Translated by Clarke
Tour 7 Areas of Tokyo in 2 Days! From Asakusa to Ginza and Shibuya
Tokyo is full of things to see and do, and this model sightseeing plan will help you get the most out of your stay in Japan's capital. Tsukiji, Ginza, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Asakusa can all be toured in two days!
Written by ニコ
Enjoy Tokyo in 2 Days with This Efficient Sightseeing Guide!
One of the world's most prominent and exciting cities: Tokyo. There's plenty to see and do in this bustling metropolis, but the city's sheer size can be daunting in terms of making sure you get everywhere you want to go within the time you have. But not to fear! We here at Matcha have compiled a list of sightseeing spots that simply shouldn't be missed, all of which you can get to over the course of just two days. Even if you're on a tight schedule you can still make the most of your stay by sightseeing, catching some entertainment, eating delicious local food and going shopping!
Up Early on Day 1: Tsukiji Market
Get up early on your first day to enjoy Tsukiji Market where all the delicacies of Japan come together! Since this is a wholesale market things will already be in full swing even at the crack of dawn, but if you're going to grab a bite and see the market, then we recommend checking it out after 7:30 am when things have calmed down a bit.
Wandering around the lively market, make sure to get a breakfast that defines the word fresh. In building 8 where the seafood shops are located, why not try a seafood rice bowl at either "Nakaya" or "Unagi Yonehana", two of the most appealing of all the restaurants in Tsukiji Market? That said, there are lots of places here that close just after noon, so don't get there too late. Early birds will be sure to find a culinary experience one can only find in Tsukiji.
Morning of Day 1: Ginza
After you've had your fill of the Tsukiji fish and atmosphere, it's off to Ginza where the height of Japanese luxury shopping can be found. Take a commemorative photo outside of Kabukiza, the traditional kabuki theater, find incense and Japanese paper at Kyukyodo, and check out the Japanese clothing store "Erizen". Finally, head over to the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi (which opened it's doors in the 17th century!) once it opens at 10:30.
Wandering around Ginza is known in Japan as "Ginza-bura," an activity that often includes visiting such places as Café Paurista, which opened its doors in 1910, or the coffee shop "Shiseido Parlour" and relax with a cream soda.
Afternoon of Day 1: Shibuya
After taking in the sights of the Ginza, hop on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line to Shibuya, which will take you about 15 minutes. Shibuya, popular with Japanese youths, is an energetic shopping district with all of its hustle and bustle encompassed by the huge scramble crosswalk and popular clothing stores such as SHIBUYA 109 and Marui that you will find directly in front of the train station.
At Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs and LOFT, you can find highly creative Japanese gifts for friends and family back home, and with three different locations of the large electronics emporium, Big Camera, located in Shibuya, this is the perfect place to get some shopping done in the afternoon.
Otherwise, if you are looking for anime and otaku-related goods, then be sure to visit Mandarake while in Shibuya.
If shopping has left you famished, then take a load off at Alice's Fantasy Restaurant which could be said to be even be closer to a theme park than a restaurant. If you're looking for more of a Japanese sensibility in terms of lunch, then try d47 Shokudo, where you can enjoy Japanese food from all over the country while looking down over the streets of Shibuya.
Evening of Day 1: Harajuku
The origin of kawaii (cute) culture and Lolita fashion: Harajuku. Harajuku is only a 20 minute walk from Shibuya. If you find yourself in Harajuku, two places to check out are Takeshita Dori, a street dotted with lots of apparel shops, and KIDDY LAND and Laforet Harajuku. Even if you don't go shopping, just people watching and seeing the different fashions wandering the streets is fun in and of itself. For those of you who love Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters, then a must-visit is the Pom Pom Purin Café Harajuku, definitely worth waiting in the line if your a fan of the characters.
If you're looking for a fun, pop-inspired place to eat, then check out KAWAII MONSTER CAFE. Upon entering, visitors immediately encounter a unique atmosphere, full of colorful entertainers. Otherwise, for those with more artistic sensibilities, visit Sakura-tei where you can try your hand at making savory Japanese pancakes, known as "okonomiyaki".
Morning of Day 2: Akihabara
Sleep in a little on the morning of your second day, and when you feel rested and ready to hit the town, then grab your rucksack and head out to the Otaku promise land, Akihabara where you can have lunch at a maid café, served by cute maids.
In fact, even some of the more popular cafés are comparatively empty during lunchtime, allowing you to get in without a wait. ＠home café is one such maid café where they offer a menu in English, perfect for travelers who may be worried that their Japanese isn't quite up to snuff.
We recommend getting one of their rice dishes where the maids will draw you something cute and cuddly in ketchup, though male patrons may find the food almost a little too cute for their tastes.
Afternoon of Day 2: Asakusa
After experiencing all that Akihabara has to offer, change gears to a more traditional Japanese atmosphere. Asakusa is an area of Tokyo famous for being one of the keepers of old Japanese culture from the Edo period (1600-1868), and wandering around these old streets with the towering Skytree in the background affords a strange sensation of old meeting new. Taking the Tsukuba Express line from Akihabara to Asakusa takes only 4 minutes.
Once you get to Asakusa, the first order of business is walking down Nakamise Dori, the entrance to which is a gate known as Kaminarimon. Nakamise Dori offers plenty of shops dealing in traditional handicrafts and small nick-nacks, which are fun to simply window shop at even if you're not looking to buy any souvenirs. If you work up an appetite, then grab a manju dumpling or ningyo-yaki for a snack.
After Asakusa, it's off to the Skytree. Taking a train from Asakusa to the base of the Skytree at Oshiage station only takes about 3 minutes by subway, but if you prefer to walk it shouldn't take you 20 minutes (and with the Skytree being so imposing, it's hard to lose your way there). While walking there, cross the Sumida River and take a commemorative photo with the Asahi Beer Headquarters building in the background (it's shaped like a giant mug of beer!) at Azumabashi bridge, so take a stroll if the weather's fair.
The Skytree has a viewing deck at the 350 m mark which costs 2,060 yen to get up to. While this may a little steep, the panoramic view of the city is worth the price of admission. Once you finish enjoying the view of the city, enjoy some down time in the shopping area at the base of the tower, Solamachi, complete with aquarium.
Evening of Day 2: Shinjuku
The finale to our two day Tokyo sightseeing extravaganza will take place in the exciting streets of Shinjuku! A subway ride from Oshiage to Shinjuku is about 30 minutes (with one change). Kabukicho, located in Shinjuku, is the country's largest shopping district, where you can find not only retailers but also eateries, bars, and the red light district all crowded together. Kabukicho never sleeps, and the sheer amount of people coming and going at all hours of the day is truly astounding. Just walking through Kabukicho is invigorating.
In Kabukicho, places to check out include the Robot Restaurant. As one might expect from such a name, you can grab a mean while you watch robots perform song and dance, and there are plenty of people who come to the Land of the Rising Sun just to visit this establishment. Entrance (not including food) is 8,000 yen and is only by reservation, but eating here is certainly something that will stay with you long after you've left Japan.
Finish up your second day of Tokyo sightseeing in the lively, energetic streets of Shinjuku, and make sure to come back to Tokyo again when you've got a little more time to wander the city!