In just 48 hours, you can get a crash course in Tokyo’s unique culture. This 2-day itinerary allows you to explore the massive city’s many highlights, from touring ancient temples to seeing the city’s futuristic skyline at night. Here’s how to plan your days to make the most of your 48 hours in Tokyo.
Day 1: Food and Ancient Culture
Morning: Tokyo is home to the Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the largest fish markets in the world, and you can take an early morning tour to catch all the action and even enjoy a cooking class or meal afterward. If fish isn’t your thing, visit a morning practice session of champion sumo wrestlers instead.
Afternoon: Buddhism and Shintoism are essential to Japanese culture, and relevant temples and shrines can be found throughout the city. To make sightseeing manageable, choose a neighborhood walking tour and explore the religious sights within. Asakusa, Meiji Jingu, and Shiba Park are good places to start.
Night: Learn more about Japan’s distinct cuisine from a local tour guide on a food or nightlife tour that revolves around a specific area's restaurants and bars. If you’re up for a night out on the town, join an organized pub crawl.
Day 2: Get Active and Learn Something New
Morning: Tokyo is full of excellent museums perfect for discovering Japanese history and culture. The Ghibli Museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in Japanese animation, while Ueno Park houses the Tokyo National Museum and the Ueno Zoo. Spend your morning taking in the highlights at the cultural sight of your choice.
Afternoon: Bus tours visit several top attractions around the city, providing an efficient way to get around. Alternatively, active travelers can take a bike tour around Tokyo to get into some nooks and crannies that tourists often overlook. (Electric bike tours are available for travelers who need an extra boost.)
Night: After an active afternoon you may need a more restful evening. Hop on a Tokyo Bay cruise to enjoy nighttime views of the skyline, typically paired with onboard dinner and drinks. To keep the night going with more city views, head out for some after-dark exploration in the Odaiba area across the water from central Tokyo.