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Golden Gai | © Catherine Shyu/Flickr
Golden Gai | © Catherine Shyu/Flickr

How to Spend 24 Hours in Tokyo

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 29 May 2017

It’s impossible to experience the entire city in one day, but this itinerary will help you maximize your 24 hours in Tokyo – from culinary and cultural experiences to famous sights and activities.

9 AM

Start your day bright and early. Get to Fuglen around opening time for their legendary coffee and freshly baked treats. Alternatively, Little Nap is a local coffee stand just up the street. They’re both located at the edge of the park, so after you’ve fueled up, make your way through Yoyogi Park towards Meiji Shrine.

Fuglen, 1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

11 AM

Although they share the same grounds, you can’t access Meiji Shrine from inside Yoyogi Park, so exit at the southeast corner and head north; the shrine entrance is behind Harajuku Station. If you’ve ever wanted to try on a yukata or kimono, this is a good opportunity to do so. You can book a rental in advance at Sakaeya Kimono Shop and be guided through the shrine (and if you do, be sure to budget more time for this activity).

Meiji Shrine 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

12 NOON

Make your way to Harajuku’s Takeshita Street for shopping and people-watching. Takeshita Street contains tons of quirky shops and trinket sellers. So whether you’re looking for offbeat souvenirs or unique pieces to add to your wardrobe, you’ll find them here. Harajuku’s unofficial specialty is crepes, so grab one before heading toward Omotesando.

Takeshita Street 1-13-17 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

2 PM

First, you might want to head straight to 76Cafe for a late lunch of taco rice, an Okinawan dish that combines classic taco ingredients with rice instead of tortillas. Then, along Omotesando, you’ll find luxury goods and some of the most impressive architecture in the world. Some of the best shops, including secondhand and vintage stores, can be found in the winding back alleys, so don’t be afraid to explore.

76Cafe 4-9-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

5 PM

If you’re feeling energetic, take the train from Omotesando Station to Naka Meguro to see a more laid-back side of Tokyo. Browse the shops along either side of the river and check out some of the area’s great independent coffeehouses, like Onibus Coffee.

Onibus Coffee 2-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan

8 PM

Head to Shibuya to check out the sights, including Hachiko, Shibuya Crossing, and the iconic Shibuya 109 mall. And Shibuya has endless options when it comes to food. Try ramen at a restaurant where vending machines take your order instead of people, find a sushi go round joint where you order from a tablet, or check out Tengu Sakaba for izakaya fare and a friendly atmosphere.

Shibuya Station 2 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

10 PM

If you’d like to make it an early night, head to Shinjuku to wander the alleys of Kabukicho, and grab a drink in the district’s famed Golden Gai. Otherwise, stay in Shibuya and spend the night at one of the many live music venues, clubs, or DJ bars in the area.

Golden Gai, 1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan