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How To Spend Five Days in Tokyo (5 Day Itinerary)

Five days in Tokyo is the perfect amount of time to explore the different sides of the city.

Over the course of your trip, you can see the main tourist attractions, try different types of Japanese food, explore many neighborhoods, and better understand daily life.

When I first returned to Tokyo as an adult, I was overwhelmed by the number of things to do and places to go. Each block is packed with restaurants, stores, temples, shrines, and many other sights. It’s impossible to see and experience everything, even if you have months or years.

You can maximize your trip with a structured approach to exploring Tokyo that is organized based on neighborhood. My family, friends, and I all followed versions of this Tokyo itinerary multiple times and really enjoyed the variety in it.

In this guide, I’ll recommend the ideal itinerary for how to spend five days in Tokyo.

How should you spend five days in Tokyo?

When is the best time of year to visit Tokyo?

The best time of year to visit Tokyo is between September to May.

Tokyo in the summer can be uncomfortably hot and humid, but the rest of the year is generally pleasant.

During the fall, Tokyo has sunny skies and gorgeous autumn foliage. The fall is my favorite time of year in Tokyo and when I enjoy being outside the most.

Since Tokyo is near the coast, it doesn’t get much snow nor get too cold during the winter. January is typically the chilliest month, but even then most days have blue skies and you’ll be fine walking around outside with a warm winter coat and scarf.

Tokyo is most popular to visit during the spring when Japan’s iconic sakura blossoms cover the city in pink. Peak blooms usually occur from mid-March to early April. Check out my guide to the most beautiful places to see sakura in and around Tokyo to inspire your spring trip!

How To Get To Tokyo

Tokyo has two international airports: Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport. Haneda is much closer to central Tokyo than Narita, so if at all possible fly in and out of Haneda over Narita.

For comparison:

Where To Stay In Tokyo

Each of Tokyo’s many neighborhood has a distinct personality along with its own pros and cons. Generally, I suggest staying in central Tokyo in neighborhoods like Shibuya, Ebisu, Harajuku, or Roppongi.

Read my detailed guide about the best neighborhoods to stay in during your visit to Tokyo to see specific hotel suggestions and detailed benefits and drawbacks of each area. A few hotel highlights include:

Looking to indulge? Check out my guide to the best luxury hotels in Tokyo for inspiration.

Itinerary Overview

This five day itinerary packs a lot of variety in less than a week. In summary, you can expect:

  1. Day 1: Harajuku, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Shibuya

  2. Day 2: Sensō-ji, the Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower

  3. Day 3: Daikanyama, Shimo-kitazawa, and Shinsen

  4. Day 4: Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Skytree, and Shinjuku (+ Golden Gai)

  5. Day 5: teamLab, Ebisu, and Nakameguro

If you prefer a guided tour of Tokyo, Klook has a popular one.

Itinerary Details

Day 1 & Day 2 (Harajuku, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Shibuya & Senso-ji, the Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower)

To begin your trip, start with my comprehensive guide about How To Spend Two Days in Tokyo.

On Day 1, you will start in Harajuku, walk through Meiji Jingu Shrine, and make your way down to Shibuya.

On Day 2, you will explore the east part of Tokyo and visit Sensō-ji, the Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower.

This two day itinerary focuses on the must-see tourist attractions of Tokyo. You’ll experience a great mix of modern city life and the traditional side of Japan.

Lucky for you, you’re staying for a few more days! The next days of this five day itinerary allow you to more deeply explore different sides of Tokyo.

Day 3: Daikanyama, Shimo-kitazawa, and Shinsen

Morning

After a busy first two days of walking, this third day is designed to give you a bit of a rest. Start your day in Daikanyama, the stylish neighborhood just south of Shibuya.

This neighborhood is dotted with cool boutiques, laid back coffee shops, and delicious restaurants.

For breakfast, I recommend:

  1. Urth Caffe – Daikanyama (health-focused cafe)

  2. HEAVENLY Island Lifestyle (Hawaiian-influenced cafe)

  3. FLUX CAFE (coffee shop)

  4. Mocha Coffee (coffee shop)

  5. WOODBERRY COFFEE (coffee shop)

After you eat, head to the Former Asakura Residence to walk through a beautifully-kept 20th century Tokyo mansion.

The view in December from the Former Asakura Residence


The garden surrounding the mansion is particularly beautiful in the autumn or spring. Expect to take about one hour to visit the Former Asakura Residence. Note the mansion is closed to visitors on Mondays and public holidays.

If you have time, visit Kamawanu Daikanyama, a small boutique that specializes in “tenugui” (hand towels) and “furushiki” (cloth wrapping). I recommend this store in my list of places to buy unique souvenirs in Tokyo.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, head to the up-and-coming Shimo-kitazawa neighborhood. It is about 30 minutes by train from Daikanyama (you have to transfer through Shibuya Station).

Shimo-kitazawa is a trendy area known for its vintage shopping and cool cafes. This area is usually not on the typical Tokyo tourist’s agenda, so you can get to know a more unique and local part of Tokyo.

For lunch, try:

  1. Gastropub GOZO (American-style pub food)

  2. Coaster Craft Beer & Burgers (American-style pub food, brewery)

  3. Temma-ya Curry Shimokitazawa (Japanese curry)

  4. Men to Mirai (ramen)

  5. Dashin Soan (soba)

After lunch, get lost in the streets of Shimo-kitazawa and explore the many vintage shops, including:

You need to make a reservation in advance, but I highly recommend ending your afternoon by visiting the onsen in Yuenbettei – Daita hotel. For ¥3,850 per person, you can visit their luxurious onsen and spend an hour in their tea salon enjoying traditional snacks. The onsen areas are separated by gender and require full nudity. Note that you can’t visit the onsen if you have tattoos (you can purchase tattoo sticker covers for ¥300 at the hotel front desk).

Evening

For dinner, take the train back toward Shibuya and get off at Shinsen Station. Shinsen is a residential, stylish area on the west side of Shibuya Station. Many popular and trendy restaurants are in this part of Shibuya.

I strongly recommend that you make a dinner reservation to visit:

  1. AURELIO (Italian)

  2. IGOR COSY 神泉 (upscale Izakaya – Japanese pub food)

  3. Manuel Cozinha Portuguesa (Portuguese)

  4. 楽椿ーラクチン (Izakaya – Japanese pub food)

  5. 二代目 葵 (upscale Izakaya – Japanese pub food)

  6. neo (wine bar)

After dinner, either walk or take the train one stop to Shibuya Station. If you didn’t get enough of Shibuya Crossing from Day 1 of my How To Spend Two Days in Tokyo guide, now is a good time to head back into the chaos again.

Go get some rest for tomorrow!

Day 4: Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Skytree, and Shinjuku (+ Golden Gai)

Morning

The entrance of the Tokyo National Museum


Start your day in Ueno, a traditional neighborhood of Tokyo with many popular sightseeing attractions including Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Zoo, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and more.

For breakfast, try one of these options:

Once you’re done with breakfast, walk to Tokyo National Museum, which is the the oldest national museum and largest art museum in Japan.

Tokyo National Museum has an enormous selection of Asian art pieces with a focus on ancient and medieval Japanese art.

Dogu (Clay figurine), With heart-shaped face, 2000 – 1000 BC You can see this art piece in the Tokyo National Museum.


You can easily spend a few hours wandering through the various buildings that make up the museum complex. If you’d like some fresh air, you can stroll through the large park area in front of the museum.

The fountain in the park in front of Tokyo National Museum


Afternoon

Once you’re done exploring Tokyo National Museum, take a break for lunch. If you’re hungry and want to eat right away, have a bite from one of the food trucks at the entrance of the museum or try the museum restaurant (but expect a long line).

If you can wait another 30 minutes for lunch, take the train to Tokyo Skytree (buy tickets in advance on Klook).

Try one of these restaurants near Tokyo Skytree:

  1. 634 (upscale Western restaurant inside Tokyo Skytree)

  2. Ippudo Noodle Express (ramen)

  3. Tsukiji Gindaco – Tokyo Solamachi (takoyaki – battered snack balls with octopus)

  4. Sora-Tora-Ya (ramen)

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. From the top, you will get incredible views of Tokyo that really show how expansive the metropolis is.

You can book tickets in advance for a discount or buy them same-day. If you plan to follow this itinerary fully and go to the popular teamLab Planets art museum on the fifth day, you can buy a combo ticket for Tokyo Skytree, teamLab Planets and more and save some money.

Evening

In the evening, take the train to the bustling Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo. Shinjuku is famous for its neon-lit streets, large department stores, and vibrant nightlife.

If you want to do some shopping, visit these departments stores to find international and Japanese brands alike:

For dinner, I suggest trying:

  1. Shinjuku Kappo NAKAJIMA (general Japanese)

  2. Kushi Tempura Dandanya (tempura – batter-fried skewer dishes)

  3. J.S. Burgers Cafe Shinjuku (burgers)

  4. Shinjuku Sushi Makoto (sushi)

  5. Soushi Menya Musashi (ramen)

After you finish your meal, walk to the iconic Golden Gai area of Shinjuku. Golden Gai is a cluster of winding alleys with many tiny bars and restaurants. It is on many tourists’ “bucket list” items of things-to-do when they visit Tokyo.

Day 5: teamLab, Ebisu, and Nakameguro

Morning

To spend your fifth day in Tokyo, enjoy the experiential, modern art at teamLab then explore the residential neighborhoods on the south part of the city.

First, begin your morning with breakfast near your accommodations. There are limited dining options near teamLab Planets Tokyo.

teamLab is a highly Instagrammable and popular digital art experience. They have rotating locations with unique exhibits (through the end of 2023, teamLab Planets Tokyo is the only location in Tokyo).

One of the exhibits inside teamLab Planets


As a piece of advice, wear pants or long skirts when visiting teamLab because many of the exhibits feature mirrored floors (the museum also offers cloth covers if needed).

Afternoon

After your morning exploring teamLab, head back toward the center of Tokyo to the Ebisu neighborhood for lunch (another good lunch option is the vegan ramen restaurant right outside of teamLab Planets – if you’re interested in vegan restaurants in Tokyo, check out my guide here).

Ebisu is a popular residential neighborhood southwest of Shibuya (I have a full neighborhood guide written). It is one of the most desirable areas to live in Tokyo due to its walkability and convenient location.

For lunch, I suggest one of these restaurants:

  1. Itasoba Kaoriya Ebisu (soba)

  2. Unatetsu (unagi – eel specialty restaurant)

  3. Burger Mania Ebisu (burgers)

  4. モナミ精肉食堂 (Korean)

  5. Gyoza Dandadan Ebisu (gyoza)

  6. Spring Valley Brewery Tokyo (brewery, pub food)

Part of the charm of Ebisu is wandering the small streets and enjoying a part of Tokyo that is popular with local residents. Take the afternoon to explore unfamiliar paths and pop in to small shops.

You can visit the modern Yebisu Garden Place shopping plaza for lunch or an afternoon coffee or beer. My favorite home decor store in Tokyo, TODAY’S SPECIAL, has a location here.

The interior of TODAY’S SPECIAL in Yebisu Garden Place


Evening

If you have the energy, you can walk about 20 minutes from Ebisu to another popular residential neighborhood, Nakameguro.

If you visit Tokyo in late March or early April, take the Meguro River walking path to see breathtaking views of cherry blossoms.

Nakameguro is a trendy neighborhood known for its many boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Try one of these restaurants for dinner (I suggest making reservations for any in the list with an asterisk (*)):

  1. *Clandestino 41 (dinner)

  2. Afuri Nakameguro (ramen)

  3. *Udatsu Sushi 宇田津 鮨 (sushi)

  4. ADI (Nepalese)

  5. Aburi Shimizu Nakameguro (Izakaya – Japanese pub food)

  6. Yakitori Tsukada (yakitori – chicken skewers)

A bowl of ramen at Afuri in Nakameguro


Enjoy Tokyo!

Through following this itinerary, you saw the highlights of the city along with more off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods and restaurants. I hope that you enjoyed experiencing the many different sides of Tokyo.

The next time you visit Tokyo, you can explore the surrounding area through half or full day trips (for inspiration, check out my guide to Okutama: Escape Tokyo For A Beautiful Day In Nature (Hiking, Sake Tasting, Shrines)).

Looking to visit other parts of Japan? Check out my guides to Kyoto, Nara, and Kanazawa for ideas.

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