How Many Days in Tokyo Do You Need?

Wondering how many days to spend in Tokyo on your next trip? This Tokyo itinerary shows you what you can do and see in Tokyo in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days, so you can decide how long you need for Tokyo.

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Tokyo is on everyone’s Japan itinerary so it is not a question of whether you should visit Tokyo, but really the question is how long you should spend in Tokyo.

Tokyo is a large city, with a ton of amazing things to do: from historical temples to modern skyscrapers to interactive art exhibits, quirky cafes and unique activities like the super hero street karts.

Since Tokyo is so awesome, you are probably wondering how long is enough for Tokyo. This Tokyo itinerary post will show you what you can do in Tokyo in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days, what day trips you can take from Tokyo and where things are in Tokyo, so you can decide how many days in Tokyo is the best for you.

Planning a Japan vacation?

I (and my family) love going to Japan to explore different cities and places.

From first timers’ favorite cities like Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo to awesome day trips such as Nara, Arashiyama, Miyajima, Kamakura, Nikko to the picturesque towns near Mt. Fuji, my blog has detailed information for you!

In addition, you can save a ton of money on Tokyo attractions (like TeamLabs, Disney, Shibuya Sky) with this Tokyo attraction pass.

How to visit ghibly museum tokyo

How Many Days in Tokyo Do You Need?

  • You need at least 3 days in Tokyo if it’s your first time visiting Tokyo. 3 Days in Tokyo allow you to see most of the major sights if you fully pack your day.

  • 2 days in Tokyo may be sufficient if you have been to Tokyo previously. Without the need to visit all the touristy sites, 2 days in Tokyo allows you to check out new places or to revisit your favorite places in Tokyo.

  • 5 to 7 days in Tokyo allows you to explore Tokyo at a slower pace and more in depth. You can also do a couple of day trips from Tokyo with 5 to 7 days in Tokyo.

Ultimately how many days in Tokyo depends on a variety of factors mentioned in the next section.

Pinterest Pin: How many days in Tokyo is enough? The Ultimate Tokyo itinerary for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days

What to Consider When Deciding How Long to Spend in Tokyo

There are so many factors that go into deciding just how long is long enough for Tokyo. I will list out some of the most important things and you will need to ask yourself these questions. By answering these questions you will have a better idea of how many days in Tokyo to visit.

  • Is this your first time in Tokyo?
  • How many days in Japan are you spending?
  • What do you want to see and do in Tokyo?
  • What type of traveler are you?
  • Are you planning to do day trips from Tokyo?

You should spend 3 or more days for first time in Tokyo

Tokyo is BIG and it is spread out. There really are so many things to do in Tokyo. Being so spread out also means it takes time to go from place to place in Tokyo and you need to prioritize what you want to see.

If it’s your first time in Tokyo, you probably want to see all the famous attractions (mentioned later in this Tokyo itinerary). But honestly, you simply won’t be able to see everything in Tokyo with less than 3 days (I mean you could, but you probably need to get up at 5am and go home at 1am to do that).

If you have already visited Tokyo before, there are things you can skip, so you might not need more than 2 days for the “core” things in Tokyo.

So whether it’s your first time in Tokyo or not can help you decide how many days in Tokyo you need.

Trains in Tokyo - how to get around Tokyo

Look at your Japan itinerary as a whole, and figure out what you want to see in Japan besides Tokyo

Japan is not just Tokyo and seeing Tokyo does not mean you’ve been to Japan. In fact I find Tokyo so different from the rest of Japan!

Are you visiting Japan just to see Tokyo? If that’s the case, then you can spend a week or two in Tokyo to fully explore it.

There are cool places in Japan like Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagano, Wakayama, the entire Kyushu region and nature in Hokkaido that you might want to add to your Japan itinerary. If you only have 10 days in Japan, you will need to figure out how to allocate those days.

Figure out what you want to do, see and eat in Tokyo

Are you into temples? Do you want to shop? Do you want to check out all the various observation decks in Tokyo? Are you planning to go to all the cute cafes and popular restaurants in Tokyo? All of these take time.

Research things to do in Tokyo and places to eat, read Google reviews on how long people spend at each place. Popular restaurants in Tokyo always have a long line, you could be waiting from 30 minutes to more than an hour, again, that cuts into your limited time in Tokyo.

Are you a chill traveler or an intense one?

If you are the type to wake up at 9, eat breakfast at the hotel till 10 and take your time at places, you will need more days in Tokyo (like 5 or more days) to explore at a comfortable pace.

If you are like me and can get up super early just for photos, maximize every single second and every single day (yup I know, it’s not really a vacation), then you don’t need that many days in Tokyo.

Look at what you want to do and your travel style, you will then figure out how many days in Tokyo works best for you.

Yokohama-Ferris-Wheel- day trip from Tokyo
Yokohama

Want to do day trips outside of Tokyo?

There are so many day trip ideas from Tokyo and it is super easy to use Tokyo as a base. If you are thinking about doing day trips from Tokyo (and I highly encourage that you do), you will need at least 4 days in Tokyo.

Best Things to Do in Tokyo

Before you can figure out how long to spend in Tokyo, you need to know what there is to do in Tokyo right? Below is a list of the most popular areas of Tokyo to visit as well as things to do in those neighborhoods, so you can start mapping them on your Google Maps and draft a tentative itinerary.

Check out different neighborhoods in Tokyo

Tokyo is made of various different districts. Some are very popular among tourists whereas others are mainly residential. No matter how many nights you are spending in Tokyo, you will inevitably check out some of these popular touristy areas:

  • Shibuya: one of the most touristy areas in Tokyo. Known for its Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Shibuya Sky, shopping, dining, and entertainment, Shibuya is a must-do for any Tokyo itineraries.

  • Harajuku: Often visited together with Shibuya, Harajuku is another shopping and entertainment district known for quirky and youthful fashion, themed cafes, and shopping centers. If you’ve seen giant and colorful cotton candies or delicious crepes, they are probably from Harajuku.

  • Shinjuku: Shinjuku is another popular business and entertainment district in Tokyo. Shinjuku has one of the largest train and bus stations in Tokyo, and it is home to many izakayas, bars, restaurants, and other adult entertainment.

  • Ginza: Ginza is an upscale district in Tokyo, famous for its high end shopping centers, Kabuki theater, Art Aquarium Museum, and its proximity to the Tsukiji Outer Market.

  • Asakusa: One of the most famous historic neighborhoods in Tokyo, Asakusa is popular among tourists for Sensoji, a Buddhist temple, Tokyo Skytree, a popular observation deck, street markets and vendors.

  • Akihabara: Akihabara is known as the electronic district in Tokyo. It has some of the largest electronic stores, gaming stores, and manga (comic book) stores in Tokyo. There are also maid cafes in Akihabara.

  • Odaiba: Located on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Odaiba is a futuristic district. It has one of the two teamLabs, shopping center, science museums, Fuji TV Building, Seaside Park, and a giant Gundam statue.

There are many other interesting districts in Tokyo worth checking out, such as Roppongi, Omotesando, Nakano, etc.

Go to a Fish Market

Tsukiji Outer Market Japan

One of the most famous fish markets in Tokyo, if not in Japan, is Tsukiji Outer Market. Located not too far from Ginza, a visit to this famous fish market is another must-do for any Tokyo itinerary.

Even though you won’t see the iconic tuna auctions at this market now, you can still find a ton of stalls and restaurants to eat at, even early in the morning. If you have an hour or two to spare, be sure to visit the Tsukiji Outer Market when in Tokyo.

Check Out a Shrine or Two

There are no shortages of shrines and temples in Tokyo or near Tokyo. You don’t need to go to all of them since you probably will get bored after one or two.

Meiji Shrine is the most popular shrine to check out if it’s your first time in Tokyo. Located in Shibuya, Meiji Shrine occupies a large forested area, and it is a nice get away from the busy Tokyo streets.

Explore the large forested area, see the giant Torii gate, stacks of sake barrels, the main hall, gardens, and the new museum. If you are lucky, you may also witness a traditional Japanese wedding at Meiji Shrine.

Another popular temple is Sensoji Temple that I mentioned above. Located in Asakusa, Sensoji Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Its beautiful five story pagoda, coupled with the shopping street leading up to it, is one of the best attractions in Tokyo.

Nezu Shrine is another shrine worth visiting when in Tokyo. Located near Ueno Park, Nezu Shrine is known for its rows of red torii gates (similar to Fushimi Inari near Kyoto), as well as its Azalea Festival, a beautiful flower festival.

Go Up an Observation Deck in Tokyo

Shibuya Sky sunset time

Besides shrines, another thing Tokyo does not lack is an observatory. There are a ton of different observatories in Tokyo, some cost money whereas others are free. The following are the most popular observation decks in Tokyo:

  • Shibuya Sky in Shibuya
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku (free)
  • Tokyo Skytree in Asakusa
  • Azabudai Hills Observation Deck in Minato City (free)
  • Tokyo Tower in Minato City
  • Tokyo City View in Roppongi

Experience Digital Art

Digital Art is not a new concept in Tokyo, in fact Tokyo has some of the best digital art museums and experiences in the world.

TeamLabs Planets TOKYO interior

teamLabs PLANETS and teamLabs Borderless are both based in Tokyo, with different exhibits in different locations. Both teamLabs offer amazing experiences for both adults and kids, coupled with incredible photo opportunities.

If you have time, you should aim to do both teamLabs in Tokyo. But if you only have time for one, you will still love the experience.

Drive a Mario Kart in Tokyo

Mario Kart Tokyo

Did you know that you can drive a real life Mario Kart in Tokyo? You can literally dress up as a superhero and drive a Go Kart on the streets of Tokyo.

Located in different areas of Tokyo with different routes, Mario Kart in Tokyo is one of the most unique things you can do in Tokyo. Depending on the route you pick, you can literally drive through Shibuya Scramble Crossing or speed through Rainbow Bridge.

Read my complete guide on Tokyo Mario Kart to find out more.

There are so many more things you can do in Tokyo, such as:

  • Go shop at the largest Uniqlo store in the world
  • Visit the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (and its gardens)
  • Get coffee at a themed cafe (like Pokemon Cafe, Kirby Cafe, animal cafes, or maid cafe)
  • Go to Disneyland Tokyo or DisneySea (something unique to Tokyo)
  • Relax in one of the many urban parks in Tokyo, such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or Ueno Park
  • Buy vintage watches from Nakano Broadway
  • Watch sumo wrestling or practice
  • Catch a baseball game at Tokyo Dome
  • Visit Ghibli Museum if you are a Miyazaki fan
  • Experience the Samurai Restaurant for its dinner show

How Many Days in Tokyo Do You Need?

Now that you know roughly what is there to do in Tokyo, let’s see how long in Tokyo is enough to do these things! (Hint, it can take quite a few days!)

Is 2 Days in Tokyo Enough?

With only 2 days in Tokyo, you can see some of the top attractions, and you will have a very full two days. This 2 day Tokyo itinerary covers sights on both the west side and east side of Tokyo and I grouped everything by location so you can be as efficient as possible!

What You Can See with 2 Days in Tokyo

Day 1 in Tokyo: Western Tokyo

  • Morning: Stroll through Meiji Temple and check out the vibrant Harajuku for youth fashion and themed cafes
  • Afternoon: Check out the popular Shibuya neighborhood and take a city break at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
  • Evening: Spend the evening in Shinjuku to check out izakayas and bars in Golden Gai and Piss Alley (Omoide Yokocho)

Day 2 in Tokyo: Eastern Tokyo

  • Morning: Stop by Tsukiji outer Market to grab some yummy sushi breakfast, then head to TeamLabs PLANETS for an amazing interactive digital art experience
  • Noon: Grab lunch and walk around the glamorous Ginza area
  • Afternoon: Stop by Asakusa for Sensoji and all the street vendors before heading over to the electronic district of Akihabara

Is 3 Days in Tokyo Enough?

Sample 3 Day Tokyo Itinerary

3 Days in Tokyo is a good starting point to explore Tokyo, especially as a first time visitor. You can follow the 2 day Tokyo itinerary above, but spend more time in each location to explore each neighborhood more in depth. Or you can follow this sample 3 Day Tokyo itinerary below.

What You Can See with 3 Days in Tokyo

Below is a summary of how to spend 3 days in Tokyo:

Day 1 in Tokyo

  • Morning: Take a stroll in Meiji Temple before heading over to Harajuku for shopping, lunch, and themed cafes
  • Afternoon: Check out Shibuya, do some shopping and head over to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for a relaxing walk
  • Evening: Get dinner and drinks in Shinjuku. If you are not too tired, go up the Metropolitan Government’s building for a night view of Tokyo for free

Day 2 in Tokyo:

  • Morning: Check out Tsukiji Outer Market in the morning and grab some breakfast. Take the train to Tokyo Imperial Palace for a tour of the garden and the inside
  • Evening: Go to teamLabs Borderless and go up Tokyo Tower. End the evening grabbing dinner and drinks at Sky Lounge Stellar Garden with a view of Tokyo Tower

Day 3 in Tokyo:

  • Morning: Spend the morning in Asakusa to check out Sensoji, the pedestrian streets nearby and head over to Ueno Park
  • Afternoon: Make your way over to Akihabara if you are a fan of electronics, gadgets, video games or mangas. Spend the afternoon doing the adventurous Tokyo Mario Kart.
  • Evening: End your evening in the nightlife district of Roppongi, where you will find a lot of expat restaurants, bars and clubs.

3 days in Tokyo is a good amount of time to explore the main attractions of Tokyo at a comfortable pace. In fact I think 3 days is the perfect starting point to see Tokyo for the first time (without doing any day trips).

Is 4 Days in Tokyo Enough?

Sample 4 Day Tokyo Itinerary

4 Days in Tokyo is the perfect amount of time to spend in Tokyo, you can either spend all 4 days going around Tokyo proper or go on a day (or half day) trip near Tokyo. This 4 day Tokyo itinerary will be building on the previous 3 days in Tokyo itinerary so you can see what else you can do in Tokyo.

As stated in the previous 3 day itinerary, you can spend your first 3 days in Tokyo like this:

  • Day 1: Explore Western Tokyo neighborhoods: Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku
  • Day 2: Visit Tsukiji Outer Market, Tokyo Imperial Palace, explore Ginza, go up Tokyo Tower, experience teamLabs Borderless and have dinner and drinks near the Tokyo Tower
  • Day 3: Morning visit to Sensoji and pedestrian streets in Asakusa, relax in Ueno Park (and visit a museum), electronic (or gaming) shopping in Akihabara, dress up as superheroes driving a Go Kart around, and grab a drink or go to a club in Roppongi

On your last day during 4 days in Tokyo, you can do a variety of different things! Here are a few options for you:

  • Museums: If you are a big fan of art (or history), then you can spend your 4th day in Japan exploring some of the best museums, such as the Mori Art Museum, the Yayoi Kusama Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, Fujiko Fujio Museum (if you love Doraemon) and even the Ghibli Museum!
Ghibli-Museum in Tokyo itinerary and things to do

  • Tokyo Skytree: I mentioned a few observation decks for your first 3 days in Tokyo, but I left out SkyTree, which was slightly out of the way. But if you have time, be sure to stop by SkyTree, the tallest observation tower in Tokyo. Tokyo Skytree is included in this Tokyo attraction pass.

  • Shopping: if I only had 4 days in Tokyo, you bet I would spend at least half a day shopping. Besides the usual chain stores and luxury boutiques, there are a number of unique shops and even second hand stores. Nakano Broadway for example, is famous for 2nd hand watches and the Kappabashi area is for knife stores.

  • Watch a Baseball Game: Baseball games are huge in Japan so if you are a baseball fan, you definitely should not miss the chance to watch a game in Tokyo. Games are held for most of the year between March to October and almost everyday (except Monday). Get tickets online and watch at Tokyo Dome!

Tokyo Dome Baseball game

  • Half day trips: You can always take short half-day trips to Gotokuji Temple (the cat temple), Yokohama, or go Totoro hunting at Donguri Kyowakoku and Totoro Fund Kurosuke’s House.

Is 5 Days in Tokyo Enough? Is 7 Days in Tokyo Enough?

Sample 5 to 7 Day Tokyo Itinerary

With 5 to 7 days in Tokyo, you not only get to fully explore Tokyo but also have opportunities to take unique day trips from Tokyo.

Again this 5 to 7 day Tokyo itinerary will be building on the previous 4 days. In the first 4 days in Tokyo, you most likely stayed in Tokyo proper and got to see the most famous and touristy areas of Tokyo.

Now with 5, 6 or even 7 days in Tokyo, you will be spending the time on various day trips outside of Tokyo. You will use Tokyo as a base and return every night, and most of these day trips can be done either by yourself or with a tour.

Some of the best day trips from Tokyo include:

  • Kamakura: a popular seaside city about 90 minutes from Tokyo. It is known for the Big Buddha, temples, beach, access to Enoshima and its association with Slam Dunk. Read my detailed Kamakura day trip guide for more information.

  • Hakone: one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo, Hakone is famous for its hot springs, view of Mt. Fuji, boat ride on Lake Ashinoko, ropeway ride to Owakudani, Hakone Shrine, etc. Be sure to get the Hakone Pass so you don’t need to pay for transportation once there.

  • Mt. Fuji: you can easily spend 2 days near Mt. Fuji but with one day, you can go to all the photo spot or a classic sightseeing tour, or do a do-it-yourself self guided tour to visit Lake Kawaguchi area, take the ropeway up to Tenjoyama Park, go to Chureito pagoda, see Oishi Park, etc.

  • Nikko: a popular day trip to see the various Shinto and Buddhist temples such as Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, Futarasan Shrine, as well as Shinkyo Bridge, Kanmangafuchi Abyss and various waterfalls. In addition, you can visit Edo Wonderland from Nikko as a day trip in itself (departing from Nikko).

  • Hitachi Seaside Park: if you are visiting between April and May, you may want to take a day trip to Hitachi Seaside Park to see the famous blue nemophila flowers during their peak bloom (tour option here).

  • Kawagoe: Known for temples and also its “Little Edo”, Kawagoe is less than an hour from Tokyo and it transports you back to the Edo Period with its traditional buildings.

With 5, 6 or 7 days in Tokyo, you can take a few day trips to explore outside of Tokyo. You could spend all 7 days in Tokyo itself but the day trips definitely diversify your experience. 5 to 7 days really allows you to fully explore Tokyo and beyond.

Personally my favorite picks would be Hakone, Kamakura and Mt. Fuji area. I do get temple fatigues so seeing temples everyday is not my thing.

Other Tokyo Travel Information You Should Know

Once you decide how many days in Tokyo you might need, here are some even more practical information to help you plan your Tokyo itinerary.

  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • ATMs and Money Exchanges: 7-Eleven is great for taking out cash. If you are American, I highly recommend getting a Charles Schwab ATM card. They will reimburse you global ATM transaction fees and ATMs generally give you the best exchange rate.
  • Voltage in Japan is 100V. You can technically use a US plug in Japan. If you are from Europe, then you will need an adapter.
  • Tap water is safe to drink in Tokyo
  • Cash is needed in Tokyo, there are restaurants, stores and street stalls that only take cash.
  • Tokyo has 2 airports, Narita and Haneda. Both are convenient to get into Tokyo city center but Haneda is closer.
  • You won’t find trash cans in Tokyo. Bring a small bag to use as a garbage bag and throw away your trash at the end of the day.
  • There is no paper towel in public bathrooms in Tokyo, bring a small towel to dry your hands (or air dry them).
  • Most popular Tokyo attractions (even Disneyland, FujiQ, Hakone Day trip) are included in this Tokyo attraction pass and calculation shows it can save you a ton of money.
  • Best time to visit Tokyo is between mid March and April during cherry blossom season and between mid October to December for fall foliage. Summer (and even September) is super hot and humid and you will feel miserable.
  • Best way to get around Tokyo is to take public transportation. You should get an IC card (Suica or Pasmo) and load money on them. Or you can add them to your Apple Wallet and load money using Mastercard or Amex (Visa doesn’t seem to work).
  • You should not be walking and eating in Tokyo, it is considered rude. If you get street food, eat at designated areas near the stall.
Sensoji street in Asakusa - Tokyo itinerary and travel guide

Summary: How Long Do You Need for Tokyo?

Based on the 2 to 7 day Tokyo itinerary above, you should have a pretty good idea of what you can see in Tokyo if you have 2, 3, 4, 5 to 7 days.

With 2 days in Tokyo, you are really rushing to see the most famous districts and attractions in Tokyo. You will only get to spend 2 hours at each place before jumping to another area if you want to see them all (and also eat at sit down restaurants).

With 3 days in Tokyo, you get to explore at a more reasonable pace, spend a little more time at places you enjoy, see the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower and other landmarks that you couldn’t see if you only had 2 days.

With 4 days in Tokyo you really get more time to fully explore, eat and shop. You can even do some half-day trips to nearby cities from Tokyo.

With 5, 6, or 7 days in Tokyo, you can do several day trips from Tokyo, from Kamakura to Hakone to Mt. Fuji and many more! 5 to 7 days allow you to not only explore Tokyo but also the famous towns and areas from Tokyo.

Tips on Planning the Perfect Tokyo Itinerary

  • Pin all the Tokyo attractions you want to go (and restaurants you want to eat at) on Google Maps
  • Research how long you need at each attraction/ restaurant in Tokyo
  • Map out how long it takes you to get around Tokyo from place to place
  • Draft a rough Tokyo itinerary and refine it
  • Give yourself a buffer in case things don’t work out or you encounter really bad weather

Other Japan Travel Articles By Me

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