Tokyo is a city of contrasts. Ancient shrines sit across from busy shopping centers. Cherry blossom trees grow in front of flashing billboards. Narrow alleys with tiny restaurants hide behind six-lane roads and skyscrapers. And with this 6 day Tokyo itinerary, you’ll have time to experience the city’s highlights and hidden gems.
6 days in Tokyo might seem like a lot, but this massive metropolis has so much to offer. From UNESCO sites to parks to gaming arcades, this city wants for nothing. It’s home to the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten, and is surprisingly budget-friendly. And best of all, you can get off the beaten path with minimal knowledge of Japanese!
Heads up: This is a comprehensive Tokyo itinerary! I suggest pinning it now so you can refer back later.
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6 Day Tokyo Itinerary
Best Time to go to Tokyo
Getting to Tokyo
Getting Around Tokyo
Where to Stay in Tokyo
Day 1: Akihabara, Jinbocho, Ueno Park
Day 2: Studio Ghibli Museum, Inokashira Park, Shinjuku
Day 3: Shibuya, Harajuku, Shimokitazawa
Day 4: Tsukiji Outer Market, Chiyoda, Ginza, Rainbow Bridge
Day 5: Kagurazaka, Asakusa
Day 6: Kamakura
More Ideas for Spending 6 Days in Tokyo
Tokyo 6 Day Itinerary Map
Know Before You Go: Tokyo Travel Tips
Estimated Budget (excluding transportation and accommodation): $325 / 36,000 yen
Cash is still king in Japan, and Tokyo is no exception. Although more places are adding card readers–especially with the expected travel to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics–you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops that only take yen.
Definitely bring a coin purse with you, as the yen coins go all the way up to 500 before paper money kicks in.
Also, not all ATMs in Japan work with foreign cards. Keep an eye out for green 7-Bank (owend by 7-Eleven) and Japan Post Office ATMs. These work with most international, chip-enabled cards. You’ll find them in Japan’s major airports, convenience stores, and post offices.
Finally, I highly suggest you arrive with some yen or cash to exchange. You never know if your card will have issues, or your bank will decline a transaction. And that could cost you precious time out of your 6 day Tokyo trip.
You’ve probably read a lot of conflicting advice about how much Japanese you need to know for visiting Tokyo. Speaking from experience, I promise that learning a handful of basic travel phrases is absolutely worth your time.
While most people in the city can speak a bit of English, you’ll put people at ease if you use a little Japanese. And frankly, it’s downright rude to not thank people for a meal or say excuse me if you bump into them, merely because you didn’t bother learning a couple phrases.
The 10 phrases below are plenty for spending six days in Tokyo. I strongly recommend downloading Google Translate on your phone and adding these phrases into your phrasebook. And be sure to download the Japanese dictionary for offline use!
- Hello – Konnichiwa (cone-nee-chi-wa)
- Good morning – Ohayo (oh-high-yo)
- Good evening – Konbanwa (cone-bahn-wa)
- Thank you – Arigatou Gozaimasu (a-ree-ga-toe go-zeye-mus)
- Excuse Me – Sumimasen (sue-me-mah-sen)
- Yes – Hai (hi)
- Do you understand English? – Eigo ga hanasemasu ka? (ay-go gah ha-nah-say-mas kah)
- Sorry, I don’t understand – Sumimasen, wakarimasen (sue-me-mah-sen, wah-kah-ree-mah-sen)
- (I’d like) this, please – Kore o kudasai (koh-reh oh koo-dah-sigh)
- Can I have the bill, please? – Okanjo o onegaishimasu (oh-kahn-jo oh oh-neh-guy-she-mas)
I’ve written an entire post on Japanese culture and things to avoid in Japan. But if you’re looking for the cliff notes version, here’s what you should know before spending 6 days in Tokyo:
- Never leave a tip, including for taxis, hotels, and restaurants. It’s not culturally acceptable, and your server will come running after you to return it.
- Always wear or carry socks. Some museums, restaurants, and shrines require you to swap your shoes for slippers, and bare feet are a no-no.
- Don’t ask for meal customizations. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll have a somewhat difficult time, as most Japanese sauces and broths contain meat or fish. And if you have food allergies, you should bring a Japanese/English allergen card to help you communicate with your server.
- Bring hand sanitizer everywhere. Not all bathrooms have soap.
- Never eat on public transit unless you’re riding the Shinkansen (bullet train). And if you’re on the street, don’t walk and eat/drink.
Best Time to go to Tokyo
It’s tough to choose the best time to go to Tokyo. Each season offers benefits and drawbacks, from weather to events to cost. Here’s some information to help you plan a visit to Tokyo:
- December to February is chilly (around 40-50°F/5-10°C), but the crowds are much thinner and travel is cheaper (except for New Year’s). Christmas is surprisingly a big deal, and you’ll see shops and courtyards decked out with light displays.
- March to May sees warmer temps (starting at 50°F/10°C and nearing 70°F/20°C) and beautiful cherry blossom trees. The peak hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season for Tokyo changes each year, but is usually around mid to late April.
- June to August is best avoided. It’s peak travel season, and the weather is hot and humid. It’s also the time of the rainy and typhoon season. However, there are summer festivals and fireworks to take your mind off the heat.
- September is a good time to visit Tokyo, as the humidity and crowds of summer dissipate. You’ll get shoulder season prices and shorter queues, as well as a few autumn festivals.
- October and November are all about festivals, vibrant red maples, and decent weather. If you want to catch peak fall foliage in Tokyo, plan your trip for early to mid-November.
Getting to Tokyo
There are literally hundreds of public transit routes leading to Tokyo, too many to cover in this post. I also realize you may be coming from elsewhere in Japan to start this 6 day Tokyo itinerary. However, I’ll share a few optimal routes from Tokyo’s major airports into the city.
Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo
This express train is the fastest way to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo. It takes about 50 minutes to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station. From there, you can continue on to Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and a few other stations.
Although it’s 4,000 yen for a round trip ticket, you’ll get to Tokyo much faster without needing to navigate any subway changes. You can buy these tickets in the basement-level JR office at the airport.
The Japan Rail pass covers the Narita Express. However, all Narita Express seats are reserved. So, you must make your seat reservation right when you pick up your pass from the JR office.
After you’ve purchased your tickets/made a reservation, follow the signs to head down to the N’EX (Narita Express) platform. Look at your ticket to see which car number you’re in, and wait by that number on the platform. Once on the train, you can store large luggage near the doors. Backpacks and small roller bags will fit in the overhead area or under the seat.
Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
JR pass holders can take the Tokyo Monorail for free. It’a a short 14 minute journey to Hamamatsucho Station. From there, you can take the JR Yamanote line pretty much anywhere in the city, including Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Keikyu Line from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
If you don’t have a JR pass, I recommend taking the Keikyu train line into the city. Fares range from 500-600 yen, with journey times between 20-30 minutes depending on where you get off. You can also use a Suica card to pay for the journey.
Getting Around Tokyo
Tokyo is famous for its incredibly efficient and affordable public transit system. And you’ll be making good use of it for this 6 day Tokyo itinerary.
The first thing you should do when you arrive in Tokyo is buy a Suica (IC) card. You’ll find Suica machines at basically every station in Tokyo. Once at the machine, choose your language and select the option to buy a new card. You’ll need to load money onto the card, plus an initial 500 yen deposit. Most Suica machines accept credit card, but some are cash-only.
If you’ve traveled to London or other places that use a contactless metro card system, you won’t have any trouble using your Suica. Just tap your card onto the reader at the station gate, and tap out when you exit at the next station. You can check and reload your Suica balance at most subway stops.
And Suica cards aren’t just for public transit! You can even use them at vending machines and convenience stores like Lawson’s and Family Mart. It’s a great way to use up excess balance before you leave Tokyo.
Tokyo’s transit system is well-labeled in English, and even has English announcements at the platforms and onboard the trains. However, choosing the right route from point A to B is not easy without an app.
Google Maps is a life-saver for finding the best subway routes, and will even give you the correct train platform and fare information. Hyperdia is also an excellent Japan route finder, and they recently released a US app for iOS and Android.
Having cell data is essential for getting around Tokyo. Streets are not labeled like they are in Western countries, and it’s very easy to get turned around. Plus, Tokyo’s complex subway system can be overwhelming to navigate without Google Maps. If your phone plan/device won’t work in Japan, you should rent a pocket WiFi or a phone.
Fortunately, you can order your pocket WiFi rental online, and even have it delivered directly to your hotel!
Where to Stay in Tokyo
Tokyo’s excellent train and subway system means you can stay pretty much anywhere. However, for this particular Tokyo itinerary, I highly recommend staying in either Shinjuku, Shibuya, Minato, or Kanda. All of these wards offer a wide range of accommodation, food/drink, and access to Tokyo’s main subway lines.
In terms of accommodation types, Tokyo has everything from hostels to high end ryokans (traditional Japanese inns). If money is extremely tight, you could even rent overnight space in a manga cafe (though you’ll have a painful six days in Tokyo). After Japan’s 2018 overhaul of accommodation regulations, you’ll be hard-pressed to find rentals by owner (i.e. Airbnb, Homeaway/VRBO).
I can’t think of a better way to start a Tokyo itinerary than a trip to Akihabara. Known as Electric Town or Akiba, this neighborhood is the epicenter of Japan’s anime and gaming culture. Multi-story arcades, themed cafes, and colorful billboards fill the streets and skyline. Even if you’re not an otaku, Akiba is an incredibly fun place to explore, especially if you’re fighting extreme jet lag.
You could easily spend an entire day in Electric Town, but here are the must sees in Akihabara:
- Visit the Mandarake Complex for eight floors of collectibles, cosplay gear, games, manga, and more.
- Check out Super Potato for endless shelves of retro video games, accessories, and vintage arcade machines. They even have old consoles set up, so you can your original Donkey Kong or Super Mario World fix.
- Bring your 100 yen coins to Yodobashi Camera’s Gachapon Corner, where people of all ages come to collect tiny prizes from the capsule-dispensing machines.
- Head to the Sega Building to sample Tokyo’s hottest arcade titles, from frantic rhythm games to realistic racers. And try not to spend all your money attempting to win a Snorlax plushie from the crane games.
- Escape the crowds at the beautiful Kanda Myojin shrine, where gamers take their consoles to be blessed for good luck.
After all this excitement, you’ll be ready for refreshment. Know that the popular themed cafes, like the one for Square Enix, require online reservations. So, you’ll need to plan a few days or weeks in advance if you want a Moogle milkshake.
There are also Tokyo’s infamous maid cafes, where girls in cute maid costumes will treat you like a king (or queen) and typically serve you cutesy dishes. Each maid cafe is unique, but most involve singing, dancing, and other entertaining interactions throughout the meal. Also, please note that it’s rude to take photos of the maids who stand outside and promote the cafe, unless you’re a paying customer.
Akihabara also has delicious street food, from sweet crepes to savory takoyaki (octopus fritters). You should definitely try taiyaki, a fish-shaped pastry. Traditionally filled with sweet red bean paste, this fried delight can be stuffed with anything from nutella to apple custard.
Once you’ve finished exploring Akihabara, walk south across the Kanda River towards Jinbocho.
Jinbocho serves as a stark contrast to the mild chaos of Electric Town. Known as the used book capital of Tokyo, Jinbocho boasts over 150 bookstores. Here, you’ll find everything from antique manuscripts to discount manga shops.
Even if you don’t read Japanese, there’s plenty to do in this underrated neighborhood. Otakus should not miss Village Vanguard Ochanomizu, essentially a Super Potato shop without the pressing crowds. Whether you’re in the market for a Studio Ghibli jewelry box or an Inuyasha t-shirt, Village Vanguard probably has it.
Then, stop into Isseido Booksellers near Jinbocho Station for two floors of vintage books and scrolls. The second level houses rare illustrated manuscripts and old English language texts.
At this point, you’ll probably be ready for a hearty meal. Because it’s nearly impossible to have a bad meal in Japan, I won’t recommend specific restaurants for each of the 6 days in Tokyo. However, you cannot leave the city without trying one of the city’s best curries.
Head to Curry Bondy for their famous plate of rich and savory beef curry, topped with a little cheese. And if that’s not enough, it all comes with a side of steamed potatoes!
Getting here can be a bit tricky, as the entrance is in a back alley off the main road. It’s definitely one of those secret places in Tokyo that few tourists know about. However, they’ll probably be a small line of people outside waiting for a seat. When I was there, the hostess spoke some English. However, you’ll want to know some basic Japanese to explain how many are in your party and place your order.
After lunch, take the Shinjuku line from Jinbocho Station to Iwamotocho Station. Then, walk north to Akihabara Station and take the Hibiya line to Ueno Station.
Ueno Park is a sprawling complex of green space, shrines, and museums. It’s a popular fall foliage and cherry blossom viewing spot. And no matter the season, there’s an excellent view of the Tokyo skyline from across Shinobazu Pond.
There’s no admission fee for Ueno Park itself, making it one of the best budget-friendly excursions in this 6 day Tokyo guide.
At the northern end of Ueno Park lies Tokyo National Museum, a sprawling complex of Japanese art and archaeological treasures. There are multiple buildings, but you’ll probably only have time (and energy) to wander the central Honkan gallery. Here, you’ll see everything from centuries-old tapestries to samurai armor. Admission is 620 yen.
Save me for later!
Studio Ghibli Museum
Forget Tokyo Disney. If you want to be transported into a fairy tale, book a visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum.
This interactive museum celebrates Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films, from My Neighobr Totoro‘s Cat Bus to original drawings for Howl’s Moving Castle. There’s even a replica Miyazaki office that seems plucked from a storybook.
The Studio Ghibli Museum was a major highlight of my 6 days in Tokyo, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Getting here is easy. Just take the JR East like to Mitaka Station, and follow the adorable street signs to reach the entrance.
Before boarding the train back to central Tokyo, visit one of the city’s most beautiful parks. Inokashira Park is gorgeous year round, though it’s simply idyllic during cherry blossom season and autumn.
Walk along the paths and bridges and watch rowboats glide across the pond. There’s also a shrine and Japanese garden to explore.
After soaking in the peace and quiet, head back to Mitaka Station and take the JR East train to Shinjuku Station.
I think Shinjuku is one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo. Though it’s mainly a commercial and residential area, there’s plenty of fun to be had around town.
From Shinjuku Station, head two blocks west to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Unlike Tokyo Skytree, the observation decks here are completely free and offer amazing views over Tokyo.
Afterwards, walk back towards the station and keep going east. You’ll soon reach Shinjuku Park, a massive green space in the heart of Tokyo. Pay the 200 yen admission fee and wander the numerous garden paths, which are lined with cherry blossoms in the spring. There’s also a great view of the city skyline.
At this point, it should be close to dark, and that’s when Shinjuku comes alive. Walk northeast of Shinjuku Station to Golden Gai, a series of narrow alleys lined with lanterns and tiny izakaya, Japanese pubs.
Though it’s fun to wander the area, I don’t recommend going in any Golden Gai bars without a guide. It’s one of the few places in Japan where foreigners are often overcharged. Plus, some of these intimate, 5-seat izakaya are havens for locals looking to escape the crowds.
Instead, I suggest booking a guided tour with a local who can help you get an authentic Shinjuku experience.
One block west of Golden Gai is the infamous Kabukicho, the “red light district” of Tokyo. You’ll find endless streets of hostess clubs, love hotels, and karaoke bars beneath the flashing lights. Despite its reputation, Kabukicho is perfectly safe and plenty of fun, especially if you rent a karaoke room for an hour.
People think Shibuya is the most hectic neighborhood in Tokyo. But in reality, this ward is home to Tokyo’s largest park and one of the most famous shrines.
Exit Shibuya Station and witness one of Tokyo’s most iconic scenes: hundreds of people passing through Shibuya Crossing. If you want a cool aerial view of the spectacle, there’s a Starbucks in the train station with a glass wall overlooking the crosswalk.
Don’t miss the the Hatchiko statue near the station’s northwest exit, which memorializes the famously loyal Akita who waited here for his owner each day.
Shibuya is a major shopping destination, and you’ll pass hundreds of Japanese and Western stores as you walk north towards Yoyogi Park.
I’ll never forget my first visit to Yoyogi Park. It was a cool, rainy morning, and there was a slight mist hovering in woods. It was completely quiet, save for the occasional shuffle of feet as we passed other walkers. I honestly could not believe I was still in Tokyo.
At the park’s northern end, you’ll find the massive wooden torii gates of Meiji Jingu Shrine. Continue into the massive complex, where you’ll find several buildings. The Meiji treasure house and annex stores kimonos and personal effects of current and former royal family members. You can go inside for 500 yen. There’s also the inner garden, where irises bloom in late June (also 500 yen admission).
After you’ve finished exploring, walk south down the main pathway towards Harajuku Station.
Harajuku is the epicenter of cute things to in Tokyo. As you walk down Takeshita Dori, the main shopping street, you’ll see everything from Lolita costumes to towering parfaits.
If you’re into quirky Japanese fashion (or need a break from the pressing crowds), get off the main road and into the alleys. Here, vendors sell the latest clothing and accessory trends, though they don’t come cheap.
And it wouldn’t be a visit to Harajuku without an over-the-top dessert crepe. There are a dozen crepe stands in Harajuku, but I personally loved Angels Heart.
Finish up your crepe before heading to to Harajuku Station, where you’ll take the Chiyoda line to Shimo-Kitazawa Station.
Unlike the manic-pixie vibe of Harajuku, Shimokitazawa has a more alternative, indie feel. Anyone who loves thrift stores, record shops, and good coffee should feel right at home in this quiet neighborhood. And it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening before tomorrow’s busy central Tokyo itinerary.
Tsukiji Outer Market
When you think of delicious Japanese dishes, I bet sushi comes to mind. And what better way to start the day than an ultra-fresh sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Market?
The site of the famous 5am tuna auction, Tsukiji’s inner market moved in early 2019 to a new location. However, the outer market remains, and dozens of chefs are still serving up the morning catches for hungry customers. Don’t stress about going to Sushi Daiwa or the other “best” places, where 3 hour lines are the norm. You can’t really go wrong with a morning sushi set from any of the stalls.
The easiest way to reach Tsukiji Outer Market is via the Tsukiji subway stop on the Hibiya line.
Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward is home to some of the city’s most prominent buildings, including Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace.
The Tokyo Imperial Palace serves as the official royal residence of Japan. The palace itself is only open one day a year, though the splendid East Garden is open year-round free of charge.
You can also book an advanced tour of the inner garden by filling out this application.
When you’re ready for lunch, walk to Tokyo Station. Beneath the platforms lies a magical place: Tokyo Ramen Street. All of Japan’s top ramen shops vie for a coveted slot in this row of restaurants.
You can’t really go wrong when choosing a place to eat, because they are all the best of the best. However, I recommend Rokurinsha for tsukemen, Oreshiki for tonkotsu, and Hirugao for shio-based ramen. Most use a machine ordering system where you select your toppings and sides.
Ginza is akin to NYC’s Fifth Avenue. The world’s most fashionable and high-end brands are sold here, from Prada to Cartier. Even if you’re not a big spender, it’s still fun to walk around the glitzy streets.
Chuo Dori is the place to be on the weekend, and Tokyu Place Ginza has an excellent selection of restaurants. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s a tasty and affordable conveyor belt (kaiten) sushi place called Nemuro Hanamaru on the upper floor.
After you’re finished (window) shopping, walk to Takaracho Station. Take the Asakusa line to Shinbashi Station, and transfer to the Yurikamome line to reach Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station.
Wrap up the evening with a sunset view over Tokyo at Daiba Park. This island is also offers excellent views of Rainbow Bridge, which lights up at night. There’s also a miniature Statue of Liberty that makes for great photographs.
Today’s Tokyo itinerary is all about the city’s oldest places.
Start the day in Kagurazaka, a neighborhood known for preserved Edo buildings and old alleys. However, a quick stroll around the area reveals its mix of modern and historic architecture.
During your meandering through the alleys, pay a visit to Zenkoku-ji. It’s an Edo period temple dedicated to the God of Treasure. Across the river, you can buy an amulet for good luck in romance at Tokyo Daijingū.
Before you leave, stop into Kyourakutei, where you can eat Michelin-starred soba in a traditional setting.
Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s oldest neighborhoods, with narrow alleys and preserved Edo period buildings. It’s an amazing example of Tokyo’s blend of old and new, where 150-year-old restaurants sit beneath multi-story apartment complexes. And it’s home to Senso-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo.
From Asakusa Station, head one block over to Nakamise street. Here, hundreds of shops and market stalls sell everything from fresh fruits to keychains.
Continue north to reach Senso-ji Temple complex. Within this area, there are multiple shrines, gates, a garden, and a five-story pagoda. Spend some time exploring the complex before entering the main temple. Note that Senso-Ji is one of the most popular tourist spots in Tokyo, so expect crowds no matter the season.
From the temple, head east towards the river and Sumida Park. There are great views across the river here, as well as prime cherry blossom viewing opportunities. The park is actually split across the Sumida River, so you’ll need to cross the bridge near the Air Raid Memorial monument to reach the other side.
From the eastern half of Sumida Park, walk east towards Tokyo Skytree. Though it’s most famous for it’s 350m high observation deck, Tokyo Skytree also houses an aquarium, a shopping mall, and an epic basement food court. Personally, I do not recommend paying for the observation deck view, as the Government Building offered a similar view.
I realize this post is about what to do in Tokyo in 6 days, not 5. But it would be crazy to miss a day trip to Kamakura when you’re so close. This seaside town was once the capital of Japan, and it’s full of incredible shrines and temples.
It’s an easy, 50 minute ride on the Yokosuka line from Tokyo Station to Kita-Kamakura station. The fare is only 800 yen, and you can use your Suica card to pay.
I recommend starting at Kita-Kamakura and making your way south, where you’ll eventually return to Tokyo from Kamakura Station. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your Kamakura day trip from Tokyo:
- From the station, walk to Tokei-ji, which shines during fall foliage season.
- Continue south to Jochi-ji, one of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples.
- Start on the Daibutsu Hiking Trail, a gorgeous mountain path that feels like something from a Studio Ghibli film. There are branching paths, so I recommend saving an offline version of Google Maps for the area before you head out.
- Explore a bit of Genjiyama Park, a quiet place with several statues and pretty flowers.
- Return to the hiking course and continue west. You’ll soon reach Zeniarai Benzaiten, a cave shrine where visitors wash their money in the spring-fed pool for good luck.
- Carry on down the paved road and turn right. You’ll eventually come to some torii gates that lead to Sasuke Inari Jinja, where thousands of tiny porcelain foxes decorate the shrines.
- Return to the hiking path and follow signs for the Daibutsu (Kotoku-in Temple).
- Kotoku-in Temple is Kamakura’s most famous, because it houses the 2nd largest Daibutsu (Great Buddha statue) in Japan. Admisison to Kotoku-in Temple is 200 yen, and you can pay an extra 20 yen to go inside the Daibutsu.
- Grab some lunch from the nearby town area and walk to Yuigahama Beach. In the summer, it’s a popular surfing spot.
- Head north to Kamakura Station and take the Yokosuka line back to Tokyo.
More Ideas for Spending 6 Days in Tokyo
If you want to skip Kamakura or swap out something else in this 6 day Tokyo itinerary, here are a few suggestions:
- Take a guided tour to Mount Fuji and the iconic Lake Kawaguchiko.
- Catch a traditional Kabuki theatre performance at Ginza’s renowened Kabuzi-za.
- Head to the top of Roppongi’s Mori Tower for amazing city views and the contemporary Mori Art Museum.
- Visit Edo-Onsen Monogatari, a hot spring theme park designed to look like an Edo-period village.
- Have a moment of zen at Rikugien Park, one of Tokyo’s most beautiful, especially in autumn.
- Japan Rail pass holders could swap Kamakura for a Kanazawa day trip, the ancient samurai town of Japan.
Tokyo 6 Day Itinerary Map
Have any questions about this 6 day Tokyo itinerary? Let me know in the comments section!