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So, you’re coming to Tokyo, and you’re trying to make an itinerary to make the most of your time in this huge metropolis. That’s not an easy task – there are simply so many things to do and so many experiences to be had that choosing can feel incredibly difficult. Let us help you out with this list of 30 wonderful things to do in Tokyo. It’s a great overview of some of the most popular sights and activities, making it easier for you to plan your trip to this amazing and vibrant city!
1. Check Out the Famous Shibuya Crossing
One of Tokyo’s most iconic sights is without a doubt the Shibuya Crossing just outside of Shibuya Station. With thousands of people crossing at the same time from all sides during rush hours, it is quite the experience to be in the middle of it. It’s also fun to watch the hustle and bustle from above from one of the many vantage points. The best time to go is on the weekends between noon and 7 PM, or on weekdays between 5 PM and 9 PM.
Nearest station: Shibuya Station
2. Visit Tokyo’s Oldest Temple: Senso-ji
You simply cannot skip a visit to one of Tokyo’s most popular highlights, the Senso-ji temple, which is located in the traditional neighborhood of Asakusa. The temple, which has been here for centuries, is overwhelmingly beautiful and has many interesting details to discover. If you are shopping for souvenirs, the Nakamise street that leads to the temple will certainly interest you as it’s lined with shops full of typical Japanese souvenirs.
3. Get the Best City Views From Tokyo Skytree
As Japan’s tallest building, the Tokyo Skytree is even impressive to look at when you’re still on the ground. But for the full experience you should ride the super fast elevator all the way to the top to truly appreciate the sprawling metropolis from above. From this bird’s-eye view, you can see all the city’s most famous landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower, the clusters of high-rise buildings in Shinjuku, Roppongi, and Shibuya, and the large parks such as Yoyogi Park and Ueno Park. Also make sure to take a walk on the glass-bottom skywalk, but only if you are not afraid of heights!
Nearest station: Oshiage Station
4. Experience Japanese Fashion in Stylish Harajuku
True fashionistas head to Harajuku to check out the latest fashion trending with Tokyo’s younger crowd. If you are a fan of Japan’s famously cute kawaii style, this French village-inspired neighborhood is a feast for the eyes. Shop ‘til you drop, see immaculately well-dressed teenagers pass by, and indulge in some colorful sweets during an afternoon of only-in-Tokyo fun. Come during the weekend or national holidays to see local highschoolers and other youth taking up the streets in pursuit of entertainment, Instagram photo ops and shopping, or go on weekday mornings for a more quiet experience.
Nearest station: Harajuku Station
5. Eat Fresh Seafood at Tsukiji Fish Market
While the wholesale part of the Tsukiji market has been moved to Toyosu, the so-called outer market is still very much alive. Eat your way through a wide range of delicacies originating from Japan’s bountiful seas, and enjoy the slightly chaotic side streets that make up this famous food market area, but come before noon for the full range of options since some places close or sell out later in the day. On Sundays and Wednesdays, many shops are closed, so it is better to come on a different day. Do you want to make sure you’ll only eat at Tsukiji’s very best shops? Then join our dedicated Tsukiji Food Tour, which features Tsukiji’s most tasty treats.
Nearest station: Tsukiji Shijo Station
6. Break the Bank Shopping in Ginza
Whether you have enough money to burn to buy some branded luxury goods or have to stick to window-shopping, visiting Ginza’s fancy shopping area is a fun experience. With no-expenses-spared architecture, the buildings of Ginza’s luxury shops and department stores are impressive works of art. Also make sure to stop by the basement floor of Mitsukoshi to gawk at the beautiful high-quality delicacies for sale there.
Nearest station: Ginza Station
7. Get Your Nature Fix at Shinjuku Gyoen
Tokyo is nothing but a huge concrete jungle? Think again! While it might feel like that in certain areas, what makes Tokyo such a livable city is the abundance of large green spaces. One of the best parks to take a breather in is Shinjuku Gyoen. Here, you can enjoy a stroll in 3 different areas: the Japanese garden, the English garden, and the French garden. Shinjuku Gyoen is also one of the best places in Tokyo to admire the plum blossoms in February and the cherry blossoms in late March/early April.
Nearest station: Shinjuku Sanchome Station
Once you have secured your tickets for the Ghibli Museum in advance, get ready to dive into the world as it’s shown by Hayao Miyazaki in his marvelous animated movies. Any fan of the Ghibli movie franchise should have this slightly other-worldly museum on their bucket list for Japan. Make sure to reserve a half day for your trip to the Ghibli Museum as it is located a bit outside central Tokyo. And while you are there, why not also check out the surrounding area?
Nearest station: Kichijoji Station
9. Go Drinking in Bustling Shinjuku
Often featured in movies and series, nighttime Shinjuku is Tokyo’s gritty yet photogenic face. With its maze of little alleyways and tiny bars, popping in and out of watering holes, and getting more tipsy as the evening goes on, can be very entertaining. Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai are especially famous as places to do exactly that. Don’t want to run the risk of getting lost in translation? Then you may want to join our fun bar-hopping tour in Shinjuku with like-minded people looking for a fun evening out.
Nearest station: Shinjuku Station
10. Watch Morning Sumo Wrestling Training
Sumo wrestling is a sport that can almost exclusively be observed in Japan. You can go to one of the grand tournaments if you happen to be in Japan at the time one of them takes place, but you can also see these impressive wrestlers in action during one of their morning practices. Some sumo stables allow visitors to sit in during practice, but it is good to note that if you aren’t fluent Japanese you can only do this on an organized tour. A big advantage of joining a tour is that you will receive a thorough explanation and can ask any questions you might have to the guide, so you will be able to understand in detail what is going on.
Of course, you can eat some of the most deliciously fresh sushi in the world in one of Tokyo’s many top-notch sushi restaurants, but how about learning how to make your own sushi as well? That way, you can use your newly-gained cooking skills to replicate a tasty Tokyo sushi experience at home. Plus, a meal that you have created yourself always feels extra satisfying. We organize a sushi-making experience that includes a tour around Tsukiji with a knowledgeable food guide, a must for every foodie and hobby cook coming to Tokyo!
Nearest station: Tsukiji Shijo Station
Art doesn’t get much more immersive than at teamLab Planets in Toyosu where you literally walk through the digital exhibitions and become part of them. teamLab Planets surprises visitors with various rooms full of colorful digital animations that move around the rooms, ambient sounds that fit the visual art, and even two rooms with water in them. People of all ages enjoy this special museum, and you can take pictures and videos everywhere so you can keep enjoying the experience even after you go home.
Nearest station: Shin-Toyosu Station
13. Eat at an Izakaya in Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho
While Omoide Yokocho is especially known as a spot to go drinking, let’s not forget about the scrumptious foods that you can savor in the small izakaya restaurants lining these narrow alleyways! Nibble on delicacies like yakitori, unagi, grilled fish with miso, sashimi and more – and yes, you can also enjoy beer, sake, or shochu to wash down all the tasty food.
Nearest station: Shinjuku Station
14. Stay at a Traditional Ryokan
When you picture a traditional Japanese hotel, or a ryokan, Tokyo is probably not the first city that comes to mind. Indeed, there are more ryokan in Kyoto than in Tokyo, but if you don’t go to Kyoto and still want to have the full ryokan experience, rest assured as this is also possible in Tokyo! The Edo Sakura near Asakusa or Yuen Bettei near Shimo-Kitazawa are both very good options.
15. Feast on a Michelin-Star Bowl of Ramen
You may have to wait in line for quite a long time to be able to savor some of the world’s most mouth-watering noodles, but it is certainly a meal you will never forget! Tokyo currently has 3 noodle restaurants awarded with 1 Michelin star, and one restaurant that used to have the honor. This is by far the cheapest way to get a Michelin-starred meal in Tokyo, so most people agree that it’s 100% worth the wait!
16. Get Your Geek on in Akihabara
What started out as a town where people came to get their electronic goods, grew into a neighborhood that attracts fans of all kinds of subcultures. Akihabara boasts many stores aimed at anime, manga and game fans where you can buy all kinds of paraphernalia. But not only the shops attract the crowds of otaku (geeks) here, there are also many themed cafes, including animal cafes, cafes based on manga or anime series, and maid cafes where waitresses dressed like French maids will play games with the patrons and draw cute animals on their drinks.
Nearest station: Akihabara Station
17. Have a Picnic in Yoyogi Park
Right next to the famous Meiji Shrine is Yoyogi Park, which is easy to recognize by the nearby Yoyogi National Gymnasium and its interesting design. When the weather is good, buy a picnic sheet in the 100-yen store on Takeshita Dori, pick up some tasty snacks and drinks from the nearest convenience store and enjoy a nice little picnic on one of the park’s vast lawns! If you happen to be in Tokyo during the cherry blossom season, you can have a hanami picnic here together with thousands of others who are there to marvel at the pink flowers while enjoying some food and drinks.
Nearest station: Meijijingumae Station
18. Experience Japanese Culture at Meiji Jingu
The Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) is one of the most important cultural heritage places in Tokyo. Dedicated to former Emperor Meiji and his wife, this large shrine has a minimalist design and covers a huge area. It is also situated in one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces, making it a true oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. Many people combine a visit to Harajuku with a peaceful stroll through the grounds of Meiji Jingu.
Nearest station: Meijijingumae Station
19. Visit Tokyo Disney Resort
Coming with kids, or still a kid at heart yourself? A visit to the Tokyo Disney Resort will surely delight you, and you can choose between the classic Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, which is slightly more geared towards older kids and adults. If you can’t choose, simply go to both parks, but in that case do make sure to set aside two full days as you will easily spend a full day in either park.
Nearest station: Maihama Station
20. Get Thrifty in Shimokitazawa
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about shopping in Tokyo, thrift shopping is gaining popularity amongst an environmentally-conscious younger crowd. There are several areas that are good for finding second-hand clothing, and trendy Shimokitazawa is one of the areas with the highest concentration of vintage clothing shops. Make it a nice afternoon out with lunch in one of the area’s many modern cafes.
Nearest station: Shimokitazawa Station
21. See the Emperor’s Quarters at the Imperial Palace
While the Emperor’s residence itself is private, a large part of the grounds that belong to the Imperial Palace, is accessible to the public. Many tourists first go to the Imperial Palace Plaza with its characteristic Megane Bridge (“eyeglasses bridge”) for pictures, and then take a walk around the evergreen Imperial East Gardens.
Nearest station: Nijubashimae Station
22. Dance With the Locals in Koenji
Are you in Tokyo between August 12 and 15? Then you are in luck, as you will have the chance to attend the Koenji Awa Odori Dance Festival! This bustling, colorful traditional dance event is visited by more than a million people, and is accompanied by lots of food stalls, drinks, and other festivities. If you make it to the festival don’t be shy and just join in on the dancing!
Nearest station: Koenji Station
23. Travel Back in Time at Yanaka Ginza Shitamachi
Not to be confused with the upscale neighborhood that shares its name, Yanaka Ginza is a traditional shopping street that takes you right back to the Showa period. People come here especially to shop for food, so if you come hungry, you will leave happy! This shitamachi (old downtown) area is part of a larger neighborhood known as Yanesen which was spared during the WWII bombings in the 1940s and exudes a nostalgic and historical vibe.
Nearest station: Sendagi Station
24. Catch a Baseball Game at Tokyo Dome
Japan’s most popular sport is baseball, surpassing even soccer in popularity. Tokyo has multiple teams, of which the Yomiuri Giants have the most impressive stadium. Plenty of tickets are available for most games, and the season runs between April and October. If you want to watch a baseball game in Japan, catching a game at Tokyo Dome is sure to be a fun experience!
25. See the Beautiful Cherry Blossoms at Ueno Park
Are you in Tokyo between late March to early April? Then chances are that you can see the pink cherry blossoms in full bloom! Hanami, or ‘flower viewing’, is a popular activity for locals and visitors alike, and Ueno Park is one of the most famous places to do so. With a main lane lined with old cherry trees, sakura can be seen all around the park during the blossoming period, and the pavements are lined with blue sheets where picnicers sit to enjoy their foods and drinks. But even if you come outside of the cherry blossom season, Ueno Park is still well worth a visit for its many historical treasures.
Nearest station: Ueno Station
26. Partake in a Traditional Festival
Japan has its fair share of traditional festivals called matsuri, and especially between late spring and autumn, you will have a good chance to run into one of these festivals. Some of the largest festivals in Tokyo are the Kanda Matsuri, which falls on the weekend closest to May 15th, the Sanja Matsuri on the 3rd Sunday in May, and the Sanno Matsuri in mid-June.
27. Make Your Way to the Top of the Iconic Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Skytree might be taller, but when you go to the top of the Skytree you won’t see this high tower itself! So how about taking in the views from Tokyo Tower as well? From the beautifully decorated decks you get amazing views of the city for a lower price than Tokyo Skytree, and afterwards you can stop by the impressive Zojo-ji temple nearby.
Nearest station: Onarimon Station
28. Climb Mount Takao
Not far from Tokyo, you can hike up Mount Takao, which will give you sweeping views of the area from its summit at 599 meters. If the weather is clear, you also get a clear view of Mount Fuji from here. The hike up isn’t too strenuous, and if you want to make it an even more relaxed experience, you can take the steep cable car so you only have to walk the last bit up.
Nearest station: Takaosanguchi Station
29. Eat Street Food With the Locals in Sunamachi Ginza
As it is not visited by many tourists, you can still get that intimate local vibe in Sunamachi Ginza, an old shopping street with many traditional food vendors of which most have been around for generations. Try some tasty treats like yakitori, unagi, oden, gyoza, and other typical snacks here for a nice street food lunch. If you want to be lead off the beaten path by a knowledgeable local guide, why not join us on our Sunamachi Food Tour?
Nearest station: Minami Sunamachi Station
30. Check out Some Art in Roppongi
Roppongi may be best known as a party center for expats, but there is much more to do in this centrally located neighborhood. Modern art aficionados will want to stop by for the area’s outdoor public artworks, and also for the distinguished Mori Art Museum on the 53rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.
Nearest station: Roppongi Station
Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Tokyo
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are traveling in, our knowledgeable and friendly guides will happily take you to the best spots!
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help!
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