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From Tokyo to Kyoto: Crafting an Epic Itinerary for Your Japan Tour
Planning a trip to Japan is an exciting endeavor, and one of the key factors in ensuring a memorable experience is crafting the perfect itinerary. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Japan offers endless possibilities for exploration. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, here’s a guide to help you create an epic itinerary for your Japan tour.
Exploring Tokyo: The Gateway to Japan
As the bustling capital city of Japan, Tokyo is often the first stop for travelers embarking on their journey. With its futuristic skyscrapers, historic temples, and world-class cuisine, Tokyo offers a diverse range of experiences.
Start your exploration in Tokyo by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine. Take a stroll through the vibrant neighborhood of Harajuku, known for its quirky fashion and trendy shops. For a taste of traditional Japanese culture, head to Asakusa where you can marvel at the Senso-ji Temple and explore Nakamise Shopping Street.
Don’t miss out on experiencing modern Tokyo either. Visit Shibuya Crossing – one of the busiest intersections in the world – and immerse yourself in the bright lights and energy of this vibrant district. For panoramic views of the city skyline, make your way up Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower.
Discovering Kyoto: A Glimpse into Ancient Japan
After immersing yourself in the urban excitement of Tokyo, it’s time to venture into ancient Japan by making your way to Kyoto. Known for its traditional architecture, serene gardens, and historical heritage sites, Kyoto offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural past.
Start your exploration by visiting Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf that is truly awe-inspiring. Take a stroll through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and be enchanted by its towering bamboo stalks. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a traditional tea ceremony in one of Kyoto’s many tea houses.
Kyoto is also home to numerous Shinto shrines, including Fushimi Inari Taisha, famous for its thousands of torii gates that form a mesmerizing pathway through the forested hillside. For those interested in Japanese history, a visit to Nijo Castle is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the shoguns.
Unforgettable Experiences Beyond Tokyo and Kyoto
While Tokyo and Kyoto are undoubtedly must-visit destinations in Japan, there are countless other cities and regions that offer unique experiences.
Consider exploring Hiroshima, the city known for its tragic history but also for its resilience and hope. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum to learn about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb and witness the city’s remarkable transformation into a symbol of peace.
If you’re seeking natural beauty, head to Hakone and soak in hot springs while enjoying breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. Alternatively, visit Nara – home to friendly deer roaming freely through ancient temples and gardens.
To truly immerse yourself in Japanese culture, consider attending a traditional festival such as Gion Matsuri in Kyoto or Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. These vibrant celebrations showcase Japan’s rich cultural heritage and offer an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Crafting an epic itinerary for your Japan tour is all about balancing iconic landmarks with off-the-beaten-path destinations. Whether you’re captivated by the bright lights of Tokyo or enchanted by the ancient temples of Kyoto, Japan offers something for every traveler seeking an unforgettable journey through this fascinating country.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Tourism in Tokyo
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Tourism in Tokyo is big business. But why is this industry so important and how should it be best managed? Read on to find out…
Brief Overview of the Geography
Statistics about tourism in tokyo, most popular tourist attractions in tokyo, most popular types of tourism in tokyo, impacts of tourism in tokyo, faqs about tourism in tokyo, to conclude: tourism in tokyo.
Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. This article probes the complexities of Tokyo’s tourism sector, underscoring its economic contributions and the multifarious challenges it contends with. Through our analysis, we aim to elucidate the factors that have positioned Tokyo as a leading global tourist destination, and the intricacies of managing urban tourism in such a dynamic metropolis.
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is located on the eastern coast of the island of Honshu. It is situated at approximately 35.68°N latitude and 139.76°E longitude. Tokyo Metropolitan Area is the most populous urban area in the world and encompasses not only Tokyo but also several neighboring cities and towns.
The geography of Tokyo is diverse, with a mix of urbanized areas, green spaces, and coastal regions. The city is primarily located on the Kanto Plain, a large lowland area that extends to the Pacific Ocean. The plain is surrounded by mountains on three sides, including the Tanzawa and Okutama mountain ranges to the west, and the Boso Peninsula to the east.
The city is divided by the Sumida River, which flows through the center of Tokyo and into Tokyo Bay. Numerous smaller rivers and canals crisscross the city, providing scenic landscapes and transportation routes. The waterfront areas along Tokyo Bay have been extensively developed and include major districts such as Odaiba and the Port of Tokyo.
Tokyo experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers and mild winters. The city is prone to typhoons during the summer and early autumn seasons.
Tokyo is known for its impressive skyline, with numerous skyscrapers and iconic landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. However, it also features extensive green spaces and parks, providing a balance between urban development and natural environments. Notable green areas include Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, and the gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace.
In summary, Tokyo’s geography encompasses a vast metropolitan area with a mix of urbanized landscapes, natural features, and a prominent coastline along Tokyo Bay. The city’s location on the Kanto Plain and its proximity to mountains and water bodies contribute to its diverse topography.
Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Tokyo, lets take a look at some of the key statistics showing the scale of the industry:
- In 2019, Tokyo welcomed a record-breaking 14 million international visitors, making it one of the most visited cities in the world.
- Tourism plays a significant role in Tokyo’s economy, contributing approximately 6% to the city’s GDP.
- The most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo include the historic Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, the vibrant shopping district of Shibuya, and the iconic Tokyo Skytree.
- Tokyo is known for its extensive and efficient public transportation system. The city’s subway system is one of the busiest in the world, catering to millions of residents and tourists daily.
- The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were highly anticipated global events that drew significant attention to the city. However, due to the pandemic, the games were postponed to 2021 and held without international spectators.
- The shopping scene in Tokyo is renowned worldwide, with districts like Ginza and Omotesando offering a wide range of luxury brands and trendy boutiques. Akihabara is famous for its electronics and anime-related merchandise.
- Tokyo is also home to a diverse culinary scene, with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and street food markets offering a variety of Japanese cuisine, from sushi and ramen to tempura and yakitori.
- The city boasts a vast array of museums and art galleries, showcasing traditional Japanese art, contemporary works, and international exhibitions. Popular museums include the Tokyo National Museum, the Mori Art Museum, and the teamLab Borderless digital art museum.
- In recent years, Tokyo has been actively promoting sustainable and eco-friendly tourism initiatives. Efforts have been made to reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, and enhance green spaces, demonstrating Tokyo’s commitment to a more sustainable future for tourism.
Renowned for its seamless blend of traditional heritage and modern advancements, Tokyo encapsulates a diverse range of attractions that captivate and enthrall visitors.
- Historic and Cultural Marvels:
Tokyo Imperial Palace: The Tokyo Imperial Palace stands as a symbol of Japan’s rich imperial history. It showcases exquisite architectural elements and meticulously maintained gardens, offering visitors a glimpse into the country’s past. This historic site provides valuable insights into Japan’s imperial legacy and serves as a reminder of its cultural heritage.
Sensō-ji Temple: As Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji holds immense cultural and spiritual significance. Located in the vibrant Asakusa district, this iconic temple complex attracts visitors with its awe-inspiring architecture, intricate artwork, and bustling Nakamise shopping street. The religious rituals, festivals, and traditional events held at Sensō-ji provide a captivating experience rooted in Japanese customs and traditions.
- Modern Landmarks:
Tokyo Skytree: The Tokyo Skytree, a towering feat of modern engineering, has become an iconic landmark since its completion in 2012. This communication and observation tower offers visitors panoramic views of Tokyo from its observation decks. Its cutting-edge design and state-of-the-art technology attract tourists seeking a breathtaking perspective of the cityscape.
Shibuya Crossing: Recognized as one of the world’s busiest intersections, Shibuya Crossing epitomizes Tokyo’s dynamic urban culture. With its vast pedestrian crossings and neon-lit surroundings, it presents a captivating spectacle of human activity. The allure of this location lies in its vibrant atmosphere, unique photo opportunities, and proximity to shopping, entertainment, and dining establishments.
- Entertainment and Recreational Sites:
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: These world-renowned theme parks offer a magical escape for visitors of all ages. Tokyo Disneyland, inspired by the original Disneyland in California, and Tokyo DisneySea, known for its nautical theme, combine immersive experiences, thrilling rides, and captivating shows. These attractions appeal to tourists seeking enchantment and entertainment.
Ueno Park: Ueno Park, a sprawling green oasis in the heart of Tokyo, provides a serene retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. It encompasses various museums, temples, and a zoo, making it a multifaceted attraction. Ueno Park’s scenic beauty, coupled with its cultural and educational offerings, entices both locals and tourists to engage in leisurely strolls and appreciate Japan’s natural and artistic treasures.
The tourist attractions in Tokyo embody the city’s rich history, cultural traditions, and technological prowess. From historic landmarks like the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Sensō-ji Temple to modern marvels such as the Tokyo Skytree and Shibuya Crossing, each attraction offers a unique experience. Additionally, entertainment sites like Tokyo Disneyland and Ueno Park provide diverse recreational opportunities. Tokyo’s popularity as a tourist destination can be attributed to its ability to seamlessly blend tradition and innovation, thereby offering visitors a multifaceted and captivating experience.
Now lets take a look at the most popular types of tourism in Tokyo, highlighting the cultural, historical, culinary, and technological aspects that draw tourists from around the world.
- Cultural Tourism: Tokyo’s cultural tourism revolves around the exploration of its ancient traditions, art forms, and heritage sites. Visitors are captivated by historical landmarks such as the Imperial Palace, Meiji Shrine, and Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa. Additionally, the city is renowned for its vibrant festivals, including the cherry blossom viewing (hanami), Sumida River fireworks festival, and traditional tea ceremonies. Cultural tourism in Tokyo offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the customs, rituals, and aesthetics of Japan’s rich cultural tapestry.
- Historical Tourism: Tokyo’s historical tourism enables visitors to delve into the city’s captivating past. Museums like the Edo-Tokyo Museum and Tokyo National Museum house an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that chronicle Tokyo’s history from the Edo period to the present. Districts like Asakusa and Yanaka showcase preserved architectural gems, allowing tourists to experience the essence of old Tokyo. The exploration of historical sites provides an opportunity to witness the city’s evolution and appreciate its enduring heritage.
- Culinary Tourism: Tokyo is renowned as a culinary paradise, offering an extensive array of traditional and contemporary gastronomic experiences. The city boasts numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, street food stalls, and specialized food markets, such as Tsukiji Fish Market and Ameya-Yokocho. Visitors can savor iconic dishes like sushi, ramen, tempura, and wagyu beef, as well as regional delicacies from across Japan. Culinary tourism in Tokyo allows travelers to explore the city through its diverse flavors and immerse themselves in the country’s culinary traditions.
- Technological Tourism: Tokyo’s reputation as a technological powerhouse attracts tourists interested in its cutting-edge innovations and futuristic attractions. Areas like Akihabara, known as the electronics district, showcase the latest gadgets and provide a glimpse into Japan’s tech culture. Additionally, attractions like the teamLab Borderless digital art museum and Odaiba’s advanced entertainment facilities offer immersive experiences that merge art, technology, and interactivity. Technological tourism in Tokyo provides visitors with an opportunity to witness groundbreaking advancements and experience the city’s avant-garde spirit.
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, has emerged as a prominent global tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors annually. While tourism has brought numerous benefits to Tokyo, it has also presented challenges that demand careful consideration. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of tourism in Tokyo, shedding light on both the advantages and disadvantages associated with this industry.
- Social Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
Positive Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
a. Cultural Exchange: Tourism promotes cross-cultural understanding by facilitating interactions between tourists and locals, leading to mutual appreciation and cultural enrichment.
b. Employment Opportunities: The tourism industry in Tokyo has generated employment opportunities across various sectors, leading to improved living standards and reduced unemployment rates.
c. Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Revenue generated from tourism has enabled the preservation and restoration of Tokyo’s historical and cultural landmarks, ensuring their long-term conservation.
Negative Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
a. Social Disruption: Overcrowding and congestion in popular tourist areas can disrupt the daily lives of local residents, leading to increased noise levels, traffic congestion, and strain on public infrastructure.
b. Social Inequality: The influx of tourists can exacerbate social inequalities, as rising demand for accommodations and services may drive up prices, making them less affordable for local residents.
c. Cultural Erosion: Mass tourism can dilute local traditions and cultural practices, as businesses cater primarily to the preferences of international visitors, potentially leading to a loss of authenticity and cultural identity.
- Environmental Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
a. Conservation Efforts: Tourism revenue has contributed to environmental conservation initiatives, enabling the preservation and restoration of Tokyo’s natural resources and ecosystems.
b. Environmental Awareness: Tourists often become advocates for environmental protection after experiencing Tokyo’s sustainable practices, promoting eco-friendly behaviors in their home countries.
Negative Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
a. Overconsumption of Resources: Increased tourist activities can strain local resources such as water, energy, and waste management systems, potentially leading to environmental degradation.
b. Carbon Footprint: The transportation of tourists to and within Tokyo contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change and air pollution.
c. Ecological Disruption: Sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats may be adversely affected by uncontrolled tourism activities, leading to biodiversity loss and habitat degradation.
- Economic Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
Positive Impacts of Tourism in Tokyo:
a. Economic Growth: Tourism has become a vital sector of Tokyo’s economy, contributing significantly to GDP growth, job creation, and increased tax revenues.
b. Business Opportunities: The rise in tourist demand has spurred entrepreneurship and investment in tourism-related industries, diversifying the economy and stimulating innovation.
c. Infrastructure Development: The revenue generated from tourism has facilitated the development of transportation networks, accommodation facilities, and other infrastructure, benefiting both tourists and locals.
a. Seasonality and Economic Vulnerability: Tokyo’s tourism industry is subject to seasonality, leading to fluctuations in employment and revenues, which may leave businesses vulnerable during off-peak periods.
b. Leakage: A significant portion of tourism revenue may leak out of the local economy, as multinational corporations and foreign investors often dominate the industry, limiting the local economic benefits.
c. Displacement of Local Businesses: Small-scale, locally-owned businesses may struggle to compete with larger, international chains that cater primarily to tourists, potentially leading to the displacement of local enterprises.
Tourism in Tokyo has brought numerous benefits, such as cultural exchange, economic growth, and the preservation of cultural heritage. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the negative impacts, including social disruption, environmental degradation, and economic vulnerabilities. To achieve sustainable tourism, Tokyo must adopt effective policies and strategies that maximize the positive aspects while mitigating the negative consequences. By addressing these issues, Tokyo can ensure a balanced and responsible approach to tourism that benefits both visitors and local communities in the long run.
Now that we know a bit more about tourism in Tokyo, lets answer some of the main questions on this topic:
- Q: What is the best time of year to visit Tokyo? A: The best time to visit Tokyo is during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and comfortable.
- Q: How do I get around Tokyo? A: Tokyo has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including trains, subways, and buses. The Tokyo Metro and JR lines are commonly used to navigate the city.
- Q: Are there English signs and language assistance available in Tokyo? A: While English signage has improved in recent years, it is still limited in some areas. However, major tourist attractions, train stations, and hotels usually have English signs and staff who can provide assistance.
- Q: What are some must-visit attractions in Tokyo? A: Tokyo offers a wide range of attractions. Some popular ones include the historic Asakusa district, the bustling Shibuya Crossing, the serene Meiji Shrine, and the futuristic Odaiba area.
- Q: Is it necessary to learn Japanese before visiting Tokyo? A: While it’s not necessary to learn Japanese, knowing a few basic phrases can be helpful. However, many Tokyoites, especially in tourist areas, can communicate in English to some extent.
- Q: Can I use my credit card in Tokyo? A: Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops in Tokyo. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash as smaller establishments may prefer cash payments.
- Q: What is the local currency in Tokyo? A: The currency used in Tokyo is the Japanese Yen (JPY). You can exchange your currency at airports, banks, or currency exchange offices throughout the city.
- Q: Are there any cultural etiquette I should be aware of when visiting Tokyo? A: Tokyo has certain cultural norms to be mindful of. It’s customary to bow when greeting someone, remove your shoes when entering someone’s home or certain establishments, and avoid eating or drinking while walking.
- Q: Is it safe to travel in Tokyo? A: Tokyo is generally a safe city for tourists. However, it’s always important to take standard precautions such as keeping an eye on your belongings, being aware of your surroundings, and following any local advisories.
- Q: Are there any day trips or nearby attractions from Tokyo? A: Yes, there are several day trip options from Tokyo. You can visit places like Nikko, Kamakura, Yokohama, or even take a trip to Mount Fuji, which is just a couple of hours away.
Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, seamlessly melds centuries-old traditions with cutting-edge innovation. Its significance in global tourism extends beyond its neon lights, taking visitors on a journey through history, technology, and culture. For more insights into the world’s top destinations, explore our continuing series.
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Japan Destination Tourism Insight Report including International Arrivals, Domestic Trips, Key Source / Origin Markets, Trends, Tourist Profiles, Spend Analysis, Key Infrastructure Projects and Attractions, Risks and Future Opportunities, 2022 Update
Pages: 33 Published: November 24, 2022 Report Code: GDTT0489MI
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- Report Overview
Table of contents.
Japan has a wealth of tourism potential owing to a varied climate, diverse landscape, rich culture and renowned gastronomy scene. The nation’s inbound tourism market has shown notable growth to reach $48.70 billion in 2019. Inbound visitation to Japan plummeted due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020 and 2021. Despite this, the country remains optimistic in its goal to attract foreign visitors, exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 2030. This objective is supported by the Japan Tourism Agency and the Japan National Tourism Organization, which directs investment in coordination with the government and executes marketing and promotional activities. The initiatives have sought to showcase well-known popular attractions as well as Japanese nature and culture.
The Japan destination tourism market research report provides an analysis of destination markets, infrastructure and attractions, main and emerging source markets, as well as risks and opportunities in Japan. This report also explores the types of travelers that visit the region as well as a SWOT analysis.
Japan Destination Tourism Market Trends
Prior to COVID-19 and subsequent international travel restrictions, inbound travel to Japan was growing rapidly. This was due to government initiatives to increase investment to expand tourism through the ‘Visit Japan Campaign’ and the ‘Enjoy my Japan’ campaign. Additionally, increased international visitation was also facilitated by 62 economies being exempt from the tourist visa requirement.
Furthermore, Japan overwhelmingly attracts leisure tourism which has been growing at a healthy rate in the years prior to COVID-19. Its rapid increase is due to Japan’s goal to become a ‘tourism nation’ by creating appealing tourist destinations, upgrading tourism industries to fit traveler needs, promoting training, and utilizing its talent in the tourism sector. As a destination, Japan has an abundance of characteristics to appeal to any inbound traveler, including cuisine, tradition, nature, city, relaxation, art, and outdoor activities.
For more insights on the Japan destination tourism market trends, download a free sample report
Japan Destination Tourism Market Segmentation by Tourism Types
The key types of tourism in the Japan destination tourism market are adventure/sport tourism, business travel, and gastronomy tourism.
Adventure/Sport tourism: Adventure travel is a way to experience a new country on a new level, providing an opportunity to go beyond the usual tourist sights and discover the local culture and nature through memorable, exciting activities. From tropical scuba-diving in Okinawa, hiking UNESCO World Heritage sites, camping amidst cherry blossoms and skiing in perfect powder, Japan’s varied climate and diverse landscape means there are an abundance of adventure activities on offer.
Business Travel: Japan has the world’s third largest economy, with a considerable role in the international community as a major aid donor, source of global capital and credit, and host to many of the world’s biggest companies. With Japan’s goal to become a ‘tourism nation’, the Japan National Tourism Organization has a specialized business and MICE tourism department, the Japan Convention Bureau, which handles the promotion of Japan as a MICE destination.
Gastronomy Tourism: Japan has a rich culinary history with the traditional Japanese cuisine, washoku, being added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage and the art of brewing alcoholic beverages, such as sake, shochu and umeshu, having existed in Japan for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Furthermore, Japan hosts the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world making it a foodie’s paradise
For more insights on the types of tourism in the Japan destination tourism market, download a free sample report
Japan Destination Tourism Market Attractions
Some of the key attractions in the Japan destination tourism market are Hokkaido, Tokyo, Tohoku, Nagasaki and Okinawa.
Hokkaido: It is Japan’s northernmost Island and is the perfect escape from southern Japan’s hustle, bustle and city lights. The high mountains, crystal-clear lakes and wide-open spaces set it far apart from the likes of Tokyo and Osaka, and its empty, sweeping roads make it ideal for self-driving. Despite its removed location, Hokkaido is linked to the main island by air and rail.
Tokyo: As Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolis, Tokyo offers tradition and innovation, and unlimited opportunities to eat, shop and explore. Despite its status as the world’s largest megacity, Tokyo retains traditional Japanese culture in its pursuit for everything new. Tokyo is already a popular destination with travelers, according to Japan National Tourism Organization, it was the most visited area in Japan in 2019.
Japan Destination Tourism Market- Competitive Landscape
Some of the leading players in the Japan destination tourism market are All Nippon Airways(ANA), Japan Airlines(JAL), Skymark Airlines, APA Hotel, Route Inn Japan, HIS, and VELTRA.
Japan Destination Tourism Market Report Overview
This report is part of GlobalData’s Destination Market Insights Series. These reports provide an in-depth analysis of a tourist destination and its key source markets, as well as an assessment of the trends and issues in the covered destination market, in this case Japan.
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- Gain a better understanding of the opportunities in the market, as well as the risks, to support better business decisions.
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Explore By Interest
Tokyo tourist attractions.
Explore Tokyo’s historical sites, romantic places and some of the other unique places that make this city so special. Check out our Tokyo tourism guide, complete to find our recommendations for famous places and must-visit locations. From historical sites to the Tokyo of the future, there is lots to see and do.
Get to know the history of Edo and more at Tokyo historical sites
Amid the glittering high rises and bustling modern streets, Tokyo’s long, rich history lives on.
Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple is a tremendously popular destination for visitors. Beyond the iconic Kaminarimon Gate is Nakamise Dori souvenir-shopping street, which leads to a complex of fascinating religious structures.
Meiji Jingu (Shinto Shrine) is set in a soothing forest only a few minutes’ walk from JR Harajuku Station. The shrine was built to commemorate the virtues of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. In 2020 the shrine marks its 100th anniversary.
Hamarikyu Gardens is a great place to relax and to reflect on the history of Tokyo when it was still called Edo. Different feudal lords used the space for various purposes, ranging from recitals and rice cultivation to military training and falconry.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Spend a day away from the bustling city streets exploring a museum of relocated historical buildings. Set in a beautiful park in Tokyo’s western suburbs.
For history in the making, check out the Olympic sites for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the New National Stadium , the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Nippon Budokan, and Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Take your date to these romantic places in Tokyo for an unforgettable experience
Met someone new? Taking a couple’s vacation? Or perhaps even enjoying your honeymoon? You won’t want to miss these romantic places in Tokyo.
On a clear day, the world’s tallest tower offers views for miles and miles in every direction. Not for the faint of heart, but great for thrill-seekers.
The Beautiful Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958 and remains a very popular lookout point. Just a short distance from such well-known districts as Roppongi and Toranomon.
A smooth cruise along the Sumida River is relaxing, romantic, and full of photo opportunities, especially as many of the historic bridges spanning the river have recently been renovated. Enjoy the evening illuminations.
Ginza continues to present Tokyo at its most elegant and luxurious. Come here for the ultimate in shopping and delicious gourmet cuisine.
Odaiba offers fascinatingly diverse attractions on a large expanse of reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. Recommended for lovers of all ages: an evening bayside stroll, admiring the illuminated Rainbow Bridge.
Discover the unknown: unique places and hidden spots in Tokyo
Looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path? You’ll want to check out one or more of these unique places .
Jiyugaoka is a stylish district of lifestyle stores and appealing eateries. Get a sense of sophisticated everyday residential life in Tokyo.
Fashion, cosmetics, cafes and striking architecture—all within a few minutes’ walk of the station. A very chic neighborhood just west of the JR Yamanote loop line.
The beating heart of old-fashioned office Tokyo. Come here to find out how Japan’s corporate warriors relax after a hard day at work. Join the fun in a packed izakaya pub.
For many visitors from outside Japan, Kichijoji is a largely undiscovered gem, just a 15-minute train ride west of Shinjuku. Enjoy the contrasting pleasures of Harmonica Alley’s traditional eateries and chic department-store shopping.
Ikebukuro , Nakano and Akihabara are among the must-see locations for any fan of anime and manga. Big-name shops like Animate will have everything you need, but smaller shops also offer quirky souvenirs.
Best ways to get around: transportation for sightseeing
Tourist buses in tokyo.
You can enjoy lots of attractions using tourist buses such as Hato Bus, SKY BUS, and hop-on hop-off buses. As you enjoy the view from the roof of a double-decker bus, you can also listen to knowledgeable tour guides’ explanations. Note: Some tours offer foreign language support via electronic audio devices.
Train passes especially for tourists
Various passes enable visitors to travel around Tokyo at discount rates. Use the city’s outstanding transit system like a pro. Note that you may need to show your passport in order to access the following services.
These are prepaid and rechargeable. Anyone using Tokyo trains and buses appreciates the convenience of Suica and PASMO cards. As a visitor, you can use special versions of each card that are valid for just 28 days. These IC cards can also be used at some shops and cafes, and you can recharge your card near the station gates.
Discount train passes for tourists make traveling around Tokyo more affordable. Tokyo Free Kippu, Toei One-Day Pass and Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket are valid for one day. Each offers access to different transit services. The price of each is a guide to its scope of use.
Toei Bus One-Day Pass
You can really get a sense of Tokyo and its people if you thread your way through the streets on a bus. But these are only a few of many options. For more information, see the Cheap Tickets and IC Cards page.
Other modes of transportation
Buses are another great way to get around Tokyo . For many, you can use an IC card. Taxis are fast, but more expensive than trains or buses. In Japan, the passenger door is operated from the driver’s seat. Just wait, and it will open. Recently popular are rentacycles, a great way to see the slow side of Tokyo.
Best places to stay near major attractions
While there is no need to stay in any specific area or tourist hotel , some parts of Tokyo may be more convenient depending on your plans. For a traditional Tokyo experience, try the Asakusa area, home to Sensoji Temple. For shopping and trends, Shinjuku is a great base. Planning to travel by Shinkansen? Tokyo , Shinagawa , or Ueno may be good bets. And for party animals looking to stay out late, dance the night away in Shibuya or Roppongi .
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There are 30 Types of Japan Travelers, And Which One You Are Will Change Your Trip
Japan gets over 30 million travelers a year, all with various backgrounds, tastes, and travel expectations. Some are here to awe at the various temples and shrines , while others hope to catch cosplayers at manga and anime conventions. Japan has such a diverse range of attractions and landmarks that the appeal is so broad. We have come up with 30 different types of travelers that come to Japan. Find out which category you fall into! You may be one or a combination of a few.
The traveler who wants to see new things and experience new places but doesn’t want to go back home to major debt. Luckily Japan is very versatile, and even those with a shoestring budget can enjoy their time in the Land of the Rising Sun. With the right budgeting and planning, Japan has a variety of food, hotels , and attractions that are surprisingly high quality and still light on the wallet. Business hotels and Capsule hotels are safe, clean, and near major city centers. They offer good accommodation at low prices. Also, near the main stations, you will find izakayas, or Japanese pubs , which sell both food and alcohol at reasonable prices and an amazing selection. There are also plenty of free or cheap things to do in Japan, such as roaming the streets of Asakusa , Yoyogi Park , Meiji Shrine , and Ueno . Provided you eat like a local, you’ll find that even a night on the town around Tokyo likely won’t cost more than in most other major cities around the globe.
The traveler who comes to Japan to catch great scenery, beautiful landscapes and experience the various natural escapes Japan has to offer. Japan from North to South has various natural and scenic beauty from mountainous and forest to oceanic surroundings where travelers can not only visit but immerse themselves into the habitat. Plenty of national parks , camping grounds, and mountains for hiking, trekking, and climbing . A great place to hike near Tokyo is Nikko , which can be done as a day trip from Tokyo and has some of the best forests , rivers , waterfalls, and bridges in Japan and the famous Toshogu Shrine with the three wise monkeys. Many Japanese visit during the fall season to see the leaves change color. A bit further north, Shiretoko in Hokkaido is another popular park with vast grasslands and boat tours for those looking to get a view from the sea. And of course, one of the most popular places to camp is near Mt. Fuji along the five great lakes surrounding it. So whether you pitch a tent, rent a camper, or stay in one of the luxury cottages along the lakes , you are sure to see the iconic Mt. Fuji in all its glory.
3. Luxury lover
A vacation is to cut loose, relax, forget about daily life and live largely. Less worried about finding the best deal, many travelers want to experience first-class Japan at its finest. And as Japan is famous for its superb service, there is no better place to feel like royalty. Those staying in Tokyo will most likely come across all the finest accommodations, dining, and shopping in areas like Ginza , Roppongi , and Omotesando. With world-famous brand name shops, big-name hotel chains, and the most Michelin Star restaurants than any other city, Tokyo is definitely the place to feel like a star. There are also plenty of big-name hotels that feature amazing day spas where you can soak in Japanese-style hot spring baths, get massages, facials, and jacuzzis to melt away the stress. Then spend the night eating the finest Japanese cuisine and ending the night in fancy Japanese lounges or bars near Ginza station.
4. Family Oriented
Some countries are more suited for couples or solo travelers, but Japan is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Asia. Most tourist attractions cater to families, and finding something children and adults will enjoy is quite easy in Japan. Some of the most popular places that families enjoy in Japan are Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea resorts as well as Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan . All across Japan are other smaller amusement parks with various themed areas such as Sanrio Puroland , which is popular for those who are fans of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. Odaiba is another popular spot in Tokyo that caters to the whole family. It hosts various shopping and outlet malls , indoor amusement parks and game centers, and various science, cars, technology, and art museums . There is literally something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
5. Girls trip
Whether it be university girls on spring break, mothers on a break from their children and husbands, a female coworkers retreat, or just a ladies' adventure, Japan has a variety of fun and friendly locations with a female touch. Many places around Japan are female-friendly and even specifically cater to groups of women traveling together. For a more traditional experience, women can go to a kimono rental shop where they can have a professional Japanese person dress them, do their hair and makeup, and release them out into the streets to explore and take pictures. There are kimono rental shops in Shinjuku and Shibuya , but probably the best place is Asakusa . Here you can dress in a yukata or kimono and walk along Nakamise , the traditional Japanese shopping street, and take wonderful pictures with temples , shrines , cherry blossom trees, and traditional Japanese buildings. Women can enjoy shopping and the latest fashion trends in the women’s Shibuya109 building, find the cutest accessories, make-up, and nail art at Takeshita Street in Harajuku and get some Purikura (print club) photos taken at a game center .
6. Lads on tour
Sometimes men need an escape from their everyday life and want a memorable male bonding experience. A bro-tastic adventure where they can talk, laugh, drink with their buddies and forget about all their work and life demands. If you are looking for outdoor stuff, golfing might be a good option. Japan is the country with the most golf courses in Asia and is in the top ten around the world with over 2000 locations. Since Japan is an island, fishing is also quite popular and accessible. There are great fishing sites in Kanagawa, Chiba, and Tokyo Bay for those looking for a quiet, relaxed fishing expedition. For food and drink options, men can head to Shinjuku . Here you can head to Golden Gai to drink whisky or beer in the tiny Japanese pubs or have an all you can eat Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) dinner at a table where you grill your own food. Add a “nomihoudai” (all-you-can-drink) option with your meal, and keep the pints flowing!
Those searching for the tastiest foods or the most Instagrammable dishes will find it all in Japan. Trying new, unique, and amazing food with beautiful presentations is a foodie’s dream. Japan is definitely a food-centric country with many regions having special dishes local to their area and travelers taking trips just to taste the local cuisine. If you are looking for fancy dining, Japan has over 200 Michelin star restaurants with delicious and amazingly presented foods to try. Various noodles, fish, sushi , tempura , and other Japanese-style foods placed in traditional wooden and ceramic dishes will have any foodie reaching for their camera. Another option is trying street food around Ueno , Takeshita Street in Harajuku , or if you are in Osaka, then the famous food street, Dotonbori . Osaka is known for takoyaki (octopus balls) , okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) , and kushikatsu , which are deep-fried meat or vegetables on skewers.
These are travelers who have never been to Asia, don’t speak Japanese, and prefer a little more support and structure during their trip. There is no shame in admitting you don’t know enough about Japan to plan your own itinerary. Often to get the best experience in a country is to get recommendations and advice from locals. Luckily, Japan has various travel options that are easy to book, enjoyable, and filled with information about Japan and its culture. At airports, hotels , and major stations, many tourist information desks have city tours and day trips available in a range of styles. A hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city with English guidance for those wanting to grasp the city and surroundings is a good option. There are also bus tours and day trips from Tokyo that go to traditional locations like Kamakura or Nikko for those wanting to learn more about Japanese history and culture. And in winter some tours go north for skiing and snowboarding . Cherry blossom viewing, fall foliage viewing, and fruit picking tours are also available depending on the season . Most tours have an English-speaking tour guide who can answer all your questions, and many tours even come with a lunch or snack from the local area.
The brand-conscious, fashion, and trend follower looking for the latest and most popular in style. Much like Paris, LA, New York, and Rome, Tokyo is a fashion hub and creator of some of the world's biggest fashion and style trends. If you are looking for world-famous luxury brands, then Ginza should be on your list. With high-end department stores and long-established fashion retailers, there is more than enough clothing, shoes, cosmetics, and accessories to keep you busy. Shinjuku is also an option with a variety of big names and foreign and Japanese fashion shops. Many young people look to Shibuya and Ikebukuro to satisfy their fashion tastes for younger fashion and newer trends.
The traveler and adrenaline junkie looking for the next shock to the system will enjoy the terrain of Japan’s outdoors. Land, sea, or air, there are plenty of extreme Japan activities to feed any thrill-seeker’s appetite. Skydiving and bungee jumping are available in many parts of Japan, with the nation’s highest bungee jump being off a bridge over the Ryujin Gorge in Ibaraki Prefecture . Skydiving is also close by in Saitama Prefecture , where you can see a view of Japan like you’ve never seen before. For those interested in cliff diving, canoeing, and canyoning - sliding down natural water slides - then just a short drive away from Tokyo, you can find Okutama. Okutama has natural landscapes and canyons great for exploring the unique Japanese terrain. Hiking, trekking, bicycling and zip lining options in Kanagawa and Shizuoka area are also quite popular destinations for those looking for adventure.
Those who appreciate the horror and darker side of Japan and want to feel the spooky spine-tingling feelings firsthand has many options. There are places in Japan that are naturally scary and creepy, as well as designed locations to satisfy any Japanese horror enthusiast. For those looking for haunted or supernatural areas, the most infamous is Aokigahara Forest in Yamanashi Prefecture, which is said to have a very dark and macabre feel to it. With the eerie look of the thick, twisted trees matched with the silence and emptiness, this place is definitely not for those who are easily spooked. There are also other ‘haikyo’ - abandoned - places such as tunnels, bridges, abandoned schools, and hospitals around Japan in abandoned towns that a chill-seeker can visit. And for those looking for more of a fun and designed scare space, many places like Odaiba , Fuji-Q Highland , and Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki have haunted houses that are ridiculously scary even knowing they are staged.
12. History buff
The traveler who knows the best way to understand and appreciate a culture is to know its history and roots. Seeing how Japanese society began, the people, traditions, and architecture are all on the top of this traveler’s list. The good news is that Japan has many cultural and historical sites with over 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites designated areas in Japan. From a small remote island in the south called Okinoshima, temples , and shrines in Kyoto, Nara , and Nikko , to Himeji Castle and the most iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji . There are plenty of history and art museums like the Tokyo National Museum , Edo Tokyo Museum and the Mori Art Museum . There are also unique museums like Hakone Open Air Museum , Samurai Museum , and the Ghibli Museum for those interested in modern Japanese art.
13. Adventurer (off the beaten track)
The traveler who wants to avoid the big tourist traps and find the interesting and unique Japan. These travelers are always searching for new, undiscovered gems that most tourists never get to experience. If you are interested in seeing the oceans, mountains , and a little Japanese history, then a great place that is a day trip away from Tokyo and not too known is Nokogiriyama (‘Sawtooth Mountain ’), in nearby Chiba. There’s a ropeway cable car that takes you up the mountain if you don’t want to hike the entire way. From there, you can trek up the mountain to see the largest Buddha stone sculpture in Japan, stand on an overhanging rock named “Hell Peek Point,” and see thousands of little arhat statues as you climb the stone steps. There is even a temple nestled within the mountain . Not very crowded, it is a great alternative to Kamakura . Another unknown but beautiful area is Suzuka in Mie. The name might sound familiar for its Suzuka Circuit F1 Racing course. But lesser known is the Ninja village as well as the Ise Jingu Shrine , which is unfamiliar to many tourists despite being one of the biggest of its kind in Japan.
14. The Die Hard Fan
Music moves the soul. So for some, the ultimate trip is to see their favorite musician, idol, or band perform in Japan. Not only does Japan have some of the biggest (literally) musicians like AKB48, E-girls, BabyMetal, and Exile, but they also host world-famous music festivals like Summer Sonic and Fuji Rock Festival, which welcome famous artists from around the world. The music scene is so vast and varied that fans of Japanese music have plenty of options to see artists perform live. Visual Kei music is popular in many live houses across Ikebukuro , while Shibuya has many live houses that cater to Rock, Punk, and Heavy Metal. The big concert houses and stadiums like Tokyo Dome also host a variety of Japanese and Western musicians. The music scene in Japan is definitely vibrant and alive, making it perfect for the person who wants to see live music in Japan.
15. Intermediate Japanologist
The Intermediate Japanologist will want to explore and partake of traditional Japanese culture and practices. A Japanologist studies Japan and its culture and is familiar with or is studying the language, the periods, the art, entertainment , and people. To further understand Japan and the Japanese, trying some of the activities first hand might be a good idea. Many classes, activities, and tour packages are available for those who want to delve further into the understanding of Japan. For example, there are sushi -making classes, Ikebana , which is a Japanese flower arrangement, and tea ceremony . Preparing green tea from matcha powder becomes an art and performance in tea ceremony as there are certain movements and steps to make and serve tea. For those interested in ceremony and sport, witnessing a sumo competition would also be an educational experience. The steps involved and the ceremonies that occur before, during, and after each match are quite detailed and sacred. Helpful links: ・ Traditional Culture Facility List ・ Contemporary Culture Facility List
The art lover will most likely find something beautiful as Japan has so many one-of-a-kind traditional artistic activities with intricate detail and meaning. Besides visiting different art museums that focus on modern art, traditional ukiyo-e paintings, woodblock, and seeing the sculptures that adorn temples and shrines , there are also many chances for artsy people to take part and create their own art. Various classes on origami, woodblock prints , kimono fabric dyeing are available to join. In addition, there are manga drawing lessons, shodo, which is Japanese calligraphy, and Japanese gardens and bonsai tree shearing classes as well. A popular place in Aichi Prefecture, called Seto, also has some of the best pottery and ceramics in Japan and also offers pottery classes. Helpful links: ・ Traditional Arts Facility List ・ Contemporary Arts Facility List
Since the boom of anime , manga , and Otaku culture worldwide, many travelers come to the Mecca of this sub-culture and witness it firsthand. Otaku, which roughly translates to nerd or fanatic, is the term used for those who are huge fans of some activity or product in Japan. There are anime and manga Otaku who hoard comics and shell out tons of cash for the latest limited edition Blu-rays and figurines. There are video game Otaku who spend hours in their room on their PC, gaming console, or smartphone immersed in their game of choice. There are Otaku for almost everything in Japan. Idol Otaku who are hardcore followers of their favorite musical Idol artist. The ground zero for Otaku culture seems to be Electric Town in Akihabara . Building size posters and billboards of the latest anime , manga , or video games adorn the streets. There are girls dressed in maids and anime characters inviting people to themed cafes . Walking around Akihabara Station you will find shops selling cosplay , music, comics, toys, and other Otaku-related goods. Another couple of options to keep you entertained after you have finished with Akihabara are Sunshine City or Otome Road in Ikebukuro and Nakano Broadway , all of which have a big Otaku culture presence.
Japan has a rich history in performing arts , and this type of traveler hopes to enrich their art and cultural experience by witnessing the country’s authentic and traditional theater arts. Whether it be an authentic Japanese performance or the Japanese version of an English play or musical, the theater, and live drama community is big in Japan. Those interested in comedy might want to see Rakugo, a live comedic storytelling type of theater. It is a one-person show much like stand-up comedy of the West, the difference being the comedian has only a hand towel and Japanese fan as props to use during his set. Although most Rakugo is in Japanese, there are English-speaking Rakugo performers as well. Other famous and traditional types of theater are Noh , which is similar to opera; Bunraku, which is theater performed using elaborately designed puppets; and Kabuki , which is famous for its singing, dancing, and intricate make-up and costumes. Recently many kabuki shows provide English translations on paper or in head-set form as well.
Traveling couples differ from those going solo or with groups and families. They are hoping to not only enjoy their trip to Japan but also spend quality time with each other to create a stronger relationship and lasting memories. Depending on the couple, Japan has a variety of getaways tailored for a romantic adventure. Some popular date places where many couples tend to gather are Odaiba in Tokyo and Minato Mirai in Yokohama . Both places are near the water and have nice waterfront restaurants and cafes . Other hotspots for couples are Skytree and Tokyo Tower, both of which offer stunning views of the city. Skytree , in particular, also has many classy shops and restaurants for couples to experience. If you are in Japan during the Christmas season , then you will find many major city centers with extravagant light displays and illuminations. Alternatively, the summer months bring many festivals around Japan where couples dress in Yukata and enjoy the fireworks displays. Another great option are the cruises along the Sumida River near Asakusa on a traditional Japanese style boat with all-you-can-drink and eat dinner options.
20. Can’t stay still (not just Tokyo the whole week)
Sometimes leaving Tokyo adds to the appreciation of Japan. Traveling to Tokyo doesn’t mean you are stuck in the city your whole trip. The best part about Tokyo is how close it is to a variety of popular day trip spots. Just a few hours away by bus or train are a variety of natural, traditional, or sacred spots in Japan. Kamakura and Nikko are both popular options for those looking for nature and traditional Buddhist and Shinto religious sites. Those interested in beaches or hot springs can head to Enoshima Island. And also located close to Tokyo is Hakone which has great views of Mount Fuji and Japan’s most popular hot spring resorts and baths. Chiba, which is home to Disneyland and Narita Airport , also has amazing beaches , Naritasan Temple , and family places like German Village .
These travelers hope to meet and befriend locals and other tourists during their adventures and, if they are lucky, can make a strong connection and possibly a long-term friend along the way. A good start is to socialize with the people who are in the same tour group or happen to be touring the same place as you. Japan also has many meetup groups and communities you can join who are always holding drinking parties, pub crawls, or meet-ups in parks . A mix of Japanese and foreigners, these groups have international parties and gatherings where local Japanese, foreigners living in Japan, and tourists just passing through can talk, drink, and socialize. There also many pubs and standing bar type places in areas like Shibuya , Roppongi , and Shinjuku where travelers can start up conversations and make new friends.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the introvert traveler who either prefers their own private space and schedule or feels more comfortable traveling independently. Maybe a bar , club , or social event might not be the best for this traveler. Instead, roaming the majestic and charming gardens of the Imperial Palace or visiting the famous Samurai houses and strolling the old-fashioned streets of Nezu, Kawagoe, Kyoto, or Kanazawa would satisfy the needs of this traveler. In terms of accommodation, Japanese capsule hotels are also a great alternative to regular hotels or hostels for introverted travelers as there is more privacy and personal space. Floors are separated by gender, and most have 24-hour public baths so avoiding the big groups of bathers and having a private bath experience is also possible.
23. Solo traveler
The solo traveler enjoys starting their journey alone and tries to gain independence, confidence, and life experience by taking their journey alone. They enjoy coming to Japan and finding their way through their trip, and knowing they can survive without depending on someone else. Japan is the perfect country for this type of traveler as it is one of the safest countries in the world and people are quite friendly and helpful. Getting lost, asking for directions or recommendations, enjoying the city alone are all quite easy. Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo are a good place to start for lone travelers as the zoo has many amazing creatures to lift your spirits, and the park is serene and perfect for a stroll. There are also a variety of museums located in Ueno where one can enjoy Japanese art, history, and culture. In addition, the shopping streets of Ameyoko are filled with people so you will never feel alone, and there are many outdoor food stalls and stands perfect for eating so you won’t have to sit alone at a restaurant.
24. Alcohol lover
Any alcohol lover will know that Japan houses some of the finest sake, shochu, whiskey, beer, and wine brands in the world. If you are looking for the finest of whiskey or mixed drinks, up-scale Ginza has some of the finest and long-standing bars serving the best alcohol in Tokyo. There are also many wine bars , cocktail bars , and fancy lounges all around Japan that have top-notch drinks, service, and atmosphere. For cheaper options, izakayas usually have Japanese beers on tap and a variety of shochu and sake options for a very reasonable price. Many restaurants and izakayas also have all-you-can-drink options which offer unlimited alcoholic beverages, including wine, whiskey, beer, and cocktails for a timed duration at a set price. If you are a strong drinker, this might be your best option. Another highly recommended option is to visit a sake brewery , whisky distillery, or beer brewery during your stay in Japan. Not only are they fascinating spots to see the inside action, but often you can find exclusive edition drinks available there as well.
This traveler can easily be spotted with an expensive camera and lens hanging from their necks, crouching at temple entrances, or adjusting their lighting and lens to get the perfect shot. Whether it is nature , people, buildings, or landscapes , photography enthusiasts will not be disappointed. For landscapes , the obvious Kawaguchiko area, home to Mt. Fuji, or streets in Kyoto are a must. There are also many great places to take beautiful pictures of forests , lakes , mountains , and temples across Japan. Some of the most beloved spots photographers should check out are the ‘floating’ Torii gate at Miyajima Island in Hiroshima , Kinkakuji, the golden temple in Kyoto as well as Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, which has thousands of torii gates along the path. Cityscapes like Shibuya Crossing, Dotonbori Street in Osaka, and the crowds of people around Shibuya ’s Takeshita Street also are prominent stops on the photographer’s list.
26. Animal/nature lover
Japan is definitely the place for animal lovers. Both wild and domesticated animals are accessible and on display all over Japan. For an experience in the animals' natural habitat, many people head to Nagano to Jigokudani Yaen Park to see the snow monkeys bathing in natural onsens. For a chance to pet, feed, and see deer freely roaming the city, Nara Park in Nara has over 1200 deer. And for a surreal experience, there is a cat island, Aoshima, and rabbit island, Okunoshima, which are islands primarily inhabited by these cute furry creatures. For a more structured, indoor, and odd experience, Japan is home to many animal cafes . Japan was the first country to introduce cat cafes and now boasts many other animal cafes , including rabbits, dogs, otters, owls, snakes, hedgehogs, penguins, and even pot-bellied pigs.
27. Sun seeker/beach lover
Although many people don’t consider Japan when planning a tropical beach destination, Japan does have amazing beaches and resorts at par with other countries. So those looking to slip on their bathing suits and bathe in the sun, there are options for you. Most popular is the southern islands of Okinawa . A popular destination for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and other water sports , Okinawa also has a unique and distinct food and culture as well. Other notable beach destinations are Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Enoshima Island in Kanagawa, Onjuku Beach in Chiba, and Tatadohama Beach in Shizuoka.
28. Soul searcher
Traveling is more than a pastime or hobby for this traveler. Taking a trip, planning a journey, and experiencing a new country or culture is life-changing. The soul searcher comes to Japan not just to eat Japanese food , see tourist attractions, and buy souvenirs. They are here for a deeper meaning and understanding of the country and themselves. It can be a religious experience walking the pilgrimage trails of Kumano Kodo in the southern region or to head to northern Japan to places like Akita or Aomori that house some of the lushest and peaceful forests and mountainous zones. For something in Tokyo, Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park are good places to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With so many people located in densely populated areas, just a short trip away, it is easy to find remote, untouched, natural landscapes to soul search.
29. Party animal
Let’s face it. Sometimes a vacation is a time to let loose, get together with friends, drink, party and dance the night away. And Japan, especially Tokyo, has a vibrant and pulsating club scene and nightlife to make any party animal get their fill. Bars , pubs , lounges, clubs - there are many options to fit your music style and taste. There are mega clubs with Japanese and world-famous DJs spinning all night into the morning, and both Shibuya and Roppongi are all-night party clubbing zones where you will no doubt see and hear the crowds lined up waiting to enter. Smaller and more intimate options in Shibuya , Roppongi , and Harajuku also have cozy lounges with DJs spinning and drinks flowing all night. No matter what part of Japan you visit, the city center will most likely have a live house or lounge with live music or dance bar .
30. Skier/Snow lover
Since Japan is mostly mountainous, it makes it an obvious place for those looking to partake in winter sports like skiing and snowboarding . Most famous for its powdery snow is Niseko in Hokkaido, as well as Furano . Nagano, the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, is another obvious location for winter sports enthusiasts. In addition, the Japan Alps and most of northern Japan, including Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima Prefectures, all have amazing resorts and mountains for any rank of skier or snowboarder from beginner to the most advanced.
Whether you come to Japan to eat sushi , catch Pokemon or pray at a temple in Kyoto, everyone is sure to find something they enjoy from this amazing country. With the right planning, preparation, and expectations, Japan can be a dream destination for many tastes and traveling styles.
Sohail Oz Ali
Sohail Oz Ali is a Canadian Youtuber, author and blogger who has lived in Hokkaido, Nagoya and now resides in Chiba. Between visits to Karaoke and revolving sushi restaurants, he enjoys walking his dog, watching Japanese love dramas and teaching English. You can also find him roaming the streets of Japan looking for the next big YouTube video trends.
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Ideal duration: 4-6 days
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"A beautiful melange of old and new. "
Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is in every sense- a mix. This city is known for its technological prowess, its quirky pop culture, and its simultaneous attachment to tradition. With every area having something different to offer, it is truly the best place for any tourist seeking variety and adventure.
Nestled in South-Eastern Japan, Tokyo boasts not only of towering sky-scrapers, immaculate roads and architecture, but also of forests, traditional shrines and cherry blossoms in the spring. A combination of poetic wonder and technological marvel, Tokyo is a must-visit for any tourist. The city is not all about slick business suits and traditional kimonos either- it is a thriving pop culture phenomenon for gamers, developers, and anime fans alike, with its quirky technological innovations and virtual culture. Tokyo is best perceived as a collection of cities with different characters and vibes, rather than one city alone. The main tourist attractions in Tokyo are the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, the shopping districts of Harajuku and Shibuya (one of the busiest intersections in the world), the traditional Meiji and Sensoji Shrines, and of course, the cherry blossom flowers in April. However, aside from these attractions, Tokyo has little pockets of unique culture, technology and food that remain unnoticed by the mainstream. These include the Kabukicho entertainment district that has an eclectic robot restaurant, Roppongi, that is famous for its nightlife, and vampire and maid cosplay caf_s in Shinjuku (for the pop culture fanatic). Gastronomically, Tokyo is one of the must-see cities in the world as it has the most Michelin Stars, for the discerning connoisseurs. Japanese cuisine too has a wide variety- for the brave and the less adventurous alike. Dishes like sashimi (raw seafood with seasoning), ramen (noodles boiled with broth) and okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) are its highlights, and ramen shops are commonplace in the streets of Tokyo. One can find peace and quiet in the Meiji and Sensoji shrines, and tradition in the shadows of the skyscrapers in the form of traditional festivals like the Shunki Reitasai in the spring, and at the same time get dazzled by the electronic splendour of the Akihabara district. For all the gamers and visual culture nerds, there are Pok_mon Centres at Ikebukuro and Shibuya, and regular anime conventions. Tokyo is the city of arcades and recreational gaming caf_s, which indicate its immersion in the virtual world and technology. Tokyo, thus, is a conglomeration of all that a tourist needs- adventure, peace, entertainment, recreation and beauty, all in one, with interesting contradictions and a culture of beauty and spectacle.
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27 Best Things to Do in Tokyo
By Melinda Joe and Anna Chittenden
Deciding the best things to do in Tokyo depends on how much time you have—and for your sake, we hope you have a month. The city’s streets can feel like a game of soccer played at hyper speed, while calmer attractions range from temples, museums , gardens, origami classes, and bohemian sojourns. This city has more than enough going on to put you in a tizzy, so a words of advice: Arrive with a game plan and prepare to get lost along the way, in a good way. Here, the very best things to do in Tokyo.
Read our complete Tokyo travel guide here .
This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
Tokyo may not have as many temples as Kyoto, but Senso-ji isn’t the capital city’s most popular just by default. The atmosphere alone here is one for the bucket list. Senso-ji, the temple itself, is at the end of the shopping street, while a recently renovated five-story pagoda stands to the left (ranking in as the second tallest pagoda in Japan). Japanese visitors flutter around a large cauldron in front of the temple where incense burned inside is said to benefit good health. Travelers keen to avoid crowds should arrive early, but even tourists that are remotely interested in Japanese culture will find something to appreciate here.
Harmonica Yokocho Arrow
This clutch of narrow alleys, a short walk from the north exit of JR Kichijoji station, is stuffed to the gills with hole-in-the wall eateries. A yellow sign marks the entrance to Harmonica Yokocho, which takes its name from the layout of the vendors, slotted cheek-to-jowl along the passageways like the reeds in a harmonica. The atmospheric network of lanes started out as a post-war flea market in the 1940s, but the area underwent a transformation in the 90s when bustling bars and restaurants made their entrance onto the scene. It has a laid-back and hyper-local feel, especially during the daytime, when you’ll find fishmongers and traditional sweets makers plying their trades.
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Topping off at 2,080 feet, the Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower (that's tower, not building) in the world. From the broadcast tower’s 360-degree observation decks, the whole city—its striking skyscrapers and neon intersections—looks like a magical circuit board. It’s a major tourist attraction and a ticket isn’t cheap (up to ¥3,400, or $25, for combo tickets), but even if you don’t pay to go inside, there’s no denying that the Tokyo Skytree brought the skyline to a whole new level. Depending on where you’re staying, it can be an out-of-the-way trip to eastern Tokyo (luckily, a train station gets you right near the entrance). Families with children will enjoy the experience—especially the speedy elevator rides—as will anyone that loves a jaw-dropping view.
Sleek design, a DJ booth, and craft beer on tap: The newly refurbished Koganeyu functions as a lively standing bar and community events space, but the main reason to visit this 89-year-old establishment is to immerse yourself in Tokyo’s sento (public sauna) culture. A crowdfunded renovation has transformed the space into a contemporary sento with four pools, a sauna, and an outdoor bath. Bathing areas for men and women are separated by a 2.2-meter partial wall, while a mural depicting Mount Fuji stretches across both areas like a scroll. You can purchase tickets from the vending machine at the entrance; a 90-minute bathing session costs about $3.50 for adults, $2.70 for students, and $1.30 for children. After emerging from the baths, relax with a glass of craft beer brewed especially for Koganeyu, or try a homemade ginger highball.
Ross Kenneth Urken
Sakurai Tea Experience Arrow
Copper and wood greet you inside this minimalist sanctuary dedicated to sado, the Japanese “way of tea.” A small retail space filled with glass jars containing 30 varieties of green tea conceals an intimate eight-seat cafe. Founder Shinya Sakurai studied for 14 years to become a master, and his modern take on tea ceremony is meditative and illuminating. As Sakurai prepares the infusions behind an L-shaped wooden counter, a continuous stream of water flows from a copper tap—a symbol of purification. Gyokuro, a luxurious variety of green tea grown in the shade, is the specialty here. Sakurai travels the country to select the leaves, which he roasts daily in-house. The tasting flight for ¥4,800 (about $35) is the best introduction to the range of teas on offer.
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Anyone remotely impressed that Tokyo is the most populated city in the world should visit the world’s busiest intersection at Shibuya Crossing. Massive video screens flashing advertisements tower above every corner as black-suited salarymen, wide-eyed tourists, and bag-toting shoppers wait and cross in concert. The feeling is oddly soothing, a reminder that whatever our disparate paths in life, they all have a tendency to cross at one time or another. The best time to go is at dusk, one of the scramble’s peak times and in its most flattering light. The Shibuya Scramble Square tower above Shibuya station offers a birds’ eye view of the famous crossing, along with panoramic vistas of the city from the Shibuya Sky rooftop observatory, perched 230 meters above street level.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Arrow
Fancy a stroll in a Japanese garden? Get that and more at Shinjuku Gyoen. In addition to native, traditional gardens, the 144-acre park pockets French Formal and English Landscape gardens, all of which are worth the modest entrance fee. Landmarks are stunning and impossible to forget, like a Taiwan Pavilion perched along a serene pond. Formerly an imperial garden, it became a national garden after World War II—so you can trust that this precious plot is always beautifully maintained. Don’t miss cherry blossom season.
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Kappabashi Street, a district in between Ueno and Asakusa, isn’t so much a food destination as it is a food adjacent destination: While it’s devoted to the restaurant industry, fresh food isn’t why folks come. Instead, the street is a chef’s dream of restaurant supply stores that are known best for sampuru , replicas of food dishes that are part of a century-old craft—and are up for grabs. And, because it’s more trade-focused than tourist-focused, the prices can be somewhat economical. Have any curious cooks in the family? This district is their souvenir heaven.
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The clean-lined, slate-grey interior of this kakigori ice specialist sets off the ebullient shaved ice creations of pâtissier Miho Horio. Formerly of two-Michelin-starred restaurant Florilege, Horio is one of the young chefs elevating the sweet treat to new heights of refinement. She carefully adjusts the blade of her ice machine to shave blocks of ice—made with spring water from Nikko, north of Tokyo—into fluffy, feathery flakes. Shaping the shavings into a delicate mound, she adds fresh fruit and toppings such as homemade syrups, compotes, and foams. Her signature parfait showcases sweet azuki red beans—the classic kakigori topping for which the café is named—paired with cream and flecks of meringue. Seasonal offerings include salted cherry blossoms with fresh strawberries in spring, and blood orange dusted with grated Amazonian cacao in early summer.
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Yoyogi Park is one of the most amusing parks in Tokyo. Its 134 acres sprawl right in Shibuya, a short skip from Harajuku , and bustle with picnics and performers. The northern side is lush, with clean walkways along expansive, grassy lawns where locals and tourists spread under the shade of Japanese Zelkova trees, and gather around a large pond. Spot impromptu badminton team swinging racquets, a drum circle tapping away at the bongo, or amateur dancers following along to the beat.
Yayoi Kusama Museum Arrow
In a suburban part of Shinjuku, a smooth white building rises five stories high—a museum completely devoted to the works of Yayoi Kusama . The building looks slim, but it houses a bulk of the larger-than-life and avant-garde artist’s pieces, including an installation of her “infinity room” series (an Instagram sensation which, in the past, drew hundreds of thousands of visitors in stateside exhibitions) to polka-dotted paintings and sculptures. The museum changes its exhibition two times a year, and as it’s still relatively new, it’s only cracked the surface of the prolific artist’s work.
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The traditional technique of mending pottery with lacquer sprinkled with gold dust, kintsugi is an art form unto itself. The practice, which dates back to the 15th century, is alive and well at Kuge Crafts, a ceramics studio in the quiet Shin-Koenji neighborhood of western Tokyo. Run by a family of artisans—Yoshiichiro and Yoshiko Kuge, together with their son, Shu—the atelier transforms broken cups and dishes into singular works of art and offers two-hour kintsugi lessons (¥8,000, or about $59) for learners of all levels. The workshop will provide all the materials; you can bring your own damaged vessel for repair or ask them to prepare a piece for you to work on.
Sumo at Ryogoku Kokugikan Arrow
Only three of six official grand sumo tournaments happen in Tokyo, all at Ryogoku Kokugikan. The stadium houses over 11,000 eager fans under its green, pavilion-style roof. Official tournaments last just over two weeks each, which means Ryogoku Kokugikan sometimes hosts other events (boxing, for example). But sumo is the arena’s feature attraction, and if you’re hoping to see sumo in Tokyo, this is where to find it. Tamari seats, which are those immediately surrounding the ring, are the most coveted—and virtually impossible to score. But the next series of rows, box seats, are as close as you can get. Box seats are top-dollar, but little more than rows of tatami mats lined with red square cushions (with no backs) sold in groups of four—so cozy up, and pay up (¥380,00, or about $279, for a box). There are proper stadium seats along the second-floor mezzanine, but the thrill of witnessing this traditional Japanese sport up close is all about getting comfortable with the floor.
The Bellwood Arrow
Modeled after an early 20th-century Japanese coffee house, this swanky watering hole is fitted with modern-retro touches like a stained glass panel bearing the bar’s name, bookended by images of Mount Fuji and a martini under the moon. The main space is great for after-work drinks or late-night tipples, but the bar recently opened a glass-encased private room to host a series of food-and-cocktail pairing experiments. Witty twists on classic cocktails are prepared with flair. Start light with the Kome Tonic, made with rice-based shochu, then explore the seasonal menu: Tango Mule made with gin and Fernet Branca laced with roasted mate, or the Okushibu Fashioned with bourbon, kinako soy powder and a hint of bitter mugmort.
Nihon Minka-en Japan Open-air Folk House Museum Arrow
Though only 20 minutes by train from central Tokyo, the Nihon Minka-En Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum, located in a suburb of neighboring Kawasaki City, feels a world—and several centuries—away. The sprawling grounds are home to 25 marvelously preserved Edo-era homes relocated from all over the Japanese countryside, spanning an array of styles from farmhouses to samurai houses and includes a shrine, water mill and kabuki stage. Don’t miss the traditional indigo dyeing workshop in the middle of the park houses a small shop where you can find indigo-dyed everything, from socks and sweaters to handkerchiefs and masks.
Koffee Mameya Kakeru Arrow
Don't expect your average cup of joe at Koffee Mameya Kakeru, housed in a renovated warehouse in the Shirakawa coffee district in eastern Tokyo. Beyond the sleek glass facade, the interior designed by art director Tomohiro Kato and architect Yosuke Hayashi features a massive oak structure built around the artfully arranged coffee shelves. A rectangular wooden frame encases a three-sided stone counter built around three black tables where the baristas display their skills. Coffee maestro and founder Eiichi Kumimoto launched Koffee Mameya Kakeru to go deep into the world of the brew and push the boundaries of the drink's potential. The menu showcases seasonal varieties, but the omakase-style coffee tasting courses (including a range of cold and milk brews, mocktails, and lattes) take center stage, offering a fascinating journey through the diverse flavors and artistry of coffee. Coffee cocktail champion Akira Zushi dazzles with flair bartending skills and innovative cocktails like the milk brew blended with hop-accented jasmine tea and lemon, finished with a spritz of prickly ash water.
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Oedo Antique Market is a marvelous outdoor fair held near Tokyo Station twice a month, with stalls selling wonderful antique and vintage wares. Hundreds of independent stallholders set up shop to sell their one-of-a-kind objects. There isn’t a huge number of antique or vintage homeware shops in Tokyo—so if you’re looking for old, interesting, and unique Japanese items for your home, this is the place to come. The items on sale at Oedo are completely one-off and unique. You’d be hard pressed to find a permanent shop in Tokyo that has the choice and style that you’ll find here. For first dibs, come earlier in the day.
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Built in 1919, the former residence of government official Torajiro Asakura is a marvelously preserved example of traditional Japanese architecture tucked into Tokyo’s bustling Daikanyama district. For ¥100 (about 73 cents), you can wander through the building’s stately wooden corridors, tatami-floored rooms, and beautifully manicured grounds. The suginoma (cedar rooms) on the west side of the structure offer postcard-perfect views of the Japanese garden—particularly in the autumn, when the maple trees blaze with color. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, the property is an oasis of calm. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds for an hour or two and contemplate the passing of time.
It’s okay to visit the artsy neighborhood, Nakameguro, just to see its seasonal appeal as one of the most picture-perfect spots for cherry blossoms in spring. However, stick around these charming streets and you’ll find a hip collection of independent cafes and boutiques that offer a laid-back alternative to the city’s buzzing hubs. Sakura trees hug the Meguro River in Nakameguro’s center, blossoming as they lean over the sloped, canal-like walls surrounding the water. Once you’ve taken a moment to smell the blossoms (and fill your phone with pictures), you’ll find an array of independent boutiques and cafes branching off along narrow streets in either direction. Head to the corner-side Onibus Coffee, which serves single-origin espresso, and stop at SML, a boutique stocking delightful crafts (especially ceramics) made by Japanese artists.
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A Tokyo mecca for anime- and manga-loving otaku subculture fans, the Nakano Broadway is a multi-story shopping arcade that has become a hub for niche collectors of all stripes. When it first opened in 1966, the complex epitomized the spirit of future-perfect economic optimism sparked by the Tokyo Olympics. Competition from newer shopping malls emptied its corridors of fancy boutiques in the 80s, before the Broadway reinvented itself as a center for used manga and anime models in the 90s. More than 300 tiny outlets are crammed into the aging edifice’s bottom five floors, offering everything from vintage Godzilla and Astroboy figurines to designer watches and creepy dolls galore.
Isetan is Tokyo’s best—and most famous—department store; its history dates back to 1886, when it started as a kimono shop. The sprawling flagship in Shinjuku is spread out over nine floors, each offering something special. There’s a big fashion focus, with local Japanese brands sitting beside international names. Don’t miss a visit to the wonderful food hall on B1, which sells a variety of Japanese snacks and goodies, including beautifully prepared bento boxes for lunch.
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In October 2018, the world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji, shut down after 83 years and re-opened in two distinct parts. At the original location, it’s pretty much business as usual, with street-food stalls serving up everything from seared tuna to uni sandwiches in squid-ink sticky buns. Just down the road at Toyosu Market , meanwhile, you can taste fresh raw fish in a series of sushi bars and peek in on the auctions (formerly held at Tsukiji) and live fish sales from a second-story viewing station. You can also tour a large green space on the rooftop, which affords views of the Tokyo skyline.
Heiwa Doburoku Brewery Kabutocho Arrow
This simple but stylish Wakayama-based sake brewpub in Tokyo makes clever use of a corner space in Kabutocho, the recently hip neighborhood near the Tokyo Stock Exchange building. As the name suggests, the bar specializes in doburoku, a rustic style of unfiltered and lightly fermented sake characterized by its thick texture. Previously outlawed for taxation reasons, the traditional brew is making a comeback, appearing on menus at Tokyo's trendiest restaurants and bars. Large windows, pale wood fixtures, and a curved counter surrounding a small open kitchen give the bar an open and airy feel. The menu lists dry-hopped and aged doburoku, varieties made with ground adzuki red beans or black beans, and a few seasonal styles flavored with fruits or herbs. But the best place to start is with the original, plain doburoku, a thick and yogurty brew with a touch of fruity fizz. Brewer Heiwa Shuzo's excellent craft beers are served on tap (we love the golden ale infused with fragrant sansho prickly ash peppercorns), and the bar offers a nice selection of the brewery's clear, award-winning sake.
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This serene museum in the Aoyama district, redesigned by celebrated architect Kengo Kuma, is a contemporary temple for traditional art. A long, covered outdoor path alongside bamboo-clad walls serves as a minimalist entrance, but once inside, double-height interiors and glass walls stretch over 40,000 square feet while keeping the experience intimate. And while the museum mixes contemporary design and traditional art on the inside—over 7,400 pieces—the outside counts, too: The property is home to a stunning private garden that’s worth the visit all on its own. The bulk of the museum’s art was once the private collection of Nezu Kaichirō, the president of Japan’s Tobu Railway. Since the midcentury, the collection grew and now comprises over 7,400 pieces.
Bohemian Tokyo in Shimokitazawa Arrow
Only one express stop away from the brighter-than-bright energy of Shibuya, Shimokita (what locals call Shimokitazawa) is like turning down the volume and switching to an acoustic track. It might embrace its bohemian style—with vintage stores on seemingly every block—but it doesn’t lose that unmistakable, sophisticated Japanese style in the process. Sift through secondhand shops, sip coffee, and repeat.
The old-school neighborhood of Monzen-Nakacho—known as “Mon-Naka” among locals—has retained its colorful, salt-of-the-earth shitamachi (downtown) atmosphere since the Edo era (1603-1868). Two main draws are the stately Tomioka Hachiman Shrine and the Fukagawa Fududo temple, where you can hear the sounds of drumming and chanting from the temple’s fire ceremony, held five times a day. These days, hipster coffee shops and natural wine boîtes nestle against traditional shops selling pickles, Japanese confections, and old-timey delicacies like tsukudani—bits of seafood long-simmered in soy sauce and sugar. It’s a terrific place to spend a lazy afternoon wandering the cobbled streets and alleyways en route to the Museum of Contemporary Art in neighboring Kiba. But at night, the neighborhood comes alive with an array of reasonably priced eating and drinking spots.
teamLab Borderless Arrow
With the first iteration of Borderless in Odaiba, the art collective Teamlab created an endlessly Instagrammable, sumptuous and surreal museum dedicated to multi-sensory digital art. Opened in 2018, the facility, which set the world record for the most visited museum dedicated to a single artist, closed its doors in 2022. However, Borderless 2.0 is set to relocate to a permanent location in the soon-to-open Azabudai Hills mixed-use complex in central Tokyo in early 2024. Boderless consists of installations that feature constantly morphing patterns and designs that seem to flow seamlessly from room to room in a maze-like space. Updated versions of some of the museum’s previous works will be on display, as well as several new installations: a room filled with hundreds of multicolored lights that run along tracks continuously and a series of interactive “light sculptures,” to name a few.
The World Is Huge. Don't Miss Any Of It
16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Tokyo
Written by Meagan Drillinger and Bryan Dearsley Updated May 11, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )
When it comes to the greatest cities in the world, you cannot do better than Tokyo. A juxtaposition of deep tradition and fast-paced, modern energy, Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is one of the best places to visit in Asia . It is home to the Imperial Palace and the seat of Government and Parliament, as well as luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, and fantastic shopping. Located in East-Central Honshu, the largest of Japan's main islands, this heavily populated city serves as a great base from which to explore other parts of the country.
One of the world's most modern cities in terms of its infrastructure and design — due largely to the 1923 earthquake and the devastation of WWII — Tokyo also holds the title of the world's most expensive city in which to live. Fortunately, it's also one of the easiest to get around thanks to its superb rail and subway networks.
The cultural side of Tokyo is famous for its numerous things to do and top attractions, including museums; festivals; internationally noted cuisine; and professional sports clubs, including baseball, football, and traditional Japanese pursuits like sumo wrestling. It's also a city rich in music and theater, with numerous venues featuring everything from Japanese modern dramas to symphony orchestras and pop and rock concerts.
Explore the city with our list of the top things to do in Tokyo.
1. Enjoy Nature and Art at the Meiji Shrine
2. explore the shinjuku gyoen national garden, 3. enjoy nature at ueno park and ueno zoo, 4. visit the sensō-ji temple, 5. shop 'til you drop in the ginza district, 6. see the view from the tokyo skytree, 7. wander through the tokyo national museum, 8. tour the imperial palace, 9. visit the miraikan and edo-tokyo museums, 10. stop in at the national museum of nature and science, 11. spend time at the national museum of western art, 12. enjoy the collections at the national art center, 13. see a show at the kabuki-za theatre, ginza, 14. get lost at yomiuriland, 15. scope the fashion in harajuku, 16. take a walk at shibuya crossing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to tokyo, map of tourist attractions & things to do in tokyo, tokyo, japan - climate chart.
Highlights : An important religious site surrounded by 175 acres of forest
Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, the construction of the splendid Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū) began in 1915 and was completed in 1926. Although the original structure was destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt in 1958 and remains one of Tokyo's most important religious sites.
Surrounded by a 175-acre evergreen forest that is home to some 120,000 trees representing species found across Japan — as well as the interesting "wishing tree," on which visitors can write and hang their deepest wishes — the shrine's highlights include its Inner Precinct (Naien) with its museum containing royal treasures, and the Outer Precinct (Gaien).
It's in the Outer Precinct that you'll find the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery with its superb collection of murals relating to the lives of the emperor and empress. Be sure to also visit the adjacent Meiji Shrine Inner Garden (Yoyogi Gyoen), an attractive public garden complete with a teahouse, iris garden, and a pleasant arbor.
Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo
Highlights : Three types of traditional gardens in one, including 1,500 cherry trees
Walk through one of Tokyo's most historic pieces of land when you visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Formerly the residence of the Naito family during the Edo period (17th-19th centuries), it was transferred to the Imperial Family. It is now a national garden, which opened in 1949, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Japan.
The garden is considered one of the best because it fuses together three types of traditional garden: French Formal, English Landscape, and Japanese traditional. It also happens to be one of the best spots in Tokyo to view the cherry blossoms , as the garden has roughly 1,500 cherry trees. You'll also find Himalayan cedars, cypresses, and tulip trees. The garden is very popular in the autumn, when the leaves start to change to crimson and gold.
Other features of the garden include a greenhouse, beautiful ponds, and several pavilions.
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
Highlights : A 212-acre park home to ponds, historic shrines, and the Ueno Zoo
A paradise-like oasis of green in the heart of busy Tokyo, Ueno Park (Ueno Kōen) is the city's largest green space and one of its most popular tourist attractions. In addition to its lovely grounds, the park also boasts numerous temples and museums to explore.
Criss-crossed by pleasant gravel paths, this 212-acre park includes highlights such as a trip on a small boat on the reed-fringed Shinobazu pond , around a little island with its Bentendo Temple. Be sure to also visit the 17th-century Toshogu Shrine (Nikkō Tōshō-gū), with its 256 bronze and stone lanterns.
Another highlight here is Ueno Zoo (Onshi Ueno Dōbutsuen). Opened in 1882, it is Japan's oldest zoo, and is famous for the pandas presented by the People's Republic of China.
While it's a large attraction and houses more than 3,00 animals representing some 400 species, having a fun monorail connecting its various components can help speed up a visit (and make it even more enjoyable).
The Aqua-Zoo , one of the largest aquariums in Asia, is also worth a visit, especially if you're traveling with kids.
Address: 9-83 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo
Highlights : A centuries-old temple with a 3.3-meter-high red paper lantern and incense that is said to heal ailments
In the Asakusa district of Tokyo, the exquisite Sensō-ji Temple (Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji)) – the city's most famous shrine – stands at the end of a long street market hosting vendors selling masks, carvings, combs made of ebony and wood, toys, kimonos, fabrics, and precious paper goods.
Dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, the temple was established in AD 645 and retains its original appearance despite having been rebuilt numerous times.
Highlights of a visit include seeing the Kaminari-mon Gate with its 3.3-meter-high red paper lantern bearing the inscription "Thunder Gate," as well as the famous and much-loved Incense Vat, reputed to drive away ailments (you'll see people cupping their hands around the smoke and applying it to the part of their body needing healing).
Also of note are the fascinating temple doves, said to be Kannon's sacred messengers. Be sure to drop a coin in the Omikuji boxes near the entrance, from which you can retrieve a piece of paper that will tell your fortune.
Afterward, be sure to explore the rest of the 50-acre temple precinct with its warren of lanes. If you can, revisit the temple again at night for a completely different (and far less crowded) illuminated experience.
Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032
Highlights : A paradise for shoppers with hundreds of shops and restaurants in one of the world's largest pedestrian zones
Ginza is Tokyo's busiest shopping area and it's as iconic as Times Square in New York, and much older. It has in fact been the commercial center of the country for centuries and is where five ancient roads connecting Japan's major cities all met. Lined by exclusive shops and imposing palatial stores, the Ginza district is also fun to simply wander around or. Better still, sit in one of its many tea and coffee shops or restaurants while watching the world rush past.
At weekends, when everything is open, it's a shopper's paradise as traffic is barred, making it one of the world's largest pedestrian zones. Come nightfall, gigantic advertising panels on its many buildings bathe Ginza in bright neon light.
It's also where you'll find the famous Kabuki-za Theatre (see #12 below), home to traditional Kabuki performances, as well as the Shinbashi Enbujō Theatre in which Azuma-odori dances and Bunraku performances are staged.
Highlights : The tallest structure in the country, featuring a restaurant and multiple observation decks
It's hard to miss the Tokyo Skytree (Tōkyō Sukaitsurī). This 634-meter-tall communications and observation tower rises out of the city's Sumida district of Minato like a huge rocket ship.
The country's tallest structure (and the world's tallest freestanding tower), the Tokyo Skytree opened in 2012 and has quickly become one of the city's most visited tourist attractions thanks to the incredible panoramic views from its restaurant and observation decks.
With a base designed in the form of a massive tripod, the tower includes a number of cylindrical observation levels, including one at the 350-meter mark, and another at the 450-meter point - the latter includes a unique glass spiral walkway to an even higher viewpoint with glass floors for those with strong stomachs.
Be sure to also check out the smaller and much older Tokyo Tower , built in 1958 and once the city's tallest structure.
Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo
Highlights : One of the largest collections of historic Japanese clothing and pottery from across Asia
Tokyo National Museum (ōkyō Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan) houses more than 100,000 important works of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian art, including more than 100 national treasures.
Opened in 1938, the TNM, as it's usually known, includes highlights such as numerous Buddhist sculptures from Japan and China dating from the 6th century to the present, as well as fine collections of old textiles, historical weapons, and military equipment.
Also noteworthy are its large collections of historical Japanese clothing and Asian ceramics and pottery. Important artwork includes Japanese paintings from the 7th to the 14th centuries, and another must-see is the museum's exquisite collections of Japanese and Chinese masterpieces of lacquer work of various centuries, including examples of lacquer-carving, gold lacquer, and lacquer with mother of pearl. There are also many fine examples of calligraphy.
English-language guided tours are available. Also worth a visit is the museum's traditional Japanese landscape garden with its three pavilions, including the 17th-century Tein Teahouse (Rokuso-an), and the nearby Museum for East Asiatic Art with its 15 exhibition galleries.
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo
Highlights : A 17th-century palace known for its historic walls, bridge, gate, and garden
The chief attraction of Tokyo's Marunouchi district is the Imperial Palace (Kōkyo) with its beautiful 17th-century parks surrounded by walls and moats. Still in use by the Imperial family, the Imperial Palace stands on the site where, in 1457, the Feudal Lord Ota Dokan built the first fortress, the focal point from which the city of Tokyo (or Edo, as it was then) gradually spread.
As famous as the palace is the Nijubashi Bridge leading to its interior, a structure that takes its name ("double bridge") from its reflection in the water. Other notable features include the two-meter-thick wall surrounding the palace and its gates, one of which leads to the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden.
Tours of the Imperial Palace are available (pre-registration required) and include the Kikyo-mon Gate, Someikan (Visitors' House), Fujimi-yagura ("Mt. Fuji View" Keep), the East Gardens and Inner Gate, the Seimon-tetsubashi bridge, and the Imperial Household Agency Building (be sure to plan ahead).
Another fortress that can be visited is Edo Castle (Chiyoda Castle). Built in 1457, it's located in Tokyo's Chiyoda district.
Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111
Highlights : Hands-on exhibits that teach visitors about everything from earthquakes to weather, energy, robotics, and much more
One of Tokyo's newest museums, the impressive National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Nippon Kagaku Mirai-kan) – usually simply referred to as the Miraikan – offers a fascinating insight into Japan's leading role in the field of technology.
Created by Japan's Science and Technology Agency, this ultra-modern, purpose-built facility includes many hands-on interactive exhibits dealing with everything from earthquakes to weather, as well as renewable energy and robotics. Highlights include a number of displays relating to modern transportation such as a superb model of a Maglev train, as well as a robotics exhibition.
Also worth visiting is the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Completed in 1993, the museum's exhibits deal with the region's rich past, present, and future. Of particular interest is a replica bridge leading into a mock-up of dwellings in the original old city of Edo.
Address: 2-3-6 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo
Highlights : A newly renovated museum housing 250,000 items related to natural history and science
Located in Tokyo's Ueno Park , the superb National Museum of Nature and Science (Kokuritsu Kagaku Hakubutsukan) opened in 1871 and is one of the country's oldest museums.
Now completely renovated and modernized, the museum also boasts a reputation as one of the country's busiest and largest museums, housing a vast collection of some 250,000 materials related to natural history and science.
These include many fascinating interactive displays on space development, nuclear energy, and transportation, each allowing visitors a unique insight into the latest scientific and technological advances. Highlights of the Japan Gallery (Nihonkan) include numerous exhibits of prehistoric creatures and the history of the Japanese people, including traditional customs and outfits. In the Global Gallery (Chikyūkan) you'll see many excellent scientific and technology displays, including robotics and vintage vehicles.
Address: 7-20 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo 110-871
Highlights : A collection of international artists, including Rodin, Monet, Manet, Degas, and many more
Located in Ueno Park and just three minutes' walk from Ueno Station stands the National Museum of Western Art (Kokuritsu Seiyō Bijutsukan). It was built in 1959 to plans by famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier.
The exhibits, largely made up of works by important French artists, come mainly from the collections of Japanese businessman and art collector Kojiro Matsukata, bought during visits to Europe early in the 20th century.
In the courtyard are works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin, while highlights inside are canvases by Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, and Edgar Degas. The museum also boasts an excellent restaurant with great views over the courtyard.
Address: 7-7 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo
Highlights : A permanent collection of more than 600 paintings from the 20th century
Another of Tokyo's world-class museums, the excellent National Art Center (Kokuritsu Shin-Bijutsukan) is housed in a remarkable curved glass building in the city's Roppongi district. This superb facility only opened in 2007 and has since earned a well-deserved reputation for its fine permanent collection of more than 600 paintings, most from the 20th century. These include many important pieces of modern art and regular visiting exhibitions.
Also worth checking out is the Mori Art Museum (Mori Bijutsukan) on the top floors of the neighboring Roppongi Hills Mori Tower . This fine art museum is notable for its regular exhibits of contemporary artwork from around the globe.
Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi Minato City, Tokyo
Highlights : A stunning theater showcasing a centuries-old style of performance
Tokyo is home to a number of excellent theaters, none as well known as the historic Kabuki-za Theatre in the city's busy Ginza district , home to famous traditional Kabuki performances.
Based upon a medieval, highly skilled, and often burlesque theatrical form including song and dance, the theater's performances are as popular among tourists as they are with Japanese-speaking people.
The drama and comedy are relatively easy to follow thanks to rich visuals and theatricality. The theater's interior, usually full to capacity with some 2,000 guests, is always intimate and seems more akin to an enormous family get-together than a stage show due to the fact that spectators bring their own food or purchase treats from the various restaurants spread around the auditorium (go for one of the tasty bento box meals).
Performances can last for hours, and spectators stay as long as they wish (or as long as they can bear). And no one seems to take offense at people's comings and goings, nor their loud cheering or jeering.
Address: 4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061
Highlights : An amusement park with hundreds of cherry trees, water attractions, and rides
Sometimes you just want a day to be a kid again, and that's exactly what Yomiuriland has given to the residents of Tokyo since 1964. This amusement park sits 30 minutes from Tokyo and is home to more than 40 attractions and seasonal activities – think roller coasters, rides, light shows, and even a bungee jump.
The park is open year-round and provides something exciting to do at each time of year. In the spring, the park's more than 1,000 cherry trees blush with a blanket of powder-soft pinks. The summer means the opening of the park's many pools and water attractions. Come winter, the landscape is transformed into a twinkling snowscape wonderland.
Most travelers come to Yomiuriland to ride the Bandit, a rollercoaster that snakes its way through the tops of the cherry trees. Of course, the summer pools and waterslides are also a major selling point for this thrill park. Visitors will also find shopping and restaurants and a stage for entertainment.
Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi, Tokyo 206-8566, Japan
Highlights : Outrageous fashion and futuristic boutiques sit alongside historic attractions and museums.
Nothing is too outrageous when it comes to Tokyo's frenetic Harajuku District. The neighborhood refers to the area near the Harajuku Station, sandwiched between Shinjuku and Shibuya. If you're looking to bend the rules when it comes to everything cultural and fashionable, this is the spot to go.
The main artery of Harajuku (and the best place to spot the crazy teen fashions) is Takeshita Dori, which is flanked on either end by wild and wacky shops. Pink hair, tattoos, and knee-high boots are just the tip of the iceberg here. Even if your style is on the tamer side, fret not – Harajuku has plenty of more mainstream boutiques, as well.
But Harajuku is also home to several historical attractions. Meiji Jingu is located here, as is the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art. Overall, it's the perfect neighborhood to encapsulate Japan's deep-rooted traditions with its surges of futuristic styles.
Highlight : More than 3,000 human beings cross the streets at once at this five-way intersection.
If you've never seen an image of Shibuya Crossing, you may want to take a look before you go. Think Times Square, and multiply it several times over. This intersection is one of the most famous in the world, and most definitely the busiest in Japan, flooded with hundreds of thousands of flashing lights from electronic billboards overhead.
At peak times, it is thought that somewhere around 3,000 people cross this five-way intersection at once. It is undoubtedly the mass-transit nucleus of Tokyo. But if the thought of crossing the street with 3,000 of your newest friends is overwhelming, you can always head to the rooftop of the Shibuya 109-2 department store, which has the best bird's-eye view over the organized chaos below.
And even if you aren't in Shibuya to cross the street, you will still find that this neighborhood is absolutely teeming with fabulous restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. It is certainly a neighborhood not to miss when you visit Tokyo.
- Sightseeing & History in Tokyo : Tokyo is a big city, and taking a tour is a time-efficient way to see the top sites and one of the best ways to learn about what you are seeing. For a little bit of everything, the 1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour is a great option. This is a 10-hour tour taking in some of the city's top sites, like the Skytree, a cruise on Tokyo Bay, a visit to the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace, and more.
- Day Trip to Nikko National Park: Get outside the steel and concrete of Tokyo and into the lush greenery of Nikko National Park with this full-day excursion. The tour takes you into the rolling countryside, past sacred shrines, and into temples. The Nikko 1-Day Bus Tour features Toshogu Shrine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also visit Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.
- Visit Mt. Fuji : Get up close and personal with one of Japan's biggest attractions: Mount Fuji. On the Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise, and Bullet Train Day Trip, you'll be whisked out of the city into the countryside for a visit to Mt. Fuji and some of Japan's other top sites. This tour is approximately 12 hours and also includes Mt. Hakone.
Tokyo is a city that enjoys a temperate climate year-round. But the best time to visit Tokyo is March, April, September, October, and November , thanks to its perfect weather and beautiful blossoms and foliage.
September, October, and November are some of the best times to visit Tokyo because they have the best weather. The weather in Tokyo in the fall ranges from 27 degrees to 16 degrees Celsius. The fall is also when the leaves in Tokyo start to change, particularly in October and November. Keep in mind that this is peak time for travelers, so hotel rates may be higher, and expect crowds.
Tokyo is also fabulous during March, April, and May. Temperatures range from 13 to 22 degrees Celsius. April is when Tokyo is awash in pale pink cherry blossoms, as well.
Summers in Tokyo are also top times for tourists, particularly June, July, and August. Expect throngs of crowds during the summer months, as well as heat and humidity. Still, this is one of the top times for tourists to visit Tokyo because schools are out on summer break.
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While in Tokyo : Be sure to spend time exploring the many great attractions within an easy day trip of Tokyo . Highlights include family favorites Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, as well as a great trip to majestic Mount Fuji .
Take the Train : Thanks to Japan's superb rail system, it's possible to use Tokyo as a base to explore numerous other great cities in a day or less. Options include taking a Bullet train to experience the attractions of historic Kyoto (passing Mount Fuji along the way), or heading to Nagoya and exploring the city's many fine shrines and temples, along with its famous castle.
Japan Vacation Ideas : Another city that would serve equally well as a jumping-off point from which to explore Japan is Hiroshima . Here, you can enjoy the amazing Island Shrine of Itsukushima (you can spend the best part of a day here), as well as the many reminders of the city's part in WWII, including Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum. The city of Sapporo on the northernmost island of Hokkaido is also a good place to enjoy the country's rich culture, history, and traditions.
More on Japan
Tokyo (����, Tōkyō) is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures , consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.
Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. Previously a small castle town , Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's largest cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the air raids of 1945.
Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping , entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. The city's history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa and in many excellent museums , historic temples and gardens . Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.
Top attractions in Tokyo
Tsukiji Outer Market •
Koishikawa Korakuen •
Hama Rikyu •
Imperial East Gardens •
Imperial Palace •
Tokyo Dome City
State Guest House
Tokyo National Museum ••
Tokyo Skytree ••
Sensoji Temple •
Edo-Tokyo Museum •
Ueno Park •
Tokyo Solamachi •
Sumida Hokusai Museum
Meiji Shrine •
Shinjuku Gyoen •
Yebisu Garden Place
Institute for Nature •
Toyosu Market •
Roppongi Hills •
Tokyo Water Bus
Kyu Shiba Rikyu
Tokyo DisneySea ••
Tokyo Disneyland ••
Ghibli Museum •
Mount Mitake •
Edo Open Air Museum
Showa Memorial Park
Kasai Rinkai Koen
The Making of Harry Potter
Sanja Matsuri •
Kanda Matsuri •
Japan Mobility Show •
Tokyo Game Show
Fuji Five Lakes •
Kusatsu Onsen •
Izu Peninsula •
Tokyo by interest
Getting there and around
- Tranquil Meiji Shrine
- Urban exploring in Shibuya
- Shopping in Shinjuku and youth culture in Harajuku
- Ancient Sensoji Temple
- Cruise down the Sumida River
- Shopping in modern Odaiba
- Exploring Shinjuku's busy streets
- Relaxing in Shinjuku Gyoen
- Taking in the skyscraper district
- Exploring Asakusa area
- Serene Imperial East Gardens
- Lively Ginza shopping district
- Old-fashioned post town
- Artsy Tennozu Isle
- Waterfront walk
Questions? Ask in our forum .
Links and Resources
Tokyo metropolitan government, hotels around tokyo, tokyo hotel guide.
How to choose the best places to stay in Tokyo