48 Hours In Tokyo, Japan - Updated 2021

48 hours in tokyo
John
John
Updated

Two days in Tokyo aren’t nearly enough time for you to take in the full scope of the city itself. From its architecture to the cuisine, the recreation to the various sights and sounds that decorate the vicinity, Tokyo has so much to offer locals and visitors alike. Discover Japan’s buzzing capital, complete with the busy passerby, the frequent tourists, the easily accessible eateries, and everything else that characterizes Tokyo itself as a virtual must-see. If you find yourself struggling to draft a vacation outline that gets you up close and personal with the very best of Tokyo, simply adhere to our 48-hour itinerary for your next prospective Tokyo adventure. When you only have 48 hours in Tokyo, check out this itinerary, to receive an authentic taste for Japanese hospitality before your arrival gives way to a departure.

Day 1, morning: visit Ghibli Museum and explore Inokashira-Koen

Ghibli Museum, Mitaka - panoramio
Source: Photo by user Tomi Mäkitalo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Once you’ve arrived in Tokyo and gotten acquainted with your surroundings, discover more about the region’s treasured past with a visit to the Ghibli Museum. Specifically, this storied museum details the finest works and the artistic contributions of a specific animation studio, Studio Ghibli, as it ushered in groundbreaking animation efforts as part of a holistic artistic portfolio that’s nothing short of remarkable. The pride of Inokashira Park, this museum has something for everyone in the family to enjoy, given that it exists as the synthesis of so many unique exhibits and displays. Combining the feel of a family-friendly museum with the forward-thinking efforts of technology and innovation displays, the Ghibli Museum promises to captivate and amaze, as you take in some of the finest animation efforts ever to exist. From its short films collection to its Catbus Room, specifically optimized for the enjoyment of smaller children, you’ll fall easily in love with Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum. you can even enjoy a bite to eat without leaving the museum itself, thanks to the culinary creations of the Straw Hat Café.

When you’re not exploring the hallways of the Ghibli Museum, you’re going to want to check out the rest of the Inokashira-Koen area. Known more succinctly as the Inokashira Park, it’s a multipurpose space that offers a wonderful combination of easy recreation, wide open spaces, and coveted Tokyo sights and sounds. Since the park’s opening in May of 1918, at which time it was considered a generous contribution from the Emperor to local citizens, the space itself has hosted its fair share of natural landscapes and beauty. Visitors can enjoy the seasonal blossoms of the Cherry blossom trees, especially those trees that line the pond and help to decorate its confines. Also worthy of note is the change of the leaves during the height of the fall season, during which point the trees explode with various shades of red, orange and yellow. This park is also characterized by a small shrine to Benzaiten, a well-recognized Japanese Buddhist goddess entity.

Inokashira-Koen

Address: 1 Chome-18-31 Gotenyama, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0005, Japan

Website: Inokashira-Koen

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Day 1, afternoon: Mori Museum

Mori Art Museum entrance
Source: Photo by user Syced used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Take note of the fact that if you’re planning on visiting either the park of the museum during a well-traveled weekend, you need to provide yourself and your entire family with enough time to see it all! Given the well-loved nature of the park, the museum and the surrounding attractions themselves, you will want to get a head start on the region’s sights to ensure that you can see it all.

Once the sun starts to set on the horizon, make sure that you head over to the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. So far as local artistic contributions stand, this museum offers you and the entire family the unique opportunity to witness to some of the finest artistic renderings to be found in the entire country. A contemporary art museum that features a constantly shifting rotation of exhibits and catered displays, including modern displays like their anniversary collection, the Mori Art Museum virtually indicates the direction that modern art is headed. Consider this your opportunity to gaze upon indigenous Japanese art, acclaimed on both a local and an international level.

Mori Museum

Address: Japan, 〒106-6108 Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi, 6 Chome−10-1 Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 53rd Floor

Website: Mori Museum

Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Day 1, evening: dinner at Robot Restaurant

Charge of the fembots Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku Tokyo
Source: Photo by user Cory Doctorow used under CC BY-SA 2.0

And when it comes time to take the entire family to dinner, there’s only one way to do it the right way during your first night in the city. Check out the iconic Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, a thematic eatery that proves equal parts restaurant and social artistic display. With its rich assemblage of robot monsters, well-trained dancers, laser shows and more, this is the dining experience that proves entirely more than a menu and a meal. Welcome to a pop culture phenomenon and renowned eatery alike, where shows last roughly 90 minutes with a healthy number of breaks in between. Also, the show is constantly changing and evolving, so there’s always a new reason to visit even if you’ve already enjoyed the show in the past. The center of media attention and local reputation alike, the Robot Restaurant is an entertainment epicenter well worth the investment in the evening.

Robot Restaurant

Address: Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kabukicho, 1 Chome−7−1Shinjuku Robot Building B2F

Website: Robot Restaurant

Opening hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Price: Approximately 150 USD

Day 2, morning: breakfast & visit Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage, Japan)
Source: Photo by user Free Images used under CC BY 2.0

Welcome to the second day of your rewarding Tokyo experience! After a wonderful night’s rest, it’s time to make the most of a productive day in the city. Take the time to digest a hearty breakfast, and then head over to the Tokyo Skytree alongside the rest of your family. At the Tokyo Skytree, you’re provided the privilege of an uninterrupted view of the entire city, where you can easily identify the very best that the region itself has to offer. For good measure, the Tokyo Skytree is also the tallest tower in the entire world, measuring in at a stunning 634 meters (2080 feet). Atop the Tokyo Skytree, you can also accomplish far more than a simple perspective of Tokyo itself. The tower offers broadcasting benefits to media in the city and offers delectable culinary experiences to locals and visitors alike. Feel free to grab a bite to eat atop the Tokyo Skytree, a tower constructed with seismic proofing, allowing it to absorb up to 50% of an earthquake’s total capacity.

Tokyo Skytree

Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

Website: Tokyo Skytree

Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Day 2, afternoon: hang out in Sumida Park and visit Senso-ji

Sensoji - Asakusa Kannon Temple
Source: Photo by user IQRemix used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Once you’ve re-acquainted your feet with solid ground, head on over to Sumida Park in Tokyo. Another public location in Tokyo known worldwide for its popular Japanese Cherry blossom trees, the Sumida Park also plays host to the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, held annually in the park each July. The park itself is easily identifiable by its wealth of natural sights and sounds, including a bevy of trees that decorate the outer edges of the park. Visit the park to find yourself falling for the more than 700 cherry trees, or simply attain a breath of fresh air and take life at a pace most conducive for your own enjoyment. Overlooked by a majority of locals in favor of more well-known, well-established recreational and public spaces, Sumida Park nevertheless offers you the opportunity to witness excellently manicured cherry trees, wide open recreation and time well spent alongside friends or family members.

Pay your respects at Senso-Ji, an ancient Buddhist temple in Tokyo that is quite obviously steeped in local history. Dated as Tokyo’s oldest surviving temple, Senso-Ji began to operate independently after the conclusion of World War II. Interestingly, the Senso-Ji temple is the most visited spiritual site in the entire globe: yearly, it welcomes more than 30 million visitors through its welcoming doors. Make sure that you also take the time to visit the various shops that surround the temple itself, to take home some authentic Nakamise-dōri materials. The temple is dedicated to Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion. After your visit to Senso-Ji, you’ll undoubtedly understand why the temple itself is both revered and respected inside and out of Tokyo’s city confines.

Sumida Park

Address: 1-2-5 Mukushima Sumida-Ku Tokyo 131-0033, Japan

Website: Sumida Park

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Day 2, evening: stroll through Sumida district and dine locally

Sumida River at Night, Tokyo
Source: Photo by user Ian Muttoo used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Given that you’re already relaxing in the Sumida district, you may as well get to know more of its attractions before it’s time for dinner. These regional attractions include the likes of the Edo-Tokyo Museum, where you and the entire family can discover artistic contributions alongside the appreciation of Tokyo’s Edo period. At the Nakamise Shopping Street not far away, you’ll be able to satisfy all of your retail cravings with an enormous assortment of retail opportunities offered to all those who walk the friendly streets. converse with locals and vendors alike as you meander down the streets at your own pace. Soon enough, it’ll be time for dinner in Sumida, and rest assured that no matter where you elect to dine, you’re in for a world-class culinary experience. At Kikkō, you can sample seasonal fruits and their Yuri ri, a fish-based dish you’ll surely enjoy. Or check out the Suke6 Diner, home of beloved dishes like their homemade granola and grilled vegetables.

Kikkō

Address: 2-2-13 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032

Website: Kikkō

Opening hours: 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.; 5.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Day 2, night: discover Sumida bars and pubs

Bar in Ginza Station Area-Tokyo-Japan
Source: Photo by user Carla Antonini used under CC BY-SA 3.0

After dinner, enjoy a refreshing beverage at any one of Sumida’s many bars! The Oriental Lounge offers an upscale vibe for all guests, while other esteemed locations prove your home for affordable foods and alcoholic beverages alike. You can even sample the unique drinks located exclusively at Sakeno Daimasu Wine Kan, for an even wider portfolio of menu offerings that you simply can’t beat.

The Oriental Lounge

Address: 2-1-1, Nihonbashimuromachi, Chūō, Tokyo 103-8328, Japan

Website: The Oriental Lounge

Opening hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Price: Approximately 60 USD

Some more for the enthusiasts

Tokyo is undoubtedly one of the best vacation destinations. So if you are a spontaneous planner and end up spending an extra day in this amazing city, here is our recommendation for the next 24 hours as well.

Day 3, morning: breakfast and visit the Meiji Shrine

Courtyard of Meiji Shrine 20190717
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 江戸村のとくぞう used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Start your final day in Tokyo off with a bang, thanks to the many breakfast offerings that the area itself has to offer. After you and the family have the energy you need to face another productive day exploring the region, it’s time to make your way to the Meiji Shrine. An official Shinto shrine that recognizes the now-deceased spirits of Emperor Meiji and his late wife, the Meiji Shrine has housed several important national and international dignitaries in recent years. You’ll be able to encounter both of the pivotal regions of the Meiji Shrine, respectively the Naien and Gaien areas. At the Naien area, you’ll experience the treasure museum that includes personal belongings of both the Emperor and his wife. Venture over to the Gaien area, home to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, where 80 large murals tell the tale of comprehensive historic moments. The Gaien area also houses Tokyo’s National Stadium and Meiji Memorial Hall.

Meiji Shrine

Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan

Website: Meiji Shrine

Day 3, afternoon: check out Harajuku and Shibuya

Harajuku girls, Tokyo
Source: Photo by user Peter Van den Bos... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Fortunately for your travel aspirations, you’ll still have time to visit both Harajuku and Shibuya. Start with Harajuku, a district characterized by vibrant street art, unique retail venues and social activity. One of the most obviously buzzing locations in all of Tokyo, Harajuku also houses various boutique ventures for your perusal along Omotesando Avenue. To familiarize yourself with some of the art and history that have formed the region itself, make sure you stop by the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art and take public transportation anywhere and everywhere directly from Harajuku Station. you also need to find time to discover Shibuya, a corporate and recreational haven for locals and visitors alike. Shibuya is also home to two of the largest railway stations in the entire world, respectively the Shibuya Station and Shinjuku Station. Award-winning for its shopping venues, walking spaces and general entertainment, Shibuya is also well worthy of your attention in Tokyo. Close by, though technically not within the confines of Shibuya is Yoyogi Park, home to wide open recreational spaces and its fair share of changing leaves during the fall season. Also close by is Roppongi, home to a flavor of nightlife unique unto itself, as well as a steady collection of internationally acclaimed art.

Harajuku

Address: Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

Day 3, night: experience the nightlife in Shinjuku's Golden Gai

48 hours in tokyo | day 3, night: experience the nightlife in shinjuku's golden gai

As your final day in Tokyo draws slowly to a close, don’t leave without first visiting a region of Tokyo specifically optimized for evening and nightlife activity. Welcome to Shinjuku Golden Gai, renowned both for its architectural renderings and authentic nightlife scene, Shinjuku is the worthy home to more than 200 individual bars, clubs and assorted places of interest, and can easily characterize your evening as a winning one. Allow your time in Tokyo to draw to a close only after you’ve discovered the ins and outs of Shinjuku Golden Gai, a vibrant region of nightly social activity and high living. Stay out late during your final evening in Shinjuku Golden Gai, and take advantage of a certified nightlife scene unlike any other.

Golden Gai

Address: 1 Chome-1-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan

Website: Golden Gai

Getting the feel of Tokyo

No matter how much you want to see and how much you want to do in Tokyo, nothing is possible if you do not hit the streets and walk down the lanes. Perhaps that is the best way to explore any destination, as the localities and not like tourists. Have fun at Tokyo and let this itinerary save you some more time while planning the trip.

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

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John Gallagher is a digital marketing consultant and writer from San Diego, California. When he isn't thoroughly enjoying the writing process or pretending he thoroughly enjoys the revision...Read more

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