36 Hours In Tokyo, Japan - Updated 2023

36 hours in tokyo
| 4 min read

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and is an exciting and vibrant city. It also has the biggest population of any city in the world. What was once a small castle town in the 16th century has now become a teeming metropolis with so many attractions. There is a seemingly unlimited choice of entertainment, dining, culture, and shopping to enjoy. Explore the historic districts like Asakusa and visit the many temples, museums, and beautiful gardens. There are also a large number of green spaces within the city itself and on the outskirts, a short train ride away. The accommodation options are as varied as the city’s sights. There are pod hotels for modern yet budget travelers while the stylish jet setters have luxury hotels as a refuge. For those in Tokyo for only a short while, scroll below to view a suggested itinerary for 36 hours in Tokyo, Japan.

Day 1: Afternoon - Visit Ghibli Museum then tour Senso-ji

Ghibli Museum (from USD 152.0)

A tour of Ghibli Museum and Studio Ghibli will give you an insight into the history of the anime movies with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide, or explore the museum in your own time, stopping at each interesting exhibit. This tourist attraction in Tokyo is particularly located at Inokashira Park in Mitaka.

Tokyo Studio Ghibli Museum Afternoon Tour with Admission

Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes

290 reviews


36 hours in tokyo | senso-ji
Source: Shoot My Travel

Senso-ji is an ancient Buddhist Temple located in the historic area of Asakusa and it is the oldest temple in the city. The temple was originally associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, but it became independent following World War II. According to legend, in the 600s, two brothers were fishing in the Sumida River when they found a statue of Kannon, Japan’s goddess of mercy. Although they placed the statue back in the river, she kept returning to them, leading to the construction of the temple which was completed in 625.

Senso-ji Temple

Address: Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan

Website: Senso-ji Temple

Day 1: Evening - Dinner at Ishikawa or Butagami


8: Hot Pot - Fresh Sea Urchin, Thinly Sliced Wagyu Beef, Tofu and Komatusna Green
Source: Photo by user City Foodsters used under CC BY 2.0

Those who are clueless about where to eat in Tokyo, make sure to pay Ishikawa a visit. This restaurant is a small, minimalist joint serving traditional Japanese cuisine in a serene atmosphere. The restaurant has a Michelin three-star rating and serves some of the best sushi in Tokyo.


Address: 5-37 Kagurazaka,1F Takamura Bldg., Shinjuku 16, Tokyo, Japan

Hours: 5:30 PM - 12:00 AM

Price: Above JPY 10,001 (USD 88)


【4周年感謝祭のお知らせ】 豚組食堂は4/28(金)で4周年を迎えます! 振り返るとあっという間のような気がしますが、今でも連日多くのお客さまにお越しいただいているのは、本当に皆さまに支えられてのことと深く御礼申し上げます。 ささやかで...

Posted by 豚組食堂 on Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Butagami is a quaint, out-of-the-way restaurant, whose specialty is tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets) which you can watch being cooked to perfection in the restaurant’s open kitchen.


Address: B1F Roppongi Hills North Tower, 6−2−31 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Hours: 11:00 AM-10:30 PM

Price: JPY 2,001-4,000 (USD 17-35)

Website: Butagami

Day 1: Night - Enjoy drinks at the bars in Golden Gai District (from USD 96.0)

Shinjuko Golden Gai is Tokyo’s main center for nightlife, with many tiny and rather ramshackle bars to explore in narrow, winding alleys. Some of the bars feature outlandish decor, including hospital-themed uniforms or troll toys, along with a fun, signature drink. You will also come across karaoke at all hours of the night, mostly off-key. As the bars are so small, some can only fit around five patrons, while others have room for around 30. Some have cover charges to enter.

Tokyo Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights 3-Hour Small-Group Tour

Duration: 3 hours

43 reviews

Day 2: Morning - Japanese breakfast, and then visit Sanrio Puroland and Imperial Palace

Japanese breakfast


Posted by Rika Hirama on Thursday, 23 May 2013

There are many cafes, bakeries and restaurants serving breakfast in Tokyo, ranging from traditional local fare to international dishes like pancakes and hotcakes. Luxe Dining Hapuna is an excellent choice as it serves a little of both. They serve delicious avocado croquettes, rice balls, udon, vegetable omelets and a range of coffee types, including caffe latte, matcha latte and cappuccino.

Luxe Dining Hapuna

Address: Minato-ku, Takanawa 4-10-30, Tokyo, Japan

Price: JPY 2500 (USD 22)

Hours: 6:00 AM-10:00 AM

Website: Luxe Dining Hapuna

Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo (from USD 19.15)

Where are the Sanrio fans at? Here’s your chance to step into the enchanting realm of Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo’s iconic theme park that captivates millions of visitors each year. Located in Tama New Town, this indoor wonderland promises endless delight for both young and young-at-heart, no matter the weather outside.

You’ll get to immerse in the vibrant universe of cherished Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Jewelpet, and embrace a delightful adventure. All the themed rides, live shows, cinemas, and unique gift shops housed in this 4-level indoor facility bring the enchanting stories of your favorite characters to life.

Visit Hello Kitty with Tokyo Sanrio Puroland Tickets

Duration: 1 Day(s) Duration

3743 reviews

Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Tokyo Imperial Palace fujimi yagura
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user nattou used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the residence of the Emperor of Japan and the imperial family. The palace is located in the city center and has beautiful gardens surrounding it. Much of the palace is inaccessible to visitors, but they can enjoy the East Gardens at the foot of the hill with the ruins of the Edo Castle. It is also possible to tour the Imperial Palace’s Outer Garden, known as Kokyo Galen and the East Garden, known as Kokyo Higashi Gyoen, as well as Kita-no-maru-koen park.

Imperial Palace

Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Hours: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, closed Mondays and Fridays

Priced: Free

Website: Imperial Palace

Day 2: Afternoon - Wear a kimono, visit Meiji Jingo Shrine, Harajuku, and take the train to Shibuya

Kimono Rental Experience by Aiwafuku (from USD 33.45)

If you wish to take a stroll on the streets of Tokyo adorned in mesmerizing traditional Japanese garments, this kimono rental experience is for you. Delve into the remarkable collection of kimonos from the renowned brand Aiwafuku and set forth to explore the city’s wonders wearing a striking outfit with distinct design and style. Under the service of a professional dresser and with the assistance of helpful staff, rest assured that your kimono will fit flawlessly.

For female patrons, a simple hair set and hair ornaments further enhance the allure. The packages come in different plans that suit every style, and there’s even a couple set ideal for lovebirds.

Kimono Rental Experience by Aiwafuku in Tokyo, Japan

277 reviews

Meiji Shrine

Courtyard of Meiji Shrine2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 江戸村のとくぞう used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Any sightseeing in Tokyo isn’t complete without heading over to Meiji Shrine. This famous Shinto shrine is located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and it is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Gaze at the beautiful shrine and pray a little before you leave.

Meiji Shrine

Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Website: Meiji Shrin

Harajuku (from USD 101.0)

Harajuku is a popular area known for its youth culture. However, visitors can see the more traditional Japanese side of this area, with visits to museums to see, and learn about, ukiyo-e prints. It is also possible to don the samurai armor and in the area climb Fujizuka, a mound which was made to resemble Mount Fuji.

Private Tour - Samurai, Mt.Fuji, Ukiyo-e and Meiji Jingu Shrine

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Bullet train to Shibuya

Shibuya Station ToyokoLine Platform
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user た! used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Catch the bullet train to Shibuya from Tokyo Station. The station can be found in Chiyoda’s Marunouchi district, close to the Imperial Palace. On arrival at the station, head to platform 5. The train runs on the JR Yamamote Line to Shinagawa and Shibuya. The trip takes 24 minutes. Shibuya is a bustling commercial district, where Meiji Shrine and Harajuku are located. It is also home to Yoyogi Park with its fountains, lakes and forested areas to explore. Tokyo Mosque is also located in Shibuya with its adjoining Turkish culture center.

Tokyo Station

Address: 1 Chome Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Fare: JPY 200 (1.76 USD)

Website: Tokyo Station

Day 2: Evening - Dinner, and then evening tour of Sumida Aquarium

Enjoy an early dinner at a restaurant of your choice before heading to the Sumida Aquarium.

Sumida Aquarium

Jellyfish in Sumida Aquarium 20180215
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hal 0005 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sumida Aquarium is a contemporary aquarium which features African Blackfoot penguins, fur seals and a large variety of fish, including glowing jellyfish and sand eels. There is also a cafe on site.

Sumida Aquarium

Address: Oshiage, 1 Chome−1−2, Sumida, Tokyo, Japan

Hours: 9:00 AM–21:00 PM

Price: Adults - JPY 2050 (USD 18), Children - JPY 600 (USD 5.28)

Website: Sumida Aquarium

Day 2: Night - Visit the red light district of Kabukichō and explore the bars and nightclubs (from USD 83.0)

Kabukichō is known as the red-light district of Tokyo. Located in Shinjuku, the area also offers much in the way of nightclubs and entertainment. The district bears the nickname of the “Sleepless Town” for its bustling, late-night activity. Kabukichō consists of love hotels, host and hostess clubs, as well as restaurants and shops. There is also a thriving cyberpunk scene here and the district has been used as a set for movies and video games.

Private Tour - A Tour of the Cyberpunk Town, Kabukicho

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

A short visit to Tokyo, Japan

While you can’t visit all the major sites within 36 hours, you can still enjoy some interesting things to do in Tokyo even for a short stay. But one thing’s for sure, you will definitely be tempted to come back and spend more time here.

Frequently asked questions about a 36-hour itinerary in Tokyo, Japan

1. What historical sites can tourists visit in Tokyo?

Don’t let your quick trip to Tokyo go by without immersing in the city’s history and heritage. Two of the significant sites that you can inject into your itinerary are Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine.

2. Which local restaurants and joints should tourists visit during their short stay in Tokyo?

Be sure to sink your teeth into some of the specialties of these restaurants in Tokyo: i) the Michellin-starred Ishikawa for the best sushi, ii) the trendy Luxe Dining Hapuna for hearty breakfasts, and iii) the warm and cozy Butagami for the perfect tonkatsu.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Anne Sewell was born in England, but has spent most of her life in Africa - Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa - and now resides on the beautiful Costa del Sol in southern Spain. She loves writing...Read more

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