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Where to Go in Tokyo in Three Days
- All Japan Tours
Picture | October 30th, 2019 | Dayna Hannah
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The most astonishing thing about Tokyo is that it has an eclectic mix of historical and modern sightseeing locations. You can sip sake under a cherry blossom then step into an arcade to play 4-D games on the same day. However, including its outlying areas, Tokyo is the biggest city in the world. It’s impossible to explore the entire metropolis in three days, let alone a week.

Tokyo’s 23 Wards have so many things to do you could spend an entire day in any neighborhood. If you only have three days, it’s best to plan your trip carefully but have some flexibility. To help you get started, we’ve prepared this suggested three-day itinerary. For each district that we mention here, we’ve also included alternative activities to help you design your perfect vacation.

DAY 1: FROM ASAKUSA TO AKIHABARA

Assuming you land in Narita Airport and are fighting jet lag, take it easy on your first day!

Asakusa Sensoji Temple

Asakusa Sensoji is the oldest and arguably the most beautiful Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Starting from the Kaminari Gate, you’ll proceed along Nakamise Dori. This centuries-old shopping street has numerous stands selling unique Japanese souvenirs. At the Main Hall, you can get a fortune, offer a prayer, or stop for a cup of matcha before moving on.

When to Go Here:
Asakusa Sensoji Temple gets extremely crowded with tourists and pilgrims. Try to go here on weekday mornings as Nakamise starts to open or at night when spotlights illuminate the Main Hall and pagoda. If possible, avoid going here the week after New Year’s Eve, public holidays, and during Golden Week.

What to Do Near Asakusa Sensoji Temple:
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center - You can get a gorgeous view of the temple from the roof.

Take a Rickshaw Ride - Outside of the Kaminari Gate, you can take a tour of the area on a rickshaw without a reservation.

Sumida River Cruise - The Sumida River is a short walk away from the temple. You can discover the beauty of the Asakusa neighborhood as you comfortably sit on a boat.

Tokyo SkyTree - Across the river, you’ll easily be able to spot Tokyo SkyTree. The tower stands at 634 meters, from where you can see the entire city. The lower floors also house shops, restaurants, and an aquarium.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park opened as Japan’s first Western-style park in 1873. The park was originally part of the Kaneiji Temple, which fell to ruins during the Boshin Civil War. Though the temple no longer exists, you can still find remnants of its vast grounds in different areas of the park.

When to Go Here:
The best time to go to Ueno Park is when the cherry blossoms bloom in Tokyo in late March and early April. From Keisei Ueno Station to the large fountain, cherry trees grow on either side of a long road. Their branches reach out towards each other, and during the peak bloom, they create a tunnel-like effect.

What to Do in Ueno Park:
Shinobazu Pond - To the southwest of the park, Shinobazu Pond was part of the former temple. You can rent paddle boats for a nominal fee and get a closer look at Bentendo, a temple hall that sits on an island in the middle.

Ueno Zoo - Ueno Zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan. Its star is the “baby” panda Xiang Xiang, who was born in 2017.

Any of the Museums - Ueno Park is home to many museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Natural Science Museum.

Akihabara

Akihabara is the capital of Otaku Culture, and fans of manga and anime can’t miss exploring this neighborhood. The shops specialize in merchandise such as retro video games, figurines, and other collectibles. After browsing the stores, stop by a whimsical maid cafe, or watch a performance by the idol group AKB48.

When to Go Here:
On Sundays, the main street gets closed off to car traffic, making it easier to walk between the shops. During this time, maids stand outside of their cafes and try to attract customers inside. On special occasions, you might also see cosplayers posing for photos or street performers putting on a show.

What to Do in Akihabara:
Yodobashi Camera - The Yodobashi Camera franchise has many locations across Japan, but this one is nine stories tall! If you’re looking for wacky gadgets, this is the place to go.

Mandarake - If you want to buy manga and anime-related merchandise for a fair price, head to Mandarake, which deals in second-hand goods.

Radio Center - Radio Center represents the epitome of Akihabara’s culture. There are more than thirty tiny electronic shops along the narrow alley.

VR Ninja Dojo - If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of Ninjutsu, VR Ninja Dojo is the place for you. While wearing a costume, you can learn sword fighting and other techniques, then test your skills in virtual reality.

DAY 2: FROM HARAJUKU TO SHINJUKU

Day two of jet lag makes most people wake up early. Take advantage of it, and go to these places before they get crowded!

Toyosu & Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the oldest running wholesale markets in Tokyo. Thanks to its feature in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it became a sought after destination for travelers. However, the Tsukiji location couldn’t keep up with the influx of shoppers, so the nearby Toyosu Market opened in 2018.

When to Go Here:
Both Toyosu and Tsukiji Fish Market get crowded by noon. Try to get here early in the morning and have sushi for breakfast!

What to Do in the Toyosu & Tsukiji Fish Markets:
Tuna Auctions at Toyosu Fish Market - Enthralling tuna auctions take place nearly every morning from 5:30 - 6:30 am, but only a limited number of visitors can enter. To make sure you can get in, plan to arrive two to three hours before the auctions start.

Tsukiji Outer Market - The “Jogai” is a maze of stalls and shops selling groceries and ready-to-serve dishes. Among the many specialties, you can eat sushi and sashimi, ramen, eel skewers, Japanese omelets, fresh fruit, and more!

Harajuku Takeshita Street

Harajuku is the center of Japan’s “Kawaii Culture,” and in the 1990s represented the height of Japanese streetwear. Although most people don’t wear Harajuku fashion anymore, you can still spot a few young women in doll-like clothes walking down Takeshita Street. Along this narrow road, you’ll also find shops selling clothes, souvenirs, and accessories.

When to Go Here:
Most of the stores open around 10:00 and 11:00 am. Head here on weekday mornings to avoid crowds.

What to Do in Harajuku:
Daiso - If you need to bring a lot of souvenirs back home, stop by Harajuku’s three-storied Daiso. This 100 yen shop offers fun, and surprisingly high quality, Japanese knick-knacks at affordable prices.

Purikura Land Noa - Experiencing a purikura photo booth is more than making a few funny faces with friends. The cameras “beautify” your features, and before printing your pictures, you can customize them with stickers, the date, or write short phrases.

Eat Crazy, Cute, Kawaii Food - There are a few small shops that sell treats on Takeshita Street. Among them, you’ll see giant cotton candy and rainbow-colored sandwiches.

Yoyogi Park

If you get caught up in the crowds on Takeshita Street, you’ll be happy to take a break in Yoyogi Park. The expansive city park features green lawns, forested areas, ponds, and hiking trails. There is also an outdoor theater, which often holds events and festivals throughout the year.

When to Go Here:
Yoyogi Park has thousands of gingko trees that turn brilliant shades of gold in autumn, and blooming cherry blossoms in spring. On Sundays, when the weather is warm, hobbyists of all kinds head to the park to practice their crafts. Among them, you might see dancers, musicians, models, photographers, and more.

What to Do in Yoyogi Park:
Flower Garden - Near the bridge that takes you to the outdoor theater is a white trellis surrounded by small beds that grow seasonal blooms.

Food Stalls - You can usually find street food stands at the entrance of the park.


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