Tokyo itinerary: 3 days in Japan’s capital

Tokyo itinerary 3 days - Japan | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s a quick Tokyo itinerary for 3 days. To be honest, I’d recommend more than 3 days in Tokyo if you really want to explore Japan’s buzzing, bustling capital. But if you’re on a time limit, there’s plenty you can cram in. I’ve been visiting friends in Tokyo for several years now and feel like I know the city quite well – until I go back the next time and Tokyo’s madness takes over. Every time, I find more new things going on that I’d never discovered before.

I’ve discovered that you can’t ever get to grips with Tokyo and won’t scratch the surface in 3 days, 5 days or even 2 weeks. It’s a city to be loved but never fully understood and I’m fine with that. So I’ve written this 3-day itinerary, which doesn’t cover even a fraction of what there is to do but has a decent balance of exploring, culture, fun and food. It goes off the beaten track a bit but still includes plenty of the big hits. 

So settle down with a glass of sake and get planning your 3-day Tokyo itinerary…

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5 train-themed things to do in Japan for railfans and train geeks

Five things to do in Japan for railfans | PACK THE SUITCASES

Japan’s trains are a cut above anywhere else in the world. No one in Japan has ever been reduced to tears by the words ‘rail replacement bus service.’ Because of this, they’ve become quite a cult thing to obsess over and Japan is an absolute goldmine of brilliant and hilarious train-based stuff. I knew I’d have to write up my top things to do in Japan for railfans, and I’ve not even scratched the surface yet.

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How to watch sumo in Tokyo, Japan

Watching sumo in Tokyo, Japan | PACK THE SUITCASES

Watching sumo in Tokyo was not on our ‘must-do’ list of things for our first trip to Japan back in 2015. We didn’t really know anything about it and it seemed a bit weird and didn’t interest us. But we did it anyway and LOVED it. For our second trip, in January this year, we knew we wanted to go again. And after that, we seem to have become actual sumo fans. Who’d have thought it?

So we thought we’d share what it’s like going to watch it for the day and some useful things you need to know before you go.

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20 unique things to do in Tokyo, Japan

20 unique things to do in Tokyo, Japan | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s my selection of 20 unique things to do in Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo is vast and ever-changing. It has been done to death on travel blogs and in guidebooks but you can never quite capture it. For that reason, I didn’t want to write down what we think you ‘shouldn’t miss’ or ‘must see’ places. But here are 20 things I really enjoyed on my last two visits that aren’t your generic big sights.

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Tokyo off the beaten path: exploring Kōenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Kichijōji

Tokyo off the beaten path: Kōenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Kichijōji | PACK THE SUITCASES

We’re lucky enough to have friends in Tokyo, so we try to stay near where they live in Ogikubo. This gives us a unique insight into local life there every time we visit. Here’s a brief summary of things we love about Tokyo off the beaten track. It covers: Kōenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo, and Kichijōji. This area is basically a western section of the Chūō-Sōbu line: one of the most crowded commuter train lines in Japan (which is really saying something).

If you want to visit somewhere in Tokyo without the tourists, where normal people live, and where the huge 20-storey buildings give way to low-rise winding streets, this area is perfect.

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