Itinerary: Tokyo, Japan
If you ask me which city in this world I would like to revisit, I would probably say Tokyo, Japan.
In recent times, the entire country has gained greater exposure among travellers. Tokyo, specifically, is a vibrant city that never fails to impress me. I always discover something new each time I visit this capital city of Japan.
From its food and culture to its technology and its people, Tokyo is indeed a must-visit place when you are in Japan. However, for someone visiting for the first time, it can be quite overwhelming to choose things that you want to do. I can relate to that because I have been there done that. I’ve spent days to identify the places that I wanted to explore.
Most people have asked me, “What is the ideal duration to explore Tokyo?”. Well, it all depends on your budget and time. I would say three days is enough to explore the essence of the city.
In this article, I will share my recommendation on things you can explore here. Please take note that this is just a guide. You’re more than welcome to skip anything in which you’re not interested.
You can start your adventure at Chiyoda, which they consider a political centre of Tokyo. A lot of national institutions are located here.
First, visit Yasukuni Shrine, which is a Shinto shrine situated in a 600-metre long park, making it an ideal place to relax while admiring the shrine and tori gates.
If you’re a history buff and have extra time, a visit to Yushukan Museum sounds like a great idea. This museum showcases the history of Japan’s military and wars. You can learn stories from different periods in the country’s history.
About a 650-metre or 8-minute walk from Yushukan Museum, there is Kitanomaru Park. I have learned that this park used to be part of Edo Castle, which was the most important element of the city during a particular period. This place is also a venue for concerts or events. If you are lucky, you can witness one here.
Optional: Try to visit East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. It is just a 3-minute walk from Kitanomaru Park. Members of the public can only enter some parts of the area. There are several traditional buildings, gardens and small forests here. Great place for a relaxing walk before lunchtime and head to other areas.
When you’re done exploring Chiyoda, it’s time to explore the Asakusa area. It used to be an entertainment spot of the city although it is now more about history than entertainment. From any part of Chiyoda, simply hop on the Metro and go down at Asakusa Station.
From the station, walk for about eight minutes to Senso-ji Temple. People say your trip in Tokyo is not complete if you don’t make your way to this temple as it is considered the oldest in the city. Don’t forget to walk around Nakamise Street. There are lots of local snacks sold here and some of them are HALAL!
Just a few meters away from the temple, there is a Shinto shrine called Asakusa Shrine, which is worth a visit. To relax for a while, you can go to Ueno Park. This park is one of the first parks in this country. There are small shrines and several museums here for you to explore.
To end your first day, I recommend you to visit Akihabara. Getting here from Ueno Park is pretty easy. You can walk for 15 minutes or simply take a Metro ride and get off at Akihabara Station.
Those who are die-hard fans or just curious to explore the world of anime and manga in Japan looks like, this place is for you. Be sure to explore the shops because they have so many things to offer. More than anime and manga, this area is also famous for shops selling various kinds of electronic goods.
You may start your second day at Shibuya Crossing. I know people generally go to this, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing because of the crowd but exploring this area in the early morning can be a great experience too.
Be sure to meet the very famous Hachiko statue right after you get out of the train station. For a better photo spot, go to the Starbucks café and find a window seat.
Fashion enthusiasts, there is a spot for you in Tokyo. From Shibuya Station, take a Metro ride to Omotesando station. Omotesando is known as a fashion district. You will see a lot of shops selling stylish (read: quirky) clothing. Walk further until you reach Harajuku, another hot spot in this area. My favourite part is seeing and taking pictures with some youth in unique attire.
An ideal spot for a simple lunch: If you don’t fancy eating at a restaurant, just take away some food and go to Yoyogi Park.
Next is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Do you wish to experience a panoramic view of the city? This building is one of the places you should go. You might be lucky to see the view of the majestic Mount Fuji. If you’re coming from the Yoyogi Park area, take the Subway from Yoyogi station to Tocho-Mae station.
Spend your evening and night time in the Shinjuku area, said to be one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods of this city. It is pretty much similar to Shibuya. There are lots of restaurants, entertainment spots and of course, shops. The crowd in this area is bigger at night.
No trip in Tokyo is complete without visiting their local market. If you are really a morning person, you can go to Toyosu Fish Market to see the tuna auction where locals prepare to sell to some authentic Japanese restaurants.
After the fish market, you can continue to explore the Ginza area, which for me is more like a fancier district in the city. Shopaholics will definitely enjoy wandering around here. It is also a good place to spend if you love doing window shopping.
If you are looking for a good lunch spot, make your way to Tokyo Station Ramen Street. It is located around the main Tokyo station where there are various ramen restaurants located in a small underground alleyway.
For the rest of the day, it all depends on your schedule. There are more additional things to explore but the above are my rough suggestions on how you can explore Tokyo in three days.