Tokyo is a bustling metropolis, a busy and populous neon city. If you’re visiting Tokyo but looking to slow the pace and enjoy the great outdoors, nearby Mount Takao may be just the ticket. Mount Takao offers autumn leaf and cherry blossom viewing, hiking, sky lifts, animal encounters, and historic temples.
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!
Some would consider it the trip of a lifetime: attending the 2020 Olympic Games in the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan. Tourists are already scrambling find tickets. The games, often simply called Tokyo 2020, are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 of that year. Over twelve thousand athletes from two hundred and seven countries are expected to participate in thirty-three types of summer sports.
The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line, often called simply the Tokyo Monorail, began operation in 1964. It was the first commercial monorail system in the world. The elevated straddle-beam monorail line parallels the coast of Tokyo Bay. Travelers can enjoy seaside views, and on clear days, Mount Fuji is visible in the distance.
Haneda Airport is ideal for travelers wishing to reach Tokyo, as it is much closer to the city center than Tokyo’s Narita Airport. It is also the busiest airport in Japan. The Tokyo Monorail is there to ease this inherent congestion and make travel to and from the airport an excursion in itself.
Do you have plans to visit Tokyo? If you do, you’ll likely be using Japan’s extensive commuter train system to get around. The railways in Japan are quick and efficient, as well as affordable – especially if you take advantage of the Japan Rail Pass, which allows to ride it for free!
When traveling in Tokyo, common train lines include the 60 kilometers that make up the Chuo-Sobu Line. This line runs east and west across Tokyo, between Chiba Station and Mitaka Station. It is the single JR line that crosses the circle of the Yamanote Line, and it serves as a major artery for local commuters as well as other travelers.
The Keihin-Tohoku Line is a busy train line connecting the cities of Saitama, central Tokyo and Yokohama, among others. The line’s name is derived from Tokyo, Yokohama, and Tohoku Main Line when written in Japanese characters. The train line has been in operation for well over 100 years, having taken on its first passengers in 1914.
Your Japan Rail Pass is valid on most trains along the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, as it is owned by JR East. Where will your travels take you – to Tokyo, Yokohama, or elsewhere? When will your trains depart, and when are the stations the most crowded? Check out this handy travel guide for more information.
Akihabara Station is located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. The area is known as a lively shopping district, with many stores specializing in electronics and otaku, the diehard anime and manga fandom. Akihabara was named for the Akiba, a local shrine formerly found there. Akiba was the god of fire, and Akihabara means “autumn leaf field.”
Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s 23 wards, famous for the shopping and entertainment district centered around Shibuya Station. Many of Japan’s fashion trends are born on the streets of Shibuya.
Shibuya is also a station with a long history. Shibuya Station opened in 1885 as a stop along what is now called the Yamanote Line. It was also the afternoon rendezvous of the famous dog Hachiko, now immortalized in bronze statues, film, and print. Continue reading “%s”
The Studio Ghibli Museum was established by Hayao Miyazaki, a master of Japanese anime. You may recognize Miyazaki as the animation director behind award-winning, acclaimed childhood films such as My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001). The museum is an interactive experience suitable for the entire family. It identifies itself as “a portal to a storybook world.” Continue reading “%s”
Japan is world famous for its sakura, or cherry blossom, season. In early spring, thousands of trees across Japan burst forth in shades of red, pink, and white, washing the land in color. Many families enjoy hanami at this time, picnics or parties for the purpose of viewing the flowers.
Tourists also flock to Japan during the cherry blossom season. Tokyo is a prime viewing location due to its abundant parks and green spaces. If you’d like to see Tokyo in bloom, when should you plan your vacation? What are the best spots for cherry blossom viewing? And, how can you use your Japan Rail Pass to get the most out of your trip?
This guide is designed to help you answer those questions and plan your own hanami experience. Don’t forget also to check our cherry blossom travel tips!