Tokyo 2 day Itinerary – A Complete Guide With Tips
Here's How you spend two days in Tokyo without missing a thing! Out 2 day Itinerary has all the must-see spots, but we'll also tell you where to stay, how to get around, and where to eat. Let's face it, you can't have a complete guide without some good, cheap eats. Our first time in Tokyo was an absolute blast and we've put together this guide based on our own experience so that other travelers can get the best of this awesome destination as well!
What's included in this itinerary:
- Shibuya Crossing Scramble
- Hachiko Dog Statue
- Center Gai
- Meiji Shrine
- Tokyo Skytree
- Robot Restaurant
- Golden Gai
- Piss Alley
Day 1 In Japan- What To Do In Tokyo
Visit Shibuya Crossing - See The Scramble
We just had to head over to the "Busiest Intersection In The World" on our first day in Japan. This intersection is almost "fun" to cross in a way. I know it's not exactly an amusement park ride or anything like that but just to be a part of the mass that goes in multiple directions across the enormous interaction should be a bucket-list item! We must have crossed it almost ten times just for fun (and for trying to capture that amazing Instagram shot!). The swirling sea of people around you, along with the towering buildings with bright, moving lights, creates a surreal atmosphere that almost makes you feel like you're floating!
Pro-Traveler Tip: You can get mesmerized by watching people cross from the Starbucks across the street. Get to the Starbucks early to find a good window seat. It gets very busy and seats by window fill up. We waited about 15 minutes to get a seat so that we could get some photos and pictures from this "viewpoint." There is also a good viewpoint from the glass level above the street at the train station if you want another option.
Hachiko Dog Statue
The gathering place where the Hachiko Dog Statue is located is another great place to check out on your first day in Tokyo. This statue dedicated to the loyalty of a professor's pet has a very heartfelt story behind it, but it also provides a fantastic opportunity for witnessing some great street performances. Makes sure to set aside some time to people watch here and learn the story of Hachiko.
Center Gai - Shopping, Food, and More
Perhaps the "Center of Shibuya," Center Gai is a youthful pedestrian street that is lively 24/7. Here, you can find trendy fashion stores, nightclubs, fast food restaurants, bars and an almost dizzying stream of music and lights from all around. We loved walking around and being a part of the stimulating vibe!
Day 2 - More To See in Tokyo
On our second day in Tokyo, we had a mix of nature and urban exploration planned along with some good old fashion wacky Japanese fun!
Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine
You may think that Japan is expensive, but we were surprised to realize that things were realistically priced and for a big city it wasn't ridiculously overpriced for travelers. For instance, we decided to ride Uber from our AirBnB apartment in Shibuya to Yoyogi Park near Hirajuku Station and the cost was about $10 USD. You could definitely get there much cheaper on the train, but it's good to know that an Uber ride is an option.
Yoyogi Park is free to enter as well as the Meiji Shrine, which located inside the park. It's amazing how a beautifully lush and peaceful park exists right in the middle of a big urban city. There are cool displays along the pathway that leads to the Meiji Shrine. An interesting one was rows of sake barrels arranged on top of one another in a wall formation on one side of the path and mirrored on the other side the same display with wine barrels. Further down the pathway, we found a bonsai tree exhibit beautifully arranged in miniature gardens along with other flowers and plants.
Walking around Meiji Shrine and experiencing the tranquility felt a bit like our visits to the many temples in Thailand. I would say that a major difference, in my opinion, was the simplicity and minimalist factor with the Japanese shrines. One of the "traditions" that we have started since we visit shrines and temples wherever we can find them, is making a wish and hanging it up in the designated area within these holy places. Of course, we purchased (5000¥) one of the bamboo plaques that are for sale at the Meiji Shrine, wrote down our wishes and what we are grateful for and hung it up on the tree along with thousands of others that were also hung there.
What can you do nearby? Go to an owl cafe nearby.
After own serene morning at Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park we zipped over to catch the sunset from Tokyo Skytree. Check out our lunch recommendation in the section below (within walking distance to Yoyogi Park).
How did we get to the Tokyo Skytree from Harajuku?
We took the train from Yoyogi park (240¥ each) with one change at the second station. It was about half an hour train ride so we skipped going to the owl or cat cafe (though I really wanted to go!).
The Tokyo Skytree is quite an impressive tower. We highly recommend catching the views from the very top, especially if you can get there in time to see everything during daylight and the transition to nightfall.
You can just pay for the ticket to take you to level 350 (it takes 30 seconds to get there on the elevator!) if you have a strict budget, but pay the little extra to go to level 450, if you can.
Here's the deal:
It's a lot less crowded on the higher floor. The views are not going to be drastically different, but hey, we wanted to go to the top!!!
The little shop at the Tokyo Skytree is a good place to get souvenirs. I got postcard here but had to get the stamp at Family Mart (local convenience store chain).
Have you heard of this wacky restaurant? Well, it's definitely an experience to be had in Tokyo. Make sure to fit this into your 2 day itinerary, otherwise, you'd be missing out.
Pro Traveler Tip: You must reserve your tickets in advance, or you may not get a seat! You have the option to get food as well when you are buying your tickets online, but if you don't get food, you will have plenty of opportunity during the show to get snacks and drinks. They have a few concession breaks if you happen to get hungry or thirsty. This is also a good time to use the facilities!
The waiting room experience itself is pretty interesting. You have to show up about 45 minutes before your show time, but don't worry about getting bored while you wait. As you make your way into the waiting room, you'll feel like you are entering some kind of "fun-house." Mirrors and colorful walls line the staircase and lead you to an even more bright and ornate lounge. You'll be able to grab some drinks here and just enjoy this glamorous lounge before the show begins.
The robot show is something that I just don't know how to explain. But I'll tell you this: It will be loud. It will be colorful. It will be sensational!
End the night with some bar hopping
Take a 5-minute walk to Golden Gai and check out these tiny bars in narrow alleys. Some only fit about 6 people at a time! Keep in mind that some bars have a cover charge and some are for locals only. Most will have a sign welcoming visitors and letting you know of a minimum spend amount or cover charge.
If that's not your scene, head over to Piss Alley.
When we got there we realized that we should have probably eaten our dinner there. The tiny "hole-in-the-wall" eateries were spilling over into the alleys with people enjoying, what looked and smelled absolutely delectable, even at the late night hour.
So what did we do?
Someone had recommended having drinks at Albatross, saying that it was like "walking into a dollhouse." This was exactly how it felt as we squeezed past the people sitting at the bar and up the narrow staircase to a tinier room upstared. We had some great sake here and loved experiencing how some Tokyo-ites enjoy a night out with friends.
Sadly, we never made it to the Tsukiji Fish Market.
Just out of pure laziness!
But if you are an early riser, you could definitely fit it into this itinerary. Or better yet, book this tour for the ultimate foodie experience!
How To Get To Tokyo From Narita Airport
We traveled from Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Tokyo Japan which included a long layover in Bangkok. Though it was a very long, overnight, travel experience, all went as smoothly as one could want. It's always nice when flights don't get canceled and everything works out. Needless to say, we arrived at Narita Internationale Airport very tired, but in good spirits.
In retrospect, we should have probably flown into Haneda Airport as it is closer to Tokyo. Nevertheless, we were able to take the Narita Express (N'EX) straight to Shibuya where our AirBnb booking was located. The NEX ticket was¥4000 Japanese Yen (about $35 USD) per person. This is the roundtrip (one hour and forty minute ride each way) ticket cost and a very good value considering taxis can cost around $200 USD! You just have to make sure that you keep your ticket for your return to the airport. It's also important to remember you have the ticket so that you don't end up purchasing another one on your way back (Yeah, we did that...ooops!!). I would recommend getting the regular ticket as opposed to the upgraded seats. The regular seating is very comfortable and spacious so I can't imagine many people would need more space than that.
Pro-Traveler Tip: Pay attention to which car you are supposed to sit in (indicated on your ticket) to make sure you're going to correct destination. sit in reserved seating section because cars separate and go in different directions at Tokyo Station.
Where To Stay In Tokyo
The moment I started looking into making our travel plans for Japan, I started seeing suggestions to stay in Shibuya area. This turned out to be a very good and accurate recommendation. Shibuya is very centrally located and makes it easy to get around to the different parts of Tokyo that you'll want to see. I would certainly echo this tip and say that it made our experience in Tokyo much more convenient than had we stayed elsewhere.
Our AriBnB was a 4-minute walk from Shibuya station (west exit). Though the apartment is located very close to the train station (and very busy and crowded area) it was a bit tucked away in a quiet location. We love staying at AirBnBs much more than hotels because they tend to give a more authentic stay experience. This particular studio apartment was even decorated in a more traditional Japanese style with futons on the floor for sleeping! It was a very tiny apartment (as expected in a big city like Tokyo). The bathroom was like an airplane lavatory and the kitchen area was in a closet! We loved it!
Good Places To Eat In Tokyo - 2 Day Itinerary Foods To Try
- Lunch at Kiraku - Shibuya local Ramen (2 bowls $12) very authentic, small, no English menu!
- Dinner at Uogashi Nihn-Ichi - Shinjuku standing sushi bar ($18 for platter 2 handrolls, green tea, miso)
- What to go for lunch in Harajuku: Kyushu Jangara Ramen (funky place)
- Where to eat dinner in Shibuya: Genki Sushi Co. - Conveyorbelt Sushi, nearby in Shinjuku (3900 yen)
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!