What To Do with One Day in Tokyo (PHOTOS)

Categories:Asia, Destinations, Japan, Tokyo, Urban
Jessica Peterson

Tokyo gardens pagoda

I’ve had two extended vacations in Tokyo as well as a couple of single-day (or less) layovers. It’s a safe, eclectic destination and one I recommend you see at least once. These are my picks for the top activities if you have just one day to spend.

MORE TOKYO POSTS: Three Perfect Days in Tokyo  |  Life-Saving Travel Tips to Navigate Tokyo



It’s no secret that Shibuya is my favorite part of Tokyo. Myriads of shops and Times Square-esque signage characterize this hip precinct. You’ve got to walk one of the world’s most crowded crosswalks while you’re there. The food is also killer. The tiniest, most unassuming restaurants turn out masterpieces like the one below.


Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden


This 144-acre park is a great place to unwind after a gazillion-hour flight. Stroll the green space filled with hills, ponds, and bridges.


It may even inspire you to paint.

Tokyo-garden-painter-H  Tokyo-garden-pond-H

Darjeeling Indian Restaurant


If I had to eat one type of food until I die, it would be Indian. When my friend in Tokyo asked where I wanted to eat on my layover, I requested Indian. She introduced me to Darjeeling, the most charming Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to. I ordered a mango lassi, paneer tikka masala (my standard, which was a special order here), and garlic naan. Delicious!

Dal-Matto Cucina Italiana


Roppongi Hills, a high-rise shopping center, did less to impress me than the Italian restaurant, Dal-Matt0, within it. This is precisely what I love about Tokyo — the thoughtful and tasty variety of food! If you’re looking for a food destination, you won’t be disappointed with Japan. I ordered the hamachi carpaccio at Dal-Matto, which was made even more special with the addition of pink peppercorns. I’m a sucker for beautiful food like this.



  1. Leonie
    December 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Would love to visit there someday

    Leonie ♥ IkonikBeauty

  2. MissLilly
    December 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I can only wish!

  3. Margo
    December 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Great tips, beautiful pictures – I love it all! 🙂

  4. Miles of Happiness
    December 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I fall in love with Tokyo the minut I’ve discovered this city!

  5. Natalie Tanner
    Natalie TannerReply
    February 8, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Wow! You sure found some gorgeous food to enjoy! Those photos are good enough to eat..I can almost smell the dishes. Tokyo looks colorful and interesting and I’d love to take the kids!

  6. Neha Verma
    Neha VermaReply
    February 8, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Never thought we could do so much in Tokyo in just one day. I would definitely not want to give SHINJUKU GYOEN NATIONAL GARDEN a miss. Thats my favorite. Will stick to your itinerary though

  7. James Smith
    February 9, 2017 at 1:46 am

    I love reflection photography and you got 2 great reflection photographs in here. I’m wishing for an extended vacation in Tokyo too! I’m sure it’s at Shibuya metro station that you can find the statue of the real Hatchi from the movie, it was a true story!

  8. Mel
    February 9, 2017 at 3:06 am

    The Shibuya area looks so crazy and fun. I think the National Garden might be more my speed, though. I love all the greenery, pagoda, and water. I wouldn’t think to have Italian food in Japan, but it is gorgeous!

  9. Christine Krzyszton
    Christine KrzysztonReply
    February 9, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Would love to spend a little time in Shibaya, looks fun. And who wouldn’t enjoy a park so picturesque! Normally wouldn’t try all those different cusines when in Japan but you make it a compelling option to consider.

  10. Ivana Leturia
    Ivana LeturiaReply
    February 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Tokio is such a colorful city! Stunning pictures. Would love to visit the National Garden.. so peaceful.

  11. Alok Singhal
    February 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

    That Darjeeling restaurant made me quite happy..being a North Indian I look for such places on my trips ?

    Good to see other hot-spots too!

  12. Sonia Sahni
    Sonia SahniReply
    February 9, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Wow!! An Indian restaurant in Tokyo… I would love to try it! The national garden looks so peaceful. This is the perfect list for a layover… thanks for sharing!

  13. Beautifully Travelled
    February 12, 2017 at 4:49 am

    Tokyo is on of my favourite places on earth. No really. We went two years ago. But there are a couple of things on your list especially the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park that we didn’t do. Also going to be more adventurous with food next time and not just eat sushi and katsu curry.

  14. SydneyFashionHunter
    February 12, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Japan is seriously on my radar right now and Tokyo is right at the top of my list. I’m with you in your love of Indian food! I hope I can make if there soon.

  15. kindell
    March 8, 2017 at 6:28 am

    I wish to try this place out as soon as possible. As i am quite happy about my next tour to Chicago with Golden Bus Tours.

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