Three days is the ideal amount of time to get a feel for an area, and Tokyo’s eclectic mix of old and new is yours to discover on a short break to this magnificent city. To the west is a hub of innovation, boasting modern landscapes that effortlessly showcase the city’s technological prowess. In contrast, eastern Tokyo presents a slightly slower pace of life and provides a window to Japan’s fascinating culture and traditions.
Where to stay
As with any short city break, you’ll want to stay pretty central in order to benefit from the action that’s going on around you. This is particularly true in the Japanese capital, as any good Tokyo tourism guidewill recommend that you visit both the east and the west of the city to really make the most of your stay.
When it comes to accommodation, central Tokyo has options that cater to just about every budget. As the commercial and administrative centre, Shinjuku is very much at the heart of the action yet it’s easy to get to via railway if you do choose to opt for a slightly quieter, more relaxed district nearby. Nakano, Chiyoda and Toshima are particularly popular – the latter boasting some of the city’s most famous museums and art galleries.
What to do
Tokyo effortlessly mixes the modern and the traditional, meaning there’s never a shortage of things to see and do here. From historic temples to awe-inspiring skyscrapers, three days will see you attempting to pack as much into your stay as possible.
Ginza is the district to head to if you’re after a spot of retail therapy – it’s known for its upmarket boutiques and designer emporiums, which can be rivalled only by the likes of shopping in Rome. For something a little more cultural, Senso-ji is a must visit. This ancient Buddhist temple is considered to be the oldest in Tokyo and is instantly recognisable due to its vibrant gold and red exterior.
If you’re visiting Tokyo in March or April, be sure to add the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to your itinerary. Experience Japan’s renowned cherry blossoms for yourself in this vast and tranquil garden, and head to the Taiwan Pavilion at its heart for a full view of its sprawling greenery.
Where to eat
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tokyo isn’t short of unique places to eat. Every district here offers its own eclectic dining scene, with culinary firsts to be discovered around every corner. Among the most popular is the Standing Sushi Bar, which boasts branches in locations across the city. Here the finest Japanese sushi is served, you guessed it, standing up. It’s become something of a staple of dining in Tokyo and is definitely one to tick off the bucket list while you’re here.
Tokyo is a capital city, so prices will naturally be higher in the most heavily populated areas. It’s worth looking around for some smaller neighbourhood restaurants, the likes of which will probably be serving Japanese delicacies in the manner that they were intended. Of course, no trip to Japan would be complete without sampling some of the country’s famous ramen. From beef and chicken to wholesome vegetarian options, head to any restaurant here – large or small – and you’re likely to find ramen of some kind on the menu.
When it’s finally time for a sweet treat, be sure to keep an eye out for one of Tokyo’s famous vending machines. These are found on just about every street, and contain everything from fish soup to fresh fruit. If you prefer, there are just as many serving ice creams and chilled soft drinks too.