30 Matters to See and Do in Tokyo

The historic and famous Asakusa Temple in Tokyo, Japan
Posted: 11/23/2019 | November 23rd, 2019

Tokyo is an unimaginable, huge metropolis residence to over 10 million folks. It’s the capital of Japan and residential to a big selection of enjoyable, historic, and quirky sights. From the world’s largest tuna public sale and the Imperial Palace to robotic eating places and vampire cafés, Tokyo actually does have one thing for everybody.

Whether or not you’re right here for a brief stopover or residing right here as an expat, you’ll be capable of discover loads of methods to cross the time and get a really feel for the organized chaos that’s Tokyo. That will help you take advantage of out of your journey, listed here are the most effective matters to see and do in Tokyo:

1. Go to the Fish Market

Some of the many fresh offerings at the massive fish market in Tokyo, Japan
The Tsukiji Fish Market was one of the iconic staples of the town. In 2018, the market moved to Toyosu and is now twice the dimensions of the unique Tsukiji market. In actual fact, the brand new market is the biggest fish market in the whole world. When you’ll want a customer’s cross to enter (you will get one on arrival) the cross is free (which implies you’ll have extra money to spend on sushi!)

There are over 600 distributors right here promoting recent fish in addition to recent vegatables and fruits. Gorge on sushi and marvel on the chaotic environment of the world’s largest tuna market. The tuna public sale right here powers a lot of the world’s sushi provide, and it’s really a sight to be seen. You may also see a mannequin of the biggest tuna ever bought at Tsujiki — which weighed 500kg (1,100lbs!).

Along with the brand new market, the outdated outer market at Tsukiji nonetheless has loads of eating places and retailers. You’ll be able to nonetheless head there to eat and go searching, although all of the motion is now at Toyosu. Remember to arrive early to beat the crowds (particularly on Saturdays).

Tsukiji Fish Market: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, +81 3-3542-1111. Admission is free. Toyosu Fish Market: 6 Chome-6-2 Toyosu, Koto, +81 3-3520-8205. Open Monday-Saturday from 5am-5pm, although most retailers don’t open till 7am. Admission is free.

2. Discover by the Imperial Palace

The outskirts of the historic Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
The Imperial Palace is the official residence of the Emperor of Japan. It’s a terrific spot to study Japan’s historical past and tradition. Previously Edo Fort, the palace was constructed within the 15th century, and a few of the partitions and moats from that point are nonetheless in use to today. When the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, he took Edo for his new palace and renamed it the Imperial Palace.

You’ll be able to’t go inside (and even get tremendous shut), nevertheless, the constructing itself is each regal and serene and an incredible place to calm down or snap some photographs. The palace is surrounded by lovely grounds and a park, and there’s a moat across the huge stone partitions. Admission to the grounds is free.

3. Expertise a Tea Ceremony

No go to to Japan is full with out experiencing a standard tea ceremony. Tea was dropped at Japan within the ninth century by a Buddhist monk and by the 12th century, the ceremony started to take form. Whereas these ceremonies are normally lengthy (to not point out costly), there are many budget-friendly choices for anybody seeking to expertise one with out breaking the financial institution. Listed here are just a few budget-friednly tea ceremonies in Tokyo price testing:

  • Kyoto-kan (500 JPY per particular person, Yanmar Tokyo Constructing 1F 2-1-1)
  • Nadeshiko (2,700-4,400 JPY per particular person, 2-7-24-2F Asakusa)
  • The Approach of Tea (5,500 JPY per particular person, Coredo Muromachi Three 3F)


4. Chill out in Ueno Park

Ueno Park is a calming and delightful spot to calm down for just a few hours (or a whole day when you’re not in a rush). It’s a serene spot to {photograph} the various cherry timber that line the park (which blossom in April and are an enormous vacationer draw) or to have a picnic on a sunny summer time afternoon.

There are additionally just a few essential matters to see within the park as nicely. Listed here are just a few sights within the park it’s best to make time to go to:

  • Tokyo Nationwide Museum – Established in 1872, this museum is situated within the north finish of the park and homes one of many world’s largest collections of artwork and artifacts from Asia, significantly Japan. 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-1111, tnm.jp. Open each day 9:30am-5pm (8pm on most Fridays). Admission is 620 JPY.
  • Tosho-gu Shrine – It is a 17th-century Shinto shrine with beautiful gold doorways and ornate carvings. 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-3455, uenotoshogu.com/en. Open each day 9am-5:30pm. Admission is free, although to go additional into the shrine, you’ll must pay 500 JPY.
  • Nationwide Museum of Western Artwork – Opened in 1959, this is among the solely artwork galleries within the nation to give attention to Western artwork. The gathering is comprised of 5,00zero items, courting from the Renaissance all the best way to the 20th century. There are works by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Picasso in addition to sculptures courting again to the 14th century.7-7 Uenokoen, +81 3-3828-5131 , nmwa.go.jp. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm (8pm on Fridays). Admission is 500 JPY for adults, 250 for school college students, and free for seniors and anybody underneath 18.


5. Eat on the Robotic Restaurant

A musician dressed up as a rabbit playing the drums in the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan
This restaurant, actually known as Robotic Restaurant, is an absolute sensory overload. it has lasers, robots, monsters, music, dancing and far, rather more! Positive, it might be a little bit of a vacationer entice (aka it’s not low cost), however it’s an epic eating expertise not like something you’ve ever seen. It’s positively well worth the worth if you wish to do one thing fully out of the extraordinary — and one thing decidedly Japanese.

1 Chome-7-1 Kabukicho, +81 3-3200-5500, shinjuku-robot.com/computer. There are three performances a day on weekdays beginning at 4:45pm, with afternoon matinees on weekends.

6. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Artwork Museum

This small museum was the official residence of the Prince and Princess Asaka. Inbuilt 1933, the constructing itself was influenced by the artwork deco motion in Paris. The prince had studied in Paris and wished to carry the artwork deco model to Japan, therefore the constructing’s model and decorations. In 1983, the residence transitioned right into a museum and is now residence to a rotating collection of recent artwork exhibitions. See their web site for info on what reveals can be found.

5-21-9 Shirokanedai, +81 3-3443-0201, teien-art-museum.ne.jp/en. Open each day 10am-6pm. Admission is 200 JPY, with reductions out there for college students, kids, and seniors.

7. Stroll Alongside the Meguro River

The bright cherry blossoms lining the Meguro River Tokyo, Japan
The Meguro River weaves nearly 5 miles via the town and makes for an impressive stroll. There’s a path with a little bit of inexperienced house that follows the water, so loads of locals stroll or train there. Within the spring, you’ll be capable of see a whole lot of cherry blossoms as you stroll alongside the banks of the river as nicely.

Whereas the stroll is good at any time of yr, late March to early April is when the cherry blossoms will likely be in bloom. Whereas there will likely be lots of people then (cherry blossom viewing is a nationwide pastime) you’ll be rewarded with some lovely surroundings within the coronary heart of the metropolis.

8. Take a look at Asakusa

One of the many busy intersections in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan as it rains
If you wish to try a few of Tokyo’s historic and culturally-significant non secular websites, remember to spend a while wandering round Asakusa. Two locations that I’d recommend you go to are:

  • Senso-ji – That is Tokyo’s hottest (and arguably most well-known) temple. It’s superbly painted and sits in a scenic spot close to a pagoda and the Kaminari Gate. There’s an enormous statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, inside the principle corridor. It’s busy throughout the day so purpose to go to within the night to beat the crowds. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3842-0181, senso-ji.jp. The grounds are open 24/7, although the temple itself is open each day 6am-5pm. Admission is free.
  • Asakusa Shrine – It is a Shinto shrine situated close to Senso-ji. It’s rather more peaceable and fewer busy than Senso-ji as nicely. It was constructed throughout the Edo interval and miraculously survived the air raids of World Battle II. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3844-1575, asakusajinja.jp. Open each day 9am-4:30pm. Admission is free.


9. Have Dinner with Ninjas

For an additional distinctive eating expertise, head to Ninja Akasaka. It’s a novelty ninja-themed restaurant designed like an Edo-era constructing. The waitstaff are clothed in stereotypical all-black garb and educated in all types of easy tips, sleight of hand, and illusions. You’ll order off outdated scrolls whereas being entertained by the skillful tips of your server. The meals isn’t something particular it’s tremendous enjoyable and the environment is exclusive.

Tokyu Plaza Akasaka, +81 3-5157-3936, ninjaakasaka.com. Open each day 5pm-10:30pm (9:45pm on Sundays)

10. Drink in Golden Gai

The narrow alleys of Golden Gai, Tokyo at night
In case you are on the lookout for one thing fascinating to do at evening, this alley of backstreet bars is a cool spot to start out at. There isn’t a lot occurring right here throughout the day, however come sunset, these zigzag hallways and closet-sized beer rooms are full of fascinating folks and low cost drinks. There are 6 alleys related by slim passageways solely vast sufficient for 1 or 2 folks, making it a fairly distinctive place to start out your evening out in town. It’s situated in Shinjuku.

11. Go to the Nationwide Artwork Heart

Opened in 2007, this museum and gallery doesn’t even have a everlasting assortment however fairly homes a unending collection of momentary exhibitions, from impressionism to fashionable artwork (the Monet exhibition that was held right here in 2007 was essentially the most visited exhibition on the earth). There are upwars ofr 60+ exhibitons every year so test their web site to see what’s at present being proven.

7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, +81 3-5777-8600, nact.jp. Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-5:30pm. Admission varies by exhibit.

12. Eat Beneath the Girders

Not removed from Ginza is the Yurakucho neighborhood. Beneath the elevated prepare tracks at Yurakucho Station is a 700m-long stretch of eating places and bars. There are wine bars, beer pubs, and informal eating places full of businessmen. If you wish to get a way of native metropolis life, it is a good neighborhood to discover after the workday is over.

13. Superhero Go-Karting

A group of travelers in go-karts in downtown Tokyo, Japan
Should you’re a online game fan (or simply wish to do one thing totally different), try Avenue Kart. It is a real-life Mario Bros. go-kart firm that permits you to costume up and race across the metropolis. So long as you may have a world driving allow (which you will get you probably have a legitimate driver’s license), you’ll be able to participate, racing across the metropolis dressed up as Mario, Yoshi, and even Spiderman.

4-12-9 Sotokanda, +81 80-8899-8899, maricar.com/en/akihabara.html. Open each day 10am-10pm. The course will take 1-2 hours and prices 9,00zero JPY per particular person. There are a number of places across the metropolis.

14. Take a look at a Sento

A sento is a standard (and communal) Japanese public bathhouse. Previously, personal baths had been uncommon as lodging in Japan are notoriously small. Whereas personal baths are rather more commo right now, sentos remaining essential cultural hubs. The Japanese aren’t shy in sentos so it’s essential be comfy with nudity! They’re sometimes separated by gender. A budget-friendly sento will value you slightly below 1,00zero JPY. Simply needless to say many have guidelines towards tattoos.

15. Go to a Quirky Café

The bright interior of the Kawaii Harajuku Monster Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo has all types of strange cafés. Monster cafés, cat cafés, canine cafés, owl cafés, vampire cafés, and rather more! Should you can consider it, there’s in all probability a café for it someplace within the metropolis. Should you’re on the lookout for one thing uncommon to do (or simply need a spot to calm down after exploring) then have a look and see what bizarre and quirky cafés are close to you (they’re throughout the town so that you by no means must go far to search out one!).

Listed here are some ideas that can assist you get began:

  • Kawaii Monster Café
  • Vampire Café
  • Christon Café (Christian-themed café)
  • Canine Coronary heart (canine café)
  • Cat Café Calico


16. See Shibuya Crossing

The busy Shibuya intersection in Tokyo, Japan at night
That is typically thought-about to be the busiest (and most well-known) intersection on the earth. This close by metro station transports 2.Four million folks per day and it’s estimated that upwards of two,500 cross it at a time throughout rush hour. At evening, the interplay is buzzing. Futuristic brilliant lights line the streets, with billboards taking part in movies and adverts. It has a sci-fi really feel to it (it type of jogs my memory of Instances Sq. on steroids).

When you’re right here, make sure that to go to the statue between Shibuya Station and the intersection. It’s a tribute to Hachiko, a loyal canine who waited for its grasp day by day for 9 years, not figuring out his proprietor had handed away. The canine is one thing of a nationwide icon in Japan, and the story was made well-known by the movie Hachi: A Canine’s Story.

17. Stroll Round Shimokitazawa

Brimming with classic retailers, this Bohemian neighborhood is commonly in comparison with New York’s East Village. It’s an incredible instance of the quieter aspect of Tokyo and gives some extra enjoyable streets to wander and window store. Whether or not you’re seeking to store or simply wish to take within the scene, it is a cool neighborhood to probe for a pair hours.

18. Stare upon Mt. Fuji from Hakone

The view of Mount Fuji from Hakone, with a torii gate in the foreground
If you wish to take a day journey (or a multi-day journey) from the town, think about going to Hakone. It’s situated simply over an hour from Tokyo and is among the finest locations to get away from the town, calm down for just a few days, and take within the view of Mount Fuji. There are quite a few guesthouses within the space, many with their very own personal onsen (pure sizzling springs), making it an incredible place to go for a romantic getaway or when you simply wish to pamper your your self.

If in case you have the Japan Rail Move you will get right here totally free.

19. Cling with the Harajuku Ladies

Harajuku is an electrical and quirky a part of city identified for its vogue, classic shops, and cosplay retailers. As you wander, you’ll typically see “Harajuku women” strolling round city in distinctive clothes and colourful hairstyles (think about a 1990s Gwen Stefani video come to life). Along with all the avant-garde vogue, there are additionally tons of stylish eating places within the space as nicely. And there’s additionally a month-to-month Harajuku Trend Stroll which highlights the costumed cos-players of the town as they parade round. For particular dates, try the group’s Twitter account (@harajuku_fw).

20. Watch a Sumo Match

Two sumo wrestlers about to fight in a massive arena as the crowd watches in Japan
Kokugikan is Japan’s most well-known sumo wrestling enviornment. It hosts tournaments 3 times every year, all of which draw large crowds. Sumo wrestling (the sort we’re accustomed to right now) dates again to the 17th century, although its origins date again even additional. Even to today, it’s nonetheless one of the well-liked traditions within the nation. Should you’re on the town on the proper time, it is a must-do (even when you’re not a sports activities fan, it’s a singular and uncommon alternative). Tickets promote out shortly so remember to guide early.

1 Chome-3-2-Eight Yokoami, Sumida, +81 3-3623-5111, sumo.or.jp/kokugikan. Ticket costs differ, however count on to pay round 2,200 JPY.

21. Watch Conventional Japanese Theatre

Kabuki theatre is a standard type of Japanese efficiency involving dance and drama. The costumes and make-up are closely stylized, making for a really visible efficiency. The Kabukizaka Theatre, situated in Ginza, is the most effective place to see these unimaginable and energy performances. You should purchase tickets for a whole present or only one act when you’re not able to decide to an extended efficiency (they’re in Japanese and normally final just a few hours).

Four Chome-12-15 Ginza, +81 3-3545-6800, kabuki-za.co.jp. Performances are held nearly each day. Verify the web site for essentially the most up-to-date schedule. Count on to pay at the very least 1,00zero JPY for a single-act ticket.

22. Go to Daibutsu (the Nice Buddha)

The Great Buddha in Kamakura, Kapan against a bright blue sky
For an additional day journey, head to Kamakura. Right here you’ll discover a 13m bronze statue of Buddha that was inbuilt 1252. The statue was initially constructed inside a temple, however the temple was washed away — on a number of events — by storms.

Immediately, the statue now sits within the open air (together with an enormous pair of straw sandals that belong to the statue). You’ll be able to even go contained in the statue itself (there isn’t a lot to see, nevertheless it’s nonetheless type of neat to have the ability to step into an enormous statue of that dimension and significance). The journey solely takes about an hour so it’s an incredible vacation spot for a half-day or full-day tour.

Four Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, +81 467-22-0703, kotoku-in.jp. Open each day 8am-5:30pm. Admission is 200 JPY. If in case you have the Japan Rail Move you will get right here totally free.

23. Go to the Ghibli Museum

Should you’re a fan of the award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki’s work (he’s the genius behind Spirited Away, Howl’s Shifting Fort, and Princess Mononoke), then you definitely’ll wish to try this wonderful museum. The exhibition was really designed by Miyazaki himself and is an immersive expertise that any movie buff will respect. The museum hosts a brand new brief movie each month, solely out there to guests. Whereas a go to right here gained’t take up a complete day, it’s not in a really central location so that you’ll have to plan accordingly (it’s about an hour from downtown Tokyo).

1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, +81 570-055-777, ghibli-museum.jp. Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-6pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY for adults, with reductions out there for youth and youngsters. There are restricted tickets out there every day so guide prematurely.

24. Get Touristy at Tokyo Disneyland

Mickey Mouse on a flat at a parade in Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan
I’m a sucker for Disney sights! It is a enjoyable alternative for anybody touring with kids, but in addition for any adults who simply love amusement parks. Opened in 1983, it has seven themed areas to discover and is the third most visited theme park on the earth. it has a whole lot of the identical well-known rides you’ll discover at Disney World comparable to Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, and the nauseating Mad Tea Cup Journey.

1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, +81 45-330-5211, tokyodisneyresort.jp/tdl. Open each day 8am-10pm. Admission is 7,400 JPY for adults and 4,800-6,400 JPY for kids, relying on age.

25. Hike Mount Mitake

Positioned simply over an hour from Tokyo is Chichibu-Tama-Kai Nationwide Park. The park covers 1,250 sq. kilometers of rolling hills, mountains, and luxurious forests. There are many mountain climbing trails, although it’s also possible to take a cable automotive to the highest after which hike to the shrine that sits on the height, some 930m above sea degree. It’s a 30-minute stroll to the shrine from the height/prime of the cable automotive. From there, you’ll be able to hike for an hour to a small valley with two picturesque waterfalls or proceed on to Mount Otake, which is about 2 hours from the summit of Mount Mitake.

26. Stroll via Shinjuku Gyoen Nationwide Backyard

This park spans over 144 acres and is residence to some 20,00zero timber. Many of the unique park was destroyed in World Battle II, nevertheless, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1949. Throughout spring, the park is among the finest areas to see cherry blossoms. My favourite half is the Japanese panorama backyard, which has a number of ponds with bridges and islands. It’s a peaceable little oasis inside the hustle and bustle of the town.

11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, +81 3-3350-0151, env.go.jp/backyard/shinjukugyoen/index.html. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is 200 JPY.

27. Go to the Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower at sunrise in Tokyo, Japan
Inbuilt 1957, Tokyo Tower resembles the Eiffel Tower (although the Tokyo Tower is taller, standing 333m). It’s made completely of metal and you’ll pay to go all the best way to the highest flooring to absorb the view. Whereas the views are wonderful, the principle remark deck gives one which’s simply pretty much as good for nearly half the value.

Four Chome-2-Eight Shibakoen, Minato, +81 3-3433-5111, tokyotower.co.jp. Open each day 9am-11pm. Admission is 900 JPY for the principle deck or 1,600 JPY for the highest.

28. Go to the Samurai Museum

No journey to Japan could be full with out studying about samurai. Whereas they had been identified for his or her abilities in fight, there was rather more to the tradition than simply mastering the sword. This museum does an incredible job of illuminating life as a samurai and it additionally has some unimaginable shows of conventional weapons and armor (a few of which you’ll even attempt on)

Kabukicho 2-25-6, +81 3-6457-6411, samuraimuseum.jp/en. Open each day 10:30am-9pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY per particular person. You’ll be able to discover the museum by yourself or in a gaggle tour, that are carried out each 30 minutes.

29. Stroll throughout the Rainbow Bridge

That is the town’s hottest bridge and gives some pretty views of either side of Tokyo Bay. Inbuilt 1993, the brilliant lights up at evening with rainbow colours — therefore the title. It makes for a pleasing stroll throughout the day or at evening if it’s essential stretch your legs after binging on sushi.

30. Drinks on the Park Hyatt

The dim and classy interior of New York Bar in Tokyo, Japan
New York Bar is the long-lasting bar from Sofia Coppola’s 2003 movie Misplaced in Translation. Positioned on the 52nd flooring, the bar really lives as much as the hype of the movie. The environment is elegant, the drinks are nice, and the view is completely beautiful. There may be reside jazz each evening, and whereas there’s a cowl cost (round 2,500 JPY), it’s positively price it when you’re seeking to splash out.

3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku, +81 3-5322-1234, hyatt.com. Open Sunday-Wednesday 5pm-12am and Thursday-Saturday 5pm-1am.


Tokyo is a type of cities that actually does have one thing for everybody. Nightlife, scrumptious meals, accessible nature, insightful museums, artwork galleries, enjoyable parks — you title it, you’ll find it right here. However the place the town actually shines is with its quirky choices. You’ll discover tons of strange eating places, cafés, and actions right here — matters you wont discover wherever else on the earth.

Whereas the town isn’t the most cost effective in Asia (although there are many methods to save cash right here it gives guests the chance to expertise life in one of the electrical, futuristic cities on the earth. And, to me, that’s well worth the worth.

Guide Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You’ll be able to guide your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve essentially the most complete hostel stock on the market. If you wish to keep in a resort or guesthouse, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges. My favourite locations to remain in Tokyo are:

  • Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki – This is among the finest hostels within the nation. The employees go above and past, every room has its personal rest room, and it’s in an incredible location that can assist you discover the town.
  • Sheena and Ippei – This hostel is tremendous homey, and the homeowners are each useful and knowledgable. The lounge is open to everybody, and you’ll get pleasure from appetizers and sake on the weekends.
  • Hostel Chapter Two Tokyo – It is a small, family-run hostel in Asakusa. There’s an incredible view of the river and the dorms appear new and immaculately clear.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the most effective service and worth are:

In search of the most effective firms to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective firms to make use of whenever you journey! I record all those I exploit to save cash once I journey – and I believe will make it easier to too!

In search of extra journey ideas for Japan
Take a look at my in-depth Japan journey information for extra methods to save cash, prices, tips about what to see and do, instructed itineraries, studying, packing lists, and far, rather more!

Picture credit score: 1 – AlexTalmaciu, 4 – Nick Turner, 5 – shiranai, 6 – Liz Mc, 9 – Michael Mortola, 12- Ian Kennedy, 16 – HeatherLWilliams

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