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60 Hours in Tokyo

Things to do in Tokyo with 3 days

I would already be gone 21 days, but when I learned that I could make a second stopover on my flight to South Korea for just the cost of taxes I had to jump on it. Tokyo, here I come! I only had 2.5 days to explore the city and knowing that Tokyo is the largest metropolis in the world I wasn’t sure exactly how much I’d get to see. Turns out, a lot!

I stayed near Shinjuku Station and travelled around on a combination of Tokyo Metro, Toei and JR trains. If you’re thinking of visiting, check out my handy-dandy guide to Tokyo transit first.

So what did I see and do?

Meiji Shrine Wedding | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Meiji Shrine

The first thing I did was head to Shibuya and the Meiji Shrine. Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, the Shinto shrine is a very peaceful place to start off your Tokyo tour. While I was there I had a delightful conversion with an older Japanese gentleman who gave me some history lessons and I got to witness a wedding. The torii, large wooden gates, leading to the complex were especially grand and photographic. I made a ¥100 offering and received an o-mikuji – a random fortune on a piece of paper. It was a particularly good fortune so I took it with me rather than tying it to some wire and leaving it behind.

Harajuku, Tokyo | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Harajuku / Takeshita Dori

Harajuku is a district in the Shibuya ward known for eccentric fashion and the young people who hang out around Harajuku Station on Sundays, engaging in cosplay (“costume play”). I was there on a Thursday but I still managed to see a couple girls in some amazing get-up. Even though I’m no longer the target market I love a good deal so of course I had to do some shopping on Takeshita Dori. My biggest lament was that my feet are too big for Japanese shoes. *sob* If you wear larger than a US 8/8.5 be prepared to have your heart broken.

Shibuya 109

Between here and the shops of Takeshita Dori I dropped more yen then I want to think about. Shibuya 109 is an awesome circular “fashion community” that contains 10 floors of boutique shops. It opened for business on the day I was born. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

Shibuya Crossing | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Shibuya Crossing

This crazy intersection in Tokyo is always an ebbing, flowing sea of humanity. The best place to view it is from the 2nd floor Starbucks near Shibuya Station, but I couldn’t resist getting down into myself and crossing back and forth a few times. Check out the statue of Hachikō, the world’s most loyal dog, while you’re there.

Tokyo Skytree

The Tokyo Skytree, located in Sumida Ward, is the tallest building in Japan at 634m. Considering the CN Tower EdgeWalk is 356m and that was enough to make my ears pop I can only imagine what the view is like from the top. Since lines form early my imagination is all I have from my visit to the Skytree. It would’ve been a two hour wait before I could go up so I decided to give it a pass and chose a different tower instead.

Tokyo Tower | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Tokyo Tower

In comparison, there was no line at all when I showed up at Tokyo Tower (333m) in Minato Ward. I got there at dusk and love watching the city light up at night. You should really visit one tower or the other to really get a sense of just how massive the city and surrounding areas are. The lights just never end.

Senso-ji Temple | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Sensō-ji Temple

Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest and most significant Buddhist temple so it was high on my must-see list. The entrance to the temple grounds is dominated by the Kaminarimon or “Thunder Gate”. Beyond the gate is Nakamise-dori which is lined with almost 90 small shops. I loved looking into them all and especially watching one shop making ningyo-yaki (little molded cakes filled with red bean paste). Unlike Meiji Shrine which I found to be quite calm and peaceful, Sensō-ji was bustling and a little chaotic. If you visit be sure to check out old-world vibe of the nearby streets of Asakusa.

Akihabara Electric Town | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Akihabara

Aka, Electric Town – if it has batteries or plugs in, you can buy it here. Not surprisingly, the amount of neon signs here is astounding. Akihabara is also home to many maid cafes (catering mostly to male otaku) where you can have a cup of coffee and be treated as the master of the house rather than a regular old customer.

Kabukichō

Kabukichō is the entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku. I had a wander one night, not to visit any businesses but just to have a look around at the three thousand bars, nightclubs, love hotels, massage parlours, hostess clubs and the like. I was there solo at night but felt safe and no one ever approached me. I’m told that if you’re a man be prepared to have bouncers get a bit aggressive trying to get you into their club. It was interesting to see, but now that I’ve seen it once I’m done.

Tsukiji Fish Market | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Tsukiji Fish Market

No visit to Tokyo is complete without a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Chuo Ward for a look around and some sushi. Even though I had to miss the tuna auctions because of crappy logistics I still loved checking out all the stalls and the tuna plate I had for breakfast was delicious. The market will be changing locations in 2014 though so visit now while you can.

So even though I only had 60 hours in town I managed to pack it full. It was just a taste of Tokyo and I know that the city and I are not done with each other. In the famous words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back.”

What sites would you visit if you only had 60 hours in Tokyo?

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Things to Do in Tokyo

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Meiji Shrine: 35.676362, 139.699362
Harajuku / Takeshita Dori: 35.671532, 139.703116
Shibuya 109: 35.659550, 139.699068
Tokyo SkyTree: 35.710366, 139.809049
Tokyo Tower: 35.658580, 139.745433
Sensō-ji Temple: 35.714640, 139.796822
Akihabara Electric Town: 35.698683, 139.774219
Kabukichō: 35.694759, 139.701644
Tsukiji Fish Market: 35.662799, 139.769110

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10 responses to “60 Hours in Tokyo”

  1. A says:

    Wow you did manage to do quite a bit in 60hrs in Tokyo! I love tokyo one of my favorite cities. I’ve been blessed in that I had a lot of time in the city over many different trips. It’s hard to pick a favorite activity, but getting lost in the city is one of my favs. You are never very far from a metro station so but there are so many little nooks to explore

  2. Erin says:

    If I only had 60 hours, my top Tokyo sights would be: Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Observation Deck at sunset, See Senso-ji Temple and then take the boat from Asakusa to Odaiba, Shibuya Crossing, and probably Tsukiji Fish Market. It’s tough to choose, there’s so much!

  3. TTDIT says:

    60 hours is definitely too short!! there are so many cool things to do in Tokyo.
    If I had to choose and if it was my first time, I’d probably start with the main area/stations on the Yamanote line. If I still had some time, probably go to other areas around Tokyo (odaiba, yokohama).
    Thanks for the great article!

  4. Ceri says:

    I’m seriously considering going to Tokyo for a few holidays I have in May next year. We’d only have about 3 days and I did wonder if that would be enough (my friend and I spent a week in Kyoto this summer and felt like it was still too short) but you’ve definitely given me some terrific ideas now and I definitely want to start planning. :D

    • 3 days is only an appetizer but it’s still worth doing if you have the chance. You just need to figure out what are the top few things you really *must* see and then anything else after that is gravy. I need to get myself back there to explore more no doubt.

  5. Amber Dixon says:

    I have been to Tokyo once for just 2 days. Now I am planning to go on Japan tour and will be spending 5 days only in Tokyo. After a lot of search I found the list of all places I must see this time, the only problem was managing the time to see all those attractions. I found a good tool in triphobo to plan my itinerary http://www.triphobo.com/tokyo-itinerary-544204dee705451d3c0001bd, I hope I can visit all the places listed. Also heard about Shimokitazawa, haven’t yet included it in my itinerary but is it worth a visit?

  6. colonel says:

    Would also recommend seeing a baseball game and if you have the time – a day at the sumo matches!!!

  7. Great piece! Just came across your blog and will definitely be staying tuned for updates.

    I’m hoping to go to Japan in March next year – cannot wait.

  8. Kris says:

    Hello. I’d like to know about anyone’s opinion. I plan to stay in Tokyo for 3-4 days. Would 40k yen be enough for by budget for all expenses?

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