HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN TOKYO
Guide on how to spend 4 days in Tokyo, what to do, visit, best restaurants and hotels in Tokyo for a perfect 4-day stay
You would need a lifetime to visit the whole of Tokyo. After all, it is one of the largest cities in the planet with 22 million inhabitants. For a start, 4 full days would be ideal to see the most of it. I will share with you some tips for a perfect 4-day itinerary and how to spend 4 days in Tokyo.
You can also visit my post on my Japan intrarail which gives you some advice about Tokyo.
I have decided to divide this itinerary based on my experience. On the first 2 days, you would see the best of the contrast between ancient and modern Tokyo by visiting the oldest temple, Imperial Palace or its technological Mecca. Since Japanese gardens are one of the main attractions and its beauty is enhanced in particular during Autumn foliage or Cherry Blossom, a whole day should be spent discovering them. Last but not least, exploring the world’s most famous fish market and a truly Japanese shopping experience are also important highlights in your Tokyo trip. If you have more spare days, other suggestions are included.
What to do in Tokyo in Day One – Iconic and Ancient Tokyo
Minato, Asakusa, Sumida River & Chiyoda
What to visit:
With 332.9 m, it is the second tallest building in Japan. It is a communication and observation tower located in the district of Minato. Its construction is inspired on Eiffel-Tower, however painted in white and orange to comply with air safety rules. I recommend visiting it at night to be able to observe it illuminated. When buying tickets you have 2 options: Main Deck (located at 150 metres) or Top Deck (located at 250 metres).
An ancient Buddhist temple and the oldest one in Tokyo. It is also called Asakusa Kannon because it is dedicated to Kannon , Bodhisattva of compassion.
Tokyo Sky Tree
It is a broadcasting and observation tower in the area of Sumida. Moreover, it is also the tallest tower in the world! Tickets can be bought here
Located only a short walk from the Main train station, it is the residence of the Royal Family. There is a large park area surrounding the castle and you can take part in a guided tour and book it here.
What to do in Tokyo in Day Two – High-tech Japan
Akihabara, Shibuya, Giza
What to visit:
Akihabara or Electric Town Gate
This is the technological Mecca. From Sega store to a wide variety of electronic devices, this is the place to buy your Nikon or Seiko watch, for example. You could easily spend a day exploring this quarter, depending on your affinity to technology.
A very popular crossing which allows you to feel the intense vibe of Tokyo and its nightlife.
A very popular and fancy shopping district. The major designer boutiques and stores are located here, as well as some of the greatest and Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo.
What to do in Tokyo in Day Three – Tokyo gardens
Ueno, Shinjuku and Koshikawa
What to visit:
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
One of the best and oldest gardens in Tokyo. Its name Korakuen derives from a poem which encouraged a ruler to enjoy pleasure only after achieving happiness for his people.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
One of the largest gardens in Tokyo, located in the middle of the district Shinjuku. It does have a Tea house inside. You can read the visitor information and entrance fees here
One of the prettiest gardens in Tokyo. If you travel during Autumn foliage, its Night Illumination Show is a must.
What to do in Tokyo in Day Four – Fish Tradition in Japan & Young shopping atmosphere
What to visit:
Tsukiji Fish Market
The most important fish market in Tokyo. You surely have heard of the famous auction on bluefin tuna, which takes place daily at 5 am! The freshness of the products is absolutely amazing! You can explore the market’s gastronomical options, but of course its parallel streets are abounded in high-end and delicious sushi restaurants, directly served by the market.
Takeshita-Dori or Takeshita Street
A 400 meter famous street in the district of Harajuku. In this street plenty of shops abound dedicated to a younger and more modern clientele. You can find very interesting shops selling pretty much everything, for example Japanese clothing or make-up accessories. If you prefer a calmer atmosphere, you can stop at one of its cat cafes or enjoy some matcha delicacies.
Where to eat in Tokyo:
Tokyo is an authentic gastronomy temple and Japanese cuisine encompasses such a wide variety of regional products that go well beyond sushi. Sea urchin, oysters, salmon, grilled fish, okonomiyaki, kobe beef, udon noodles, eel, just to name a few belong to some of its most traditional dishes.
Tokyo hosts both some of the most expensive and incredible Michelin-starred restaurants, but at the same time the most genuine and authentic fancy street food. There is so much to choose from, it only depends what you feel like having and your budget.
A Michelin-guide restaurant I will always recommend that can provide you a wonderful kaiseki menu or haute cuisine menu (around €50/person). Good English spoken. Reservation is mandatory.
Where to stay in Tokyo:
Minato and Chiyoda are two of the most exclusive and safest quarters to stay at. All the major international hotel chains and luxury hotels are located here. I will recommend the hotels I have stayed at, even though many options are available according to your preferences and budget.
Please note hotel rooms are extremely small in Japan (average 9 square meters). Therefore I recommend always staying in Double or Double Superior rooms, even for solo travelers.
(Michelin-guide and free smartphone included) – In a central area of Minato and close to its metro station, it has been featured seven times in a row at the Michelin Guide. Wonderful breakfast (tuna or salmon poke, western options, fresh fruit, etc).
This hotel is one of the greatest I have ever stayed at, in particular its gardens. On my Instagram there is a post about it. Even though I found rooms a bit small for a 5-hotel standard, they have Shu Uemura products. You have a wide range list of restaurants to choose from, but for a lifetime sushi experience nothing beats Kyubey (around €150 per person). Do not forget to take a cocktail at their panoramic bar.
How to spend 4 days in Tokyo – Areas to avoid in Tokyo:
Even though Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world, like any other place it does also have less safe zones.
Kabukicho in Shinjuku and Dongenzaka in Shibuya are prostitution and sponge-drinking zones. Therefore they should be avoided at night.
Other suggestions to visit in Tokyo:
If you have more spare days in Tokyo and travel with family, you could for example visit Tokyo Disney Resort.
If you visit during Autumn or Winter, a spa experience at Tokyo Lake City would also be a cozy option.
For martial arts lovers, a live Sumo show could be an interesting experience.