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.
This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
How Many Days in Tokyo Do You Need?
If this is your first time in Tokyo, then you need at least 3 days in Tokyo to see the major sights, and that is if you fully pack your day. Most people spend at least 3 to 5 days in Tokyo to include some day trips around Tokyo.
If you have been to Tokyo previously, then you can spend 2 days in Tokyo to check out new places or to revisit your favorite places in Tokyo (I have been to Shibuya 4 times and it’s still not enough!).
You can easily spend a week or 7 days in Tokyo to include some fascinating day trips!
Ultimately how many days in Tokyo depends on a variety of factors mentioned in the next section.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to plan an efficient Tokyo itinerary (and figure out how many days in Tokyo is enough)
Follow these simple steps to plan your Tokyo itinerary whether it’s 3 days or 7 days. I am a super organized trip planner and below are my biggest tips on how to plan a trip.
Pin things you want to go (and places you want to eat at) on Google Maps
Google Maps will be your best friend. Save everything you want to see and places to eat in Tokyo on your Google Maps. Why? This will give you a visual map of what things are close to each other, so you can visit them on the same day.
Research how long you need at each attraction/ restaurant in Tokyo
As you save Tokyo attractions on your Google Maps, read the reviews from other travelers! Many times people will say how long they waited to get in, what time they went, how long they spent, etc. This is especially true for restaurants, since not every place takes reservations.
Map out how long it takes you to get around Tokyo
Tokyo is big and spread out, you will need to take the train (or a taxi even) from place to place in Tokyo and that takes time.
This is why it’s important to map things out on a map and visit the ones near each other first. For things that are not close by, use Google Maps or Japan Transit Planner (app) to map out routes so you know how long you need to get from place to place.
Draft a rough Tokyo itinerary
Knowing where you want to go, how long to spend and how long it takes to get from place to place lay the foundation of your Tokyo itinerary.
I find using Google Sheets (or Excel) is the easiest way for me to plan a Tokyo itinerary (or any trips for that matter). But you don’t have to do it as precisely as I do since I understand many people like to just explore and not be restricted with time.
Whatever you do, just write down a rough itinerary to keep yourself organized. As you draft a rough Tokyo itinerary, you may realize you need more (or rarely, less) time in Tokyo than you originally thought.
Give yourself a buffer
Throughout all my travels, one biggest mistake I make when planning a trip is making things too tight. I know you don’t have unlimited time to spend in Tokyo or in Japan, but give yourself a buffer!
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
Below is a summary of how to spend 2 days in Tokyo:
Day 1 in Tokyo: Western Tokyo
Morning: Meiji Temple & Harajuku
Afternoon: Shibuya & Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Day 2 in Tokyo: Eastern Tokyo
Morning: Tsukiji Outer Market & TeamLabs PLANETS
Afternoon: Sensoji & Asakusa
Late Afternoon: Akihabara
Evening: Shibuya or Shinjuku
Day 1 in Tokyo: Western Tokyo – Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku
On your first day in Tokyo, you will spend the day exploring the western side of Tokyo, which includes the popular neighborhoods of Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku. I put Shinjuku last because it is best to explore at night with all the bars and interesting streets.
You will start your morning at Meiji Temple, one of the most iconic Shinto shrines in Japan. Explore the large forested area, see the giant Torii gate, stacks of sake barrels, the main hall, gardens, and the new museum. If you have time and love nature, be sure to stop by Yoyogi Park next to Meiji Temple.
Make your way to Harajuku, a vibrant district known for kawaii (cutesy) fashion, quirky shops, themed cafes and animal cafes. Walk down the famous Takeshita Street, stop by Tokyu Plaza for its mirrored kaleidoscope escalator and check out designer boutiques in Omotesando.
Around noon or early afternoon, check out the district of Shibuya, the most famous neighborhood in Tokyo. Walk across the Shibuya Scramble Crossing (or enjoy it from the Starbucks next to it), check out some of the unique stores in Shibuya (like Shibuya 109, Tokyu Hands, MEGA Don Quijote).
In the late afternoon, stop by Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, a large public park famous for its gardens, especially during the cherry blossom seasons.
End your evening in Shinjuku, the bustling entertainment and business district. Check out the red light district of Shinjuku Kabukicho, grab a drink at one of the 200 bars in Golden Gai, and grab some skewers from izakayas in Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane/ Piss Alley).
Lastly, visit the free observatory at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (closes at 10pm) for a sweeping view of Tokyo.
Day 2 in Tokyo: Eastern Tokyo – Tsukiji, TeamLabs, Ginza, Asakusa, Akihabara
After an eventful first day in Tokyo on this 2 day itinerary, you will be exploring the east side of Tokyo on your 2nd day. Again, since you only have 2 days in Tokyo, this will be a super packed day so you can see as much as possible.
In the afternoon, explore the Asakusa neighborhood, known for the Buddhist temple Sensoji. Be sure to walk through the Thunder Gate (Kaminarimon) and check out the stalls at Nakamise, the famed pedestrian shopping street leading up to Sensoji. Keep in mind that most stalls and shops close by 6pm.
Other shopping streets to explore near Sensoji include Shin-Nakamise and Kappabashi shopping streets. If it’s a nice day (especially during cherry blossom), you can walk to Sumida Park and see the view of Tokyo Skytree across the river.
Finish your day in Akihabara, the manga and electronic district of Japan. Be sure to check out the multi-story Yodobashi electronics store. There are also many anime/ manga shops as well as gaming stores like Super Potato and Gamers. Lastly, if maid cafes are your thing (maid cafes are where waitresses dress up and act like maids in anime), you will find plenty of them in Akihabara.
If you are staying in Shibuya or Shinjuku, you can go back to these areas to enjoy the nightlife.
Based on the above 2 day itinerary, you can see that 2 days is barely enough to see Tokyo. Everything is super rushed and you don’t get to spend more than 2-3 hours in one neighborhood. If you just want to see a bit of everything (and not spend too much time eating), 2 days in Tokyo might be enough, but I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for a first time Tokyo trip.
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: Meiji Temple & Harajuku
Afternoon: Shibuya & Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Day 2 in Tokyo:
Morning: Tsukiji Outer Market & Tokyo Imperial Palace
Afternoon: Tokyo Tower & Ginza
Evening: TeamLabs & Odaiba
Day 3 in Tokyo:
Morning: Asakusa + Ueno
Afternoon: Akihabara + Street Kart
Day 1 in Tokyo: Western Tokyo – Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku
You will be able to check out Shibuya including Shibuya Sky, Shibuya Scramble Crossing and cool shops and restaurants in Shibuya before moving onto Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, to enjoy the oasis in the bustling city.
Day 2 in Tokyo: Tsukiji, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Ginza, TeamLabs
The 2nd day of your 3 days in Tokyo itinerary will be slightly different from the 2 day Tokyo itinerary above. Since you have one more day now, you can see more things!
Again, start your morning exploring Tsukiji Outer Market and grab some food there. Be sure to go early (like before 8am) since some stalls already have long lines at 6:30am. Eat a lot as this will be your breakfast or even brunch!
Depending on how much time you have, you can grab food and drinks at Sky Lounge Stellar Garden or Tofuya Ukai, both have amazing views of Tokyo Tower. You can also go to teamLab Borderless when it opens in Feb 2024 as well as the free observation deck at Azabudai Hills.
Day 3 in Tokyo: Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara, Roppongi
The last day of your 3 day Tokyo itinerary will be spent exploring some of the most interesting districts in Tokyo.
Similar to the 2nd day of your 2 day Tokyo itinerary, you will start your morning in Asakusa in Eastern Tokyo, visit Sensoji and the few pedestrian streets there to get street food and souvenirs.
You will have the opportunity to visit Ueno Park, a large public park with a number of museums and the Ueno Zoo. If you like art, then you will have to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan’s first public art museum. If you can’t get enough of street markets, then be sure to check out Ameyoko Shopping District, where you will find food, clothes, shoes and souvenirs.
Hop over to Akihabara, the electronic district of Tokyo. This is the perfect neighborhood for those that love anything anime, manga or gaming related. If you want to check out electronics, be sure not to miss the multi-story Yodobashi Akiba. You will find almost everything in this store, from cameras to appliances to gadgets to computers to even fitness equipment.
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).
Based on the itinerary above, do you think 3 days in Tokyo is enough for you?
Is 4 Days in Tokyo Enough?
Sample 4 Day Tokyo Itinerary
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, go up Tokyo Tower, explore Ginza and go see Gundam statue and teamLabs PLANETS
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
Some of the best day trips from Tokyo include:
- 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 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
- 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 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).
- 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.
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.
So, how long in Tokyo are you planning to stay?
Other Japan Travel Articles By Me
Best Japan Travel Booking Sites
If you found this post useful, please take a look at some of the best sites for booking hotels, tours and other activities in Japan.
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Like this post? Pin this Tokyo Itinerary to Pinterest!