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:

DAY 1:

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.

DAY 2:

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.

DAY 3:

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.

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