Things to do in Tokyo

Things to do in  Tokyo

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Fast-paced, futuristic, and phenomenal, Tokyo is a thrilling, dazzling, and often confounding city. Nowhere on earth skillfully weaves technology and tradition quite as well as the Japanese capital, which is as devoted to fickle fashion trends as long-established rituals. Travelers will never tire of things to do in Tokyo, whether you want to live it up on the neon-washed streets of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ginza, visit such landmarks as Senso-ji Temple and Tokyo Imperial Palace, or eat your way around the city's paper lantern-lit backstreets.

Top 15 attractions in Tokyo

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

As Japan's highest mountain, the legendary Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san) stands 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) tall. Travelers from around the world head to Hakone National Park to see the mountain, and over 1 million of them hike all the way to the top each year for the 360-degree views of Lake Ashi, the Hakone mountains, and the Owakudani Valley.More


The area surrounding Shibuya Station—famous for its busy streets, flashing neon advertisements, trendy boutiques, and teeming malls—ranks among Tokyo’s most energetic neighborhoods. Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in its own right.More

Lake Ashi (Ashi-no-ko)

In the shadow of Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi (Ashi-no-ko), is a scenic spot in Hakone National Park. Considered sacred by the Japanese, it is home to the famous Hakone Shinto shrine. Visitors come to see the shrine, take a boat out on the lake, or enjoy the many hiking trails in the area.More

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

Located in Tokyo's Asakusa district, the must-see Senso-ji Temple combines architecture, centers of worship, Japanese gardens, and traditional markets to offer visitors a modern look at Japan’s ancient history and culture. The ancient temple, among Tokyo's oldest, is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and houses statues of other gods guarding gates, shrines, and halls.More

Tokyo Tower

At 1,092 feet (333 meters) tall, Tokyo Tower is an impressive Japanese landmark offering 360-degree views of the city from its two observation decks. Built in 1958 from red and white latticed steel, the Eiffel Tower-inspired structure houses a wax museum, a Shinto Shrine, an aquarium, restaurants, and other entertainment spots.More


Akihabara, also commonly known as “Electric Town,” is the go-to district in Tokyo for electronics—and a popular spot to immerse in anime and manga culture. The area’s hundreds of stores sell everything from computer parts to home goods, and north of Akihabara Station, you’ll also find video games and popular manga-related items.More

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Home to Japan’s Emperor, the Tokyo Imperial Palace occupies the site of the original Edo Castle (Edo-jō), the Tokugawa shogunate's castle, which was once the largest fortress in the world. Located in the center of Tokyo, the palace is surrounded by moats and serene gardens.More

Tokyo Skytree

Since opening in 2012, the Tokyo Skytree has taken the title of Japan’s tallest building—and one of the tallest in the world—measuring an incredible 2,080 feet (634 meters) high. In addition to serving as a TV and radio broadcast tower, it has two observation decks affording spectacular views across Tokyo and the distant Mount Fuji.More

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

The Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is the most important and popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, in 1926, the shrine comprises buildings of worship, gardens, and a forest where each tree was planted by a different citizen of Japan wanting to pay respects to the emperor. A highlight of the shrine is the Meiji Memorial Hall, where visitors find more than 80 murals dedicated to the emperor.More

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

With a long history dating back to 1063, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura, and the spiritual and cultural heart of the city. Dedicated to Hachiman, the patron saint of samurais, the complex contains several shrines and museums, and is a popular venue for festivals, weddings, and other events.More

Mt. Fuji 5th Station

At 7,546 feet (2,300 meters), Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station affords incredible views over Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone National Park. Easily accessible by road, 5th Station lies at the midpoint of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji’s summit; many hikers begin their ascent here.More


With its neon lights, towering department stores, and trendy nightclubs, Tokyo’s upscale shopping district of Ginza is a chic, cosmopolitan adventure. You can catch a Kabuki performance, check out the latest Japanese film or art exhibition, and dine at some of Tokyo’s best restaurants. And, then, of course, there’s the shopping.More

Hakone Ropeway

Tokyo’s Hakone Ropeway is the second-longest cable car in the world. Visitors come to experience the thrill of a cable car ride, with views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi along the way.More

Hama Rikyu Gardens

Lining the Tokyo waterfront, Hama Rikyu is a spacious landscaped garden, often considered to be Tokyo’s Central Park. From teahouses to quiet pools, it’s a welcome green space in this busy city.More


Tokyo’s Harajuku district is known the world over for the youthful crowds that gather there to flaunt their wild fashions. This is where you can spot local teens dressed up in colorful and outlandish punk, goth, and anime costumes. But there’s even more to Harajuku than over-the-top street style.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Tokyo

Mt Fuji, Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
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1 Day Private Mt Fuji Tour (Charter) - English Speaking Driver
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Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver
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Best of Shibuya Food Tour

Best of Shibuya Food Tour

Mt Fuji and Hakone 1-Day Bus Tour return by Bullet Train (Shinkansen)
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1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour

1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour

Tokyo go Kart experience in Asakusa→Skytree→Akihabara**IDP must**
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Mount Fuji and Hakone guide photographer public transportation
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Official Street Go-Kart Tour - Tokyo Bay Shop
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Scenic Spots of Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi 1 Day Bus Tour
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Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise 1 Day Bus Trip from Tokyo
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All about Tokyo

When to visit

Tokyo’s summers are hot and humid, and winters are cold. Spring and fall are more comfortable as temperatures are warm but not too hot, and there’s little chance of rain. The city comes to life for cherry blossom season in spring and for autumn leaf season in fall, with parties held in parks. Golden Week (April 29-May 5) is especially busy due to a string of public holidays, so stay away if you don’t like crowds.

Getting around

Tokyo’s extensive network of trains, subway lines, and buses make getting around easy, and you don’t need to know Japanese to navigate it. A slight complicating factor is that many but not all train lines are run by Japan Rail, and the subway is operated by different companies. Not all companies and lines are integrated, so switching train or subway lines sometimes involves leaving one station and entering another with the same or a similar name.

Traveler tips

Tokyo is a large city with many tall buildings and lots of concrete. But there are also many parks and gardens. The formal Japanese gardens at Shinjuku Gyoen and the tree-lined pathways leading to Meiji Jingu are great places to experience Japanese culture, while the East Garden of the Imperial Palace is one of the best gardens for spring cherry blossom viewing. Large Ueno Park contains many attractions, including museums and a zoo.


A local’s pocket guide to Tokyo

Claire Bourillon

While living in Tokyo, Claire spent her time exploring the traditional and modern streets of the city, shopping in Harajuku, and eating at izakayas (Japanese pub restaurants).

The first thing you should do in Tokyo is...

get an IC rechargeable card—it makes it easier to travel around the city’s public transport network and explore.

A perfect Saturday in Tokyo...

starts with a stroll in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, followed by a visit to the National Museum, a shabu-shabu hotpot in Shinjuku, and karaoke to end the day.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Shibuya Crossing. Wait to cross alongside thousands of pedestrians while staring wide-eyed at the flashing advert-filled screens.

To discover the "real" Tokyo...

wander the historic Asakusa district, take a tour of the Senso-ji Temple, and sample kibi dango (mini mochi balls) and taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes).

For the best view of the city...

climb to the free observatories in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. On cloudless days you might be able to glimpse Mt. Fuji.

One thing people get wrong...

The language barrier is real but Tokyoites will do their best to help, so don’t hesitate to ask.


People Also Ask

What is Tokyo best known for?

The sprawling, neon-soaked metropolis is known as one of the most exciting cities in the world. It’s a place where ancient traditions sit side by side with the thrillingly futuristic. While it’s home to many attractions, from the Imperial Palace to Senso-ji temple, it’s the experience of simply being here that draws return visitors to Tokyo.

What should you not miss in Tokyo?

From the Skytree to Roppongi Hills’ Mori Tower, Tokyo is home to many observation decks that offer sweeping views of the city’s complex skyline. The twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building have two observation decks, which offer some of the city’s best views, stretching as far as Mt. Fuji. And the best part is that they’re free.

What kind of activities can you do in Tokyo?

Foodies will find some of the best restaurants in the world in Tokyo, while history lovers can enjoy the museums, ancient temples, and shrines, and nature lovers while away hours in the sprawling parks. From beer and yakitori in a tiny alleyway to dancing the night away at a megaclub, the nightlife scene is also top-notch.

How many days in Tokyo is enough?

A lifetime in Tokyo wouldn’t be enough to experience everything it has to offer. But, for starters, give yourself at least a week to visit the must-see attractions and get a taste of the city’s different districts. If time is tight and Tokyo is just one stop in Japan, try for three days at the minimum.

What outdoor activities are in Tokyo?

Tokyo is a surprisingly green city and exploring the city’s parks, such as Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Koen, is a highlight, especially during cherry blossom season. Just outside the city, hiking the trails of Mount Takao makes for a great day trip, as does wandering around the ancient capital of Kamakura or enjoying the hot springs of Hakone.

Do they speak English in Tokyo?

Yes, to an extent. While you’ll likely come across more English speakers (and bilingual signage) in Tokyo than anywhere else in Japan, the language is not widely spoken beyond the basics. While you can certainly get by in Tokyo without any Japanese, you should learn at least a few phrases.

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