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Travel tips

How to spend 48 hours in Tokyo

Sep 04, 2020 by Emily Houston

On most of our Japan tours you’ll enjoy 48 hours in Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital city. One of our travel tips for Tokyo is to take the metro. It’s speedy, clean, and ultra accessible, meaning you’ll be able to visit all the Tokyo attractions on your list—and then some. To kick-start your time in the city, here’s our list of the best things to do in Tokyo.

Things to do in Tokyo on Day 1

After landing in Tokyo and getting a good night’s sleep, wake up the next morning well-rested and ready to explore the city. Here’s our list of the top things to do in Tokyo. Take note: Today’s travel tips for Tokyo feature lots of food and drink recs—because that’s the best way to kick off any new travel adventure!

Explore the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center

Sake is Japan’s national drink and before you order a round one night at dinner, one of our tips for Tokyo is to spend some time learning a bit about the history of the drink. Since there’s over one thousand years of history, there’s a lot to dive into!

The experts at the center will answer all your questions and recommend sakes to sample, if you’re interested. Every few weeks new sakes are featured on the tasting menu so you’ll know you’re tasting the latest and greatest sakes from across the country.


Grab lunch at Ameyoko Market

This open-air market is your one-stop-shop for a fun souvenir, quick bite, and truly authentic shopping experience. While it was once the city’s black market selling hard-to-find candy post-World War II, it has become one of the city’s most popular street markets.

We recommend visiting as many vendors as you can and creating your own tapas-style lunch. Why settle for just one delicious type of food when you can try three… or four kinds?! Be sure to order some takoyaki, or octopus croquettes! Learn more about our favorite foods to eat at Japanese seafood markets.


Tour the Museum of Yebisu Beer

While sake may be the most notable Japanese alcohol, Yebisu beer is one other sip that’s not to be missed. This beer was first produced in 1890 and meets the standards of the Bavarian Purity Law, the world’s oldest-operating food safety law. That means you know the beer is going to be crisp and flavorful.

The brand is 130 years old and you can learn about the history of this Japanese brew on a guided tour of the museum. End with a visit to the tasting salon where you’ll try a pint of Yebisu poured straight from the tap.

Cook up some Japanese food

One of our favorite things to do in Tokyo is to eat all of the delicious local food, but there’s something extra special about cooking that food yourself. Add an excursion to join an experienced chef at a local restaurant for a cooking lesson and dinner.

You’ll grab your apron and watch as the chef demonstrates how to make traditional Japanese cuisine such as gyudon, miso soup, cucumber pickles, or a chicken teriyaki bento box. Then, try your hand at crafting your own authentic meal before sitting down to enjoy the cuisine for dinner.

See our traveler-favorite tour of Tokyo

Things to do in Tokyo on Day 2

If the question of what to do in Tokyo crosses your mind on the morning of day two, we’ve got you covered. Today is all about pairing ultra-modern sites with traditional experiences, which Tokyo does better than almost anywhere in the world.


Learn how to sip matcha like a local

The tea ceremony is one of the most sacred and beloved traditions in Japan. If you want to know what to do in Tokyo to start your day, we recommend visiting Koomon, Tokyo.

Here, you’ll learn the proper etiquette for taking part in a tea ceremony. Don’t want to wait until you travel to Japan to get a insider’s lesson? Take part in our virtual, interactive Online Escape and master the tea ceremony alongside Tokyo local, Yukiko!

Get artsy at the teamLab Borderless museum

Part digital art museum, part interactive installation, this museum is as modern as it gets. It opened in 2018 and is one of the newer, trendier places to visit in Tokyo.

Each room features different light-based designs that visitors are encouraged to interact with. If more cutting-edge museums are up your alley, you’ll want to carve out a few hours to visit this popular spot located near the city’s harbor.

Relax at Shinjuku Gyo-en

Trade the city’s metropolitan feel for something with a little bit more zen. Shinjuku Gyo-en was once home to the Naitō family, who ruled in the late 1500s during the Edo period.

Today, the park is a public space featuring footbridges, a tea house, and plenty of beautiful fields. If you travel to Tokyo in April during cherry blossom season, this is one place you’ll have to go to see the flowers in full bloom!


Snap photos from Tokyo Tower

You may have seen Tokyo Tower, the monument that’s reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower, peeking out of Tokyo’s skyline. Did you know that it features not one, but two observation decks?

Pay a visit to either the Main Deck, located 490 feet up, or the Top Deck, which is a staggering 819 feet high. Both decks offer panoramic views of the city below. Cap off your day here, when the buildings are all lit up and glittering in the night sky.

Have you visited Japan on tour? How would you spend 48 hours in Tokyo? Tell us on Facebook!

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About the author | Emily Houston
Emily loves the simple travel moments—like watching hours pass by in minutes while sharing a meal and a laugh (or many) with her friends and family. Outside the office, you'll find Emily listening to anything and everything John Mayer, attempting to cook a New York Times recipe, or dreaming up her next trip.

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Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo
14 days | 18 days with Okinawa & Tokyo extension

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