How to Spend 3 Days in Tokyo | An Itinerary
Are you traveling to Tokyo soon? Is it just for a short trip? Here are some ideas for spending 3 days in Tokyo.
If you’re heading to Tokyo soon and unfortunately won’t be staying too long, here are some tips on spending 3 days in Tokyo. People always ask me, “how long should I stay in Tokyo?” I usually answer “at least a week.”
Tokyo is the most layered city I’ve ever been to, but unfortunately, sometimes 3 days in Tokyo is all you can do. So in that case, here are some tips!
General Tips for a short trip to tokyo
If you’re anything like me, when you travel, you like to relax on your getaway. Tokyo can easily present itself as a problem because the city does have so much to offer that if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself spread too thin.
It’s important to prioritize what most interests you and then reduce your time to just those places. If you are interested in electronics, then perhaps time in Akihabara will be fitting. If you’re interested in the fashion scene, then more time in Harajuku and Omotesando would be a good bet.
I highly recommend my book Hidden Tokyo. It’s written from the approach of a specific neighborhood guide, breaking down 18 different neighborhoods and packed with top things to do and places to eat. If you read through this book, you’ll be aware of all the potential things to do and can then refine your trip around that. But, for general usage purposes, here’s a 3 day Tokyo itinerary that you can use as well.
Day 1 in Tokyo | Exploring Shibuya Ward
Day one in Tokyo should be fun and relaxed. You’ll start with the Shibuya District. The Harajuku neighborhood and nearby Omotesando is located inside Shibuya Ward, as are all the places I recommend below.
For 3 days in Tokyo, I recommend starting here first and then ending up in Shibuya at night where you can experience some nightlife, bar hop, and see the brightest lights in Tokyo. Of course, you should totally switch up the days to your own personal preferences and order of your choosing.
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Visit the Meiji Shrine
The Meiji Shrine is one of the most beautiful places in Tokyo, surrounded by forest. It’s located right near Harajuku as well so just take the train to Meiji-Jinju Mae, hop off and wander the shrine for a couple hours.
After exploring the Meiji Shrine, head over to Takeshita Dori to wander Harajuku’s crazy shops and cafes. And if you like pancakes, try Rainbow Pancake’s macadamia nut pancakes. They’re life changing – but, there’s usually a wait.
Shop Omotesando + Aoyama
If you only have 3 days in Tokyo and you love fashion, Omotesando & Aoyama is essentially Tokyo’s Champs Champs Elysees and I much prefer Tokyo’s version.
Omotesando & Aoyama are very different neighborhoods but are adjacent to Harajuku so it’s an easy stroll over in this direction.
Daikanyama is a hip neighborhood with its own interesting vibe and charm. It’s also a part of Shibuya Ward and should not be missed. You can easily take the train there after Harajuku and spend an hour or two exploring the cool shops.
Shibuya at Night
I recommend finishing the night off by taking the train to Shibuya Station for dinner, drinks, and nightlife and taking in views of the famous Shibuya Crossing. See my article on Tokyo Nightlife | Epic Things to Do for ideas.
Day 2 in Tokyo | Exploring Asakusa + Akiba
This is one of Tokyo’s hottest spots and for good reason. It’s a magical spot, but you should be mindful of the time of day you go because it can get super crowded. I recommend going in the morning.
Walk around the temple and then explore the Hanayashiki Amusement Park nearby – the oldest in Japan. It’s small but also a very interesting spot for photographs.
Ryogoku Sumo Neighborhood
Not far, right across the Sumida is Ryogoku, Tokyo’s Sumo neighborhood. Catch a match or simply walk around to get a glimpse of “Old Tokyo.”
You’ll of course need to check the schedule for times and seasons.
Akiba or Electric Town should most definitely be on the list of everyone in Tokyo, especially if you’re into electronics. Go to the Yodobashi Camera and explore the hub of Tokyo’s Otaku culture. See my article on Things to Do in Akihabara.
Day 3 in Tokyo | Shinjuku or Roppongi
The districts that I’m recommending here can be selected as one or the other, or both. One day should include exploring Shinjuku & then Roppongi, depending on your preferences. I’ll go into the differences more down below.
Both districts however are excellent nightlife spots and for that reason, you might actually want to hit up Shinjuku or Roppongi on Day 2 after Akihabara and the third on day 3.
Shinjuku is pretty large and Shinjuku Station is not only the busiest train station in Tokyo, but also in the world.
Shinjuku is famous for the Golden Gai (Tokyo’s maze of local bars), The Lost in Translation Hotel (Park Hyatt Tokyo) and of course Kabukicho with its Robot Restaurant. This makes Shinjuku an excellent spot for nightlife.
You can also make your way up to The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for a free view with clear days of Mt. Fuji and then stop off at Shinjuku Gyoen for a hanami in the park. Book The Robot Restaurant Here.
Roppongi is a fascinating place. It has some of Tokyo’s finest museums and architecture but it’s also a hub of nightlife as well.
If you are only able to catch one view in Tokyo, I recommend the Mori Tower. It’s not free, but it’s the best. And if you can go around sunset, even better.
Then stop off at The Kill Bill Restaurant, Gonpachi, for drinks and izakaya.
I hope this article has helped you to conceptually grasp how to spend 3 days in Tokyo, but the level of depth you experience is completely dependent upon your level of knowledge. If you want to go beyond scratching the surface, I highly recommend my book Hidden Tokyo as an essential travel companion to any traveler heading to Tokyo.
It contains an organized and comprehensive wealth of tips & information that you cannot possibly discover on your own. It’s also the ultimate Tokyo neighborhood guide. I take you into over 50 chapters and explore 18 different neighborhoods, each filled with a goldmine of suggestions and information filling nearly 400 pages. Learn more below.