Tokyo with only 1 day, what to do?


There are many reasons why you might only have one day in Tokyo for sightseeing. Between business or study? Time to catch a connecting flight? If you really only want to see Tokyo, you’ll need at least two or three days. But if that’s not possible for you, this article is for you!

Feel old and new Tokyo

Asakusa – Tokyo Sky Tree

Asakusa is probably a must-visit destination for many people. The five-story pagoda and main hall of Sensoji Temple are certainly picturesque, and the Nakamise shopping street is filled with typical Japanese food and souvenirs. For lunch, you will have a hard time deciding what to eat, whether it be tendon, eel, sukiyaki, or soba noodles.

Asakusa Kaminarimon gate
Asakusa Kaminarimon gate

No matter where you are in Asakusa, you can see the Tokyo Sky Tree when you look up at the sky. If you go to the trouble, let’s walk there. It takes less than 30 minutes from Asakusa, even if you walk slowly. There you will find the Sky Tree, the tallest radio tower in the world, built in 2012. There is a tempting shopping zone, restaurants, and even an aquarium to enjoy as much as time allows. At the end of the day, why not go up to the Sky Tree and enjoy the view of Tokyo at night?

Feel the Tokyo Culture

Shibuya – Omotesando – Harajuku

I’ll guess your other Must-visit. Shibuya, right? If taking a video at the Scramble Crossing is a must, go to Shibuya first. It feels good to look down on the city from the observatory at Scramble Square. Let’s walk toward Omotesando Station for lunch. It is only a 20-minute walk.

Harajuku Takeshita-dori  Street
Takeshita-dori in Harajuku

After having lunch at a restaurant of your choice, head for Takeshita-dori Avenue, a street synonymous with Harajuku, and experience kawaii to the fullest. If you get tired of the crowded narrow streets, head to Togo Shrine. You may feel the wonder of Japanese culture more by going to this quiet place despite being in Harajuku. The shrine closes in the evening, so this course ends in the evening.

Satisfy your intellectual curiosity

Ueno Park

If you are tired of all the shopping, let me introduce you to a place in Tokyo that will satisfy your intellectual curiosity. Get off at Ueno Station and go out the Park Exit ticket gate, and there you will find Ueno Park. There are many museums here, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, the National Museum of Western Art, the Ueno Zoo, and many others. You will not be able to visit all of them in one day. You may want to decide on two stops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum

Most of the museums have a museum café, so you can have a light lunch.If you get tired, go to Starbucks Coffee in the park. You may be thinking, “Why a Starbucks when you can come to Japan?”. But the atmosphere here is so wonderful that you should definitely stop by just to take a look. If you want to end your day in peace and quiet, stop here. If you miss the hustle and bustle, head to Ameyoko shopping streets. You can enjoy a taste of Asian Tokyo.

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For those of you who are tired of urban Tokyo

Mt. Takao

For those of you who have reached the point where you think Tokyo is just another city and no matter where you go, it’s always the same. Why don’t you refresh yourself with an easy and enjoyable mountain climbing experience in Tokyo? Takao is only about an hour from Shinjuku Station. Don’t worry if you don’t have any climbing gear. All you need is a pair of sneakers and comfortable clothing. There are lifts and cable cars that take you halfway up the mountain, so take it easy. To reach the summit requires a bit of hiking.

Mt. Takao

On the way to the summit, there is a Yakuoin temple dedicated to a Tengu. Choose a climbing route that suits your physical condition and circumstances, and enjoy a day in Tokyo.

To the Bay Area

Toyosu Market – Odaiba

One of the pleasures of sightseeing in Japan is probably a visit to a fish market. You can visit the new market, which was relocated from the historic Tsukiji Market to Toyosu in 2018. If you want to see the fish market in action, you need to get to the market early in the morning. The visitor corridor is open until 3 p.m., but if you want to go, it is best to go as early as possible. Once you have finished your tour of Toyosu Market, take the Yurikamome. The Yurikamome is an unmanned, automated train. Since there is no driver’s seat, you can sit in the front seat of the first car. (If there is a seat available, that is.)

Odaiba Kaihin Koen park
Odaiba beach

Enjoy the view from the Yurikamome and head for the beach when you get off at Odaiba Kaihin Koen Station. If it is early in the morning and the stores in the area are not open, you can relax and enjoy the view of the sea. Once the surrounding facilities are open, enjoy the various leisure facilities and shopping malls in Odaiba as you please! If you get up early, you’ll have a long day ahead of you!

Glimpse of Daily Life in Tokyo

Sugamo – Otsuka – Ikebukuro

Are you looking for a place where there are no foreign tourists around? Then how about Sugamo? Sugamo is commonly known as “Harajuku for old ladies”. It is a sacred place for elderly people all over Japan. The Jizo-dori shopping street is lined with a variety of stores. It is also characterized by the large number of products that are designed with the elderly in mind. Halfway along the shopping street is Kogan-ji Temple. The temple’s specialty is the “Arai Kannon” (Goddess of Mercy), which is said to bring good luck if you wipe the part of your body you wish to heal with a towel. This shopping street has a fair on the day that falls on a 4, and is bustling with people every month. Fun for all ages!

Sugamo jizo-dori shopping street
Sugamo jizo-dori shopping street

Past the shopping street is the “Koshinzuka stop” on the Toden Arakawa Line. From here, take the streetcar to the “Otsuka Station stop”. There is not much to see at Otsuka Station. However, you can see the daily life of Tokyo with its moderate amount of residences, offices, and commercial facilities. You can skip this stop and take the streetcar to the Higashi Ikebukuro stop, or you can walk along the streetcar line from Otsuka. Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro stands at the end of the street.

I hope this has been helpful for your precious day in Tokyo. Enjoy Tokyo to the fullest!