgestone Museum of Art. Or you can go to the Imperial Palace East Garden. Head towards Ginza to do some shopping.
After a brief rest in your hotel, head out to eat dinner in your local area or try somewhere in Shinjuku or Ginza. After dinner you can go to a bar in Roppongi, Shibuya, or Shinjuku.
Hints and Tips for Visiting Tokyo in Two Days
If you only have a short amount of time in the city, try to base yourself somewhere central so you avoid all the travel between central locations and your hotel. Ginza, Shinjuku, Tokyo Station, or Shibuya are good options. If you want an alternative for something to do on day one, the Edo Tokyo Museum is a good place to visit. You can get here from Tokyo Station, or from Asakusa, or Ueno. On day two you can also start your day at the Tsukiji Fish Market, and after visiting the market you can take the boat to Asakusa.
It is best not to try and fit in many more places than this if you only have two days. It can be very tiring traveling around the city and it could spoil your trip if you try to do too much. If it is already too much for you, take out a couple of locations and enjoy the ones you have left. It is a better idea to get fully involved in a few places in the city rather than get stressed and annoyed trying to see everything you can in a small amount of time. If you have longer than two days there will be many more things you can add into the itinerary.
For more information and inspiration on travel in Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and more, visit PhuketOn. PhuketOn is your destination for Asia travel advice and information.
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