Top attractions in Tokyo
Top 10 things to do in Tokyo
The Japanese capital is both bold and humble, chaotic yet ordered, with people-watching as much an attraction as the sightseeing. You'll also discover great food, eccentric shopping, and a unique nightlife, but here's a mixed bag of essentials to squeeze in!
1. Tokyo Tower
Tokyo's answer to the Eiffel Tower provides visitors with more than just an observation deck. It's also home to the Guinness World Records Museum, an aquarium, and a wax museum!
Most famous for being the heart of Tokyo's youth culture, the district is great for unique boutiques and restaurants. It's even better for sipping Macha and watching people go by!
3. Senso-ji Temple
Tokyo's most visited temple remains a site of spiritual worship as well as a hotspot for tourism. The elegant structure makes a key addition to any sightseeing tour.
4. Meiji Shrine
If you find Senso-ji a little too busy, then check out the sublimely austere Meiji-jingu, dedicated to the 19th-century emperor who opened Japan to the West.
5. Tokyo Skytree
On a clear day you can see as far as Mount Fuji, but it's at night when the views from Japan's tallest structure are most mind-blowing! It's open daily from 8:00AM till 10:00PM.
6. Tokyo Imperial Palace
Built on the site of the old Edo Castle, the resplendent palace gardens are made for slow history tours. They're free, but you must apply online in advance.
7. Tokyo National Museum
With the world's largest collection of Japanese arts and artifacts – from ancient pottery to majestic sculptures and samurai swords – you really can't miss the National Museum!
8. Shibuya Crossing
What to see for free in Tokyo? The world's busiest pedestrian crossing descends into organized chaos every 2 minutes. It's more impressive when it's crowded, so go at rush hour!
9. Cat Café
Cat cafés are a surprisingly common sight, but which to choose? Try the fairytale decor of Temari no Ouchi in Musashino or find unusual breeds at Chiyoda's Neko JaLaLa.
10. Tsukiji Fish Market
Up early? The world's largest and liveliest fish market is open daily from 5:00AM for the tuna auction, with several stalls selling the freshest sushi for breakfast!
Planning Your Visit
Best time to visit?
Summer sees visitors flock to the already crowded city, but the best time to go is between September and November. Temperatures remain moderate to warm and the end of peak season means less crowds and shorter lines. Many of Tokyo's sights are completely transformed by the autumn foliage and spring is, naturally, another great time to visit for the parks, trees, and floral displays!
How many days?
First time visitors should book at least 4 or 5 days to see Tokyo. However, a few extra days also allows time to check out other major cities like Kyoto or Osaka. Not that you'd be stuck for attractions in the capital!
How to get around?
Taxis are incredibly expensive and always run the risk of hitting stubborn traffic jams. The best way to get around Tokyo is via its extensive subway network. Be warned though, information in English is hard to come by, so prepare for you journey in advance and don't be afraid to ask station staff or commuters for help!
Good to know
- JPY (¥)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+09:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- A visit in the fall offers mild temperatures, shorter lines, and beautiful foliage!
Other Sightseeing Options in Tokyo
Want to discover all there is to do in Tokyo? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Tokyo
I met my guide at the designated meeting place near the station. She was early so we had extra time to get acquainted. I was the only on the tour so Kazumi was very flexible to my interests. She was informative, engaging, and warm - all along expressing her genuine love for the city and showing non-locals the insiders’ way around the market. She was prepared with literature, graphics and pictures. We had fantastic treats - exceptional quality of ingredients. I recommend this tour with Kazumi. One small recommendation: I would suggest shifting the tour time slightly to bridge the lunch time opening of some establishments in order to timely spread the tastings before, during, and after the lunch period.
Our guide Rio was charming, informative and had a lovely sense of humor. The museum exhibits were fascinating and the Samurai “fight” was entertaining. The visit was topped off with the opportunity to dress in Samurai outfits and ladies traditional outfits to take some pictures. I would highly recommend a visit to the Shinjuku Samurai Museum!
Pocket wifi was waiting for us when we arrived at hotel. Extremely easy to get set up, and has been an absolute blessing having unlimited internet access on the move. Highly recommended!!
Everything has gone well so far with receipt of the pocket wifi at the hotel and instructions for hook up. A return envelope is also provided.
We had a fantastic tour with an extremely informative guide. Highly recommended and would happily take the tour again next time I'm in Tokyo.