Tokyo is Japan’s capital city and is always full of life. It is best experienced when going for a week, since there are just so many things to do and see, but sometimes you just don’t have much time. Therefore I created this planning for spending 48 hour in Tokyo, so you will at least experience some of the biggest highlights!
When to go
The summers in Tokyo are hot and humid, with its rain-season and typhoon warnings. Therefore fall and spring are the best choices. When you intend on going during spring I suggest avoiding the national holiday “Golden Week”, which is the first week of May. During this week Japan shuts down completely. Every single person has free from work and since free days are already pretty rare, people go massively traveling with their family. So it would be better to avoid big cities around this time. Not sure what to pack? Check out this post!
Where to stay
I would suggest staying somewhere close to the Yamanote train line. This is a railway loop line that takes you to all the places that you will want to go! I stayed at Hotel Lungwood in West Nippori. It takes only 5 minutes (if not less) to get to Nippori train station which is also part of the Yamanote line! You can find more hotels in Tokyo here!
Check to see if there are any festivals or events planned beforehand that might be fun to attend! Start your day by waking up nice and early to take the train to Harajuku. Just behind the Harajuku train station there is a gorgeous park leading to the Meiji temple. At the entrance of the park there is a big torii gate welcoming you. It is very relaxing to take a walk here in the morning, taking in the nature around you.
After your hike take a break at the very elegant new Cat Cafe Mocha, just left from across the train station! Get some delicious brunch, cuddle with the kitties and prep yourself for the next destination.
Next it is time to take the train again and head to Ueno kouen (Ueno park). Make sure you exit through the west gate. Then all you have to do is go right and walk until you get to a park entrance. This park has many different things to offer: stroll around through the park enjoying nature, visit one of the many museums that are located here or go to the zoo (for the history nerds between us: I really recommend the National Museum of Nature and Science!). Further down the park is a place with some food stalls where you can get a small snack to still those pre-dinner munchies!
Now it is time to look for a great place to eat dinner. There are many restaurants you can find in Ueno city, but if you want to grab some delicious ramen try Tenka Ippin and treat yourself to some of their amazing pork broth ramen! location
Now that your tummy is full and you still have some of the evening left, I really suggest trying some karaoke! There are many, many, MANY different karaoke chains to choose from. You can find one on almost every corner of the street. Or maybe two.. Or three!
Dawn of the final day -24 hours remain-
Today has to be well spent as it will be your last day in Tokyo! And even though there are so many more things to do and see here, you want to make the best out of this remaining time!
The first thing on the planning is taking the train to Asakusa! I love this place, it is one of my favorite places in Tokyo! It is home to the famous Senso-ji and Kaminari-mon (you see them a lot in music clips from bands that are shot in Japan). There is also a long street with all kinds of souvenir and snack shops called nakamisedori. Something you definitely have to try are the Tokyo banana. These souvenirs are very famous throughout Japan and are very typical for Tokyo. As for lunch (or brunch, depending on what time it is) you have probably already noticed that there are a lot of restaurants located near the station. They serve pretty much any kind of food, so finding food won’t be a problem here. Choosing a place to eat at is a whole different story. Good luck!
Of course you also shouldn’t miss the Tokyo skytree! The biggest tower of Tokyo (634 m!) with an observatory on top, overlooking the city with a 360 degrees view. You could walk from Asakusa to the skytree (like we did), strolling along the river and through some smaller neighbourhoods (and you get to see the golden turd building!) But if you think you might get lost along the way, then taking the train might be easier. Once you arrive at the skytree, you will notice many (toy) stores and food chains. You could check out the toy stores for some nerdy loot of your favorite anime and eat a super cute donut at Dunkin Donuts. After you get your ticket for the observatory, you will have to wait in line for the elevator (which can take a while since the busiest moment is between 1 PM – 5 PM). But once you step into the elevator, it will take you to the 450th floor in the blink of an eye!
Onsen (hot springs) are a big part of the Japanese culture. And what other place to go for a great wellness-day than Ooedo onsen monogatari. This is a place with indoor onsen and outdoor wellness activities, like stones to walk on for a foot massage or letting fish nibble on you feet and there is even an arcade hall. There are also many restaurants inside, so you can get dinner after a nice hot bath. You could spent the whole night here (like you can do with karaoke or cybercafes) since the park closes from 9 AM – 11 AM!
*Disclaimer: these pictures are my own and I do not allow anyone other than myself to use them.