How Many Days In Tokyo? The Ultimate Tokyo Itinerary Guide For 2023
by Coco Tran On September 30, 2023
Visiting the energetic metropolis of Tokyo soon and wondering how many days in Tokyo is needed to fully experience all it has to offer? As one of the world’s most exciting cities, Tokyo has no shortage of incredible sights, sounds, and experiences to enjoy. However, with so many options it can be tricky to figure out the ideal Tokyo itinerary to make the most of your precious vacation time!
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll provide Tokyo itineraries ranging from quick 24 hour visits to 3 day Tokyo Japan vacations. You’ll learn how to determine the ideal amount of time in Tokyo based on your travel style. Read on for the ultimate guide to planning your Tokyo trip and making sure you spend the perfect number of days in this amazing city! Let’s jusmp right in.
How Many Days In Tokyo? The Ultimate Tokyo Itinerary Guide For 2023
How many days in Tokyo is enough?
If you’re wondering how many days in Tokyo is enough to see the highlights? The general consensus from everyone is that 4 days is the ideal amount of time to spend in Tokyo. This gives you enough time to see the top highlights like Asakusa, Ginza, and Shinjuku, take a day trip to Mt Fuji or other nearby destinations, and also enjoy Tokyo’s famous nightlife scene.
With 2 full days in Tokyo, you can see the major neighborhoods and top attractions at a quicker pace. This leaves time for day trips but you may feel a bit rushed.
For a brief 24-hour visit, prioritize 2-3 key sights like Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple, and Shibuya Crossing. You’ll only scratch the surface but it’s better than missing Tokyo entirely!
With 5-7 days you can take a more relaxed approach, seeing more neighborhoods off the main tourist trail and having time to repeat favorites. This also allows multiple-day trips.
How many days in tokyo is enough for Tokyo First Timer?
Wondering how many days do you need in Tokyo if it’s your first time in Tokyo, I’d say 4-5 days is ideal to see the highlights without feeling too rushed. This city is just so huge and stimulating, you’ll want a few days to get your bearings and take it all in rather than cramming everything into a shorter trip.
Trust me, jet lag will be real after your flight over, so give yourself a couple days before powering through a jam-packed itinerary. All that walking between neighborhoods and transit time adds up too – schedules look different on paper compared to real life!
And you’ll wanna sample Tokyo’s amazing food scene, which takes more time. Plus see at least one museum like Edo-Tokyo…you get my drift. Days go quickly in Tokyo!
I know costs add up and it’s tempting to minimize time. But experiencing Tokyo’s energy and diverse districts is a trip in itself – having some buffer days makes sure you don’t miss out.
Take it from me, a Tokyo first-timer needs 4-5 days minimum. You’ll be glad to split must-sees with chill time to recharge. This city will blow your mind in the best way! Enjoy every minute.
How to decide how many days for tokyo
If you’re wondering how many days to see tokyo. Here are some tips on deciding how many days to spend in Tokyo:
Consider your interests
Start by thinking about what interests you most. If you’re really excited about diving into the culture and seeing all the top sights, I’d give yourself at least 4 full days. But if you’re more into just experiencing the nightlife, shopping and food scene, 2-3 days could totally work.
Take day trips into account
Also consider if you want to take any day trips. Popular ones are to Mt Fuji, Nikko, Hakone and Kamakura. These will take most of a day when you factor in transportation, so be sure to add an extra day for each side adventure.
Think about pacing
Pacing is important too. Tokyo is huge and constantly buzzing with people and neon – it can get tiring! Take breaks between busy areas to recharge in peaceful parks and temples. More days means you won’t feel rushed trying to cram it all in.
Costs add up quickly for accommodations, food, attractions, etc so decide how many days fit comfortably in your budget. And check flight options – arriving or leaving on a weekday versus weekend can affect your time..
Look at flight options
Arriving in Tokyo on a weekday versus weekend can affect time, as can getting a favorable return flight date. Check airfares when deciding on number of days.
Read up on events
If visiting during a special event like a festival, sumo tournament or illuminations, add extra time as attractions will be busier.
Consider these factors when planning your ideal Tokyo trip length. With so much to see and do, maximize your time while allowing enough days to avoid feeling rushed
how many days to spend in japan ? How long to visit Japan?
For a first time visit to Japan, I would recommend 10-14 days as an ideal amount of time. Here’s a breakdown of why:
- Tokyo deserves at least 4-5 days to see the major highlights without feeling rushed. It’s a huge city and first-timers need time to get orientated.
- Kyoto, the cultural capital, also needs 3-4 days minimum to visit top temples, shrines, gardens and palaces.
- Most visitors want to see Hiroshima, especially the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. This requires 2 days when including transportation time.
- Side trips are highly recommended from Tokyo and Kyoto to places like Nikko, Hakone, Nara, Osaka and Mt Fuji. These each take a whole day.
- Travel time between cities in Japan can be 4-5 hours by shinkansen bullet train, so you lose time in transit.
- Moving between accommodations with luggage and getting settled also eats up parts of days.
- Having some buffer days built in for rest, repeat visits or getting sidetracked is ideal when visiting a new country.
While you could squeeze a first Japan trip into a week, I strongly recommend 10-14 days. This allows you to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and take great day trips without an exhausting pace. You have time to fully appreciate each destination. It’s worth investing extra time when making a long haul trip to Japan.
Is Tokyo an expensive city to visit?
Yes, Tokyo is generally considered an expensive city for travelers to visit. Here are some of the main reasons why:
- Accommodation: Hotel rooms in Tokyo are quite pricey, especially during peak tourism seasons. Budget hotel rooms start around $100 USD per night, with luxury hotels averaging $300+ per night.
- Dining: While cheap eats like ramen and curry are readily available, a meal at a nice restaurant in Tokyo will cost around $30-50 per person or more. High-end sushi meals easily exceed $100 per person.
- Attractions: Major sights like the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, and teamLab Borderless have entrance fees from $20-30 USD. Add these up and costs mount.
- Transportation: While public transit is excellent, those trains and taxis add up, especially taken frequently. Budget $10-15 USD per day for basic transport.
- Shopping: Tokyo has incredible shopping, but be prepared to pay premium prices, especially in areas like Ginza. Sales tax is also 10%.
- Exchanging currency: The exchange rate for USD/Yen is not favorable right now, meaning your money doesn’t go as far.
While it’s possible to visit Tokyo on a budget by staying in hostels, eating cheap meals, and skipping paid attractions, most travelers find they spend quite a bit in this vast, high-tech city. With strategic planning, costs can be managed, but overall Tokyo remains one of the world’s most expensive travel destinations.
top attractions in Tokyo:
Here is a list of some of the top attraction you must see in Tokyo
- Sensoji Temple – Tokyo’s oldest and most iconic Buddhist temple with a large pagoda, bustling Nakamise shopping street, and huge Kaminarimon entrance gate.
- Meiji Jingu Shrine – A peaceful oasis in the city with a forested pathway leading to the main shrine building.
- Imperial Palace – The residence of Japan’s royal family with public tours of the East Gardens available.
- Tsukiji Fish Market – One of the world’s largest fish markets, now relocated to Toyosu but still with shops and restaurants.
- Ginza – Upscale shopping district with department stores, art galleries, and ritzy restaurants.
- Akihabara – Also called “Electric Town”, a paradise for anime fans and gamers with arcades and manga shops.
- Shibuya Crossing – Iconic scramble intersection surrounded by giant video screens and neon advertisements.
- Shinjuku Gyoen – Large park with Japanese, French, and English style gardens.
- Tokyo Skytree – One of the world’s tallest towers with observation decks and panoramic city views.
- Tokyo National Museum – Excellent collection of Japanese fine art, artifacts, swords, and more spanning centuries.
- Tokyo Tower – Iconic red tower offering views from its observation decks.
- Odaiba – Man-made island in Tokyo Bay with shopping malls, onsen baths, Legoland, and more.
- TeamLab Borderless – Innovative digital art museum with interactive, immersive exhibits.
- Ueno Park – Lively park with museums, pagodas, a zoo, and street markets.
- Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea – World-class Disney theme parks located about an hour from central Tokyo.
- Yoyogi Park – Expansive green space popular for picnics and people watching.
- Robot Restaurant- a unique and fun experience, Anthony Bourdain dubbed the most exhilarating experience in Tokyo.
Let’s explore sample Tokyo itineraries for each of these durations in more detail:
24 Hours In Tokyo 1 day in Tokyo
Only have 1 day in Tokyo? You can still see some of the highlights if you plan carefully. Here is an optimal one day Tokyo itinerary:
Morning: Asakusa Area
- Start your day early at Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most important Buddhist site. The huge vermilion entrance gate and bustling shopping street give you a taste of historic Tokyo.
- Walk to nearby Asakusa Shrine, dedicated to the brothers who founded Sensoji Temple. The shrine has a small pond with colorful carp fish that children will enjoy.
- Head to the 12th floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center for stunning skyline views, free of charge.
Afternoon: Imperial Palace
- Take the train to Tokyo Station and walk to the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Stroll through the beautiful Japanese landscape gardens with views of the palace in the background.
- Return to Tokyo Station to shop for souvenirs at the character-filled Kitte shopping complex connected to the station. Grab an early dinner here if you wish.
- Finish your day people watching at Shibuya Crossing, reportedly the world’s busiest intersection. Try to time it for dusk when the neon lights and giant video screens light up.
- Have a drink at an izakaya restaurant while overlooking the crossing, or check out the bustling nightlife district nearby.
While you’ll only see a fraction of what Tokyo offers in a day, this itinerary lets you experience both traditional and contemporary sides of the city.
tokyo 2 day itinerary
With 2 full days in Tokyo you can see more highlights at a relaxed pace. Here’s a suggested 2 day Tokyo itinerary:
Day 1: Eastern Tokyo
- Start at the Imperial Palace East Gardens and admire the grounds and moats.
- Walk to the Tokyo National Museum to see traditional Japanese art and artifacts. Have lunch in nearby Ueno Park.
- Visit the picture-perfect Sensoji Temple complex and lively Nakamise shopping arcade.
- End in electric Akihabara, browsing anime shops and neon-lit arcades.
Day 2: Western Tokyo
- Walk through peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine and its forested grounds that feel worlds away from the city.
- Shop and people watch in youthful Harajuku, then walk to Yoyogi Park to see rockabilly dancers and cosplayers.
- Finish your day getting lost in enormous, futuristic Shibuya with its iconic scramble crossing, trendy shops, and nightlife.
With this itinerary you’ll experience Tokyo’s diversity from serene shrines to pulsing urban cityscapes. Having 2 days allows time for museums, parks and window shopping without feeling too rushed.
3-Day Tokyo Itinerary
If you are planning to visit tokyo in 3 days. It’s the ideal amount of time for a second visit to Tokyo, giving time to see top sights while also relaxing and repeating favorites
Here is a great 3 day Tokyo itinerary with my recommendation on what to do in Tokyo for 3 days:
Day 1 Tokyo Itinerary : Eastern Tokyo
- Start your 3 days Tokyo itinerary at the Imperial Palace East Gardens, then visit the Tokyo National Museum.
- See the tradition of Asakusa with Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Shopping Street and humble side streets.
- Walk through historic Yanaka with temples, galleries and nostalgic shops.
Day 2 Tokyo Itinerary : Central Tokyo
- Take a morning tour of Tsukiji Fish Market then have sushi for lunch.
- Stroll through the nature and tea houses of Hamarikyu Gardens.
- Shop upscale Ginza‘s luxury boutiques or find high-tech bargains in** Akihabara**.
Day 3 Tokyo Itinerary : Western Tokyo
- Walk through Meiji Jingu Shrine and relax in Yoyogi Park.
- See eclectic street fashion in Harajuku and walk down Omotesando.
- Finish in enormous, energetic Shibuya, people watching and trying iconic restaurants.
With 3 days you can fully experience Tokyo’s diversity of old and new, fast-paced and serene. Multiple nights also allow time to sample the city’s famous nightlife.
4 Days In Tokyo Itinerary
4 days provides time for more neighborhoods, museums and experiences. Recommended activities include:
- Day trip to Mt Fuji or Hakone hot springs town
- Visit Ghibli Museum for anime fans
- See kabuki theatre performance
- Explore off-beat areas like Shimokitazawa and Yanaka
- Take a cooking or sushi-making class
- Do more shopping in districts like Omotesando and Ginza
- Repeat evening favorites like Shibuya‘s restaurants and nightlife
With an extra day you won’t feel rushed trying to do it all and can better balance must-see sights with enjoyable downtime.
5 DayTokyo Itinerary
Check out my detailed 5 day Tokyo Itinerary here
With a full week in Tokyo you can take a more relaxed approach at a comfortable pace interspersed with day trips. Recommended additions include:
- More day trips like Nikko‘s shrines, Kamakura‘s Buddha, and coastal Enoshima Island
- Day trip to Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea
- Explore interesting neighborhoods like Shimokitazawa, Kagurazaka and Kichijoji
- Try themed cafes and more unique experiences
- Repeat evening favorites at your leisure like Shinjuku‘s nightlife
- Relax at a sento public bath or your hotel if needing a time out
A week gives flexibility in sightseeing, dining, nightlife and day trips so you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to do it all. Plus you may be ready for a change of pace from the big city after several days.
Tokyo Itinerary Tips
When planning your Tokyo itinerary, keep these tips in mind:
- Group neighboring areas together like Shinjuku/Shibuya and Asakusa/Ueno to maximize time
- Plan on 2 neighborhoods each day 3 maximum
- Balance rest days with intensive sightseeing days
- Visit at least one major museum like the Tokyo National Museum
- Leave room for repeating evening favorites like districts with fun nightlife
- Consider one day with no plans to follow your interests
- Purchase a Suica card to make transportation easy
- Consult venue websites to check for closed days
- Allow extra time for getting lost, which is part of the Tokyo experience!
Best Areas to Stay in Tokyo
With so many options, deciding where to stay in Tokyo can be overwhelming! The best areas are:
- Shinjuku – lively day and night, convenient public transit
- Shibuya – youthful vibe and nightlife, near Harajuku
- Ginza – upscale area with shopping and dining
- Asakusa – traditional feel, close to Sensoji Temple
- Shinagawa – business district near Haneda Airport
- Odaiba – waterfront area with attractions and shopping
Look for centrally located accommodation near subway and JR lines for easy access. For more, see my detailed guide on where to stay in Tokyo.
Getting Around Tokyo
Tokyo has one of the world’s best public transportation systems, making it easy to navigate this vast metropolis. Key options are:
- Subway – efficient, budget-friendly way to travel, especially for short distances
- JR trains / Jr Rail Pass– great for moving between neighborhoods and access to day trips
- Suica/Pasmo card – rechargeable prepaid IC card for metro/trains, a must-have
- Taxis – best for short late night trips when trains stop running
- Walking – ideal way to experience smaller districts like Asakusa
- Buses – good backup option though less direct than subway
- Bike Share – bikes available but Tokyo’s heavy traffic can be challenging
With a Suica or Pasmo rechargeable transit card and Google Maps, navigating Tokyo is very manageable.
When to Visit Tokyo
Tokyo offers something for everyone no matter when you visit:
- Spring (March-May) – moderate weather, beautiful cherry blossoms
- Summer (June-August) – hot and humid but lively summer festivals
- Fall (September-November) – pleasant weather and fall foliage
- Winter (December-February) – cold but festive illumination displays
The most crowded and expensive times are during cherry blossom season in April and Golden Week holidays at the end of April/early May. October-November fall and January-February winter are generally less busy.
Tokyo Travel Tips
Keep these tips in mind when planning your trip:
- Avoid visiting during Golden Week (late April to early May) if possible – attractions are crowded and booked up.
- Research whether main sights like Sensoji Temple and Tsukiji Fish Market are open or closed on the day you plan to visit.
- Book tickets for Ghibli Museum online 3 months in advance as they sell out quickly.
- Consider getting a Japan Rail Pass if doing a day trip to Mt Fuji or visiting other cities like Kyoto.
- Pocket wifi or SIM cards are affordable ways to stay connected using Google Maps.
- Tokyo is very safe, but be aware of your belongings in crowded areas.
- Cash is still commonly used – carry some handy for markets, taxis and smaller shops/restaurants.
- Don’t be afraid to get lost! Wandering Tokyo’s streets can lead to wonderful surprises.
Tokyo Itinerary Conclusion
Hopefully this guide has helped you decide how many days to spend in Tokyo and given you lots of itinerary ideas. Tokyo is a diverse city that takes weeks to fully uncover, but visiting for even 24 hours lets you experience Japan’s fascinating modern and traditional capital.
Maximize your time by focusing on 2-3 key highlights each day, pairing neighboring districts like Shibuya/Harajuku or Asakusa/Ueno, and getting a Suica card for easy transport. For other Japan trip planning tips, check out my complete first trip to Japan guide.
No matter how long you ultimately decide to stay, Tokyo’s neon-lit urban energy and peaceful shrines will create wonderful memories. Have an amazing trip!
how many days in tokyo and kyoto
Here’s my recommended breakdown for how many days to spend in Tokyo and Kyoto for first-time visitors:
- 4-5 days minimum. Tokyo is huge and diverse, requiring time to see key highlights across different districts. It’s also very stimulating, so having some buffer days prevents feeling overwhelmed.
- 3-4 days minimum. Kyoto has many top attractions spread out, including Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Arashiyama bamboo forest and more. The slower pace here balances time in huge Tokyo.
Day Trips from Tokyo
- 1-2 days. Nikko, Hakone, Kamakura and Mt Fuji are highly recommended easy day trips to escape the city.
Day Trips from Kyoto
- 2 days. Nara, Osaka, Himeji Castle and Hiroshima are great day/overnight trips to complement time in Kyoto.
Travel Between Cities
- 1 day. The bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto takes 2.5 hours one-way, so this transports eats up a good part of a day.
Total Recommended Time
- 12-14 days. This allows 4-5 days in Tokyo, 3-4 days in Kyoto, 3-4 days for day trips from both cities, and transit time between cities.
This breakdown gives you enough time in both destinations to see the highlights without an exhausting pace. With 2 full weeks in Japan, you get a great overview of the country’s top metropolises and nearby cultural sites.
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