3 Days in Tokyo (Itinerary + Mount Fuji Tour)

The best itinerary for 3 days in Tokyo (+ a map with all top attractions, how to get to Mount Fuji and my favourite places for ramen and sushi).

Tokyo, with its ancient temples, zen gardens and towering skyscrapers, is a unique blend of historical charm and cutting-edge modernity. It’s a bustling and vibrant city known for its fantastic food scene and a rich history that goes back centuries.

Tokyo’s origins can be traced to a small fishing village known as Edo, established around the 12th century. In the early 17th century, Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, chose Edo as his administrative and military headquarters. In 1868 following the Meiji Restoration (the restoration of imperial rule), the Emperor moved the capital from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo. In fact, Tokyo means Eastern Capital in Japanese, distinguishing it from Kyoto in the western part of the country.

Best 3-day Tokyo Itinerary

As Tokyo is among the world’s largest cities, planning a trip might feel a bit daunting, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. There is so much to see – from historic temples (such as Meiji Shrine and Sensō-ji Temple) to iconic places like Shibuya Crossing and themed cafés. Also, as the city is vast, travelling between neighbourhoods will take up a good amount of your time.

My Tokyo itinerary for first-timers will guide you through the most popular attractions, historic sites and culinary experiences. I structured it in such a way, that you can make the most of your time in the city. I’ve also listed my favourite places to eat ramen, tonkatsu and tempura!

3 Days in Tokyo Itinerary (for first-timers)

  • Day 1 – Tokyo Skytree, Sensō-ji Temple, Japanese dinner cruise
  • Day 2 – Meiji Jingu, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Hachiko Memorial Statue, Cat Café MoCHA
  • Day 3 – Tokyo National Museum, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower

In my opinion, dedicating between 3 and 4 days in Tokyo is the ideal duration of time. This lets you see all the main sights without rushing and even take a day trip to Mount Fuji (on the 4th day). I also included some suggestions for those considering a 5-day stay in Tokyo, below the 3-day itinerary.

Tips on your 3-day Tokyo itinerary

Accommodation – already have a hotel reserved? Then check its location to ensure it’s situated near a station with both metro and JR lines (more info in my guide on where to stay in Tokyo first time).

My favourite place to stay in Tokyo: The Blossom Hibiya
Why: central location for sightseeing, easy access to metro and JR lines
What I like: panoramic city views, Japanese sake bar, Western and Japanese breakfast buffet

Restaurants – restaurants often specialize in one specific type of food, for example, ramen, sushi, tempura, etc. Many are small and you often sit at the counter, facing the chef, watching the culinary preparation process. If possible make a reservation, because there are usually lines and if the place is really popular they could be hours long.

Mapfind here a map of this 3-day itinerary for Tokyo (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites).

Always book tours or skip the lines tickets with GetYourGuide (you get a mobile ticket + free cancellation). Tickets from the attractions’ official websites are mostly non-refundable.

Internet – having an internet connection in Tokyo is essential for navigating between locations (using Google Maps) and translating restaurant menus. Consider renting a pocket WiFi or buying an eSim.

3 Days in Tokyo itinerary – Day 1

Morning

Breakfast at Kameya

09:00 AM – 09:40 AM

Start your first day with breakfast at Kameya. This lovely little bakery offers a good selection of pastries and sandwiches.

Tokyo Skytree

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

With its impressive height of 634m (2080 feet), Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. Completed in 2012, the tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding region. You can even see Mount Fuji on a clear, sunny day!

There are two observation decks, located at heights of 350m (Tembo Deck) and 450m (Tembo Galleria). The Tembo Deck spans three levels, providing fantastic views from each floor. To reach the Tembo Galleria from the Tembo Deck, you have to take an elevator, which means you need to wait in an additional line. You can opt for a ticket for just the lower platform (Tembo Deck) or a combo ticket for both.

Booking in advance is recommended (tickets are timed-entry and often sold out)
Entry ticket: Skip-the-line Tokyo Skytree

After dark (between 6:15 PM and midnight) the tower is illuminated in different colours. There are two main illumination patterns, which change daily – blue Iki (the spirit of Edo) and purple Miyabi (its aesthetics). On occasion, there is special illumination, featuring other colours like red or orange (considered a sign of good luck since ancient times).

Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is a must-see during your 3 days in Tokyo

Lunch at Kura Sushi Asakusa ROX

12:00 PM – 01:30 PM

Kura Sushi is a popular sushi restaurant chain, a great place to experience conveyor belt sushi. The conveyor belt carries plates of sushi throughout the restaurant, allowing you to take whatever you wish. Additionally, you can order freshly made sushi on a tablet, which will be delivered straight to your table via the conveyor belt. A unique and fun experience! I really loved the Shrimp Tempura Hand Roll and the Hokkaido Milk Creamy Tart.

Kura Sushi Asakusa ROX
Kura Sushi is a popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant

Another option for lunch is Yoroiya Ramen. It’s a great place to try the classic Tokyo-style shoyu ramen and some crispy gyoza.

Afternoon

Sensō-ji Temple

01:30 PM – 03:30 PM

Sensō-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple with a rich history dating back to the 7th century. Built in 645, it stands as Tokyo’s oldest temple. Sensō-ji is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

According to the legends, two fishermen accidentally caught a statue of the goddess Kannon, while fishing in the Sumida river. Despite returning it to the water, the statue kept coming back to them. Seeking guidance, they presented the statue to the village headman, who recognised the statue as the goddess Kannon. In reverence, the fishermen devoted their lives to her and built Sensō-ji Temple.

Sensō-ji is, in fact, a large complex, which consists of several buildings and gates, including a five-story pagoda and the Asakusa Shrine. The first gate Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) is famous for its large red lantern, a symbol of Asakusa. The gate is decorated with statues of Fūjin (the Shinto god of wind) and Raijin (the Shinto god of thunder).

Tokyo Itinerary Sensō-ji Temple
Sensō-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo

Beyond the Kaminarimon Gate, lies Nakamise-dori, a vibrant shopping street. It is lined with small shops selling all kinds of traditional Japanese goods like souvenirs, handcrafted items and snacks. Many of the shops here have been operating for centuries, and some of them can even trace their roots back to the 15th century. It is the best place to buy souvenirs and gifts in Tokyo!

The Asakusa Shrine was commissioned by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1649 during Japan’s Edo period.

Sensō-ji Temple is free to visit. In my opinion, it is the most impressive temple in Tokyo and I highly recommend visiting it, including the market around it.

Sensō-ji Temple pagoda
Sensō-ji pagoda
Sensō-ji Temple interior

Dinner at Tempura Yasuda

Head to Tempura Yasuda for some delicious tempura or to Nishimura for tonkatsu. If you can’t make a reservation, go a few minutes before the opening times, as both restaurants are popular among locals and always packed.

Tempura Yasuda is one of my favourite restaurants for tempura in Tokyo. It is a small restaurant, hidden down a narrow staircase in the basement. They serve excellent crispy tempura, focused on the original taste of the ingredients.

Nishimura is a small tonkatsu restaurant, offering very good crispy and tender tonkatsu. In my opinion, one of the best tonkatsu in the city.

Tempura Yasuda
Tempura Yasuda
Nishimura
Head to Nishimura for the best tonkatsu in the city

More ideas for 3 days in Tokyo – Day 1

Experience a traditional Japanese dinner cruise

Take this Japanese Traditional Yakatabune Dinner Cruise to enjoy the beautiful view of Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Bay in the evening. You’ll cruise down the Sumida River toward the bay while savouring an authentic Japanese dinner with all you can drink.

Watch a sumo morning training

Sumo wrestling is one of the most popular national sports in Japan. To discover this Japanese martial art form and its long traditions, join this Sumo morning training experience. This tour gives you the opportunity to witness the morning training sessions of professional Sumo wrestlers from behind the scenes.

3 Days in Tokyo itinerary – Day 2

Morning

Breakfast at Boul’ange

09:00 AM – 09:40 AM

Start your second day of this 3-day Tokyo itinerary with breakfast at Boul’ange Shinjuku Southern Terrace. Excellent pastries, I especially liked the croissants (the best ones in Tokyo)!

Boul'ange Shinjuku Southern Terrace
Boul’ange Shinjuku Southern Terrace

Meiji Jingu

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Meiji Jingu is one of the most significant and revered Shinto shrines in Japan. Located in a serene forested area, the shrine is surrounded by over 100,000 trees, donated from all over the country. Even with the crowds, I found the temple very peaceful.

Meiji Jingu is built in 1920 and it is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. During their rule (1867 – 1912), Japan transformed from an isolated nation to a major world power.

Meiji Jingu
Meiji Jingu is one of the most significant Shinto shrines in Japan

Meiji Jingu covers a large area, featuring several structures, torii gates, forested pathways and gardens (see a map with all Meiji Jingu’s highlights). The shrine is free to visit, but access to certain areas (like the museum or the inner garden) requires a fee.

Some of the highlights of Meiji Jingu are:

  • a display of sake barrels donated by various producers from all over Japan
  • the Inner Garden (formerly an imperial property), which is filled with azaleas in spring and irises in June
  • Camphor Tree Couple – the two trees were planted during the construction of the shrine. Since then, they’ve been growing side by side, symbolizing a solid and happy marriage, much like the union of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken
Meiji Jingu torii
Meiji Jingu sake barrels
Sake barrels at Meiji Jingu

Lunch at Udon Shin

12:00 PM – 01:30 PM

For lunch head to Udon Shin or Afuri Harajuku.

Udon Shin serves one of the best wheat noodles in Tokyo. Don’t miss their signature meal carbonara udon or the tempura udon. As the restaurant is extremely popular, there is a queuing system implemented. You have to take a reservation ticket from the ticketing machine outside the store. Then you’ll receive an alert when you can join the physical queue outside the store. You can take your ticket before the opening times, so do it on your way to Meiji Jingu.

Afuri Harajuku is a famous ramen shop known for its unique chicken and dashi-based broth that is lighter than the traditional style. Their signature dish is Yuzu Shio – light chicken ramen with yuzu, a small yellow citrus fruit native to Asia. The restaurant is very popular, so expect long lines.

Afternoon

Shibuya Scramble Crossing

02:00 PM – 02:40 PM

Shibuya Scramble Crossing, often referred to simply as Shibuya Crossing, is an iconic pedestrian intersection. It is one of the busiest intersections in the world, with over 3,000 people crossing it every time the signal changes.

Shibuya Crossing is famous for its scrabble design, where traffic from all directions stops simultaneously. This allows people to cross in all possible directions, even diagonally. Surrounded by giant neon advertisements and signs, Shibuya Scramble Crossing is a symbol of Tokyo’s modernity.

For a view of Shibuya Scramble Crossing from above, head over to:

  • Mag’s Park Rooftop Shibuya Crossing – observation deck, located on the rooftop of Magnet by Shibuya 109
  • Shibuya Sky – a 360° observation deck at the rooftop of Shibuya Scramble Square, offering panoramic views of the city and Shibuya Crossing
  • Starbucks Shibuya Tsutaya – where you can enjoy great views of the crossing with a cup of coffee
Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Shibuya Scramble Crossing is a must when visiting Tokyo

Hachikō Memorial Statue

02:40 PM – 03:00 PM

At one corner of the Shibuya Crossing, you’ll find the Hachikō Memorial Statue. It commemorates the touching story of Hachikō, an Akita dog known for his loyalty to his owner, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno.

Every day, Hachikō would accompany his owner to Shibuya Train Station and await his return in the evening. However, in 1925, Professor Ueno passed away unexpectedly while at work, leaving Hachiko heartbroken. Hachikō continued to come every day to the station for the following 9 years, patiently waiting for the professor’s return.

His loyalty and devotion deeply moved the Japanese people. In 1934, a bronze statue of the dog was placed near Shibuya Train Station to honour his loyalty and devotion.

Hachikō Memorial Statue
Hachikō Memorial Statue

Dinner at Gyopao Gyoza Shinjuku

For the best dumplings in the city, head over to Gyopao Gyoza. This small restaurant is a fusion of Taiwan-style Chinese cuisine and Japanese Izakaya. They offer various flavourful dumplings, including fried, boiled dumplings with gravy, and dim sum.

More ideas for 3 days in Tokyo – Day 2

Cat Café MoCHA

For cat enthusiasts, a visit to Cat Café MoCHA is a must! It’s the best cat cafe I’ve ever been to during my travels. They have several locations all over the city, featuring 15-20 cute cats per location in different breeds (I visited the one in Shibuya).

Twice a day (at 10:30 AM and 7:30 PM) the cats are lined up in a neat row for feeding. It’s a real show! For fewer people, consider visiting during the weekdays just after the café opens.

Cat Café MoCHA
Cat Café MoCHA
Cat Café MoCHA feeding

Samurai Experience and Lesson at a Dojo

For a glimpse into old Japan, join this Samurai Experience and Lesson at a Dojo. You’ll learn about the culture of the samurai, how to handle and use a katana and practice different techniques. The workshop ends with a test-cutting lesson, where you’ll use a real samurai sword to slice two poles!

Tokyo Pub Crawl

Discover the city’s nightlife on this Tokyo Pub Crawl and meet new people while exploring different bars and clubs. You’ll visit 3 bars and clubs, where you’ll enjoy free shots and drink discounts. The pub crawl ends with a visit to a dance club, giving you the chance to mingle with locals.

Check out Tokyo’s cutest 3D billboards

Tokyo has several awesome 3D billboards, but my favourites are the ones, featuring a calico cat and Akita Inu. You’ll find the Akita Inu on eight billboards in the area of Shibuya Crossing, Hachiko-mae Square and the Miyamasuzaka Intersection. And to see the giant calico cat head to Shinjuku Station, the billboard is opposite the east exit of the station (at Cross Shinjuku Vision).

3D billboard calico cat
3D billboard at Cross Shinjuku Vision

Ramen Tasting Tour

Learn about the ramen origins, types and preparation on this Ramen Tasting Tour. You’ll visit 3 unique ramen shops, where you sample 6 different mini bowls of delicious ramen. You’ll get to taste unique curry ramen, pork ramen and fish-based ramen, that you wouldn’t find outside of Japan.

Sushi Making Class

To learn the art of crafting delicious sushi rolls, take this Sushi Making Class. With step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn how to make 8-9 kinds of sushi, including nigiri, inari and sushi rolls. You’ll also enjoy some miso soup alongside the sushi you’ve prepared.

3 Days in Tokyo itinerary – Day 3

Morning

Breakfast at Andersen Atre Ueno Bakery

08:30 AM – 09:15 AM

Start your last day of this Tokyo itinerary with breakfast at Andersen Atre Ueno Bakery or Gouter Le Ble. Andersen Atre Ueno offers amazing Danish pastries, while at Gouter Le Ble you’ll find a wonderful selection of Japanese and French-styled baked goods.

Tokyo National Museum

09:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Tokyo National Museum is Japan’s oldest and largest museum. Its extensive collection is housed in several buildings, showcasing different periods of Japanese art, history, and culture.

Start with the Japanese Gallery (Honkan) and the Asian Gallery (Toyokan) – the two main (and in my opinion most interesting) exhibitions. The Japanese Gallery (Honkan) presents a collection of Japanese art and historical artefacts, including armour, weapons and antique Buddhist statues. The Asian Gallery (Toyokan) features artworks and items from places such as China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, India, and Egypt.

Being a history buff, Tokyo National Museum was one of the highlights of my Tokyo visit, so I highly recommend it.

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum

Lunch at Ebimaru Ramen

12:00 PM – 01:30 PM

For lunch head to Ebimaru Ramen, the only ramen shop, which specialized in lobster bisque. The bisque is made using selected ingredients such as lobster shells, wine and many kinds of vegetables. It is not possible to make a reservation, so anticipate a wait of 30 minutes to an hour during lunchtime.

Even though I’m not a big ramen fan, I absolutely loved the ramen here. In fact, it was the best I’ve had in Japan during my entire trip.

Right next to Ebimaru Ramen, you’ll find a small taiyaki shop. Taiyaki is one of my favourite street foods. It’s a pastry shaped like a fish filled with red bean paste or vanilla custard. An excellent spot for dessert after a delicious ramen!

Ebimaru Ramen
Ebimaru Ramen
taiyaki
Taiyaki with vanilla custard

Afternoon

Imperial Palace and East Gardens

02:00 PM – 03:30 PM

The Imperial Palace has served as the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan since 1868. It is built on the grounds of the former Edo Castle, the seat of power of the Tokugawa Shogunate. After the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867, imperial rule was restored, an event known as the Meiji Restoration. The country’s capital was moved from Kyoto to Edo, renamed Tokyo, and Edo Castle was transformed into a royal residence.

The Imperial Palace itself is not open to the public, but you can visit the East Gardens. The gardens are divided into several sections – the East Gardens, Kitanomaru Koen Park and the Kokyo Gaien National Garden. For the best views of the Imperial Palace, make your way to Seimon Ishibashi Bridge, situated at the palace’s main entrance.

Entry ticket: free
Best guided tour: there are free guided tours in English at 10 AM and 1:30 PM (you have to register in advance here) or you can download this Imperial Palace self-guided tour

Tokyo Itinerary Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace – a must for your 3-day Tokyo itinerary

Dinner at Ginza Kagari Ramen

Finish the day with a delicious dinner at Ginza Kagari Ramen or Okonomiyaki Kiji. Ginza Kagari Ramen offers great chicken ramen (don’t miss their special ramen with slices of truffle). For tasty okonomiyaki (a Japanese-style savoury pancake with various ingredients) head to Okonomiyaki Kiji.

Ginza Kagari Ramen
Ginza Kagari Ramen
Okonomiyaki Kiji
Okonomiyaki Kiji

More ideas for 3 days in Tokyo – Day 3

Tsukiji Outer Market

The Tsukiji Outer Market is one of the most popular markets in the city. The market is known for its wide variety of fresh seafood. You can find a rich selection of seafood stalls, sushi restaurants and various street food vendors. To learn about the Japanese food culture and sample some of the finest seafood, join this Tsukiji Outer Market Food Tour.

Yasukuni Shrine

Founded in 1869, Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead. The shrine commemorates all who sacrificed their lives for Japan, particularly soldiers who died in wars. The spirits of almost 2.5 million people, who died during the Boshin War, Russo-Japanese War, World War I and II, and other war conflicts, are enshrined here.

Adjacent to the shrine, you’ll find the Yushukan War Memorial Museum. The museum is dedicated to Japan’s military history, particularly its involvement in various military conflicts since the Meiji Period.

Yasukuni Shrine
Don’t miss Yasukuni Shrine if you’re interested in military history

Dress up in a kimono

If you are looking for a unique cultural experience, book your Kimono Dressing and photography session here. You’ll get the opportunity to dress in an authentic silk kimono and learn how to properly wear it and behave. The tour includes a walk through Yanaka, one of the city’s most traditional districts.

Tokyo Tower

Standing at 333m (1092 feet) height, Tokyo Tower is the second tallest structure in Japan. Completed in 1958, the tower was designed in the image of the Eiffel Tower, though slightly taller. Tokyo Tower has two observation decks offering 360-degree views of the city, at heights of 150m and 250m.

Don’t miss the evening illuminations, starting at sunset till midnight. In winter, the illumination is a warm orange, while in summer, it shines in white.

If you’re visiting during the peak season, I recommend booking your Tokyo Tower ticket in advance.

Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

Zōjō-ji Temple

Next to Tokyo Tower, you’ll find Zōjō-ji, a 14th-century Buddhist temple. The temple is most known for its association with the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan during the Edo period. In the 16th century, Tokugawa Ieyasu chose Zōjō-ji Temple to serve as his family temple. You can visit the mausoleum of the Tokugawa clan, which houses the tombs of six Tokugawa leaders who held the title of shogun.

Zōjō-ji Temple
Zōjō-ji Temple
Zōjō-ji Temple interior

Just to the right of the main hall of the temple is the Sentai Kosodate Jizō. There are more than 1,000 Jizō statues, adorned with bonnets and toys. The statues are dedicated to the souls of unborn and deceased children, as well as the health and well-being of living children.

Sentai Kosodate Jizō
Sentai Kosodate Jizō at Zōjō-ji Temple

Owl Cafe Akiba Fukurou

Located in the Akihabara district, Owl Cafe Akiba Fukurou is a must for every owl enthusiast. Featuring more than 40 owls, this is one of the largest owl cafes in Japan.

To visit the cafe you have to make a reservation in advance. I suggest making your booking at least one month ahead, given the limited availability of spots.

Must buy tickets in advance

Tokyo Skytree – with 4.3 million visitors per year this is the city’s most popular attraction, so ensure your Tokyo Skytree ticket by reserving here.

4-day Tokyo itinerary

If you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time, I recommend dedicating 4 days. This is the perfect amount of time to discover the city’s major attractions and see the famous Mount Fuji.

4 days in Tokyo

  • Day 1 – Tokyo Skytree, Sensō-ji Temple, Japanese dinner cruise
  • Day 2 – Meiji Jingu, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Hachiko Memorial Statue, Cat Café MoCHA
  • Day 3 – Tokyo National Museum, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower
  • Day 4 – day trip to Mount Fuji

5-day Tokyo itinerary

If you’re visiting during the peak season like cherry blossom, I’d suggest spending 5-6 days in Tokyo. You’ll need some extra time to explore the numerous stunning sakura spots. Find more information in my complete Tokyo sakura guide (+ festival dates and the best cherry blossom viewing spots).

5 days in Tokyo

  • Day 1 – Tokyo Skytree, Sensō-ji Temple
  • Day 2 – Meiji Jingu, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Hachiko Memorial Statue
  • Day 3 – Tokyo National Museum, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower
  • Day 4 – day trip to Mount Fuji
  • Day 5 – Sumo morning training, Tsukiji Outer Market, Cat Café MoCHA, Japanese dinner cruise

Where to stay in Tokyo

If you’re a first-time visitor to Tokyo opt for accommodations in a central area near both metro and JR lines. Tokyo is a vast city, and even with its efficient public transportation, you could end up spending a lot of time on transportation.

In my opinion, the most convenient place to stay in Tokyo is Shimbashi. It’s a centrally located district, making it ideal for sightseeing and shopping. Several metro and JR lines pass at Shimbashi Station, providing direct access to Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Station (for the Shinkansen bullet trains).


The Royal Park Hotel – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.7 | 4,700+ reviews

The Royal Park Hotel offers breathtaking views of Tokyo Tower and Hama-rikyū Gardens. Its central and accessible location is just a 3-minute stroll from Shimbashi and Shiodome stations. You can choose from three dining options: Chayama Macrobiotics for organic cuisine, Harmony Restaurant for Western dishes, and Oshima Shiodome for Japanese delicacies.

Why book – 3min walk from Shimbashi and Shiodome stations (metro and JR lines), city views


Imperial Hotel – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.0 | 550+ reviews

The Imperial Hotel enjoys a prime central position, conveniently located within a brief walk of the Imperial Palace, Shimbashi Station, and Tokyo Station. The hotel offers several dining choices, including 13 restaurants, 3 bars, and a traditional Japanese teahouse.

Why book – 5min walk from several stations (metro and JR lines), indoor pool, classical Japanese teahouse on-site

tokyo night

Getting around in Tokyo

Tokyo has an efficient and extensive train system, which consists of trains (Japan Rail) and metro (Tokyo Metro). These are two different companies and you’ll need different types of tickets for each of them. For example, you can’t use a JR Pass on the Tokyo Metro or use a metro pass on the JR lines.

Japan Railways operates several JR lines in Tokyo (see the city’s JR network map). The most famous JR line is the Yamanote Line, which forms a loop around central Tokyo and stops at many key attractions. The metro system consists of multiple lines, each identified by a different colour and letter (find here a map of the metro). The Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway are the two main operators of the metro lines.

In general, to get around Tokyo, you’ll have to use a combination of JR lines and metro. To save time and money buy an IC Card (most popular are Suica card or Pasmo card). This is a prepaid contactless card, which is valid for both the metro and the JR lines. You can buy Suica and Pasmo at almost every metro or train station. To use the card, simply tap it on the reader at the station gate and then tap it again when you exit at the next station.

How to get to Tokyo

By train

If you’re travelling from Osaka or Kyoto via the Shinkansen (bullet train), you’ll arrive at either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station. Opt for Tokyo Station, the central railway station, as it’s closer to the city centre. Check timetables and book tickets online for the Shinkansen here.

If you planning to visit multiple cities in Japan, get a JR Pass. The pass gives you unlimited access to all JR trains for 7, 14, or 21 days.

By air

Tokyo is served by two airports – Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.

Narita Airport
Narita Airport (NRT) is located about 60 kilometres east of central Tokyo. There are several options to get to the city centre:

  • the easiest way is to book a private transfer directly to your hotel
  • Narita Express – a limited express train that connects Narita Airport with Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station and Shibuya Station (1h journey)
  • Keisei – a high-speed train that connects Narita Airport with Ueno Station (45min journey)

Haneda Airport
Haneda Airport (HND) is conveniently located within the city limits. To get to the city centre from the airport:

  • book a private transfer, which takes you directly to your hotel
  • Tokyo Monorail Line – connects Haneda Airport with Hamamatsucho Station (20min journey), from there you have to transfer to JR Yamanote Line
  • Keikyu Line – connects Haneda Airport with Shinagawa Station (15min journey), then you have to transfer to local metro lines
East Gardens Imperial Palace

Day trips from Tokyo

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the country’s highest and most iconic mountain. It is famous for its perfectly symmetrical cone and natural beauty. Considered a sacred site in Japanese culture, Mount Fuji has been a source of inspiration for artists and poets for centuries.

Travelling between Tokyo and Mount Fuji by public transport takes between 2 to 3 hours in one direction and includes at least one transfer. You can travel by local trains or take the Fuji Excursion train, which connects the Mount Fuji area (Kawaguchiko Station) directly to Shinjuku Station. However, when you get there it won’t be possible to see all the famous spots in the area, as they are far from each other.

That’s why I highly recommend taking this organized Mt. Fuji Full-Day Sightseeing Trip (more than 1,100+ excellent reviews). It will take you to the most popular spots in the area, including Kawaguchi Lake, Arakura Sengen Shrine and Oshino Hakkai (where you can taste the water from Mount Fuji).

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Nikko Toshogu Shrine, known for its rich decoration and historical significance, is one of the most famous shrines in Japan. This 17th-century shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for over 250 years.

For a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko Toshogu Shrine, consider taking this organized Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Kegon Waterfall Tour. The tour includes also the Kegon waterfall, one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.

What to see next

If you plan to stay in Japan for more than a week, think about visiting Kyoto, the former imperial of the country. The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto is less than 2h30min by Shinkansen. To learn more, check out my 3-day Kyoto itinerary for first-time visitors.

Best time to visit Tokyo

If you want to visit Tokyo when the city is at its most beautiful, plan your trip during the spring or autumn seasons. The best time to enjoy the cherry blossom (sakura) is mid-March to early April. For beautiful fall foliage visit the city from late October to late November. However, remember that these are the busiest times during the year, so plan everything in advance.

The best months to visit Tokyo for nice weather and fewer crowds are April (after the sakura season), May, September and October. Avoid the summer months of June, July and August, as it is the rainy season and the weather is hot and humid. Also, it’s the peak season for domestic travel.

Faqs about visiting Tokyo

How many days in Tokyo?

For those visiting Tokyo for the first time, I suggest planning a stay of 3-4 days. This duration allows you to visit the city’s top attractions (including Tokyo SkyTree, Sensō-ji Temple and Shibuya Scramble Crossing), watch a sumo morning training or visit the famous Tsukiji Outer Market.

Is 4 days enough to visit Tokyo?

While Tokyo has plenty to offer, 4 days can provide a good introduction to the city’s main attractions and experiences. You’ll be able to visit its iconic attractions such as Tokyo SkyTree, Sensō-ji Temple and Shibuya Crossing, enjoy some local cuisine and even take a day trip to Mount Fuji.

How much do you tip in Tokyo?

Tipping is not a common practice in Tokyo and it can even be considered inappropriate or rude in some situations.

Can you drink tap water in Tokyo?

Yes, tap water in Tokyo is entirely safe to drink. The water quality and treatment standards in Tokyo are very high, so you can confidently drink water straight from the tap in most places throughout the city.

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3 days in tokyo
3 day tokyo itinerary

About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

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