Is 2 days or 48 hours in Tokyo enough to do it justice? After all, Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world. It’s no surprise, then, that there’s a hell of a lot to see and do – cat cafes, owl cafes, maid cafes, robot cafes… And that’s just cafes!
So if you’re planning a short break, this 2 day Tokyo itinerary packs in a lot of the main sights to keep you entertained on your whistle-stop tour of the Japanese capital.
Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive at Tokyo airport after your flight, and transfer to your hotel in the city.
We stayed at the 5* Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, which is primarily a business hotel, but very well connected to the rest of the city, and pretty plush too! We had a couple of hours to settle in, shower and admire the view out the window of our 45th-floor room.
7:30 pm Head to Dinner
For an authentic experience, visit a teppanyaki restaurant like Misono for dinner. The Shinjuku branch is on the top floor of a skyscraper, where you sit around a teppanyaki grill, watching skilled chefs cook vegetables, seafood and other meats. Wash your meal down with sake and Asahi beer.
Now, head back to your hotel to enjoy a good night’s sleep ready for a busy day tomorrow.
Day 2 of Your Tokyo Itinerary
9:00 am Tour Asakusa
Asakusa is the oldest temple and one of the most popular tourist spots in the city. The temple itself is a beautiful sight, and probably my favourite place in the whole of Tokyo. Get a guide to tell you all about the history of the temple and demonstrate the Buddhist rituals of incense and prayer.
While you’re in the area, exploring the sprawling markets for souvenirs and traditional Japanese crafts. This is the best place in the city for it!
12:00 pm Find Somewhere for Lunch
Asakusa is also home to many restaurants and cafes, so choose one to enjoy some lunch. Many will have plastic models of the meals outside in the window to give you an idea of the menu, but you can expect to see ramen, sashimi, sushi and many more delicious Japanese dishes.
1:00 pm Climb Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree is Tokyo’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. It’s a 634m tall structure with a viewing platform at the top where you can see all of Tokyo and (if you’re extremely lucky) as far away as Mount Fuji. The view really puts perspective on the size of the city.
3:00 pm: Visit Akihabara
If you’re in need of a rest, head to Akihabara to visit a maid cafe! Seriously, you can’t come to Tokyo without visiting some kind of weird cafe.
Maiddreamin is one of the original maid cafes, where you can go for drinks and a show (that makes it sound really dodgy, but I promise it’s not!) of maids talking in high-pitched squeals at how cute everything is. Their drinks and foods are decorated with animal faces drawn on with sauce, so I couldn’t resist an ice cream float made to look like a cat.
5:00 pm: Shibuya Crossing
Head back to Shinjuku via the famous pedestrian insersection at Shibuya. The Shibuya Scramble Crossing is where hundreds of people cross the streets in front of Shibuya station, and is something you have to see while you’re in Tokyo!
6:00 pm: Dinner Time
Choose somewhere to eat dinner around Shinjuku. There’s a restaurant nearby that is famous for its tempura – Shinjuku Tsunahachi Sohonten. Here, the tempura is made directly in front of you as you sit around the bar. You can choose from deep fried, battered everything, from prawn and other seafood, to okra, cream cheese and even seaweed!
8:00 pm: Visit the Arcades
You can’t come to Tokyo without visiting one of the arcades. They’re heaven for video game enthusiasts and, well, everyone else too! You can play driving games, dancing games, drumming games and even photo booths that will turn yourselves into anime characters!
Bonus Day 3: If You’re Lucky!
6:00 am: Get Ready for Disneyland
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice there’s a day three in this itinerary for 2 days in Tokyo, but think of it as a bonus. If you get an extra bonus day, where better to spend it than Disneyland Tokyo?!
8:00 am: Get To Disneyland For When It Opens
Spend the day going on rides, meeting characters and immersing yourself in Japanese life, Disney style! Be warned that not every cast member will speak English, and there may not be any subtitles or dubbing on the rides, so take a cue from the locals as to when to laugh or on where to stand.
1:00 pm: Enjoy Lunch
There are, of course, plenty of places to eat at DisneySea, so choose one of the restaurants to refuel. We chose a New York diner and found it fascinating to see what their choice of ‘American’ dishes would be. Still, the food was delicious and kept us going for the rest of the day.
There were a few rides we didn’t manage to go on because it was just so busy. Instead, we were quite happy to finish off in the gift shops and explore the shopping precinct outside the park.
5:00 pm: Enjoy a Trip on the Water
Take the metro back to central Tokyo to get ready for a night on a traditional longboat. Find one that will take you down the river, all the way to Rainbow Bridge, passing Tokyo Skytree and hundreds of other skyscrapers all magically lit up, while plenty of sashimi, salads, tempura and miso soup is served from the galley kitchen.
10:00 pm: Karaoke in Rapponghi
With your feet back on dry land, it’s time for another favourite Japanese past time… karaoke! Book a private karaoke room in one of the many bars in Rapponghi, and you’ll have access to a huge number of karaoke classics as well. Sing your heart out or dance the night away here, making sure you get plenty of rest before your onward journey the next day!
48 hours is rarely enough to do anywhere justice, and in Tokyo’s case, spending just 2 days in Tokyo was a bit of a stretch, so I’m so glad we had an extra day to spend at Disneyland.
Despite the lack of time, it’s still possible to cram a lot into your trip and, like any decent city, Tokyo will leave you wanting more.
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