Top 50 Things To Do In Tokyo
Here are the top 50 locations in Tokyo for sightseeing, shopping, food, restaurants, parks, nature, arts, theater, entertainment, bars, nightlife and museums. Recommended by local Japanese living in Tokyo.
1. Tokyo Sky tree
Tokyo Skytree is a Japan’s latest tower, which is used for broadcasting signals. It opened in 2012, and has quickly become more famous than the Tokyo Tower. The tower also has a shopping complex on the ground floor called Soramachi. It contains many clothing shops and restaurants. On a clear day, usually early in the morning, from the observation deck it is possible to see Mt. Fuji, which is over 80km away.
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2. Tokyo Station Ramen Street
Tokyo Station a popular station for tourists to visit. One could spend an entire day exploring the large underground shopping center. In particular visit Tokyo Ramen Street in the underground shopping center, as it has 8 fantastic ramen restaurants. The food is so good that there is always a long line of people queuing for food. Also, visit Tokyo Character Street, as there are character shops selling merchandise from the most famous anime brands, including characters from Pokemon to Anpanman. There are also limited edition goods only available for the Japanese market sold in this area.
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3. Ginza Uniqlo
There is a 12 story Uniqlo building in Ginza where the world’s largest Uniqlo store is located. It is full of electronically rotated mannequins wearing brightly colored items. It is an interesting store just to browse through. Uniqlo sells men’s and women’s fashion including undergarments. There is also a huge childrens and babies section. Sunday is a great time to visit, as Uniqulo has weekend sales and the main street, Ginza Chuo-dori, is closed to traffic on Sundays to become a promenade for visitors.
4. Yakitori Alley Yurakucho
There are a lot of corporate offices in Yurakucho, which has helped many small after work bars open nearby. Under the JR overpass, there are many bars to visit. Many customers frequent the same place daily giving these bars a friendly atmosphere. You can order just one stick of yakitori if you’re on a budget and drink prices are quite cheap. This is a good place to go for a cheap dinner and to meet Japanese people.
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5. Tsukiji Market Tuna Auctions
The world’s largest fish market is located at Tsukiji in Tokyo Japan. Many of Japan’s most expensive restaurants and famous chefs buy ingredients from here daily. The fish sold here has to be of the highest quality. The tuna auction starts at 5 am every morning, and is open for the public to watch. Even though the market closes in the morning after the auctions, many restaurants stay open for the afternoon. A popular dish for lunch is kaisendon (a bowl of rice and shellfish).
6. Yakatabune River Cruise
A great way to see Tokyo on a budget is to ride the yakatabune cruiser. It cruises down the Sumida River, allowing tourists to take in all the sights of Tokyo’s downtown area. There is a great opportunity to photograph many famous sightseeing spots on the cruise. There are also many port locations, including Asakusa, Tsukishima and Hamamatsucho. So tourists have the freedom to start and stop the tour at any port along the way. There are also tours that serve food and drinks.
7. Odaiba Fuji Television Building
Odaiba is a man-made island in the Tokyo Bay area. It’s a great place to visit because you can see a panoramic view of the Tokyo skyline including the Tokyo tower. One of the best landmarks to see at Odaiba is the Fuji Television building, known as “Hachitama”, because of the giant silver ball in the middle of the building. You can take a tour of the building and photograph the sets of popular TV shows, and some tourist are even invited to see shows as they are being recorded. Venus Fort is a large shopping center that is also good to visit, as well as the Ferris wheel and Rainbow Bridge, which connects Odaiba to the mainland. Plan to spend the entire day at Odaiba as there is so much to see.
8. Oedo Onsen
Oedo Onsen is a Japanese hot spring theme park designed to look exactly like a street from the Edo period of 1603-1868. There are private baths or shared. They also serve traditional Japanese style food
9. Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace in Marunouchi near Tokyo Station is the Japanese emperor’s residence. This landmark is over 2,000,000 square meters large in area. This quiet empty space is right in the middle of the busiest metropolis in the world. Entry to the palace is forbidden, however many photographers and tourists gather in the park out the front of the palace gate. This is a great area to take pictures of the bridge, moat and the cherry blossom trees in springtime.
10. Shin Okubo Korea Town
Just minutes from Shin-Okubo Station, is Korea Town. There are many Korean restaurants and shops selling Korean products. The best meals to try include samgyeopsal barbecue and soon tofu soup. It is the second largest Korea town in Japan. The largest Korea town is in Tsuruhashi Osaka.
Akihabara is also called as Denkigai, or Electric Town is the best place in Japan to buy electronics and house hold appliances. Tourists can take advantage of a 10 percent duty free discount on any electronics purchased here. It is also a hub for Japanese otaku and anime culture. There are many maid cafes, cosplay bars, anime theaters, and people dressed up in fashionable costumes roaming the streets.
Rikugien is a large garden built in the Edo period of the 1600s. It took 7 years to build. The garden is a great place to photograph the cherry blossoms in spring. The trees in this park also have amazing vibrant colored foliage in fall.
13. Akasaka Ninja Restaurant
This is a famous ninja themed restaurant in the tourist area of Akasaka. The ninjas were warriors who worked under the samurais in the Sengoku period between 1467 and 1568. The restaurant is set up to look like a fort. While dining there are brief ninja demonstrations to keep customers entertained.
14. Asakusa Shrine
Asakusa is the site of Tokyo’s oldest temple, called Sensoji. People come to the temple to pray and smell the burning incense in front of the temple. The incense is meant to help prevent illnesses. Asakusa is also a wonderful place to photograph traditional Japanese culture. Leading up to the temple are markets and shops selling many kinds of souvenirs and food. The Tokyo Skytree can also been seen from here.
15. Nakamise Asakusa
Nakamise is the long road of souvenir and food stalls leading to the Shrine in Asakusa. This shopping street has been here since the Edo Period. The kinds of food and souvenirs sold here change with the seasons.
16. Sansada Tendon Restaurant
Sansada in Asakusa was the first restaurant to serve tendon (tempura and rice). Therefore Asakusa has become famous for tempura restaurants and culture. Tendon was an expensive food that traditionally was eaten by people of high social class in the Edo Period. Now it has become one of Japan’s most popular dishes.
17. Ryogoku Loach Fish
Ryogoku, next to the Sumida River, was an area that had many restaurants that serve freshly caught loach fish from the Sumida River. Loach was and still is a high-class food. Loach hotpot is a delicious Japanese dish that is served at many expensive restaurants. Loach soup with eggs is another extremely popular dish.
18. Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Center
Ryogoku Kokugikan, is the professional sumo wrestling center, where sumo competitions are held three times a year during the months of January, May and September. Tickets always sell out, so book early. During competition season it is common to see sumo wrestlers on the streets in the area. The Sumo dish chanko-nabe, is served in restaurants in the area.
19. Edo-Tokyo Museum
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a museum on Japanese history. Inside there is art work from the Edo era, including dioramas of how people lived during that time. The museum has enough to keep you busy all day. It is also a popular spot for families on the weekend.
20. Ueno Ameyoko Markets
Ueno is one of Tokyo’s popular downtown suburbs. There is a large park with statues of historical Japanese figures, and cherry blossom trees. Across the road from the park is a popular market called Ameyoko. Many black market goods used to be sold there. The name “Ameya Yokocho means candy alley. It was given this name because there used to be many sweet shops here. The name was then shortened to Ameyoko. Now this market sells a variety of food and other assorted goods. It is possible to negotiate with shop owners on prices of goods in this area.
21. Kinshicho Daiso 100 Yen Shop
Daiso is a very popular 100-yen chain in Japan. The Daiso in Kinshicho is the second largest in Japan. The largest is in Shinsaibashi Osaka. This store sells many things including snack food, daily items, clothes, underwear, cosmetics, and office supplies. It is much larger than regular Daiso stores, therefore offering a larger selection of goods.
22. Ueno Park Cherry blossoms and Starbucks Cafe
Ueno was the site of Japan’s first public park. It covers an area of about 530,000 m2. Shinobugaoka is an area inside the park where the best cherry blossom trees can be seen in spring. Shinobazu pond is another interesting feature of the park that is good to visit all year round. This is also the only park in Tokyo that has a Starbucks inside the grounds.
23. Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower is a broadcasting tower well known as a symbol of Tokyo. At night, it lights up with warm orange lights, and it colors the Tokyo skyline. It’s a popular date spot, and it is a spot that even the Japanese people feel they would like to visit at least once in their lives. If a couple sees the moment at midnight when the tower lights are turned down, it’s said they’ll find happiness for eternity.
24. Roppongi Hills
Many famous Japanese celebrities live in the fashionable area of Roppongi Hills. Roppongi is most famous for bars and nightlife. However Roppongi Hills also a great place to visit in the day. It has shopping complexes, art museums, Japanese gardens, and a TV station.
25. Roppongi Nightclubs
Roppongi bars are a great place to hear the latest music. There are many lavish clubs, which have celebrity clients. There are also many foreign bars and nightclubs, as well as foreign workers, particularly African Americans. Avoid small clubs that have a big guy at the front inviting you in. They may not let you leave until you spend all your money.
26. Tsurutontan Udon Restaurant Roppongi
Tsurutontan is a famous Japanese restaurant that serves udon noodles. It’s served in a very big bowl. It has a high reputation for great taste.
27. Tokyo Zen Café
The Tokyo Zen Center is a Zen cafe where you can experience Zen culture. Here you can practice seated Zen meditation, as temples in Japan are too busy to relax and meditate at. Advanced bookings are required.
28. Ichigaya Fishing Center
This fish aquarium is a great place to take children. You can see fish and catch your own fish in one of Japan’s largest fishing ponds.
29. Meguro Gajoen Museum
This is a museum in a luxurious building that has a large number of art pieces inside it. It also has a wedding hall, restaurant and hotel. There are also tour guides, who can explain the history of the Japanese art pieces.
30. Takeshita Dori Shopping Street Harajuku
Takeshita-dori is the famous fashion street in Harajuku. There are stores selling unusual fashion genres such as gothic, lolita and punk. Many young people can be seen wearing interesting anime outfits here. Harajuku crepes are a good food to taste in this area. There are also stores where you can buy souvenirs.
31. Meiji Jingu Shrine in Yoyogi Park
Meiji Jingu, located in Yoygi Park is where Emperor Meiji is worshiped. It is a popular shrine where many Japanese people visit at New Year. Yoyogi Park also has some great weekend markets to see.
32. Shibuya Crossing
The scramble crossing in front of JR Shibuya Station is the most well known street in Japan. Thousands of people cross every minute. A good place to take a picture of the crossing is inside the Starbucks on the 2nd floor of the Qfront building.
33. Shibuya 109 Shopping Center
109, also called Marukyu is a 10 story building that is the number one store for young peoples fashion in Tokyo. There are many young Japanese women here, looking to buy the latest fashion. They often check what the store workers are wearing to see what the latest fashion trend is.
34. Shibuya Center Gai Shopping Street
The shopping street that goes through the middle of Shibuya is called Center Gai. It is a very crowded street, with fast food restaurants, bars, karaoke and shopping arcades. On weekdays after school the area is full of high school students. Then during the evening, many businessmen visit the izakaya bars or karaoke. A whole day can be spent exploring the crowded area of Shibuya.
Daikanyama is only train station away from Shibuya. This area is full of chic boutiques and restaurants. There are many small hidden interesting shops in this area. So walk around and explore to find them. This area is also well known for great dessert cafes.
36. Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho Yakitori Restaurants
Shinjuku is the business center of Tokyo where many businessmen meet. However the area also has some great bars and restaurants. The tight alleyway at the west exit of Shinjuku Station has some famous Yakitori chicken restaurants. The area is called Omoide Yokocho. There is also an area nearby called Golden Gai. This area has small rows of houses that used to be pleasure houses. Now the area has many small interesting bars. Having a drink in this area is a great chance to meet the friendly locals.
37. Shinjuku Awaodori Restaurant
The restaurant is only 2 minutes from the east exit of Shinjuku Station. The have all the popular Japanese meals such as, yakitori, sushi, sukiyaki, shabushabu, and more. This restaurant is also has a show called the Awaodori dance. The staff performs it twice a day.
38. Kappabashi Dogugai Shoutengai
Kappabashi Dogugai is a long shoutengai between Asakusa and Ueno. The shops here all sell items for the food industry. Cooking utensil, tableware, restaurant furniture, and much more. Professional chefs often shop here. Foreign tourists, also come here to buy the plastic food models that are often seen in the windows of Japanese restaurants. There is also a store that has a workshop where you can make your own wax food samples.
39. Shinjuku Cat Café Kyariko
40. Nakano Broadway Shopping Arcade
Nakano Broadway has become a subculture-shopping arcade. There are many stores here that sell anime products, toys, manga, , dolls and other otaku products, Mandarake is the most popular store in this shopping arcade.
41. Shinjuku Suehirotei Theatre
There is a great late-night burlesque show at Shinjuku Suehirotei. The show is on every Saturday at 9:30 pm. No reservations are necessary. It is all in Japanese, but if you don’t understand, you can enjoy the atmosphere and experience traditional Japanese entertainment. Tickets cost only 500 yen.
42. Butler Café Ikebukuro
Butler cafes are the opposite of maid cafes. They are aimed at female customers. At the Butler café in Ikebukuro, men dress up as butlers and treat women like princesses. It is popular spot for women, from high school aged girls to older ladies. The butler cafe is on Otome Road. It also sells anime goods aimed that are popular with women.
43. Cosme Cosmetics Lumine Ikebukuro
The Cosme store in the Lumine Shopping center sells high-end Japanese cosmetics. Tester products are available to try. There are also staff members who can speak English and recommend products.
44. Yanesen Neighborhood In Tokyo
Yanesen is a neighborhood in Tokyo that has many historical buildings, from the Edo-period. This area is a working class neighborhood that also has an old-fashioned shopping street called Yanaka Ginza. The Yanaka Cemetary is also nearby, where tourists can see the graves of the Tokugawa family.
45. Ikebukuro Plaza Capsule Hotel For Women
No trip to Japan is complete without staying in a Capsule hotel. Yet, most capsule hotels don’t allow women to visit. Ikebukuro Plaza is one of the few capsule hotels that have a women’s only floor.
46. Ginza Hakuhinkan Department Store Tokyo
In 1912-1926 Ginza Hakuhinkan was the first department store to open in Japan. It is still a well-known department store in Japan. It sells many unique Japanese style items including Japanese dolls and toys.
47. Sannou Inari Shrine
Sannou Inari Shrine is great place to take photos of the famous Japanese red torii gates. Here there are gates that look similar to Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine.
48. Nagatacho Kurosawa Restaurant
Kurosawa restaurant in Nagatacho, is a great place to eat shabu-shabu or turtle. Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker who directed 30 films in a career lasting over 57 years. The restaurant is has a retro style theme similar to his movies. His favorite meals are on the menu. The handmade soba noodles are a lovely dish.
49. Kotsukaikan Building Antenna Shop Tokyo
At the end of your trip, when you want to buy souvenirs, go to the Antenna shops in the basement of the Kotsukaikan Building near Tokyo Station. Here all kinds of products from around Japan are. Food products and souvenirs from all the country from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south are sold.
50. Homeikan Japanese Inn
Homeikan is located in area of Hongo, was where many literary scholars including the famous Kenji Miyazawa resided in the Meiji period of 1868-1912. The Homeikan building has been reconstructed into a traditional Japanese Inn (ryokan). This building has been registered as a Japanese cultural property. This is a great place for foreign tourists to stay, to get a feel for the traditional Japanese way of living. There is also a garden with Japanese plants.
© 2015 thealpaca