10 Things to do in Tokyo, Japan:
Japan always has something new and fascinating to discover. Travelers to Japan often feel that they never truly understand it. I say, just let Japan wash over you, it does not have to make sense!
A perfect paradox and why I, like many others, am constantly drawn back to Japan time and time again. Get lost in the obscurity and density of this futuristic, yet traditional country.
Tokyo, the capital, is known for its neon skyscrapers and pop culture. In contrast, Kyoto which is more ‘natural’, offering Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, gardens and cherry blossoms.
Sushi, the national dish, is served everywhere! If you are a sushi lover you will be in heaven. If sushi, is not your style, you certainly wont go hungry, Japan has extensive food variety, from curry to Korean BBQ and even innovative michelin star vegetarian Kaiseki (multi course dinner sets).
Tokyo Japan is one of my favorite cities and not as expensive as one would assume. Tokyo offers great people watching, cool cafe culture and many free parks and museums and well-priced, high quality restaurants and bars.
Here are my top 10 things to do in Tokyo every time I visit:
- Shopping in Shibuya. Home to the world’s busiest cross walk and great shopping, dining and nightlife. Have at least one night out in Shibuya and don’t bypass karaoke.
- Tsukiji Fish Market. Eat sushi for breakfast at the largest Fish Market in the world. Get there early (around 3am) if you want to see the Tuna auctions *note: Tsukiji has moved to a new location.
- Park Hyatt Shinjuku has a great Jazz bar and restaurant the New York Bar & Grill with incredible views over Tokyo
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden a large park with a beautiful Japanese garden in Shinjuku and Shibuya. It was originally a residence of the Naitō family in the Edo period. Particularly pretty during Spring time when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are out.
- Kabuki-cho and the Golden Gai district in Tokyo. Around 200 ramshackle bars in tiny alleys.
- Harajuku- possibly the most famous area in all Japan due to pop culture and the famous ‘Harajuku Girl’. Cos play (people who dress up as their favorite character) is everywhere. Harajuku offers the best people-watching in the world! Don’t miss Kawaii Monster Cafe!
- Meiji Shrine a Shinto Shrine located in Shibuya, the shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, its still active and you can see Japanese people still going there to pay there respects. A very peaceful place and less ‘touisty’ than other shrines.
- Odaiba is a man made island in Tokyo Bay with shopping and entertainment district that offers great views of Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge, a highly recommended way to spend an afternoon in Tokyo.
- Roppongi Hills a shopping district with some of the best restaurants in the world. Mori Tower and Art Museum. The Tokyo skyline picture in this post was taken from the Mori Tower. The Mori Art Museum showcases interesting Japanese artists, I saw a Murakami exhibition here once.
- Ginza a mix of traditional and modern. is one of the best places to see the neon lights of Tokyo. A world-renowned shopping district, Ginza is a fascinating place where the latest trends and the oldest traditions meet. This harmonious mix is clearly visible in its streets lined by department stores, designer boutiques. In addition, the district is an art haven with theaters and over 200 galleries. There a many Michelin-starred restaurants in Ginza, including Jiro Ono’s 10-seat 3 Michelin star sushi bar.
Tokyo, Japan is without a doubt the most innovative, exciting cities on the planet! I hope you enjoyed this post on my favorite things to do in Tokyo. For more travel tips in Japan check see my post on Introduction to Traveling Tokyo.