Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Tokyo?

Should you spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Tokyo?

Many travelers spend at least 3 or as many as 7 days in Tokyo during their visit. After all, the high energy city has plenty to explore such as the famous sights and museums, the big city activities, and the restaurant scene.

Tokyo is the high tech, ultramodern capital city of Japan. It's filled with neon lights and high reaching skyscrapers, but there are also many hidden temples and historic neighborhoods tucked away. You can spend your days wandering through green parks and your nights singing karaoke in one of the many bars around town.

Do you have one or two days to visit Tokyo? Here's our comprehensive breakdown of how much time you might need for your trip along with some suggestions for things to do.

Is one day enough time in Tokyo?

The popular city of Tokyo has many activities and attractions for visitors. So with one day, you'll probably feel rushed to see the main attractions. You really need more time to appreciate everything that the high energy city has to offer. Many visitors prefer to have at least 3 or as many as 7 days to fully enjoy the city. If you have one day or less, we still have some great ideas for what to do while you're in town.

How to spend a day in Tokyo

Tokyo is home to renowned museums and iconic landmarks, so dive into the city's famous attractions. The city's historical sites rank among the most awe-inspiring globally. This iconic city is filled with recognizable landmarks and world class museums including the Meiji Shrine, the Sensō-ji Temple, and the Tokyo Skytree.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Imperial Palace East Garden and Heritage of Edo Castle Tour ($30)
  • Samurai Sword Experience (Family Friendly) at SAMURAI MUSEUM ($57)
  • Tokyo Sword Experience - includes Museum Ticket/Ninja Experience ($57)

The delicious food of Tokyo is one of the main highlights of a trip to the region. Dining out is one of the highlights of a trip. Make sure you take the time to taste as much of it as possible during breakfast, lunch, and dinner at some of this city's best restaurants. And consider a food tour or cooking class. You can easily fit one into your schedule since many are just a few hours or half a day. With an astonishing number of Michelin star restaurants, this is one of the most interesting and impressive food destinations in the world. Not all restaurants are high end though. You'll find plenty of cheap eateries that offer their own rewarding culinary experience. Must try local dishes include okonomiyaki, ramen, and of course, sushi.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Tokyo Food Tour Tsukiji Old Fish Market ($125)
  • No.1 Ramen and Gyoza Cooking Class in Tokyo + Supermarket Tour ($117)
  • Ramen Tasting - Mini Bowl Ramen Tour ($111)

Tokyo is a very walkable city. With only a day in the city, you'll have no trouble exploring the local sights. Many neighborhoods are very easy to explore on foot, so it's fun to just wander without a plan, seeing where you end up.

Is a weekend (two to three days) enough time in Tokyo?

Since it's a large city, you'll probably need more than a weekend to take advantage of everything to do in Tokyo. Two or three days still gives you a good amount of time to explore, though, as you'll have a chance to experience at least some of the major attractions. In addition to the great museums and landmarks and fun big city activities, visitors can enjoy the nightlife, live music, and shopping by staying for a weekend.

Tokyo Fish Market Tokyo Fish Market

How to spend 2 days in Tokyo

With a weekend (two to three days) in Tokyo, you'll have a bit more time to enjoy everything that the city has to offer.

Given that Tokyo is a large and popular city, give yourself a full day to uncover the diverse neighborhoods, captivating attractions, and engaging activities scattered throughout the area. Be sure to include visits to some of the city's premier landmarks and quintessential neighborhoods, too. This metropolis is known for its high tech energy juxtaposed with old world history.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Tokyo Bay Cruise Yakatabune with Dinner Japan Show & Free drinks ($119)
  • Dynamic Tokyo: Tokyo Tower, Tea Experience, Bay Cruise Day Tour ($89)
  • Japanese Traditional Yakatabune Dinner Cruise in Funasei ($104)

This city is very popular for nightlife. After the sun goes down, head out to one of the many popular venues around town. The professional urgency that you feel during the day morphs into a vibrant, laid back city at night. The neon lights turn on and locals head out to destress. There are karaoke bars, casual pubs, high energy nightclubs, and more. Popular areas for nightlife include Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • 3-Hour Tokyo Pub Crawl Weekly Welcome Guided Tour in Shibuya ($56)
  • Food & Drinks Bar Tour- Discover Unique Tokyo Nightlife ($44)
  • Tokyo Kinshicho Nightlife with Karaoke ($82)

Public transit in Tokyo is easy and efficient. In just a few days, you should be able to get around the city quite easily. Trains, subways, and buses make up the complex transportation system and, while it may seem overwhelming at first, the system is actually very clean, efficient, and reliable.

More Info

If you're looking for more information about Tokyo, we have even more advice to help you plan your journey.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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