Uncover the best things to do in Tokyo, Japan, and fall in love with one of the world’s most vibrant cities.
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and easily one of the most unique places on earth. With a population of 37 million people, Tokyo is a place with something for everyone. From ancient temples and serene gardens to futuristic technology and vibrant neighborhoods, the list of things to see and do in Tokyo is endless.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the city as you explore iconic landmarks like Senso-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine, and the Imperial Palace. Indulge in world-class shopping and dining in neighborhoods like Ginza and Shibuya, or immerse yourself in the unique fashion and street culture of Harajuku. Discover the cutting-edge technology and entertainment in areas like Odaiba and Akihabara, and enjoy the tranquility of Tokyo’s beautiful parks and gardens.
Whether you’re seeking traditional Japanese experiences or modern urban adventures, Tokyo offers a dynamic and unforgettable journey that will leave you with lifelong memories. Keep reading for a complete list of the top things to do in Tokyo!
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How to get around Tokyo & Other Cities in Japan
Finding the most efficient, effective, and reasonable way to get around Tokyo and other cities in Japan is a question we all have. There are a lot of really confusing sources of info online but let’s keep it simple.
If you plan on visiting various neighborhoods in Tokyo and some other cities/towns (Mount Fuji, Kyoto, etc) then you should get the Japan Rail Pass- the country’s amazing multi-use train ticket.
This pass gives you access to:
- All Shinkansen trains: These are the infamous bullet trains in Japan and with this, you can reach Kyoto in just 2 hours!
- Main local train lines: The main trains in Tokyo. Most of which will be part of your daily commute to the different neighborhoods in Tokyo.
- Travel to main attractions: Mount Fuji, Nara, etc.
- Main airport transfers
The price for 7 days is €205. If you are just staying in Tokyo then I would suggest just buying individual tickets for each train line within the city. It is best to do some calculations before your travels to see if this price makes sense for your plans. If you are planning to do trips to Kyoto, and Mount Fuji and train all around the city then it will likely make sense and cost less than booking everything on its own.
All purchasing information is on the website and super clear. Follow the purchase instructions and your set.
25 Best Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan
Cross the Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Crossing the infamous Shibuya Scramble Crossing is one of the top things to do in Tokyo. This is an exhilarating experience that immerses you in the heart of Tokyo’s bustling energy. This is the BUSIEST intersection in the world and has up to 2,500 people crossing every time the signal changes. Crossing with the surge of pedestrians coming from any and all directions is an organized chaotic mess in the best way possible. It’s a thrilling moment as you make your way to the other side, capturing the essence of Tokyo’s fast-paced lifestyle.
After crossing, take a moment to soak in the atmosphere from an elevated platform or a nearby cafe. Witness the scramble from above, appreciating the intricate mess of people navigating the intersection. One of the top places to see the crossing from above is Mag’s Park Rooftop Shibuya Crossing. The Shibuya Scramble Crossing is not just a crossing; it’s an iconic symbol of Tokyo, a testament to the city’s energy, and an experience that you won’t forget.
Go to Akihabara to see Tokyo’s Anime Culture
Akihabara is the epicenter of Tokyo’s anime culture and a must-visit destination for anime lovers. This district offers a unique experience where you can immerse yourself in the world of anime, manga, gaming, and electronics. As you explore the bustling streets, you’ll encounter various stores filled with an extensive range of merchandise, collectibles, and exclusive items from popular anime series. From bustling multi-story shops to smaller specialty stores, Akihabara is the place to find figurines, manga volumes, or cosplay accessories.
However, Akihabara is more than just shopping, it’s a hub of entertainment with arcades and gaming centers where you can indulge in the latest arcade games, try your skills at virtual reality experiences, or participate in thrilling tournaments. The district is also known for its unique maid cafes, where you can enjoy refreshments served by friendly staff dressed in maid costumes! Visiting Akihabara is one of the top things to do in Tokyo to experience the essence of the city’s anime culture.
Asakusa is a captivating neighborhood in Tokyo that showcases the traditional charm of the city. At the heart of Asakusa lies the iconic Senso-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple known for its vibrant Kaminarimon Gate and bustling Nakamise Shopping Street.
Stroll along Nakamise, lined with an array of shops selling traditional snacks, souvenirs, and handicrafts, and soak in the lively atmosphere as you make your way toward the temple. Explore the temple grounds, offering serene gardens, beautiful architecture, and the opportunity to witness spiritual rituals.
Asakusa offers a glimpse into old Tokyo with its quaint streets, traditional houses, and local shops. This is the perfect place to sample delicious street food, such as freshly grilled yakitori skewers or savory okonomiyaki pancakes. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the spiritual ambiance of Senso-ji or exploring the charming streets, visiting Asakusa is one of the top things to do in Tokyo to delve into the rich heritage of Japan.
Go to the Top of Shibuya Sky
For breathtaking views of Tokyo, head to the top of Shibuya Sky. Located atop the Shibuya Scramble Square building, this observation deck offers panoramic views of the city skyline. Go up to the 46th floor and step out onto the spacious observation deck, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of Tokyo’s iconic landmarks and bustling streets below. This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo that you do not want to miss.
The best time to go to the top of Shibuya Shy is at around 4 PM – 5 PM so you can see it during the day and during sunset – there is no time limit. These times are incredibly busy so be sure to book your ticket well in advance to secure these highly sought-after times. Tickets cost ¥2,500 at the door and ¥2,200 only.
Stroll through the Imperial Palace
Take a leisurely stroll through the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and experience the tranquil beauty of this iconic landmark. Located in the heart of the city, the Imperial Palace offers a peaceful oasis away from the bustling streets. As you enter the palace grounds, you’ll be greeted by expansive gardens, serene ponds, and beautiful traditional architecture.
Follow the winding paths that lead you through meticulously manicured landscapes, lush greenery, and vibrant flowers. Discover hidden nooks where you can pause and admire the natural beauty surrounding you. The palace’s gardens are a paradise for nature lovers and provide a perfect backdrop for a peaceful walk or a moment of quiet reflection. Exploring the Imperial Palace is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for history and architecture lovers.
Find the 3D Billboards in Shinjuku
In the playful district of Shinjuku, you’ll discover an array of unique 3D billboards that add an extra dose of excitement to the bustling streets. Shinjuku’s 3D billboards are constantly evolving, so there’s always a surprise waiting around the corner. Whether it’s a whimsical display featuring beloved characters or a mind-bending optical illusion, these playful billboards add a touch of magic and entertainment to your Shinjuku adventure. Walking around and admiring the unique billboards is one of the top things to do in Tokyo.
Visit the Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree is a towering landmark and must-see attraction that guarantees an incredible experience. Go to the top of the observation decks and prepare to be amazed as you soak in the jaw-dropping panoramic views of Tokyo’s vibrant cityscape. Marvel at the sprawling metropolis, iconic landmarks, and bustling streets stretching out as far as the eye can see. Whether you visit during the day or at night when the city is illuminated by a dazzling array of lights.
But the excitement doesn’t stop there! The Tokyo Skytree is also home to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants where you can indulge in delicious treats, shop for unique souvenirs, and take a well-deserved break. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking an adrenaline rush or simply want to bask in the breathtaking views of the city, a visit to the Tokyo Skytree is one of the top things to do in Tokyo you do not want to miss.
Embark on a Day Trip to Mount Fuji
Embark on an unforgettable day trip to Mount Fuji and witness the beauty of one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks. Just a short journey from Tokyo, this magnificent mountain offers a breathtaking backdrop that will leave you in awe. Take in the panoramic views from the various points along the mountain’s trails and city and admire this massive mountain in its prime.
While here be sure to explore the charming Fuji Five Lakes region, known for its picturesque landscapes and hot springs, offering a perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after a day of adventure. Whether you choose to hike, take a scenic drive, or simply admire the beauty from afar, a day trip to Mount Fuji promises an unforgettable experience making it one of the best things to do in Tokyo!
Eat a Meal in Omoide Yokochō
Go on a culinary adventure by enjoying a meal in Omoide Yokochō, a small and eccentric food alley located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Step into the bustling maze of narrow alleyways and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere filled with small restaurants with limited seating and exceptional food.
Omoide Yokochō is full of small eateries also known as izakayas (Japanese pubs) and street food stalls offering a wide assortment of treats. Savor the rich flavors of yakitori (grilled skewered chicken), takoyaki (octopus balls), and oden (a hot pot dish with various ingredients) as you sit amongst locals and fellow food enthusiasts. The narrow alleyways are lined with cozy and intimate establishments. This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo to get a glimpse into local life and the dining culture of Tokyo.
Eat Ramen From Ichiran Ramen
Ichiran Ramen is one of the most famous ramen places in Tokyo that offers a unique and personalized dining adventure. Step into one of their private booths and enjoy your ramen in complete solitude and focus on the flavors.
At Ichiran, you have the opportunity to customize your ramen to your preferences. From the richness of the broth to the firmness of the noodles and the intensity of the spices, you have the freedom to create your perfect bowl of ramen. Indulge in their signature tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, which is rich, creamy, and packed with umami flavors that will leave you craving for more. Heading here is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for food lovers.
Go Shopping in Harajuku
Going shopping in Harajuku is one of the top things to do in Tokyo. This is the city’s most vibrant and playful fashion district where fashion knows no limits and self-expression is expressed freely. Explore the colorful streets filled with quirky and unique boutiques, where you can find everything from unique fashion pieces to whimsical accessories that will make your style stand out from the crowd.
Takeshita Street is a must-visit hotspot, brimming with trendy shops offering the latest fashion trends, cute and kawaii merchandise, and eye-catching streetwear. Dive into a treasure trove of vibrant colors, bold patterns, and playful designs that will ignite your imagination and unleash your inner fashionista. Don’t forget to grab a delicious crepe from one of the street vendors to keep your energy up as you shop ’til you drop.
Experience the Tranquility of Meiji Shrine
Escape the busy city and immerse yourself in the beauty of Meiji Shrine, an oasis in the heart of Tokyo. As you step into the peaceful shrine grounds, you’ll be welcomed by a sense of calm and tranquility that instantly soothes the soul. Experiencing the calm of the Meiji Shrine is easily one of the top things to do in Tokyo for all travelers.
Meiji Shrine is a spiritual haven dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, known for their contributions to modern Japan. Stroll along the tree-lined paths, passing through towering Torii gates, and breathe in the fresh scent of nature surrounding you. The expansive forested area creates a sanctuary where you can escape the city’s hustle and bustle and find solace amidst the trees.
Indulge in Delicious Food
Embark on a journey through the culinary landscape of Tokyo, where you’ll discover a food lovers’ paradise that will delight your taste buds. From savory street food to exquisite fine dining, the city offers a diverse range of flavors to indulge in. Indulging in the city’s amazing foodie scene is one of the top things to do in Tokyo that will not disappoint.
Head to one of the vibrant food markets, where you can feast on delectable sushi, sashimi, and street delicacies like takoyaki and yakitori. For a more refined dining experience, Tokyo boasts an impressive selection of Michelin-starred restaurants and world-class establishments. Indulge in the artistry of kaiseki cuisine, where each dish is a masterpiece crafted with precision and seasonal ingredients.
Experience the energy of Shibuya one of Tokyo’s most vibrant and iconic neighborhoods. Join in on the craziness of the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing as you navigate through the bustling streets. Discover a world of fashion and shopping, with trendy boutiques, department stores, and quirky shops offering a myriad of styles and unique finds. Indulge in a culinary adventure, from traditional Japanese izakayas to international cuisine, satisfying your palate with a diverse array of flavors.
As the day comes to an end, immerse yourself in Shibuya’s vibrant nightlife, where an eclectic mix of bars, clubs, and live music venues keeps the district alive until the early hours. Explore the artistic side of Shibuya through captivating street art and immerse yourself in the cultural scene.
From the energetic crowds to the captivating sights and sounds, Shibuya is a sensory delight that will leave an indelible impression on your Tokyo adventure. Heading to Shibuya is one of the best things to do in Tokyo that does not disappoint.
Explore the Upscale District of Ginza
Explore Tokyo’s most upscale district Ginza and experience a world of luxury. This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for lovers of the finest fashion, design, and more. Indulge your senses with a culinary journey through Michelin-starred restaurants and gourmet eateries, savoring unique flavors and stunning presentations.
Immerse yourself in the arts at Kabuki-za Theater or explore the district’s art galleries, where creativity flourishes. Ginza is a place of luxury offering the perfect blend of shopping, dining, and cultural experiences. Let the glamour and allure of Ginza transport you to a world of timeless style and elegance.
Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market
Step into the world of Tsukiji Fish Market, a culinary paradise in Tokyo perfect for seafood enthusiasts from all around the world. Immerse yourself in the bustling energy as vendors showcase an assortment of fresh fish, shellfish, and other aquatic treasures. Witness the captivating tuna auction, where buyers compete for the finest specimens with swift precision.
Navigate the market’s winding paths and explore the diverse offerings of seafood stalls and eateries. Indulge your taste buds with mouthwatering sushi, sashimi, and street food delights, expertly crafted with the freshest ingredients. Heading here is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for those seeking a unique local experience.
Go to an Arcade or Try a Claw Machine
Unleash your inner child and dive into the world of arcades and claw machines. Surround yourself with flashing lights, various sounds, and endless arcade games that are unlike anything else in the world. Challenge your skills in classic favorites like Pac-Man and air hockey or try your luck at the thrilling claw machines. Whether you’re aiming for high scores or hunting for the perfect plush toy, an arcade visit or a rendezvous with a claw machine is one of the top things to do in Tokyo.
Stroll the Art-Filled Roppongi
Immerse yourself in the vibrant and art-filled district of Roppongi, Tokyo’s cultural and creative hub. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets, where art installations, galleries, and museums seamlessly blend with the urban landscape. Exploring this unique area is one of the top things to do in Tokyo.
Explore the Mori Art Museum, a renowned museum that showcases contemporary art from around the world. Indulge in the dynamic art scene of Roppongi by visiting the National Art Center Tokyo, a prestigious venue that hosts a diverse range of exhibitions featuring both Japanese and international artists. Discover street art adorning building facades, uncover hidden sculptures nestled in public spaces, and engage in interactive installations that invite your participation.
Experience Traditional Japanese theater at Kabuki-za
Immerse yourself in the world of traditional Japanese theater at Kabuki-za, Tokyo’s iconic venue for Kabuki performances. Witness the artistry as actors dressed in vibrant costumes and intricate makeup captivate the audience with storytelling and performances.
Be transported to different eras and locations through beautiful sets and live music. Experience the essence of Japanese culture and heritage as you delve into the rich traditions of Kabuki, a theatrical art form that has enthralled audiences for centuries. A visit to Kabuki-za promises an unforgettable experience making it one of the top things to do in Tokyo.
Join a Traditional Tea Ceremony
Indulge in the art form that is a traditional tea ceremony. This is an ancient Japanese ritual that embodies harmony and mindfulness. Enter a tearoom, where a tea master will guide you through the various steps of preparing and serving matcha, a finely powdered green tea. This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo to join an ancient tradition and gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture.
While here you can relax in the calm atmosphere as you sip the smooth tea, savoring its flavors. Experience the beauty of simplicity, the art of hospitality, and the connection to nature that the tea ceremony offers.
Go on a Day Trip to Kyoto
Going on a day trip to Kyoto is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for a break from city life and to see a new part of the country. The journey takes only 2.5 hours on the bullet train (Shinkansen) and costs vary. If you have the Japan Rail Pass (full information on this at the start of the post) this trip is included.
Kyoto a city full of history, tradition, and natural beauty. Explore the ancient temples and shrines all around the city, immerse yourself in the tranquil Japanese gardens, and discover the vibrant geisha district of Gion, where you can catch a glimpse of the elusive geiko and maiko. Try dishes from savory tofu dishes to delicate Kyoto-style kaiseki meals. Or take a stroll along the picturesque streets of Higashiyama, lined with traditional wooden houses and charming shops selling local crafts and souvenirs.
A day trip to Kyoto promises a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural wonders.
See Traditional Sumo Wrestling
Experience the raw power and ancient traditions of sumo wrestling by attending a traditional match in Tokyo. The best place to see sumo wrestling in Tokyo is at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, also known as the sumo stadium. Located in the Ryogoku district, this iconic venue is dedicated to the sport of sumo and hosts several major tournaments throughout the year. If you are not visiting during a tournament you can also join a tour to see a morning practice like the ones below.
Discover Unique Hidden Parks
Walk around Tokyo and discover the tranquil hidden parks located within the bustling cityscape. Escape the crowds and enter your own peaceful oasis. The parks in Tokyo are all beautiful hidden gems where you can walk through peaceful gardens full of vibrant flowers and picturesque water. There are no specific parks to discover, its all up to you! Simply walk through the neighborhoods and find a greenspace on the map and go exploring.
This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo to admire the city’s balance of man-made structures and natural landscapes.
Try Unique Local Desserts
Indulge your taste buds and embark on a sweet adventure by trying unique local desserts in Tokyo. This is one of the top things to do in Tokyo for dessert lovers that you can do day after day without ever getting tired of it.
Some of the top desserts to try in Tokyo are:
- Japanese hot cakes
- Souffle Pancakes
- Match / black sesame/sakura icecream
- Red bean fish pastry
- Sugar strawberries
- Whipped cream and strawberry sandwich
- Mount Blanc
Shinjuku is an exciting district in Tokyo full of activity. Immerse yourself in the neon-lit streets, bustling shopping centers, and lively entertainment options that make Shinjuku a must-visit destination. Heading here is one of the best things to do in Tokyo for those seeking iconic skyscrapers, cultural attractions, and bustling streets. Get ready to be immersed in the dynamic atmosphere and endless possibilities that await you in this vibrant district.
Where to Stay in Tokyo
The best area to stay in Tokyo depends on your preferences. Overall as long as you are within close walking distance of a train station you are completely fine! Here are some of the top areas:
- Shinjuku: A bustling district with a central location, vibrant nightlife, and diverse accommodation options. Ideal for those who enjoy shopping, entertainment, and convenient transportation.
- Shibuya (my favorite area): Known for its famous crossing and youthful atmosphere. Perfect for visitors seeking a lively street culture, trendy shops, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
- Asakusa: Offers a traditional experience with historic temples, charming streets, and a relaxed ambiance. Great for exploring Tokyo’s traditional side and visiting the iconic Senso-ji Temple.
- Ginza: A high-end shopping district with luxury hotels and upscale boutiques. Ideal for travelers seeking a sophisticated and luxurious experience in Tokyo.
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