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Things to do in Tokyo

Things to do in  Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo

Neon lights and cherry blossoms. Sacred tea ceremonies and robot cabaret shows. Buddhist temples and high-octane sumo matches. The Japanese capital of Tokyo is a city of contradictions, where ancient traditions coincide with modern culture. Sightseeing tours help travelers get oriented with the sprawling metropolis and visit sights such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Meiji Jingu Shrine, and Senso-ji Temple. Dinner at a robot cabaret and a tour of Kabukicho offer a taste of the city’s eclectic nature. And food and market tours show off the best of Tokyo’s cuisine. Tokyo is also home base for day trips to Lake Ashi, Mt. Fuji, and Kyoto.

When to visit

Sakura (cherry blossom season) is indisputably the best, albeit busiest, time to visit Tokyo. The peak of the season varies each year according to the weather, but blooms are generally at their brightest from late March to early April. If you want to avoid the crowds, fall (September to November) is a great time to see Japan’s natural landscapes drenched in autumn colors.

Getting around

Due to its status as the world’s largest city, Tokyo doesn’t lend itself well to walking. The best method of getting around is the metro, an efficient yet mind-boggling transport system of multiple branches. Make your life infinitely easier by getting a PASMO, a prepaid travel card that will save you from lining up at ticket machines and trying to decipher Japanese characters to determine ticket costs.

Traveler tips

For a unique cultural experience, don’t miss an early-morning tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market, where colossal tuna fish are snapped up for sushi in seconds. Viewing the free public auction is on a strict first-come, first-serve basis, so ensure you arrive at least two hours early to register.

In Tokyo, tipping is not customary, even though excellent service comes as standard. In restaurants, bars, and taxis, don’t be offended if your tip is refused—profuse thanks receive much more of a warm welcome.

Top 10 attractions in Tokyo

#1

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

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The legendary Mount Fuji is 12,388 feet tall (3,776 meters) and is Japan’s highest mountain. With spectacular, 360-degree views of Lake Ashinko, the Hakone mountains, and the Owakudani Valley, climbing Mt. Fuji is an unforgettable experience. Named after the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi, Mount Fuji is a holy mountain that attracts over one million people annually to hike to the summit. The climbing season is from July to August, when the weather is the mildest.More
#2

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

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The Asakusa Temple combines majestic architecture, centers of worship, elaborate Japanese gardens, and traditional markets to give you a modern-day look at the history and culture of Japan. Erected in the year 645 AD, in what was once an old fishing village, the Asakusa Temple was dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kanon. Known as the Senso-ji Temple in Japan, it is located in the heart of Asakusa, known as the "low city," on the banks of the Sumida River. Stone-carved statues of Fujin (the Wind god) and Raijin (the Thunder god) guard the entrance of the temple, known as Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate. Next is the Hozomon Gate, leading to the shopping streets of Nakamise, filled with local vendors selling folk-crafts and Japanese snacks. There is also the Kannondo Hall, home of the stunning Asakusa shrine.More
#3

Tokyo Imperial Palace

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The Tokyo Imperial Palace is home to the head of state, and is where the Imperial Family lives. It is also the former site of the Edo Castle. Filled with gardens, ancient stone bridges, and museums, the Tokyo Imperial Palace is a beautiful, historical, and important cultural landmark in Japan. In front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two ancient, stone bridges that lead to the inner palace grounds. The inner palace grounds are not open to the public, except on January 2 and December 23, two days that commemorate the New Year and the Emperor's birthday. However, the Imperial East Gardens are open to the public, and stand at the foot of the hill where the foundation of the Edo Castle tower still remains. The gardens have a natural pond, with groomed trees and lush greenery.More
#4

Tsukiji Fish Market

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The Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest wholesale fish market in the world. Located in central Tokyo, it handles over 2,000 tons of sea products a day. Because of the huge and rare fish available, and the busy atmosphere, the Tsukiji market is one of the most popular destinations in Tokyo. The tuna fish auction is especially bustling and fun to watch, as buyers and sellers shout and compete for better prices, but it is only open to visitors from 5:00am to 6:15am to keep the numbers of people at bay and to conduct business properly.More
#5

Tokyo Tower

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At 1,092 feet (333 meters) tall, Tokyo Tower is an impressive Japanese landmark that offers 360-degree views of the city. Housing an aquarium, two observation decks, a Shinto shrine, a wax museum, and the famous Foot-Town, Tokyo Tower is a great center for entertainment. Built in 1958 and inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is the central feature of Tokyo. At night, the tower lights up, creating a beautiful glow throughout the city. The first floor is home to an aquarium that has over 50,000 fish, a souvenir shop, restaurants, Club 333, and the first observatory. Next is the second floor, which houses the food court. Then there’s the wax museum and Guinness World Record Museum on the third floor. The fourth floor has an arcade center, and finally, on the top floor is the Main Observatory and the Amusement Park Roof Garden.More
#6

Tokyo Skytree

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Opened in May 2012, Tokyo's newest landmark, the Tokyo Skytree, has entered the record books as the world's second tallest building. A broadcasting tower that houses a restaurant, a café and two observation decks, Tokyo Skytree towers above Tokyo at a height of 634 meters (2,080 feet). At 350 meters (1,148 feet) and 450 meters (1,476 feet) high, the Tokyo Skytree has the highest observation decks in Japan with unsurpassed views over Tokyo. To reach the highest observation deck, visitors can walk up a spiraling corridor that circles the tower and offers dizzying views across the city below.More
#7

Shibuya

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Shibuya is a popular shopping district and entertainment center in Tokyo. It is home to the eccentric fashions of Harajuku, department stores and boutiques, post-modern buildings, and many different museums. Known for its busy streets, flashing lights, and neon advertisements, Shibuya is a definite sight to see. Next to the Shibuya train station is the statue of Hachikō, a legendary dog that waited for his late master, every day in front of the station, for twelve years. The surrounding area is known as Hachikō Square, and is the most popular area for locals to meet. Nearby is the Center Gai, a little street packed with stores, boutiques, department stores, restaurants, and arcades. Close to the Center Gai are a series of strange and fun museums, including the Bunkamura-dori, Tobacco and Salt Museum, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company Electric Energy Museum. There are many clubs and performance spaces in the area as well.More
#8

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

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The Meiji Shrine is the most important and popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. It was dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shōken in 1926. The shrine is made up of buildings of worship, forests, and gardens. Each tree in the Meiji Forest was planted by a different Japanese citizen wanting to pay his respects to the Emperor. Meiji is thought of as the man who helped modernize Japan, and though the shrine was originally bombed in WWII, the shrine was restored in 1958.More
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#10

Aokigahara Forest

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The eerily quiet Aokigahara Forest calls out for lost souls. This forest, situated at the northwest base of Mount Fuji, has a long and storied history in Japanese mythology as a place of evil, demons, and paranormal activity. It’s not all ancient history, though; today, Aokigahara Forest sees more suicides per year than anywhere in the world other than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The forest has several nicknames, including the “Sea of Trees,” and – less flatteringly, “Suicide Forest.” Locals around the area say that people come into the forest for three reasons: hikers looking to see the splendid ice caves that dot the deep forest floor; people attracted to the stories and looking to see the carnage for themselves; and those people who do not plan to return. Suicide has become such a problem in the Aokigahara Forest that local authorizes have taken steps to curb it.More

Trip ideas

Know Before You Go: Visiting Mt. Fuji

Know Before You Go: Visiting Mt. Fuji

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Tokyo

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Tokyo

How to Get Around in Tokyo

How to Get Around in Tokyo

Top activities in Tokyo

1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour

1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour

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Kamakura Walking Tour

Kamakura Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Tokyo

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Fun and Interactive Virtual Tour
Sean, Nov 2020
Tokyo Online: Virtual Experience in Shibuya and Shinjuku with a Local Expert
My girlfriend had planned to visit Japan in 2020, but obviously due to the pandemic wasn't able to go.
star-5
Hands on glass cutting experience
Jacob_M, Sep 2020
Tokyo Cutting Glass Experience, Edo Kiriko
The English was somewhat limited, but if you are able to arrive early you will have little to no issue.
star-5
Wonderful virtual tour of Tokyo
Hiroko_K, Jun 2020
[Virtual Tour] Tokyo Highlights
Maybe next time I'd like to visit those places.
star-5
Tour review
carabarker, Feb 2020
Walking Tours Tokyo with a Local Guide: Private & 100% Personalized ★★★★★
She spoke great English.
star-4
Great tour but disappointed that cruise was canceled
sunflower1976, Feb 2020
1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour
The lunch at the sumo restaurant was awesome and we got to see all the major sites in Tokyo which was great as we had our 6 and 8 year old daughters with us, they enjoyed it too!
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Tokyo
PageFoley, Jan 2020
1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour
Highly recommend this tour to anyone who has limited time in Tokyo as you get to see a broad range of sights.
star-5
Perfect day
adono11, Jan 2020
Private Tokyo Tour in chartered vehicle
Everything went smoothly and this was the best way to see Tokyo on our own.
star-5
Very good trip to Japan
nelsoncorda, Dec 2019
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Good English speaking guide.
star-5
Super fun bar tour
Leesa P, Dec 2019
Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku
She gave us wonderful recommendations on what to do in other areas of Tokyo as well as where to get good Ramen and sushi.
star-4
Great tour.
mauricelimcj, Dec 2019
Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
Excellent service by the English speaking guide.
star-5
Excellent
Robjacq60, Nov 2019
Private tour - All "Must-Sees"! Enjoy your First-Time Visit Tokyo!
It was a wonderful tour where we got to see everything we wanted to and at the pace we wanted.
star-5
Tokyo Night Food Tour
Jim8259, Nov 2019
Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Small Group or Private Tour
Great guide that spoke wonderful English.
star-5
Excellent Driver and Service
patriciaboyd, Nov 2019
Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver
Highly recommend the service and in particular our Spanish-english speaking driver Oriol He was well versed in the streets, parks and sights of Tokyo, often explaining the temples visited and the customs of the people of Japan.
star-5
Nice tour
fabianaa979, Nov 2019
1-Day Mt Fuji Bus Tour with 4-D Mt.Fuji movie Ride and Ninja Experience
Had lots of fun and beautiful spots in to see outside Tokyo.
star-5
Fun, Good Food and Different
llsee, Nov 2019
Sangenjaya Back-Alley Private Tour with Tokyo Local Guide
I really felt that we got to see a side of Tokyo that most tourists would not.
star-5
Tokyo Day Tour
attfil22, Jan 2020
1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour
Now want to go back to see more
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Tokyo with a local
tony g, Nov 2019
Tokyo Tours By Locals: Private & 100% Personalized- See the City Unscripted
We had the great opportunity to see Tokyo and talk about the city, Japan and it’s people with a local.
star-5
Great Trip in Every Way
elissa8120, Oct 2019
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Wonderful guide, so much you get to see and do on this trip!
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Tokyo bike tour
Tina C, Oct 2019
Enjoy local Tokyo E-bike tour, 3 hours of ride starts near Tokyo Station
This was great fun and a great way to see Tokyo when we first arrived in the city John our guide was really helpful - thanks!
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Great Day in Tokyo
Sykelly, Oct 2019
Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver
I can’t think of a better way to see Tokyo in one day.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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