Tokyo Itinerary: 5 Days in Tokyo

Last Updated on January 29, 2021 by Planning a Tokyo itinerary? I’m sharing every single detail of my 5 days in Tokyo, including best things to do in Tokyo, where to stay and eat! Tokyo is like nowhere else on Earth. It is ultra modern yet traditional in its essence, and highly urbanized yet filled with lush green spaces. It has a fascinating mix of ancient traditions and state-of-the-art technology, futuristic fashions and centuries-old art. 500-year-old temples stand next to looming skyscrapers, while geisha teahouses are tucked between anime shops and themed cafes.  As crazy and busy as Tokyo can be, it makes for a great introduction to Japan. I’m not usually a fan of big cities, but I have a soft spot for Tokyo. Here is my detailed 5-day Tokyo itinerary for those looking to see the best of Tokyo. Table of Contents My 5-Day Tokyo Itinerary I recommend spending at least 5 days in Tokyo as there’s so much to see and do. If you have just 3 days, you can still follow this itinerary and simply skip the last two days. This 5-day Tokyo itinerary will help you make the most of your time there and see as much as possible.  I’ve included the best of the city, as well as the best places to eat and stay in Tokyo.  Summary of my Tokyo Itinerary: More Information on Tokyo: How to Get to Tokyo The main gateway to Tokyo is the Tokyo Narita Airport, about 60km from central Tokyo. The second busiest airport is the Tokyo Haneda Airport, 14km south of Tokyo train station. You can find surprisingly cheap flights to Tokyo from many major cities like Singapore, Sydney, London, and New York. Japan Airlines is Japan’s national airline and the largest carrier to fly there. The cheapest flights from US to Japan are usually on Japan Airlines. You can find direct flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo (11 hours) from as low as $700 return. Flights from New York to Tokyo on Japan Airlines are direct (14 hours), and cost around $1500 return usually.  London is usually the main hub if you’re flying from Europe. Direct flights from London to Tokyo on Japan Airlines usually cost around US$1050 return.    Getting from the Airport to Tokyo You’ll most probably start your journey from Tokyo’s Narita Airport. It takes an hour to get to the city by bus or taxi. The train is the best option: Narita Express can get you to the city centre in just 30 minutes. It’s not cheap though, at 3000 Yen ($27) for a one-way ticket and 4000 Yen ($36) for a round-trip ticket.  If you’re arriving at Haneda Airport, you can catch the Tokyo Monorail or the train (Keikyo airport line) into Tokyo. It takes around 1 hour to get there. Alternatively, you can book a shared transfer that will bring you straight to your hotel. How to Get around Tokyo Within major cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, I would recommend taking the underground subway and buses. You would need to get the Pasmo / Suico pass. It’s a prepaid smart card that allows you to use most public transport (metro, trains, buses, monorail) in Japan. The card also functions as an electronic wallet. You can buy things on trains, in vending machines, convenience stores and restaurants that accept the card. Suica and Pasmo cards can be purchased through ticket machines at any JR stations. More info here. Tokyo Itinerary Day 1: Explore Central Tokyo Widely considered the beating heart of the capital, Shibuya district is the place to start your adventures in Tokyo. I recommend staying in a hotel here, as it’s a convenient spot to explore the city. Otherwise, take the subway to the Shibuya station to start exploring! See the Shibuya Crossing First order of the day: head straight to Shibuya Crossing, the world’s biggest traffic intersection! An iconic landmark in Tokyo, head to Shibuya Scramble Crossing to see upwards of 1,000 people crossing the multi-cornered intersection at a time. There’s an excellent viewpoint that not many people seem to know (at least when we were there): the rooftop terrace at Mag’s Park, on the top floor of the Shibuya 109 building, has excellent views of the Shibuya Crossing and it’s free to enter! It’s much less crowded than the famous Starbucks and the views from here are much better.     Wander along Shibuya Center-Gai Walk across the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing and head into the narrow streets of Center-Gai, the central hub for youth culture in Tokyo. Jostle with young Japanese as you strut along the neon-lit streets and pass fast-fashion shops, niche sub-culture and sushi shops. Once the sun goes down, Center-Gai fills with the frenetic energy of late-night partiers and drinking companions who tuck into the surrounding nightlife entertainment.   Go to the Robot Restaurant From there, take the Yamanote subway line to Shinjuku station and head over to the Robot Restaurant for one of the craziest and loudest entertainment shows you’ll ever see. The show is over-the-top, chaotic and downright bizarre but it encapsulates the multi-faceted na

Tokyo Itinerary: 5 Days in Tokyo

Planning a Tokyo itinerary? I’m sharing every single detail of my 5 days in Tokyo, including best things to do in Tokyo, where to stay and eat!

Tokyo is like nowhere else on Earth. It is ultra modern yet traditional in its essence, and highly urbanized yet filled with lush green spaces. It has a fascinating mix of ancient traditions and state-of-the-art technology, futuristic fashions and centuries-old art. 500-year-old temples stand next to looming skyscrapers, while geisha teahouses are tucked between anime shops and themed cafes. 

As crazy and busy as Tokyo can be, it makes for a great introduction to Japan. I’m not usually a fan of big cities, but I have a soft spot for Tokyo. Here is my detailed 5-day Tokyo itinerary for those looking to see the best of Tokyo.

5 days in tokyo itinerary

Table of Contents

My 5-Day Tokyo Itinerary

I recommend spending at least 5 days in Tokyo as there’s so much to see and do. If you have just 3 days, you can still follow this itinerary and simply skip the last two days.

This 5-day Tokyo itinerary will help you make the most of your time there and see as much as possible.  I’ve included the best of the city, as well as the best places to eat and stay in Tokyo. 

Summary of my Tokyo Itinerary:

More Information on Tokyo:

How to Get to Tokyo

The main gateway to Tokyo is the Tokyo Narita Airport, about 60km from central Tokyo. The second busiest airport is the Tokyo Haneda Airport, 14km south of Tokyo train station. You can find surprisingly cheap flights to Tokyo from many major cities like Singapore, Sydney, London, and New York.

Japan Airlines is Japan’s national airline and the largest carrier to fly there. The cheapest flights from US to Japan are usually on Japan Airlines. You can find direct flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo (11 hours) from as low as $700 return. Flights from New York to Tokyo on Japan Airlines are direct (14 hours), and cost around $1500 return usually. 

London is usually the main hub if you’re flying from Europe. Direct flights from London to Tokyo on Japan Airlines usually cost around US$1050 return. 

getting to japan - tokyo itinerary 5 days  getting to japan - tokyo itinerary 5 days


Getting from the Airport to Tokyo

You’ll most probably start your journey from Tokyo’s Narita Airport. It takes an hour to get to the city by bus or taxi. The train is the best option: Narita Express can get you to the city centre in just 30 minutes. It’s not cheap though, at 3000 Yen ($27) for a one-way ticket and 4000 Yen ($36) for a round-trip ticket. 

If you’re arriving at Haneda Airport, you can catch the Tokyo Monorail or the train (Keikyo airport line) into Tokyo. It takes around 1 hour to get there. Alternatively, you can book a shared transfer that will bring you straight to your hotel.

tokyo itinerary - meiji jingu


How to Get around Tokyo

Within major cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, I would recommend taking the underground subway and buses. You would need to get the Pasmo / Suico pass. It’s a prepaid smart card that allows you to use most public transport (metro, trains, buses, monorail) in Japan.

The card also functions as an electronic wallet. You can buy things on trains, in vending machines, convenience stores and restaurants that accept the card. Suica and Pasmo cards can be purchased through ticket machines at any JR stations. More info here.

tokyo itinerary - taking the subway


Tokyo Itinerary Day 1: Explore Central Tokyo

Widely considered the beating heart of the capital, Shibuya district is the place to start your adventures in Tokyo. I recommend staying in a hotel here, as it’s a convenient spot to explore the city. Otherwise, take the subway to the Shibuya station to start exploring!

See the Shibuya Crossing

First order of the day: head straight to Shibuya Crossing, the world’s biggest traffic intersection! An iconic landmark in Tokyo, head to Shibuya Scramble Crossing to see upwards of 1,000 people crossing the multi-cornered intersection at a time.

There’s an excellent viewpoint that not many people seem to know (at least when we were there): the rooftop terrace at Mag’s Park, on the top floor of the Shibuya 109 building, has excellent views of the Shibuya Crossing and it’s free to enter! It’s much less crowded than the famous Starbucks and the views from here are much better.

shibuya crossing - tokyo 5 day itinerary   SHIBUYA CROSSING - tokyo in 5 days

Wander along Shibuya Center-Gai

Walk across the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing and head into the narrow streets of Center-Gai, the central hub for youth culture in Tokyo. Jostle with young Japanese as you strut along the neon-lit streets and pass fast-fashion shops, niche sub-culture and sushi shops.

Once the sun goes down, Center-Gai fills with the frenetic energy of late-night partiers and drinking companions who tuck into the surrounding nightlife entertainment.

shibuya center-gai - things to do in tokyo

  shibuya streets at night

Go to the Robot Restaurant

From there, take the Yamanote subway line to Shinjuku station and head over to the Robot Restaurant for one of the craziest and loudest entertainment shows you’ll ever see. The show is over-the-top, chaotic and downright bizarre but it encapsulates the multi-faceted nature of Tokyo.

We’re not usually the kinda people who like shows, but we were absolutely blown away by the Robot Restaurant. Even our 4-year-old liked it despite the loud noises. It’s not cheap though (around US$60 at the counter), so book online in advance for cheaper prices. Food comes at an extra charge (and it ain’t great).

Get Your Tickets here!

robot restaurant tokyo - 5 day tokyo itinerary


Tokyo Itinerary Day 2: Experience Quirky Harajuku

Stroll around Yoyogi Park

Start your morning by taking the subway to Harajuku station and taking a stroll around the green lungs of the city, Yoyogi Park. The lush greenery provides a relaxing escape from the rush of the city. It’s particularly attractive during the cherry blossom season (though expect to be jostling with the crowds!)

Tokyo Itinerary: 5 Days in Tokyo

Visit Meiji Jingu 

From Yoyogi Park it’s just a 10-minute walk to Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji. The shrine was completed and dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920. 

Entry into the shrine grounds is marked by a massive torii gate, after which you’ll find yourself in a tranquil forest. The approximately 100,000 trees that make up Meiji Jingu’s forest were planted during the shrine’s construction. If you’re lucky, you might even see a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony here. 

meiji jingu - tokyo in 5 days itinerary

Go Crazy on Takeshita Street

From there, stroll over to Takeshita Street in Harajuku to find a whole different side to Japan. Harajuku is Tokyo’s wacky playground for those who love alternative stuff and Takeshita Street is its palpitating heart. The pedestrianised Takeshita street (or Jingumae) is flanked by cutesy Japanese fashion stalls, themed cafes, and cosplay shops. Prepare to spend the whole afternoon scouring through the endless row of quirky shops and restaurants.

harajuku takeshita street - tokyo in 5 days  japanese girls - tokyo in 4 days

Try Colorful, Quirky Street Food

At Takeshita Street, you’ll find the famous Totti Cotton Factory, well known for its eye-catching rainbow-colored cotton candy. On the street across Totti is Le Shinier, a simple shack selling psychedelic snacks. We tried the neon-colored rainbow grilled cheese sandwich, which was definitely not as tasty as it looked. 

4 day tokyo itinerary - rainbow colored sandwich  tokyo itinerary 5 days - rainbow cotton candy

Eat Lunch at the Kawaii Monster Cafe

For lunch, we went to the famous Kawaii Monster Cafe and it sure was an experience. The interiors are bright, psychedelic and over-the-top. But honestly, I would recommend this place only for those traveling Japan with with kids, unless you’re into cutesy things. The entry fee is only 500 yen (US$4.40), but you have to order at least 1 food and 1 drink per person (which adds up to a expensive lunch). Get your entry ticket here in advance otherwise you will have to wait in line.

tokyo itinerary 5 days - harajuku kawaii monster cafe  tokyo itinerary 5 days - harajuku kawaii monster cafe

Visit the Owl Cafe

Tokyo has no shortage of quirky, themed cafes: from hedgehog cafes to pokemon cafes and madi restaurants. We stumbled upon an owl cafe in Harajuku and decided to check it out, but I was dismayed to find that the owls were chained. That said, my daughter really enjoyed it as you could actually touch the owls and interact with them. Before you visit an owl cafe, be sure to check if the animals are treated right.

tokyo owl cafe - unique things to do in tokyo  tokyo owl cafe

Get Lost in Memory Lane

For dinner, head over to Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho in Japanese) or Piss Alley, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways flanked by bars and yakitori stalls. It’s tucked behind the wholesome fluorescence of Uniqlo and other modern stores surrounding Shinjuku station.

Dim, crowded, and dingy, most of the structures are dilapidated and old, with room for only half a dozen patrons or so. Mugs of beer and sticks of yakitori are served matter-of-factly, without the clean pageantry that characterizes other Japanese cuisine. 

Stepping into Memory Lane, visitors might feel like they’ve crossed the threshold into a different, darker Japanese world that customarily exists out of sight. The area has managed to retain an old and gritty atmosphere despite being surrounded by tall, modern malls and office buildings. 

tokyo japan itinerary - memory lane


Tokyo Itinerary Day 3: See the Traditional Side of Tokyo

Today, we will be exploring eastern Tokyo to visit the historical Asakusa area and the nearby edgy Akihabara district. Take the orange Ginza subway line to get to Asakusa station.

Visit the Sensoji Temple

Once you leave the station, it’s easy to spot Sensoji Temple’s 55 m high five-story Pagoda. Sensoji Temple (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is one of the biggest and most important temples in Tokyo.

Legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River. Even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.

tokyo itinerary - sensoji temple  5 day tokyo itinerary - sensoji temple

Eat Street Food at Nakamise Shopping Street

You would have passed through the pedestrianized Nakamise Shopping Street on your way to Sensoji Temple. The street is flanked by street food stall and shops selling souvenirs. It’s a great spot to try some Japanese snacks and pick up a quick bento set for lunch.

japanese street food - tokyo blog travel

Stroll in Ueno Park

An excellent spot to enjoy your bento set is Ueno Park, just 4 stops away from Asakusa station.  Ueno Park is Tokyo’s first public park with tons of history. Many of the park structures actually date all the way back to the 17th century.

The park is constructed like a “mini Japan” so that the people of Tokyo could experience their country without having to leave Tokyo. Here you can, for instance, see a model of Kyoto’s most famous temple and a replica of one of the shrines in Nikko.

ueno park tokyo - tokyo itineraries

Wander Around Electronic Town Akihabara

Later in the afternoon, walk over to Akihabara from Ueno Park (which takes 15 minutes) or catch the orange Ginza line again and stop at Akihabara station. Also known as Electronic Town. Akihabara is an eclectic technology district with lots of robotic shops, game arcades, and shops selling anime figures and cartoon merchandise. We had a ball here, I think this was definitely Kaleya’s favorite area. You can also book an anime tour that’ll show you the otaku and anime culture of Akihbara.

akihabara electronic town - 1 week tokyo itinerary

  tokyo itinerary - akihabara

Head to the Top of Tokyo Skytree

Get back on the subway and change at Asakusa station to reach Oshiage Station. This is where you’ll get the best night view of the city from above. We came here on our first trip to Tokyo and were totally blown away by the views.

The 634m-high Tokyo Skytree is one of the tallest towers in the world. It has two observation decks, one at 350 m (Tembo Deck) and one at 450 m (Tembo Galleria). I highly recommend booking your tickets online before going, so that you don’t have to wait in line. 

view from tokyo skytree - things to do in tokyo


Tokyo Itinerary Day 4: Go on a Food Tour of Tokyo

Next day, we’ll be focusing on some foodie experiences. Tokyo is one of the best places in the world for food! Hop on the subway and get to Tokyo station for the first stop of the day.

Eat Ramen at the Ramen Street

Underneath the labyrinth of shops and restaurants beneath Tokyo Station, you will find a street filled with some of the best ramen joints in all of Japan, on – wait for it – Ramen Street. This is the ramen epicentre of the world, a foodie mecca serving bowls and bowls of the good stuff.

If you want to experience the best of the best, a Michelin-starred meal for under $10, Tsuta is the place. Other ramen joints lauded by many chefs and well-heeled travellers alike include Afuri Ramen in Ebisu, where you should order an intense bowl of tsukemen. Slurp away!

authentic japanese ramen - 5 day tokyo itinerary

Go on a Food Tour at the Tsukiji Outer Market

From Tokyo station, it’s just a 15-minute ride to the Tsukiji-Rokuchōme station. Sadly the famous Tsukiji market that used to be one of the biggest attractions in Tokyo has closed and moved to a new site in Toyosu. However, Tsukiji’s outer market with its many shops and restaurants, on the other hand, did not close and remains in business.

To go underneath the surface, I recommend signing up for a foodie walking tour here.If you prefer to explore on your own, I recommend checking out Sushi Dai. The hole-in-the-wall sushi place is indisputably one of the best places to enjoy sushi in Tokyo. You’ll get an affordable taste of the freshest and finest seafood for only a fraction of the price of upmarket sushi restaurants. 

tokyo itinerary -outside tsukiji market

Visit the TeamLab Borderless Digital Museum 

The newly opened TeamLab Borderless Digital Museum is a huge sensation and is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. In a three-dimensional 10,000 square meter space, artworks created by computers move in and out of the rooms freely, creating magical formations. It provides lots of interactive experiences and photography opportunities.

Be sure to book your tickets way in advance and get here in the afternoon around 3pm when there are less people. We waited in line for 30 minutes, even though we had tickets. It didn’t disappoint though. Personally, I think it’s an absolute MUST when in Tokyo, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Read reviews and tips here!

tokyo museum - 5 day tokyo itinerary

 must do in tokyo 5 days - museum

teamlab borderless - must do in tokyo

Dine at the Samurai Restaurant

In the evening, head back to Shibuya for a special dinner atthe samurai restaurant, Sengoku Buyuden. We celebrated my birthday with a seven-course dinner at this samurai-themed restaurant and it was definitely well worth the money. The restaurant has displays of traditional samurai costumes and weapons, as well as private tatami rooms and booths, and lavish Japanese meals.  Book your table here.

samurai restaurant tokyo - where to eat in tokyo

  samurai restaurant tokyo


Tokyo Itinerary Day 5: Discover the Shinjuku Area

On your last day in Tokyo, I recommend exploring the Shinjuku area, the largest neighborhood in Tokyo. Take the subway to the Jimbocho station and walk over to the Imperial Palace.

Stroll in the Imperial Palace East Garden

The Imperial Palace East Garden is a spacious, sprawling garden in the center of Tokyo, and it’s the only part of the inner palace area that’s open to the public. At a sprawling 210,000 m2 (2,300,000 sq ft), it’s probably better described as a park rather than a garden. Here, you’ll find Japanese and Western-style gardens, as well as the foundation of the castle’s former keep.

tokyo itinerary - visit imperial gardens

Visit the Yasukuni-kinka Shrine

The Imperial Shrine of Yasukuni, known more colloquially as Yasukuni Shrine, is embroiled in controversy. This is where 14 of Japan’s Class A war criminals from WWII are enshrined. Official visits from cabinet members and prime ministers periodically cause furore within Japan as well as around East Asia. Whether you lean left or right on the issue, it is a fascinating place for anyone interested in Japanese history.

5 days in tokyo

Go to the Top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices

For those who still cannot get enough of views of Tokyo from above, head to the 45th floor observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices. Admission is free, making it the best kept secret of Tokyo.

On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views of Odaiba and as far as Mt. Fuji from the South Observation Deck. The night views from the North Observation Deck are also stunning, and for this reason it’s open until 10:30pm.

what to do in tokyo 5 days - view from tokyo metropolitan government offices

Get “Lost in Translation” at Park Hyatt Tokyo

End your Tokyo trip with a bang by heading up to the top of Park Hyatt Tokyo, made famous by the movie ‘Lost in Translation’, If you’re not staying here, you could still experience the hotel at the restaurants and bars here. The top stories of this hotel have wall-to-ceiling windows giving diners a 360-degree view of Shinjuku.

On the 52nd floor is the world famous New York Bar Grill, where Bill Murray’s character enjoyed his many whiskeys. The 40th floor boasts the Japanese restaurant Kozue where you can get high-end Japanese dishes including grilled fish and hot pot. 

one week in tokyo - park hyatt tokyo lost in translation

  tokyo travel blog - see view of tokyo

Unique Experiences in Tokyo

Visit a Maid Cafe

In Tokyo, there is no shortage of themed cafes. The most interesting one is perhaps the maid cafes, where girls dressed in French Maid uniforms will welcome and serve you like a master. It’s bizarre, but also fairly innocent and fun. One of the most popular maid restaurants is Maiddreamin.

Do an Anime Tour in Akihabara

If you’re a Japanese comic geek, there are actually anime tours that will bring you around the Akihabara district, learning about the city’s anime, manga, and games culture. The tour also includes lunch at a maid’s cafe. Book your tour here.

Go on a Mario Go-Kart Tour

One of the coolest experiences to have in Tokyo is a Go-Kart tour through the center of Tokyo, dressed as a Mario character. The guide will bring you around the Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku area. All you need is a driving license. Book your tour here!

Watch Sumo Wrestlers Practice

In Tokyo, you’ll get the rare opportunity of watching sumo wrestlers train in the morning. Take a tour of an authentic Sumo stable and learn more about this uniquely Japanese sport from a guide, who will teach you the rules of Sumo as well as the training and diet regimen that the wrestlers follow. You’ll have the opportunity to see just how big these athletes are, and you may even get to chance to talk to a Sumo wrestler. Check out a sumo tour here.  

Day Trips from Tokyo

Thanks to the excellent Japanese transport network, you can easily get to several spectacular sights within 2 hours from Tokyo. Charming towns like Kamakura and Hakone are less than 1 hour away by train. If you have more than 5 days in Tokyo, I highly recommend doing one of these day trips from Tokyo.

See the Iconic Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the symbol of Japan, anad you can’t visit Japan without seeing it. For a view of the world-famous volcano, head to Kawaguchiko Lake, an easy day trip from Tokyo. Don’t miss the nearby Oshino Eight Ponds for more panoramic views of Mount Fuji. You can either catch the train yourself or book a Mount Fuji scenic day tour that’ll bring you to all the above stops in one day.

mount fuji japan - day trips from tokyo

Visit the Hot Springs of Hakone

Just an hour outside of Tokyo lies the mountain town of Hakone, a serene haven of green forests, hot spring onsens and vermillion torii gates. Perfect for a more nature-based escape, it has these three great hiking trails as well as gondolas to volcanic valleys and pirate ships to traverse the beautiful lake.  Book your day tour here!

hakone - day tour from tokyo

Admire the Temples of Kamakura

Just an hour’s bullet train ride away, Kamakura is well known for its traditional Japanese style, with temples and shrines galore. There are great light hiking options as well as plenty of delicious local street foods to try. You can easily cover the area in a day, with hikes taking you to see the famed giant Buddha as well as some of the beautiful shrines with bamboo forests, tea houses and more. Check out this Kamakura day tour from Tokyo.

kamakura buddha - day trip from tokyo

Explore the Shrines of Nikko

At 2.5 hours away from Tokyo, Nikko is slightly further away but makes for a busy but fascinating day trip. The town is famed for its stunning scenery and numerous temples and shrines. You can explore the cultural spots or escape into nature, or combine the two with this guided day tour.. Make sure to visit the incredibly elegant Toshogu Shrine, dedicated to the founding rule of the Tokugawa Shoganate, Tokugawa Ieyasu. I highly recommend

nikko - day trip from tokyo japan


Where to Stay in Tokyo

Hotels in Tokyo get booked up quite fast, especially during the peak period (March to May). I strongly suggest booking early and confirming your hotel stay a few days before arriving in Tokyo. I advise against booking Airbnb as there was a recent government crackdown on the use of residential accommodation as Airbnb in Japan. 

Luxury: The Park Hyatt

Made famous by the movie ‘Lost in Translation’, The Park Hyatt (pictured) is absolutely one of Tokyo’s most luxurious hotels. The hotels 178 rooms are among Tokyo’s most spacious and elegant and provides all modern comforts. Check the rates here.

Luxury: Cerulean Tower Tokyo Hotel

Centrally located in Shibuya, this is the best hotel in the Shibuya district and offers spacious rooms with panoramic city views. It’s just a 5-minute walk away from Shibuya Station. Check rates here.

Mid-Range: APA Hotel Tokyo Nishishinjuku

We stayed at this mid range hotel and really liked its location next to the subway. Our room was tiny, but we had expected that. The hotel’s onsen (hot spring) was excellent and I definitely enjoyed soaking in there every evening. Check rates here.

Budget: nine hours Shinjuku-North Capsule Hotel

For solo travelers, I highly recommend checking out this capsule hotel right next to Shin-Okubo station. All capsules are air conditioned and heated and facilities are modern and spanking clean. Check rates here.

Search for Hotels in Tokyo

park hyatt tokyo - where to stay with one week in tokyo

Traditional Ryokans in Tokyo

One of the experiences I think every visitor must try in Japan is staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn that usually has tatami flooring, futons as beds, and onsen (hotspring). Staying in ryokans gives you the chance to experience how the Japanese traditionally used to live. Plus, they tend to be spacious, which makes it great for those traveling Japan with kids. 

But ryokans tend to be the same price or even pricier than modern three-star hotels in Japan. Secondly, you sleep on thin mattresses or futons that are laid out on the tatami floor. We had backaches after our second night, but we still recommend spending at least a night in a ryokan!

Luxury: HOSHINOYA Tokyo

Lauded as the best ryokan in Tokyo, HOSHINOYA Tokyo (pictured) is a tastefully designed hotel that blends modern and tradition seamlessly. If you want to experience the Japanese ryokan without compromising on comfort, this is the place to stay. Check rates here.

Mid-Range: Ryokan Kamogawa

For a more affordable option, the Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa is a beautiful traditional ryokan that is just 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station is a 5-minute walk away. The hotel offers Japanese-style accommodation with a restaurant and public bath. Check rates here.

Budget: Sakura Ryokan

Located near the Iriya Metro station, Sakura Ryokan offers affordable rooms decorated in a traditional style and communal baths. Prefect for budget travelers who want a taste of tradition! Check rates here.

5 day tokyo itinerary - ryokan

Where to Eat in Tokyo

Tokyo is an amazing foodie destination — it’s probably my favorite place in the world for food! If you’re a foodie too, check out my  Japanese food guide on the best Japanese dishes to try.

Kisoji Shinjuku

For dinner, our Japanese friend brought us to this shabu-shabu (hotpot) restaurant and we had some of the best wagyu beef I’ve had. They offer great shabu-shabu sets for couples or groups of 4, plus private rooms where you sit on tatami floor. Excellent culinary and cultural experience! They have a few locations around Tokyo — you can book a tatami room and cook the shabu-shabu or sukiyaki yourself. Book a table!

Sakura Tei

For lunch, try making your own okonomiyaki (savory and thick pancake made up of octopus, meat and cabbage) at the popular Sakura Tei. It’s a restaurant chain that has a few branches around Tokyo. The one in Harajuku is casual, funky and filled with character. Prices here are also really good, at around US$8-12 for a meal. Read TripAdvisor reviews.

Gonpachi Nishiazabu

On our first trip to Tokyo, our local friend brought us to this amazing restaurant in the Roppongi district, well known as being the inspiration for the Kill Bill movie. Its nostalgic atmosphere brings you back to a Japan of a bygone era. Its food is a little more updated, serving fresh soba noodles, grilled skewers, and tempura. Book your table here!
On the 52nd floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo is the world famous New York Bar Grill, where Bill Murray’s character in ‘Lost in Translation’  enjoyed his many whiskeys. After a drink or two, head to the hotel’s 40th-floor Japanese restaurant Kozue where you can get high-end Japanese dishes including grilled fish and hot pot. Book your table here!

 5 day tokyo itinerary - eating shabu shabu restaurant

  5 day tokyo itinerary - sashimi in tokyo


When to Travel Tokyo

Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October) are the best months to travel Japan due to the mild weather and moderate humidity. Some spots can get overcrowded, especially during the cherry blossom season. Each year, the sakura season varies (usually around April), so make sure you check the predicted dates before you book your flights.

We’ve traveled to Japan in both summer and autumn. I’ve found autumn to be much more pleasant, with mostly warm days of 21-25°C (70-77°F). The temperature only dipped to 15°C (59°F) on some rainy days. In the mountainous areas like Takayama and Nagano prefectures, temperatures ranged around 10-15°C, but a light jacket was enough.

It can get really hot and extremely humid in summer (June-August), which is best avoided. Winter (December-February) is pretty cold with temperatures dipping to freezing point. But Japan has lots of great ski stations and it’s a good time to see snow monkeys in Nagano.

two weeks japan itinerary - cherry blossom


How to Stay Connected in Tokyo

Free Wifi is available in many public spaces in Japan as well as in hotels and airports. It is very affordable and convenient to rent pocket WiFi router from the airport. We rented our router from GetYourGuide for US$71 that provided us unlimited WiFi for two weeks. It was the cheapest deal we found online.

It can be really useful to have WiFi to translate Japanese signs and menus, and also have conversations with people who may not speak your language. We also needed it to use Google Maps for directions when driving. 

Remember that it can be very expensive to use data roaming when traveling. I once accidentally turned on my phone service for LESS THAN 2 MINUTES and got charged $150 by my phone carrier!

5 day tokyo itinerary - akihabara tokyo


Cost of Travel in Tokyo

Tokyo IS an expensive city, especially when compared to other Asian cities like Singapore and Bangkok. With 5 days in Tokyo, expect to spend around US$450-700 per person, including 3-star accommodation and admission tickets. 

The cheapest way to travel Tokyo is to use public transport and book budget hotels. As for accommodation, expect to pay around US$50-80 per night for a tiny 3-star hotel room and around $100-150 for a traditional ryokan room. Hostels and capsule hotels are around $20-35 per person. 

Japanese food is actually quite cheap. You can get an authentic ramen for just 600-800yen ($5-7) from vending machine diners, and cheap bento sets from seven-eleven or Lawsons stores (which you’ll find everywhere in the country) for just 300-500 yen ($2.50-5). A proper restaurant meal usually set us back around $15-30 per person.

5 day tokyo itinerary - wearing yukata in ryokan  5 day tokyo itinerary - wearing yukata in ryokan


Planning Your Trip to Tokyo

With 5 days in Tokyo, you should be able to get a good introduction to Japan before venturing further afield to explore the rest of Japan. I hope my Tokyo itinerary will help you find your way around the city, while tasting the best Japanese dishes and experiencing the quirkiest sights in town.