Tokyo — Day 3 of a 5-Day Trip in Japan’s Kanto Region
Day 3 was another beautiful day, and this time without the cold morning and evening rain. We spent Day 3 visiting the many attractions in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Shinjuku and Shibuya are both known as the entertainment hubs of Tokyo. Shinjuku even has a red-light district — Kabukicho.
We grabbed some fresh pastries from the bakery and headed to Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden. The sun was out as we strolled through the manicured garden. The space was beautiful and also had a rose garden, greenhouse, open fields, and ponds. You could easily spend 2–3 hours walking the entirety of the garden.
We headed to the Hachiko Statue to meet up with some friends who were in Tokyo at the same time. The area around the Hachiko Statue was busy, possibly due to it being right beside Shibuya Crossing. Shibuya Crossing is a site to see — so many people crossing the street simultaneously and yet still in an extremely organized manner.
For lunch, we went to Menya Musashi, a 3 minute walk from Hachiko Statue in an alley off the main street. Like most ramen restaurants in Japan, the place only had a few bar seats and you order using the machine at the entrance. The ramen was extremely fishy, but still good. If you are into fish-based soups, this is the ramen for you!
We stopped by the Krispy Kreme around the corner to grab dessert before heading off to Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park. We decided to walk because the weather was nice (about 30 minutes) and the train did not save us a whole lot of time. As we made our way to Meiji Shrine, we passed by sake barrels stacked one on top of the other. It is intriguing to see these enormous parks and historical shrines located in the middle of a mega-city like Tokyo.
Path to Meiji Shrine
Next, we walked through Takeshita Street in Harajuku, a neighbourhood beside Yoyogi Park known for its youthful fashion and shops. You can find tons of sweets in this area — crepes, ice cream, donuts for example.
Our next stop was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. On our way, we picked up some snacks and Suntory drinks (sweet alcoholic beverages — these are great!) at a Don Quijote in Shinjuku. Note: Don Quijote is an enormous discount store with a cramped store layout. They sell everything — electronics, luggage, skincare, snacks, alcohol, and the list goes on. Anything you need, Don Quijote will likely have. Across from Don Quijote is the Godzilla head, a landmark in Kabukicho. You can see its head peeking out behind the building.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is about a 20 minute walk from the Godzilla head (13 minutes if you decide to take a 2 minute train ride). Interesting fact — The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is the inspiration behind the Citadel in Final Fantasy 15. The observatory, on the 45th floor, is free to visitors. We waited in line for about 30 minutes while sipping on our Suntory drinks and eating our snacks. The observatory provided a pretty good 360° view and we watched the sun set over Tokyo.
We headed to Omoide Yokocho for dinner. It was a nice autumn walk through Shinjuku, a light breeze but quite warm. Tokyo is lively every night of the week and this night was no different — the streets were lit up and the restaurants full with people.
Omoide Yokocho is a narrow alley lined with small izakayas that have very few bar seats. A busy restaurant is an indication of good food, as some of the quieter restaurant could hint that they overcharge foreigners. We stopped at a yakitori place. It was a pretty tight squeeze behind the other guests to reach the four seats at the end of the bar. We shared a pitcher of beer and ordered an assortment of tasty yakitori.
After dinner, we selected one out of the many bars at the Golden Gai. The dimly lit alley was lined with small bars side by side that could only fit 6–7 people each. Some bars were only open to locals and most had a sit-down fee and/or a minimum drink purchase. It was still a pleasant end to the night.
Complete Day 3 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary and do not include walking distances to and from train stations. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
8:00am: Head to Shinjuku Gyeon National Garden. Stop at a convenience store or bakery to grab breakfast. There are also some restaurants on the way to Shinjuku Gyeon.
11:00am: Head to Shibuya for lunch (7 minute train from Shinjuku Station to Shibuya Station). Stop to see the Hachiko Statue and cross Shibuya Crossing. A possible lunch idea is Menya Musashi.
1:00pm: Visit Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park (2 minute train from Shibuya Station to Harajuku Station).
3:00pm: Walkthrough Takeshita Street in Harajuku (13 minute walk from Meiji Shrine). Browse the shops and stop for some crepes.
5:00pm: Head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (5 minute train from Harajuku Station to Shinjuku Station) and ascend to the observatory. Enjoy the evening views of Tokyo.
7:00pm: Grab dinner at an izakaya in Omoide Yokocho (13 minute walk from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building).
9:00pm: Bar hop at Golden Gai (8 minute walk).
16-Day Japan Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 16-Day Japan Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in Japan!