Two days is enough to see both sides of Tokyo: the traditional and the modern. This itinerary is the perfect way to make the most of two days in this incredible city.
Meiji Shrine, located in Shibuya: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com
- Two days allows you to experience traditional and modern Tokyo.
- Base yourself somewhere central to save time.
- On Day 1, visit modern Tokyo on the west side.
- On Day 2, visit traditional Tokyo on the east side.
Full Tokyo 2 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Modern Tokyo/West Side
- 8:30am: Head up to Harajuku, using the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station or the Chiyoda subway line to Meiji-Jingumae/Harajuku Station.
- 9:00am: Arrive in Harajuku and walk west across the bridge and into the lovely forest surrounding Meiji-jingu Shrine. Explore the shrine and then return to Harajuku Station then walk east on Omotesando, browsing the shops along the way. Continue east all the way to the superb Nezu Museum and do not forget to explore the sublime garden after checking out the museum!
- 11:00am: Walk back to the intersection of Omotesando and Aoyama-dori and take the Ginza subway line west to Shibuya.
- 11:15am: Arrive in Shibuya and exit the station via the Hachiko exit and then cross the famous Shibuya Crossing. Have a light snack and/or a cup of coffee to sustain you until 1:00pm (the restaurants will be packed between noon and 1:00pm). Explore the big department stores and boutiques of Shibuya.
- 1:00pm: Eat lunch somewhere in Shibuya. Don't forget that all the department stores in Shibuya have huge restaurant floors. For more choices see the Shibuya district page Places to Eat section.
- 2.30pm: Take the Yamanote Line one stop south from Shibuya to Ebisu Station, then switch to the Hibiya Line subway and take that two stops east to Roppongi.
- 3:00pm: Arrive in Roppongi and walk west from Roppongi Station to the Roppongi Hills complex. Refuel with a cup of coffee there (the Starbucks at the TV Asahi/Tsutaya complex has good people watching). Then, head up to the 52nd floor Tokyo City View observation deck of the Mori Tower to see the city.
- 6:00pm: Eat dinner in Roppongi. See the Roppongi district Places to Eat section for some of my picks.
- 8:00pm: If you still have any energy left, have a drink in one of Roppongi's many bars. See the Roppongi district Nightlife section for some recommendations.
Day 2: Traditional Tokyo/East Side
- 9:00am: Head up to Asakusa. The Ginza subway line is a good way to get there from many parts of Tokyo. Asakusa is the spiritual heart of Tokyo and a good place to start your day. Visit Senso-ji Temple and nearby Asakusa-jinja Shrine.
- 10:30am: Take the Ginza subway line three stops west to Ueno.
- 11:00am: Arrive in Ueno. Take the exit for Ueno-koen Park and walk north across the park to the superb Tokyo National Museum. After visiting the museum, walk south to Tosho-gu Shrine and then make your way back to the station. As on Day 1, try to avoid eating lunch between noon and 1pm. Have a snack or a coffee to get your through.
- 1:00pm: Take the JR Yamanote Line south to Tokyo Station. Eat lunch in or around Tokyo Station. See the Tokyo Station Area Places to Eat section for my recommendations.
- 2:00: Check with the tourist information office in the basement of the Kitte Building to see what's on at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum or the Bridgestone Museum of Art. If neither look good, walk over to the Imperial Palace East Garden and take a stroll.
- 3:00pm: Walk over to Ginza and do some late afternoon shopping.
- 4:00pm: Return to your hotel for a nap and a shower.
- 6:00pm: Eat dinner in an area like Shinjuku, Ginza, Marunouchi or someplace close to your hotel. See the relevant district pages for recommendations.
- 8:00pm: If you've still got the energy, go out for a drink in a place like Roppongi, Shinjuku or Shibuya. See the relevant district pages for recommendations.
Hints, Comments and Variations
- If you're only going to be in the city for two days, you should try to base yourself in a central location so you don't waste time moving around. I'd suggest Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza or the Tokyo Station area. For more on where to say, check out my Where to Stay in Tokyo page.
- On Day 2, another good option for the afternoon is the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It's easy to reach from Asakusa, Ueno or Tokyo Station.
- On Day 2, if you start the day at Tsukiji Fish Market, after visiting the market, you can head up to Asakusa using the Sumida River Line from Hama Rikyu Pier. This boat is a relaxing way to make the journey.
- Don't try to do any more than this on two days in Tokyo – you'll tire yourself out. If you want to relax, subtract one or two places from this itinerary. As usual, it's better to enjoy a few places properly than to sprint through many places.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get essential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)