Wondering what to do in Tokyo? Or looking for things to see in Tokyo? That’s a hard one to figure out because there are so many things to see and do in this city. But it’s also one of the attractions of Japan’s capital city. Whether you’d like to see the old and traditional parts of Japan or whether you’re looking to discover the fashionable and sophisticated city life, Tokyo is a place that you can find both. Below are 15 places you must see in Tokyo.
Best Things to Do or Visit in Tokyo
1. Tokyo Tower
You can ask anyone in Japan, Tokyo Tower is the symbol of Tokyo. It was built as an electronic communications tower in 1958. The view from the observation deck is great, but the view of Tokyo Tower rising from the city skyline at night is even better. You can see an amazing view of it along with the city lights from observation decks at Roppongi Hills, the Ginza Six department store roof, and the Hamamatsucho World Trade Center. Another symbolic broadcasting tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, was built in 2012 so be careful not to get confused as they are in completely different areas of the city.
For more information about Tokyo Tower click here.
Asakusa is an area in the older part of the city. The famous sightseeing spot in Asakusa is the Sensoji Temple, right outside of the train station. The bright red gate with a Japanese lantern hanging from the middle of it is the beginning of the street leading to this temple. You’ll find hundreds of tourists in Asakusa and around this street. There are shops selling all kinds of souvenirs and Japanese sweets lining the street, so it’s a great place to start your sightseeing.
For more information about Asakusa visit Planetyze.
3. Hamarikyu Garden
This is a traditional Japanese style garden near the Sumida river. It’s a quick walk from Shiodome station, but another fantastic way to see the city and visit this garden at once is by river boat. The river cruise goes up and down the Sumida river so you can board the boat in Asakusa and ride it down to the garden instead of getting on the train. In the spring, you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms here and along the river if you use the river cruise.
4. Shibuya Crossing
I suppose this crossing in Shibuya has become famous because it appeared in a few video games or on television. It seems that tourists are just confounded about how the Japanese people are able to cross this crossing without bumping into anyone when so many people are crossing it all at once. It’s an experience you can’t have anywhere else in the world. You can also watch this phenomenon from above from Shibuya station. Personally, seeing it from above on a rainy day with everybody holding umbrellas makes it look like a carpet of colorful umbrellas seems to bloom out of nowhere when the pedestrian signal turns green.
Harajuku is the origin of the “kawaii” culture. If you’ve never heard of this term before, “kawaii” means cute in Japanese. On weekends, hundreds of young people gather in Takeshita Street in Harajuku to go shopping for “kawaii” things, and show off their “kawaii” fashion. There are even colorful “kawaii” things to eat. First timers are often surprised at how crowded the street is. It’s like an overpacked rush hour train on ground level. However, because of the popularity of this fashionable area, many stores trying to find their foothold in the markets of Tokyo, open their first shops here.
For more videos and information about Harajuku visit Planetyze.
If you like Japanese “manga” or “anime”, this is the place for you. You’ll find stores for all kinds of goods relating to Japanese comics or games. This is the origin of the maid cafe too, a cafe where waitresses dressed as maids welcome their masters or mistresses. It’s also a central place to furnish all of your electronic needs. There are hundreds of stores selling electronics, and many tourists come to buy souvenirs in bulk.
For more information about Akihabara visit Planetyze.
7. Meiji Jingu
Meiji Jingu Shrine is located in the middle of a forest in the middle of the city. This green sanctuary is located right next to Harajuku station, but once your inside, it’s so quiet and peaceful you’d never believe it. This shrine is possible the most famous shrine in Tokyo and an unbelievable number of people come to pay their respects on the first day of the New Year. The line to pray at the shrine is hours long even in the middle of the night on New Year’s Day, so visiting at another time of the year is a better choice.
8. Roppongi Hills / Tokyo Midtown
Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown are shopping malls in the high end part of town. Regardless, they are popular locations to spend a day for both tourists and local people alike. You can enjoy the restaurants there, as well as the observatory deck at Roppongi Hills. They are located within a 10 minute walking distance of each other, so it’s possible to visit both in a short amount of time. One thing you should be aware of is that there are two Tokyo Midtowns, one is the one in Roppongi and the other is the Tokyo Midtown Hibiya. Both of them are fancy shopping facilities.
9. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is in the older part of Tokyo. The park holds a number of museums and the Ueno Zoo, so if you’re looking for taking a day to enjoy the art and culture of Tokyo or if you have a small child with you who enjoys animals like pandas, this is the place to go. Ueno Park is also a famous place to see the cherry blossoms. You’ll find countless numbers of local people holding cherry blossom picnics under the trees in spring. Buy something to eat at the station and join them. That is, if you can find an empty spot.
For more info about Ueno Park click here.
10. Tokyo Sky Tree
This is the newest broadcasting tower in Tokyo. It was built in 2012 and has a height of 634 m. There is a two tier observation deck and they are so high, you’ll feel like your seeing a miniature diorama when you look down. The view from the observatory is wonderful. You can even see Mount Fuji in the distance if the sky is clear. On the other hand, because of the height of the tower, the observation deck disappears in the clouds on a rainy day.
For more information about Tokyo Sky Tree click here.
11. Shinjuku Gyoen Park
Shinjuku Gyoen Park is located in Shinjuku, a quick walk from Shinjuku Sanchome subway station or a 10 minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station. This is a wide park located in the middle of the city. It used to be owned by the Imperial Family, but it is now a very popular public park. There is an old Japanese garden there, along with an English garden, and a greenhouse with subtropical flowers. This park overflows with people during the cherry blossom season.
Odaiba is a bayfront area with a number of shopping malls. There is a beautiful view of the Rainbow Bridge and the city lights from this area at night, and you can see a humongous robot outside the shopping mall, Diver City. There is a Ferris Wheel and an outlet mall in another shopping mall, Venus Fort. There is also an indoor theme park called Joypolis as well as a movie theater in yet another shopping mall, so this area is just right to spend a rainy or cold day.
13. Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is located in the middle of Tokyo. You can walk to the Imperial Palace Plaza from Tokyo Station, and also see the famous Nijubashi Bridge. There is a common misconception that you’ll be able to see an actual palace at this location. However, you won’t find an ancient Japanese palace here and the part of the grounds that includes the building that the Imperial Family actually lives in is off limits to the public. However, the stone moat and bridge are fascinating from an architectural and historical standpoint.
14. Tokyo Disneyland & Disney Sea
If you’re looking for plain fun as a family, visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. It’s probably not recommended to try visit both parks in a single day, so why don’t you stay in the area and visit one each day. There are evening tickets that allow you to enter after 6 pm on weekdays and 3 pm on weekends, so going sightseeing during the day, and visiting the theme parks in the evenings is also a great way to save time.
15. Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest market in Tokyo. It is famous for the tuna fish auctions in the wee hours of the morning and the delicious fresh sushi you can have for breakfast if you are an early riser. The market consists of an inner market and an outer market, and in October 2018, the inner market was moved to Toyosu. It is now renamed the New Toyosu Market. Now, visitors are allowed from 10 am, but the tuna fish auctions remain closed to the public until January 2019. Strangely, the outer market still remains at Tsukiji, and is still a popular place to visit.
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