What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary

The capital of Japan is a hub of eccentricities, a clash of old and new, a whirlwind adventure and a place for everything kawaii and innovative. There are many ways to describe it but if you are wondering what to do in Tokyo in 5 days, here are my five cents. (In total, I have spent nearly three months in this wonderful Japanese city and explored a ton to base my recommendations on.) Here we go!

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What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary

Table of Contents

Start your 5 days in Tokyo at the Imperial Palace

Tokyo Itinerary Day 1: Kawaii Fashion, Scenic Views and Glorious Sunsets

Imperial Palace (皇居) – Boating and Cherry Blossom Viewing

Throw yourself right into the city centre and start the day at Chidorigafuchi Park and boat around the moat. Afterwards, wander over to the Imperial Palace. Stroll the old premises. If you are visiting Tokyo during sakura season, even better. Both are prime spots for cherry blossom viewings. From here, make your way over to Shibuya.

Address: Japan, 〒100-8111 Tokyo, Chiyoda, 1−1
Phone: +81 3-3213-1111
Nearest station: Tokyo station

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Chidorigafuchi Moat with cherry blossom viewing – a must during a spring visit to Tokyo in 5 days.

Shibuya (渋谷区) – Shopping Spree

From the Tokyo metro station or nearby shopping centres and Starbucks you have a great view over the Shibuya crossing. From there, you will already see the iconic shopping centre Shibuya 109. If you are looking for male fashion, opt for Shibuya 109 Men. If you are on the lookout, you can find fruit shops with the famous super expensive white strawberries and applies for $30+.

There are multiple stores all around if you want to go shopping in Tokyo. For kawaii fashion and eccentric attire, walk northward to Harajuku or take one stop on the JR Yamanote Line.

Coolest Shibuya shops to visit during 5 days in Tokyo
  • Shibuya 109 and Shibuya 109 Men – Perfect for doll like outfits, quirky finds and window shopping. There’s usually just a standard size available and definitely no photography allowed.
  • Shibuya Hikarie – New and fancy mega store. Each floor has a different theme and there are also restaurants if you need to recharge your batteries.
  • Tokyu Hands – A standard franchise all over Japan, but still a great place to get unique Japanese souvenirs for the loved ones back home.
  • Don Quijote – Another iconic store found all over Japan but still amazing. You can get your grocery shopping done, stock up on beauty items and buy weird costumes.
  • Shibuya Mark City – All in one shopping experience. Perfect for browsing for jewellery and accessories.
  • Kiddy Land – For all the Peter Pans out there (of any gender or age). Shop at this kawaii place for famous TV, anime and manga characters in stationary and figurine form.

Harajuku (原宿) – Street Style and Food

Check out cute and quirky cafes in the area, admire the street style on Cat Street and then cross over to Takeshita Street. This is the essence of Harajuku and a major must for any five days in Tokyo. Enter the colourful shops, sample the street food.

Don’t be afraid to branch off into the side streets for more shops. If you visit on the weekend, your chances of seeing Harajuku girls is much higher. That being said, the unique Harajuku fashion is slowly dying out.

Meiji Jingu (明治神宮)

Right at the end of Takarazuka Street, you can walk into Yoyogi Park, another great hotspot for any Tokyo itinerary for 5 days or less or more. It really is a pretty park, super central and – most importantly – it has the Meiji Shrine. Walking through the park, you can quickly forget that you are in a metropolis. It feels so far removed and tranquil here. If you’re lucky, you can watch a wedding traditional Japanese ceremony take place.

Address: 〒151-8557 東京都渋谷区代々木神園町1−1
Phone: +81 3-3379-5511
Nearest station: Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line), Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Tokyu Hands entrance in Shibuya

Shinjuku (新宿区) – Park Picnics

Make your way up to Shinjuku and dine in one of the many izakayas. On a sunny day and if you have your own bento box, why not have a picnic? Shinjuku Gyoen is perfect for this with its cherry blossom trees, meadows and tranquil ponds.

Address: Japan, 〒160-0014 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Naitomachi, 11
Nearest metro station: JR Chuo Line and Chuo-Sobu Line (Local); Shinjuku Station (Toei, Metro and JR lines)

Nakano Broadway – Fan Dreams Come True

This is for all the otakus roaming Tokyo. Most people visit Akihabara to search for the latest anime, manga or retro games. But Nakano Broadway is a treasure trove of past times. You can find the coolest out-of-stock items of your favourite characters, art books and games.

Address: Japan, 〒164-0001 Tokyo, Nakano, 5 Chome−52
Nearest station: Nakano (Chuo Line, Chuo-Sobu, Tozai Line)

View from the Metropolitan Government Buildings

Government Buildings (東京都庁) – Best Sunsets

For sunset, head up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings. Entrance is free but you might have to queue a little, so come early. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji in the distance.

Address: Japan, 〒163-8001 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Nishishinjuku, 2 Chome−8−1
Phone: +81 3-5321-1111
Nearest metro station: Shinjuku (Toei, Metro and JR lines)

Tokyo Itinerary Day 2:

Tsujiki Market (築地市場) – Fish Frenzy

I hope you have had enough sleep because the day starts super early at 3:30am on Tsujiki Fish Market. Even though this is a wholesale market, you can admire its sheer size and level of organization. Tsukiji is in fact the largest fish market and over 2,000 tons of marine products each day go through here.

You might have to queue up hour in advance to witness one of its two auctions, at 5:25 and 5:50am. To make sure you will actually get to see it and avoid hours of queueing, timetable. If you book a guide.

Note: Tsukiji Fish Market is scheduled to relocate in autumn 2018. You can read more info about what you should know before going to Tsukiji if you do decide to go by yourself. Pro tip: Wear close toed footwear and warm clothes as it is icy.

 Book both a Tsujiki Fish Market AND cooking class here 

Sadly though, the market has become a big tourist spot and can’t even handle all the people. So unless you really are super keen on a visit, you can happily skip it and treat yourself to sushi at the many local places. Fun fact: Tokyo claims to be the birthplace of sushi.

Address: Japan, 〒104-0045 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Tsukiji, 5 Chome−2−1
Phone: +81 3-3542-1111
Nearest metro station: Tsukiji Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Shinjuku Gyo-en Park

Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園) – Relaxation Time

Pretty close to Tsujiki Market are the quiet Hamarikyu Gardens. They wind around Sumida River and follow traditional Japanese garden techniques, including ponds, teahouses, a small shrine and a shogun villa dating back tothe 17th century. If you want to sample Japanese sweets and rest your feet for a while, this place is perfect. Entrance is JPY 300 (3 USD).

Address: Japan, 〒104-0046 Tokyo, Chūō, Hamarikyuteien, 1−1
Nearest metro station: Shiodome Station (Toei Oedo Line and Yurikamome Line)

Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) – Iconic Views

What could be more ironic than Tokyo Tower? Granted, it really is just one of many typical TV towers as can be seen all over Japan. If you want to have a peek, you can see it from many close districts without actually having to get close or go up.

Address: Japan, 〒105-0011 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Shibakōen, 4 Chome−2−8
Nearest station: Akabanebashi Station (Toei Oedo Line)

Tokyo Tower as seen from Roppongi

Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ) – Modern Urbanscaping

Essentially Roppongi Hills is a kind of experiment, a development project that opened in 2003 and incorporates everything a city could need in a small area within Minato District. The idea behind it was to condense life in a small space to eliminate commuting time and increase living standards. It was the brainchild of tycoon Minoru Mori. Nowadays, you can find offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, cinemas, a museum, a hotel, a major TV studio, an outdoor amphitheatre, quirky art installations and a few parks in Roppongi.

Address: Japan, 〒106-6108 Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi, 6 Chome−11−1
Phone: +81 3-6406-6000
Nearest station: Roppongi Station (Hibiya Line, Oedo Line)

Meguro River (目黒川) – Cherry alleys

Another must for any Tokyo itinerary for 5 days or longer if you are staying during Tokyo’s sakura season. The Meguro River flows quietly along and is framed by dense alleys of cherry blossoms. Naturelly, this place draws crowds and is beautiful both during the day and at night, when the pink lanterns light up. Visit early in the day and during the week to avoid masses of people. Or at night, when the pink sakura lanterns come on.

Address: 3 Chome-9 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tōkyō-to 140-0002, Japan
Nearest station: Meguro Station (Mita Line, Namboku Line, Tokyu Meguro Line, JR Yamanote Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Alleys around Meguro River

Tokyo Itinerary Day 3: Ueno and Asakusa

Sumida Park (隅田公園) – Sunrise

If you want, catch the sunrise behind Skytree Tower as you stroll along the promenade of Sumida Park. Mornings here are super quiet and relaxing. You can slowly see the Taito district come to life and once it’s in full gear, it can get intense.

Address: Japan, 〒131-0033 東京都墨田区向島1−2−5
Nearest station: Asakusa station

Skytree (東京スカイツリー)

Another iconic landmark in Tokyo. You can see it from afar and if you want to, even get to its top and enjoy 360° views. Fun fact: Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest freestanding broadcasting tower. If you want to skip the long queues, get your entrance ticket online in advance. Skytree is a major shopping and dining hub. You can visit the Moomin Cafe, eat black noodles, buy high value Japanese products and clothing items. There even is an inhouse metro station.

Address: Japan, 〒131-0045 Tokyo, Sumida, Oshiage, 1 Chome−1−2
Phone: +81 570-550-634
Opening hours: 8 AM- 10 PM
Nearest station: Tokyo Skytree, Oshiage Station

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Tokyo Skytree framed by cherry blossoms

Sensō-ji (浅草寺) – Traditional Temple

Sensoji should be high on your Tokyo tour itinerary. It is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Tokyo. During Sanja Matsuri it gets crazy. If you come during spring, however, you can still enjoy the crowded but still worthwhile temple festivals. Plus, there are plenty of local stores on Nakamise Shopping Street (仲見世商店街) that sell handcrafted items.

Address: Japan, 〒111-0032 Tokyo, Taitō, Asakusa, 2 Chome−3−1
Phone: +81 3-3842-0181
Nearest station: Asakusa station (Tsukuba Express, Asakusa Line, SubwayGinza Line, Nikko-Kinugawa, Ryomo, Shimotsuke-Kirifuri, Tobu Skytree Line)

Asakusa Shopping Arcades

Branching off from Nakamise Shopping Street, you can hardly miss the shopping arcades. These are covered streets with tons of local stores and restaurants. You can find everything your souvenir buying heart desires, get yourself traditional yukata, kimono and matching souvenirs or just admire the business of the alleys.

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Nakamise Shopping Street

Ueno Park (上野恩賜公園)

From Sensoji, it’s roughly a thirty minute walk or a 2 station drive with the metro to get to Ueno Park. It is THE most popular park in Tokyo – especially crazy, as always, during cherry blossom season. There are museums, a zoo, lake, temples and a shrine in the park if you don’t want to just picnic or relax.

Address: Japan, 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taitō, 上野公園5-20
Phone: +81 3-3828-5644
Nearest station: Ueno station

Yanaka Ginza (谷中銀座) – All About Cats

To get from Ueno Park to Yanaka Ginza, you can walk for twenty minutes or take the train/metro to Nippori. The street is a few minutes away from the station. Here, everything is about cats. All the products are cat themed: ranging from porcelain to doorstoppers over to chopsticks and fresh taiyaki.

Address: Japan, 〒110-0001 Tokyo, Taitō, Yanaka, 3 Chome−13−1
Nearest station: Nippori

Tokyo itinerary Day 4: Odaiba

Gundam Cafe (ガンダムカフェ 秋葉原店)

Odaiba is a large artificial island and well known for its shopping, entertainment and fun foodie places. You can easily spend an entire day here. Why not freshen up at the Gundam Café for starters?

Address: Japan, 〒135-0064 Tōkyō-to, Kōtō-ku, Aomi, 1 Chome−1−10 ダイバーシティ東京プラザ2F
Phone: +81 3-6457-2778
Nearest station: Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station (Yurikamome line), Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Long potato fries with special mayo

Takoyaki Museum

Other Odaiba attractions worty to plan your 5 days in Tokyo around are the quirky Takoyaki museum. (If you need a takoyaki recipe for home, here it is.)

Address: Decks Tokyo Beach Seaside Mall 4F, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku Tokyo
Nearest station: Odaiba-Kaihinkoen station

Odaiba Oedo-Onsen (お台場 大江戸温泉物語)

An onsen is a truly wonderful experience, can, however, feel a little uncomfortable at first. Dress code is strictly in the buff and there are certain rules of washing and bathing to be followed. But once you know how everything works (and the Japanese are super friendly, so ask if you are unsure), it’s sooo relaxing. Try Tokyo Odaiba Oedo-Onsen Monogatari!

Address: Japan, 〒135-0064 Tokyo, 江東区青海2丁目6−3
Phone: +81 3-5500-1126
Nearest station: Telecom Center Station (Yurikamome line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary

Other Odaiba Museums

Odaiba has plenty of museums. If you’ve been to Tokyo before and wondering what to do in Tokyo in 5 days, why not go on a museum tour? To give you an overview, here are a couple worth looking into:

  • The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) – This is Japan’s most important science centre
  • Megaweb Toyota City Showcase – Great for car lovers
  • Museum of Maritime Science – If you’re into all things underwater and ocean
  • Madame Tussauds Tokyo – This is probably the closest you get to your favourite stars
  • Tokyo Port Museum – Everything you ever wanted to know about Japan’s capital’s port
  • Tokyo Trick Art Museum – If you’re into optical illusions and cool tricks, this is fun to do

Aqua City Odaiba (アクアシティお台場)

Just as there are tons of museums, there is a seemingly endless array of shopping facilities. The most popular one being Aqua City Odaiba. It has everything. You can shop your heart out, please your taste buds with ramen, pray at a shrine, watch a movie, drop off kids at day car centres and so much more! It’s also right across the unique looking Fuji TV Building, which can also be visited.

Address: 1-7-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Access: about 6 min walk from Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station
Website: http://www.aquacity.jp.e.yp.hp.transer.com/lng/top/

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Sunsets in the streets

Odaiba Statue of Liberty (自由の女神像)

If you wanted the best view over the Rainbow bridge and Tokyo’s skyline AND want to confuse your friends, check this out. Tokyo has placed a smaller scale version (1/7th) of the famous Statue of Liberty in its Odaiba Seaside Park. Fun fact: that’s actually not the only replica in Japan.

Address: Japan, 〒135-0091 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, 港区Daiba, 1−4, 台場海浜公園内
Phone: +81 3-5500-2455
Nearest station: Odaiba-kaihinkoen Station or Daiba Station on the Yurikamome Line

Big Sight Convention Center (東京ビッグサイト)

If you are visiting Tokyo for the Anime Japan, the biggest anime and manga convention in the world, this is where it will be held. You cannot miss it, the crowds will pull you at BigSight. Plan in a three hour long waiting time at the very least, regardless whether you have a ticket or not. Get your ticket way in advance! Spending one day out of your 5 days in Tokyo is plenty. It’s quite overwhelming, really. You can only buy tickets through a third party or at a 7 Eleven booking machine (in Japanese). But it’s actually not that difficult.

Address: 〒135-0063 東京都江東区 有明3丁目11−1
Phone: +81 3-5530-1111
Nearest station: Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station (Yurikamome Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Beautiful old architecture rooftops in Asakusa

Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ)

At night, the otherwise rather bland suspension bridge that somewhat resembles Golden Gate Bridge becomes illuminated. In all colours of the rainbow you can witness streams of water being shot out from Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ).

Address: Japan, 〒105-0000 Tokyo, Minato
Nearest station: Hinode train station

Tokyo Itinerary Day 5: Akihabara, Ginza and Shibamata

Shibamata (柴又) – Old Tokyo

To experience an entirely different side of Tokyo, take the train all the way out to the edge of town. Shibamata is a local favourite among film fans as it served as an important site in the famous Tora-san movies. The films are virtually unknown abroad but thanks to their popularity, the district has preserved its old timey charm. The main Shibamata attractions are the shopping and restaurant street Taishakuten Sando and Taishakuten Daikyo-ji Temple.

Read more about Shibamata’s top 7 attractions.

Nearest station: Shibamata station

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Taishakuten Sando in Shibamata

Akihabara (秋葉原)

Akihabara is a hotspot for any Tokyo itinerary because of its crazy lights, game stores and maid cafes. If you want to get your nerd on, this is the place to be. Stock up on wigs in cosplay shops. Browse through the latest manga. Stock up on anime figurines. Play day and night in arcades. Or sit back and relax in theme cafes.

 Read next: How to travel with and pack a wig 

Nearest station: Akihabara station

Top 5 Coolest Places in Akihabara
  • Stock up on cosplay costumes and wigs at COSPA Gee Store
  • Shop everything anime and manga at Mandarake
  • Watch a screened performance at AKB48 Cafe and Shop
  • Dine at Final Fantasy Erzora Cafe
  • Get your electronic supplies in the side alleys of Akihabara (such as I did for me Pokémon gameboy odyssee)
What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Kameido Tenjin Shrine during wisteria season

Ginza Shopping

Most people want to capture the crowds at Shibuya Crossing but forget about the even fancier and more colourful Ginza Yon-chome intersectionGinza Chuo-doori. If you are feeling particularly posh, dine at Gucci Café in the Gucci building.

Nearest station: Ginza station

Kabuki-za (歌舞伎座) – Traditional Theatre

If you really want to dive deep into Japanese culture, attend a traditional Kabuki theatre. Shows come with elaborate costumes, expressive masks and intense performances. The largest and most prominent kabuki theatre in Tokyo is Kabuki-za. Why not catch an afternoon performance? To avoid queuing, get your ticket online and to help you understand what’s happening, you can rent a G-Mark Guide.

Address: Japan, 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 4 Chome−12−15
Phone: +81 3-3545-6800
Nearest station: Higashi-ginza Station (Asakusa and Hibiya Line)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Shibuya Crossing

Alternatives for Your Tokyo Itinerary for 5 Days

In case you want to deviate from this DIY Tokyo itinerary or want to extend it to 7 days in Tokyo, here are a few more ideas. Whether it is day trips or more Tokyo districts, you get to choose what tickles your fancy!

Day Trips from Tokyo

Tokyo itself can easily fill your days with ample entertainment and districts to explore, from busy to super quiet. But to get a little further out, there are various options, too. Why not unleash your inner child in Disneyland Tokyo or play at the cool arcades in Anata no Warehouse in Kawasaki? Getting there takes 20 minutes by train from Tokyo Station and another 10 minutes on foot.

For amazing flower displays – particularly during wisteria season – visit Ashikaga Flower Park North of Tokyo. If you want to make it a long day, head up further north to Nikko. It is filled with Heritage Site listed temples, shrines, bridges and waterfalls. Alternatively, you can go on an organised day trip to Mount Fuji.

To the West, you can explore Narita and its old Omotensado Street towards honoured Narita-san temple. Most tourists skip this place as it is so close to the airport but they don’t even know what they’re missing! You can include a brief stop at Sawara for more vintage Japan feels around its merchant channels.

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Yanaka cemtery during sakura season

Best Time to Spend 5 Days in Tokyo

Tokyo can be visited all year round. Though some seasons are better than others for your 5 days in Tokyo. The end of March and early April offer the best chances for pleasant weather and stunning sakura. Autumn is amazing for catching the trees turn a deep red. Summers can be hot and sweltering and winters get cold.

If you can plan your 5 day Tokyo itinerary around a major festival (matsuri) in Tokyo, I would totally do that and devote an entire day to it. Temple festivals are fun, there are performances going on and foodie stalls line the streets. People dress up in yukata and kimono and the atmosphere is so joyous.

5 Epic Tokyo Festivals
  1. Sanja Matsuri at Sensō-ji (June) – One of Tokyo’s wildest and largest Shinto festivals.
  2. Fuji Matsuri at Kameido Tenjin Shrine (May) – Wonderful wisteria tunnels with the Skytree as a backdrop.
  3. Sanno Festival at Hie Shrine (June) – Parade for Tokyo’s guardian deity.
  4. Tokyo Jidai Matsuri in Asakusa (November 3) – Celebrating Tokyo’s history.
  5. Harajuku Omotesandō Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi (August) – 100 dancers perform at the Yosakoi dance festival.
What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Asakusa side streets

How to Get Around Tokyo for 5 Days

If you follow this guide, you can easily squeeze in quite a lot of sights and attractions for Tokyo in 5 days. While it is entirely possible to walk all over Tokyo (It takes 3 hours from Asakusa to Akihabara, to give you an idea), I don’t recommend it at all. Trust me, my weary feet can tell quite a tale. (Also Google Maps is super unreliable. I recommend Maps.Me and a portable hotspot to get WiFi on the go.)

Your best bet for public transport is the metro system. Trains arrive on the dot, there constantly is a another one coming in case you missed one and it gets you around fastest. Sure, there are buses but trying to figure THAT one out… I gave up. Tokyo’s metro system is complicated enough as is. Ok, so here is the gist of it.

Using a JR Railpass

If you have a JR Railpass and want to use it for your Tokyo itinerary in 5 days, you can only do so on the JR lines. The most popular one is Yamanote, which is the green circle line that hits all the major tourist spots. If you want to go on day trips from Tokyo, it’s also great. But you cannot use it to get to farther out Tokyo places, like Shibamata or Nakano.

Is using the JR Railpass in Tokyo for 5 days worth it? It really depends. I wouldn’t get a railpass JUST for Tokyo. But if you are planning 14 days in Japan (or 3 weeks for that matter) and want to use one or two excessive sightseeing days for Tokyo and the other for the rest of your trip, I’d say, go for it! Don’t forget to validate your JR pass at Ueno or Tokyo station before using it, though. (That can easily take at least an hour thanks to the lines.)

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Sumida Park promenade in Asakusa

Using Tokyo Metro Lines

There are multiple companies operating metro lines all over the Tokyo area. Apart from JR, there are Tokyo Metro, Toei, Keisei and several express lines as well. None of them accept the other’s tickets. So if you happen to change lines, you have to pay again. (Or, if you have forgotten to buy a ticket from the other company in advance, you can get trapped in Ueno station without being able to leave. Yes, that happened to me. Twice.)

To keep track of your spendings during Tokyo in 5 days, you can buy tickets whenever you need them. There are ticket machines in every station, accepting coins/bills and often visa cards with metro line pricing illustrations. Most of them are in Japanese, so better grab an English metro line print on the go. What I do is I memorised my main/fave stations for orientation or ask a member of staff. They are super helpful and knowledgeable. While you’re at it, ask for the platform, too.

If you cannot be bothered, get a Suica card and top that one up so you only have to swipe. To save money, get local metro cards. Different stations offer different types, sometimes including buses and other lines. You really have to double check. The most comprehensive one can only be bought at the airport. I hope I haven’t lost you by now. Just get a Tokyo Metro Pass for 24, 48 and 72-Hour options online to avoid getting a headache from all this.

Using Tokyo Taxis

Don’t. They are super expensive and you can get around in the metro just as fast. As a rule of thumb, the minimum fare for the first 2km is 400-700 yen and increased by 80-90 yen for every additional 300-400 metres. Waiting time at traffic lights also costs. But here’s a budget tip: Download the JapanTaxi app to take advantage of 1000yen off the first ride. (Or check for current online coupons.) This app offers the best taxi prices all over Japan – better than hailing a cab. You need Wifi to order it though. Taxis in Japan are safe.

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Quirky shops in Ginza

What’s the Wifi Situation in Japan?

The longer you travel Japan, even to see only Tokyo in 5 days, you might want to stay online for various reasons. Maybe you bookmarked or pinned this post and want to read it again (as well as my other Japan posts). Or you want to find a quirky restaurant nearby. Or you are lost. (It helps to have a screenshot of your desired location or the Kanji written down so you can ask strangers for help. They WILL definitely try to help or find someone else that can. The Japanese are super kind.)

The first time I visited Japan in 2015, there was free public Wifi but it was sometimes hard to find. Now in 2018, the situation was so much better! All Tokyo metro stations have free public Wifi. There’s a Starbucks everywhere and you don’t need to preregister anymore to get in. 7Elevens and Watson convenient stores have Wifi. So do some supermarkets, such as Daiso.

But sometimes your phone doesn’t connect or it’s really slow. Or you are lost in one of the residential districts and cannot find any of these places. If you want to make sure, just get a portable hotspot or preorder a Japan sim card for 1 or 2 weeks. You cannot buy a card while in the country; that requires a Japanese address (and Japanese reading/speaking skills).

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Colourful stairs along Takeshita Street, Harajuku

More Resources for a 5 Day Tokyo Trip

Travel Insurance – As with every travel, it’s a good idea to secure your insurance abroad. Even if you are the healthiest and fittest person on the planet, accidents can happen. Japan is a safe country, for solo travellers as well. However, I know from experience that the stupidest mistakes can happen. (I once tripped on flat concrete and could barely walk for 3 weeks.)

Travel Guides – To really dig deep into local Tokyo attractions, a blog post (not even one as long as this) can cover it all. Lonely Planet does an excellent job and is full with travel an language tips.

Travel Literature – I love combining travel with literature. For instance, I visited England to retrace the steps of Jane Austen in Bath and the Bronte Sisters in Yorkshire. To transport yourself into a different Scifi era, read anything by Haruki Murakami. A crime novel set in Tokyo is The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura.

What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary
Sakura trees near Ebisu station

Is Tokyo in 5 Days Enough?

Haha, don’t ask me that! It feels like there never is enough time in Tokyo. I absolutely adore this city. It has everything from quiet spaces to loud and bustling streets. You can get everything your heart desires from giant ice cream bowls, to Poke Centres or quiet strolls in the parks.

However, a Tokyo Itinerary for 5 days is a good start to get to know the city and not get too overwhelmed. It will definitely feel like a sensory onslaught at first but you gotta dive right in. You’ll miss it soon enough.

What attractions are on your must see list for 5 days in Tokyo?


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What to Do in Tokyo in 5 Days – Ideal Tokyo Itinerary

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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Comments

  1. Reply

    Such a comprehensive post with great pictures. With Tokyo being such a large city it’s great to refer to a post like this.

    1. Reply

      Hi Hazel, thank you so much! I am glad to hear my post is helpful to you. :)

    • Cat
    • 01/07/2018
    Reply

    I can’t believe all the detail in this post! So so helpful, I’m hoping to visit next year so thanks so much for all the useful advice. The sunset spots look amazing! :)

    1. Reply

      Hi Cat, yes it took me quite a long time to put this together. So happy for you to visit Tokyo. It’s a great place!

  2. Reply

    Tokyo is a melange of experiences and surely an indulgence for the senses. What I love about this city is that it seamlessly blends a lot of dimensions. Nature, heritage, past, present, and future seem to co-exist here. There is so much to see and experience here and your itinerary covers the best of Tokyo. Would love to visit the city when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

    1. Reply

      Hi Sandy, it really is. I love how you described Tokyo so poetically.

  3. Reply

    Your epic Tokyo itinerary makes me want to visit Tokyo again soon. Though I wouldn’t keep up with your pace, I love your suggestions which include new things for me to do as well as personal favorites.

    1. Reply

      Hi Mindi, how are you? Haha, my pace was pretty tight but for people with only a few holiday days and wanderlusting feet I think it is doable. We luckily have a different pace by now.^^

  4. Reply

    Bravo. What an exhaustive itinerary. I’ve been twice but cities change so often. Would love to return. The calm and safety in crowds is something I’ll never forget. I had a portable wifi on the last trip but it sounds like there are more options for the public now. Good news.

    1. Reply

      Hi Elaine, thank you so much. I really tried to pack a lot in there but it’s still manageable. And yes, there arae public WiFi options now though they aren’t always great. But it’s good enough to get around with Google Maps.

  5. Reply

    Being a regular visitor to Tokyo, you really have covered everything to keep yourself busy over 5 days.

    Your suggestion of Nakano Broadway is one I am going to take up on my next visit, haven’t been there as yet.

    In regard to Tsujiki, I believe (will need to double check if it has been implemented) that tourists aren’t allowed to walk into the inner market anymore, only the outer market. As you said it wasn’t handling all the people.

    Love the photo of you on Shibuya crossing! Gahh now I am so yearning to return to Tokyo.

    And I have totally bookmarked this for future reference, such a handy guide to send people to, thank you so much.

    1. Reply

      Hi Sara, how often have you been to Tokyo? I’m happy to hear you still found somewhere you haven’t been yet. I really like Nakano Broadway. It’s such a local thing, I haven’t seen other foreign tourists there yet. And thanks for pointing me to not being able to see Tsukiji Market fully. I wasn’t aware of that.

    • Indrani
    • 03/07/2018
    Reply

    Best utilization of 5 days there. Makes the planning much easier now seeing all the options. I love such tested itineraries, reduces the work a lot at my end.
    Their heritage charms me a lot. And the food scene too seems good. I have never seen such long potato fries. Trying to imagine the size of the potatoes.

    1. Reply

      Hi Indrani, that’s good to know that such itineraries are as useful as I hoped they would be. Tokyo can be quite overwhelming, so this is a good starting point.
      And right, didn’t even think about the size of the potatoes to produce such fries. I guess it’s all mashed potato fries.

  6. Reply

    This post is very timely for us. We head to Tokyo in the fall. We have 7 days but were wondering if we needed to head out of Tokyo. It seems like there is lots to do in the city itself. We are there in October so will miss cherry blossom time. Would love to do a boat ride in the moat with the leaves changing colour. We would definitely want to try the street food as we wander. Thanks for the suggestion to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan buildings for views and a sunset. Always like to do that panoramic view early in a visit to get the lay of the land. We will need to find one of the relaxing gardens to rest and recover! Or maybe try an onsen! Finishing up a day with a night view of the colourful lighted Rainbow Bridge sounds perfect. Thanks for this great teaser for our coming visit.

    1. Reply

      Hi Linda, so happy to hear the timing was just right! There really is plenty to see in Tokyo. Day trips are totally possible, depending on whether you want to see smaller town, flowers or mountains. October might be a great time for the red maple leaves! There is a very popular onsen in Odaiba, near the Rainbow Bridge.

  7. Reply

    Japan is so damn beautiful and actually it is a blend of everything. You have spent a good time there and explored so many amazing places. Your list is really exhaustive. I don’t think we will be able to see all this in 5 days and will need some more time. Great pictures too.

    1. Reply

      Hi Suruchi, it truly is! My list is very ambitious but I hope it covers a lot of various tastes. And thank you. :)

  8. Reply

    I seriously take a bow to anyone who take special efforts in building an itinerary for others. Thanks a lot. Japan has always been a dream for me and have heard so much about Tokyo since childhood which you summarised in first two lines of your post. I want to explore this eccentricities at my pace. I have to be there someday.
    One thing is sure, my visit has to coincide with Cherry Blossom or Sakura season for I cant miss this beautiful aspect of Tokyo and it seems Meguro River is the best place to experience them in abundance. Nakano Braodway and beautiful Nakamise Street would again be other things of interest for me.

    1. Reply

      Hi Himanshu, thank you so much. It was a lot of work indeed but I hope it can help out others. Tokyo can be clearly overwhelming and I love sharing tips about this city.

  9. Reply

    Hamarikyu Gardens sounds like a wonderful place. I would love to just walk around and explore the gardens and get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

    1. Reply

      Hi Jennifer, that’s a great plan. I bet most people don’t visit the parks and gardens enough.

  10. Reply

    That is a lovely 5 day guide. You have shown so many different sides of Tokyo. Places for Shopping, some temple hopping, beautiful parks and the contemporary city life. Seems like perfect all-round overview. Thanks for all the useful tips that you have included along with these. Cheers

    1. Reply

      Hi Ami, thank you so much! I am happy to hear that I was successful in covering also leser known areas of Tokyo. It’s such a diverse city.

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