Tokyo is simply amazing with a lot to offer. We share the best places to visit in Tokyo, Japan so you can plan the perfect trip.
Note: If you are visiting Japan for the first time, here is the perfect 2 week itinerary!
Best places to visit in Tokyo
Home to a bustling shopping area, a variety of restaurants and clubs, and a selection of arcade and gaming stores; Shinjuku is where the city heads to for a good night. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station – making it easy to get lost! Some of Tokyo’s best hotels can be found in the skyscraper district just west of the station along with the Metropolitan Government Building. Restaurants in the Kabukicho ‘red light’ distract are typically open from 11 am – 12 am with some open 24 hours whilst the clubs typically open around 7 or 8 pm and stay open until the early hours of the morning. Check out Omoide Yokocho; also known as memory lane and nicknamed Piss Alley; a network of alleyways with some of the best eateries in Tokyo.
There are some awesome restaurants in this area but none are as popular as the unusual but fun Robot Restaurant!
Open from sunrise to sunset with no entrance fee, the best way to get to Meiji Shrine is by taking the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station, with the entrance just a few steps from the station.
Completed in 1920, this shrine is a popular choice for anyone visiting Tokyo. The shrine was destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt and dedicated to Emperor Meiji. Walk through the massive Torii Gate and find yourself surrounded by thousands of trees as you walk the ten-minute stretch from the gates to the main complex of the shrine, where you come across the tranquil grounds and explore the buildings, temple, and gardens.
For a great view of Tokyo, head to Tokyo Tower; an iconic structure of Tokyo and not dissimilar to the Eiffel Tower. In fact, you can even treat yourself to some macaroons from the main observatories café. If you are visiting with a partner, this is a romantic thing to do in Tokyo and we loved it!
Open 9 am to 11 pm and costs 900 yen for the main observatory (150m) and another 700 yen to visit the special observatory (250m). Get the Metro Oedo Line to Akabanebashi station and the tower is just a 5-minute walk from Akabanebashi Gate.
Ticket time slots are available from 8 am to 8.30 pm with day tickets with no time assignment costing 2060 yen and advanced purchase tickets with an assigned day and time costing 2560 yen. You can catch the Tobu Skytree Line from Asakusa station or catch the Tosi Asakusa line or the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon line to Oshiage SkyTree station. Enjoy views of the city from this new skyscraper; the Tokyo Skytree.
Tsukiji Fish market
Check the official market calendar for open dates and remember that early morning tuna auctions begin promptly at 5 am and people line up for auction tickets from 4 am, with 120 entrance tickets available. Registration is free but you need to get there as early as you can. It may be worth watching some youtube clips of the auction to decide whether you want to visit at this time in the morning. If you decide to go early then you will need to walk or organize a taxi in advance as there are no subways at this time and it may be difficult to get a taxi from the street at this time.
Most people who wish to enjoy the market head there between 7 and 9 am. To travel by subway at this time, you can catch the Toei Oedo Subway Line to Tsukiji Shijo Station or the Tokyo Metro Hibiya subway line to Tsukiji Station.
A popular choice for tourists and Japanese alike, the Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most exciting and delicious markets in the world. You can head here super early to watch the auctioning of the fish or later in the morning to explore and eat the best fish in Tokyo.
Creative Tip: When you are packing for Tokyo, bring layers; the market can get quite chilly in the early morning.
Open from 6 am to 5 pm with free entrance, the best way to get to Senso-ji temple is to take the JR Yamanote Line from Tokyo Station to Kanda Station then transfer to the Ginza subway line to Asakusa. If you’re heading from Shinjuku Station, jump on the orange JR Chup Line to Kanda station and change here for Ginza to Asakusa.
Explore the Buddhist temple of Senso-ji; a bright and colorful temple as well as Tokyo’s oldest. This is a stunning area to explore, with a shopping street leading up to the temple offering Japanese souvenirs and traditional snacks.
Harajuku shopping district
The shopping district of Tokyo, for more information you can read our article on the Harajuku shopping area. This is a popular area to explore, especially on a Sunday, when quirky fashionistas can be spotted and the stores come to life.
Tokyo Imperial Palace
Open from 9 am to 5 pm with admission free. There are various ways to access the Imperial Palace, with several entrance gates around the complex. Detailed options can be found here.
The Imperial Palace is named so because of its residence of the Imperial family. It is a fascinating complex, full of ancient stone bridges, beautiful gardens, luxurious architecture, and fascinating museums.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Whether you visit the Government building during the day or evening, you will find a gorgeous and endless view of the city of Tokyo.
Made famous by its electronic shops and anime stores, Akihabara is a great place to spend a few hours having some fun in the arcades and exploring the various stores.
Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea
Opening times vary from 8 or 9am to 10pm. Tickets cost 6900 yen for one day in one park; multi park tickets are only available when purchasing 3 or 4 day passes. From Shinjuku station you can catch the JR Chuo Line rapid train to Tokyo station, then change to get either the JR Keiyo line or the JR Musashino line to Maihama.
Disney parks do often appear on my top things to do list because a) I am a big kid, b) I love Disney and c) it is a great way to spend a day, having thrills and fun whilst enjoying a typical theme park with the countries own twist. If you have at least 10 days in Japan, why not visit the Disney parks then head down to Osaka and visit Universal Studios too!
Both Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea are fantastic parks and perfect for families, so choose one or spend two days exploring both.
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
Open from 10 am to 5 pm with tickets costing 620 yen. Catch the JR Saikyo Line to the Tokyo Teleport Station, walk through the shopping center as you exit the station, and follow directions for the museum.
Tokyo is known for its innovative and developing technology, head to the National Museum to catch the famous Asimo Robot.
The park is open from 9 am to 4.30 pm with a 200 yen entrance fee. It is just a ten-minute walk from the new south exit of JR Shinjuku Station and a 5-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station.
As one of Tokyo’s largest parks, Shinjuku Gyoen is a popular choice for many. The park is comprised of three different gardens; a traditional Japanese landscape garden, a French symmetrically arrange garden, and an open English landscape. Head here in the spring to catch the beautiful cherry blossoms.
Whilst in Tokyo, try to catch a baseball game, American football game, or concert at the Tokyo Dome. The architecture is impressive in itself and is also surrounded by various rides. A one-day pass for all the rides costs 3900 yen or some rides can be paid for individually. You can catch the JR Chuo-Sobu line or the Mita line to Suido Bashi Street or the Marunouchi and Namboku line to Korakuen Street.
Standing at 3776 meters high, Mount Fuji is Japan if not Asia’s most famous Volcano. It can be seen from Tokyo on clear days or you can enjoy a walk around Fuji Five Lake. You can climb the volcano during July and August with some guesthouses on the lower levels of the mountain for those wishing to climb the mountain for sunrise. Climbing the mountain can take 5-7 hours with various routes available.
Extra things to do in Tokyo:
- Make sure you check out an Onsen in Tokyo to truly relax.
- Looking for a unique hotel stay? You can enjoy a Japanese Temple Stay in many cities across Japan.
- Visit the magical Ghibli Museum for a sneak peek at Japan’s famous animation studios.
- Sleeping in a capsule is a must – even if you try it for one night then move into a hotel.
- Enjoy a day trip to Kamakura to visit the Giant Buddha and peaceful teahouses.
Any questions or comments, leave them in the comments below!
5 DAYS IN TOKYO, JAPAN - A FULL ITINERARY • Creative Travel Guide
Wednesday 25th of July 2018
[…] decided to head back to Japan later this year and spend some time in Osaka. There is so much to see and do in Tokyo and by no means did we see everything we wanted to see. There are also some more great temples and […]
Wednesday 18th of April 2018
Great list of things to do in Tokyo! I really loved touring the Meiji Shrine...Tokyo is such a loud, frenetic city that it was nice to have an oasis of calm and quiet in the midst of the hustle and bustle!
Sunday 8th of April 2018
Great tips for Tokyo. It is always overwhelming when cities are complicated to figure out and this article is really helpful to make a list.