5 Days in Tokyo: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visitors)


Tokyo is a very special city, combining ancient and modern in a metropolis that manages to be both chaotic and perfectly ordered.

It is an intimidating place to plan an itinerary, with the vast area meaning lots of options to choose from.

To help, we put together this 5-day Tokyo itinerary to help you have the best experience here.

ABOUT THIS 5 DAY TOKYO ITINERARY

In general, I grouped sites together based on their location in order to save you time walking and using public transportation. This will keep you from spending unnecessary time on Tokyo’s metro.

At the end of this post, we give recommendations on how to shorten this Tokyo itinerary if you only have 2, 3, or 4 days to spend in the city.

The provided walking distances are the amount of walking you will do to get between sites, and are a very conservative estimate. We average 15,000 steps a day around Tokyo, between 10km and 15km. The distance guides do not include the amount of walking you will do inside shopping centres, temples, etc.

OUR JAPAN CREDENTIALS

The Reeves Roamed for 25 days through Japan, taking notes as we went. Our route was based on our typically thorough research, though we also found some surprises along the way. We only write about places we’ve actually been, so you can be confident that the details are first-hand.

READ OUR COMPLETE JAPAN GUIDE
Ben Reeve
Post Author

Tokyo Itinerary, Day 1: Sensoji & Skytree

🚇 GETTING HERE:

  • Get the Ginza or Askakusa line to Asakusa Station, Sensoji is a short walk from here
  • For Skytree, head back to Asakusa Station, and take one stop on the Asakusa line to Oshiage
  • For the Imperial Palace, go back to Oshiage, and get the Hanzomon line to Otemachi

👣 WALKING DISTANCE:

  • 2km-3km around Sensoji
  • 1km-2km around Imperial Palace

🗺️ MAP:

tokyo 5 day itinerary sensoji, skytree and imperial palace
Click to access full version of this map

Nakamise Dori

nakamise dori shopping street in tokyo
Nakamise Dori shopping street | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

You will walk through Nakamise Dori on the way to Sensoji.

As one of the oldest and most traditional shopping streets in Tokyo, you will find a bit of everything here, from traditional Japanese trinkets through to modern fashion.

Sensoji

a photo of japanese lamps at a temple in tokyo
The entrance to Sensoji | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Sensoji was our highest ranked place in Tokyo, with the temples, gardens and statues quintessentially Japanese, and easy to spend a couple of hours getting lost in.

Top Sights:

  • Hozomon Gate.
  • Inside the main hall.
  • Watching people cleanse themselves with incense, and the smell and smoke fill the air.
  • Yogodo Hall Gardens.
  • The statue of Uryu Iwaku.
  • The bell which gets rung at 6am every morning.

MORE INFORMATION: What To Do Around Sensoji

🌸 Discover Tokyo’s historic Sensoji Temple with a 4-hour guided tour

Skytree

tokyo sky tower with buildings below it
The Skytree is the tallest tower in the world | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

The Tokyo Skytree is not only the tallest tower in the city, but the tallest in the world.

The main reason for visiting is to take the lift to the top (¥1,800), but the Tower is also pack full of shops (including a great Pokémon store), an aquarium and a planetarium, so there is a heap to do here.

Imperial Palace

This may seem like an odd choice to visit after Tokyo Skytree, but it’s actually perfect, as it’s only six stops on the Hanzomon metro line.

I’ll be honest, this was on our itinerary, but we ran out of steam before getting here (toddlers can only go for a certain amount of time!), so you may not make it this far on day one, but the video above should help you see what to expect.

Tokyo Itinerary, Day 2: Shibuya & Harajuku

🚇 GETTING HERE:

  • Get the Metro line to Shibuya Station.
  • If you have missed the Imperial Palace on day one, get the Chiyoda metro line from Harajuku (Meiji-jingumae) to Otemachi.

👣 WALKING DISTANCE:

  • 4km from Shibuya to Harajuku.

🗺️ MAP:

tokyo 5 day itinerary day 2 shibuyu to haranjuku
To access full map click here

Shibuya Crossing

lots of people crossing the road at shibuya
Shibuya Crossing | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Start the day at the hectic and world-famous Shibuya Crossing.

Watch thousands of people cross the street simultaneously, and make sure you stop for a photo in from of the memorial statue for the dog Hachikō, a loyal Shiba Ino, who loyally waited for its owner outside Shibuya Station for nine years after his death.

After this, follow the walking route through the backstreets of Shibuya.

Pokemon & Disney Centres

a man standing in front of mewtwo
Ben meets MewTwo | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

You’ll find lots of interesting stores around Shibuya, but the Nintendo, Atari and Pokemon ones are the most popular, and are all in the same centre.

This is also a five-story Disney store nearby.

Grab some breakfast in one of the many cafes, before circling back towards the station and up Nonbei Yokocho, a narrow street filled with tiny bars, which fills up at night with Japanese businessmen.

Walk to Harajuku

small sidestreets on the walk from shibuya to haranjuka
The diverse shopping streets on the walk from Shibuya to Harajuku | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

From here, walk towards Harajuku. At the end of Nonbei Yokocho you can go up and through the shopping centre, for the first taste of the fashion stores.

Head up Cat Street towards Harajuku. This was by far our favourite part of the walk, with the streets packed full of a weird mix of designer stores such as Levis, and vintage stores which seemed to have clothes even more expensive than the designer ones!

Exploring Harajuku

a man buying crepes front a pink stall in harajuku
Buying crepes at Harajuku | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Harajuku is the centre of pop culture in Tokyo, and, if you’re as untrendy as me, you’ll feel a tad out of place around here!

The main street gets crazy busy, but it’s a fantastic place for people watching, and you could spend hours exploring the stores here.

Make sure you grab a crêpe from one of the many stalls around Harajuku, they wrap then into a cone shape and fill them full of whipped cream, what’s not to like!?

OPTION: Imperial Palace

If you didn’t make it to the Imperial Palace on day one, here’s another chance to do so, as the Chiyoda metro line from Harajuku Station (also called Meiji-jingumae) goes straight to Otemachi where the palace is located.

Tokyo Itinerary, Day 3: Day Trip to Nikko, Mount Fuji or Disney

🚇 GETTING HERE:

  • For Nikko, either buy the Nikko Pass (quickest option if you don’t have a JR Pass) of get the JR line out of Tokyo Station or Ueno Station – it’s one change to get to Nikko and take about two hours.
  • For Disney, you need to get to Maihama Station, which is on a JR Line, best accessed from Tokyo Station.
  • For Mount Fuji, you can get dedicated trains from Shinjuku Station, though there are many tours which are relatively inexpensive, and will get you to all the key sights.

👣 WALKING DISTANCE:

  • This very much depends – the day I visited Nikko I did over 15km, and we did 8km around Disney. Mount Fuji will be another 10km day, though less if you take a tour than if you navigate via trains.

🗺️ MAP:

tokyo 5 day itinerary day 3

Day Trip to Nikko

stone statues with red hats and bib on. taken at kanmangafuchi abyss, nikko, japan
Taking a day trip to Nikko will give you sights you can’t get in the city | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

If you only get a chance to do one of these three, pick Nikko, it is stunning.

Nestled in the hills, it contains some of the most important and ancient shrines in Japan.

Top sights at Nikko:

  • The iconic red Shinkyo Bridge, curving over the valley.
  • The 8th century Rinnō-ji temple.
  • The overwhelmingly intricate Toshugu Shrine – the resting place of Tokugawa leyasu, the first Shogun of Japan.
  • The mystical statues of Kanmangafuchi Abyss (see photo).

READ NEXT: Complete Guide – Taking a Day Trip to Nikko

🍁 Explore the cultural heritage of Nikko with a 1-day bus tour for $101.44

Day Trip to Mount Fuji

image of mount fuji taken on a clear day

Mount Fuji would be my second choice for a day trip from Tokyo, but would be many people’s first, as it is a true icon of Japan.

You can get trains out of the city, but I took a tour, as it seemed to be the simplest and most cost effective way to see all the sights of Fuji in a single day.

Tokyo Disney

a large arabian style building with rounded blue dome from dinsey sea in tokyo
Aladdin film set at Disney Sea | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

We visited Tokyo Disneysea, and as someone who is not a huge fan of theme parks, I’m probably not the right person to judge.

It’s impressive, but packed.

Our research says Tokyo Disney for the little ones, Disneysea for the adults, but Grace loved Disneysea regardless.

The Arabian area was incredible, and Sinbad’s story was a must see – but be aware every ride had queues of 30 minutes plus, with the most popular over two hours!

Tokyo Itinerary, Day 4: Ueno Park & Akhibara

🚇 GETTING HERE:

  • Head to Ueno on the Ginza line.

👣 WALKING DISTANCE:

  • The walk around Ueno Park is around 4km (exluding walking around the zoo and your choice of museums.
  • The walk down to, and around Akhibara is 3km+ depending on how many stores you visit.

🗺️ MAP:

tokyo 5 day itinerary day 4 uenu park and akhibara
Get access to the full route here

Ueno Park

Ueno Park is a great place to wander in its own right, but when you consider it also has six world-class museums in it (yes, really!) and Ueno Zoo, Japan’s oldest zoo, which is also the only place in Japan you can see Giant Panda.

Choose a Museum

a brulaist building, the national musuem of western art tokyo
The block Museum of Western Art is also a UNESCO site | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

There are an incredible six museums in Ueno Park, so pick one or two to enjoy.

The best of them is the Tokyo National Museum (¥1,000 entry fee), which is Japan’s oldest museum, and contains the largest collection of Japanese artifacts anywhere (over 110,000).

The Museum of Western Art is also a treasure in itself, as the building has UNESCO Heritage Site status, but inside you can see famous works such as Waterlillies by Monet, and works from artists such as Picasso, Rodin and Van Gogh.

Ueno Zoo

the entrance of ueno zoo
Ueno Zoo | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Ueno Zoo is Japan’s oldest, and makes huge efforts to breed rare animals, meaning you can see Giant Panda (one of only 27 zoos in the world outside of China), Aye-ayes and Pygmy Hippos.

It’ll take a few hours to cover the whole thing, and is worth a visit if you’ve got kids.

Akhibara

machines in tokyo
The endless machines at Akibara | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

The walk down to Akhibara is through some typical narrow Tokyo shopping streets (keep and eye out for Foot Monkey if you’re a Red Wing love like me) and will take half an hour or so.

Akihbara is the stereotypical Tokyo of the movies, filled with electronics, anime and gaming stores, bright neon signs and high pitched music.

You don’t really need an itinerary for Akihbara, just follow the streets, jump into the arcades, people-watch and shop. If I had one recomendation though it is Super Potato, a retro game store that would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it.

Tokyo Itinerary, Day 5: teamLab Planets, Zozoji & Tokyo Tower

🚇 GETTING HERE:

  • Get the Yurikamome overground line (from Shimbashi Station on the Asakakusa line) to Shin-Toyosu Station.
  • After teamLab Planets, take the train back to Shimbashi Station, then it’s just one stop to Daimon Station for Zozoji and Tokyo Tower.

👣 WALKING DISTANCE:

  • There isn’t a lot of walking today, just a few kilometres around Zozoji and the parks. teamLab Planets is very close to the train station.

🗺️ MAP:

tokyo 5 day itinerary day 5
Get access to the full map here

teamLab Planets

coloured lights on the water at team lab planets in tokyo
Otherworldly experiences at teamLab Planets | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Whilst it is a bit of a trip to get to, there is simply nothing we’ve ever done that is quite like teamLab Planets.

An immersize experience that involves rooms full of mirrors, knee-high water and a garden of floating orchids. It’s a smash on the sense, and a heap of fun.

Make sure you book in advance though (link below) as it can sell out very quickly.

Zozoji

small statues of children in pink hats and hoilding windmills, zojoji
The Jizo statues at Zozoji | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Zozoji is another spectacular temple, with beautiful gardens surrounding it but the highlight is are the cute but poignant Jizo statues that run alongside it. They represent unborn children, both those who have yet to be born and those that have died before birth. Parents use these statues as a way to connect with their unborn children, and help their passage into the afterlife. It’s especially sad looking at the ones that have clearly been recently maintained, and knowing the meaning attached to that.

Tokyo Tower

a woman with a toddler in a carrer on her back, in front of a temple and looking up at tokyo tower
Becca and Grace staring up at Zozoji and Tokyo Tower | 5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

As happens so often in Tokyo, Zozoji and Tokyo Tower contrast one another in a single frame of ancient and modern.

Tokyo Tower is a short walk from Zozoji, and for ¥2,800 it’s possible to get to the top for the views of Tokyo.

How To Adjust This Tokyo Itinerary With Less Time

2 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Cancel the day trips, and focus on the day 1 and day 2 itineraries. Swap the Imperial Palace for Akhibara on day 1, which is easily accesible from Sensoji by metro.

3 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Do days 1 and 2 of the itinerary in full, start the 3rd day by going to teamLab Planets, and then get the train back to Ueno Park and Akhibara for the afternoon.

4 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Complete the same itineray as suggest for 3 days above, making the 4th day your day trip to either Nikko, Disney or Mount Fuji.

Where To Stay in Tokyo

To make this itinerary work best, I would suggest staying in the Asakusa area, near Sensoji Temple, as this gives access to all the areas mentioned in this post quickly via metro, and puts Sensoji, Akhimara, Tokyo Skytree and Ueno right on your doorstop.

SUGGESTED PLACES TO STAY:

  • The Moto Hotel in Asakusa is where we stayed for our time in Tokyo, a fantastic space if you need more than one room.
  • The Vessel Inn gets greats ratings and is cheap.
  • ワイズパーク向島 is about as cheap as it gets in the area without going to shared dorms.
  • The Koko Hotel is the highest rated in the area, but more expensive.
the reeves family picture

AUTHOR – BEN REEVE

Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Booking your trip via the links on this page earns us a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie

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