They say a lifetime spent in Tokyo would not be long enough to grow bored of this unique city. As proof of that, Tokyo has been among the top 10 must-see cities in the world for years, and for good reason. The perfect harmony of two diametrically different worlds created in this beautiful place is infatuating. One of them is mystical and traditional and speaks of ancient times. The other is futuristic and modern and gives its visitors a glimpse of the life that awaits in the years to come. But what if you only had a day to spend here? You won’t be able to see everything, but with a good plan, your one-day trip to Tokyo can introduce you to the essence of Tokyo’s charm. Here’s a suggestion for an itinerary that will make treasured memories.
09:00 AM ~ 12:00 PM – Explore history and tradition in Asakusa
Start your Tokyo journey with a morning stroll around the traditional district of Asakusa. This area offers a rare atmosphere of the past and will introduce you to Japan’s cultural heritage. The first thing you will see is the magnificent outer gate of Kaminarimon that further leads to the inner gate called Hozomon. Both of these impressive buildings are entrances to the Sensoji Temple. Whether you are a Buddhist or not, this mesmerizing temple will transport you to a fairy tale from the Japanese past. This temple and its gates are stunning structures that wow tourists and successfully manage to sneak into photo rolls of everyone who visits Tokyo.
Between the inner and the outer gate, there’s a 200m-long shopping street called Nakamise where you can buy the unique souvenirs your friends and family will absolutely love. There, you will find traditional gifts such as yukata, daruma dolls, or maneki-neko. Alternatively, you can opt for Japanese snacks so the people you are buying them for can have a taste of Japan – literally!
12:00 PM ~ 01:00 PM – Have a traditional Japanese meal which is a must on your one-day trip to Tokyo
In Tokyo, many people have lunch between 12:00 and 01:00 PM, so we suggest that you do the same. You know what they say, “when in Rome…” Choose one of the excellent national food restaurants in Asakusa and dive into the super healthy and tasty Japanese cuisine. While you are sampling these edible pieces of the Japanese way of life, don’t forget to be respectful and open, since it is the only way to properly connect with other cultures.
01:30 PM ~ 03:00 PM – Dive into the game world of Akihabara
After wandering around the alluring remnants of the past in Asakusa, it’s time to launch yourself into the futuristic world that Tokyo is so famous for. You should begin your journey through modern Japan in Akihabara, the home of manga and anime, and its many arcade venues. As you know, Japan is the birthplace of some of the most iconic game industry giants. Surely you’ve heard of Sega, Sony, and Nintendo. Can you imagine what the capital of these studios’ home country has to offer in arcades? Go to Akihabara, and you will find out.
03:30 PM ~ 04:30 PM – Observe Tokyo from the Skytree
As your one day in Tokyo matures into late afternoon, climb higher to observe this magical city from a bird’s-eye view. The Skytree is the world’s highest tower. Visitors can go to its first observation deck at a height of 350 meters or to the second at a height of 450 meters. During the winter, you will be able to observe the sunset at this time of day, making for a truly memorable romantic moment you will never forget. However, this isn’t just a place to observe the city from–at its base, there’s a large shopping center and an aquarium. It’s a world of its own, and it’s a must-see on your one-day trip to Tokyo.
04:45 PM ~ 05:45 PM – Visit Shibuya Crossing and be a part of the pedestrian flood
You have probably seen this famous intersection in Tokyo in movies or promotional photos. At regular time intervals, traffic lights for vehicles turn red, and people flood the street, crossing it in every direction. We are talking about thousands of people that are creating a captivating scene. One simply has to take part while in Tokyo. After all, this is the city with the largest population in the world, and that number soars even more when tourists come.
06:00 PM ~ 09:00 PM – Go on a Shinjuku food tour and give your senses time to remember
At this point, your hunger will return as the daylight expires, so it is time to have dinner surrounded by the famous lights of Tokyo in Shinjuku. Treat your stomach by going on a food tour with a local guide. A popular area for that in Shinjuku is the Golden Gai neighborhood. It is widely known for its unique izakaya (Japanese pubs). A food tour is an excellent investment where you will be able to learn about Tokyo culture from an expert and try some of the tastiest foods this city can provide.
Those that prefer food that is both tasty and healthy can choose between some of the restaurants that only use organic ingredients. Rest assured that none of the numerous truly exceptional Japanese restaurants only offer unhealthy food. Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world.
One final piece of advice
As you can see, a one-day trip to Tokyo can give you a great taste of this dreamy city. You will be able to feel the magic of its culture, both as it was in the past and how it is today. You can treat your senses to the most exceptional food Japan offers, surrounded by spectacular city lights that can only be seen in Tokyo. So make sure to bring along the will to learn new things and your good mood, and come to this city. The memories you will make on that day will be precious, something you can cherish for the rest of your life.