Tokyo is one place where you won’t see the time pass, there is so much to do. This Tokyo 3 day itinerary will give you a taste of Electric Town, as the capital of Japan is nicknamed. Just don’t be surprised if you keep coming back for more.

Tokyo 3 Day Itinerary

From world class restaurants to beautiful gardens and temples, there’s something for everyone. Tokyo is a large city so it’s important to plan your itinerary before you set out and to concentrate on exploring just one or two areas each day.

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Day 1 in Tokyo


Spelt Chūō, this central district of Tokyo is a thriving business area yet there’s plenty to entice visitors. Our first stop, Hama-Rikyu Gardens at 1-1 Hamarikyu-teien, is a real oasis of calm in the heart of Tokyo. Originally a hunting ground and nobleman’s residence in the Edo period from 1603, it was opened to the public in 1946.

Surrounded by the skyscrapers of the Shiodome district, the gardens are beautifully landscaped. There’s a tea house in the middle of the lake where you can watch the birds landing.

Hamarikyu Gardens are a great place in which to experience traditional culture in Tokyo. The garden has an unusual late blossoming cherry tree and some stunning camellia trees. Opening hours are from 9.00 to 17:00 and there’s a small entrance fee of :¥300.

Tokyo 3 Day Itinerary for First Timers - Hama-Rikyu Gardens in Tokyo, Japan

The Tsukiji Market is an interesting place if you’re keen on sashimi and fresh fish. Whilst the inner wholesale section has restricted opening hours for visitors, the outer market and restaurants are popular with locals and tourists alike.

You can eat tasty fresh crab sticks and other delicacies at one of the many food stalls. Get there early to beat the crowds – it’s open from 5 am to 2 pm and closed on Sundays.

The fish market in Tokyo, Japan


For lunch, we recommend a true Tokyo hidden gem. Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai is a traditional merchant’s residence from the Samurai era. Located in the Shibakoen area of Minato district next to Tokyo Tower, this beautiful Tokyo restaurant is set in picturesque gardens.

The restaurant has a series of private dining rooms with traditional but comfortable seating, overlooking an inner courtyard garden. The restaurant is famous for its tofu dishes cooked in a variety of ways as well as blowfish, a rare delicacy.

Tofuya Ukai is an amazing tofu restaurant near the Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, Japan

There are quite a few interesting things to do in Minato including a visit to Tokyo Tower. Open every day from 9 am to 11 pm, this iconic Tokyo landmark is an imposing sight at 333 metres tall, with its bright orange steel framework.

From the top you can see as far as Mount Fuji on a sunny day. Through the glass windows, you can spot a shrine and some colourful Autumn foliage.

One floor down, there’s a fun sight – the Lookdown. You can see through a metal grid to the bottom of the tower. The highlight of our Tokyo Tower visit was the performers dressed in colourful costumes, singing Christmas songs in Japanese.

A visit to the Tokyo Tower with panoramic views over Tokyo, Japan

For dinner in Minato, try Tarafukuuokin at 1-9-1 Shinbashi Minato is known as Codfish Fish Gold in English. It’s a traditional izakaya, a tavern popular with locals that serves some amazing sashimi dishes.

Another option is Sarashina-Nunoya restaurant in Shibadaimon at 1 Chome−15−8. This family owned restaurant have been making soba noodles for hundreds of years. It’s a casual place where the noodles are the star of the show.


On your 3 day Tokyo itinerary, why not take a photography tour by night in the Shinjuku commercial and entertainment area. It’s home to the busiest railway station in the world and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings. Check out the Robot Cafe and the Godzilla head above Hotel Gracery.

Tokyo Street Photography tour at night

Day 2 in Tokyo


Asakusa is one of the most popular places for visitors to Tokyo. Senso-Ji Temple in particular is a fascinating insight into Japanese culture and Buddhism. This is Tokyo’s oldest temple and with over 30 million visitors each year it’s the most popular spiritual site in the world.

Head first to the viewing platform of the Asakusa Tourist Information Centre at 2 Chome-18-9 Kaminarimon. The view of the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate is worth checking out and there’s a cafe too.

Walk along Nakamise Dori, which is lined with many souvenir shops. This famous Tokyo street is a good place to come for kimonos, obi belts, stationery and other gifts.

Along the way you’ll notice quite a few Japanese women dressed in traditional kimonos, socks and sandals. You can rent them from the shops nearby and pose for photographs.

Closer to the main shrine, many people consult little strips of paper to find out their fortunes. The giant flipflop on the side of one shrine is intended to scare any potential demons who would think that a giant lives there.

Senso-Ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Senso-Ji Temple

There are a few other interesting things to do in Asakusa, including a visit to a typical izakaya Japanese pub or to Hanayashiki, the oldest amusement park in Japan. Close to Asakusa, there’s the Tokyo Skytree observation tower and shopping centre in the Sumida district.

Tokyo Skytree observation tower

Tokyo River Cruise

With 3 days in Tokyo, you can also take a river cruise from Hinode to Asakusa. There are regular day and night time tours.

Ours took us past 12 bridges, including the Rainbow Bridge which looked stunning at night. The best spot for taking photos is at the back of the boat on the outside deck. On a chilly night you might prefer to sit on the inside deck but was quite mild.

A Tokyo river cruise from Hinode Pier, Tokyo, Japan

Day 3 in Tokyo


On the last of your 3 days in Tokyo, head to Ginza in the Chuo district. Shopping in Ginza is second to none, with many luxurious department stores and malls such as Ginza Six and Ginza Plaza. Ito-ya is an amazing stationery store spread over 9 floors.

Ginza 6 shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan

There are also some fantastic restaurants in Ginza including Shunjukusei Ginza Grill which specializes in the highest quality Japanese Tajima beef.

Ginza Grill in Tokyo, Japan

Ristorante Hiro Ginza is another great choice for its delicious Italian-Japanese fusion food. What else is there to do in Ginza? Kabukiza Theater is the perfect place to see a kabuki performance. This traditional Japanese art form is known for its elaborate costumes.

Ristorante HIro Ginza in Tokyo, Japan - delicious Japanese-Italian fusion food


The Imperial Palace is one of the most Instagrammable places in Tokyo. If you’re visiting Tokyo in Springtime, the cherry trees in bloom along the moat are a beautiful sight.

The official residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan, it was previously the site of Edo Castle. The public can visit Kita-no-maru-koen Park, Kokyo Higashi Gyoen (Imperial Palace East Gardens) and Kokyo Gaien free of charge.

The latter is the plaza directly in front of the palace, which is a good vantage point for the Nijubashi bridges by which you enter the inner palace. Talking of which, it’s not generally possible to visit the inner grounds apart from on 2 January and 23 December.

The Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan

The business district of Marunouchi is also worth a visit. For shopping in Tokyo, Kitte is an excellent choice.

This upmarket shopping mall has many international boutiques as well as Japanese household goods and trendy eateries spread over 7 floors. There’s a great view of Tokyo Station from the top floor observation deck.

Kitte shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan


Any itinerary for Tokyo should include Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest traffic intersection, Shibuya Crossing.  Known as “The Scramble” it’s been estimated that up to 1000 pedestrians on average are crossing at any given time. 

The area of Shibuya is popular with young people and covers 15.11 km2.  With giant screens displaying advertisements, it’s particularly buzzing at night.

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan - the busiest intersection in the world!

Getting to Tokyo

Tokyo has two international airports, Haneda and Narita. Haneda is closer to the city centre and the majority of domestic flights land there. Our ANA flight from London Heathrow to Haneda airport was peaceful and waiting staff were friendly and attentive. There are quite a few companies flying to Tokyo including Emirates, Japan Airlines and British Airways.

Getting Around Tokyo

If you prefer to get around by taxi, you can hail them on the street quite easily or order a Uber cab. The subway is extremely clean, safe and reliable. We took it a few times during our stay and it wasn’t too crowded though we didn’t take it in rush hour.

You can buy individual tickets or a 1 or 3 day pass. The subway is fairly easy to navigate as there are direction signs in both Japanese and English.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

There’s no shortage of luxury hotels in Tokyo and a surprising amount of reasonably priced options too. We particularly like these Tokyo hotels:

Other Fun Things to Do in Tokyo

We hope you’ve enjoyed these suggestions of what to do in Tokyo in 3 days. With more time in Tokyo you could also visit Tokyo Disneyland or Akihabara Electric Town, famous for its manga shops. Alternatively, why not combine your visit with a trip to the beautiful region of Oita in Kyushu, only an hour and a half away by plane. It has the most hot springs of any area of Japan and some stunning scenery.

What is your favorite place in Tokyo?

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2 thoughts on “Tokyo 3 Day Itinerary for First Time Visitors”

  1. A great itinerary for first time visitors that showcases some of the many different faces of Tokyo. I can’t wait to go back myself!

  2. So much to see I prefer culture and seeing history so this would be a driver for any visit. Not a great sushi 🍣 lover so not sure how I would get on food wise. In I’ll store this for when I get to visit Lucy x

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