Translated by Jelena Kitamura
Two-Day Tokyo Travel: Explore 7 Famous Areas In Japan's Capital
Written by MATCHA
Tokyo has countless iconic spots--this trip guide introduces a 2-day itinerary with 7 popular areas in Japan's largest metropolis. Travel efficiently around Tsukiji, Ginza, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Asakusa and make the most of Tokyo on a short trip.
A 2-Day Tokyo Travel Plan: Smart and Entertaining Sightseeing
Tokyo is known as one of world’s most excitement-packed cities. With prominent sightseeing places in almost every corner of Tokyo, it is smart to plan for a time-saving, efficient trip. Today, we suggest a two-day trip itinerary that will take you to the must-see spots of this wonderful metropolis.
A brief stay can include everything that makes Tokyo great, with sightseeing, entertainment, gourmet food, and shopping!
Morning, Day 1: Tsukiji Outer Market
Although the famed sightseeing spot, Tsukiji Market, moved to Toyosu in October 2018, the shopping street in the outer area still boasts excellent restaurants. The streets here are lively with visitors heading to sushi and other seafood restaurants, delighting in street food like oden and tamagoyaki, or shopping for some tableware, and other kitchen utensils.
Some shops open as early as 5:00. If you’re craving Japanese food for breakfast, or at any time of the day, you can go to the popular Sushi Zanmai Honten, which is open 24-hours.
Tsukiji Outer Market
Mid-Morning, Day 1: Ginza
If you’ve had your fill at Tsukiji Outer Market, it's time to visit Ginza, one of the most prestigious shopping areas in Tokyo. About 10 minutes away from Tsukiji Outer Market on foot, you can watch a Kabuki play, a type of traditional performance art in Japan, at the Kabuki Theater (Kabukiza).
You can walk to Ginza Chuo Dori Street, with its major department stores lined up one after the other, in about 15 minutes from the outer market. It takes around 3 minutes by subway on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line from Tsukiji Station.
Did you know that strolling around Ginza is called ginbura in Japanese? It has been a beloved pastime in Japan for many years now. You can try ginbura yourself to experience the area!
Ginza has a long history in Tokyo and boasts numerous well-established retail shops, such as Kyukyodo, a stationery store selling incense and washi (traditional paper), or Erizen, a traditional clothing store. Ginza Mitsukoshi, a prominent Japanese department store that was founded in the Edo period, opens at 10:00.
Afternoon, Day 1: Shibuya
After Ginza, our next stop is Shibuya, which can be reached riding the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. It takes around 15 minutes to arrive. At Shibuya, you will find lots of shops carrying the latest fashion trends.
Start from the world-famous Shibuya trademark, the scramble crossing, and head out for some great, and fashionable clothes hunting! For example, you can check out SHIBUYA 109, where you’ll find many leading apparel shops or Marui.
Also, if you’re interested in shopping for anime, manga, and related goods, head to Mandarake.
After browsing and shopping, head to d47 Shokudo when you feel tired. It is a restaurant offering a spectacular view of Shibuya, serving excellent dishes from all over Japan. Of course, you can also choose from many of other restaurants serving ramen, yakiniku, and other irresistibly-smelling food.
Evening, Day 1: Harajuku
Harajuku is the birthplace of iconic subculture trends and styles, such as kawaii (cute) culture, and Gothic Lolita fashion. Harajuku is only one station away from Shinjuku by JR Line, and if you feel like some walking, it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes either.
If you are a fan of Sanrio, add Pompompurin Café Harajuku Store to your must-visit list.
If you want to try a Harajuku-style, trendy dinner, head to KAWAII MONSTER CAFÉ. The entrance leads to an out-of-this-world shop serving colorful and adorable food. Another suggestion is to try Sakura-tei, a stylish restaurant where you can challenge yourself in making okonomiyaki (savory pancake).
Morning, Day 2: Akihabara
On the second day, head to Akihabara, a neighborhood filled with anime, manga, and character-related merchandise. We suggest going for brunch at a maid café, where the employees wear smiles and maid costumes, too. @Home Café has English menus, as well, so visitors from all around the globe can enjoy the ambiance and the service to the fullest.
In the vicinity you can go on a shopping spree at some of the many anime goods stores, or shops selling home appliances. Many of these stores offer a wide variety of goods for a bargain price, so this area is a fantastic place for both sightseeing and souvenir-hunting.
Noon, Day 2: Asakusa
Ride the Tsukuba Express Line train from Akihabara Station, and in about 4 minutes you will arrive at present-time Edo at Asakusa Station. Walk down Nakamise Dori (Nakamise Shopping Street) to get to the Kaminarimon, one of Asakusa’s landmarks.
The bustling Nakamise Dori is packed with shops selling traditional crafts and accessories, so it is an ideal place to look for presents and souvenirs. It's also fun to browse through the wonderful handicrafts. Don’t forget to try local delicacies, such as freshly-made agemanju or ningyoyaki (doll-shaped sponge cake filled with red bean paste).
Make sure to stop by the world's largest tower, Tokyo Skytree. The closest station to this iconic structure is Oshiage Station. You can reach it from Asakusa Station via Toei Asakusa Line in about 3 minutes. When walking, it takes about 20 minutes. Spots like Azumabashi (Azuma Bridge) allow you to snap breathtakingly beautiful photos of the Sumida River, Tokyo Skytree, Asahi Beer headquarter building, and other scenic spots, we recommend a walk on a sunny day.
The dramatic view of the surrounding area from the top of the Tokyo Skytree is unforgettable and worth the visit. The nearby Tokyo Skytree Town has a numerous amusement facilities, such as Tokyo Solamachi and Sumida Aquarium.
Evening, Day 2: Shinjuku
Spend the evening in Shinjuku, a major entertainment district in Tokyo! From Oshiage Station to Shinjuku, it takes about 30 minutes and requires one train transfer.
Kabukicho is one of Japan’s largest shopping and pleasure districts. People are constantly visiting this iconic area day and night, with perusing countless shopping facilities, restaurants, and cafes. The lively pace of the area can be felt just by walking around.
We suggest taking in dinner and a show at Robot Restaurant. Just like the name implies, you can dine while enjoying a performance given by robots. This restaurant itself draws many visitors to Japan with its extravagant performances and theme.
It costs 8,000 yen for the show (food is a separate fee). It is necessary to make a prior reservation, so make sure to plan in advance. This is the only place in the world where you can experience such a spectacle.
Tokyo is in the Palm of Your Hand!
Each neighborhood in Tokyo has its own unique atmosphere and charm. Tokyo is also very interconnected, making it convenient to navigate around in and use public transportation.
Make this article your travel guide to get the most fun out of Tokyo!
Originally written by: Nico
*This is a rewritten version of an article published on August 15, 2016.