How to Spend 3 Days in Tokyo

If you only have a short time in Japan’s capital, you’ll want to make the most of your time there.  Tokyo is a massive city so try to choose a hotel that is in a central location, such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Ginza, preferably not too far from a metro station. 

Day 1

Start your trip with a visit to Mejii-jingu Shrine, which is right in the heart of Tokyo.  Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, it has a Treasure House, full of royal antiques and artifacts.  Visit the traditional Inner Garden as well, which is a hidden power spot, where people go to receive restorative energy.  The area of Harajuku where the shrine is located is known for its fashion and teenage culture but also has many expensive boutiques.  Try some of the street food in the Harajuku region, which is surprisingly good. 

Afterwards, you can stroll the streets of modern Shibuya, which is known as the “Times Square” of Tokyo.  And just like Times Square, it is full of energy, lights, and modern buildings.  Duck into Tokyu Hands for some of Japan’s most unique souvenirs. 

Day 2

The second day is dedicated to the area of Ueno.  Here you’ll find the Tokyo National Museum with exhibits that celebrate Japan’s culture and Ueno-koen Park.   You can also visit the Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the National Science Museum.  It houses the Ueno Zoo, which was Japan’s first zoological garden.  The park is also known for its 1,000 cherry trees, which blossom in late March and early April. 

In the early evening, the Shinjuku area is a beautiful area to explore.  The Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is one of the largest green areas in the city with several different types of gardens.  At sunset, you can go up to the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to get some spectacular views of the city.  If you’re up to it, the Robot Restaurant is one of the most popular (and wacky) tourist attractions in the area.

Day 3

Spend the third day on the east side of the city, which has traditional shrines and temples and some of the city’s more historic neighborhoods.  Wander the streets of Asakusa, which is a charming neighborhood with old temples and markets. The Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple of the city, marked with a huge red lantern.  Tip:  Get here early because large crowds descend as the day goes on. 

The Imperial Palace of Japan is located in the site that was once Edo Castle.  Although some of it is not open to the public, you can still view a large part of the site known as the East Gardens. 

Spend the afternoon in the Akihabara District has tons of tiny electronics stores, but also has game centers and arcades.  You can eat at a maid and gundam type cafe where the waitresses and waiters dress up as maids and butlers who will cater to all of your dining needs. 

The Roppongi District is a very modern area for shopping and nightlife, especially Roppongi Hills which has its own eating areas and Mori Art Museum.

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