From robot cafes to ancient temples and shrines, the wonderful and wacky capital of Japan is a place everyone should visit at least once. With one of the best food scenes on the planet and a cultural heritage celebrated on every corner, Tokyo will delight the senses. To see the bugeoning metropolis in two days is a mammoth task, but you can get lost in translation and get a taste by following our guide below.
8 AM - UENO PARK AND MUSEUMS
7-20 UENOKOEN, TAITO, TOKYO 110-0007
Just outside JR Ueno station, you'll find the sprawling Ueno Park. Home to four temples, Shinobazu Pond where you can rent paddle boats, and many of Tokyo's best museums. There's also Ueno Zoo, if you have kids in tow. While you could easily spend a full day here, prioritize roaming the shrines, Tokyo National Museum and the Shitamachi Museum, which depicts life from the Meiji to Showa periods.
11 AM - HARAJUKU
TAKESHITA ST. 1 CHOME JINGUMAE, SHIBUYA, TOKYO 150-0001
Jump on the Yamanote Line and head down to the infamous Harajuku. Home of crazy street fashion, everything kawaii (cuteness overload), and distinctly Japanese shopping. Explore Takeshita Street for the full experience, popping from one shop to the next. The surrounding streets are more subdued, but offer equally great finds from indie designers.
1 PM - PURIKURA
TAKESHITA ST. 1 CHOME JINGUMAE, SHIBUYA, TOKYO 150-0001
If you've peeked into any of the gaming centers, you've seen rows and rows of photo booths. Jump in with your friends and capture dozens of silly photos for the best souvenir of Japan. Each booth has a theme and after you've snapped your photos, you can decorate them at the attached console. It's addictive.
2 PM - MARION CRÊPES
TAKESHITA ST. 1-6-15 JINGUMAE, SHIBUYA, TOKYO 150-0001
Satiate your sweet tooth in Harajuku with one of their famous crêpes. Filled with cream, sugar, custard, and strawberries, these portable snacks are the perfect accessory to this hyperactive neighborhood. You'll be spoiled for choice, but we recommend Marion Crêpes for the Ichigo Cheesecake Special.
2:30 PM - YOYOGI PARK
2-1 YOYOGIKAMIZONOCHO SHIBUYA, TOKYO 151-0052
Steal some quiet time and head across the bridge to Yoyogi Park. Forested with large lawns and ponds, it's a blissful oasis amongst the chaos. Sometimes the fashionable youth bleeds over into the park and you can see 20-somethings dressed in 1950s fashion complete with leather jackets and greased back hair. If you're still hungry, grab a bento box from a nearby convenience store and treat yourself to a picnic on the green.
4 PM - MEIJI JINGU
1-1 YOYOGIKAMIZONOCHO SHIBUYA, TOKYO 151-8557
Adjacent to Yoyogi Park is is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. One of Japan's most popular Shinto shrines, there's always something happening here, from traditional archery competitions to weddings. With over 100,000 trees surrounding the shrine, it'll be easy to forget you're in the largest metropolis in the world. Make sure to check out the Meiji Jingu Treasure House at the north end, as well as the Inner Garden to the south.
5 PM - SHIBUYA
SHIBUYA JR STATION
Make your way to Shibuya, the largest subway station in the world. Check out the department store inside along with the Tokyu Food Show on the bottom level. It'd be a shame not to do the Shibuya crossing while you're here, so use the Hachiko Exit (there's over 20 exits, watch the signs!) and join the masses at the famous crosswalk. Nearby Shibuya 109 is a giant mall with over 100 trendy boutiques and down Basketball Street there are a few pachinko parlors for you to test your gambling skills.
6 PM - DON QUIJOTE
2-25-8 DOGENZAKA SHIBUYA, TOKYO 150-0043
If you ever wondered where you could buy snacks, make-up, life sized animal pillows, and Elmo footie pajamas all in the same place, wonder no more. Don Quijote is five plus floors of anything you could ever need, and many more things you don't. If you want a particularly quirky souvenir or are in need of some false eyelashes, this is the place for you.
6 PM - 35 STEPS BISTRO
B1 SHIBUYA CITY HOTEL 1-1 SHIBUYA, TOKYO 150-0043
When in Japan, one must go to an izakaya. Think of it as a Japanese pub where you pay by the skewer. Head down the namesake thirty-five steps to this basement restaurant for friendly service and amazing food. Expect lines if you get there late as this place is popular for a reason. Highlights are the blow torched mackerel, the cheese tofu, and the spicy edamame.
8 PM - YODOBASHI CAMERA
1-11-1 NISHI-SHINJUKU SHINJUKU, TOKYO 160-0023
After you've stuffed yourself, jump back on the subway and zoom up to Shinjuku. Another megastore you've got to see is Yodobashi Camera, which will have every household appliance and electronic you could ever imagine along with some very strange gadgets. There's toy capsule machines, stationery, and books as well on other floors. It's endless!
10 PM - GOLDEN GAI
KABUKICHO SHINJUKU, TOKYO
Looking for an interesting night? Head to Golden Gai which has 200 bars crammed into a maze of six narrow streets, many only able to seat a handful. There's Zucca that's Halloween themed and Tachibana Shinsatsushitsu, whose barmaids dress as nurses and will charge you a ¥5,000 penalty if you fall asleep. Kabukicho is Tokyo's largest red light district. It's not dangerous per se, just don't let anyone talk you into going into a nightclub; your wallet will thank you.
9 AM - TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
5 CHOME-2-1 TSUKIJI CHUO, TOKYO 104-0045
The famous tuna auction may be off limits, but the general market opens bright and early to the public. You can window shop the freshest (and wackiest) seafood in Japan and grab a bite of the best sushi you'll ever have in your life at one of the dozens of stalls around the market. Best part? Sushi is cheap, and it's totally acceptable breakfast food.
11 AM - ASAKUSA
2 CHOME-3-1 ASAKUSA TAITO, TOKYO 111-0032
Discover old world Tokyo in Asakusa where many pre-WWII buildings still exist. It's a great area to explore on foot or by rickshaw, taking in the historical architecture. Asakusa's main attraction is Sensoji, an incredibly popular (and crowded) Buddhist temple and pagoda that was built in the 7th century. The store lined street leading up to it sell a ton of traditional souvenirs and local specialties. Asahi Beer Tower is also nearby.
2 PM - GHIBLI MUSEUM
1-1-83 SIMORENJAKU MITAKA-SHI, TOKYO 181-0013
Hayao Miyazaki is the godfather of animation in Japan, and the Ghibli studio museum is a whimsical homage to his legacy and craft. Here you'll find special exhibitions with original features and storyboards and interactive treasures. Prepare to be here for a few hours, especially if you have kids. Note: you must make reservations on the museum website.
5 PM - AKIHABARA
1 CHOME SOTOKANDA CHIYODA, TOKYO 101-0025
Get lost in Akihabara Electric Town where arcades and gaming centers lines the streets alongside camera and computer stores, all while anime and video game adverts pulse along electronic billboards. Get in some more shopping, have a try at a claw machine or two, or just people watch.
6 PM - RAMEN AT AOSHIMA SHOKUDO
3-20-1 CHIYODA TOKYO SAKUMACHO, TOKYO 101-0025
You could try out one of Akihabara's many Maid Cafes, but we recommend heading to Aoshima Shokudo for some of the best ramen in Tokyo. Place your order by machine, hand your ticket to the chefs and just wait. A salty and rich broth with tender pork, you can't really go wrong.
7 PM - KARAOKE
1-1-16 KANDA SAKUMACHO CHIYODA, TOKYO 101-0025
Big Echo is a great karaoke chain, so round up your pals and head up to the 6th floor for some tone-deaf singing. Karaoke is practically a national pastime in Japan, complete with your own private room and some instruments to shake alongside bad renditions of Jon Bon Jovi. Order nomihodai (all you can drink) for two hours of ballad filled fun.
9 PM - SAKE AT AKAONI
2-15-3 SANGENJAYA SETAGAYA, TOKYO 154-0024
Head out to Akaoni to taste the splendor of sake. With over 100 varieties to choose from, Akaoni specializes in raw sake, but has a constantly rotating menu so you're always getting something different. If you're peckish, order a bite of tempura, but really, you're here to drink.
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL SUNROUTE PLAZA SHINJUKU
2-3-1 YOYOGI SHIBUYA, TOKYO 151-0053
Tucked between the bustling neighborhoods of Shinjuku and Shibuya, Hotel Sunroute Plaza has you close to transportation and all the action, but not compromising comfort. The in-house spa is particularly perfect after a long day on your feet exploring Tokyo.