A Longer Weekend in Tokyo

Tokyo could keep visitors captivated for months on end, but if you're trying to capture the spirit of the city in just three days there are a few things you simply can’t miss. Don’t waste any time before you jump right in to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and the food of the city that truly never sleeps.

Day 1:

Sleep in to recover from jet lag and then get fueled for a day of sightseeing with a late breakfast at Rainbow Pancake, one of the most famous breakfast haunts in Tokyo, right in the wildly hip fashion district of Harajuku.  

Soak in some of the most fashion forward scenes in the world. Harajuku isn't for high end luxury shopping (for that you'll want to head to Ginza or the department stores of Shibuya). This is the spot where you’ll see the kinds of designs you won't see anywhere else for at least two more years and find that eclectic accessory your friends will rave over when you get home.

Some call Takeshita and it’s many side streets the birthplace of Japanese fashion, and for good reason. You’ll never remember the name of a single shop and it doesn’t matter. See what catches your eye and plan to duck in and out of at least 30 boutiques over a couple of hours.

Stop into Calbee + to grab a quick snack. Don’t be nervous about ordering the potato chips with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Make sure to finish up by dusk and head to Shibuya Center to take the quintessential Tokyo selfie as the streets crowd with commuters bustling home in every possible direction. From here you can easily slip into Shibuya's Karaoke Kan, the site of Bill Murray's famous song session in Lost in Translation.

The more intrepid traveler may want to try to book a spot on the Jicoo Floating Bar, a party barge that guarantees a good time on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays, along with incredible cocktails. Prefer something on dry land? Head to Gen Yamamoto for a cocktail menu based on shiki, or seasonality, where sake is paired with the freshest local ingredients.


Day 2:

Grab a coffee and quick bite at the hotel before setting out for a sightseeing day that will soothe even the most stressed of souls.

Today you’ll visit three of the most beautiful sites in Tokyo. Start out at Asakusa’s temples, including Sensoji, the gorgeous 7th Century Buddhist temple and the Asakusa shrine right in the historical geisha district. It's easy to wander and guide yourself, but consider downloading a walking tour or hiring a local guide if you're looking for a deeper dive. For a truly spiritual experience, spend the afternoon wandering the grounds around the Shinto Meiji Shrine. The surrounding Meiji forest contains more than 100,000 trees donated from all over the world. If you have time, try to fit in the contemporary Mori Art Museum in the Mori Tower.

You’ll work up an appetite. Luckily there are plenty of options for dinner you won’t soon forget. For artful food that rivals the exhibits at Mori and will make every single one of your Instagram followers die of jealousy head to Takazawa (reservations are only accepted by email). 


Day 3: 

No visit to Tokyo would be complete without a visit to the Tsukiji fish market. Even though the action starts around five in the morning, it’s best visited by tourists after 9 am and you will enjoy yourself more with a guide who can translate and lead you through the winding rows and stalls of writhing squid and yellowtail tuna. Some of the tours even include a four hour sushi-making class. A little bit of fun trivia for you to share with your fellow travelers—Tsukiji means “built up land” because the area was under water until the 17th century.

Still a little sleepy? We can’t blame you. Get your caffeine fix through some proper Japanese coffee at Turret Coffee. It’s just a minute from the Tsukiji station.

Next up, do a deep dive into sumo culture with a tour of Ryogoku stadium where you can watch the wrestlers train.

After spending the morning seeing how fish gets sold, you deserve to enjoy it. Try to nab a table at Sushi Saito, one of the most highly rated sushi restaurants in Tokyo for dinner.

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