The post that we have all been waiting for! So instead of doing a generic itinerary for all of Japan, I thought it made more sense to have a city by city itinerary as everyone has their own preferences of how long they’d like to plan their vacation. The reason I chose 5 days for Tokyo is because really even 5 days aren’t enough for this amazing land of so much awesomeness. Add to this the fact that there will be some day trips that you’ll be taking while staying in Tokyo. Honestly, anything less than five days in Tokyo is just NOT doing justice to this city. Expect a post real soon elaborating more about what to do, see and experience at the places that found a spot in my itinerary.
Here is a sample itinerary for a five day visit to Tokyo based on my highly recommended attractions in Tokyo that you can read more about in a later post:
10:00 – 10:30 Takeshita Dori Take JR to Harajuku station
11:00 – 13:30 Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park Walking distance from Takeshita Dori
14:00 – 15:00 Lunch at Shibuya Walk or take JR to Shibuya Station
15:00 – 17:00 Explore Shibuya (Shibuya Crossing, Spain Slope, Center Gai, Koen Dori and Hachicko Statue)
17:30 – 19:00 Explore Shinjuku Take JR to Shinjuku Station
(Options include: Shinjuku Garden, Robot Restaurant for Cabaret, Shinjuku Skyscraper district, Kabukicho, Play Pachinko at one of the Pachinko Parlors)
19:00 – 19:30 Dinner at Shinjuku (Try an authentic cutesy Japanese cafe or rooftop restaurant.)
20:00 – 21:30 Drinks and bond with other tourists at the intimate Golden Gai in Shinjuku
Take JR from Shinjuku back to your respective station if required.
Golden Gai is primarily the reason I chose Shinjuku to be the last stop for the day. However I don’t think it would be practical to visit bars and pubs with children (some of them allow smoking inside as well). Although for all those who don’t have issues with smoke or sitting with people drinking alcohol (there’s always non-alcoholic drinks you know), I would highly recommend a visit to the Golden Gai. It was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences and sights to see even if you don’t want to sit in and have a drink for its historical and cultural feel.
Alternate for families with children:
14:00 – 15:00 Lunch at Shinjuku Take JR to Shibuya Station
15:00 – 17:00 Shinjuku Garden (Last entry allowed till 16:00)
17:30 – 19:00 Explore Shibuya Take JR to Shibuya Station
(Options include: Shibuya Crossing, Spain Slope, Center Gai, Koen Dori and Hachicko Statue)
19:00 – 19:30 Dinner at Shibuya (Try an authentic cutesy Japanese cafe)
Take JR from Shibuya back to your respective station if required.
09:00 – 09:30 Kaminarimon Gate Take JR to Asakusa Station
10:00 – 11:00 Snacks/shopping at Nakamise Dori Walking distance from the gate
11:00 – 12:30 Sensoji Temple Walking distance from Nakamise Dori
13:00 – 13:30 Ueno Park Take JR to Ueno
13:30 – 14:00 Lunch at Ueno Park
14:00 – 17:00 Tokyo National Museum Located inside Ueno Park
17:30 – 18:30 Walk around Ueno (shopping, neighborhood walks)
19:00 – 20:30 Dinner at Ginza Take the Private Train Line to Ginza
Explore Ginza’s streets, enjoy the shops and high end architecture and maybe stop by somewhere for people watching. Take Train from Ginza back to your respective station.
10:00 – 16:00 Akihabara Take the JR to Akihabara Station
(Options include: Anima/Manga stores, Technology stores, Tax free stores, Maid Cafes, Arcades)
17:00 – 20:00 Dinner/Drinks at Roppongi Sky Deck Take Private Train to Roppongi
Alternate: Shibuya or Shinjuku if you want to visit again OR Odaiba (visit Aquacity and Decks)
NOTE: Make sure to schedule your day to Akihabara on a Sunday, as the road is blocked for cars and pedestrians can roam freely from one end to another with ease.
DAY 4 (Day Trip):
09:00 – 11:00 Train to Nikko Take JR Shinkansen to Nikko from Tokyo Station
11:00 – 12:00 Nikko National Park Take the Nikko bus (day pass)
(Make sure to see the Shinkyo Bridge as you walk from bus station to the Park)
11:00 – 12:30 Rinnoji Temple Located inside the Park
13:00 – 14:00 Toshogu Shrine Walking distance from Rinnoji Temple
14:00 – 15:00 Taiyuinbio (Mausoleum) Walking distance from Toshogu Shrine
15:00 – 16:00 Bird’s eye view over Nikko Akechidaira bus stop enroute to Chuzenjiko Onsen
16:00 – 17:30 Chuzenji Lake and Kegon Waterfall Bus to Chuzenjiko Onsen
18:00 – 20:00 Bus and Train back to Tokyo JR Shinkansen to Tokyo Station
DAY 5 [Option 1] Day Trip:
10:00 – 13:00 Train to Matsumoto Take JR Shinkansen to Matsumoto from Tokyo Station
13:00 – 16:00 Matsumoto Castle Walking distance from JR Station
16:00 – 19:00 Train to Tokyo Take JR Shinkansen to Tokyo Station
Day 5 [Option 2] Tokyo + Side Trip:
10:00 – 13:00 Ghibli Museum Take JR to Mitaka Station
13:00 – 15:00 Hamamatsu Take JR Shinkansen to Hamamatsu
15:00 – 18:00 Nukumori No Mori Bus from JR Station to Kanzanji Onsen
Enjoy the Ghibli Inspired Village
18:00 – 20:00 Train to Tokyo Take JR Shinkansen to Tokyo Station
Day 5 [Option 3] Tokyo:
10:00 – 13:00 Ghibli Museum Take JR to Mitaka Station
13:00 – 15:00 Japanese Sword Museum/Samurai Museum Take JR to Shinjuku Station
15:00 – 17:00 Imperial Palace Take JR to Tokyo Station
18:00 – 20:00 Make up/Chill Out Time
Read More: Still confused if you should be visiting Japan? Here are not 5, not 10, but 14 good reasons for you to go NOW!
For information on visa requirements and other important tips for visiting Tokyo, read here.