You could spend a whole month in Tokyo and barely scratch the surface, so five days is like no time at all. But if you follow this guide you can really pack in a bunch in a short amount of time.
Your first step should be finding a place to base up that is as close to train station as possible. Tokyo, and Japan in general, is train based and have mastered public transportation. On this trip we chose to splurge a little bit and stay at Park Hotel Tokyo. We had been eyeing their artist rooms and decided to go for it. This hotel is set between Shidome and Shimbashi stations, giving us twice as many train options for exploring Tokyo.
After a long travel day we wanted to ease into our first full day in Tokyo. We got up early and lived the free hotel breakfast life (save that money). Hit the train station and picked up our Suica card (get one, get one, get one). We took the train just a few stops to Akihabara – Tokyo’s Electric town. Even if anime, video games, and electronics are not your thing, Akihabara is defiantly a must visit when in Tokyo even if it’s just for a short time.
We started out at Yodobashi, the largest electronics store in Akihabara. Ten stories of electronics, gadgets, toys, cameras, and everything else you could think of. It’s something to behold even if you don’t buy anything.
We made our way next to one of the multistory SEGA arcades. We quickly hit the change machine and were full immersed in a game before we could even blink. Now as you would expect, these games are in Japanese and you may not know what’s happening 100% of the time, but it’s a blast.
Failing at claw machines and beating on arcade drums really works up quite the appetite and Karaage Sakaba Agebaka did just the trick. Karaage is what all chicken nuggets dream of being. Fried when you order, hot and fresh, juicy chicken with flavors of soy sauce and salt. Can’t recommend this little snack enough. The even have a nice little outdoor space to grab a drink if you are in the mood.
We our love for all things Japan we did a little shopping at Super Potato (Video games) and Don Quijote (literally everything) and then made our way to a Gachapon Hall. In Japan, Gachapon are what we know as little capsules with a fun little toy inside, but in Japan they have really taken things to the next level and you can find almost anything in these little machines. Snoopy playing the saxophone- check. Little hats for your cats- check. Miniature fire escapes- check.
It’s time for a sweet treat, you don’t need a reason, you want it, and it’s delicious. So grab a Taiyaki, a sweet pancake-ish creation in the shape of a fish, with your choice of filling. We enjoyed the Anko (red bean) and vanilla cream.
**Pro-tip from unprofessionals – Pokemon kids can even find one shaped like Magikarp, because of course you can! **
At this point in the day if you are having a blast in Akihabara, then stay all night! Spend some time at a maid cafe (if that’s your thing), have a memorable dinner at Tonkatsu Marugo, then grab dessert at Pablo. But if you are trying to really see ass much of Tokyo as possible in 5 days then head back to the train and take a short ride to Ginza.
In an already expensive city Ginza holds nothing back– blocks of shopping, high end department stores, boutiques, and every brand you can imagine. Ginza SIX is a great place if you are looking for some clothes and Matsuya if you want to get your hands on those $80 grapes, Akebono for some traditional sweets, and the Kit Kat Chocolatory and Cafe for some of those fancy Kit Kats to bring back to your friends.
You shopped and now you’re ready to drop so we have a couple different options depending on how hard the jet lag is starting to hit. If you don’t feel like leaving Ginza then grab some Ramen at Kagari and you can’t go wrong or if you are feeling a little fancy maybe hit up Ginza Steak. Or if you are still soldiering on, grab a train a head up a stop to Tokyo station to Ramen street, the indoor, not street, hallway of amazing noodles. Whatever you do, eat up, and head back to your hotel or rental and get some sleep because we have another long day tomorrow. Oh, and please don’t miss the Godzilla statue on your way out.