Who doesn't have Tokyo on the bucket list? Its historical monuments, exceptional museums, and high-tech entertainments make the best of your Instagram feed. For me personally is the walk under the cherry blossoms and electric fashion. Don't even get me started on the delicious food. With Japan opening up its borders after two years, now is the perfect time to plan your dream vacation to Tokyo. And for that, we've got you covered.
Day 1: Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Shibuya Sky, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Hachiko Monument, Uobei Restaurant
We begin our tour of Tokyo in the middle of the fashion district! Harajuku has been the center of Japanese clothing trends for years! The area does not only specialize in clothes but also a wide variety of products like souvenirs and all things kawaii! Our particular favorite in the region is Takeshita Street, which has both international and local styles with vintage and high-end luxury brands on offer!
While in Harajuku, you cannot miss a quick visit to the Meiji Shrine. Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, it is located just beside the Yoyogi Park which makes up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. These grounds are perfect for a seasonal stroll and a breath of fresh air in the city.
Next up is a short journey to the Shibuya district, another famous shopping destination, this time with a bit more variety than Harajuku. Here, you’ll see more shopping complexes and office buildings, which create a stunning cityscape. If you want to get the best perspective of this, then head up to a roof-top observation deck, Shibuya Sky.
Just a short walk after, you come across the infamous ‘Shibuya Scramble Crossing’. It is widely known as the busiest crossing in the world with more than 3,000 pedestrians at any given time during peak hours! Just remember to always look both ways!
Once you’ve tackled the crossing, our next recommendation is to go and visit the Hachiko Monument. If you hadn’t heard of this already, this is a bronze statue of a Japanese Akita dog. His name is Hachiko or Hachi, and is inspired by a dog who would wait for his owner, years after his unfortunate death. The statue was commissioned to represent loyalty and faith and well worth a visit, even just to stroke it!
Four stops in a row can build up quite an appetite, so we’ve got just the thing to keep your hunger at bay! If you think you’ve seen high tech sushi restaurants, then think again. There are no conveyor belts in Uobei Restaurant. Orders are placed through multi-language touch screens, and then received through chutes to your table! At only ¥110 for each item on the menu, you won’t find a better price anywhere else.
Day 2: Tsukiji market, Ginza, Kabuki theatre, Akihabara, Ueno Park, Robot restaurant.
After a good night’s sleep, it's time to jump in Day 2 full of the best highlights of Japanese culture. First up is Tsukiji market, a few blocks of wholesale and retail shops, as well as restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. Here is undoubtedly the best place to find fresh seafood.
The length of this first destination will depend on how long you want to mill around browsing, but bear in mind we’ve got another market up next with a very different focus. The Ginza is all about primetime luxury shopping options. This is the original Western-style Japanese shopping district with all the most well-known brands located there. The wide boulevards and narrow lanes of Ginza are lined with high-end boutiques, department stores and exclusive restaurants. In particular, we recommend Chuo-dori Street, Harum-dori Street, and the Ginza Graphic Gallery.
Musical fans listen up! Our following destination is the infamous Kabuki theatre. Bearing the same reputation as Broadway or the West End in Japan, it promises an out-of-this-world experience. The theater stages regular performances of the classical Japanese dance-drama artform, Kabuki.
More district exploring to follow, and arguably this is the most well-known. The Akihabara district, often abbreviated as Akiba, is among the most internationally famous neighborhoods in Tokyo. This is THE place to go for all things anime and design. Akiba has the highest concentration of manga, anime merch, and maid cafes you can find in any one place anywhere and is worth going to just for the experience!
Finally, we come to Ueno Park, one of Tokyo's largest parks and a popular hanami (which translates to flower viewing) spots that is visited by over 10 million people each year. There are so many things to do in Ueno Park, such as visiting museums, wandering around the zoo, or just staring at the sakura trees. The cherry trees are unmissable and perfect for hanami festivals, as well as many Ginkgo biloba trees.
You guessed it, it's meal time again. This time, we’ve chosen the unmistakable Robot restaurant. You may never have heard of a robot-themed cabaret style dining experience, and it definitely has to be seen to be believed! It is decked out in electric colors and lights, accompanied with some equally strong music. It’s something you’ll never forget!
Day 3: Imperial Palace, Kōkyo-gaien, Sensoji, Tokyo Skytree, Ninja Restaurant, Rappongi,
For our last day, we’re starting at the other end of the spectrum! A visit to the Imperial Palace is on any visitor’s list, and there are so many reasons why.
The Palace was the largest fortress in the world for many years, though little remains today. It is still home to the current area, so the majority is off-limits to the public. Surrounding the palace is Kōkyo-gaien, a national garden, which includes public green spaces, moats and museums. The pretty East Gardens are open to the public all year round, and can be entered without a guide.
Next for you, we have the Sensoji, perhaps the most famous and photographed of Tokyo's temples. It is the oldest Buddhist temple in the capital and stands at a massive five stories. Legend has it that two fishermen caught a golden statue of Kannon—the merciful nirvana achiever—in what is now the Sumida River. Despite trying to return the figure to the river multiple times it always came back to them. Being recognized as Kannon, it was enshrined.
Nearby, the Tokyo Skytree towers above the city, acting as a television broadcasting landmark of Tokyo. It stands at 634 meters tall and is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. Not to mention that it has a large shopping complex with an aquarium located at its base.
Food time! We’ve lined up the Japanese Ninja Restaurant, which combines the fascinating history of Japan with a top-notch dining experience. We dare you to have as much as you can after a long day of sightseeing!
After your meal, there’s one final district we’d recommend you visit. Rappongi has much more of an arty, party atmosphere with lively, bubbling streets. Enjoy late evening shopping or even hit the clubs and bars for a refreshing drink.
If not, check out this final place on our list, full of food and stalls. Uoshin Nogizaka is a two-floor space that has a down-to-earth street food vibe: you sit on beer crates and dine at tables upcycled from wooden boxes, and the atmosphere is always fun and lively.
Tokyo in three days is a tough task, but we think we kind of nailed it. A place of such culture and with a friendly atmosphere, we’ve chosen destinations to give you an authentic feel, with popular tourist destinations and a few of our own hidden gems. Make sure to take lots of photos and enjoy the cherry blossom!