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Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities in the world and three days is the perfect amount of time to spend in the city and get to know some of its districts. It’s a sprawling city filled with skyscrapers, enormous flashing billboards, and robot-run cafes, combined with old world traditions and elegant temples. Here’s your guide on what to do in Tokoyo for 3 days, from eating fresh sushi at one of the world’s largest fish markets to checking out Harajuku fashion and marveling at the city’s skyscrapers:
Morning: Meiji-Jingu Shrine
Today, you’re going to focus on seeing the sites of west Tokyo. Start your day in the Shibuya district and visit the Meiji-Jingu shrine, which gives you a glimpse into old Japan and its traditions. The shrine is located in Yoyogi Park, which is a beautiful, leafy park filled with ponds and manicured gardens. Spend some time relaxing in the park after you’ve visited the temple.
Mid-Morning: Harajuku Fashion
Next, take a walk to the nearby Omotesando street, which is known as the main strip in Tokyo’s fashion district. It’s packed with designer shops and some of the backstreets have teenage fashion stores and you can see locals dressed in the famously quirky Harajuku style. Grab lunch at Rainbow Pancake, which is a restaurant that specializes in sweet and savory pancakes. It’s worth the line.
A short walk away you’ll find the famous Shibuya Crossing, which is a large intersection crossing outside Shibuya metro station that’s known for its four lanes. Have your camera ready and be prepared to take a quick picture while crossing the road, but keep an eye on the “green man” too and cross the road safely.
Late Afternoon: Get Lost in Translation
Hop on the metro and head north to the Shinjuku metro station. If you’ve seen the Hollywood classic Lost in Translation, you’ll remember the incredible views of Tokyo from Park Hyatt Hotel. Perhaps the film sparked your interest in traveling to Japan, as it did for many people. Head to the hotel in the late afternoon and marvel at Tokyo’s skyline, which is packed with skyscrapers and neon lights. Grab a drink and wind-down after a busy day of exploring. Try to time your visit for sunset.
Evening: Arcade Akihabara
Next, head to the district of Akihabara, which is like an assault on the senses, with the flashing lights of arcades, large television screens and shops packed with electronics. Grab dinner at a restaurant in the area, such as Kanda Matsuya, which specializes in soba noodles, or Ikina Issho, for a bowl of hearty ramen. The nearest station is Akihabara Metro, or give some rest to your legs and simply get there by taxi Tokyo.
Morning: Exploring Old Tokyo
Head to the Asakusa district to get a glimpse into the history of the city. Asakusa is an interesting mixture of old, winding backstreets and modern architecture. Spend some time exploring the area and walking around the winding streets. If you’re lucky enough to visit in Spring, this is also an ideal opportunity to see the cherry blossom trees.
Mid-Morning: Senso-ji Temple
Visit the nearby Senso-ji Temple, which is in the Asakusa district. It’s Tokyo’s oldest temple and was almost completely destroyed by bombs during World War Two. The temple has since been rebuilt and it’s a place where many come to worship the Buddhist god of happiness, Asakusa Kannon. If you’re hungry, there are street food vendors outside selling traditional Japanese snacks, crepes and senbei, which are rice crackers that come in hundreds of different flavors.
Afternoon: Roppongi Hills
Next up, head to the Roppongi district, which is Tokyo’s main business hub. Grab lunch at Sukiyabashi Jiro, which is a top sushi restaurant, or if you’re not too hungry head to Naniwaya Sohonten, where you can sample taiyaki, which are fish-shaped pancakes filled with red bean paste. After lunch, explore the area on foot and enjoy the incredible views of the city. Head to the Tokyo City View observation deck, which gives city views from over 800 feet up.
Evening: Karaoke Time
Don’t be shy! Karaoke is a big deal in Japan and it’s better to embrace the tradition than hide in the corner. The city is packed with karaoke bars and there are tons within the main districts such as Akihabara, Asakusa, and Shibuya. Head to a bar near your hotel and hop in a cab home when you’ve finished singing a few classics.
Morning: Smells Fishy
Start the morning at the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market, which is an enormous indoor fish market where you can see underwater creatures being auctioned-off to supply restaurants and locals. The market is truly gigantic and you’re likely to see types of fish that you’ve never laid eyes on before. For breakfast, you’ll find some fantastic sushi stalls located in the market, with fish as fresh as can be.
Mid-Morning and Afternoon: Cultural Time at Museums
Take the metro to Uguisudani Station and Head to Ueno Park, where you’ll find some great museums such as the Tokyo National Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the National Science Museum. If you like to take your time in museums, head to just one. If you like to see as much as possible in the time you have, go for two.
Late Afternoon: Tokyo Skyline
With your trip coming to an end, it’s time to take in one last view of the city’s jaw-dropping skyline. Jump on the metro and head to Tokyo Skytree Station to visit the Tokyo Skytree, which stands 2000 feet above the city and is the world’s largest free-standing broadcast tower. If there are no clouds, you might even be able to see views of Mount Fuji. Stay for sunset before heading back to your hotel.
If you’re keen to communicate with the locals while in Tokyo, before your trip, check out Asian Language School – Chicago and brush up on your Japanese!