Japan is a one-of-a-kind travel destination, there’s no place quite like it. And Tokyo is no exception. Filled with ultra-modern skyscrapers and the latest tech, along with ancient shrines and temples, Tokyo has it all and is a must in any Japan itinerary.
Even though you could easily explore Tokyo for weeks on end, you probably don’t have that much time. Two days in a city as large as Tokyo may not seem like enough, but you can easily tick off some of the best things to do. It makes for a great introduction to one of the most unique cities in the world. Let’s take a look.
This is a guest post by Nele of The Navigatio.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.
Table of Contents
- 1 Two Days In Tokyo: Where To Stay
- 2 How To Spend Two Days In Tokyo, A Perfect Itinerary
- 3 Practical Information For Your 2 Day Tokyo Itinerary
Two Days In Tokyo: Where To Stay
Budget: If you’re wondering where to stay in Tokyo on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Sunroute Asakusa. It’s located within walking distance from Asakusa train station, close to the main sights, and gives you great value for money.
Mid-range: Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is also known as the Godzilla Hotel, as a statue of the creature proudly stands on top of the building. You can even book a Godzilla-themed room, but even the regular rooms are a great pick!
Luxury: If you want the best of the best, you may want to consider staying at Prince Park Tower Tokyo. With views of Tokyo Tower and beautiful, spacious rooms, it’s one of the best in the city.
How To Spend Two Days In Tokyo, A Perfect Itinerary
Tokyo in 2 Days: Day One
Walk The Shibuya Crossing
What better place to start your two days in Tokyo than the famous Shibuya Crossing? If you’ve come across pictures of Tokyo, chances are you’ve already seen this crazy busy street. Shibuya Crossing is the busiest crossing in the world!
While you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the Hachiko Statue, located just outside of the train station. The story of the dog is quite famous; he waited outside the station for years after his owner’s death. A truly loyal companion!
After walking the crossing, you can stop at Starbucks for an awesome view. There are seats available on the first floor, where you can watch people walk the crossing themselves; a great photo opportunity!
Shop in Harajuku
Harajuku is only one subway stop (or 15-minute walk) from Shibuya, and it’s a truly unique area of Tokyo. You may have heard of Harajuku prior to learning it is an area in Tokyo. That’s because it’s also the name of a fashion style that was born here. Harajuku fashion is a very over-the-top style that goes against the norm of fitting in.
In Harajuku, you can find tons of independent boutiques selling clothes in this style, along with other awesome shops that are worth looking through. Mainly focus on Takeshita Street and Omotesando Avenue, that’s where most of the shops are located.
Visit Meiji Shrine
When you’re done shopping, head back over to Harajuku Station. On the other side of the station, you can find a huge park. The Meiji Shrine is inside this park.
Japan is a land of big contrasts, and Tokyo embodies that perfectly. You’ve already experienced the organized chaos of Shibuya Crossing and Harajuku’s shopping streets, but only a few shorts minutes away, you can walk through a peaceful forest and see one of the best shrines in Tokyo.
It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk from the huge torii gate at the entrance to the actual shrine. Along the way, you’ll find smaller shrines and the colorful famous sake barrels. Once at the inner shrine, you may see some of the Ema plagues (wooden plaques). For 500 yen, you can buy one and write down a wish. Who knows, it may come true ;).
Drink Sake In Omoide Yokocho
In the evening, head over to Shinjuku. It’s only one subway stop from Harajuku station or a 15-minute walk. There are tons of eateries to explore in Shinjuku, along with many bars and arcades.
But one place that should be on your evening itinerary is Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane). This narrow, but very atmospheric alleyway is filled with small and independent bars and restaurants. Most of them only have a few seats! The smell of freshly grilled yakitori will welcome you, along with the smell of sake.
It’s the perfect place to try some sake for yourself, along with some grilled chicken skewers. What better way to end your first day in Tokyo?
Tokyo in 2 Days: Day Two
Watch Kabuki In Ginza
Japan has a very unique culture, and you probably want to soak as much of it up during your two days in Tokyo. Kabuki theatre is a great place to start!
Japanese theatre is very different from what westerners are used to, but it makes for an awesome experience. And luckily, it’s not expensive to watch either! It only costs 1000-2000 yen for a single-act show (hitomaku-mi). These last about 1-2 hours.
Before (or after, depending on when you’re watching the show), you can explore Ginza a bit more. This upmarket area is perfect for (window) shopping!
Visit Senso-ji Shrine In Asakusa
After visiting Ginza, head over to Asakusa. This is a more traditional area in Tokyo and home to the Senso-ji Shrine. Senso-ji was built in the year 645, and the oldest shrine in the city. It is open to visitors 24/7, but during the day it gets quite busy!
And it’s no surprise why; the temple and the temple grounds are stunning. At the main temple, you can also take part in O-mikuji, a Japanese form of fortune-telling. It only costs 100 yen, and you can do it by yourself.
Climb The Tokyo Sky Tree
The Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest tower in the world, at 634. On top of that, it’s the second tallest building globally, after Burj Khalifa. There are some shops, a cafe, and a restaurant inside the tower – all with stunning views of the city.
On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji in the background. It’s by far the best view you can find in Tokyo, and 100% worth your time.
Practical Information For Your 2 Day Tokyo Itinerary
When Is The Best Time To Visit Tokyo?
The best times to visit Tokyo are between March-May or October-November. If you’re planning to see some cherry blossoms, March and April are your best bet. But keep in mind that these are also very busy months – many tourists come to Japan for the sakura. October and November are much quieter (and cheaper) and you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage.
How Do You Get From The Airport To The City Centre?
Tokyo has two airports: Haneda and Narita. Most international flights will arrive at Haneda, however.
From Haneda airport, it’s very easy to get into the city. The cheapest option is to buy a Suica Card at the train station and take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station, then change to the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Central. This should only take around 30 minutes and cost a few hundred yen. Alternatively, you can a taxi, but they are much more expensive.
From Narita airport, you can take the JR Narita Express to get to the city. This costs around 3000 yen and takes an hour. If you want a cheaper option, you can use the JR Sobu Line, which takes an hour and a half but costs you half as much.
How To Get Around The City
Even though Tokyo is incredibly big, the public transport is fantastic. And best of all; you don’t have to speak/read Japanese to use it. There are many English signs, and you can also use the Hyperdia app to navigate through the different subway/train lines. It’s best to get a Suica card when arriving in Tokyo, which is an electronic pass that you can top up with money. You simply scan in and out at the stations, and the machines will automatically take the correct change from your card. Super simple!
Bio: At the age of 18, Nele moved from her hometown in the Netherlands to Manchester, UK. She now works as a freelance SEO editor/writer and runs a travel blog. On her site, The Navigatio, she shares mid-range itineraries for the best city breaks and trips to Japan.