How Many Days To Spend In Tokyo?
Imagine you have a short trip to Japan and you wonder how many days are right to visit this country’s beautiful capital – Tokyo? The decision depends on a long list of factors, from whether or not it’s your first time to Tokyo or more important, your bucket list for the trip. Though no two Tokyo trips are the same, it would be perfect for you to have 5 days to spend in Tokyo.
If you are looking for ideas of what to do and places to go during 5 days in Tokyo, you will have figured it out after reading this article. You will get some must-see attractions, ways to make your trip more interesting and of course, a reasonable budget.
So, read on!
How Many Days To Spend in Tokyo And What To Do?
What is Tokyo special for?
Tokyo has been a favorite destination for tourists all over the world. This colorful city is a wonderful combination of modern and traditional beauty. It managed to be crowded, exciting while remaining charming and mysterious. First and foremost, Japanese cuisine is the paradise for food-lovers. The long list from sushi, sashimi to ramen and miso soup will surely make the most fastidious visitor surprised. Besides, Tokyo is also home to the shopaholic. If there is something you have found for a long time, get on a plane to Tokyo, you will feel so glad to find it somewhere in this city.
When is the best time to visit Tokyo?
There is no perfect time to visit Tokyo because every time is perfect. It is never too cold, too hot or rainy. The summers can be humid but not impossible to visit. The winters can be cold but not freezing. The springs and autumns are obviously the most ideal to visit with little sunshine and cool temperature.
Cherry blossom season, which occurs at the end of March and early April is very popular for many reasons. November is another favorite choice as the weather is usually cool with sunny sky. The leaves turn to glowing yellow this month and parks and gardens are amazing.
Where to stay in Tokyo?
Deciding the place to stay during the trip is always important. Tokyo is a huge city with multi infrastructures and buildings. Fortunately, it’s one of the most convenient cities to get around thanks to its first-class rail and subway networks. Therefore, if you’re not in the city centre, you can get on a subway and be somewhere quickly. There are three points to be considered when choosing where to stay: it must be near the most important hub of transport in the city (which is Yamanote Line), there are good restaurants and shops in the area and finally, it must be attractive.
Unquestionably, the most suitable parts of the city are Shinjuku and Shibuya. They are not only two big western urban hubs but also close to Tokyo Station. Besides, if the restaurants and shopping are your priorities, Roppongi would be the best.
What to do and where to go in 5 days?
Discover Food Heaven
Japan has a long history of cuisine. The food is not only diverse but also international qualified. In 2011, Japan overtook France to become the country with the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants. The capital Tokyo has been recognized as the city with the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants in the world since 2018.
So, just prepare your stomach to be filled with super delicious dishes, from sushi to miso soup, tempura, sashimi, udon and sukiyaki.
Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese foods around the world. This is the combination of pressed vinegared rice with a slice of raw fish or shellfish on top. You can eat sushi with soy sauce and wasabi to enjoy the whole taste. If you’re only fond of fish and sauce, you could try sashimi, which is similar to sushi but without rice.
Tempura is another must-try dish, which includes ingredients such as meat, seafood and vegetables. They are covered in batter made of flour and egg, then fried deeply in oil. Tempura is usually used with special sauce, tentsuyu.
Another popular traditional dish is udon. This dish is unique for its thick noodles. After boiled with hot water, udon is enjoyed with soup and toppings like tempura.
It will be a regret if you don’t try sukiyaki when visiting Tokyo. With a variety of ingredients like beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, tofu,… cooked in a shallow pan, Sukiyaki will be a perfect choice to enjoy during the fall and winter.
Last but not least, miso soup is well-known for its health benefits and wonderful taste. Miso soup is easily made and used daily with main dishes in Japanese tradition.
Stroll Through Cherry Blossom Gardens
Cherry trees are popular throughout Tokyo. However, there are some most beautiful cherry blossom gardens for you to enjoy without hustling. You can begin your day going to Koishikawa Korakuen, a stunning garden in the middle of Tokyo. You should visit right when it opens to avoid the crowds later. Another favorite choice is Aoyama Cemetery. This garden is more quiet and it’s worthy to wander through some gravestones. If you’d like to see cherry blossoms in the evening, check out Sakurzazaka. The cherry trees are grown beside the road and lightened up with glow pink and purple bulb during night. The scenes would be gorgeous, for sure.
Enjoy Fall Foliage
If you choose to visit Tokyo in November, you will want to maximise your time to see the best colors of Tokyo Autumn. If you like jogging, take a morning walk in Yoyogi Park, one of the largest parks in Tokyo. Icho Namiki is another unique fall spot. It is an avenue of ginkgo trees. Their leaves turn to glorious yellow and light orange when fall comes.
Visit Traditional Shrine and Temple
Although shrines and temples in Tokyo don’t compare to those in Kyoto, you still have a lot of great choices to go. After visiting Yoyogi Park, you can go to Meiji-jingu Shrine, which is nearby. This is one of the most visited Tokyo’s shrines, located right in the heart of the city. If you’re interested in Buddhism, take a walk to Senso-ji Temple, which is easily the most impressive Buddist Temple in Tokyo.
Check out the view from Fuji Mountain
If you like climbing, Fuji Mountain is a perfect choice. When you reach the top of the mountain, the view won’t make you feel wasting your time or energy. Summer is the climbing season. A lot of people gather at Fuji Mountain to spend their weekend. You can take a direct bus to halfway up Mount Fuji and start to climb then. The top can be reached in one day. However, it’s a better idea to spend a night camping to keep your health safe. After spending about 1 and a half days, you will come to the top and the view will be breathtaking as you can see all over the city and village around the mountain.
Wander in the Nature
Tokyo is a green city with plenty of parks and gardens. You just need to wander around, take a deep breath and relax. A stroll in the marvelous and sweeping Shinjuku Gyoen Garden would be nice. If Meiji-jingu Shrine is on your schedule, take your time to enter the woods right next to the Shrine. Besides, Institute for Nature Study preserves quite well the ancient woodland of the city.
Tokyo is famous for its diverse shops and fast service. It is acknowledged as one of the best shopping cities in the world. In the Tokyo Station Area, you will easily find Mitsukoshi Department Store, where you get an insight into the heart of Tokyo’s famous fast service. After that, you could travel to Ginza, the favorite shopping district for Western-style lovers. Modern department stores and trendy shops can be found in Shibuya. If you are a book-lover, take the bus to Shinjuku, where you could find the lovely bookstore called Kinokuniya. And when night comes, you should take a look into Shinjuku West Exit Camera. It is a wonderful view with thousands of neon lights everywhere.
Have a great time for kids
As being safe, clean with a lot of kid-friendly destinations, Tokyo is always a good choice to travel with children. Millions of children all over the world love Ghibli anime. So, a trip to Ghibli Museum would be very exciting and memorable. You just need to take a short train to the west of Tokyo and discover Ghibli World.
Disneyland is fascinating and attractive to not only children but also adults. Japanese tradition merged with Disney Magic will be one of the most delightful theme parks during your trip. Legoland is another must-visit place. It only takes you about 1 hour and 45 minutes to enjoy every corner of Legoland Japan.
Art Lover’s Choices
There are so many superior museums and galleries around Tokyo. Here are some of the best museums in Tokyo for you to choose from. Firstly, head up to the Tokyo National Museum, where you will get an insight into the main periods and classes of Japanese art. After that, visit one of the treasures of Tokyo – Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum. Nezu Museum is a favorite choice for nature and art lovers as the garden inside the museum is marvelous. If you like to make some art of yourself, take a visit to Meguro. Art buildings, some are decorated by tourists, are popular. And fantastic exhibitions are scheduled regularly.
Tokyo Budget Itinerary in 5 days
Duration: 5 days – 4 nights
Estimated Budget: ¥50000 (USD288, €234)
This itinerary includes the pricey Disneyland visit and two museums.
- Moderate hotel: ¥15000
- Meals: ¥10000
- Public transportation and taxi: ¥6000
- Museum admission fees: ¥2000
- Disneyland: ¥10000
- Shopping: ¥6000
- Sundry purchases: ¥1000
Please take note of the following.
- If your hotel does not serve free breakfast, you can go to the supermarket to buy some food such as: bread, drinks,…
- Set aside at least ¥1000 for unspecified possibilities such as added lunch or dinner.
- Airfare costing is not included.
- You should bring cash instead of credit cards as ATMs working with international banks and credit cards are not popular in Tokyo. However, you can still get money out at stores like seven-eleven.
- Passport: at least six months validity.
- Visa: it’s more careful to check ahead.
- Flight tickets: it’s useful to have a paper copy to show airport staff if required.
- Hotel reservations: it will help both hotel staff and yourself and sometimes taxi drivers as the hotel address will be printed in the paper.
- Wifi and SIM Card: Free Wifi is available in many places in Tokyo and you can easily get a data-only SIM card when you come to Japan.
- Japan Map: It’s always wise to have a map in your hand whenever you travel. For Japan, the best available maps are made by Periplus. They have the best English-map for travelers.
- Guidebook: Having a guidebook can be helpful combined with online information.
Tokyo is widely known for its safety and convenience for travelers. There is no political instability. The crime rate is quite low. People are friendly. Public transportations, especially trains, are easy to get to. If you intend to travel to other cities besides Tokyo, you can save a lot of money by buying a Japan Railway Pass. Besides, if you have more time than 5 days, Kyoto would be highly recommended to visit. Kyoto has dozens of breathtaking temples and gardens, which surely make you feel satisfied and relaxing. So, are you ready to have a nice holiday in Japan? Take your backpack and let’s go!