If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Tokyo, it probably doesn’t exist” ~ Alyse.
Why spend 6 days in Tokyo?
There aren’t many cities in the world that quite span the size of Tokyo. Due to it’s sheer scale, uncovering Japan’s largest city may seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be! With its vibrant & bustling city streets, tranquil green parks, stunning vistas and remarkable history, spending 6 days in Tokyo should be at the top of your itinerary for a visit to Japan. Whether you’re staying for the first time or you’re a regular visitor there are loads of incredible attractions in Japan’s capital city so you’ll never be lost for things to see and do!
I’ve known of people to pass through this astonishing city with the sole purpose of visiting Disneyland and skimming over a handful of sights in one or two neighbourhoods. Why not spend longer and completely immerse yourself in this incredible destination? In 6 days we can cover so much, not feel rushed, and take a day trip to Hakone as well. This is the perfect amount of time to visit many attractions in this world-class city in a relaxed and enjoyable way.
I was completely blown away by the enormity of Tokyo and I LOVED every moment. Here’s hoping you will love it as much as I did! These are the highlights of what my itinerary will cover:
How should I best spend 6 days in Tokyo on a mid range budget?
For any trip, staying in a centrally located hotel is of utmost importance if you want to maximise your travel experience. In Tokyo it means you’ll spend less time getting around and more time exploring the different neighbourhoods, UNESCO World Heritage sites, wandering the energetic streets and savouring the culinary delights that make Tokyo world-famous. The hotel I’ve recommended below is for travellers with a mid range budget, in a central location (Shibuya) and only a few moments walk to train stations.
Also, make use of Shinkansen – Japanese Bullet Trains. They are the most efficient way to get to and from Tokyo. I’ll discuss these in more detail at the conclusion of this itinerary.
This dedicated Tokyo guide is part of my full 2 Weeks in Japan Itinerary. My most popular post to date and tailored especially for mid range travellers visiting for the first time, you can view this complete itinerary right here!
Ok…. Walk your dog, take the bins out, make a cuppa and get ready for this as it’s a lengthy one! 🐕
How to get to Tokyo?
Getting there: Narita Airport to Tokyo via Narita Express, approx. 1 hour.
Cost: Adult Narita Express Ticket JPY 3,020 ea
Where to stay in Tokyo?
Where to stay? Dormy Inn Premium, Shibuya ドーミーイン PREMIUM 渋谷神宮前
If you’ve been looking at this hotel, I highly recommend you lock it in! The hotel is in such a great location: Tucked away into a quiet street but still in the centre of all the action, strategically placed near two main Metro arteries which makes getting around the city a breeze. It’s About 5min walk to JR Harajuku station and about 8min walk to JR Shibuya station. Countless shops and restaurants are within walking distance. I stayed on the 3rd floor, on train line side (as per my request based on room tips on TripAdvisor). My window was literally next to the train line but train noise was never an issue, didn’t even notice them go by! Room was very clean, a little small but that’s to be expected for Tokyo. Pillows were a bit firm for my liking but they’re easy to get used to. English-speaking staff were very helpful. Wifi was fast. Despite other reviews, I thought the breakfast was more than adequate, with both Japanese and Western-style hot breakfasts cooked on the spot to suit both sweet and savoury tastes. Would definitely stay here again!
What to do for 6 days in Tokyo?
DAY 1: Shibuya
Getting to Shibuya:
If you’re staying at Dormy Inn it’s an easy 10min walk from Shibuya station. Follow Road 305 (都道305号線) north, so the train line is on your left side, until you reach the intersection of road 都道305号線 and Meiji Dori. From here, cross the road left to follow Shrine Dori Park north until the road turns into a laneway. At the end of this laneway is the hotel entrance.
Things to do in Shibuya:
Arrive at your hotel, freshen up after your flight and head out to get your bearings in Shibuya. Explore the bustling laneways ways and streets surrounding the hotel and prepare to be amazed by what you see!
Where to eat in Shibuya?
Han No Daidokoro is a small Japanese BBQ restaurant with the finest cuts of beef on display in the window and it didn’t disappoint. They served the absolute best Kobe beef I’ve had anywhere in the world. It was so good my travel buddy and I ordered several dishes of their premium cuts, we couldn’t get enough. The waitress giggled politely at us suggesting it was “too much”. We gladly responded “Never!” to the chef’s amusement and delight! You can read reviews of Han No Daidokoro here.
DAY 2: Shibuya & Harajuku
Things to do in Shibuya & Harajuku:
Spend your morning discovering Shibuya 渋谷 by crossing “The Scramble”. It’s the world’s busiest street crossing with some 2,500 people using it at any one time! Being Japan, everyone crosses in an orderly manner so it doesn’t feel as chaotic as it sounds. Phew.
From here, make your way over to Takeshita-dori, Harajuku 原宿 and spend the afternoon exploring. Takeshita-dori is directly opposite JR Harajuku station, you can’t miss it. The funky balloon sculptures on the entryway sign are constantly changing! Wander down through the quirky shops to find cosplay outfits, unusual sunglasses, bags, clothing, and anything else with Hello Kitty on it.
Getting to Harajuku from Shibuya:
15 minutes north from Shibuya station on JR Yamanote line
Cost: Adult one way JPY 140
Where to eat in Harajuku?
Treat yourself to some incredible crepes at Santa Monica Crepes. With ample variety there’s sure to be something for everyone:
🔵🔵 POPULAR: 2 Weeks in Japan: A Complete Itinerary for First-Timers
DAY 3: Shinjuku
Things to do in Shinjuku:
If you thought Shibuya was massive, prepare to be blown away by Shinjuku. Shinjuku 新宿 Station is actually the busiest in the world and it’s easy to see why when you’re there! Some 3.6 million passengers use this station each day and there are over 200 exits. Really!
Getting to Shinjuku from Shibuya:
7 minutes north on JR Yamanote Line from Shibuya Station
Cost: Adult ticket one way JPY 160
If your experience at Shinjuku station felt a bit hectic it’s an easy escape to Shinjuku Gyoen for a slice of tranquility in the busy city. This is one of the few locations across Tokyo where locals come to view cherry blossoms at the beginning of spring. It’s known for it’s three different garden styles throughout the grounds: Japanese, French and English gardens. It’s so lovely sitting in the sun on the lawns in the afternoon!
Getting to Shinjuku Gyoen:
From Shinjuku station, it’s about a 15 minute walk to Shinjuku Gyoen Information Centre.
Cost: Adult entry JPY 200
TIP: In the streets surrounding the park, if you’re up for a spot of shopping there’s major department stores such as Takashimaya, Isetan and Keio to choose from.
Where to eat in Shinjuku?
There are a few different areas for you to get the authentic Shinjuku culinary experience:
- Golden Gai 新宿ゴールデン街: This compact “Golden District” is home to over 200 small bars (wow) and comes alive at night. By “small” bars I mean they only seat up to 8 customers at a time in some cases!
- Omoide Yokocho 思い出横丁: Also known as “Memory Lane”, you can expect to find small laneways filled with ramen, soba, sushi and yakitori eateries. The tunnel at the lane’s entrance created by the train tracks above gives it the awkward nickname “Piss Alley”. The lane is sometimes decorated with plastic cherry blossoms. Please note that smoking is allowed in these restaurants. You’ll come out smelling like a Japanese BBQ 🍢
Finally, get your night started at the hilariously entertaining Robot Restaurant ロボットレストラン (read about my experience here). You can’t get much more Japanese than this, it’s unbelievably awesome. Just the waiting room has enough bling to give you a sensory overload!
Getting to the Robot Restaurant:
3 minutes walk from Golden Gai area
Cost: Adult JPY 7,500 (if purchased online)
DAY 4: Asakusa & Akihabara
Things to do in Asakusa & Akihabara
Discover Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa 浅草 . It’s Japan’s oldest shrine and dates centuries back to 645 AD. Sadly the temple was actually destroyed in the firebombing of Tokyo during WWII. Thankfully it was rebuilt after the war so this beautiful piece of history can be enjoyed by everyone today. Don’t be shy to find out your fortune!
#Sensōji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in #Asakusa, Tokyo 🗼 The first temple was built in the 7th century making it the oldest and most significant in #Tokyo 🏮 Did you know with 30 million annual visitors it’s one of the most widely visited spiritual sites in the world? It’s incredible! 🇯🇵 Have you been to Sensōji? What did you think? 🌏 #traveltheworld #theinvisibletouristway ~
From Senso-ji we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue 🎵 🎶 (see what I did there?). Akihabara 秋葉原 is known as Electric Town for its amazing variety of electronics. You’ll also be inundated with anime figurines, video games from any era and every electronic gadget you can think of. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Akihabara, it doesn’t exist!
Getting to Akihabara from Asakusa:
16 minutes from JR Asakusa on the Tsukuba Express Line
Cost: Adult one way JPY 210
TIP: If you’re in the mood for some nostalgia, don’t miss Super Potato. Spread over several levels this store is jam-packed with toys, gifts, memorabilia and everything else to do with your favourite video games from the 80’s and 90’s. Memories will come flooding back when you hear old-school Super Mario music whilst making your way up the stairs! During my visit they even had a working Playstation 1 for customers to relive their childhood. As they say, only in Japan!
Where to eat in Akihabara?
No trip to Akihabara is complete without a visit to a maid café. Maidreamin’ was an interesting yet awkward experience for me but there are many other themed places around town… Owls, cats and ninjas, oh my! Get inspired by checking out this list of themed eateries in Akihabara and around Tokyo.
DAY 5: North-Eastern Tokyo
Take the trip up Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー to really appreciate the immense scale of greater Tokyo, it’s sure to leave you awe-struck. If the weather is on your side, you may get to see Mt Fuji in the distance. There are loads of shops and restaurants at the top of the Skytree. It would be easy to spend an entire day just there alone! It’s a fairly new attraction to Tokyo, in 2017 it’s celebrating it’s 5th Birthday 🎉
Getting there: 45 minutes north-east from Shibuya Station to Oshiage Station on Hanzomon Line (Adult one way JPY 240)
Cost: Adult JPY 2,060 for Skytree Tembo Deck (highest point). Info on more types of tickets here.
TIP: There’s a free observation deck at Tokyo Metro Government Offices, located in south-western Shinjuku if you can’t get enough of Tokyo from above!
In the afternoon, travel back in time by strolling the beautiful Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens 皇居東御苑. This remarkable setting is the former grounds of Edo Castle – although today only the moat, walls and entrance gates are still standing. The castle was the residence of the Tokugawa Shogun during the 17th – 19th centuries and then Emperor Meiji until 1888. So much history to enjoy as you relax and unwind in the gardens!
Getting to Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens:
From Tokyo Skytree, about 20mins from Oshiage station to Otemachi station on the Hanzomon Line (Adult one way JPY 200)
Cost: Imperial Palace Gardens FREE
DAY 6: Ginza
Wander the streets of Ginza 銀座 and admire the designer shops and funky architecture. Be warned, though – this pricey suburb of Tokyo is where many tourists and expats stay and in turn has earned Tokyo the undeserved reputation of being an expensive destination to visit. Personally, I didn’t think prices for food and cocktails were any more expensive than a Sydney or Melbourne bar. Due to the nature of the streets in Ginza I felt as though was exploring a borough of New York City rather than a Japanese neighbourhood. Anyway, the work-of-art architecture keeps things interesting at least!
Where to eat in Ginza?
The Gucci Café on the 4th floor of the Gucci building is nice if you’re craving your dose of designer. Kirin City is awesome too, there are several over Tokyo. You can order a Japanese version of tapas and enjoy it in the pub-like atmosphere. It’s a really enjoyable experience and you’ll find many locals there, which is always an excellent sign.
OPTIONAL DAY: Day trip to HAKONE
In this itinerary you can switch out one of the days (I’d maybe suggest the Ginza day) for a day trip journey to Hakone in the hope of catching a glimpse of the evasive Mt Fuji. The easiest way to see all the sights is to do the Hakone Round Course with the Hakone Free Pass (Cost: Adult JPY 5,140 ea). It includes a combination of train, cable car, ropeway, boat and bus to see lakes, hot springs, active volcanos, art galleries and gardens. Highlights are the Picasso Museum, Open Air Museum and Mount Fuji (if she decides to peep out from behind the clouds!) More info on the Hakone Freepass here.
Getting there: Tokyo Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto stations via Odakyu Express, approx 1h25.
Cost: Adult JPY 2,080 ea.
TIP: Sit on the right side of the Odakyu Express from Tokyo to get the best view of Mount Fuji as you speed past.
Things to keep in mind
JR Railpass and Shinkansen (Bullet Trains):
Contrary to popular belief, you DO NOT need to buy a JR Railpass before you visit, especially if you’re travelling with a mid range budget!
Find out why in my 2 Weeks In Japan itinerary here.
Concluding 6 days in Tokyo
I’m not sure why some people choose to spend only 2 or 3 days in Tokyo when there are so many different neighbourhoods to explore and sights to see! Take the extra time, add another day or two to your itinerary and allow yourself to really experience this awe-inspiring city in the way it deserves. Why rush? You’ll thank yourself for it later!
As I’m sure you’ll agree, there was al LOT of walking in this itinerary, but it’s handy to know that Tokyo’s extensive public transportation options are always nearby if you wish.
Although it may look like my travel buddy and I crammed a lot into Tokyo, I can honestly say we never felt rushed. Because we were prepared it allowed us to leisurely stroll between many attractions and enjoy taking our time uncovering the wonders that make this beautiful city so unique. Travelling The Invisible Tourist way is about being efficient and making the best use of your travel time.
What about the language barrier?
If you’re worried about the language barrier, don’t be! I detail exactly why in my complete Japan itinerary here. And, if you’re adventurous find out how I learnt Japanese fast for travelling here. You’ll be saying “こんにちは” (konnichiwa) before you know it!
It would absolutely make my day to hear if you use this itinerary when you spend 6 days in Tokyo! If you found this helpful please share it on Facebook, Pinterest or join me on Instagram for more Japan inspiration!
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