My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: December 27, 2022
Wondering what to do in Tokyo? Use this Travel Guide to discover the best activities and attractions as well as accommodation and travel options.
Most people think of Tokyo as a sprawling metropolis and vibrant capital city, with popular destinations including Harajuku, Kichijoji, and Nakameguro. But take a short train ride westwards and you’ll find a world of natural beauty in the Okutama area. For the even more adventurous, travel southwards into Tokyo Bay and beyond to visit the Izu and Ogasawara Islands.
Harajuku is world-famous as the home of kawaii culture, Japanese fashion and cosplay. Walk along the iconic Takeshita main street for a real insight into modern Japan. Try some Harajuku street food as you soak up the atmosphere. Visit Cat Street for some high-end luxury shopping, and take a break at nearby Yoyogi Park or the grounds of Meiji Jingu Shrine.
Kichijoji is one of Tokyo’s popular areas for shopping and eating, from the station area to the standing bars of Harmonica Yokocho Alley. Take some time out in the beautiful Inokashira Park with its boating lake and Benten Shrine.
Stroll along the cherry tree-lined banks of the Meguro River, and enjoy Nakameguro’s range of cool cafes and restaurants, trendy bars, and fashionable shops. It’s also home to the Koukashita commercial area and Nakameguro Tsutaya Books.
The Okutama area provides the perfect place for some outdoor adventure. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, water sports, and hot springs, as well as a visit to the towns of Ome and Fussa. Take a step into Tokyo’s great outdoors, and marvel at the stunning natural scenery of the Tama River, the Akigawa Valley, Lake Okutama, Hatonosu Canyon, Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake.
Tokyo is a world-famous urban metropolis, but perhaps less well-known is that Tokyo Prefecture encompasses two chains of islands. The Izu Islands include Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kouzushima, Miyakejima, Mikurajima, Hachijojima, and Aogashima. A bit further south, you’ll find the Ogasawara Islands (also known as the Bonin Islands), where Chichijima and Hahajima are inhabited. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the capital and enjoy sandy beaches, volcanic mountains, verdant forests, and starry night skies.
There are lots of interesting ways to spend your time in Tokyo. For more information on fun things to do in Tokyo, unique experiences, spectacular views, where to stay, and Tokyo at night, click below.
Tokyo is a global city, with a diverse range of cultures and lifestyles. Learn more about the unique characteristics of Tokyo with this guide to another side of the city.
For planning where to stay in Tokyo, there are lots of different accommodation options, including western-style hotels, business hotels, minshuku bed and breakfast lodgings, and traditional Japanese style inns (ryokan), as well as capsule hotels and hostels. Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget, Western style or Japanese style, short-term or long-term, we’ve got you covered.
At night, the city transforms into a new world. Wander the streets of Tokyo, lit by neon signs and alive with the hustle and bustle of the people who live and work here. Enjoy Tokyo’s phenomenal nightlife, including a wide range of restaurants, bars, izakaya, nightclubs, and music venues.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, you’ll also find a range of beautiful night views, with the starry night sky as the perfect backdrop to the buzzing city life below.
With skyscrapers and mountains in view at the same time, the Tokyo skyline is notable for its juxtaposition of the urban and the natural. Both during the day and night enjoy spectacular city views from observation platforms as well as restaurants and bars located at the top of buildings.
Tokyo is packed with popular places as well as hidden spots. Find out more about the secret side of Tokyo.
At 634 meters, TOKYO SKYTREE is the tallest structure in Japan, and the third tallest in the world. It has two observation platforms offering stunning views out over the city. At the base of the SKYTREE, the Tokyo Solamachi complex contains shops and restaurants, as well as the Sumida Aquarium.
Originally built in 1958, Tokyo Tower has long-been one of the most striking landmarks of the city. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, the vibrant orange and white colors of this broadcasting tower have become iconic. There are two observation decks to enjoy.
Shibuya Scramble Square is a skyscraper complex connected to Shibuya Station. It is the highest skyscraper in the Shibuya district. The “SHIBUYA SKY” observation deck is located on the roof of the skyscraper. The complex also contains shops and offices.
The Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan, built on the site of the former Edo Castle. It is spread over a park area, with palace buildings, residences, museums and offices.
Sensoji is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, perhaps best known for the massive paper lantern and iconic Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) which mark the entrance. Nakamise-dori, a popular shopping arcade, leads the way to Tokyo’s oldest temple.
Tokyo is home to a number of locations made famous in anime and manga. Fans of this popular part of Japanese culture will be in heaven.
For those who are more interested in Japan’s history and traditional culture, the capital city provides a multitude of sites to visit.
©Pokémon. ©Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
If you’re interested in modern Japanese culture, Tokyo is a great place to start your visit. Find out more about kawaii culture, anime and manga, fashion and cosplay, J-pop and karaoke, with themed restaurants, manga cafes and more.
Tokyo is also home to a number of historical landmarks. Step back in time as you visit castles, shrines and temples, museums, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and National Cultural Properties.
If you’re interested in the traditional performing arts, you can visit a theater to see a performance of kabuki or noh, or perhaps you’ll try some rakugo comedy. There are also a wide range of exhibitions, walks and tours.
If you’re visiting Japan in the spring, then the iconic sakura cherry blossoms are a sight to behold. The parks and sites of Tokyo provide a number of sensational sakura spots, perfect for hanami flower viewing parties with your friends. If you enjoy hiking, take a trip out west to Okutama and Takao-san.
In springtime, Japan comes alive with the sakura cherry blossoms, and Tokyo is no exception. You can’t miss the famous cherry blossom trees that line the roads, paths and waterways all over the capital. When the sun goes down, take some time to view the yozakura, when the cherry blossoms are lit up at night.
If you enjoy the outdoors then take a short trip to the Okutama area, full of mountains, lakes and valleys, where you’ll find some great opportunities for hiking and camping.
Takao-san (Mt. Takao) is a great day trip only 50 minutes from Shinjuku, particularly to see the cherry blossoms in the spring, or the autumn leaves in the fall.
Tokyo is home to many famous festivals and popular events, big and small, local and international.
Japanese festivals or “matsuri” are held throughout the year, often linked to the changing of the seasons. These events often take place at local temples and shrines, parks and gardens. They may include parades and dances through the streets, or fireworks by the river.
Tokyo offers the opportunity to experience a range of traditional Japanese cultural activities, such as tea ceremony or calligraphy. Perhaps you’ll be interested to learn about sake on a brewery tour, or make sushi in a cookery workshop, or try on a beautiful kimono.
Tokyo is criss-crossed by waterways, and taking a riverboat or water bus offers a different way to get around the city. Take a river cruise to see the landmarks of the city from a different angle, or alternatively enjoy an evening of food, drink and music aboard a traditional yakatabune pleasure barge.
Perhaps surprisingly, Tokyo has a number of fishing spots amidst the urban sprawl, suitable for both experienced anglers and beginners. Alternatively, visit one of the islands off Tokyo Bay where you’ll find a variety of tropical fish in the sparkling azure waters.
Before you visit, learn more about Tokyo with some useful facts and statistics.
Japan’s public transport system is famous for its punctuality, cleanliness and efficiency. Find out more about the variety of transportation options in Tokyo, including Japan Rail East, the Shinkansen bullet train, the Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway. Alternatively, you could take a taxi or a bus, rent a car or a bicycle. Plan your trip using our information about tickets, maps, costs, and get some top travel tips. Click below for more information.