The PERFECT 2 Day Tokyo On a Budget Itinerary

Exploring the vibrant and bustling city of Tokyo on a budget is an exhilarating adventure filled with rich cultural experiences, tasty food, and unforgettable sights. This Tokyo on a budget 2 day itinerary takes you to see the best of Tokyo without breaking the bank!

I have had the chance to visit Tokyo four times. Each visit has left me wanting more of this vibrant city, I mean I just love this city!

Each time, I have been balling in Tokyo on a budget. But I love it that way!

I can confidently say Tokyo is one of my favorite big cities that I have ever been to!

A Tokyo on a budget 2 Day Itinerary is no easy feat. This ginormous city is overflowing with things to do. However, this itinerary will allow you to see Tokyo on a budget.

From the tranquil traditional shrines and temples to the out-of-this-world excitement of Shinjuku, let’s dive into how to spend 2 days in Tokyo on a budget!

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Buildings with bright and colorful lights

Table of Contents

The Perfect Tokyo 2 Day Itinerary On a Budget

How To Get to Tokyo

Getting to Tokyo is very easy. This massive tourist city see millions of international tourists each year. When planning your trip to Tokyo you may notice that there are two major international airports in Tokyo. The two international Tokyo airports are Haneda Airport and Narita Airport. Let’s drive into the differences of these two airports.

Haneda Airport (HND)

The Haneda Airport is the smaller of the two airports and offers both international and domestic flights. However, this airport is known for being a domestic flights airport.

This airport also services many international long-haul flights for US carriers, like Delta, United, and American Airlines. 

The HND airport is the closest airport to Tokyo. Situated only a 20-minute train ride from HND to Shibuya, a popular tourist spot in the city. The HND airport is the best airport to fly into if you have plans to travel into Tokyo.

Narita Airport (NRT)

welcome to japan sign in NRT airport

The Narita Airport is the premier airport in Tokyo. This airport is massive and services long-haul international flights from around the world, as well as some domestic flights.

The NRT airport is located a bit farther outside of the city. However, it’s still well connected to Tokyo. From the NRT airport to Shibuya, you will have to take about a 45-minute train into the city.

train in japan

Where To Stay in Tokyo on a Budget

Tokyo is a massive city that is very much spread out. Every corner of Tokyo invites you to explore something different, and you could easily spend more than 2 days in Toyko on a budget. 

So, when you are planning your trip, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose which area to stay in. Here is a very quick background on the different neighborhoods to stay in while in Tokyo.

The best neighborhoods to stay in Tokyo on a Budget are Ueno and Asakusa.

Do note, that Tokyo’s public transportation system works very well. No matter where you choose to stay, it’s most important to be next to a train stop. Then, you will be well connected in the city.

Tokyo on a Budget Accommodations

  • Ueno – Easily connected on the subway and to the NRT area, Ueno is a fun and vibrant part of town that offers lots of budget accommodations. Although it is far from popular spots like Shibuya and Shinjuku, there is still a lot to do here. From video game arcades to shopping, and more, this area is one of my favorite in Tokyo!
    • Bedgasm Hostel

hostel bunk bed in dorm room in japan

  • Asakusa – Home to the famous Senso-ji Temple, Don Quito store, and more, Asakusa is an awesome place to stay in Tokyo! This area is a more traditional area with lots of tourist attractions, making it a must-do while in Tokyo. The biggest downfall to Asakua is that the shops tend to close early there. However, you’re just a quick train ride away from the bright lights of the Anime District.

Moderate Accommodations

  • Tokyo Station/ Chuo City – The Tokyo Station is the central transportation hub in Tokyo. This is an awesome spot to be well connected to anywhere in Tokyo or Japan! Many of the high-speed trains stop here. This area is also full of shopping and things to do. 
  • Akihabara – Located just a few stops away from Tokyo Station is Akihabara. Akihabara is the Anime District in Japan, a must-do spot for any traveler here. The bright lights are lively crowds are a lot of fun here. Plus, you’re close to Tokyo Train station.

Most Expensive Accommodations

  • Shibuya – The busiest area in Japan is also home to the busiest crosswalk in the world, Shibuya Crossing. Shibuya is a lively part of town and is most central to all the action. So, you will pay a good price to stay here. Even if you are booking a hostel room, the rooms here are almost double the other parts of Tokyo.
  • Shinjuku – Shinjuku is where you will find the bright lights of Tokyo. Exploring this area takes days to see it all. This shopping area is close to Shibuya and central to lots of exciting things to do. 

Shinjuku city street in japan with neon lights and a crosswalk - tokyo 2 day itinerary

Day 1: Explore Tokyo’s Traditional Side and see the Anime District

On your first day in Tokyo on a budget, you will visit Tokyo’s oldest temple, play video games in Ueno, and explore the Anime District.

Morning: Explore Asakusa


Like I said, this is Tokyo on a budget! You’re going to start it with a convenient store breakfast!

Grab breakfast at a 7/11 or FamilyMart. These awesome convenience stores are located on (what feels like) every corner!

Unlike in America, these stores are filled with delicious and healthy food at an affordable cost. When traveling around Tokyo on a budget, the easiest way to save money is to eat a few meals at the convenience store. And believe it or not – it’s a very Japanese thing to do!

My favorite items at the 7/11 store were the hot bao buns located at the cash register. However, there are many delicious options throughout the store.

Things To Do in Asakusa

Senso-ji Temple

Next, head to the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa. The Senso-ji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo!

Senso-ji Temple Gardens - tokyo 2 day itinerary

The Senso-ji Temple is free to visit, and very popular with tourists! It’s the perfect first stop when visiting Tokyo on a budget. Arrive here no later than 9:00 a.m. After 9 am it becomes unbearably crowded. 

Take some time to explore the temple’s grounds. There are so many beautiful photo opportunities here, it’s a photographer’s dream. If you have some money to spend, you can read your fortune by picking up a silver canister with sticks!

After you have explore the temple, you have probably already noticed the shopping street that is directly in front of Senso-ji Temple.

Nakamise Shopping Street

Nakamise Shopping Street is known for its traditional snacks and souvenirs. It’s a fun and festive place to walk around, people-watch, and window shop. Most of the stores here open around 10:00 a.m., but a few open at 8:00 a.m. as well.

This area is an awesome spot to grab a matcha as well! Matcha is famously the drink of Japan. Here you will find many Matcha stores, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them! Stop here for a mid-morning pick-me-up!

empty shopping street in japan before crowds

Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center

One of the best travel hacks in Tokyo on a budget is to head inside the Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center.

At the very end of Nakamise Shopping Street is the Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center. Stop here for panoramic views of Tokyo Skytree.

This modern building is completely free to enter, and you can head to the 8th floor to the free open-air observation deck. Get a free view of a beautiful temple while remaining in Tokyo on a budget.

Don Quijote

Asakusa Don Quijote Store - tokyo 2 day itinerary

This insanely large store is a staple of Tokyo. Here you can find anything you need! From groceries to cheap souvenirs, electronics, and clothes, I mean everything. It’s a fun place to just walk around in Tokyo on a budget too.

Near Don Quijote is also more shopping streets and restaurants. This would be a good time to stop for lunch now.

Lunch: Asakusa

After all the sights and sounds of Asakusa, it’s time for some lunch. Now would be a great time to enjoy a traditional Japanese meal.

There are so many incredible restaurants in this area. 

One of the most famous restaurants in Japan is Ichiran Ramen. Although not the cheapest option when in Tokyo on a budget, it’s sure worth it!

These stores are found throughout Tokyo and usually have a line out the front.

Japanese Udon

Afternoon: Ueno Park and Museums

Just a few train stops away from Asakusa is Ueno Park. Ueno is an awesome area with a box of urban bright lights and relaxing green areas with museums.

Things To Do in Ueno

Ueno Park

This beautiful park is home to cherry blossoms in the spring but is also worth visiting year-round. Here you can relax in the urban green space and see a different side of Tokyo.

river with a walkway and bridge in tokyo

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum is inside of Ueno Park. This museum is a great way to spend time if your weather is less than average. Here you can learn more about Japan’s history.

Ueno Zoo

The Ueno Zoo is the home zoo in Tokyo. This zoo is a popular place for locals to spend time outside on nice days. This could be a good way to spend time if you are looking for alternative city-life activities.

Ueon City Street

Ameyoko Shopping Plaza

This super cool narrow shopping street really makes you feel like you are in Tokyo. Just outside of the Ueno Train Station, you will find the fun shopping street filled with arcades, street food, and more! If you’re good at window shopping but not spending, this is a great way to see Tokyo on a budget.

This area is said to be the most popular shopping street in the world! It’s also a bit out of the way for many tourists, giving it a much more local feel.

Evening: Akihabara – Tokyo’s Anime District

Whether you love Anime or hate it, nobody can deny how cool Akihabara is! Akihabara is the central anime district in Tokyo. It’s free to visit which makes it perfect to see in Tokyo on a budget. The best time to visit Akihabara is at night, where the streets come to life!

The neon lights and loud music immerse you into the world of anime and electronics.

akihabara city lights - tokyo 2 day itinerary

Things To Do in Akihabara

Explore the Shops

Animate Akihabara- This anime store is 16 floors and 2 buildings wide. It’s MASSIVE! Definitely take some time to get lost in this popular store.

Super Potato – Down a white hallway and up three flights of stairs you will find the hidden store of Super Potato. Super Potato is 3 floors of vintage video games in one place. It’s awesome to explore and relive memories of the past.

Super Potato in Akihabara - tokyo 2 day itinerary

Eat at An Anime or Maid Cafe

If you have money to spare in Tokyo on a budget, visiting a Maid Cafe is a fun choice. Additionally, this is an awesome area to grab dinner! From themed cafe’s to maid cafe’s there are a lot of options here.

Check out this list of Anime and Maid Cafe’s in the Akihabara District.

Day 2: Experience the Modern Side of Tokyo

You will visit the most popular sights on the second day of your Tokyo on a budget 2 day itinerary! Today you will explore the traditional fish market, explore Shibuya, get an awesome view of the city at Shibuya Sky Bar, and be amazed by the bright lights in Shinjuku.

Morning: Tsukiji Fish Market

Rise and shine, it’s time to see tokyo on a budget on day 2 of your Tokyo 2 day itinerary will begin with an early morning.

Today begin your morning at the Tsukiji Fish Market. This fish market is located in Chuo City, close to Tokyo Station.

fish market food stall in japan

Tsukiji Fish Market is the place to experience a traditional fish market in Japan. You may want to hold off on an early morning breakfast and eat here!

Arrive at the Tsukiji Fish Market no later than 9:00 a.m. Most of the stores open around 9:00, and this place gets very crowded, so you will want to be there right as it opens. It’s vibrant morning atmosphere is not to be missed!

Wandering the streets on your own is a fun and free way to experience the market and Tokyo on a budget. This place also is home to some delicious sushi and other food, so have some breakfast here!

Afternoon: Harajuku and Shibuya

In the early afternoon head to Harajuku. Harajuku is known for it abundance of things to do, like the Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Street.

Things To Do in Harajuku

Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Shrine is a popular Shinto Shrine in Tokyo. This Shrine is beautiful and located in the middle of a nature oasis in the city. Here, you will walk through paths of trees that transports you out of the city and into a relaxing oasis.

The Meiji Shrine is completely FREE to enter, which makes it perfect to visit in Tokyo on a budget.

Spend an hour here exploring the Meiji shrine and getting good fortune. You can also explore the wooded areas. It’s a lovely place to slow down in the city.

Meiji Shrine - tokyo 2 day itinerary

Takeshita Street

This narrow alley is filled with all things cute and sweet! Takeshita Street is the perfect spot to get a sweet treat or find some great deals while shopping. This spot is full of adorable cafes, wacky clothes, and mostly where the young people want to hang out.

Things to do in Shibuya

After you’ve finished shopping at the cute stores in Harajuku, it’s time for the world-famous Shibuya. Shibuya is arguably the hub of Tokyo, think Times Square of NYC. Here is the spot to see larger-than-life stores and awesome people watching.

Nintendo Store

Located on the 6th floor of the PARCO Department store. You’ll have to navigate your way through escalators to find it.

Once you arrive, there may be a queue to get inside, depending on how busy it is at the time! When it’s your turn to enter you can take your pick at all the Nintendo merchandise! This store gets a lot of hype – Nintendo has a lot of fans. However, it is just shopping and merchandise. So if it’s not your cup of tea, you can skip it.

Pokemon Store

Across the hall from the Nintendo Store is the Pokemon Store. This store is usually less crowded than the Nintendo Store but just as cool! Here you can see life-size statues of your favorite Pokemon Characters and shop all the merchandise!

pokemon store display

Shibuya Crossing

It’s hard to miss the busiest crosswalk in the world! Head to Shibuya Cross and take part in the fun. It really is like scrambling through a maze to get from one side of the street to the other!

This is a must-do when visiting Tokyo on a budget.

How To Get an Ariel View of Shibuya Crossing

To get the iconic Shibuya Crossing shot from up above, there are a few options.

  • Starbucks Observation Deck – The cheapest option to see this angle of Shibuya Crossing is to head inside the Starbucks and up to the 2nd-floor observation deck. However, you will need to buy a drink to access it here. But once you are inside, feel free to stay as long as you would like
  • Shibuya SkyBar – A viral and famous spot in Tokyo, this SkyBar is stunning! It doesn’t come cheap or easy though. You will need to make reservations far in advance to get access to the SkyBar. 

Eat Lunch

The surrounding streets of Shibuya are filled with restaurants, cafes, and shopping. Take some time here to grab a bite to eat. Check out this blog filled with the best cheap eats in Shibuya when visiting Tokyo on a budget! 

Evening: Shinjuku’s Neon Lights

Your final destination on this Tokyo 2 day itinerary takes you to the bustling neighborhood of Shinjuku. This spot is famous for it’s neon lights and bustling atmosphere. It really is the perfect way to end this Tokyo 2 day itinerary. It’s the perfect Tokyo on a budget capstone for your trip.

Things To Do in Shinjuku

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck

One of the best FREE things to do in Tokyo is to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck. It’s perfect if you’re traveling around Tokyo on a budget. Open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, this is the best way to get an amazing free view of the city.

On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji from the top! The observation deck here is well-maintained and offers beautiful panoramic views.

It’s truly my favorite free thing to do in Tokyo because it allows you to truly see how large and vast this city is. 

Tokyo city view from the top of the building - tokyo 2 day itinerary

Golden Gai District

Experience the nightlife of Shinjuku in the Golden Gai district. This alley is a collection of mismatched restaurants and bars. Even if you don’t want to take part in these activities, it’s still a super cool area that is worth seeing. Many photographers love taking photos here too!


If nightlife is your thing, this is the area to experience it.

Shinjuku Street at night - neon lights with japanese writing - tokyo 2 day itinerary


Although I am not much of a fan of shopping and nightlife, I still love the Shinjuku area! I recommend taking the time to get lost in the streets of this area. Every corner you turn you are transported into the bright lights of this area. From an abundance of malls to small shops down alleys, spend time exploring it all!

Conclusion of this Tokyo 2 day Itinerary

This Tokyo 2 day itinerary takes you to see all of the best of Tokyo on a budget! Japan is known to be an expensive country, but knowing where to go, the best places to eat, and more, you are able to easily navigate a trip here while on a budget.

The first day of the Tokyo 2 day itinerary takes you to the famous Senso-ji temple, wander around Ueno, and explore the electric anime district. While day 2 let’s you shop til you drop and immerse yourself in modern Tokyo.

After having visited Tokyo twice now, I truly can say I love this city! Although no time is enough in Tokyo, this Tokyo 2 day itinerary takes you to see all the best spots. However, it’s important that you customize the itinerary to suit your interests and needs!

Tokyo city street in the morning - tokyo 2 day itinerary


How many days do you need in Tokyo?

Ideally, 3-4 days is ideal when visiting Tokyo on a budget. With 3-4 days, you have enough time to see and do the big items, while having time to explore lesser-known areas. With more than 4 days you will have time to experience day trips from the city and live more like a local.

However, 2 days in Tokyo on a budget is just enough time to get a taste of the city. Tokyo is a massive city that is very spread out, so with a Tokyo 2 day itinerary you will have enough time to explore each side of the city. However, you may miss a few things on the way.

What is the best time of year to visit Tokyo?

The best time of year to visit Tokyo depends on what is important to you. The busy tourist seasons are in March-April when cherry blossoms are in their peak, and also in September when fall foliage is in full bloom. These two attractions come at the price of crowds.

The best time to visit Tokyo on a budget will be in the off-season December- January and June-July, excluding the New Year’s holiday. During these months you should be able to get the best deal on accommodations. 

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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