Are you planning a quick trip to Tokyo? Maybe you have a stop-over or you just want to get as much as possible out of every day you spend in this multifaced city. I’m currently staying for a few months in Japan and my family will join me next week so I have been doing a lot of research. The list below is my example of a perfect day in Tokyo if you’re short on time. Enjoy!
(Also today I have a giveaway for all you people reading my blog!
You can find it from the end of this post.)
Breakfast in Tokyo
Let’s start our day in Tokyo with breakfast! Mornings are maybe my favorite time in the capital city of Japan because there’s nothing better than starting your travel day in Tokyo with some delicious pastries. Tokyo is the city of cafes so just find one fitting for you and eat something tasty. Don’t forget to replace your morning coffee with something more local like matcha latte or chai tea.
Morning in central Tokyo
(Tokyo Station, Character Street, KITTE, Kokyo Gaien, Imperial Palace)
After the breakfast in Tokyo, it’s time to start our one day adventure around Tokyo. There’s no way you can see all the major sights of Tokyo in so short timing but my Tokyo itinerary includes some of my favorites. The character street found under Tokyo Station is definitely one of the must-see things in Tokyo and Japan. This “street” or better-said corridor is full of shops of different brands from Pokemon to Totoro and anime characters. You could call character street the heaven of everything cute!
After exiting Tokyo Station continue your way to the close-by building named KITTE. You can do some shopping in this luxurious mall or even visit the museum but the thing I find must experience is on the top floor. KITTE’s rooftop garden is one of the best views you will see during your morning in Tokyo. The view towards Tokyo Stations older quarter is just what you need to take those cool holiday photos in Japan.
When you have taken enough photos and admired the views of Tokyo, it’s time to walk towards the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Don’t worry, if I couldn’t get lost finding it you can’t either! It’s just a small walk away from Tokyo Station. Unfortunately, the palace grounds aren’t open for public but you can walk around the Palace Garden. One of my must things to do in Tokyo. The admission is free so you can spend as much or as little time walking around the Japanse garden as you want.
Lunch in Tokyo
Depending on when you get hungry, I recommend eating lunch somewhere between leaving the central Tokyo and going to Ueno. It’s very easy to find restaurants in Tokyo so don’t stress too much! I’m not the expert when it comes to different dishes in Japan (I usually just eat randomly what looks good) but I would recommend for you tempura, tonkatsu, ramen or okonomiyaki.
Eating out in Tokyo may seem scary because you never know if the staff will speak English. Fortunately, most of the menus have photos or you will be handed English menu automatically. Many places will bring you the bill with your food (hidden to a case) and after eating you have to take it to the counter. But this is not the only custom so you should just follow what the locals do or ask for help.
Afternoon in Akihabara and Ueno
(Electric town, Ueno Park, Senso-Ji)
You may not have time to see all three places I mentioned (especially if you fall in love with Ueno as much as I did) but you can try! Start from the electric town of Akihabara and visit some of the countless anime shops, electronic stores or theme cafes. If you want to experience something that’s only a Japan thing, Akihabara is just the place you need to add on your Tokyo itinerary. Choose your favorite from the long list of cafes and restaurants differing from maid cafes full of cute girls in maid uniforms to animal cafes where you can pet everything from reptiles to owls.
From Akihabara, you could take a train straight to Ueno but walking the kilometer will be an experience on its own. Don’t worry, there’s no way you will get lost! Just walk the street next to the train tracks above you. If you want true Tokyo dinner, eat in one of those small restaurants under the tracks. On your way to Ueno, you should wander around the colorful shopping streets and even try local gambling game – Pachinko. I couldn’t tell you how these cames work even if I wanted so my tip is just to put some coins in and mash the buttons. It’s not hard to understand why Japanese people love playing these games. The colors and loud noises have their own charm.
When you finally find Ueno Station, you can’t miss Ueno Park right next to it. You could spend days discovering new things in this one park and especially on weekends there’s always something happening from street performers to festivals in Ueno Park. My favorites are the tunnel of red torii gates to Hanazono Inari Shrine, watching the tourist boats and waterlilies in Shinobazunoike Pond and, of course, getting a thai latte from the cute Starbucks to drink it next to the large fountain.
If you don’t spend your whole afternoon in Ueno Park or want to skip it to see more of the religious sights of Tokyo, make your way towards Senso-Ji. If you are on a budget, feel free to walk from Ueno to Senso-Ji and check out the interesting kitchen equipment stores on your way. Senso-Ji is one of the most important shrines in Tokyo. However, you shouldn’t get scared of the word shrine because Senso-Ji can be so much more! Shops full of souvenirs, locals wearing kimonos and yukatas, short walk to the statue of “Golden Poo” (yeah, don’t skip this one!), and perfect photo spots everywhere.
Dinner in Tokyo
For dinner, I have two choices for you. If you have enough money, find a sushi place! If not (or if you want to the more local itinerary in Tokyo), buy food from a convenience store. Don’t laugh at me! This is a very normal thing to do in Japan and in fact, the food is DELICIOUS. They will even heat it for you and give you chopsticks. Just find a small convenience store (bigger markets don’t usually heat the food for you) – for example, 7/11, Lawson or Family Mart.
Evening Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya
(Shopping, Metropolitan Government Building, Nightlife)
I know my Tokyo itinerary includes too many things to do in Tokyo. But if you’re leaving late or have all night to hang out in Tokyo, continue your way to Shinjuku or Shibuya after Senso-Ji. You can start by shopping. All of these streets – Shinjuku, Harajuku and, Shibuya – have shops worth your visit. Shibuya is more trendy and fresh, from Harajuku’s Takeshita Street you can find the oddest fashion items ever and Shinjuku is perfect for visiting all kinds of stores (my favorites are definitely the “English bookshop” Book Kinokuniya, Tokyu Hands and Tower Records).
After a small shopping spree, I recommend adding the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on your itinerary. Sounds dull, I know. Many people skip this attraction just because they don’t do enough research. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo. Despite the name, it’s an observation tower. Or well, in fact, two FREE observation towers. The north observation tower is open until 11 pm so you should have enough time to visit here and see Tokyo from the hights despite how long time the other things on my Tokyo itinerary will take.
I don’t party a lot but if you only have one night in Tokyo there’s no better way to spend it than giving the party life of Tokyo a go. Shinjuku and Shibuya side of Tokyo is just perfect for this. There’s something for everyone from big multistorey nightclubs to small cellar rock bars (went once one of those but its story for some other time…) Those travelers who want to experience the whole “Japan is crazy” atmosphere should book tickets to popular Robot Restaurant. Their shows are truly one of the kind…
Giveaway with GPSmyCity
Are you a traveler like me who loves discovering new cities by walking around on their own? In that case, you will love this opportunity to win a one-year subscription to GPSmyCity‘s mobile app. The app will turn your phone into an audio guide in over 1,000 cities worldwide.
GPSmyCity has given me this change to giveaway 10 annual subscriptions to their app for my readers! So, in two weeks (to be more specific on Sunday 26.8.2018) I will randomly choose 10 winners from people who have taken part in this contest.
How to participate in this giveaway? It’s easy! Just go to my Twitter @LostViivi and answer the question in tweet pinned to my profile. Or go straight to the tweet HERE to tell me “What has been your favorite travel destination of 2018?” You don’t have to follow me but it will make contacting you a lot easier in case of winning.
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Like always all comments are more than welcome and don’t forget to take part in the giveaway. And if you like my blog I recommend you to check my Twitter because what would be better than reading crazy travel stories in real time?