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3-Day Itinerary in Tokyo

Explore the best things to do in Tokyo in 3 days based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

#1

#1 in Tokyo

If you're looking to learn a little (or a lot) about Japan's history, the Tokyo National Museum is the place to go. This museum is one of the country's most expansive, housing about 116,000 pieces of art and artifacts that cover the longest recorded history of Japan. Strolling through the halls of its numerous buildings, you'll spot relics such as samurai armor and swords (a traveler favorite), delicate pottery, kimonos, calligraphy, paintings, and much more, some of which are designated as national treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government. In addition to artifacts from Japan's history, you'll also find pieces from all across the Asian continent, including Buddhist scrolls that date all the way back to 607. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Tokyo National Museum
If you're looking to learn a little (or a lot) about Japan's history, the Tokyo National Museum is the place to go. This museum is one of the country's most expansive, housing about 116,000 pieces of art and artifacts that cover the longest recorded history of Japan. Strolling through the halls of its numerous buildings, you'll spot relics such as samurai armor and swords (a traveler favorite), delicate pottery, kimonos, calligraphy, paintings, and much more, some of which are designated as national treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government. In addition to artifacts from Japan's history, you'll also find pieces from all across the Asian continent, including Buddhist scrolls that date all the way back to 607. 
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10 minutes by car or 25 minutes by metro

#3

#3 in Tokyo

Free
The oldest religious site in Tokyo is also its most visited. The Sensoji Temple sees about 30 million annual visitors and dates all the way back to year 628. Despite its claim to antiquity, however, the structures that currently stand are relatively new reconstructions of previous edifices (during World War II, nearly the entire temple was razed). The Sensoji Temple is dedicated to Asakusa Kannon, the Buddhist god of mercy and happiness. According to legend, two fishermen struck gold and found a statue of the god while fishing on the Sumida River. The Sensoji shrine is dedicated to this lucky catch as well as features a small homage to the fisherman who caught the statue. Unfortunately, while here, you won't be able to see the actual statue. It is there, but it isn't on public display. It has never been. Either way, Buddhists and interested tourists alike flock to this attraction with the hopes that being in the presence of Kannon's healing powers will rub off on them. After you've properly toured Sensoji, take some time to check out the shops that line Nakamise Dori, which you'll find on the way to the temple. 
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Sensoji Temple
The oldest religious site in Tokyo is also its most visited. The Sensoji Temple sees about 30 million annual visitors and dates all the way back to year 628. Despite its claim to antiquity, however, the structures that currently stand are relatively new reconstructions of previous edifices (during World War II, nearly the entire temple was razed). The Sensoji Temple is dedicated to Asakusa Kannon, the Buddhist god of mercy and happiness. According to legend, two fishermen struck gold and found a statue of the god while fishing on the Sumida River. The Sensoji shrine is dedicated to this lucky catch as well as features a small homage to the fisherman who caught the statue. Unfortunately, while here, you won't be able to see the actual statue. It is there, but it isn't on public display. It has never been. Either way, Buddhists and interested tourists alike flock to this attraction with the hopes that being in the presence of Kannon's healing powers will rub off on them. After you've properly toured Sensoji, take some time to check out the shops that line Nakamise Dori, which you'll find on the way to the temple. 
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20 minutes by car

#4

#4 in Tokyo

Free
You'd think the Imperial Palace would be mobbed with tourists, but it's not. You can credit the lack of crowds to an application policy, which limits the number of visitors. That's because the Imperial Palace is home to the Emperor of Japan and the royal family. And before that, it was the residence for some of Japan's most important figures, including Emperor Meiji (credited for modernizing Japan) and rulers during the Edo Period (the time period before Japan was modernized by Meiji). Because of its significant importance in Japanese society, admittance to the site is hard to get (you have to put in your application several weeks in advance) and access inside the actual palace is even fewer and far between.
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Castles/Palaces Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Imperial Palace
You'd think the Imperial Palace would be mobbed with tourists, but it's not. You can credit the lack of crowds to an application policy, which limits the number of visitors. That's because the Imperial Palace is home to the Emperor of Japan and the royal family. And before that, it was the residence for some of Japan's most important figures, including Emperor Meiji (credited for modernizing Japan) and rulers during the Edo Period (the time period before Japan was modernized by Meiji). Because of its significant importance in Japanese society, admittance to the site is hard to get (you have to put in your application several weeks in advance) and access inside the actual palace is even fewer and far between.
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15 minutes by car

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#2

#2 in Tokyo

Free
The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto (Japan's original religion) shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Japanese history credits Meiji for modernizing Japan by incorporating Western principles into Japanese society, including adopting a cabinet system into government. After the emperor's death in 1912 and that of his consort in 1914, the Japanese commemorated their contributions with the Meiji Shrine. While the buildings are certainly worth visiting, the surrounding forest (considered part of the vast Yoyogi Park) is a sight to see as well. That's because 100,000 of the trees standing were all donated by Japanese people from around the country as a thank you to emperor.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Meiji Shrine
The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto (Japan's original religion) shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Japanese history credits Meiji for modernizing Japan by incorporating Western principles into Japanese society, including adopting a cabinet system into government. After the emperor's death in 1912 and that of his consort in 1914, the Japanese commemorated their contributions with the Meiji Shrine. While the buildings are certainly worth visiting, the surrounding forest (considered part of the vast Yoyogi Park) is a sight to see as well. That's because 100,000 of the trees standing were all donated by Japanese people from around the country as a thank you to emperor.
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20 minutes by car or 40 minutes by metro

Free
Even if you're not a sushi connoisseur, the Tsukiji Market offers an unforgettable experience. It is the largest and oldest fish market in the world, handling upward of 1,800 tons of seafood per day. Ships arrive in the wee hours of the morning, and by 5 a.m., the famous tuna auctions have already commenced with wholesalers bidding for good-looking specimens. Unfortunately, due to the increased number of tourists, these exciting auctions are closed to the public, except for a small viewing area open from 5 to 6:15 a.m. While we encourage early risers to queue for this small space, the rest of the market, which always welcomes visitors, is sufficient to whet your appetite.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Tsukiji Market
Even if you're not a sushi connoisseur, the Tsukiji Market offers an unforgettable experience. It is the largest and oldest fish market in the world, handling upward of 1,800 tons of seafood per day. Ships arrive in the wee hours of the morning, and by 5 a.m., the famous tuna auctions have already commenced with wholesalers bidding for good-looking specimens. Unfortunately, due to the increased number of tourists, these exciting auctions are closed to the public, except for a small viewing area open from 5 to 6:15 a.m. While we encourage early risers to queue for this small space, the rest of the market, which always welcomes visitors, is sufficient to whet your appetite.
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15 minute walk

#8
Ginza Free

#8 in Tokyo

Free
New York has Fifth Avenue, London has Oxford Street, Paris has the Champs-Élysées and Tokyo has Ginza. The neighborhood is a shopper's paradise, housing all types of storefronts from affordable, big-name retailers such as H&M and Zara to upscale design houses such as Dior, Armani and Cartier. You can also find loads of specialty stores selling traditional items, such as kimonos, incense and chopsticks, as well as more unconventional finds, such as stores dedicated to buttons, model trains and even charcoal-infused beauty products. You can also find a plethora of Hello Kitty products at the Sanrio flagship store located here, as well as all the toys your kid's (or your) heart desires at the massive Hakuhinkan Toy Park. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ginza
New York has Fifth Avenue, London has Oxford Street, Paris has the Champs-Élysées and Tokyo has Ginza. The neighborhood is a shopper's paradise, housing all types of storefronts from affordable, big-name retailers such as H&M and Zara to upscale design houses such as Dior, Armani and Cartier. You can also find loads of specialty stores selling traditional items, such as kimonos, incense and chopsticks, as well as more unconventional finds, such as stores dedicated to buttons, model trains and even charcoal-infused beauty products. You can also find a plethora of Hello Kitty products at the Sanrio flagship store located here, as well as all the toys your kid's (or your) heart desires at the massive Hakuhinkan Toy Park. 
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Day 2

#5
Odaiba Free

#5 in Tokyo

Free
Envision a mini Atlantis rising out of the water, conveniently right next to downtown Tokyo. That's Odaiba. This neighborhood/mini-island situated on the Tokyo Bay is a hub of entertainment, eateries and eye-catching architecture, including the futuristic-looking Fuji Television building. Some of the area's top attractions include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and the relaxing Odaiba Seaside Park, which comes equipped with its own beach and Tokyo's own Statue of Liberty. There's also a host of amusement parks the kids will no doubt enjoy. In Tokyo Leisure Land in Palette Town, you'll also find go-karts in Mega Web and one of the world's largest Ferris wheels.
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Museums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Odaiba
Envision a mini Atlantis rising out of the water, conveniently right next to downtown Tokyo. That's Odaiba. This neighborhood/mini-island situated on the Tokyo Bay is a hub of entertainment, eateries and eye-catching architecture, including the futuristic-looking Fuji Television building. Some of the area's top attractions include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and the relaxing Odaiba Seaside Park, which comes equipped with its own beach and Tokyo's own Statue of Liberty. There's also a host of amusement parks the kids will no doubt enjoy. In Tokyo Leisure Land in Palette Town, you'll also find go-karts in Mega Web and one of the world's largest Ferris wheels.
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15 minute walk

#6

#6 in Tokyo

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, commonly referred to as the Miraikan, attests to Tokyo's entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for science and technological innovation. This high-tech museum features a plethora of exciting interactive displays spread across three themed permanent exhibits. In Explore The Frontiers, visitors can learn about space exploration by stepping into a model of the International Space Station, which has been autographed by astronauts who spent time there, including Buzz Aldrin. There's also Discover Your Earth, where you'll find a large LED paneled Earth sculpture, as well as the robotics-heavy Create Your Future exhibit. Make sure you get an eyeful of Honda's impressive ASIMO robot while here. ASIMO has opposable thumbs, can run, and even kick a soccer ball (as it did with President Obama in his 2014 visit to the museum). Kids will particularly enjoy the displays as they can touch, climb on and play with many of them. The museum also features science workshops for kids, talks from researchers and the GAIA 3-D Home Theater. 
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, commonly referred to as the Miraikan, attests to Tokyo's entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for science and technological innovation. This high-tech museum features a plethora of exciting interactive displays spread across three themed permanent exhibits. In Explore The Frontiers, visitors can learn about space exploration by stepping into a model of the International Space Station, which has been autographed by astronauts who spent time there, including Buzz Aldrin. There's also Discover Your Earth, where you'll find a large LED paneled Earth sculpture, as well as the robotics-heavy Create Your Future exhibit. Make sure you get an eyeful of Honda's impressive ASIMO robot while here. ASIMO has opposable thumbs, can run, and even kick a soccer ball (as it did with President Obama in his 2014 visit to the museum). Kids will particularly enjoy the displays as they can touch, climb on and play with many of them. The museum also features science workshops for kids, talks from researchers and the GAIA 3-D Home Theater. 
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15 minutes by car

#12

#12 in Tokyo

Across the water from Tokyo Disneyland, the Tokyo Sea Life Park provides educational fun for the whole family. This well-designed aquarium features numerous habitats that mimic bodies of water from around the world, like the Caribbean Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Tokyo's very own Tokyo Bay. Here you can find a variety of fish from those regions, including Tokyo's famous bluefin tuna. Travelers will also run into penguins during their visit, puffins and turtles, to name a few. There's also a petting area where patrons can get up close and personal and touch sting rays and bamboo sharks. 
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Tokyo Sea Life Park
Across the water from Tokyo Disneyland, the Tokyo Sea Life Park provides educational fun for the whole family. This well-designed aquarium features numerous habitats that mimic bodies of water from around the world, like the Caribbean Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Tokyo's very own Tokyo Bay. Here you can find a variety of fish from those regions, including Tokyo's famous bluefin tuna. Travelers will also run into penguins during their visit, puffins and turtles, to name a few. There's also a petting area where patrons can get up close and personal and touch sting rays and bamboo sharks. 
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20-25 minutes by car or 40 minutes by metro

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#11

#11 in Tokyo

Free
Akihabara is nirvana for techies. Tokyo's premier electronics district, which is also referred to as "Akiba," has gadgets of all kinds found in booths on side streets and main street mega department stores. You'll spot the latest technology on the shelves, which will probably put your equipment to shame. And if you're in the market for hard-to-find bibs or bobs, you're likely to find that here too. If you're unsure where to start, stop at the larger-than-life Yodobashi department store (often billed as the largest electronics store in the world) or stroll along the neighborhood's main street, Chuo Dori, which becomes car-free on Sundays. In addition to being an electronics hub, Akihabara also caters to serious gamers and anime lovers. Here, you'll find loads of gaming arcades as well as shops and street stalls selling comics and character figurines. You'll also probably spot a few cosplayers casually walking down the street. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Akihabara
Akihabara is nirvana for techies. Tokyo's premier electronics district, which is also referred to as "Akiba," has gadgets of all kinds found in booths on side streets and main street mega department stores. You'll spot the latest technology on the shelves, which will probably put your equipment to shame. And if you're in the market for hard-to-find bibs or bobs, you're likely to find that here too. If you're unsure where to start, stop at the larger-than-life Yodobashi department store (often billed as the largest electronics store in the world) or stroll along the neighborhood's main street, Chuo Dori, which becomes car-free on Sundays. In addition to being an electronics hub, Akihabara also caters to serious gamers and anime lovers. Here, you'll find loads of gaming arcades as well as shops and street stalls selling comics and character figurines. You'll also probably spot a few cosplayers casually walking down the street. 
... more

15-20 minutes by car or 35 minutes by metro

#14

#14 in Tokyo

The Japanese remake of the Eiffel Tower serves a predominately practical purpose. The orange and white tower, which rises 1,092 feet into the air, serves as a radio and television broadcasting structure supporting 62 miles of frequencies. The tower also caters to tourists, offering two observation decks, one at 490 feet  (the main observatory) and one at 819 feet (the special observatory). The observation decks offer 360-degree views of Tokyo's sprawling cityscape and come equipped with guides pointing out notable buildings in the skyline. And if you visit on a really clear day, you'll be able to spot Mount Fuji in the distance. The Tokyo Tower also has its own cafe, where patrons can sip tea while admiring the views, as well as Club 333, a music venue that hosts performances daily. And if you're on the hunt for souvenirs, travelers say this is a surprisingly great place to peruse thanks to all the on-site shops.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Tokyo Tower
The Japanese remake of the Eiffel Tower serves a predominately practical purpose. The orange and white tower, which rises 1,092 feet into the air, serves as a radio and television broadcasting structure supporting 62 miles of frequencies. The tower also caters to tourists, offering two observation decks, one at 490 feet  (the main observatory) and one at 819 feet (the special observatory). The observation decks offer 360-degree views of Tokyo's sprawling cityscape and come equipped with guides pointing out notable buildings in the skyline. And if you visit on a really clear day, you'll be able to spot Mount Fuji in the distance. The Tokyo Tower also has its own cafe, where patrons can sip tea while admiring the views, as well as Club 333, a music venue that hosts performances daily. And if you're on the hunt for souvenirs, travelers say this is a surprisingly great place to peruse thanks to all the on-site shops.
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Day 3

#9

#9 in Tokyo

For a greater understanding of Tokyo's evolution, head to the gigantic Edo-Tokyo Museum. This expertly designed museum showcases the city's history with large- and small-scale models chronicling Tokyo's architectural transformation as well as recreating Japanese life through the centuries (exhibits with statues recreate cultural practices and norms of the time). Here, travelers can walk through Tokyo's humble origins (via the life-sized Nihonbashi Bridge) in the early Edo Period to the Meiji Restoration (the period where Japan transitioned from traditional to a more modern society, influenced by western principles), through the subsequent industrial revolution, past the devastation of the World Wars and into today's modern metropolis. In addition to models of all shapes and sizes, the museum also features historical and cultural relics visitors can observe up close, including traditional kimono gowns and woodblock prints. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Edo-Tokyo Museum
For a greater understanding of Tokyo's evolution, head to the gigantic Edo-Tokyo Museum. This expertly designed museum showcases the city's history with large- and small-scale models chronicling Tokyo's architectural transformation as well as recreating Japanese life through the centuries (exhibits with statues recreate cultural practices and norms of the time). Here, travelers can walk through Tokyo's humble origins (via the life-sized Nihonbashi Bridge) in the early Edo Period to the Meiji Restoration (the period where Japan transitioned from traditional to a more modern society, influenced by western principles), through the subsequent industrial revolution, past the devastation of the World Wars and into today's modern metropolis. In addition to models of all shapes and sizes, the museum also features historical and cultural relics visitors can observe up close, including traditional kimono gowns and woodblock prints. 
... more

20-30 minutes by car or 40 minutes by metro

#10

#10 in Tokyo

Just to the west of downtown Tokyo lies a gorgeous urban oasis. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden comprises 144 acres of green space and is unique in that it incorporates three landscaping styles  Japanese Traditional, French Formal and English Garden. During the spring, the park gets an extra boost in visitors for its vibrant display of cherry blossoms. If you plan on visiting during this beautiful time, make like a local and come to the park equipped with picnic supplies. 
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Parks and Gardens Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Just to the west of downtown Tokyo lies a gorgeous urban oasis. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden comprises 144 acres of green space and is unique in that it incorporates three landscaping styles  Japanese Traditional, French Formal and English Garden. During the spring, the park gets an extra boost in visitors for its vibrant display of cherry blossoms. If you plan on visiting during this beautiful time, make like a local and come to the park equipped with picnic supplies. 
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5-10 minutes by car or 20 minutes by metro

#7

#7 in Tokyo

Free
There are plenty of skyscrapers that provide bird's-eye lookouts in Tokyo. So what makes the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tower special? It's free! At 202 meters high (662 feet), its two observatories (North and South observatory) are the highest vantage points you can reach in the city without having to shred some yen (at least that we know of). 
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
There are plenty of skyscrapers that provide bird's-eye lookouts in Tokyo. So what makes the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tower special? It's free! At 202 meters high (662 feet), its two observatories (North and South observatory) are the highest vantage points you can reach in the city without having to shred some yen (at least that we know of). 
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25-30 minutes by car or 40-50 minutes by metro

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#13

#13 in Tokyo

Both avid and amateur anime fans love the Ghibli Museum. The museum showcases the work of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli – the famous Japanese animation company that produced films like "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo." Don't expect formal, indoor exhibits. The facility's quirky interior design mimics the animation studio. There's also a play area for kids (which comes equipped with a life-size, fuzzy Cat Bus), a reading room full of books recommended by the museum and a rooftop garden that features character sculptures, including the silent robots from "Castle In The Sky." You can even watch a short film that plays exclusively at the museum and rotates each month. 
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ghibli Museum
Both avid and amateur anime fans love the Ghibli Museum. The museum showcases the work of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli – the famous Japanese animation company that produced films like "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo." Don't expect formal, indoor exhibits. The facility's quirky interior design mimics the animation studio. There's also a play area for kids (which comes equipped with a life-size, fuzzy Cat Bus), a reading room full of books recommended by the museum and a rooftop garden that features character sculptures, including the silent robots from "Castle In The Sky." You can even watch a short film that plays exclusively at the museum and rotates each month. 
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