You’ve got just five days to explore one of the largest, most vibrant cities in the world – Tokyo, Japan. With the help of this travel guide, you’ll be able to make the best use of your time – and your Japan Rail Pass – to glimpse all that the Neon City has to offer.
This guide is designed to appeal to travelers with a wide range of interests, including anime and manga fans, history buffs, foodies, and nature lovers. If one “day” of this itinerary is more interesting to you than another, feel free to expand that day’s activities while omitting others. You can also check our Tokyo 3-day itinerary if you plan to stay shorter!
Table of Contents
- 1 Day 1: Tasting History in Northern Tokyo
- 2 Day 2: Central Tokyo: Imperial Palace and more
- 3 Day 3: Odaiba and Ginza district
- 4 Day 4: Western Tokyo: Youth and Cosplay, Shrines and Gardens
- 5 Day 5: Tokyo DisneySea or Mont Fuji day trip
Day 1: Tasting History in Northern Tokyo
Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa
To delve into Tokyo’s rich history, begin your day at the Sensoji Temple, located in historic district of Asakusa. The colorful temple was constructed in 645 A.D. and is the oldest in Tokyo. Shoppers and foodies will enjoy the nearby Nakamise shopping street.
How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station. There, transfer to the Ginza Subway Line to Asakusa Station. The temple is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.
Tokyo National Museum
Next, take in Japan’s largest and oldest museum, the Tokyo National Museum. There, you will experience the art and history of Japan. Feel free to stroll around the surrounding Ueno Park and visit the giant pandas at the Ueno Zoo.
How to get there: Take the Ginza Line from Asakusa Station to Ueno Station. The National Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is ¥620. The zoo keeps the same hours, with an admission of ¥600.
Finish your day with a stroll around the “Six Poems Garden”, the Rikugien. It is one of the most beautiful traditional landscape gardens in Tokyo. Dine in one of the garden’s tea houses.
How to get there: Take the Yamanote Line from Ueno Station to Komagome Station. The garden is about a 10 minute walk from the station.
Day 2: Central Tokyo: Imperial Palace and more
Start your day at the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the surrounding parks, gardens, and attractions. Visit the kid-friendly Science Museum or the National Museum of Modern Art. Enjoy lunch at the Wadakura Fountain Park Restaurant.
How to get there: Take the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station. The palace complex is a ten minute walk from the station.
Akihabara Electric Town
Anime and manga fans won’t want to miss the Akihabara shopping district, full of electronics stores, anime souvenirs, and otaku shops.
How to get there: Take the Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station.
If the pace of the city is getting to you, relax with a stroll in the Koishikawa Korakuen, the most famous garden in Tokyo.
How to get there: Take the JR Chuo Line to Iidabashi Station. The garden is a five to ten minute walk from the station. Admission is ¥300.
Day 3: Odaiba and Ginza district
There is plenty to explore in this modern waterfront district in Toyko Bay, including an onsen hot springs theme park and the National Science Museum. At the new Toyosu Fish Market, visitors can also experience the relocated inner market and famous tuna auctions of the old Tsukiji Market.
How to get there: From Tamachi Station, cross the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba.
Shopping in Ginza
This district was once the site of a silver coin mint and now contains the most expensive real estate in Japan. Known as an upmarket shopping area, Ginza is ideal for shopaholics who love brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Dior.
How to get there: Take the Ginza Line to Ginza Station in the heart of the district.
After shopping in Ginza, why not head to the simpler pleasures of the nearest green space?
These former imperial gardens are worth a visit for the traditional Edo-period design and its charming Japanese teahouse.
How to get there: Take the Keihintohoku Line to Shimbashi Station. The gardens are around a 15-minute walk away.
Day 4: Western Tokyo: Youth and Cosplay, Shrines and Gardens
Young and old alike will find interesting things to do in western Tokyo. History buffs will enjoy a tour of the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to a deified emperor.
How to get there: Take the Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station. The shrine is a short walk away.
While in the area, explore the Harajuku neighborhood. It is the center of teenage fashion and culture, especially on Takeshita Street. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of food stalls and restaurants in the area.
Finally, unwind in another of Tokyo’s premier gardens, the Shinjuku Gyoen. This garden, formerly of the Imperial family, is home to dozens of species of cherry tree, totaling more than 1,000 trees in all.
How to get there: Take the Yamanote Line to Shinjuku Station and take the New South Exit. The garden is a ten-minute walk from the station.
Day 5: Tokyo DisneySea or Mont Fuji day trip
Choosing your itinerary for the final day of exploring Tokyo will depend on where your interests lie. If you feel like escaping the city on a bullet train, then the natural splendour of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji could be the best bet. Thrillseekers or those on a family holiday in Japan may prefer a day exploring the exciting Tokyo DisneySea theme park.
Day trip to Mont Fuji
Your adventure begins with the train ride itself. Many trains, including the Shinkansen bullet trains, offer spectacular views of the mountain and surrounding scenery.
Feel free to take a hike on Mount Fuji, or enjoy some of the area’s other attractions. History lovers won’t want to miss the Sengen Shrines that surround the mountain. You may also wish to spend a few hours at the Fuji Q Highland amusement park, with kid’s areas and anime-themed rides. The Itchiku Museum features art from across Asia, intricate kimonos, and lush gardens.
How to get there: From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Chuo Line to Otsuki Station. Then, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Kawaguchiko Station. Buses frequently depart from this station, providing access to all surrounding attractions.
Children and adults alike with relish the Mediterranean, island, mermaid, Arabian, jungle, and other themed “ports” of this amusement park.
How to get there: The park is a 20-minute walk from Maihama Station, or you can take the Disney Resort Monorail to Tokyo Disney Sea Station. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and admission is ¥7,400.
Did you get to see it all? If not, never fear! Simply make note of additional attractions, restaurants, and districts which you’d like to visit. Then, you’ll be ready for yet another Tokyo adventure with the aid of your JR Pass.