Hey there, adventurer! Tokyo is a traveller’s paradise, with its captivating history and culture, non-stop shopping, mouth-watering food, and lively nightlife. Get ready to explore this incredible city with our ultimate Tokyo travel guide, where we’ll show you the best tourist attractions, shopping destinations, nightlife spots, and delicious cuisines to try. Plus, we’ll share some insider travel tips to help you make the most of your Tokyo adventure. Let’s dive in and discover all that Tokyo has to offer!
Table of Contents
- The Top Tourist Attractions in Tokyo, Japan
- Tourist Attractions just outside of Tokyo
- Tokyo Museums: Something for everyone
- Shopping guide to downtown Tokyo
- Nightlife: Where to go after dark
- Must-try Cuisine: Dishes to die for
- Parks and Gardens: City escape worth visiting
- Luxury Hotels that leave you wanting for nothing
- The best time to visit the Land of the Rising Sun
- Airports: Getting in and out of Tokyo
- Travel tips to enhance your experience
- Before you go
The top tourist attractions in Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is home to numerous tourist attractions catering to a variety of interests—here are some we recommend checking out;
- Tokyo Tower: Standing 333 metres tall, Tokyo Tower is a symbol of the city and one of its most iconic landmarks. The tower offers breathtaking city views from the observation deck, some 150 metres high. The building is magnificent at night when illuminated.
- Sensoji Temple: Located in the Asakusa neighbourhood, you will find one of Tokyo’s oldest and most famous heritage temples. The temple was founded in the 7th century and dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. Visitors can explore the temple grounds, which include a beautiful pagoda, a garden, and a shopping street with many traditional Japanese shops and restaurants. Senso-ji Temple is a must-visit destination for those interested in Japanese culture and history.
- Imperial Palace: The Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. Located in the heart of Tokyo, visitors cannot enter the palace, but they can tour the beautiful gardens and learn about Japan’s imperial history.
- Shibuya Crossing: Known as the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing is a must-visit spot in Tokyo. Visitors can watch the chaos unfold from the surrounding buildings or join the crowds crossing the street. It’s stunning at night when the neon lights of Shibuya reflect a colourful and vibrant atmosphere.
- Meiji Shrine: Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, located in a large park, the Meiji Shrine’s traditional architecture and serene atmosphere make it a popular spot for tourists and locals.
- Ueno Park: Located in the Ueno neighbourhood, Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s largest parks and home to numerous museums, temples, and other cultural institutions. Visitors can spend a whole day exploring the park and its attractions, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the Ueno Zoo.
- Tsukiji Fish Market: Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish market in the world and a must-visit spot for seafood lovers. Visitors can watch the tuna auction in the early morning, sample fresh seafood at the market’s many stalls, and learn about the history and culture of Japan’s fishing industry.
- Odaiba: Located in Tokyo Bay, this artificial island offers stunning views of the city skyline. It’s home to numerous shopping malls, theme parks, museums, and other attractions, including the famous Rainbow Bridge and the Oedo Onsen Monogatari, a hot spring theme park.
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: This beautiful park is located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can explore the park’s gardens, ponds, and walking paths and admire the cherry blossoms in the spring and the fall foliage in the autumn.
- Tokyo Skytree: Standing at 634 metres tall, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take the elevator to the observation deck and enjoy panoramic city views. The Skytree is best seen at night when illuminated.
- Disneyland Tokyo: Located in Urayasu, just outside Tokyo, Disneyland Tokyo is a must-visit destination for families and Disney fans. It’s home to many beloved Disney characters and attractions, including Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Visitors can spend a whole day exploring the park and enjoying its many attractions and entertainment options. The Tokyo Disney Resort website is available in Japanese and English and provides comprehensive information on the playground, ticket prices, hours, attractions and events.
These are just some of the many tourist attractions in Tokyo. With so much to see and do, you’ll always have things on your list to explore. Tokyo has something for everyone interested in history, culture, food, shopping, or entertainment. With easy access to nearby destinations via the bullet train, there are even more opportunities to explore the surrounding areas and experience all Japan offers.
Tourist Attractions just outside of Tokyo
For those interested in stepping outside of Tokyo and stay within a days trek of the city, here are some attractions you won’t want to miss;
- Mount Fuji: Located about 100 km southwest of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can take the bullet train to the nearby cities of Shin-Fuji or Fuji Station and then transfer to a bus or taxi to reach the mountain. There are several hiking trails around Mount Fuji, and experienced climbers can reach the summit.
- Nikko: Located about 120 km north of Tokyo, Nikko is a small town famous for its elaborate shrines and temples. Visitors can take the bullet train to the nearby city of Utsunomiya and then transfer to a local train or bus to reach Nikko. The town has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Toshogu Shrine and the Rinnoji Temple.
- Kamakura: Located about 50km south of Tokyo, Kamakura is a coastal town famous for its temples, shrines, and beaches. Visitors can take the bullet train to the nearby city of Ofuna and then transfer to a local train to reach Kamakura. The town has several famous attractions, including the Great Buddha statue and the Hasedera Temple.
- Hakone: Located about 80 km southwest of Tokyo, Hakone is a mountainous area famous for its hot springs, scenic views, and outdoor activities. Visitors can take the bullet train to the nearby city of Odawara and then transfer to a bus or taxi to reach Hakone. The area has several famous attractions, including Lake Ashi, the Hakone Shrine, and the Hakone Open-Air Museum.
- Yokohama: Located 30 km south of Tokyo, Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city and a popular day trip destination. Visitors can take the bullet train to the nearby Shin-Yokohama Station and then transfer to a local train to reach Yokohama. The city is home to several famous attractions, including the Minato Mirai district, the Yokohama Chinatown, and the Sankeien Garden.
These attractions are all easily accessible from Tokyo by bullet train and are perfect for day trips. They offer an excellent opportunity to explore the surrounding areas and get a taste of Japan’s different cultures and landscapes.
Tokyo Museums: Something for everyone
Tokyo is a city that boasts a rich history and culture, and there’s no better way to explore it than by visiting its world-class museums. From ancient Japanese artefacts to contemporary art exhibits, Tokyo’s museums offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for a way to spend a rainy day, Tokyo’s museums are a must-visit destination. Here are some of the top museums you will not want to miss.
- Tokyo National Museum: Located in the Ueno neighbourhood, the Tokyo National Museum is Japan’s oldest and largest museum. It has an extensive collection of Japanese art and artefacts, including samurai armour, ukiyo-e prints, and Buddhist sculptures. The museum also hosts special exhibitions throughout the year.
- Edo-Tokyo Museum: Located in the Ryogoku neighbourhood, the Edo-Tokyo Museum showcases the history and culture of Tokyo during the Edo period (1603-1868) and the city’s evolution into a modern metropolis. The museum has a wide range of exhibits, including scale models of Edo-era buildings, reconstructed streetscapes, and interactive displays.
- National Museum of Nature and Science: Located in the Ueno neighbourhood, the National Museum of Nature and Science is one of Japan’s largest museums and is home to a wide range of exhibits on natural history, science, and technology. The museum has extensive collections of dinosaur fossils, minerals, and scientific instruments.
- Ghibli Museum: Located in the Mitaka neighbourhood, the Ghibli Museum is dedicated to the works of Studio Ghibli, a renowned animation studio known for films such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. The museum has many exhibits, including original artwork, film screenings, and interactive displays.
- Mori Art Museum: Located in the Roppongi Hills complex, the Mori Art Museum is a contemporary art museum showcasing works by Japanese and international artists. The museum has a wide range of exhibits, including installations, sculptures, and paintings. It also offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck.
- Samurai Museum: Located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood, the Samurai Museum showcases the history and culture of samurai warriors in Japan. The museum has many exhibits, including samurai armour, swords, and other weapons. Visitors can also participate in a samurai sword demonstration and dress up in armour.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum: Located in the Meguro neighbourhood, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum is housed in a stunning Art Deco mansion and is home to a collection of Western and Japanese art. The museum has many exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.
Whatever your interest, natural history, contemporary art, or samurai culture, there’s something for everyone.
Shopping guide to downtown Tokyo
Shopping is a big part of Tokyo’s culture, and countless shopping destinations exist throughout the city. Here are some of the best places to go shopping in Tokyo:
- Ginza: Ginza is Tokyo’s premier shopping district—home to many high-end department stores, boutiques, and luxury brands. The area is known for its chic atmosphere and designer boutiques. It’s also home to many restaurants, cafes, and galleries, making it a great place to spend the day shopping and exploring.
- Shibuya: Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most vibrant neighbourhoods known for its fashion and streetwear. The district is home to several department stores and many independent boutiques and shops. Shibuya is also famous for its iconic Shibuya Crossing and is a popular destination for young people and fashion lovers.
- Harajuku: Harajuku is a neighbourhood known for its alternative fashion and youth culture. It’s home to many independent boutiques, shops, larger stores and department stores. Takeshita Street is the main shopping street in Harajuku and is famous for its quirky fashion and accessories.
- Akihabara: Tokyo’s electronics district is known for its many electronics and technology stores. It’s a great place to shop for gadgets, video games, and other electronics. The area is also home to many anime and manga shops, making it a popular destination for anime and manga fans.
- Omotesando: Omotesando is a tree-lined avenue home to many high-end fashion boutiques and luxury brands. The district has a relaxed, upscale atmosphere and is a great place to shop for designer clothes, jewellery, and accessories. It’s also home to many cafes and restaurants, making it a great place to take a break and relax after shopping.
- Nakamise Shopping Street: Located in the Asakusa neighbourhood, Nakamise Shopping Street has been a thriving marketplace for over 300 years. The street is lined with traditional Japanese souvenir shops, selling everything from kimonos and fans to Japanese snacks and sweets. It’s a great place to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs.
Nightlife: Where to go after dark
Tokyo has a vibrant nightlife scene, with countless bars, clubs, and restaurants. Here are some of the best places to experience Tokyo’s nightlife:
- Robot Restaurant: The Robot Restaurant in the Shinjuku neighbourhood is a unique and surreal dining and entertainment experience. The restaurant features robots, dancers, and neon lights, creating a futuristic and immersive atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a meal while watching the show or purchase a ticket for the performance.
- Golden Gai: Golden Gai is a network of narrow alleys in the Shinjuku neighbourhood home to over 200 tiny bars and restaurants. The area has a retro 1960s vibe and is a great place to experience Tokyo’s nightlife scene. The bars and restaurants in Golden Gai are small and cozy, making it easy to converse with other patrons.
- Izakaya Alley: Located in the Shibuya neighbourhood, the Izakaya Alley is a network of narrow alleys home to many small, traditional Japanese bars and restaurants. The area has a laid-back, casual atmosphere and is a great place to enjoy drinks and food with friends. Many bars in Izakaya Alley have a cover charge, but the prices for food and drinks are reasonable.
- Karaoke: Karaoke is a popular activity in Tokyo, and there are many karaoke bars and rooms throughout the city. Visitors can choose from various English and Japanese songs with friends or family in total privacy. Some karaoke bars also offer food and drinks.
- Jazz Clubs: Tokyo has a thriving jazz scene with several jazz clubs throughout the city—the most notable clubs include the Blue Note in Minato, the Cotton Club in Marunouchi, and the Tokyo Jazz Club in Shinjuku. These clubs often feature live performances by both local and international artists.
- Clubs and Bars: Tokyo has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many clubs and bars open late into the night. Some of the most popular areas for nightlife include Roppongi, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of music, from techno and house to hip-hop and rock, and can experience Tokyo’s energetic and dynamic nightlife.
Must-Try Cuisine: Dishes to die for
Tokyo is famous for its delicious cuisine; if you haven’t already checked out our culinary guide, here are some dishes you crazy to miss, be certain to try;
- Sushi: Sushi is one of Japan’s most famous and beloved dishes, and Tokyo is home to some of the best sushi restaurants in the world. The city has many high-end sushi restaurants and more affordable options. The sushi in Tokyo is known for its freshness, quality, and attention to detail.
- Ramen: Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish that has become a worldwide sensation, and Tokyo has some of the best ramen shops in the country. The city has many ramen styles, including shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and tonkatsu (pork bone broth). Visitors can choose from many different toppings, including chashu pork, boiled eggs, and green onions.
- Tempura: Tempura is a Japanese dish of battered and deep-fried seafood, vegetables, and other ingredients. Tokyo has many high-end tempura restaurants, as well as more affordable options. The tempura in Tokyo is known for its light, crispy texture and delicate flavour.
- Yakitori: Yakitori is a Japanese dish of skewered and grilled chicken, and Tokyo is home to some of the best yakitori restaurants in the country. The chicken is often grilled over charcoal and seasoned with salt or soy sauce. Visitors can also try other meats and vegetables on skewers, including beef, pork, and mushrooms.
- Okonomiyaki: Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake that’s a popular dish in Japan. The pancake is made with flour, eggs, cabbage, and other ingredients, which you can customise with various toppings, including meat, seafood, and cheese. Tokyo has many okonomiyaki restaurants, especially in the Asakusa and Shinjuku neighbourhoods.
- Matcha: Matcha is a powdered green tea that’s become increasingly popular recently. Tokyo has many cafes and shops specialising in matcha, offering a wide range of desserts and drinks made with tea. Visitors can try matcha ice cream, matcha latte, and even matcha soba noodles.
Parks and Gardens: City escapes worth visiting
Tokyo, often known as a bustling metropolis, is also home to many beautiful parks and gardens that offer a peaceful escape from the busy city streets. From cherry blossom trees in the spring to colourful autumn leaves in the fall, Tokyo’s parks and gardens showcase the natural beauty of Japan throughout the seasons. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll through a Japanese garden or a place to enjoy a picnic with friends and family, Tokyo’s parks and gardens provide a refreshing change of pace from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle. Here are some of Tokyo’s top parks and gardens worth visiting.
- Tagara Plum Garden: The Tagara Plum Garden is a beautiful park located in the city of Koshigaya, about 30 kilometres from central Tokyo. The park is home to over 1,500 plum trees that bloom in early spring, creating a beautiful display of pink and white flowers. Visitors can enjoy walking along the paths and taking in the sights and smells of the plum blossoms.
- Sakuragaoka Park: Sakuragaoka Park is located in the Shibuya neighbourhood and is home to over 200 cherry trees that bloom in early spring. The park also has a large pond, a playground, and a dog run, making it a popular destination for families and pet owners.
- Sayama Park: Sayama Park is a large park located in Tokorozawa, about 30 kilometres from central Tokyo. The park has many facilities, including a botanical garden, a Japanese garden, a petting zoo, and a cycling course. It’s also home to many cherry trees that bloom in spring and beautiful autumn leaves in the fall.
- Sengenyama Park: Sengenyama Park is in Chofu, about 20 kilometres from central Tokyo. The park has a beautiful forested area with walking trails, a pond, a playground, and ample open space for picnics and sports. The park is also home to many cherry trees that bloom in spring.
- Nogawa Park: Nogawa Park is located in the Nakano neighbourhood and is home to many cherry trees that bloom in spring. The park also has a pond, a playground, and ample open space for picnics and sports. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors in the city’s heart.
- Kaminoge Natural Park: The Kaminoge Natural Park is located in the Setagaya neighbourhood and is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The park has a forested area with walking trails, a stream, and a waterfall. Visitors can also enjoy picnics and sports in the park’s open spaces.
Whether you’re interested in cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, or just enjoying a peaceful walk in the park, Tokyo’s parks and gardens offer an excellent opportunity to experience Tokyo’s natural beauty and relax outdoors.
Luxury hotels that leave you wanting for nothing
Tokyo is home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, providing travellers with first-class accommodations and exceptional amenities. These premium hotels offer a wide range of services, including world-class restaurants, spas, and fitness centres, as well as stunning city views and beautifully designed rooms. Here are some of the top premium hotels in Tokyo:
- The Peninsula Tokyo: Located in the Marunouchi neighbourhood, The Peninsula Tokyo is a five-star hotel with luxurious accommodations and exceptional service. The hotel has 314 rooms and suites, each with views of the city skyline or Imperial Palace Gardens. The Peninsula Tokyo also has a rooftop bar, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a spa and fitness centre.
- Mandarin Oriental Tokyo: The Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is a five-star hotel in the Nihonbashi neighbourhood. The hotel has 178 rooms and suites, each with views of the city skyline or Tokyo Bay. The hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and fitness centre, and a stunning sky lobby on the 38th floor.
- Aman Tokyo: Aman Tokyo is a luxury hotel in the Otemachi neighbourhood. The hotel has 84 rooms and suites, each with traditional Japanese design elements and stunning city views. The hotel also has a beautiful spa and fitness centre and a wide range of dining options, including a Japanese restaurant and a French brasserie.
- Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi: The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is a five-star hotel in the Marunouchi neighbourhood. The hotel has 57 rooms and suites, each with modern design elements and beautiful city views. The hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa and fitness centre, and a stunning rooftop terrace.
- The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo: The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is a luxury hotel in the Roppongi neighbourhood. The hotel has 245 rooms and suites, each with stunning city views and luxurious amenities. The hotel also has a spa and fitness centre and a wide range of dining options, including a Japanese restaurant and a Michelin-starred French restaurant.
These premium hotels offer exceptional service, stunning accommodations, and a wide range of amenities, making them an ideal choice for travellers seeking a first-class stay in Tokyo. With world-class dining options, beautiful spas and fitness centres, and stunning city views, these hotels provide guests with a memorable and luxurious experience.
The best time to visit the land of the rising sun
The best time to visit Tokyo depends on your preferences and interests. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what to expect:
- Spring (March-May): This is a popular time to visit Tokyo because of the cherry blossom season. The cherry blossoms typically bloom in late March or early April, and the city comes alive with festivals and celebrations.
- Summer (June – August): Tokyo can be hot and humid during the summer months, but there are many summer festivals and events to enjoy, including the Sumida River Fireworks Festival in July.
- Autumn (September – November): The foliage begins to fall in mid-November, and there are many parks and gardens throughout the city to enjoy the beautiful colours.
- Winter (December – February): Tokyo can be cold in the winter, but there are many winter illuminations and events to enjoy, including the Tokyo Skytree Illumination in December.
Airports: Getting in and out of Tokyo
When travelling to Tokyo, there are several airports to choose from depending on your location and travel plans. Whether arriving from an international destination or travelling domestically within Japan, understanding Tokyo’s airports and locations can help you plan your trip and maximise your time in the city. The main airports serving Tokyo are;
- Narita International Airport: Narita International Airport is located in the city of Narita, about 60 kilometres from central Tokyo. It is the leading international airport serving Tokyo, and many airlines operate flights to and from Narita. The airport has two terminals, and transit time to Tokyo Midtown is about 90 minutes by train or bus.
- Haneda Airport: Haneda Airport is located in the Ota neighbourhood, about 20 kilometres from central Tokyo. It is the closest airport to the city centre and serves domestic and international flights. Haneda Airport has three terminals, and transit time to Tokyo Midtown is about 30 minutes by train or taxi.
- Ibaraki Airport: Ibaraki Airport in Omitama is about 85 kilometres from central Tokyo. It serves domestic flights and some international flights. Transit time to Tokyo Midtown is about 2 hours by train or bus.
- Chofu Airport: Chofu Airport is about 20 kilometres from central Tokyo. It serves domestic flights and some international flights. Transit time to Tokyo Midtown is about 45 minutes by train or taxi.
Travel tips to enhance your experience
Travelling can be an exciting and overwhelming experience; here are some handy travel tips to help you make the most of your trip to Tokyo:
- Get a Suica or Pasmo card: These prepaid cards can be used on public transportation throughout the city, including the Tokyo Metro and buses. They make getting around Tokyo much easier and more convenient, as you don’t need to buy individual tickets for each trip. You can also use these cards to pay for purchases at convenience stores and vending machines.
- Learn some basic Japanese phrases: While many people in Tokyo speak English, knowing some essential Japanese words can be helpful when navigating the city. Phrases like “Arigato" (thank you), “Sumimasen" (excuse me), and “Doko desu ka?" (where is it?) can go a long way in communicating with locals.
- Try to avoid rush hour: Tokyo’s public transportation is very crowded during rush hour, so try to plan your activities around these times. Rush hour typically occurs from 7:30-9:30 am and 5:00-7:00 pm on weekdays.
- Wear comfortable shoes: Tokyo is a walkable city, and you’ll likely do a lot of walking during your trip. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in for long periods. It’s also a good idea to bring a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as you’ll need to remove your shoes when entering many traditional Japanese buildings.
- Try to experience different neighbourhoods: Tokyo is a diverse city, and each district has its unique culture and vibe. Explore other areas to understand better what the city has to offer. The Tokyo Metro is a convenient and affordable way to travel between neighbourhoods.
- Use Google Maps: Google Maps is an essential tool for navigating Tokyo’s public transportation system. It’s accurate and up-to-date and can provide detailed directions for your destination. You can also use Google Maps to find nearby restaurants, attractions, and other points of interest.
- Use Tokyo Station as a hub: Tokyo Station is the city’s central transportation hub and is a great place to start exploring different parts of the city. Tokyo station is conveniently located in the centre of Tokyo and connects to the Tokyo Metro, JR lines, and other transportation options.
Before you go
Wow, what a journey we’ve had exploring Tokyo together! From the ancient temples and stunning gardens to the bustling shopping districts and mouth-watering cuisine, Tokyo has genuinely captured our hearts. Our ultimate Tokyo travel guide has helped you plan the trip of a lifetime and experience all the best this amazing city offers.
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