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A quick trip to Tokyo: 2 day Tokyo Itinerary

A quick trip to Tokyo: 2 day Tokyo Itinerary

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Tokyo holds a special place in my heart. After all, it was the city I was lucky enough to call home when I lived in Japan! This 2 day Tokyo itinerary is based off my recommendations for first-time travelers to Japan.

While I think you could spend months in Tokyo and never run out of things to see/do, if you’re short on time, this guide to spending 2 days in Tokyo will cover all the highlights!

Day 1: Shibuya + Harajuku

One of the most exciting parts of Tokyo is how uniquely modern this city is. And by that, I don’t mean crazy skyscrapers, but rather the hustle of this city, which is best seen by visiting Shibuya, and the ever so famous Harajuku!

Morning: Visit Shibuya

The start of the first day of your 2 days in Tokyo involves visiting Shibuya.

Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most famous neighborhoods. The surrounding area around Shibuya station is filled with shops selling the latest fashions, department stores and the best cheap eats in Tokyo!

Shibuya crossing

Shibuya crossing is iconic around the world and is synonymous with Japan. Right outside Shibuya station, here you’ll get to watch the masses of people cross the road in all directions possible.

It seems a little bit mad, a little bit crazy, but from afar it looks perfectly orchestrated (I’ve always wondered how no one manages to bump into each other!)

Psst: want to see Shibuya crossing from above? Visit the Shibuya Starbucks to see a cool view!

Explore the alleyways and streets of Shibuya

Shibuya is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Tokyo (I guess I’m biased because this was where I stayed when I lived in Japan!)

Here you’ll find alleyways filled with little eateries (think ramen bars small enough to fit in your living room, where the cook also takes your order!) arcades where young Japanese hang out after work and fashion-forward shops.

Psst: want to see Shibuya in another light? Visit early on Saturday morning – you’ll find street cleaners, empty alleyways and you potentially will spot a couple of people still recovering from the night before 😉

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - shibuya

Hachikō Statue

A little bit touristy, but this status has a super sweet story. The Hachikō Statue was erected in memory of an adorable dog named Hachikō.

Hachikō would make his way to Shibuya station every day to meet its master, a professor. When the professor passed away, Hachikō continued to visit the station until he passed away 10 years later. Adorable, right?

Psst: this is a meeting point for many people in Shibuya, so if you’re visiting, you’ll likely see crowds of people around here!

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Places to eat in Shibuya

Since I spent a fair bit of time in Shibuya, I’ve included 2 of my favorite places to eat here!

1. Katsumidori Seibu Shibuya

This restaurant is my all-time favorite sushi train restaurant in Japan. It’s so popular that it often has a line outside (yes – I have visited at seemingly random times only to be met with a line still!)

You can select anything off the sushi train line, or put in an order if you want to eat something in particular. When you ask for your bill, the server will count the number of plates you have (by plate color) and calculate your bill that way.

Psst: When there’s a queue, just sit down at the end of the line (it’s a seated line) someone will come out to ask how many people you have and whether you have preference for a table or counter seating (Note: sit at the counter, and you’ll get to see the chefs prepare the sushi!)

Address: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 21−1 A館8階レストラン街ダイニング プラザ (located on the top floor of Seibu Shibuya)

Opening hours: 11 am – 11 pm daily

 

2. Ichiran Shibuya

One of Japan’s most famous ramen eateries, this chain is renowned for its delicious ramen. Check out the Shibuya store, which is open 24hrs.

Make sure you bring cash – you get to put your order into a vending machine where you’ll receive a little ticket. When you sit down, hand your ticket over to the staff member and fill in the form where you’ll get to nominate your ramen preferences.

Psst: Ichiran is probably not a good idea for big groups, but is great for solo travelers, couples or small groups!

Address: Japan, 〒150-0041 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jinnan, 1 Chome−22−7 岩本ビルB1F

Opening hours: open 24hrs! (most busy during the evenings for dinner, when there’s a line!)

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - ichiran ramen

How to get to Shibuya

The best way to explore Shibuya is to take the train to Shibuya Station. As one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations, it’s served by many train lines, including JR Yamanote Line, JR Saikyo Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Hanzomon Subway Line, Ginza Subway Line, Fukutoshin Subway Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line, Tokyu Den-Entoshi Line, and the Keio Inokashira Line.

If you’re short on time, you can even visit when you arrive straight from the airport – Shibuya is also a stop on the Narita Express!

 

Afternoon: Visit Harajuku

Harajuku is world famous. Known for young Japanese who like to dress up “kawaii” (the Japanese word for cute), this is a super fun place to visit when you’re in Tokyo.

Harajuku is only a 15-minute walk from Shibuya. If you’re not keen on walking (maybe you want to rest your legs!) Harajuku station is one train stop away from Shibuya station.

 

Takeshita-dōri

Takeshita-dōri is Harajuku’s most famous street. Here you’ll spy people dressed up in cute costumes, lots of “kawaii” inspired shops and delicious sweets like multi-colored fairy floss or yummy crepes. Harajuku is best visited by exploring the various small shops on Takeshita-dōri and surrounding streets.

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - crepe in harajuku

How to get to Harajuku

Harajuku is a 15-minute walk from Shibuya or a 25-minute walk from Shinjuku. The JR Harajuku Station is on the Yamanote line.

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Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

Once you’re kawaii-ed out (this is not a real word, but shhh) make sure you visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine. A short walk from Harajuku, the Meiji Shrine is a Shintō shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken.

This shrine was constructed in 1920 and has undergone restoration since WWII when parts of the shrine were destroyed. The shrine is most famous for it’s 12 m high wooden torii gate which sits at the entrance of the shrine. This area is a great place to visit in the afternoon if you’re after some shade or want to get away from the hustle of Tokyo’s busy streets.

How to get to the Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Shrine is a short walk from Harajuku station.

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - meiji shrine gate

 

 

Evening: Visit Shinjuku

Like Shibuya, Shinjuku is a hub for most of Japan’s youth. It has a thriving nightlife, and the streets around Shinjuku station are great to visit in the evenings.

The area is heaving with people relaxing at the end of the day, and you have so many options to choose from when picking somewhere to eat.

 

Day 2: Asakusa, and Akihabara

Day 2 of this 2 day Tokyo Itinerary is pretty packed, so make sure you pace yourself (you will be doing lots of walking!) Today is about seeing a blend of old Tokyo at Asakusa and modern Tokyo at Akihabara!

 

Morning: Visit Asakusa

Asakusa is a neighborhood in the north-east side of Tokyo and was where most of the city’s merchants and artisans lived during the Edo period. Here you’ll spy beautiful traditional architecture and one of Tokyo’s most famous temples.

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji is one of Tokyo’s most famous temples. This Buddhist temple is dedicated to the Buddist Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Sensoji is a beautiful temple with stunning architecture. The entrance of the temple is via a grand red colored gate known as the Kaminari-mon. Here you can also spot a pagoda known as the Five-Storey Pagoda, which is 55m high!

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - asakusa

Psst: want a different view of Sensoji? Then visit at night – it’s famous for its night view, where the Five-Storey Pagoda is lit up at night!

Nakamise-dōri

When you get a bit hungry, make sure to fill up on snacks at Nakamise-dōri, the temple precinct’s shopping district. You’ll also find cool souvenirs here!

 

Where to eat in Asakusa: Towada Sushiyadori

I’ve visited Asakusa a couple of times (when you’ve lived in Tokyo and been to Japan many times before that, you start to remember where you eat!) and one of my favorite places in Asakusa is this adorable soba shop.

Make sure you try their hand-made soba!

Address: 1 Chome-13-4 Asakusa, 台東区 Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032, Japan

Opening hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm Mon – Fri, 11:30 am – 10 pm Sat, 11 am – 9 pm Sun.

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - soba in asakusa

How to get to Asakusa

If you’re staying in Asakusa, it’ll be easy to visit Sensoji, but if you’re staying in central Tokyo, the best way to get here is to take the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station.

 

Afternoon: Visit Akihabara

If you love technology and electronics, Akihabara will be heaven for you.

Right after WWII, Akihabara was known for black market electronics and has since become the place to bargain hunt for electronic goods. You’ll also find this is an excellent place to buy second-hand technology (think tablets, phones, and cameras)

 

Akihabara Electric Town

Filled with department stores selling floors and floors of electronics, Akihabara is heaven for the electronics enthusiast. The area is also home to stores selling anime plastic models (collectibles to many), cosplay (short for costume play) and comic books.

While Akihabara is not your typical tourist area where you have specific places to visit, I highly recommend a visit even to explore the many shops in the area!

 

Kanda Shrine

Why would you visit a shrine in Akihabara? The Kanda Shrine dates back nearly 1,300 years and due to its location in Akihabara even sells talismans specifically to protect electronic devices from harm! We loved visiting and seeing the talismans to protect electronic devices. The shrine is only a 10-minute walk from Akihabara Station.

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - kanda shrine akihabara

How to get to Akihabara

Akihabara Station is on the JR Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Sobu Line, and Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line.

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Where to stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is such a big city; it can be hard to decide where to stay. I’ve put together a guide based on travel styles, which should hopefully make booking your accommodation easier.

Just remember: Tokyo is a HUGE city, and there is no one perfect place to stay, unlike other smaller cities. The best place to stay in Tokyo in my humble opinion is somewhere near a train station 😉

2 day Tokyo Itinerary - tokyo skyline

For backpackers: Space Hostel Tokyo

If you’re on a budget, it can be hard to find wallet-friendly accommodation in Tokyo. The Space Hostel is super budget friendly. They have mixed dorms and also female only dorms. The dorms here have a minimalist vibe, and the shared lounge has beautiful wooden furniture.

Amenities:

  • All rooms have air conditioning + heating
  • Shared bathrooms + toilets
  • Shared kitchen
  • Towels and sheets available for a fee
  • Free luggage storage at check-in and check-out

Location: The Space Hostel Tokyo is located in the neighborhood of Taito, which is right next to Asakusa (Sensoji temple is only a 15-minute walk away!) While you won’t be in central Tokyo, you’re only a 3-minute walk to the Iriya Subway Station (on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), making the rest of Tokyo easily accessible!

Read more at TripAdvisor here

Book on Booking.com | Book on Expedia

 

For solo travelers who want a hint of luxury: The Millennials Shibuya

This hotel has the coolest capsules I’ve ever seen in Japan. The capsules are super spacious, and the bed adjusts up and down (so you can lie flat or at an angle). They have female only capsules or a mixed option. You can even pay a little extra for a projector (think of the Netflix-ing you can do from your phone!)

Amenities:

  • Complimentary bread, pastries, coffee, and green tea are served each morning
  • All rooms have air conditioning + heating
  • Shared bathrooms + toilets, with free toiletries
  • Shared kitchen
  • Towels and linen included

Location: Located in Shibuya, The Millennials Shibuya is a great option for solo travelers. Shibuya is my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo, and when you stay here you’ll have access to SO many affordable food options! If you’re short on time and only have a few days (hey – there’s a reason why you’re looking at this 2-day Tokyo itinerary!) this is a great place to base yourself.

Read more at TripAdvisor here

Book on Booking.com | Book on Expedia

 

For budget-travelers: Sakura Hotel Jimbocho

Sakura Hotel is for you if…

  • You’re traveling with a friend or your partner, but you don’t want to share a dorm room
  • You’re a solo traveler, but you prefer your own space; or
  • You want to share a dorm room anyway 😉

Sakura hotel has very budget friendly private rooms (with shared bathrooms) and dorm rooms (separated by gender).

Amenities:

  • Rate includes daily continental breakfast
  • All rooms have air conditioning + heating
  • Free luggage storage
  • Coin operated washer and dryer
  • Shared bathrooms + toilets
  • Linen included (private rooms include Yukata robes, face towel, and slippers) note: towels are not included!

Location: This hotel is only a 2-minute walk from Jimbocho Subway Station, making it super easy to access any part of Tokyo.

Read more at TripAdvisor here

Book on Booking.com | Book on Expedia

 

For Mid-range travelers: B:CONTE Asakusa

This modern hotel is a great option if you want to stay somewhere nice without breaking your budget. The rooms are clean, spacious and have all the modern amenities you could need.

Amenities:

  • Free bicycles to use during your stay
  • All rooms have air conditioning + heating
  • All rooms have a kitchen (including microwave, kettle, and kitchenware)

Location: B: CONTE Asakusa is located in the neighborhood of Asakusa. Here you’ll be a 5-minute walk from Asakusa Subway Station and Tawaramachi Subway Station.

Read more at TripAdvisor here

Book on Booking.com | Book on Expedia

 

For Luxury travelers: MIMARU Tokyo Ueno Inaricho

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or if you want to treat yo’ self, MIMARU Tokyo Ueno Inaricho is a great option! This accommodation has beautiful modern Japanese architecture and would make for a memorable stay.

All the rooms are fitted with extra long beds – if you’re tall, this is a blessing in Japan!

Location: the hotel is located in Taito, a quieter part of Tokyo away from the hustle of bustle. It’s still a convenient place to be based – the hotel is only a 5-minute walk from Ueno Station!

Read more at TripAdvisor here

Book on Booking.com | Book on Expedia

 

 

Tokyo is such a unique city, that even if you have 2 days in Tokyo, you’re bound to enjoy your time here!

I’d love to hear from you: are you spending 2 days in Tokyo? Or more?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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