Come with me on a day adventure in Tokyo’s unmissable spots through historical Asakusa, stylish Ginza and vibrant Shibuya. I recently re-discovered these three must-see areas in just one day thanks to Toei Subway and Bus Lines.
This handy itinerary covers three of my favorite neighborhoods in one day – complete with sightseeing spots, restaurants, cafes and shopping recommendations. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Welcome to gorgeous Asakusa! Home to Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, the impressive Senso-Ji, Asakusa receives thousands of visitors a day so it’s best to try and visit it on a weekday, either as early or as late as possible. Don’t fret though – in this case I spent my Saturday morning exploring the surroundings of Senso-ji and I had a blast. Plus, all the kimono-wearing people make me happy!
Starting from the impressive Kaminarimon gate, make your way to the temple through Nakamise street, one of my favorite places to buy souvenirs and snacks. I particularly like buying furin (wind chimes), they come in many shapes, sizes and colors and make such a unique gift!
In Senso-Ji, take a stroll in these millennia-old grounds enjoying the incredible architecture and ambiance. I like to support the temples and shrines by engaging in some traditional activities like buying incense to burn – the smoke is said to have healing properties- or throwing a coin into the offering box!
Don’t be shy, try it out. Here’s how:
- Throw a coin into the offering box.
- Pray with one’s hands together.
- Finally, make a light bow.
Don’t forget to explore further and enjoy the beautiful sights – Tokyo Skytree, Asahi Beer Hall and the charming Shin-Nakamise shopping street.
After exploring Asakusa, it’s time to sit for a while, rest and eat!
Very close to Senso-Ji, in a quieter street along Sumida river you can find The Farm. This relaxed cafe/restaurant has a fully vegan, organic, feel-good menu and it’s extremely English friendly. The Farm works with a mix of Japanese and Mediterranean ingredients and dishes, creating a satisfying, healthy menu full of flavor.
Before moving to my next destination, I took the Toei Asakusa Line to Kuramae. This area has a beautiful and different view of Sumida River plus a nice selection of charming cafes. It’s becoming more and more popular lately, check it out!
In Kuramae you can take pictures like these, without worrying about hundreds of tourists getting in the shot:
From Kuramae you can reach Higashi Ginza very easily, in only 10 minutes on the Toei Asakusa Line.
Arriving to Higashi Ginza in the Toei Asakusa line has at least two advantages: first, you’re welcomed by a underground shopping area that looks straight out of a Ghibli movie!
Second, the exit will put you right in front of the dazzling Kabuki-za Theatre.
Kabuki-za opened in 1889 and since then, it has survived two fires, an Allied bombing during WWII and finally, being purposely demolished and built anew, with improved earthquake resistance and accessibility-ready.
You can buy tickets for the theatre online if you want to attend a performance; however if you’re in Ginza, drop by and admire this gorgeous building that takes after the architectural details of Japanese castles.
Ginza is known for it’s elegant boutiques, restaurants and cafes. It is considered one of the most luxurious and expensive streets in Tokyo and the world!
Ginza’s cafes are, generally, a bit more high end and you can and should expect the best service and care. After all, Japan is known for its omotenashi: outstanding service and hospitality.
Explore the shiny streets of ginza, maybe stop for a bit of shopping -plenty of tax-free boutiques over there- and when you need a pick me up, head to Tokyu Plaza, where you will find Cacao Market By Marie Belle.
This small cafe and store, almost hidden out of sight in the 5th floor of Tokyu Plaza (turn left when you get off the escalator!) is all about chocolate!
You must try the chocolate and matcha lava cake, with an addictive mix of sweet but rich dark chocolate and matcha. The Marie Antoinette set is a sweet deal (pun intended) with decadent hot cocoa, whipped cream and two kinds of chocolate cakes.
Don’t forget to check the little corners and stores inside Tokyu Plaza Ginza on your way out! Many of them are pop-ups and available only for a limited time.
It’s easy to get lost in the grandiosity of the most bling side of Ginza, but this neighborhood has beautifully local, unassuming streets as well! Take a little detour and find yourself in a whole different ambient – it’s like stepping in another dimension.
Next step is heading to the Toei Bus Stop (Shimbashi Sta. Bus Stop (新橋駅前) ), and catch the Line 06 bus that will take you to Shibuya. Kick back and relax on your seat while enjoying the views. Don’t forget to look out for Tokyo Tower from your window!
There’s so much going on in Shibuya that you could easily spend days exploring it! Home to the iconic Shibuya crossing, Hachiko statue and many more tourists attractions; it’s also one of my favorite places to shop.
Visiting Shibuya after sunset really brings out the bigger-than-life vibe this neighborhood has: Neon lights, giant screens, thousands of people walking in orderly chaos… it’s a such a unique place with an equally special energy.
The ever-changing Shibuya has recently opened two impressive skyscrapers which will make your wildest shopping dreams come true: Shibuya Scramble Square and the renewed Parco Shibuya.
Getting off the Line 06 Toei Bus (都06) at the Shibuya stop will leave you right next to Shibuya Scramble Square. Convenient, right?
Most famous for its open air viewpoint, Shibuya Sky, Shibuya Scramble Square has an incredible Japanese food selection and many small, made in Japan shops. Perfect for finding a special, quality gift.
If you’re after something a little bit more pop culture (manganime, anyone?), follow me to Parco Shibuya!
Parco may look like your regular mall, but once you go to the upper floors, it becomes clear that there’s SO much more. Japanese and international brands meet here in a fresh display of all things trendy.
Anime and videogame fans will be extra happy to find the exclusive Evangelion x Fila, Capcom, Jump, Pokemon and Nintendo stores. You may need to wait a bit to enter the Nintendo shop, but it’s the first and only of its kind- unmissable for diehard fans.
When hunger strikes after all that shopping, I recommend walking less than a minute from Parco to one of my favorite sushi places.
Kinka Sushi Bar Izakaya is a casual but polished sushi restaurant, perfect for a relaxed dinner. You can sit in the counter and see the chefs doing their magic, however if you’re a small group it’s more comfortable to grab a table!
Kinka’s signature aburi sushi is lightly torched and crispy, so good you will not be able to have just one piece. Try their Japanese tapas as well for a different taste of Japanese cuisine! Itadakimasu!
Hope you have enjoyed this action-packed day exploring Tokyo. I want to thank Toei Transportation for partnering with me doing what I like most: Sharing Tokyo and Japan with you.
Questions? Comments? Let me know below!
See you soon!