Tokyo, one of the most vibrant and exciting cities full where traditional meets modern. Planning a trip to this giant megapolis can feel overwhelming, especially as a first-time visitor. There is so much to do in Tokyo and so much to experience, you want to make sure you truly maximize your Tokyo itinerary from the beginning.
To make it easier for you, I've put together four comprehensive Tokyo itineraries to help you make the most of your time in Japan's capital city, no matter how long you stay.
My expertly crafted Tokyo itineraries got you covered 1, 3, 5, and 7-day in Tokyo. All itineraries will guide you through the city's most iconic neighbourhoods such as Shibuya and Shinjuku and take you to cultural sites like Meiji Shrine and Sensoji and ensure you get to dive in Tokyo's famous food scene.
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Tokyo itineraries - 1 to 7 Days
1 Day Tokyo itinerary
Let's face it, 1 day in Tokyo will barely scratch the surface of this megapolis, but I honestly believe it's enough to see a glimpse of Tokyo, fall in love with the city and organize a longer trip later. Tokyo is massive, but it also has some of the best public transport I've ever experienced in my life. This means that with some speed, comfortable shoes and the will to explore Tokyo fast, 1 day in Tokyo will take you to some of the best attractions, and you'll try some delicious Japanese food too.
Here are some highlights for your 1-day Tokyo itinerary:
- Shibuya Crossing
- Shibuya Sky
- Centre Gai
- Afuri Ramen
- Meiji Shrine
- Omoide Yokocho
3 Days in Tokyo itinerary
3 days in Tokyo are a good amount of time to see some iconic districts, dive a bit deeper into Japanese culture, enjoy some shopping and even eat some street food. You will get to cross Shibuya, wander around the crazy neon lights of Shinjuku, and see a more peaceful Tokyo in Asakusa and Ueno Park. Visiting Tokyo in 3 days will give you a great taster of just how incredible Tokyo really is.
Here are some highlights for your 3 days in Tokyo itinerary:
- Day 1: Shibuya and Harajuku
- Day 2: Shinjuku
- Day 3: Asakusa and Ueno Park
5 days in Tokyo itinerary
For most first time visitors, this "5 days in Tokyo itinerary" is the perfect length. You will get to see Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Ueno, but also Ginza, Aoyama and Roppongi. It's the right amount of time to comfortably see the best attractions in Tokyo, experience a lot of what the city has to offer, but also dive a little deeper into its lesser known gems. This itinerary is not about rushing to tick off boxes, but a lot more immersive. And yes, there's plenty of time to enjoy lots of good food, fantastic shopping and get some brilliant souvenirs.
Here are the highlights for your 5 days in Tokyo itinerary:
- Day 1: Shibuya and Harajuku
- Day 2: Shinjuku
- Day 3: Asakusa and Ueno
- Day 4: Ginza & Central Tokyo
- Day 5: Aoyama and Roppongi
7 days in Tokyo itinerary
7 days in Tokyo is a considerable amount of time to explore the city and its surrounding areas. With a week in Tokyo, you'll have plenty of time to see the major sights, immerse yourself in the local culture, and even take day trips to nearby destinations like Mount Fuji, Nikko, Hakone, Nagano or Yokohama. Tokyo is a vast with so much to offer, and while spending 7 days exploring one city might seem like a lot, but when it comes to Tokyo, it really isn't. Tokyo is so diverse, and you really can't get bored with something new and exciting to do at every corner. With seven days, you'll be able to delve deeper into the city's unique character and create unforgettable memories.
Here are the highlights for your 7 days in Tokyo itinerary:
- Day 1: Shibuya & Harajuku
- Day 2: Shinjuku
- Day 3: Asakusa and Ueno
- Day 4: Ginza & Central Tokyo
- Day 5: Yanaka Ginza
- Day 6: Aoyama & Roppongi hills
- Day 7: Shibamata
When to visit Tokyo
The cherry blossom season in Tokyo is by far the most popular time to visit, but do remember that the crowds and high prices may not be for everyone. If you're looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly time to explore Tokyo, consider visiting during autumn or winter.
In November, you can still witness the stunning koyo leaves without the springtime crowds and at a more affordable cost. Winter is also an excellent time to visit Tokyo, especially if you're interested in seeing the beautiful winter lights everywhere in the city. It's a time for celebration and honestly, it's gorgeous. Nowadays, you can even find winter markets in Tokyo. January is the most affordable month to visit Tokyo.
If you don't mind the occasional rain shower, summer can also be a great time to explore Tokyo. While the weather is warm and rainy due to the monsoon season, there are still plenty of events and festivals to enjoy.
Preparing for your first trip to Tokyo
I put together a lot of useful information for your first time in Tokyo. I have a dedicated Japan guide which is as comprehensive as a guidebook. It's free of charge for all my readers. I also wrote a book on how to behave in Japan in partnership with a Japanese illustrator. It's a colourful guide full of really fun illustrations.
Here's how to prepare for your first Tokyo visit:
- Start with this complete guide to planning a trip to Japan, which contains many dos and don'ts.
- I know you are wondering, is Japan expensive? Check out the cost for a 2-week trip to Japan. Detailed costs are in USD and Japanese yen.
- Learn what to pack for Japan, so you can have a comfortable trip. And make sure to ready what to wear in Japan, as fashion there is a little different.
- Make sure to check Skyscanner for the best flight deals. This is my preferred way of finding the cheapest flights.
- For Japan, I always recommend using Booking.com as many accommodation options come with free cancellation. I have an in-depth guide for where to stay in Tokyo, where I talk about each district and recommend hotels based on your budget and travel style.
- I recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass if you decide to travel around Japan. You don't need a JR Pass if you decide to stay just in Tokyo. You can read more about why I think you need a JR Pass.
- Once you arrive in Tokyo, make sure to get a Suica or Pasmo card. This is a rechargeable, contactless smart card. It's easy to add money to it and can save you a lot of time when you use the subway system in Tokyo. Both Pasmo and Suica are identical. Suica and Pasmo have special IC cards specifically designed for short-term visitors to Japan. They are called The Welcome Suica and the Pasmo Passport.
- You will want to pre-book a pocket Wi-Fi as having access to the internet while you're in Tokyo is a must. By being connected, you can easily check Google Maps and read restaurant reviews and just use Google Translate from time to time. Make sure to book your pocket Wi-Fi before your arrival in Tokyo. Trust me, it costs a lot less than activating your roaming features.
- I recommend purchasing your tickets for special museums well in advance. Make sure you pre-book your tickets to Disneyland & DisneySea. I recommend using Klook or Viator to book special guided tours and admissions tickets. Tokyo is a popular destination and tickets can sell out in advance.
- The majority of visits to Tokyo are trouble-free. Always buy travel insurance before your arrival.
How to get around Tokyo
Tokyo, with its 23 special wards, spans an enormous 621 square kilometres (240 square miles). Don't be intimidated by its size, as Tokyo has an impressively well-connected subway and train system that makes every attraction and location on my Tokyo itineraries easily accessible. The Tokyo metro subway lines are clearly marked and colour-coded, and with Google Maps on your phone, navigating the city is such easy. So much so, that Google Maps even tells you which subway cart to board for the fastest transfers.
I recommended getting a prepaid Suica or Pasmo card to make travels around Tokyo faster and more convenient. With just a tap at the subway gates when entering and exiting, this card saves you a significant amount of time, allowing you to see more of Tokyo and spend less in front of ticket machines. While Suica and Pasmo are now available as apps, I still advise getting a physical card in case you don't have Wi-Fi or signal to top up your app on the go.
I honestly think that exploring Tokyo's many neighbourhoods on foot is fantastic. Most of them are pedestrian-friendly. If you love bikes, you can take advantage of Tokyo's growing bike-sharing system for a fun and efficient way to get around the city.
Getting to Tokyo from Narita airport
Here are three options for getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo:
Narita Express (My recommended route) - The Narita Express is a limited express train that connects Narita Airport with major stations in Tokyo, such as Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station, and Shinagawa Station. The journey takes around 1 hour to reach Tokyo Station, and it costs approximately 3,070 yen. If you have a JR Pass, you can use it on the Narita Express.
- Keisei Skyliner - The Keisei Skyliner is a high-speed train that connects Narita Airport with Nippori Station and Ueno Station. The journey takes around 45 minutes to reach Ueno. The cost for a reserved seat is about 2,520 yen. From Ueno Station, simply change to a local subway line to reach your final destination in Tokyo.
- Limousine Bus - Airport limousine buses connect Narita Airport with major hotels and train stations in Tokyo. The journey can take anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes, depending on traffic, and fares range from 2,800 to 3,100 yen.
Getting to Tokyo from Haneda Airport
Here are three options for getting from Haneda Airport to Tokyo:
- Tokyo Monorail (My recommended route) - The Tokyo Monorail connects Haneda Airport with Hamamatsucho Station. From there, transfer to the JR Yamanote Line and JR Keihin-Tohoku Line. The trip takes about 13-18 minutes and costs 500 yen. If you have a JR Pass, you can use it on the Tokyo Monorail.
- Keikyu Line - The Keikyu Line connects Haneda Airport with Shinagawa Station. The trip takes about 11-14 minutes and costs 300 yen. Change here for the local subway lines.
- Limousine Bus - The airport limousine buses connect Haneda Airport with major hotels and train stations in Tokyo. The journey can take between 30-90 minutes, and fares range from 800 to 1,300 yen.
Where to stay in Tokyo
Tokyo is vast, and you have quite a few districts to pick from for your accommodation. When it comes to a good hotel, you will something close to a subway line, so you can travel around Tokyo with ease. Generally speaking, most first timers tend to opt for mid-range hotels in places like Shibuya, Shinjuku or Chiyoda. I, personally, like staying in Chiyoda, close to Nihombashi or Ginza. It's very quiet at night, which helps with a good night sleep and also very close to the main Tokyo subway lines.
For a complete breakdown on all important areas in Tokyo and reviews of my favourite hotels, read my where to stay in Tokyo article. I talk about different areas and why they are most suitable for your type of travel style and budget. I also recommend my favourite hotels in Tokyo, organized by budget.
- Best luxury hotel: Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
- Best mid-range hotel: The Blossom Hibiya
- Best budget hotel: Tokyu Stay Shinjuku Eastside
For more hotels and reviews, I recommend using Booking.com for accommodation in Tokyo.
More Japan Itineraries
I also have dedicated Japan itineraries for you whether you stay 7, 14 or 21 days in Japan.
How many days in Tokyo is enough?
The ideal number of days in Tokyo varies based on your interests and preferences, but generally speaking, most first time visitors enjoy 5-7 days in Tokyo. This allows you to explore the most popular districts like Shinjuku, Shibuya and Asakusa, visit the most iconic attractions and see the main landmarks, but also enjoy the local cuisine and delve into Japanese culture. Tokyo is a huge metropolis with so much to do and see, and you will definitely not run out of places to visit and things to see.
Is 7 days too long in Tokyo?
No, 7 days in Tokyo is not too long at long. With a week in Tokyo, you can easily see the most popular landmarks and points of interest, learn about Japanese culture and do some truly unique experiences and get to visit the coolest districts. You will even have a day or two where you can explore lesser known areas in Tokyo like Shibamata or Yanaka Ginza, or take day trips to nearby gorgeous destinations.
Is 5 days in Tokyo too long?
No, 5 days in Tokyo is not too long at all. It's a good amount of time to get a solid introduction to the city and allow you to experience its many facets. In 5 days, you can visit the major attractions like the Tokyo Tower, Sensoji Temple, and the Imperial Palace, explore popular neighbourhoods like Shibuya and Shinjuku, and try in the delicious local cuisine with many street foods.
Is 14 days in Tokyo too much?
While Tokyo has countless things to do and see, 2 weeks in Tokyo may be too much for some first time visitors. For example, I lived in Tokyo and I still have new and exciting things to discover here and return every year for more. 14 days in Tokyo will allow you to explore many parts of the city and discover some lesser known areas and districts which most first time visitors overlook. You can attend local festivals, take day trips to nearby locations and experience a deeper relation to Japanese food and Japanese culture.
14 days in Tokyo may be too long for some visitors, but if you're interested in experiencing the city in depth and at a slower pace, then it can be the perfect amount of time.