0 In Asia/ Japan

5-Day Tokyo Itinerary: What To Do & Where To Stay

Last updated on Mar 21, 2020 It's pretty likely that this article contains affiliate links. If you click on them I might receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Tokyo is a metropolitan paradise, brimming with all kinds of exciting activities, temples, museums, parks, and innovative technologies. It truly showcases the glory of the 21st century and is a must on any traveller’s bucket list.  

With its fast-paced, bustling nature, it’s completely different from the type of places I usually like to travel to, but I still loved it and found it to be one of the most beautiful places in Asia. With so much to do, so much to see and so much to take in from this magnificent Japanese city, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed.

I have mapped out the best way to spend 5 days in Tokyo, making sure that you see all the most incredible things this city has to offer. Sink your teeth into the traditions, cultures, spirit, and atmosphere of this one of a kind destination with my complete Tokyo itinerary for 5 days.

Here is everything you need to know to have the most unforgettable adventure in Tokyo, Japan’s ever-lively capital.

Exploring Ameyoko in Tokyo

Exploring Ameyoko in Tokyo

How to spend 5 days in Tokyo

I’m going to give you the ultimate guide on what to do in Tokyo in 5 days so that you can make the best of every moment. There are lots of amazing things to do in Tokyo so you’re sure to never get bored!

Explore awe-inspiring attractions, venture through the heart of the city and embrace what life in Tokyo is all about.

While public transport in Tokyo is extremely good, it’s still a fairly stressful city to navigate. Which is why this itinerary is divided broadly into geographical areas of Tokyo, doing each day as many activities as possible in the same area, and avoiding long travels across the city.

This Tokyo 5-day itinerary is based on my own experience in Tokyo, I hope you’ll find it useful in planning your own time in Tokyo!

The brightly lit streets of Tokyo at night

The brightly lit streets of Tokyo at night

Day 1

Your first day in Tokyo is going to be spent getting a feel for the energetic streets and seeing one of Tokyo’s most beautiful monuments. Enjoy an extraordinary start to your Tokyo 5-day itinerary.

Stop 1: Asakusa

Begin the very first moment of your trip to Tokyo in Akasaka, one of the most beautiful and colourful neighbourhoods in the city. Places like this capture some of Tokyo’s unique essence, making it an excellent place to start your adventure.

The cute streets of Asakusa in Tokyo

The cute streets of Asakusa in Tokyo

Asakusa maintains a somewhat old-Tokyo style. It is the home of many Japanese craft stores, ancient temples, scene parks, low-key cafes, and an overall vivacious atmosphere. This is the place to be for an authentic Tokyo experience. Here are so many diverse things to do and see that each will introduce you to the city’s culture in their own unique way.

Some of the must-see attractions in Asakusa include:

  • The Hanayashiki Amusement Park
  • Sumida Park
  • The Tokyo Skytree

Click here to go on a Rickshaw Food Tour in Asakusa.

Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Stop 2: Senso-ji temple

Opening hours: 6:00 am – 17:00 pm

This is one of Asakusa’s most prevalent spiritual attractions and is the most visited among the many temples found here. This ancient Buddhist temple is a true beauty, and also happens to be the oldest temple in Tokyo.

Admire the sophisticated, Japanese architecture and take a stroll inside to soak up the atmosphere of the temple. Learn so much more about Buddhist history in ancient Japan.

The pagoda of Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

The pagoda of Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, this is a powerfully symbolic and spiritual building to the locals of Tokyo. The bright and colourful Senso-ji temple is, as told by legend, built for the goddess of Kannon. Its main features include the Kaminarimon (the Thunder Gate), a five-story pagoda and the Asakusa Shrine.

The road leading up to Senso-ji temple is also pretty amazing, with a huge bunch of souvenir shops lining the way. Nakamise-Dori road provides the perfect chance to do some shopping for a new pair of sandals or a Japanese-style hat.

You can also taste some of the best street food here! Keep your eyes peeled for traditional delights, such as Dango (mochi balls made with pounded rice), melon-pan (melon bread) and fresh Sekine dumplings.

The road of cute shops leading up to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

The road of cute shops leading up to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Day 2

Now that you’re a little more settled into the city, it’s time for you to expand your horizons. On your second day, you will be seeing something completely different from the first day, exploring some of Tokyo’s extra upbeat, funky neighbourhoods. Taking in more sights and sounds from the heart of this thriving metropolis.

Stop 1: Ameyoko / Americaya

Step into a super cool area with a fun outdoor event, the Ameya-Yokochō market. This is a buzzing central location with plenty of awesome things to do, see and eat! The market has everything from plentiful street food, to stylish clothing and massive electronic stores.

The bustling and colourful street of Ameyoko in Tokyo

The bustling and colourful street of Ameyoko in Tokyo

Found just next to Ueno Station in Ginza, and covering 164,227 square feet, you can spend the whole morning shopping around and venturing the open-air market’s many stalls. The charismatic vibe of this market will keep you entertained as you browse and enjoy the trinkets and goodies of each store.

This is also a hotspot for amazing deals, so keep this in mind as you shop in this retail paradise. A crazy shopping spree is one of those experiences that you simply must have while you’re in Tokyo.

Funky shop fronts in Ameyoko, Tokyo

Funky shop fronts in Ameyoko, Tokyo

Stop 2: Akihabara

When visiting Tokyo, you have to visit the many shopping districts and retail hubs that it has to offer. Akihabara is known as the “manga headquarter” of Tokyo, and despite being a pretty eccentric neighbourhood, it’s also one of the best areas for shopping.

It offers lots of anime-related outlets and electronic stores. It’s most well-known for having a variety of huge stores dedicated to technological equipment and electronics, that’s how it earned its name as the ‘Electronic Town’.

Tokyo is one of the homes of anime, and it has played a huge role in the influence of the city’s out-of-the-box culture. To immerse yourself in the wacky, cartoon world, head over to Tokyo Anime Center. Another must-see store in this town is the impressive, jam-packed Mandarake Complex. It is one of the places to go for toys, collectables, comic books and all tthings manga, as well as other typically Japanese items.

Exploring Akihabara in Tokyo

Exploring Akihabara in Tokyo

You will find so many weird and wonderful places to visit here in Akihabara. There are also many great places to enjoy a traditional bite to eat and a cup of herbal tea. Spend your afternoon admiring the very unusual stores and an abundance of advanced electronics.

One of my favourite stores was Super Potato, a vintage video games store, which had an entire floor just of old video games you could play. After you’ve seen all of your favourite parts of Akihabara, settle down in one of the town’s restaurants for a delicious evening meal.

Click here to book an Owl Cafe Cafe experience in Akihabara.

The top floor of Super Potato where you can play with vintage videogames

The top floor of Super Potato where you can play with vintage videogames

Exploring Akihabara in Tokyo

Exploring Akihabara in Tokyo

Day 3

It’s two days into your trip, and by now you’ve probably caught the fever of the city! This means you will appreciate the more popular parts of Tokyo on a whole new level. Today, you will visit more of Tokyo’s prevalent areas and attractions.

Stop 1: Shibuya

Shibuya is one of the most noteworthy areas in Tokyo. Shibuya is a very bustling neighbourhood, which also happens to be the epicentre of commerce and business, meaning you’re in for a wild whirlwind when you visit.

Along with having the busiest train station in the world, Shibuya is also known for its famous crossing. The Shibuya Crossing is said to be the busiest intersection in the world. And if not the world, it’s definitely the busiest in Japan!

To get a good view of Shibuya Crossing go to the Starbucks just across the road from it, here you can grab a coffee and sit on the second floor, enjoying the view as you sip on your drink.

Shibuya crossing seen from the top floor of Starbucks in Tokyo

Shibuya crossing seen from the top floor of Starbucks in Tokyo

Here you can come to observe the spectacle of enormous crowds of people flocking together, crossing paths, and making their way to do their daily activities. It’s honestly one of the most authentic Tokyo experiences, allowing you to see how locals get on with their lives.

During peak hours, there are up to 3000 people that crossing at a time, each skillfully dodging each other. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy the quirky, modern and forward-thinking philosophies of the city in action. Watch people from all over Tokyo, intersecting at one of the world’s most famous crossways.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the world-celebrated memorial site of Hachikō, a popular meeting spot. It honours the remarkable relationship shared between a man and his fiercely loyal Akita dog. This is the touching monument that the movie, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, was based on.

The busy streets of Ameyoko in Tokyo

The busy streets of Ameyoko in Tokyo

Stop 2: Harajuku

Harajuku is another weird Manga area that contains a variety of cool shops and awesome food. This area is known for having some of the tastiest sweet goods, such as sugary crêpes, bubble tea, decadent doughnuts, and many other delights for your sweet tooth.

Grab yourself some giant rainbow candy floss and make your way to the first eye-catching store you see to do some more shopping. As you go about your explorations, you’ll likely encounter colourfully dressed people and plenty of inspiring street art.

If you’re looking for classic vintage clothing and unique cosplay shops, then you can head to Takeshita Street. For a look into the talented, creative world of Tokyo, visit the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art.

Click here to book a walking tour of Harajuku

Takeshita street in Harajuku, Tokyo

Takeshita street in Harajuku

Stop 3: Metropolitan Government Building

Opening hours: 9:30 am – 21:00 pm, Monday – Friday

The Metropolitan Government Building is also known in short as ‘Tochō’. The attraction has no entrance fee, and it is one of the most refreshing places to visit during your travels.

The Metropolitan Government Building is closed on weekends so make sure to plan your time in Tokyo accordingly! (Don’t be like me, who completely forgot to check and then ended up missing out on this experience)

I’m not saying that because of its political significance as the headquarters for Tokyo’s metropolis. Aside from being responsible for managing the special wards, cities, towns and villages, you can do more than simply learn about Tokyo here. This government building has one of the most amazing observation decks in the city.

Make your way 202 meters above ground at the top of the observation decks. Enjoy sprawling views over Tokyo’s impressive and stunning cityscape. This is both an educational and exciting landmark that will provide you with a wonderful chance to relax during your 5 days in Japan’s capital city.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government building

Tokyo Metropolitan Government building

Stop 4: Shinjuku

Make your way to one more unconventional and buzzing neighbourhood, Shinjuku. This district is an absolute mecca for entertainment, business and shopping. And after a long day of scouring the city, it’s time to let loose.

One of the must-see places in this awesome district is Omoide Yokocho (also known as ‘piss alley’). It stands out clear as day in comparison to the clean, brightly lit, modern design of the rest of the city. With old, musty buildings and grubby, outdoor food stalls, it provides a kind of refuge for tourists from all over the world.

Omoide Yokocho, known as "piss alley", at night in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Omoide Yokocho, known as “piss alley”, at night in Shinjuku

Breaking away from the rest of the extremely sophisticated ways of the central areas, you can enjoy a cold beer and some laid back dining. It may sound unappealing until you see the busy street for yourself. You will understand why it’s such a special part of Tokyo.

Another hotspot for nightlife in this neighbourhood is Golden Gai, a district known for its epic array of fun bars. Find incredible, neon-lit clubs as well as uncannily small and cute bars to soak in some of Tokyo’s nightlife. You may even find a karaoke room where you can grace the stage and belt your heart out if your vocal cords are feeling up to it.

However you choose to enjoy your night out in Tokyo, you’re sure to make some rare memories.

Click here to book a Night Walking Tour in Shinjuku!

The streets and bars of Golden Gai in Shinjuku at night

The streets and bars of Golden Gai in Shinjuku at night

Day 4

Today you’re going to see even more of Tokyo’s charm. Enjoy some very unusual activities that can’t be done anywhere else in the world. Here’s more of what to see in Tokyo in 5 days.

Stop 1: TeamLab Borderless

Opening hours: 10:00 am – 19:00 pm

Museums get a bad wrap for being boring, but the TeamLab Borderless breaks this stigma. It’s considered a very popular spot for selfies, and because of that, a lot of people think that’s all its good for.

It’s without one of the most Instagrammable places in Tokyo, but it’s not just that. Once you enter the place and are met by the explosion of lights and colours, you’ll be glad you visited.

The super cool Digital Art Museum has partnered with the Mori Building Company, welcoming you into a bright, beautiful wonderland. It provides a space that is like a whole new world in itself.

Feel your inner child going bonkers as you journey your way through, marvelling at the creative and colourful displays and exhibits.

One of my favourite rooms at the Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo, Japan

One of my favourite rooms at the Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo

The name of ‘TeamLab Borderless’ is given because all of the digital artworks seem to flow together as one. Sometimes the pieces even intermingle, creating a new visual effect altogether. Stand as a part of the exhibit, becoming immersed in a complex collaboration of intricate, 3-dimensional digital artwork.

I visited the ArtScience Museum during a layover in Singapore and this exhibition reminded me of that. suggest you arrive a few minutes before opening to ensure you’re the first one in. That way you can have a more intimate and engaging encounter with the artwork.

Click here to book your ticket to the TeamLab Digital Art Museum

The lantern room at Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo, Japan

The lantern room at Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo

Stop 2: Tsukiji Fish Market

Opening hours: 5:00 am – 14:00 pm (closed on Sundays)

Tokyo has many out of the ordinary attractions, one of which is the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was the largest wholesale fish market in the entire world and used to be known for its world-famous tuna auction. Although it has become a lot smaller since then, it’s still a dazzling market, but it’s broken up into the inner and outer layers.

You will find a host of items here, but the biggest attraction is the mouthwatering, fresh fish dishes. There is no better place in Tokyo to enjoy traditional fish being cooked right in front of your eyes and served up steaming hot (or cold in the case of sushi).

A very tasty chirashi bowl from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

A very tasty chirashi bowl from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Every traveller that visits Tokyo should have this market on their bucket list of things to do whilst in the city. The market has a contagious, festive atmosphere that is also thick with rich aromas. Enjoy the sounds of fish grilling, tills ringing and fast-paced bargaining conversations. It all comes together to make for an incredible experience.

The market has a lot of character, and it is especially worth visiting if you’re interested in cooking and seafood. Even if you’re not, it’s still a fun market to walk around and taste some stellar seafood meals.

We had lunch at a place called Sushizanmai and it was one of the best I’ve ever had. They have a selection of menus at set prices with a taste of every fish, or smaller dishes that you can pick and mix between and make your own sushi set. I had the set menu pictured below for 3,100 yen.

Click here to book a Half-day Walking Tour of Tsukiji Fish Market!

Sushi from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Sushi from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Day 5

You’ve seen all the main guidebook highlights – it’s up to you now! Plan your last day around the types of activities you enjoy the most. Whether that is indulging in the shopping mania or Manga madness.

Spend the day visiting innovative museums or being awe-inspired by other entertaining activities. It’s your free day. You could also go to Tokyo Disneyland or go on a day trip to Kamakura if you wanted to get out of the chaos of Tokyo.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

DisneySea

The Tokyo DisneySea is a theme park resort that is one of the most extravagant, theatrical and beautiful places to visit near Tokyo. It’s found in Urayasu, and it’s overflowing with activities, rides, parks, food stalls and entertainment. It’s made up of these 7 sections:

  • Mediterranean Harbour
  • Mysterious Island
  • Mermaid Lagoon
  • Arabian Coast
  • Lost River Delta
  • Port Discovery
  • American Waterfront.

The amusement rides and displays are all inspired by Disney’s famous, ocean-themed fantasy tales and stories. You could spend days here and still never run out of new things to do and see.

Click here to book a ticket to Tokyo DisneySea

Mermaid Lagoon at Disney Sea in Tokyo

Mermaid Lagoon at Disney Sea in Tokyo

Pokemon Café

Who doesn’t just love Pokemon? Imagine eating a meal shaped like your favourite character from this exceedingly popular, internationally loved franchise from Nintendo.

You can enjoy a handful of dishes, like Pancakes, fruit salad, burgers and even a Jigglypuff cheesecake. Tuck in while being joined at your table by Pokemon figurines and Poke balls. The cafe has a sleek, open layout with chic wooden floor panels that create a warm ambience.

You need to make reservations weeks in advance if you want to eat here. I only thought about it when I was at the airport enroute to Tokyo and despite having 2 weeks in Japan it was all fully booked. Book your seats in advance to make sure you have your spot saved.

Loving my time at the Pokemon Centre next to the Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo

Loving my time at the Pokemon Centre next to the Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo

Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo period in Japan left many marks, and the best place to brush up your knowledge about it is at the remarkable Edo-Tokyo Museum. Be fascinated more and more by the deep history and culture of Edo-Tokyo the more you learn.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park is an exquisite green space to enjoy a relaxed morning stroll and some memorable sightseeing. It provides a gorgeous setting for you to take a breather whilst also taking in one of Tokyo’s most popular landmarks.

Be greeted by a proud statue of Saigo Takamori as you enter the park, and bask in the peaceful atmosphere that encompasses the huge space. Complete with cherry blossom trees, a serene pond and Japan’s first zoological garden.

There are also many museums, such as the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the Natural Science Museum. If you feel like coming up-close with some adorable panda bears, pop into Ueno Zoo.

Ueno Park in Tokyo

Ueno Park in Tokyo

One Piece Tower

There is a range of amazing, high-quality theme parks in and around Tokyo. And an excellent example is the One Piece Tower. It’s all about the Japanese Manga series, One Piece, and if you’re a fan of the series, you have to visit! You can also get a combo ticket to One Piece and Tokyo Tower, so you can go to the top and enjoy the view over Tokyo.

Even if you’re not a fan of One Piece it’s still a fun experience, that lets you in on the inside of Japanese manga culture. Learn about the popular anime comedy and how the phenomenon first started. This is a must for anyone who enjoys the series, or who is keen to dive further into a world of anime.

Click here to book a ticket to the One Piece Tower!

One Piece Tower in Tokyo

One Piece Tower in Tokyo

Zenyōmitsu-ji Temple

Enjoy a trip to Zenyomitsu-ji, a gorgeous Buddhist temple in Setagaya. This temple places importance on understanding the roots of Buddhism. Learn all about Buddhism’s influence on Japan, and gain a clearer perspective on the origins of their profound philosophies. This a great stop during the last day of your Tokyo, Japan trip.

Where to stay during your 5-day Tokyo itinerary

In Tokyo, you’ll find that every neighbourhood is basically a city in itself, making your options varied, with many awesome spots to choose from. However, I recommend Shibuya or Shinjuku for the full experience.

Shibuya is one of the most popular areas to stay in Tokyo. It’s easy to understand as this particular neighbourhood is one of the city’s business hubs.

Exploring the lantern room at Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo

Exploring the lantern room at Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo

Shinjuku is close to Shibuya, but it has very different characteristics. This town is all about nightlife, luxurious bars, classy hotels, and restaurants. You’ll find high-energy dance clubs, some of them with striking neon lights. And as for the Skyscraper District, that’s the place you go to when you feel like indulging in a delicious meal at a chic restaurant.

If you’re wanting to stay further away from the busy crowds and tourists, then alternatively, you can stay at Sunshine City Prince. This is the comfortable hotel I stayed in, and its located in Toshima City.  

This is an area that’s a little off-the-beaten-track, offering a sort of sanctuary from the bustling city, whilst remaining central. It’s also a hub of authentic Japanese culture, with wonderful restaurants, sites and places to visit. The Sunshine Aquarium, the Mejiro Garden, and Kishimojin, to name just a few.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Sunshine City Prince!

The view from my window at the Sunshine City Prince Hotel in Toshima City

The view from my window at the Sunshine City Prince Hotel in Toshima City

Final thoughts on what to do in Tokyo in 5 days

Spending just under a week in Tokyo gives you plenty of time to become enchanted by the unusual and sometimes mind-blowingly beautiful parts of the city. Your 5 days in Tokyo will be full to the brim with activities and entertainment, each sharing part of this metropolitan lifestyle with you.

During my travels in Asia, I’ve been lucky enough to have made many memories here with my travel buddies. Documenting your travels in Tokyo is such a rewarding experience, allowing you to remember the one-of-kind neighbourhoods, temples, people and places in detail after you leave.

I hope that my Tokyo travel itinerary helps you make the most out of your time this city, discovering what a truly extraordinary and inspiring destination it really is. We started and ended our two weeks in Japan in Tokyo, and it was the perfect introduction to Japan. Seeing the hustle and bustle of the Japanase capital city prepared us for the rest of our adventures exploring Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nara and beyond.

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Photo collage of the Tokyo skyline, Senso-iji temple in Asakusa and street signs in Tokyo with text overlay saying "How to see Tokyo in 5 epic days"

Tokyo skyline at sunset with text overlay saying "Tokyo 5-day itinerary"

Collage of Teamlab Borderless musem in Tokyo, Asakusa and Ameyoko with text overlay saying "Tokyo 5-day itinerary: how to spend 5 days in Tokyo, Japan"

Girl in the infinity room of Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo, surrounded by sparkly lights, with text overlay saying "How to spend 5 days in Tokyo"

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