Hey there travel enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will cover 10 ways to spend one day in Tokyo. Now, we all know the joys that travel can bring, from visiting far off places, experiencing different cultures and of course, all the new foods. But there is also a downside, – that dreaded day to ‘waste’ in a city whilst waiting for a midnight flight.

Spend One Day in Tokyo - header

So if you are like me (as I live in Australia, all outgoing flights seems to leave late at night), there has been many a day where you need to find something to do that is enjoyable, but doesn’t take too much time – or cost too much money. So if you have a day to kill in Tokyo, here are 10 things you can do to pass the time in an enjoyable way.

Let’s check them out…

  1. Shibuya Crossing
  2. Hachiko Memorial
  3. Shibuya Sky
  4. Center Gai
  5. Mega Don Quijote
  1. Shibuya Parco Rooftop
  2. Ometesando
  3. Asakusa
  4. Meiji Jingu
  5. Shinjuku

How To Spend One Day In Tokyo

Tokyo is a city that pulsates with life, culture and irresistible energy. From the iconic Shibuya Crossing to savoring delectable bowls of ramen, from the serene tranquility of shrines and temples to the bustling world of street food, this city has it all.

Tokyo’s allure isn’t confined to its dazzling neon lights and towering shopping centers however and it extends to the serene moments of reflection and harmony found in its many shrines and temples. Whilst a mere 24 hours may seem like a brief encounter with this sprawling metropolis, there is plenty to see an do in that time. So to help you out, here are 10 unforgettable ways to spend a day in Tokyo, ensuring that your visit to this mythical city is nothing short of magical.

Som if you are looking at what to do in Tokyo one day, let’s check it all out…

Spend One Day in Tokyo - Tokyo skyline

Book your trip to Tokyo here!

1. Shibuya Crossing

This sprawling scramble intersection, right outside Shibuya Station, embodies the very essence of Tokyo itself – a whirlwind of activity in every direction. As you approach, your senses are immediately overwhelmed by the vibrant chaos where three colossal television screens, mounted on the buildings overlooking the intersection, illuminate the scene throughout the day, adding to the kaleidoscope of lights and advertisements that blanket the area.

Shibuya Crossing is a star in its own right, making cameo appearances in Hollywood films like “Lost in Translation” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” It’s a sought-after backdrop for music videos, news broadcasts and animated shows, thanks to its status as a quintessential symbol of modern Japan.

If you happen to visit, you’ll notice that photographers and videographers are a constant presence, weaving through the crowd, perching on guardrails and even balancing atop subway entrances, all in pursuit of that perfect shot. Shibuya Crossing is Tokyo’s beating heart, a dynamic intersection where the city’s energy converges, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

2. Hachiko Memorial

The statue at the Hachiko Memorial commemorates Hachiko, a faithful Akita dog forever etched in literature, film and history for his extraordinary devotion to his owner, Professor Ueno. Each day, Hachiko would faithfully wait at Shibuya Station, anticipating his master’s return from work. This touching routine continued until one fateful day when Professor Ueno unexpectedly passed away during a lecture. Unaware of his master’s fate, Hachiko continued his daily vigil at the station, returning unfailingly for nine long years until his passing.

Hachiko’s unwavering dedication made him a beloved figure in the community. The first statue in his honor was erected during his lifetime, although it was later repurposed for the wartime metal effort. However, the memory of this remarkable dog lived on, thanks to a determined group of individuals who petitioned for a replacement statue. Eventually, the original sculptor’s son designed the new tribute.

While Hachiko and his master now rest side by side in Aoyama Cemetery, this statue serves as the focal point of his enduring legacy. Each year, on April 8th, an annual ceremony is held here to pay homage to the remarkable bond between Hachiko and his beloved owner, forever reminding us of the profound loyalty and love that exists between humans and their faithful canine companions.

spend one day in Tokyo - Hachiko Memorial

3. Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Sky, a striking addition to the Shibuya skyline that made its debut in November 2019, has swiftly become a top tourist destination in Tokyo, Japan. This gleaming attraction is now a must-visit spot for both locals and travelers, earning a coveted spot in the Japanese drama “The End of the World.” With its expansive 360-degree outdoor observation deck, visitors are treated to breathtaking vistas that encompass Tokyo Tower, Skytree, Shinjuku, Tokyo Ba, and even the iconic Mount Fuji, a symbol of Japan’s majesty.

Situated on the 14th floor of the Shibuya Scramble Square shopping mall, the Shibuya Sky Observation Deck is easily accessible. You can hop on any of the four subway lines that converge at “Shibuya Station” and once there, simply follow the clear directional signs leading to Shibuya Scramble Square and take the elevator to the 14th floor, where the entrance to the observation deck awaits. T

Please note that as of April 28, 2023, the admission fee for the SHIBUYA SKY observation deck has seen a slight increase. Online ticket prices have gone up from 1,800 yen to 2,200 yen, while on-site ticket prices have risen from 2,000 yen to 2,500 yen.

To get the best deal, it’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance on the official website, as online prices are more budget-friendly than on-site purchases.

4. Center Gai

Shopping enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise here, as Shibuya Center Gai boasts a wide array of clothing stores. From well-known chains to quirky and one-of-a-kind boutiques, the options are as diverse as the city itself so don’t miss the chance to explore hidden gems tucked away in underground spots or within towering multi-story buildings.

For those seeking entertainment, the arcades along this street are a lively and captivating destination for both kids and adults alike. Inside, you’ll discover a captivating array of arcade games, from crane games to racing, shooting, fighting and retro arcade games. Part of the thrill lies in spotting skilled aficionados who have mastered their favorite games. Most arcades operate with 100 yen coins, but you’ll usually find coin exchange terminals for convenience. J

Beyond the iconic Starbucks overlooking Shibuya Crossing, you’ll find an abundance of cafes as you delve deeper into the Shibuya Center Gai area. Among the offerings are some truly unique and unconventional options, including animal cafes and even maid cafes. Yet, there are also plenty of traditional establishments where you can unwind and savor a delightful cup of coffee or tea accompanied by delectable Japanese sweets, providing a tranquil respite amidst the bustling urban landscape.

spend one day in Tokyo - Center Gai

5. Mega Don Quijote

Located just a brief 5-minute stroll from Shibuya Station, the MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya Store is an absolute must-visit during your Tokyo adventure. As Tokyo’s largest Don Quijote, it’s a treasure trove of thousands of captivating items waiting to be discovered.

With a grand total of 8 floors, spanning from B1 to 7F, each level offers a diverse range of products, many of which come with generous discounts. If you enter from the rear entrance, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Shibuya symbol, the loyal Hachiko, who welcomes you to Don Quijote.

This bustling attraction is popular among tourists from around the world and to cater to their needs, the store provides signs and announcements in various languages, including Japanese, English, Thai, Korean and Chinese.

For foreign visitors, there’s another perk – tax-free shopping available at the Tax-free counter on the 3rd floor. Other options here include

  • B1 is a treasure trove of Japanese foods, groceries, alcoholic beverages and even fresh items like vegetables, fruits and bento boxes.
  • On the 1st floor, you can explore a range of colored contact lenses from domestic brands. There’s also a “Tapimo” booth specializing in sweet potato-flavored treats, with sweet potato-flavored Boba tea being a must-try.
  • The 2nd floor is a paradise for snack lovers, offering an array of goodies, including chocolates, candies and more. What’s particularly fascinating is the “WORLD EAT’s” section, where you can discover food items from across the globe. If you’re a pet owner, you’re in for a treat on the 2nd floor, with a wealth of pet supplies at your disposal.
  • On the 3rd floor, you’ll find cosmetics, beauty products, medical supplies, health foods, sports gea, and everyday items designed to enhance your well-being inside and out. While most products are Japanese-made, you can also spot trendy Korean items.
  • Yearning for luxury brand products like LV, Chanel, Coach and Gucci at discounted rates? The 4th floor is your destination, where hundreds of genuine brand products are available through parallel import methods, all at reduced prices.
  • For fans of Japanese characters and anime, the 5th floor is a must-visit, featuring Sanrio products and various anime collaborations over the years. While availability may vary, you might stumble upon Hello Kitty, My Melody, and the popular Demon Slayer merchandise.
  • The 6th floor is an electronics and toy haven, offering renowned brand cooking appliances, negative ion hair dryers, facial care products and the latest iPhone cases and LCD screen covers.
  • Lastly, if you’re on the hunt for fashion bargains from famous brands not found elsewhere at such attractive prices, the 7th floor boasts sales prices of up to 70% off, making it a shopaholic’s paradise.

6. Shibuya Parco Rooftop

During your 24-hour -Tokyo adventure, I highly recommend a detour to the hidden gem nestled within Shibuya Parco. This dynamic shopping and entertainment complex harbors a tranquil secret on its 10th floor – a rooftop garden. As you sip a steaming cup of coffee from one of Parco’s cozy cafés, make your way to the rooftop for a moment of wonder and a chance to soak in the panoramic views of Tokyo.

The garden offers a serene refuge and a place to find respite amid the bustling city with views that are nothing short of breathtaking, offering a unique perspective of Tokyo’s captivating skyline. It’s also a different experience from what you might encounter at the Shibuya Observation deck, providing a more intimate and peaceful encounter with the city’s grandeur.

spend one day in Tokyo - view from Shibuya Parco Rooftop

7. Ometesando

If you’re looking for a captivating one-day itinerary in Tokyo, make sure to include a visit to Omotesando, often referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées. A mere 15-minute stroll from Shibuya Parco will transport you to this iconic avenue, where you’ll be greeted by a captivating blend of high-end boutiques, chic cafés and remarkable architectural marvels.

Omotesando is a destination that caters to various tastes. You can choose to simply meander along the avenue, basking in the splendor of the zelkova-lined street or you can delve into the shopping scene, exploring three prominent shopping malls that beckon you with their offerings.

Among these, Tokyu Plaza stands out as a personal favorite. It boasts a distinctive design that sets it apart. After all that, the true gem lies atop the mall – the enchanting Omohara Garden. Ascend to its rooftop and you’ll discover a paradise suspended above the city. This rooftop garden is a visual delight, adorned with wooden decking, enchanting fairy lights, lush greenery and breathtaking panoramic views that unfold before you.

8. Asakusa

This district is a must-visit during your 24-hour stay in the city, offering a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and vibrant energy. At the heart lies its most iconic attraction: Sensoji, a renowned Buddhist temple dating back to the 7th century. To reach this hallowed sanctuary, you’ll venture down Nakamise, a charming shopping street that has catered to temple-goers for centuries where you can sample a delightful array of traditional local snacks and pick up cherished tourist souvenirs.

Exploring Asakusa is a breeze on foot, allowing you to immerse yourself in its historic ambiance. Alternatively, consider embarking on a guided rickshaw tour (jinrikisha, literally “man-powered vehicle”). For approximately 9,000 yen, a 30-minute tour for two persons offers a unique perspective of Asakusa’s treasures, with shorter and longer courses also available.

spend one day in Tokyo - Asakusa

9. Meiji Jingu

Meiji Shrine, known as Meiji Jingu in Japanese, stands as a sacred tribute to the revered spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Nestled alongside the bustling Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line, this shrine, along with its neighbor Yoyogi Park, forms a serene oasis within the urban jungle of Tokyo. Here, you’ll find sprawling forested grounds, offering tranquil walking paths perfect for leisurely strolls.

Emperor Meiji, who graces this shrine’s dedication, marked a pivotal figure in Japan’s history as the country transitioned into the modern era. Born in 1852, he ascended to the throne in 1867 during the Meiji Restoration, a transformative period that saw the end of Japan’s feudal era and the resurgence of imperial authority.

The shrine’s main complex lies a short ten-minute walk from both the southern entrance near Harajuku Station and the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station. As you pass through the colossal torii gate marking the shrine’s entrance, the bustling cityscape gives way to a serene forest. This lush forest, consisting of around 100,000 trees, was planted during the shrine’s construction, a heartfelt donation from regions across the nation.

10. Shinjuku

When you’re looking to make the most of your on day in Tokyo, Shinjuku is a destination that beckons you with its vibrant nightlife and culinary delights. After feasting your eyes on Tokyo’s magnificent views, make your way to this bustling district to conclude your day with some of Japan’s most electrifying nighttime experiences.

Shinjuku is a veritable paradise for food enthusiasts offering an astonishing array of dining options that cater to every craving. As you hop from one establishment to another, you’ll not only savor a variety of mouthwatering dishes but also have the chance to mingle with both locals and fellow travelers. Even if you’re not particularly hungry, simply strolling through the area is an entertaining experience in itself. Shinjuku is renowned as the neighborhood that never sleeps, adorned with countless picturesque spots that come alive after dark.

To truly immerse yourself in the essence of Shinjuku and get the most out of your day in Tokyo, consider booking a bar hopping tour. These tours offer a well-orchestrated itinerary that takes you to the district’s finest spots in the most time-efficient way. It’s the perfect way to savor the rich tapestry of flavors and experiences that Shinjuku has to offer, ensuring that your Tokyo adventure ends on a high note.

spend one day in Tokyo - Shinjuku

How to Get Around Tokyo

Navigating Tokyo’s expansive urban landscape is akin to traversing multiple interconnected cities, all seamlessly linked by an efficient and comprehensive public transport system. To make the most of your day of exploration in this bustling metropolis, it’s crucial to understand Tokyo’s transportation options.

  1. Trains and Subways – Tokyo’s lifeblood flows through its intricate web of trains and subways. Picture each major urban node, like Shinjuku, Shibuya or Roppongi, as a distinct city within the greater Tokyo metropolis. The JR Yamanote Line, often referred to as the “Loop Line,” is the central artery connecting many of these urban hubs. It’s your go-to route for navigating the heart of Tokyo. The exceptions are Roppongi and Asakusa, which are conveniently just a few subway stops away from the Yamanote Line stations of Ebisu and Ueno, respectively.
  1. Prepaid Cards – Suica or Pasmo – For seamless and hassle-free payment on Tokyo’s trains and subways, opt for a prepaid card like Suica or Pasmo. These versatile cards not only cover your travel expenses but also allow you to make purchases at convenience stores and numerous other locations. You can even purchase a Suica card online for pickup at the airport, ensuring a smooth start to your Tokyo adventure.
  1. Buses – Whilst Tokyo boasts an extensive and efficient bus network, it may not be the most convenient option for tourists – especially if you only have a day to kill. Trains and subways typically offer more flexibility and faster travel times.
  1. Taxis – Tokyo’s taxis are a convenient choice, especially during non-rush hours or when your destination lies away from train or subway stations. However, keep in mind that they can be relatively expensive.


And there they are, my tips for finding things to do in Tokyo in one day. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences here.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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