Tokyo can be an incredible, massive city home to over 10 million people. It’s the administrative centre of Japan and home to several fun, historic, and quirky attractions. From the world’s largest tuna auction and the Imperial Palace to robot restaurants and vampire cafés, Tokyo does indeed have something for everybody.
Whether you’re here for a brief stopover or living here as an expat, you’ll manage to find plenty of methods to pass enough time and get yourself a feel for the organized chaos that’s Tokyo. That will help you maximize out of your trip, listed below are the best what to see and do in Tokyo:
1. Go to the Fish Market
The Tsukiji Fish Market was the most iconic staples of the town. In 2018, the marketplace moved to Toyosu and is currently twice how big is the initial Tsukiji market. Actually, the new market may be the largest fish market in the whole planet. While you’ll need a visitor’s pass to enter (you may get one on arrival) the pass is free (this means you’ll have significantly more money to invest on sushi!)
There are over 600 vendors here selling fresh fish and also fruits and vegetables. Gorge on sushi and marvel at the chaotic atmosphere of the world’s largest tuna market. The tuna auction here powers a lot of the world’s sushi supply, in fact it is a classic sight to be observed. You can also visit a model of the biggest tuna ever sold at Tsujiki – which weighed 500kg (1,100lbs!).
As well as the new market, the old outer market at Tsukiji still has a lot of restaurants and shops. You can still head there to consume and appearance around, though all of the action is currently at Toyosu. Make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds (especially 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, though most shops don’t open until 7am. Admission is free.
2. Explore by the Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace may be the official home of the Emperor of Japan. It’s a good spot to understand about Japan’s history and culture. Formerly Edo Castle, the palace was built-in the 15th century, plus some of the walls and moats from that point are still used even 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 can’t go inside (and even get super close), however, the building itself is both regal and serene and an excellent spot to relax or snap some photos. The palace is surrounded by beautiful grounds and a park, and there’s a moat around the massive stone walls. Admission to the lands is free.
3. Experience a Tea Ceremony
No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing a normal tea ceremony. Tea was taken to Japan in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk and by the 12th century, the ceremony begun to take shape. While these ceremonies are often long (not forgetting expensive), there are many budget-friendly options for anybody seeking to experience one without breaking the lender. Here are some budget-friednly tea ceremonies in Tokyo worth looking into:
- Kyoto-kan (500 JPY per person, Yanmar Tokyo Building 1F 2-1-1)
- Nadeshiko (2,700-4,400 JPY per person, 2-7-24-2F Asakusa)
- JUST HOW of Tea (5,500 JPY per person, Coredo Muromachi 3 3F)
4. Relax in Ueno Park
Ueno Park is a soothing and beautiful spot to relax for some hours (or a whole day if you’re not pretty quickly). It’s a serene spot to photograph the countless cherry trees that line the park (which blossom in April and so are an enormous tourist draw) or even to have a picnic on a sunny summer afternoon.
Additionally, there are a few considerations to see in the park aswell. Here are some sights in the park you should make time to go to:
- Tokyo National Museum – Established in 1872, this museum is situated in the north end of the park and houses among the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts from Asia, particularly Japan. 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-1111, tnm.jp. Open daily 9:30am-5pm (8pm of all Fridays). Admission is 620 JPY.
- Tosho-gu Shrine – That is a 17th-century Shinto shrine with stunning gold doors and ornate carvings. 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito, +81 3-3822-3455, uenotoshogu.com/en. Open daily 9am-5:30pm. Admission is free, though to go further in to the shrine, you’ll need to pay 500 JPY.
- National Museum of Western Art – Opened in 1959, that is among the only free galleries in the country to spotlight Western art. The collection is made up of 5,000 pieces, dating from the Renaissance completely to the 20th century. There are functions by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Picasso together with sculptures dating back 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 university students, and free for seniors and anyone under 18.
5. Eat at the Robot Restaurant
This restaurant, literally called Robot Restaurant, can be an absolute sensory overload. it has lasers, robots, monsters, music, dancing and far, much more! Sure, it could be a tiny tourist trap (aka it’s expensive), but it can be an epic dining experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s definitely worth the purchase price if you want to accomplish something completely unusual – then one decidedly Japanese.
1 Chome-7-1 Kabukicho, +81 3-3200-5500, shinjuku-robot.com/pc. There are three performances a day on weekdays starting at 4:45pm, with afternoon matinees on weekends.
6. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
This small museum used to be the state residence of the Prince and Princess Asaka. Built-in 1933, the building itself was influenced by the art deco movement in Paris. The prince had studied in Paris and wished to bring the art deco style to Japan, hence the building’s style and decorations. In 1983, the residence transitioned right into a museum and is currently home to a rotating group of modern art exhibitions. See their website for information on what exhibits can be found.
5-21-9 Shirokanedai, +81 3-3443-0201, teien-art-museum.ne.jp/en. Open daily 10am-6pm. Admission is 200 JPY, with discounts designed for students, children, and seniors.
7. Stroll Along the Meguro River
The Meguro River weaves almost five miles through the town and makes for an impressive stroll. There’s a path with a little bit of green space that follows the water, so a lot of locals walk or exercise there. In the spring, you’ll manage to visit a large amount of cherry blossoms as you walk along the banks of the river aswell.
As the walk is nice anytime of year, late March to early April is when the cherry blossoms will maintain bloom. While you will see lots of people then (cherry blossom viewing is a national pastime) you’ll be rewarded with some beautiful scenery in the heart of the metropolis.
8. Have a look at Asakusa
If you would like to check out a few of Tokyo’s historic and culturally-significant religious sites, make sure you spend time wandering around Asakusa. Two places that I’d suggest you visit are:
- Senso-ji – That is Tokyo’s most popular (and arguably most well-known) temple. It’s beautifully painted and sits in a scenic spot near a pagoda and the Kaminari Gate. There’s an enormous statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, in the main hall. It’s busy throughout the day so try to visit at night to beat the crowds. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3842-0181, senso-ji.jp. The lands are open 24/7, although temple itself is open daily 6am-5pm. Admission is free.
- Asakusa Shrine – That is a Shinto shrine located near Senso-ji. It’s a lot more peaceful and less busy than Senso-ji aswell. It was built through the Edo period and miraculously survived the air raids of World War II. 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, +81 3-3844-1575, asakusajinja.jp. Open daily 9am-4:30pm. Admission is free.
9. Have Dinner with Ninjas
For another unique dining experience, check out Ninja Akasaka. It’s a novelty ninja-themed restaurant designed as an Edo-era building. The waitstaff are clothed in stereotypical all-black garb and been trained in a variety of simple tricks, sleight of hand, and illusions. You’ll order off old scrolls while being entertained by the skillful tricks of your server. The meals isn’t anything special it’s super fun and the atmosphere is exclusive.
Tokyu Plaza Akasaka, +81 3-5157-3936, ninjaakasaka.com. Open daily 5pm-10:30pm (9:45pm on Sundays)
10. Drink in Golden Gai
If you are searching for something interesting to accomplish during the night, this alley of backstreet bars is a cool spot to start out at. There isn’t much going on here throughout the day, but come sundown, these zigzag hallways and closet-sized beer rooms are filled up with interesting people and cheap drinks. There are 6 alleys connected by narrow passageways only wide enough for one or two 2 people, rendering it a fairly unique place to begin your night out out. It’s situated in Shinjuku.
11. Go to the National Art Center
Opened in 2007, this museum and gallery doesn’t already have a permanent collection but instead houses a never-ending group of temporary exhibitions, from impressionism to modern art (the Monet exhibition that happened within 2007 was the most visited exhibition on the planet). There are upwars ofr 60+ exhibitons every year so check their website to see what’s becoming shown.
7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, +81 3-5777-8600, nact.jp. Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-5:30pm. Admission varies by exhibit.
12. Eat Below the Girders
Not definately not Ginza may be the Yurakucho neighborhood. Below the elevated train tracks at Yurakucho Station is a 700m-long stretch of restaurants and bars. There are wine bars, beer pubs, and casual restaurants filled up with businessmen. If you would like to obtain a sense of local city life, that is an excellent neighborhood to explore following the workday has ended.
13. Superhero Go-Karting
If you’re a gaming fan (or simply want to do different things), have a look at Street Kart. That is a real-life Mario Bros. go-kart company that enables you to decorate and race around the town. So long as you have a global driving permit (that you can get assuming you have a valid driver’s license), you may take part, racing around the town decked out as Mario, Yoshi, and even Spiderman.
4-12-9 Sotokanda, +81 80-8899-8899, maricar.com/en/akihabara.html. Open daily 10am-10pm. The course will need 1-2 hours and costs 9,000 JPY per person. There are multiple locations around the town.
14. Have a look at a Sento
A sento is a normal (and communal) Japanese public bathhouse. Previously, private baths were rare as accommodations in Japan are notoriously small. While private baths are a lot more commo today, sentos remaining important cultural hubs. JAPAN aren’t shy in sentos which means you need to be more comfortable with nudity! They are usually separated by gender. A budget-friendly sento can cost you slightly below 1,000 JPY. Just understand that many have rules against tattoos.
15. Search for a Quirky Café
Tokyo has a variety of weird and wonderful cafés. Monster cafés, cat cafés, dog cafés, owl cafés, vampire cafés, plus much more! If you can think about it, there is most likely a café for this somewhere in the town. If you’re looking for something unusual to accomplish (or simply want a location to relax after exploring) then have a look and see what weird and quirky cafés are in your area (they’re all over the city so you do not have to go far to find one!).
Here are several suggestions to obtain started:
- Kawaii Monster Café
- Vampire Café
- Christon Café (Christian-themed café)
- Dog Heart (dog café)
- Cat Café Calico
16. See Shibuya Crossing
That is generally regarded as the busiest (& most famous) intersection on earth. This nearby metro station transports 2.4 million people each day and it’s estimated that up to 2,500 cross it at the same time during rush hour. During the night, the interaction is buzzing. Futuristic bright lights line the streets, with billboards playing videos and ads. It includes a sci-fi feel to it (it sort of reminds me of that time period Square on steroids).
While you’re here, ensure that you go to the statue between Shibuya Station and the intersection. It’s a tribute to Hachiko, a loyal dog who waited because of its master each day for 9 years, being unsure of his owner had passed on. Your dog is something of a national icon in Japan, and the story was made famous by the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.
17. Stroll Around Shimokitazawa
Filled with vintage shops, this Bohemian neighborhood is often in comparison to New York’s East Village. It’s an excellent exemplory case of the quieter side of Tokyo and will be offering even more relaxing streets to wander and window shop. Whether you’re seeking to shop or simply want to take the scene, that is a cool neighborhood to look for a couple hours.
18. Gaze at Mt. Fuji from Hakone
If you wish to have a excursion (or a multi-day trip) from the town, consider likely to Hakone. It’s located just over one hour from Tokyo and is among the best places to move away from the town, relax for some days, and ingest the view of Mount Fuji. There are many guesthouses in the region, many with their own private onsen (natural hot springs), rendering it a great spot to get a romantic getaway or in the event that you just want to pamper your yourself.
Should you have the Japan Rail Pass you can obtain here free of charge.
19. Hang with the Harajuku Girls
Harajuku can be an electric and quirky part of town known because of its fashion, vintage stores, and cosplay shops. As you wander, you’ll often see “Harajuku girls” travelling town in unique clothing and colorful hairstyles (imagine a 1990s Gwen Stefani video become more active). In addition to all or any of the avant-garde fashion, additionally, there are a great deal of trendy restaurants in the region as well. And gleam monthly Harajuku Fashion Walk which highlights the costumed cos-players of the town because they parade around. For specific dates, browse the group’s Twitter account (@harajuku_fw).
20. Watch a Sumo Match
Kokugikan is Japan’s most well-known sumo wrestling arena. It hosts tournaments 3 x each year, which draw huge crowds. Sumo wrestling (the type we are aware of today) goes back to the 17th century, though its origins date back even more. Even even today, it’s still the most popular traditions in the united states. If you’re around at the proper time, that is a must-do (even if you’re not really a sports fan, it’s a distinctive and rare opportunity). Tickets sell out quickly so make sure to book early.
1 Chome-3-2-8 Yokoami, Sumida, +81 3-3623-5111, sumo.or.jp/kokugikan. Ticket prices vary, but be prepared to pay around 2,200 JPY.
21. Watch Traditional Japanese Theatre
Kabuki theatre is a normal type of Japanese performance involving dance and drama. The costumes and makeup are heavily stylized, making for an extremely visual performance. The Kabukizaka Theatre, situated in Ginza, is the foremost spot to see these incredible and power performances. You can buy tickets for a whole show or simply one act if you’re not prepared to commit to an extended performance (they’re in Japanese and usually last a couple of hours).
4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, +81 3-3545-6800, kabuki-za.co.jp. Performances are held daily. Check the web site for the most up-to-date schedule. Be prepared to pay at least 1,000 JPY for a single-act ticket.
22. Visit Daibutsu (the fantastic Buddha)
For a later date trip, check out Kamakura. Here you’ll look for a 13m bronze statue of Buddha that was built-in 1252. The statue was constructed within a temple, however the temple was washed away – on several occasions – by storms.
Today, the statue now sits on view air (plus a massive couple of straw sandals that participate in the statue). You can also go in the statue itself (there isn’t much to see, but it’s still sort of neat in order to step right into a massive statue of this size and importance). The journey only takes about one hour so it’s an excellent spot to half-day or full-day excursion.
4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, +81 467-22-0703, kotoku-in.jp. Open daily 8am-5:30pm. Admission is 200 JPY. Should you have the Japan Rail Pass you can obtain here free of charge.
23. Go to the Ghibli Museum
If you’re a fan of the award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki’s work (he’s the genius behind Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke), then you’ll want to look at this phenomenal museum. The exhibition was actually created by Miyazaki himself and can be an immersive experience that any film buff will appreciate. The museum hosts a fresh short film on a monthly basis, only open to visitors. While a click here won’t take up a complete day, it’s not in an exceedingly central location so you’ll have to plan accordingly (it’s about one 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 discounts designed for youth and children. There are limited tickets available every day so book beforehand.
24. Get Touristy at Tokyo Disneyland
I’m a sucker for Disney attractions! That is a fun choice for anybody traveling with children, also for any adults who just love carnivals. Opened in 1983, it has seven themed areas to explore and may be the third most visited theme park on the planet. it has a large amount of the same famous rides you’ll find at Disney World such as for example Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, and the nauseating Mad Tea Cup Ride.
1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, +81 45-330-5211, tokyodisneyresort.jp/tdl. Open daily 8am-10pm. Admission is 7,400 JPY for adults and 4,800-6,400 JPY for children, based on age.
25. Hike Mount Mitake
Located just over one hour from Tokyo is Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The park covers 1,250 square kilometers of rolling hills, mountains, and lush forests. There are many hiking trails, if you can also have a cable car to the very best and hike to the shrine that sits on the peak, some 930m above sea level. It’s a 30-minute walk to the shrine from the peak/top of the cable car. From there, you can hike for one hour to a little valley with two picturesque waterfalls or keep on to Mount Otake, which is approximately 2 hours from the summit of Mount Mitake.
26. Stroll through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
This park spans over 144 acres and houses some 20,000 trees. A lot of the original park was destroyed in World War II, however, it had been rebuilt and reopened in 1949. During spring, the park is probably the best spaces to see cherry blossoms. The best part may be the Japanese landscape garden, which includes several ponds with bridges and islands. It’s a peaceful little oasis within the busyness of the town.
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, +81 3-3350-0151, env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/index.html. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is 200 JPY.
27. Go to the Tokyo Tower
Built-in 1957, Tokyo Tower resembles the Eiffel Tower (although Tokyo Tower is taller, standing 333m). It’s made entirely of steel and you may pay to go completely to the very best floor to take the view. As the views are amazing, the primary observation deck offers one that’s equally as good for almost half the purchase price.
4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, +81 3-3433-5111, tokyotower.co.jp. Open daily 9am-11pm. Admission is 900 JPY for the primary deck or 1,600 JPY for the most notable.
28. Go to the Samurai Museum
No visit to Japan will be complete without studying samurai. While these were known because of their skills in combat, there is a lot more to the culture than simply mastering the sword. This museum does an excellent job of illuminating life as a samurai looked after has some incredible displays of traditional weapons and armor (a few of which you can also put on)
Kabukicho 2-25-6, +81 3-6457-6411, samuraimuseum.jp/en. Open daily 10:30am-9pm. Admission is 1,900 JPY per person. You can explore the museum all on your own or in an organization tour, which are conducted every thirty minutes.
29. Walk over the Rainbow Bridge
Here is the city’s most popular bridge and will be offering some lovely views of both sides of Tokyo Bay. Built-in 1993, the bright lights up during the night with rainbow colors – hence the name. It creates for a nice walk throughout the day or at night if you want to stretch your legs after binging on sushi.
30. Drinks at the Park Hyatt
NY Bar may be the iconic bar from Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation. On the 52nd floor, the bar actually lives up to the hype of the film. The atmosphere is classy, the drinks are excellent, and the view is completely stunning. There is live jazz every evening, and while you will find a cover charge (around 2,500 JPY), it’s definitely worthwhile if 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 among those cities that really has something for everybody. Nightlife, delicious food, accessible nature, insightful museums, free galleries, relaxing parks – you name it, you will discover it here. But where in fact the city really shines has been its quirky offerings. You’ll find a great deal of weird and wonderful restaurants, cafés, and activities here – things you wont find somewhere else on the planet.
As the city isn’t the least expensive in Asia (though there are various methods to save money here it includes visitors the opportunity to see life in another of the most electric, futuristic cities on earth. And, if you ask me, that’s worth the purchase price.
Book Your Visit to Japan: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the most comprehensive inventory. If you wish in which to stay a hotel or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. The best places in which to stay Japan are:
- Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki
- Sheena and Ippei
- Hostel Chapter Two Tokyo
For more places to remain, have a look at my article on the best hostels in Tokyo. It includes a long set of them!
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to find the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel – and I believe can help you too!
Make sure you browse the Japan Rail Pass if you’ll be traveling around the united states. It will come in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and will save you a huge amount of money!
Looking for more travel tips for Japan Have a look at my in-depth Japan travel guide for more methods to save money, costs, tips about what things to see and do, suggested itineraries, reading, packing lists, and far, a lot more!