In a city of almost ten million that spans just over 2,000 square kilometres, trying to figure out the ideal Tokyo itinerary can feel a bit daunting. This is doubly the case when you only have limited time, which many do as their trip to the Japanese capital is part of a larger adventure in which they’ve planned to see the entire country. It can be overwhelming to try and cram in all the sights, sounds, and tastes that Tokyo has to offer, but we’re here to help you with our perfect three-day Tokyo itinerary.
Begin the first of your three days in Tokyo with a hop across the stunning Rainbow bridge, marvelling at the impressive Tokyo skyline and the beauty of the bay behind you. The nearest station to the bridge is Shibaura-Futo on the Yurikamome line, just a short walk away.
To get up the bridge, you need to take an elevator, and crossing takes just under half an hour; bikes are allowed but must be walked across. Whilst this can be enjoyed with company, don’t expect to have too engrossing a conversation: the noise from the nearby cars makes it basically impossible. Once you’ve crossed from the “mainland” to Odaiba, you can wander around this impressive manmade island, which has a tonne of attractions and sights for tourists of every stripe. One of the more impressive ones is Zero Latency VR at Tokyo Joypolis, where you can spend an hour or two fighting zombies. You will need to pre-book, but the experience is worth it.
Right next door is Odaiba-Kaihinkoen station, where you can jump back on the Yurikamome line to Shimbashi station. From there, you can walk to Hibiya park, an oasis in the sea of activity that is Tokyo. This stunning park was once part of the grounds of feudal rulers during the shogunate, and you can stroll through here to the Tokyo Imperial Palace to have a look at where the emperors used to reside. You can’t go in, but the view from outside is delightful.
After taking that all in, you can jump on the Tozai Line from Takebashi station and ride it to Monzen-Nakacho, which is a short walk from Fukagawa Fudo-do temple. This remarkable structure was established in the 18th century but looks disconcertingly modern. If you’re lucky, you might even catch the thrice monthly Goma fire ritual. As dusk settles, you can jump back on the Tozai line for one stop, before switching over to the Hibiya line at Kayabacho station and riding south for three stops to Higashi-Ginza. From there, you can walk to the Kabukiza theatre and catch a traditional Kabuki show to end the night on a cultural high.
Start the day in serenity at Shinjuku Gyoen park and botanical garden, one of the largest green spaces in the city. If you’re here at the right time, it’s also one of the best places to see the cherry blossom that Japan is famed for.
After a couple of hours spent wandering around the beautiful gardens, you might have worked up an appetite; if so, jump on the Marunouchi Line from Shinjuku-Gyoemmae station for seven stops, getting off at Tokyo station and walking to the famous Ramen Street, where you can devour enough noodles to satisfy even the biggest of slurpers. Rokurinsha is a local favourite, but the more adventurous might be keen to try Ikaruga, which has a wide array of unusual options.
Once you’re well fed, jump back on the metro from Tokyo Station, this time taking the Yamanote Line. Head north until you reach Ueno station. From there, it’s a short walk to Ueno Park, where there is a zoo and several museum and galleries, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Museum of Nature and Science. Once you’ve had your knowledge fix, jump back on the Yamanote line and head south to hit up the bright lights of Akihabara Broadway, where you can see the best of the futuristic technology that Japan is famous for.
Some consider this bustling district to be the Times Square of Tokyo, and it’s an apt comparison. Grab a snack from one of the many convenience stores or 7-Eleven’s in the area and see dusk in here as the streets light up in a mesmerising dance of neon, before jumping on the Ginza line from Suehirocho station to Asakusa. From here, it’s a short walk to Sensoji Temple, which is open all night and is lit up wonderfully every evening. This is one of the oldest temples in Japan and visiting it at night is a truly breath-taking way to end your second day.
Finish off your three days in Tokyo by starting the day early with a morning trip to see sumo wrestlers’ practice in their stables. This can only really be arranged via tour operators, as the stables have very precise rules about who can visit and when, but the experience is truly unique. After that, jump on the metro and get onto the Chuo Line out to Mitaka Station, right on the Western edge of the city. From there, it’s a twenty-minute walk (or short bus ride) to the Ghibli museum, where you can learn about one of Japan’s most famous and well-loved exports with a tour.
After the museum visit, you can walk to Kichijoji station and get on the express Inokashira Line to Shibuya station, where you can see the famous Shibuya crossing. Here, tens of thousands make their way across a busy intersection in an intricate dance of modernity. Many are surprised at just how impressive it is to see people do something as simple as cross a road, but it really is quite the experience. Once you’re done people watching, you can jump on the Yamonote Line from Shibuya station, switching over at Shinjuku to the Chuo Line, and head to Nakano Broadway. This shopping complex is famous for the many Manga and Anime goods it sells, as well as a fresh food market. It’s also much less touristy than the similarly sized and more famous Shibuya market.
Once you’ve strolled around and shopped, get back on the metro one last time, catching the Chuo-Sobu line to Okubo station, from which you can walk to the New Sky Building (aka Sky Building No.3). This structure was built in the 70s as part of the Metabolism movement, which posited that buildings can be evolved over time thanks to modular designs. New Sky Building isn’t the most well-known example of this type of architecture in Tokyo; that accolade probably belongs to the Nakagin Capsule tower, but the former has one major advantage: sometimes the rooftop is accessible for sweeping views of the city. Once you’ve seen the sun set over Tokyo for one last time, you can head out to one of the seemingly endless number of karaoke bars in the city for a truly Japanese experience of bad singers and free flowing beer.
Looking to explore for more than 3 days in Tokyo? Our guide to all the weird and wonderful things to see and do in this city is a great place to start.
Tempted by all the things to see in Tokyo in 3 days? Download the Orbzii app to Dream, Plan, and Book your trip to Japan today!