4 Days Itinerary in Tokyo: How to Spend 4 Days in Tokyo
There are many ways to describe Tokyo: dazzling, vibrant, modern, sprawling, bustling. It can all be very overwhelming, especially if it’s your first visit. This is why it’s important to have the right 4 days itinerary in Tokyo, to ensure you get to enjoy the best that Tokyo has to offer.
Tokyo is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 13 million people.
Every neighborhood has a different vibe, and there’s just so much to see and do.
The perfect four days in Tokyo itinerary will give you a taste of everything – from historical sites, to the bright neon lights of modern Japan, as well as some nature and relaxation.
And not forgetting all the food and drink that Tokyo is renowned for!
As Tokyo is so large, a well-curated Tokyo 4 day itinerary will be grouped according to location, so that you can be more efficient and not waste too much time traveling back and forth.
WWB writer Lea will show you how to soak in the full Tokyo experience.
This is what a great 4 days itinerary in Tokyo would look like:
Day 1: Shibuya, Yoyogi, Meiji-Jingu, Harajuku
Day 2: Imperial Palace, Shinjuku
Day 3: Tsukiji Outer Market, TeamLab Borderless, Odaiba, Roppongi
Day 4: Asakusa, Ueno Park, Ginza
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The Best 4 Days in Tokyo
Day 1: Shibuya, Yoyogi, Meiji-Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Omotesanda
On your first full day in Tokyo, you’ll visit some iconic locations and get a feel of both modern and traditional Japan.
- Start out bright and early at Shibuya to experience the infamous morning rush of Shibuya Crossing. The busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, it is said that about 2500 people cross from all directions at any one time. It is truly a sight to behold.
You should definitely experience being part of the crosswalk hoard yourself. However, if you’d also like a bird’s eye view, popular sites with great views include the Starbucks at Shibuya Tsutaya or the Shibuya Sky observation deck at Shibuya Scramble Square.
- Perhaps one of the most famous spots near the Shibuya Crossing is the Hachiko statue. If you didn’t know, Hachiko was a famously loyal Akita, who would follow his owner every day to Shibuya station.
- When his owner passed away, he still waited every day outside the station for a decade. The statue was erected in his memory and now draws a large crowd.
- Head to Yoyogi Park, a huge park with lawns, forest areas, jogging trails, and lakes. It’s a popular recreational spot for locals, so pick up a packed lunch at a convenience store and enjoy a chilled-out picnic while people-watching!
- At the edge of Yoyogi Park is Meiji-Jingu or Meiji Shrine, dedicated to modern Japan’s first emperor and empress. Explore the tranquil grounds that have more than 100,000 trees, and partake in traditional Shinto rituals inside the historic building.
- Remember Gwen Stefani’s hit song Harajuku Girls?
- Harajuku is an area known as the centre of Japanese fashion and pop culture. Stroll along the main Takeshita Street and you’ll see trendy boutiques, cafes, and teens dressed up in the latest kawaii fashion.
- In lieu of a full dinner, why not fill your tummy with array of street snacks available at Harajuku? Harajuku is famous for its Japanese crepes, which are thin pancakes filled with all varieties of sweet or savory filling, and then rolled up.
Other well-known street snacks in Harajuku include:
The Instagram-friendly rainbow grilled cheese from Le Shiner, crispy puffs filled with custard cream at Zakuzaku, fried potato snacks at Calbee Plus, and colourful giant cotton candy at Totti Candy Factory.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already drooling thinking about these food.
Day 2: Imperial Palace, Shinjuku
- Start Day 2 of your 4 days in Tokyo itinerary at the Imperial Palace, home of the Japanese Emperor himself. The Palace is situated in a beautiful garden that’s open to the public.
Free guided tours of the inner grounds are available, although you would have to pre-book online.
- From the Imperial Palace, take a walk to the iconic neighborhood of Shinjuku. If your idea of Tokyo has been of skyscrapers and neon lights – this is it! Shinjuku is bustling and vibrant, and you could easily spend the afternoon shopping and eating your heart out.
- For lunch, check out a depachika, or the food halls located in big department stores. This isn’t your usual musty food court serving cold takeaway pizza – Japanese food halls are filled with gourmet pastries, sushi bars, exquisite bento boxes, fresh deli sandwiches and more.
- For a panoramic view of the city, head to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory. It’s free, and there are two panoramic decks that are open on alternate days. Take a peek through the telescope and try to spot Mt. Fuji in the distance!
- The Robot Restaurant is a live show that can only be described as over-the-top. It’s loud, bright, and utterly bizarre (There’s dancing robots!
Laser lights and a giant neon dragon!). You’ll leave the show wondering what just hit you, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime only-in-Japan experience.
- You’ll need some food and drink to calm down after that Robot Restaurant experience. Head to Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho) and Golden Gai, quaint little alleyways crammed with tiny yakitori restaurants and bars. Squeeze into a seat next to some locals, order some meat skewers and a whiskey highball, and get ready for a good night.
Day 3: Tsukiji Outer Market, TeamLab Borderless, Odaiba, Roppongi
- You’ll need an empty stomach for day 3 of your Tokyo four days itinerary.
Wake up early and head to Tsukiji Outer Market.
While the market is no longer used for live fish auctions, the traders remain to sell you the freshest sashimi, grilled seafood, and sushi you’ll ever have. Truly a breakfast for champions.
- Tummies filled, you’ll be ready for a fun afternoon at TeamLab Borderless in Odaiba. It’s an interactive digital art museum that allows you to explore and let your inner artist out. Tickets have to be pre-booked online, so be sure to book early.
- After you’re done at the art museum, walk around Odaiba, which is a manmade island that is now a popular entertainment area. Take a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel, check out the full-scale robot statue of Gundam, and then walk across the Rainbow Bridge back to the city.
- Roppongi is a popular area for nightlife, with plenty of food and drink options for you to choose from.
- You’ll’ be able to find something no matter what your mood is, be it fine dining restaurants, a cheery pub with live music, or a club to dance the night away.
Day 4: Asakusa, Ueno Park, Ginza
- This is the final morning of your 4 days in Tokyo. We’ll be taking it easier today, starting with the historical district of Asakusa.
It’s an atmospheric neighbourhood that can be easily explored on foot, and that’ll transport you back to a time of Tokyo past.
There are numerous religious temples and shrines in Asakusa, but Sensoji Temple is by far the oldest and most well-known. Many locals still go there to pray, and if you’re lucky you may be able to witness a Buddhist ceremony.
- From Asakusa, take a leisurely stroll to the neighbouring district of Ueno. Ueno Park is a large public park that is also home to many museums and galleries on its ground.
If you’re in the mood for culture, you can opt to visit The Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, or even the Ueno Zoo. Otherwise, you could just spend a relaxing afternoon in the park and people-watching.
- Close off your 4 days itinerary in Tokyo by treating yourself to a nice evening out in town.
Ginza is a glamorous shopping district by day, but by dark it transforms into a chic nightspot. Have dinner at one of the many restaurants, and then pop by a cocktail bar to wind down.
- Alternatively, head to the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar where the Oscar-winning Lost in Translation was filmed and channel your inner Scarlett Johansson.
The New York Bar is located on the 52nd floor, providing fantastic views of the city’s nightscape.
Accompanied with live jazz music, it’ll definitely be a night to remember.
Is 4 Days in Tokyo Enough?
Is four days in Tokyo enough? Japanophiles would tell you no amount of time is enough!
However, 4 days in Tokyo is enough to give you a good taste of what the city has to offer.
How Many Days Do You Need in Tokyo?
Tokyo is so vast that If you have enough time, you could easily spend a month there. But let’s be real, most of us have budgets to stick to and a limited number of vacation days we can take.
As such, 4 days in Tokyo is perfect, especially for first-timers. But be sure to follow a good Tokyo 4 days itinerary to make the most of your trip.
If you fall in love with the city, like many people do, you can always come back and explore more in future trips!
Where to Stay in Tokyo?
Staying in a central location saves you precious time, which is important as you only have four days in Tokyo.
For that reason, I would recommend staying in either Shibuya or Shinjuku during your trip to Tokyo. These areas have great public transportation connections, plenty of food options, and are close by to a lot of tourist sites.
It might seem more expensive at first to stay in an area like Shibuya or Shinjuku, but you’ll make up for it in terms of travel time and cost.
- For a budget option, hostel dorms are a good option – a bed in a standard dorm will cost about USD 20.
- Another cheap (and novelty) option that’s unique to Japan are capsule hotels.
These are little pods that are just big enough for you to sleep in. They are a great alternative, especially if you plan to be out and about the whole day, and just need a place to sleep.
- Mid-range travelers can opt for a private room or Airbnb apartment that might cost between USD 80-150
- If you’re in the mood to splurge, Tokyo has some of the best luxury hotels in the world. This can set you back upward of USD 180 (but can go into the four figures as well)
What to Eat
Tokyo is a food haven, with something available for any budget.
The Japanese are notorious for their high-quality fresh produce, so you can be assured that even cheap street food will taste great.
Make the most of your Tokyo 4 days itinerary by trying as much variety of food as you can. Even if some of these food sound foreign to you, go to Tokyo with an open mind and let your taste buds explode:
- Ramen is the quintessential Japanese food, some the most well-known places to try are Ichiran Ramen and Afuri
- You can’t leave Tokyo without having sushi, probably the most famous of Japanese cuisine. Head to Tsukiji Market and try one of the many sushi places there, for the freshest sushi you’ll have in your life
- Try deep-fried tempura at a restaurant that’s been making it for 130 years
- Trust the Japanese to elevate fried rice and eggs into an art form. Head to one of these places to try omurice
- Enjoy yakitori, or grilled chicken skewers, at Torikizoku
- Gykatsu Motomura is a chain known for its gyukatsu, or breaded beef cutlets that are truly to-die-for
- One of the best places to eat on-the-go are Japanese konbinis or convenience stores. You’ll find them on almost every street corner, and they’re usually open 24 hours a day. It’s a great way to try a variety of Japanese food, like fried chicken karaage, bento boxes and onigiri rice balls, at an affordable price.
How to Get Around Tokyo?
The best way to get around during your 4 days in Tokyo is on foot and via train.
The train and subway system in Tokyo is incredibly efficient and clean. The network is also very connected, so you’ll likely be able to get anywhere you want to via the trains and subways.
While the rail map might look very intimidating at first, this is where Google Maps comes in handy!
If you type in your destination, Google Maps will tell you which line and station to get on, the precise timing of the trains, and even which door you should queue at for the train.
For your 4 days in Tokyo itinerary, getting a reloadable Pasmo or Suica card will make travelling much more efficient.
The card is usable on all trains, subways and buses, as well as some vending machines.
You can buy it at the airport when you first reach, and then top it up as you go along. Getting a reloadable card saves you the hassle of buying tickets at each station.
Unique Tips You Should Know When Visiting Tokyo
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk – a lot! Tokyo is a very walkable city, and walking is truly the best way to experience the local culture.
- If you’re taking the train, remember you train etiquette – don’t talk on the phone or listen to music in the train as it’s considered rude. You should also queue up at the train station according to the signs on the floor.
- You might realize that there aren’t many rubbish bins around, but this doesn’t mean you can litter your trash around. Japanese culture places a lot of emphasis on hygiene, and most people will keep their trash with them until they reach home.
- Free wifi is not as readily available as you might assume, and often the passwords are in Japanese which makes it hard for a non-Japanese speaker. Prevent this from happening by pre-ordering a PocketWifi or a Japanese sim card before your trip, and arrange to pick it up at the airport upon arrival.
With this 4 days itinerary in Tokyo, you’ll be able to experience the best of what Tokyo has to offer. Now go forth and explore!