Tokyo moves to its own futuristic rhythm, but you’d be wrong to think the neon signs and love of everything hi-tech are all Japan’s capital has to offer. You’ll soon discover it’s a city of eclectic contrasts that blends old and new, exotic and familiar, like nowhere else on Earth. But where to start if you only have 48 hours in this iconic city? You could head to Mt Fuji for the day, but true city lovers will want to immerse themselves in everything Tokyo has to offer. Here’s how to sample the best of the best in two action-packed days:
How should I spend 2 days in Tokyo?
Morning – Harajuku, Ginza, and Akihabara neighborhoods
Afternoon – Sumo wrestling in Ryogoku
Evening – Authentic food like yakitori, monjayaki, and taiyaki
Morning – Samurai experience in Shinjuku
Afternoon – Mori Building digital art museum
Evening – Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
Rise, shine, and lace up your comfiest shoes. Tokyo’s waiting! Start your whistle-stop 48 hours by joining a local on a walking tour. The experience is totally customizable, so just tell the guide what area of Tokyo you’d like to get to know, and they’ll devise the best route. You even choose the tour duration, meaning you’re in complete control of the experience. Whether you pick the two-, four-, six-, or eight-hour option, you’ll gain an awesome insight into one of Tokyo’s famous (or under-the-radar) neighborhoods like Harajuku, Ginza, or Akihabara.
Tokyo is chaotic, utterly spellbinding, and predictably unpredictable — but you can easily escape the city’s hustle and bustle. In the shadow of towering skyscrapers, a bygone world of sumo wrestling and cultural curiosities awaits. In Ryogoku, you can watch pro sumo wrestlers strut their stuff. You can even step into the ring and try your hand at Japan’s national sport. Don’t worry, you don’t need to start training for an intense bout! Alternatively, spend your afternoon sampling the old-world in Nihonbashi. You’ll find age-old shops and traditional food stands that feel far removed from modern-day Tokyo.
Tokyo is one of the world’s culinary capitals, and no visit is complete without diving mouth first into the weird and wonderful dishes on display. Your taste buds will experience all kinds of sushi masterpieces and ramen wonders. However, this tasty tour goes beyond the obvious to get you munching on yakitori, monjayaki, and taiyaki in authentic cafes and street stalls. It’s the perfect fuel for exploring once the sun goes down. After you’ve feasted on all kinds of delights, head to the Skytree, the world’s tallest freestanding tower, for a 360-degree view of Tokyo at night.
Get up bright and early and head to Shinjuku for a unique samurai experience. The famous sword-wielders have been an essential part of Japanese culture for over 800 years, and the Samurai Museum is the go-to place to learn all about them. This isn’t your average museum, however, as you’ll get to dress up in armor, hold a katana, and even watch a sword battle. If you’d rather go a step further than just trying on the costume, head to Asakusa and spend 90 minutes training to be a samurai warrior.
After exploring the past, it’s time to take a giant leap into the future at the world’s first all-digital museum. The attraction may be the darling of social media, but it’s more than just an Insta addict’s dream. The exhibitions are a scarcely believable combination of design, engineering, and artistry. Rooms like the Crystal World, Forest of Resonating Lamps, and the Memory of Topography produce some truly reality-busting moments. The museum doesn’t come with a map and entrances are often hidden, so just keep wandering until your camera’s filled and your feet are sore. As it’s the hottest ticket in town, be sure to book this dimension-bending experience well in advance.
You’ll probably spend a whole lot longer than you planned in the Mori Building Digital Art Museum. And who can blame you?! Luckily, once you’re ready to return to reality, no less than 13 natural hot springs are ready to soothe all your aches and pains. Located just a short walk from the museum, the Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari is the perfect tonic after 48 hours of non-stop exploring. The traditional onsen features indoor and outdoor pools, spa facilities, and dining options, meaning you can reach new levels of chill in the heart of Tokyo. We’d love to hear your Tokyo tips in the comments below. Hint: make sure you’re logged into Facebook to share your knowledge with us.Plan your trip to Tokyo