If carefully planned, you can have the best possible travel experience in Japan with the right itinerary for you! For example, a 5 days itinerary is the ideal period to spend on a visit to Tokyo. 5 days in Tokyo are - in fact - the minimum time required to put the main places of interest in a good travel itinerary.
The capital of Japan is a truly huge city, full of things to see and to do. Of course, it is well served by a well-developed transport network, but, without an itinerary, it is never easy to figure out how to get around, which Tokyo's neighborhoods you must see, what attractions give priority to, in what order and at what time of day. For this reason we have prepared for you this handy itinerary to visit Tokyo.
Are you ready for a 5 days itinerary in Tokyo among the most iconic districts, places of worship, great buildings and immortal temples? Let's pack our bags... and go!
5 days in Tokyo: travel itinerary tips
To make sure not to miss a single stop on the 5 days itinerary, take note of a couple of useful tips. In Tokyo there is no area, neighborhood or district that is not served by a metro line or the Japan Rail train. So you need to get the right pass or ticket to travel and get around by public transport.
The metro line in Tokyo: if you want to visit Tokyo by metro, you can purchase one Suica or Pasmo cards: best for saving money and time as you won't have to buy tickets every time you go at the metro station.
To travel on the Yamanote Line and the other 29 surface railway lines of Japan Rail, you can use the JR Pass. This pass can be used for trips in the surroundings of Tokyo, too.
Morning between Ginza, kabuki and Tsukiji - Lunch in the kingdom of monjayaki
The first of the five days in Tokyo includes a pleasant and lively walking tour among the central quarters of the capital. Get off at Tokyo Station, the unmistakable red brick central station served by virtually all the city's main lines.
From here we head towards Ginza, amidst bold architecture, boutiques and haute couture shops.
After the refined Ginza-dori, you will run into the Kabukiza Theatre, home of the famous kabuki, the Japanese figurative art that has become a UNESCO Intangible Heritage site.
From Ginza we continue our stroll and head to Tsukiji: here everything becomes narrower and more traditional. There is the beautiful Buddhist temple Tsukiji Hongwankji.
The building is made entirely of stone and grabs visitors' attention for the combination of different architectural styles. It is former home of the fish market, which is located in Toyosu, today.
Before proceeding with the itinerary, we recommend to have a snack in one of the many street food places around the former market, or in the nearby island Tsukishima, famous for the monjayaki: an omelet, a pancake? Who knows, as long as it's delicious!
From Tokyo Tower to the Imperial Palace - The evening between Nihonbashi, Akihabara and Kanda
The 5 days itinerary in Tokyo continue eastwards, where you can breathe sea air and overlook the Tokyo Bay. Why not enjoying the amazing view of the Rainbow Bridge and its surroundings on a boat tour? A-few-hours ride on the waters of the bay will give you a totally new perspective of the landscape and take photos of this wondeful landmark of Tokyo.
With a peaceful walk between the Hamrikyu Gardens and the Shiba Park, here we are in the shadow of the Tokyo Tower. Does it look familiar? At first glance, it is one of the world's famous Eiffel Tower replicas, with the difference that it has a red and white structure.
From the tower we move towards the Marunouchi area. It takes 5 minutes by subway with the Mita Line from Onarimon Station to Otemachi.
A pearl is hiding among the big banking groups in the area: the Imperial Palace, surrounded by other attractions, like the splendid Eastern Gardens and a navigable moat.
An hour of walking and relaxing is good enough to start again and explore other tourist destinations in Tokyo. If we go towards west we pass over the ancient bridge of Nihonbashi, a lively commercial district that hosts several museums and many modern buildings. You will find also traditional shops that sell kimonos and other typical Japanese items.
The itinerary moves a little further north, when the sun goes down at Akihabara, the dazzling neon signs of the electronics shops and maid cafés light up. Nicknamed as "electric town", Akihabara is a truly extravagant neighborhood, famous for Tokyo's cultural quircks.
Akihabara district is a must-see in one of the 5 days! Especially if you are a lover of otaku, manga and cosplay culture. Before dinner you can stop by Kanda Myoujin Shrine and Yushima Seido (the mausoleum with the Statue of Confucius). These shrines are highly visited by locals, especially by students and the most superstitious businessmen. Behind the two religious buildings lies the university area of Kanda and Jimbocho. Let's stop here for dinner: excellent soba restaurants, curry specialities, literary cafes and jazz club.
Hanami in Ueno Park and old town
In the second day of the 5 days itinerary we visit the northern part of Tokyo and stop at Ueno district. Waiting for us is a splendid park, the Ueno Park that looks even more astonishing in the hanami season. The best time to visit it is between March and April, when the blooming cherry trees colour the atmosphere in pink. The park is also home to many museums.
To spend the morning we choose the National Museum, ideal to discover the history and arts of Tokyo. Lots of collector's items on display, lots of galleries. For a visit that lasts less than two hours we recommend this itinerary: Honkan Pavilion with rooms dedicated to Zen paintings, tea ceremony and theatrical arts, plus the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures.
After a visit to the museum, let's head towards the old city, the Shitamachi area. Let's have a walk into the maze of alleys and streets that characterizes (quite unexpected) old Tokyo.
Here we can have lunch in a typical izakaya bar and buy souvenirs in the shopping lane of Yanaka-Ginza.
The more energetic ones could lean out towards the extreme western part of the old Tokyo and reach the beautiful sanctuary of Nezu with its vermilion red torii that gives more harmony to the place.
Have fun at Sunshine City - Spend a night in Shinjiku
In the afternoon, the itinerary changes of atmosphere. One of the 5 days must be dedicated to Ikebukuro. It takes about twenty minutes by train on the Yamanote Line from Nippori Station (just behind the old city). This is one of the most modern and crowded areas of Tokyo, famous for the Sunshine City.
It's hard to describe the Sunshine City. A shopping mall? A theme park? An aquarium? A museum? A planetarium? A viewing tower? Pretty much all these things at once. So, there are plenty of things to do in this district of Tokyo. Let's choose the activities that suit our tastes and enjoy the entertainment. Sunshine City closes at 10:00, so no rush.
Let's get ready for an even more vibrant night in Shinjuku, the neighborhood of Tokyo that never sleeps. Shinjuku can be reached from Ikebukuro in just 20 minutes by Yamanote Line. A few hundred meters from the station, the stylized torii by Kabukicho opens to the famous red light district.
Don't be afraid about its name. The red-light district of Kabukicho is more folkloristic than anything else. Here you can stroll quietly and be dazzled between wacky places and bright signs. In the area, there are also different clubs and restaurants where you can dine and enjoy a few drinks. What about a nice cup of saké? Hidden among the Shinjuku skyscrapers, you will be surprised by both modern and traditional places such as the enchanted alleyway of Golden Gai.
The early bird catches the Sumo
Late night? No problem. The third day of our 5 days itinerary in Tokyo can start in the quiet Ryogoku District (Chuo-Subo Line), where the Kokugikan Arena, a secular sumo temple, stands. Let's take our time to reach the area, east of the Sumida River, and then dive into the real Japanese wrestling.
Both the arena and the nearby Sumo Museum should be on your things-to-see-in-Tokyo list. After that, we wander around the streets of the neighborhood and hope to meet some wrestlers (easily recognizable!).
The morning is probably the ideal time to continue the itinerary with a stroll through the streets of Ryogoku, also because some gyms in the area open their doors to visitors who want to watch the training. To conclude the morning tour, there are two interesting options: a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, very close to Ryogoku station, or a ride on the waterbus on Sumida.
Asakusa: from Sensoji Temple to the dizziness of Tokyo SkyTree
Whatever the choice, let's try not to stray too far from the river banks and reach the District of Asakusa, crossing the beautiful Azuma-bashi bridge. Waiting for us, a hundred meters beyond the bridge, is the imposing Thunder Gate which opens the gangway to the Buddhist temple of Sensoji, a spiritual icon of Tokyo.
The visit to the temple is free of charge, so let's not miss that great opportunity. Before we go into the wonders of Sensoji, though, we'd better munch on something.
Nearby the temple, there are many options to taste Japanese delicacies: sushi, tempura, oden and monjayaki.
Asakusa is not just spirituality. It's a charming neighborhood that oozes history from every corner.
Before leaving it, therefore, let's enjoy the narrow streets surrounding the temple, among craftsmen's shops, colorful shutters of the shops and traditional theaters, such as the famous Asakusa Engei Hall.
Before it gets dark, we cross the Azuma-bashi again and continue east in the direction of Tokyo Solamachi, where stands the second tallest building in the world, the Tokyo SkyTree. From the temple, it is a 20-minutes walk. The lazy ones may want to opt for taking the metro (one stop from Akasuka to SkyTree Temple Station with the Tobu Line).
Also known as "Tokyo Tower", it houses the most impressive observation deck of the city: a 360-degree panoramic terrace, located at an altitude of 450 meters, from whose windows you can also see the contours of the Mount Fuji, 130 kilometers away!
To get on the Tokyo SkyTree we recommend booking the tickets online with skip the queue option. The last entry is at 9pm, but it's better to avoid bad surprises and purchase a skip-the-line ticket in advance. Take as much photos as you wish, then we return to the base for dining nearby.
You can get around in the commercial complex of Solamachi, just below the tower, or you can go around the surrounding neighborhood. There are popular streets that still retain the charm of the past and offer not bad typical restaurants. Those who arrived in the SkyTree area before sunset, could visit a curious Tobacco Museum and a Transport Museum.
Breakfast at the fish market - Morning in Odaiba
The penultimate of our 5 days itinerary in Tokyo is designed to satisfy all those whims we couldn't get rid of in the first three days.
It starts early, or rather very early, possibly at dawn, at Toyosu (Shijo-mae station, along the Yurikamome Line): attending the famous tuna auction at the fish market.
A Toyosu there is the largest fish market in the world, previously located in the Tsukiji area, visited on the first day of our 5 days itinerary in Tokyo. Although today it is situated in a more modern and, if you like, more impersonal location, the market has retained all its charm, activities and records: pallets on pallets, fish species on fish species, street food on street food, but also fruit, vegetables, spices, knives and so on.
Have sushi for breakfast, do some more shopping and then we continue our itinerary southwards. Through the Yurikamome Line, we reach the artificial island of Odaiba. Here there are lots of activities to try your hand at, a little bit weird, a little futuristic. You could treat yourself to two hours of relaxation in the spa springs of Oedo Onsen Monogatari, a theme park inspired by the town of Edo (ancient Tokyo) or go shopping in DiverCity, after a selfie under the Gundam Giant State! If you prefer a more involving cultural activity you may want to visit the National Museum of Science and Innovation situated in Odaiba, with robots, space engineering and lots of interactivity.
Shibuya, Omotesando and Roppongi (with break Meji Jingu)
After a break for lunch, head westwards to the most dynamic and alternative districts of Tokyo. Stop in Shibuya for an afternoon of shopping, between youth fashion and the latest trends.
Picture the following itinerary: Statue of Hachiko, right in front of Scrumble Crossing station, go ahead through the colorful streets of the neighborhood (some addresses: Shibuya109, Dogenzake, Tokyu Hands, Don Quijote). A little further north is the folkloristic station of Harajuku with the famous Takeshita Dori, a bizarre street full of shops and sub-cultures of all kinds.
Let's walk through it and then head towards the Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu), surrounded by 70 hectares of greenery, to enjoy a well-deserved rest. Rare stuff in those areas. Last stages of a day that you will hardly forget: the European roads of Omotesando and Aoyama and then the National Art Center, flagship of the art triangle of Roppongi. Nearby there is also the 21-21 Design, a gem for lovers of architecture and design.
For the evening, no somersaults, given the great rise at dawn. You can stay at Roppongi, dining at the Roppongi Hills complex. Alternatively, you could return to Shibuya and stop at one of the many particular venues in the area.
Tokyo Itinerary Day 5 - "Arigatou" Tokyo
Here we are at the last act of this very intense 5 days itinerary in Tokyo. What to do on the fifth day in Tokyo? We'll leave the last chapter to you. No definite route or itinerary, just a few tips, to fit all the beauty that has not yet been admired.
You could go back downtown and drop by the Tokyo Dome, home of baseball, it houses an amusement park that offers all kinds of entertainment.
Slightly away from the Imperial Palace there is also the Kagurazaka district, geishas area, temples and French restaurants. With a good organization you could also fit that in the itinerary of the first day, drawn in the heart of the city.
Getting out a bit off the city track you could venture around Sugamo. Here, the large buildings and the large crowds of rhe places visited the first four days seem like a distant memory.
We are in the north, but not too much: the station of Sugamo is still served by the Yamanote Line.
Lots of memories can be brought back from the charming Sugamo:
- the beautiful park Rikugien, perhaps the most beautiful park in Tokyo after the one of Ueno
- the characteristic Jizo-dori, with the red underwear flapping under the underwear
- the last tram line, which sounds so antique in a "super-fast" city like Tokyo!
To escape the hustle and bustle of the usual neighborhoods there is also the interesting Todoroki Valley, 20 minutes south of Shibuya. It is a pristine park and not much beaten by tourists, where sanctuaries, temples, a secret garden and an old-fashioned cake shop are hidden.
Always south of Shibuya, another neighborhood is worth a visit: Nakameguro. Especially in the cherry blooming season, when the trees on the banks of the Meguro River offer an incomparable spectacle.
Those traveling with kids, could instead spend the fifth day in Tokyo in one of the city's many amusement parks. We have already mentioned the Tokyo Dome City, here are some other addresses: Sanrio Puroland, Hello Kitty theme park (Keio Tama Center Station - Keio Sagamihara Line); Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, dedicated to Disney heroes (Maihama Station - Keiyo and Musashino lines of Japan Rail).
We hope you do enjoy a travel to Japan through a 5 days itinerary in Tokyo! Arigatou!