a red bridge over a stream

Tokyo has a reputation for being quite a few things and the truth is that they are all true. The city can be whatever you’d like it to be. If you are seeking zen like peaceful gardens, have at it, if you want to stand in the busiest street crossing on earth, go for it, if a little bit of everything, amazing food, incredible shopping and a whole lot of culture sounds like your speed, you came to the right place. Tokyo is the greatest city on earth and you can do so much in just a few days…

Day One

a building next to a body of water

Just about everyone visiting Tokyo will be fighting some sort of jet lag, so without a doubt the best way to get your day started and kick the lag is to walk, taxi or train over to the Imperial Palace and it’s stunning gardens.

a tree in front of a building

Once inside the beautiful “fortress”, surrounded by high walls and a mote you can’t help but wonder if you’re actually in the middle of a city or a dream. The answer is both.

a tree branch over water

You’ll find tons of different looks within the gardens, perhaps none more beautiful than this koi pond…

a plate of noodles and two bowls of soup

Of course after all the hard work it’s time for food and it’s hard to beat some traditional Japanese noodles! Pop in just about anywhere, it’s hard to go wrong..

a group of people walking in a city

After a hearty noodle lunch head over to Harajuku for some epic shopping. The narrow streets are laced with boutiques ranging from ultra trendy to posh to second hand. Despite being a bit crowded the vibe is very laid back and wandering is 100% amusing.

a street sign with many signs on it

As night settles in the city takes on a whole new life and the surreal feeling of being in one of the world’s busiest cities takes effect. Don’t be afraid to walk just about anywhere. It’s hard to find a bad neighborhood and things change so fast that there’s much to take in. If you’re in search of nightlife, wander to the Roppongi Hills, the most vibrant night district!

Day Two

a woman sitting on a couch looking out a window with a city in the background

There’s no shortage of incredible (and expensive) hotels in Tokyo, many of which featuring pretty stunning views. Start your day in the club lounge of your hotel over looking the city, which in Tokyo is almost always worth the extra few bucks and includes breakfast, evening cocktails and canapés. The Prince Gallery is a brand new, very cool hotel, as pictured.

a close up of a sticker

Time to roll! Cabs in New York are not very exciting, but cabs in Tokyo are incredible. The seats all feature immaculately clean white linen cloth coverings, and a few even have cartoons to keep you from being a bad tourist. They all take credit card, so fear not…

a bowl of green tea and a plate of food

Green tea anyone? You can’t come to the city without experiencing a green tea ceremony. The pride and tradition put into every pour is a pretty cool thing to experience and really makes you think about savoring the caffeinated moments in life. We found a fun spot in Ginza which ended up being a perfect stopping off point for a day of activity.

a car parked on the side of a street

After ceremonious tea, Ginza is a perfect place to buzz around. Whereas Shibuya is huge buildings and crowded, Harajuku is narrow streets and eclectic, Ginza is wide streets, refined, respected and truly upscale. For the luxury shopper you’ll find all the best shops, and for the boutique hunter you’ll find some really neat one off stores tucked into the side streets.

a plate of sushi with chopsticks

Shopping is very hard work, so a spot of sushi is just the thing to do afterward. All sushi in Tokyo is at a higher level than elsewhere,but if you can find a top spot it’s a whole new level. There’s so much flavor in even the simplest rolls that you don’t even need soy sauce!

two glasses of drinks on a table

Before returning home for the night, why not check out (arguably) the best bar in Tokyo with the winner of World’s Best Bartender, Hidetsugo Ueno at his Bar High Five. He’s like the Jiro of bartending, every drink is customized, there’s no menu and it’s an experience out of a Scorsese movie…

a crowd of people walking on a busy street

Now that you’re quite literally buzzed, hop over to the madness of Shibuya crossing to witness the “Times Square” of Tokyo. All the photos look overwhelming, but because everyone obeys the traffic laws it’s all very civilized and quite fun.

Day Three

people in a fish market

Fish for breakfast? The Tsukiji Fish Market is legendary. It’s the place where all the world’s finest fish and sea creatures are auctioned off to restaurants all around the world. If you are a night owl, or super jet lagged, head down to the market at roughly 3AM when they let in a limited number of tourists.

a window with art on it

Like all the greatest cities, the best thing to do is stroll. You’ll pop by countless beautiful “bus stops” and interesting art installations throughout the city. Definitely check out Asakusa for a very authentic look. It’s beautiful, it’s fun and you really feel like you could be nowhere else on earth while in Tokyo…

a park with trees and a bridge in the background

It’s time for another incredibly beautiful and relaxing view of the city. You’ll see skyscrapers in the distance, but right in front of you, depending on season, you may be far more interested in the cherry blossoms along the pond.

a group of shoes on a shelf

There’s no better place on earth for shopping, so why not? Tokyo has incredible boutiques almost everywhere you turn, so if you’re a shopper, head for Roppongi Hills, Ginza, Harajuku or Jingumae for a few definitively different looks, and prices…

a bowl of green food and a spoon on a table

Soup? No. Dessert? No. After another amazing morning of pop over to Washoku Souten, at the Prince Gallery Hotel for a green tea and sake cocktail, complete with gold leaf of course. Coincidentally they also serve upscale Japanese fare for lunch…

Day Four

a street with buildings and people standing on it

Let’s just take a moment to say that the streets of Tokyo are pristine. It’s hard to find litter, it’s hard to find jaywalkers and the roads are paved to precision. Coming from almost any other major city it’s eye opening to see just how efficient and clean a city can be.

a snow covered mountain in the distance with Mount Fuji in the background

If you’re never coming back to Tokyo again you simply must squeeze Mt. Fuji in before you go. The mountain is best hiked, but a driven day tour, complete with Lake Ashi views and a trip to nearby areas can be done in a day, leaving in the morning and returning early evening. Since many flights depart around midnight, it could be the perfect way to cap off an epic trip…

a woman standing in a park

Of course if you don’t go that route the city is simply the best. You’ll find an inspired park in almost every neighborhood, you’ll find countless temples, shrines, museums and cultural activities and if you’re vein like we are, you can just have an absolute blast peering around, shopping and eating…

a tall tower lit up at night with Tokyo Tower in the background

Before heading off take an evening stroll by the Tokyo Tower, a cool version of the Eiffel Tower. You can really confuse your friends as to your whereabouts and there’s plenty to do nearby.

a group of people walking on a street

The nightlife is simply breathtaking. Maybe it’s the narrow streets, buzzing restaurants or the bright lights, but each stroll feels like so much more, especially if it’s your last night…

a white cloth from a sliding door

One last traditional dinner. After you’ve done sushi and soba, you must do Kobe. Have a few glasses of sake, have an extra steak and then head back to the hotel to pack.

a room with a view of the city from the top

Cool bar? As we mentioned, Tokyo has a thriving cocktail scene spurred on by the massive success of Japanese whiskey. This ridiculously cool bar, the main feature of our Prince Gallery Kiochio hotel is a real thrill and certainly worth it, even if just for the view…

a road with a tall tower in the background

Travel is always fun but honestly many cities don’t require more than a couple nights. Tokyo on the other hand is a city that requires as much time as can possibly be spared. Once you’ve had a few nights you’ll realize that you’re just grazing the surface. You haven’t seen Kyoto, Osaka or any of the other countless major cities, and you’ve probably missed half the cool attractions in the city of Tokyo too. The good news is that you’ll definitely be back. I dare you not to want to…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. If would have been much nicer if you hadn’t filtered your photos with such off colors. When doing trip reports, especially of beautiful scenery I think most people will prefer to see the colors the way they naturally look, not some washed out look.
    People read trip reports to learn how a place really is/looks and not to look at doctored and faded photos.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *