Rough Draft: 3 Day Itinerary for Tokyo, Japan

September 2020

Rough Draft: Tokyo, Japan

Due to the COVID quarantine, I am creating rough draft, “off the shelf” travel itineraries for when travel resumes normal operations so we do not waste any time getting out and exploring!

I have wanted to travel to Japan for quite sometime and as previous travel years have come and gone, this location just never made it in. And now that I have all this time to re-evaluate the bucket list of travel destinations, what better time to research the great city of Tokyo! I believe it will be a longer trip with many stops in the country, but with so many two week trips itineraries ready to go, I figured I would start small and focus on the city… which is massive.

There is enough to keep you busy in Tokyo for weeks. Each section is unique and jam packed with places to eat, shop, and discover. I can tell these three days would be aggressive but we are always surprised at how much we can fit into a trip when it is planned right. From what I have read, Tokyo does not seem like a one and done location – everyone returns.

Getting to Tokyo seems pretty easy. We would be flying but the train system is so advanced that you can get there from many spots and very quickly. Picking a neighborhood to stay in seems like the more difficult challenge. Tokyo is just so large so it is hard to find one spot deemed “central”. I think the best recommendation is to find a spot close to a well connected train station, though even the map makes the train system look daunting. Make sure you include getting lost at least once in your Tokyo itinerary.

What is there to do?

Ok, let’s get the started. I have dug through many many blogs to find the must-do’s of the city to construct this highlight reel.

  • Shibuya Crossing – when you see a picture, you know exactly what this is – it is the famous intersection where thousands of people cross at one time. While you are there, go find the Hachiko Statue.
  • Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine and Sensoji Temple are the most famous to visit but there are many that can be included in your trip.
  • The Robot Restaurant – this one I really do not understand – everyone says it is a tourist destination, everyone says to not eat the food, everyone says it is the most amazing thing. I guess I have to trust the blogging universe cause I would normally steer clear of something life this.
  • There are many locations to get a bird’s eye view of the city – Metropolitan Building, SkyTree, Tokyo Tower – I would pick one to do if time is limited. Insider tip – the Metro Building is free.
  • Apparently seeing sumo wrestling is quite rare and dependent on the time of year you go so be on the lookout for tickets to watch a practice session.
  • There are tons of museums – the Tokyo National Museum, the Mori Art Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (which is probably where you will find us). TeamLAB is also very popular – I have no idea what this was but when I looked at photos, you will recall the Instagram photos as well.
  • There is TONS of shopping and if you have read our trips before, we are not big shoppers. Though there is a retro game store full of GameBoy and Nintendo goodies that I know we will stop in (Super Potato) and an entire street devoted to kitchen gadgets (Kappabashi St)
  • Parks pop up throughout the city so take advantage of some zen time – the Eastern Gardens at the Imperial Palace, Ueno Park, Sumida Park, Yoyogi Park to name a few.
  • Do not miss the famous fish markets at Toyosu/Tsukiji – if you are luck enough to get one of the lottery tickets, you can wake up at 3AM to watch the tuna auction. Not a morning person or missed out on tickets? The fish markets themselves still look awesome for a visit.
  • Day trips, of which I would plan on taking many, are plentiful:
    • Visit Disneyland and DisneySea
    • Hakone for a closer look at Mount Fuji
    • Osaka and Kyoto for an more extend trip (not so practical for day trips)

Where to eat?

I get giddy thinking about the food scene in Tokyo. Freshest fish, Wagyu meat, tempura everything – sign me up!

There are sooo many places to satisfy each of those cravings and it would be impossible to discover them all. What is a nice feature is that most places focus on one specialty which means the more you can sample and fit in your stomach – not every stop has to be a gorging session and with the cuisine being lighter, you can fit in more stops that normal for a food trip. I will highlight some of the places I found in the itinerary by their proximity to the places being visited.

Here is how I would spend three days in Tokyo exploring the city!

Activity Food
Day 0 Afternoon Arrive in Tokyo
Evening Explore neighborhood staying in
Day 1 Morning Shibuya Crossing 

Shibuya Sky

Hachiko Statue

  • Kipposhi
  • Ichiran Shibuya
  • Genki Sushi
  • Katsumidori Seibu 
  • Sushi no Midori
  • Katsukichi Bodajiyu
  • Gyukatsu Motomura
  • Nagi Shokudo
Afternoon Harajuku / Takeshita st 

Togo Shrine

Meiji Shrine

Yoyogi Shrine

  • Harajuku Gyoza Lou
  • Gonpachi
  • Obanzai Hachiya
Evening Shinjuku

Gyoen Garden

Metro Building

The Robot Restaurant 

  • Uogashi Nihon-Ichi
  • Afuri Shinjuku Lumine
  • Ichiran Ramen
  • NY Bar 
Day 2 Morning SkyTree

Sumida Park

Asakusa

Sensoji Temple 

Kappabashi St

Nakamise

  • Tonkatsu Toyama
  • Namiki Yabusoba
  • Asakusa Tsurujirou
Afternoon Ueno Park (shrine, Kiyomizu Temple)

Tokyo National Museum

Akihabara 

Super Potato

  • Isen
  • Kanda Matsuya
Evening Imperial Palace and Gardens 

Roppongi

Tokyo Tower

Zojoji Temple 

  • Tenmatsu Nihonbashi
  • Rokurinsha
  • Teruya
  • Ninja Askaska 
  • Tsuru Ton Tan
Day 3 Morning Toyosu / Tsukiji Fish Market 

TeamLAB Borderless

  • Fish markets
Afternoon Science Museum 

Joypolis

Rainbow Bridge

Evening Ginza

Hamarikyu Gardens

  • Kawamura
Day 4 Morning Depart 

If you have been to Tokyo, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!

Don’t forget to check out all DESKRIB itineraries here!

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