Things to do in Tokyo

Itineraries for Your Trip to Tokyo

Tokyo locals share their perfect days.
Find your Tokyo

1 Day in Tokyo for First Timers

Curated by Elen TurnerElen is a writer and editor based in the small city of Nelson, on New Zealand's South Island. Her work focuses on travel, arts, culture, and the humanities. When not working, she likes to explore one of the three national parks on her doorstep.

You’ll barely scratch the surface of Tokyo in one day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enriching experience. Learn about Japan's unique religious traditions in historic neighborhoods, watch a robot cabaret, and shop for traditional souvenirs and futuristic fashion. Here’s how to spend a rewarding 24 hours in the city. 


A visit to the Asakusa neighborhood offers an idea of what all of Tokyo looked like before high-tech development took over, helping visitors understand how the city has changed over the years. Take an Asakusa walking tour to wander the district's narrow lanes, which have been a popular shopping destination for centuries, and visit the grand Sensoji Buddhist temple along with various other temples and Shinto shrines. Rickshaw tours are also a great way to get familiar with the area.


Head to Harajuku to see young, hip, and sometimes simply weird fashion. Spend the afternoon enjoying the area’s vintage stores, cosplay shops, and colorful street art, whether you choose to shop or just browse the wacky collections. Be sure to stop at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, which features cutting-edge exhibitions, then head over to upmarket Omotesando or the peaceful Meiji Jingu shrine and Yoyogi Park for a change of pace. Short afternoon sightseeing tours allow you to check off a number of attractions even with limited time.


To relax and enjoy Tokyo's illuminated skyline after dark, opt for a dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay. Or, if you're looking for a jolt of energy in the form of a memorable, uniquely Japanese experience, book tickets for the Robot Restaurant cabaret show, an electrifying dance and laser performance with the option to include drinks and dinner. Finally, if you’re not too tired after a busy day, join a pub crawl tour to experience the best of Tokyo’s nightlife.

See more things to do in Tokyo