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48 Hours in Tokyo

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Are you spending 48 hours in Tokyo? Here’s a short list of things to do if you’re only in Tokyo for two days. 

If you want to see the city in the most efficient and sub-surface way, I highly recommend my book, The Hidden Tokyo Neighborhood Guidebook. You’ll find nearly 30 of Tokyo’s top neighborhoods covered in a way that breaks down the most complex city in the world and makes it easy to grasp. You’ll leave knowing Tokyo like a local. 

How to spend 48 hours in Tokyo?

48 hours in tokyo
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We don’t always have as much time as we want to travel, but even a short while is better than nothing. Tokyo has tons of things to do, and you can easily fill in 48 hours with adventure. 

But, you can also find yourself overwhelmed by so many options on the table. It’s essential to get some clarity on what interests you most and then start from there. Are you interested in hitting up Tokyo’s ritzier and sophisticated scene? Do you want to see art and architecture? Or are you interested in Tokyo’s youthful fashion scene? Or perhaps its electronics scene or traditional culture? 

Hopefully, these quick suggestions can offer you some guidance on where to start exploring the best of this city. 

The first 48 hours in Tokyo

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The Meiji Shrine + Harajuku / Omotesando

This is a must-see on any trip to Tokyo, and it’s my favorite shrine in the city. You’ll find it located at Meiji-jingu Mae Station which is also at the foot of Harajuku. You can easily explore the Meiji Shrine and then hit up one of Tokyo’s most fashionable neighborhoods. This shrine is surrounded by a beautiful forest which makes you forget you’re in the world’s largest city. 

After, stroll on over to Harajuku to and wander the colorful streets and home of the Lolita fashion scene. And if you’re a pancake connoisseur, the wait at Rainbow Pancake for their macadamia nut pancakes is more than worth it. 

Watch this Video About Rainbow Pancake!

Check out Kiddy Land. It’s the coolest toy store in Tokyo.

tokyo vintage shopping
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Harajuku is also home to tons of awesome vintage shops. Flamingo is a local favorite. Consult my neighborhood guidebook for more hidden gems. 

Stroll Over to Shibuya For a Night Out

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Shibuya is always a fun place to be at night. I almost always recommend Shibuya at night because the experience is far more interesting when the lights come on. The energy is insane, and it’s impossible to get bored here. 

If you want a classy spot to have drinks over the city and don’t mind a cover charge, BELLOVISTO at the Cerulean Tower is a stunning spot. Alternatively, Nonbei Yokocho offers a cool local post-war vibe with 6-person bar kind of establishments. 

Check out my article on Record Shopping in Shibuya if you’re into music.

A yokocho is an alley which often has a cool post-war vibe with lots of local bars and yakitori stalls.

Day 2 Asakusa+ Roppongi + Shinjuku

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Start the Morning in Asakusa

The best time to see the Asakusa Shrine is in the morning before the peak of tourist traffic. This is one of the top places to see Old Tokyo, but it becomes increasingly less enjoyable as you battle loads of tourists. Early in the morning or later at night is the best time to visit. 

Next, stroll around the neighborhood to get a truly Old Tokyo feel and don’t forget to stop at Japan’s oldest amusement park, The Hanayashiki Amusement Park. 

Explore Roppongi's Views & Architecture

It’s impossible to condense Roppongi into a few short recommendations. There is so much to see in this neighborhood; I feel bad only scratching the surface. In fact, it’s the longest neighborhood chapter in my book. But, here are some quick tips to know. 

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The Mori Tower & The Tokyo Tower are the two main paid views in the city. If you want a free view, consider sneaking up to the top floor of the Andaz in Toranomon Hills. It’s gorgeous at night.

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The Mori Tower Observatory

This is hands down my favorite view of the city. It’s not free, but it’s more than worth it. It’s a brilliant view both during the day and at night. 
You will find this observatory at the Roppongi Hills Shopping Center, which is a gorgeous piece of architecture. 

READ  Michael Kenna: Meeting One of My Favorite Artists in Tokyo

The National Art Center Tokyo

If you’re into some seriously cool architecture, The National Art Center is well worth an exploration. 

Shinjuku's local bars

Shinjuku Things to Do
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Any trip to Tokyo would be incomplete without a visit to Shinjuku. Explore the bars of Golden Gai or Omoide Yokohcho for that perfect Old Tokyo vibe. Lastly, catch a free view at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

It’s impossible to do this city justice in just 48 hours, but these spots will show you the highlights of the city. 

If you’re a fan of manga or electronics, you might want to amend your trip to include Akihabara. Read my article on 5 Super Cool Things to do in Akihabara. 

Traveling Outside Tokyo? Get a Rail Pass Here - Pronto.

Tokyo is my favorite city in the world, which is why I could write over 400 pages of pure Tokyo love, designed to help travelers grasp this city and experience it better. Get my book, The Hidden Tokyo Neighborhood Guidebook and unlock Tokyo’s Magic.


The book Also includes

  • Where to Find the Best Views of Tokyo
  • Awesome Free Views of the City
  • A Photographer's Guide to Tokyo
  • Where to Find the Coolest Bookstores & Libraries
  • Places Frozen in Time | Tokyo Time & Place to Experience Old Japan
  • Architecture You Don't Want to Miss
  • Fascinating Tours of Politics & History
  • Don't Leave Japan Without Doing These Things
  • The Coolest Capsule Hotels
  • Gluten Free Tips & Advice
  • Eating Vegan & Vegetarian in Tokyo
  • Hundreds of Top Food Recommendations
  • Tours to Consider
  • (Kissaten) Craft Coffee Must Try Places
  • Where to Buy Excellent Used Camera Gear
  • The Best Gardens in the City
  • Clubs & Live Music Venues
  • Record Shopping Hot Spots
  • Museums & Must-See Galleries
  • Only in Japan Things to Do
  • 40 Brilliant Souvenir Ideas
  • Amusement Parks & Fun For Kids
  • Where to Find the Best Afternoon Tea
  • The Best Japanese Tea Ceremony Spots
  • Etiquette Essentials
  • Exploring Spirituality
  • A Vintage Shopping Guide to Harajuku
  • And so much more.............
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