We have all watched the videos on YouTube and are well aware of the tons of things that you can do in Tokyo. But you only have five days, there’s no way you can do everything. Here is my Ultimate Five Day Itinerary for Tokyo to enable you to check out as much as you can in such a short space of time.
As we stayed in Ueno, one of the closest stop for us by train was Asakusa. It is just two train stops away.
Asakusa is most famous for the Sensoji Temple. It’s a splendour to look at and is a real tourist attraction. The temple area is very large and there are ample photo opportunities available.
Other things to do at Asakusa include going to the first-ever theme park. It is quite old now but completely functional. You pay an entrance fee and pay for each ride you want to enjoy. There are also refreshment stands and ample vending machines.
Another top pick where we managed to secure many of our gifts and souvenirs was the market at the back of Sensoji Temple. The vendors sell the goods here at a cheaper price in comparison to other places in Tokyo. But make sure you first walk around to enable you to find the item at the best price. When stalls are closed, shutters are pulled down and each shutter has hand-painted murals which made for a pretty sight.
In each of the cities, you will find a Don Quijote and you can find just about anything in these stores. We visited the one in Asakusa and was able to find more souvenirs and gifts for ourselves.
Another plus point and definite tourist spot is the Tokyo Skytree. Next to the Tokyo Skytree is a shopping mall with levels of shops featuring authentic brands including the Sanrio Hello Kitty Japan and Pokémon stores. There is an entrance fee to go all the way up the building. However, we didn’t feel like that would do the building justice in our eyes. We had better views of the building from the bottom as well as from across the River.
A visit to Japan’s most iconic symbol and the tallest mountain in Japan should definitely be on the agenda. Mount Fuji is located in the Fuji-Hakoane-Izu National Park. And it is about an hour and a half drive from Tokyo, making it a practical day trip.
The tour has designated pick up spots (which can be found on their website) and the bus departs from Shinjuku to Hakoane. The bus has an English speaking guide, which was very helpful.
During the tour you visit the ponds of Oshino Hakkai, there is also a food market and other stalls if you would like to purchase something. Thereafter you are taken to the Oshino Ninja Village. At this time, if you have purchased the lunch option you will be escorted to the restaurant for your lunch. As there are no longer any living ninjas in Japan, you will not see any real ninjas. You can walk around the gardens, visit a ninja lookout, take a picture with a “ninja” or throw a few shurikens (the star blades ninjas use) onto a target.
Fifth Station, Mount Fuji
After the visit to the ninja village, you arrive at the 5th Station, Mount Fuji, it is the highest point you can travel to by vehicle. If you want to get higher, then you will have to hike the mountain. From 5th Station, there are viewing points to see Mount Fuji and to take beautiful pictures. On the occasion that we went, we managed to see the mountain clearly as the bus was going up. However, once we reach the station, the mountain was covered with clouds and we only got to see snippets of the magnificent Mount Fuji. At 5th station, there are a few shops selling food and souvenirs. Please take note that when you are at 5th Station, it is extremely busy, it is very touristy.
Thereafter, you are taken to Lake Kawaguchi-ko, which is one of the Fuji Five Lakes. You have Mount Fuji in the background at the lake. There are a few food stalls. Our guide recommended that we try the vanilla and blueberry ice-cream, and it was amazing.
After the lake, you are taken to Fuji-Q Highland Park. This is an amusement park with some of the highest and longest roller coasters. At the park, you are taken on a 4D Fuji Airways Flight simulator where you are able to experience Mount Fuji in all its glory during each season of the year.
Upon completion of the tour, you are driven back to the starting point. Please note that at the end of the tour you are dropped off at Shinjuku and not at your original pick up points.
As you will be in the area, now is an excellent time to explore Shinjuku. It’s filled with shops and there are tons of restaurants and bars to choose from. The shopping district is filled with all your high-end brands which can be found all around the train station. Also, note that the Shinjuku district is very busy as Shinjuku Train Station is one of the busiest railway stations in the world.
A definite must-visit would be Omoide Yokocho. It consists of narrow alleyways filled with lots of Izakaya pubs. Here you can enjoy delicious Japanese food and a variety of drinks. As there are so many Izakayas to choose from, it is going to be a very difficult choice to pick just one. We made a stop at a few along the way and thoroughly enjoyed it. The food portions are smaller so it enables you to comfortably hop around and eat as much as you would like.
What would a trip to Japan be without visiting Tokyo Disneyland? This will also be a day trip as Tokyo Disneyland is located in Maihama, Japan. Which is about a forty-minute train ride away. Tickets should be purchased in advance (at least a month early) and online and ensure that you arrive early. The park comprises of seven different areas so there will be a lot to do.
You can see my more detailed Guide to Tokyo Disneyland which will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make the most of your time at the park.
Ikspiari – Moreau Mignon
Before you leave the area, stop by at Moreau Mignon which is located in Ikspiari right next to the park. Ikspiari has an array of shops and restaurants to choose from.
Moreau Mignon is considered an uber Instagramable spot as it has many beautiful sets ready for you to take your pictures. There is no entrance fee and you can wander around from set to set and snap up all the pictures your heart desires. The store also has different photo booths which are a Japanese pop culture trend. After taking the photos in the photo booth, you are able to then edit the pictures with a wide range of background, texts and emojis. The variations are endless.
Time to explore Ueno and there are loads to do in this district. Ueno is a quaint district situated in Taito City. Ueno is also centrally located and is easily accessible to both Asakusa and Akihabara.
One of the most famous places to stop by is the Ueno Onshi Park. At the park, you will get to experience an array of activities including a lake, museums, several shrines and the zoo. There is also ample walking paths that take you around the entire park. The park is 538 000 square metres so you will have a lot to see and do there.
Another place to visit at Ueno is the Ameyoko Market which is situated adjacent to the Ueno train station. The market is made up of many shops and stalls and feature items from fresh fruit and vegetable to clothing, electronics and cosmetics. In addition, there are also gaming stores which contain “old school” gaming machines allowing you to have hours of fun. Usually, the market is open from around 10:00 am to around 20:00 pm daily. however, gaming stores generally close a bit later.
As we are all well aware, Japan is most notably famous for their buzzing electronic scene as well their absolute love for video games, manga and anime. In Akihabara, you will find all these things in abundance. It is a shopping hub. Yodobashi Camera is one of the more popular stores offering you nine storeys of mainly electronic goods. It is located in front of the Akihabara train station.
There are also a host of maid cafes wherein guests are served by “maids” dressed in cute costumes. Whilst walking on the streets, these maids will show you the menus of these cafes in the hope to entice you to enter. You can also visit Mandarake is one of the biggest second-hand manga and anime stores in the world. One can easily spend an entire day moving from shop to shop and trying to limit yourself as you would want to purchase everything you see.
Please note that lots of electronics may only be compatible in Japan. And the language of use would be Japanese, so be sure to keep a lookout for that. There are international electronics so you definitely will find things to purchase for your trip back home.
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What better way to end of your trip than to visit one of the more popular shopping and entertainment districts. The streets of Shibuya and Harajuku come together to give you a merge of fashion and culture. Popular activities to do include walking at the Shibuya Crossing. This is situated in front of the Hachiko exit of the train station. Shibuya crossing is considered one of the world’s busiest scramble crossing where thousands of pedestrians walk through regularly. It is also a famous Instagram spot so its definitely a photo op you will not want to miss.
Another great place to visit is the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Tokyu Plaza). It is a multi-floor shopping mall with designer shops. There is also a rooftop terrace which overlooks Harajuku. A worthy stopover for lunch at Tokyo Plaza would definitely be Bills. The food was phenomenal and some of the best you will in the area. Bills gets busy and often there will be lines outside where people are patiently waiting to get in, so it is definitely worth it. The streets in Shibuya are filled with tons of designer stores so there won’t be a brand you can’t find there.
Shrines are an intricate part of Japanese culture and one that is definitely worth a visit is Meiji-Jingu Shrine. It is located near Harajuku Station and is one of the most popular shrines in Japan.
The Shrine covers a large area and there are large pathways through the forest to get to the entrance. Along the pathway to the Shrine, there are large sake barrels which fill parts of the walls and is a favourite photo spot so it does get very busy.
Overall Tokyo is a huge place and five days is not a lot of time to see everything the city has to offer. That being said, this itinerary for five days will enable you to explore some of the favourite spots and really experience the culture of the Japanese people. From seeing the iconic Mount Fuji to visiting the Izakaya pubs, you will understand why Tokyo, Japan is such a sought after destination.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my previous post on the A Guide to Tokyo Disneyland, which offers a detailed account of the different transport options and the best ones to suit your budget and situation.
* Please note that all prices and contact information are correct at time of publication. Please check the venues websites as prices may change without notice. *