Tokyo, the dream city of many travelers, has a lot to offer and so it can be quite confusing to choose which places to visit, especially when you only have a day to spend. The intracity transport may also be way too expensive to use if you don’t plan properly. So here is a guide for travelers to make the most of their Tokyo visit at the cheapest price possible – 600 yen, the cost of a Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket for adults.
Tokyo Skytree in Asakusa is the highest and newest sightseeing tower in Tokyo. It has two observatory decks – one at 250 meters (2,060 yen) and another at 350 meters (additional 1,030 yen). Although the height of Tokyo Skytree is 450 meters, the highest observatory deck is located 100 meters below at 350 meters. Nevertheless, its 350-meter deck is the highest in Tokyo and offers an unparalleled view of the city.
If you feel the entry fee is quite expensive, you can just look at the magnificent tower from the outside. You can also take a stroll or go shopping at TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN.
A casual walk of less than a kilometer from Tokyo Skytree will take you to Asakusa Senso-ji Temple near Asakusa Station. It is one of the must-see temples in Tokyo for its beautiful architecture, traditional markets, and great options for food. The temple is centrally located and there are shopping streets around the temple in all four directions. All shops were constructed identically in a traditional Japanese style, giving a feel of ancient Japan. There are also plenty of options for food around the area.
Board the Ginza Line at Asakusa towards Ginza and get off at Ueno Station. This is a major junction where one can take the Shinkansen and other express trains to travel across Japan. You can find a diagonal crossing outside Ueno Station, too.
Ueno Zoo and Ueno Park are the famous spots around this station.
Ueno Zoo is open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM every day except Mondays and entry ticket is 600 yen for adults. The notable animal here is the giant panda. Non-Asian visitors may find this zoo interesting for the variety of animals it showcases.
If you do not want to go to the zoo, Ueno Park is a wise choice for its large number of trees, temples, and museums. In the cherry blossom season, Ueno Park is especially beautiful with as many as 1,000 sakura trees lining its central path.
Just across Ueno Station is the famous Ameyoko Shopping Street lined with shops selling handbags, Japanese accessories for women, Turkish kebabs, clothes, and so on. This is one of the recommended places for shopping in the city. The streets of this market lead to the JR Okachimachi Station and the Tokyo Metro Ueno-hirokoji Station, where you can board the subway to our next destination, the electronics capital of Tokyo.
Board the Ginza Line at Ueno-hirokoji and get off at the very next stop, Suehirocho Station, to reach the biggest electronics market in Asia within a five-minute walk. There is no electronic item that you cannot find in Akihabara – it has EVERYTHING! This place is recommended for PCs, TVs, and cameras. All the latest technologies of leading Japanese brands are exhibited here. Even if you do not want to buy anything, it is still advisable to go on a tour around this place and I am sure you won’t regret it.
After spending a considerable time in the crowded areas, our next destination is a peaceful place with a historical touch. Board the Ginza Line at Suehirocho towards Ginza and get off at Nihombashi Station. Then, transfer to the Tozai Line towards Nakano and get off at Otemachi, before changing to the Chiyoda Line and getting off at Nijubashimae Station.
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is located at the center of the Imperial Palace East Gardens, lined with stone walls and a beautiful bridge at the entrance. It’s a serene place to take a stroll while admiring the lush Japanese garden and the palace’s architecture. There are guided tours (takes about 75 minutes) and reservations can be made prior.
Just outside the palace within a two-minute walk, one can reach Marunouchi Naka-Dori Street, a street lined with trees and shops on both sides. Unlike shopping in the bustling streets of the city, this street offers a unique experience.
Board the Marunouchi Line towards Shinjuku at Tokyo Station, which is a one-minute walk from Marunouchi Naka-Dori Street, and get off at Kasumigaseki Station. Then, change to the Hibiya Line towards Naka-meguro and get off at Kamiyacho Station.
The famous Tokyo Tower built in 1958 is a 10-minute walk from Kamiyacho Station. This was the tallest tower of Tokyo until Tokyo Skytree was built. Its observation deck at 250 meters gives beautiful views of the city and on clear days, you can also see Mt. Fuji. The entry fee (900 yen) is cheaper and the views are quite good as this tower is located more in the center of Tokyo compared to Skytree.
A 10-minute walk from Tokyo Tower will take you to Toranomon Station where you can board the Ginza Line towards Shibuya and get off at Omote-sando. From there, change to the Chiyoda Line towards Yoyogi-uehara and alight at Meiji-jingumae
A two-minute walk from Meiji-jingumae
An 800-meter walk from the Shinjuku Station of Metro Marunouchi to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building can be taken through the subway. However, I suggest taking the normal road (about 1 kilometer) as it is lined with many skyscrapers and would be exciting to watch. If you are a skyscraper lover, it is highly recommended to take the normal road than through the subway.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s 45th-floor observatory is free for tourists to visit and offers a decent view of the Tokyo skyline. There is also a small souvenir shop at the observatory which sells souvenirs for reasonable prices. The observatory is open till 11:00 PM and the last entry time is at 10:30 PM.
After having a glimpse of the Tokyo skyline for free here, one can head to the busy streets of Shinjuku and enjoy one of the best nightlife experiences in Tokyo. An alternative destination would be Shibuya which is also nearby.
This itinerary covers gardens, a zoo, high-rise buildings, towers, and shopping streets around Tokyo – all in one day with a single train pass. This is recommended for students who wish to spend less and see more, and for people who just have a day to spare in Tokyo.