17 Best things to do in Tokyo: Attractions, Trendy Places & Tours you can’t miss
Imagine if you could drive a go-kart around the city dressed in a Super Mario costume. How cool would that be?
Well, this is just one of the super fun things you can do in Tokyo. Options are endless: sumo training, cherry blossoms, fascinating theme parks, robot restaurants…the list goes on and on! Scroll down to discover them all!
The best things to do in Tokyo in a nutshell
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The best fun things to do in Tokyo
Where do we start to talk about the TeamLab Borderless in Tokyo? The truth is that you have to experience it yourself to really get what we’re talking about! The fascinating TeamLab Borderless is housed in the Digital Museum of Tokyo at Aomi Station in Odaiba. TeamLab Borderless is basically a collection of interactive artworks created with the use of state-of-the-art technology and lighting. Some of the best artworks/rooms to explore are the Borderless World, the Future Park, the Athletics Forest, and the Forest of Lamps. Trust us, they will blow your mind!
Best tours for TeamLab Borderless
Can you think of a better way to delve into the Japanese sumo culture than watching a sumo wrestling practice in person? Sumo, Japan’s national sport, has a long history that originates from ancient times. Most sumo stables are located in the Ryogoku area, but there are also many sumo training rooms scattered throughout Tokyo. Watching a morning sumo practice (they are open to the public) is one of the best things to do in Japan, as it will give you a glimpse of Japan’s infamous sumo culture.
Tip: Although sumo training is free to watch, keep in mind that you have to respect athletes, because their training is real and not just a show for the public.
Well, this is hands down one of the most fun things to do in Tokyo! If you have an international driving licence you can rent a go-kart car, choose your favorite character’s fancy costume, and drive around Tokyo. Cool or what? You can drive past skyscrapers, shrines, and bustling areas, like Shibuya and Akihabara, enjoying the magical atmosphere and taking in the sights.
Tip: The best time of the day to go for a drive is in the late afternoon/early night. When the sun goes down, the sky turns pink and the city lights up, creating a surreal scenery!
The best things to do in Tokyo for free
Going for a walk in the park is one of the best free things to do in Tokyo! Although Tokyo is a bustling city, full of skyscrapers, there are many little heavens of green scattered throughout the city. Some of the parks and gardens you should visit in Tokyo are the Yoyogi Park, the Imperial Palace, and the Ueno Park, which becomes particularly popular during the cherry blossom season.
Fact: Many parks in Tokyo play host to seasonal events all year round -make sure you catch one!
Every neighborhood in Tokyo is a world on its own! From fashionable and cool neighborhoods to traditional districts, Tokyo has it all. Some of the best neighborhoods to visit in Tokyo are Akihabara (for shopping, cosplay cafes, hip bars, and theaters), Asakusa (for history, ancient temples, traditional Japanese cuisine, and cultural activities), and Harajuku (for Japanese fashion, chic boutiques, trendy youth, and street food).
Meguro River is one of the most picturesque spots in Tokyo! It is 8 km long and meanders through some of the chicest neighborhoods of Tokyo. The banks of Meguro River are lined with about 800 pretty pink cherry trees that blossom in spring. Around the river, you’ll also find many cafes and restaurants, as well as several shops.
Fact: The Nakameguro Sakura Festival takes place at the banks of Meguro River in March, with locals celebrating spring under the cherry trees drinking pink champagne!
The best things to do in Tokyo with family, kids and friends
If you’re traveling to Tokyo with kids, this is one of the best family activities to do! Sitting in a 115 acres area in Chiba, near Tokyo, Disneyland is one of the most fascinating places you’ll ever visit. Our top recommendations on attractions to visit are the Western River Railroad, the Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, the Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek, and the Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
Tip: While you are in Disneyland, don’t miss the chance to visit the Tokyo DisneySea water park and aquarium!
You mustn’t leave Tokyo without trying its most popular delicacy: sushi! Sushi consists of rice vegetables, and raw fish usually wrapped in seaweed rolls. The variations are countless and you can find them all at the super famous conveyor belt sushi restaurants. At these restaurants, there are conveyor belts on which stand several types of sushi dishes from which you can pick the ones that appeal to you. Even better, you can learn how to make sushi yourself by taking a cooking class from a sushi masters!
It might sound pretty odd, but robot restaurants are a thing in Tokyo! Robot restaurants are themed bars/restaurants, which host fancy robotic shows and theatrical performances with dancers and robots, hence the name. The neon colors, the fabulous costumes, and the sound of the drums create a crazy atmosphere that will blow you away!
The best places for sightseeing in Tokyo (Top attractions and monuments)
The Imperial Palace is arguably one of the most impressive attractions in Tokyo. Nestled in a beautiful park area, the premises of the imperial family residence include art galleries, well-maintained gardens, and many more interesting areas to explore. The Imperial Palace is open to the public and you can visit it for free. However, we highly recommend booking a tour so that you dig into its history and discover all its secrets!
Sensoji Temple (Asakusa Kannon Temple) is located in the Asakusa district in Tokyo and is the oldest temple in the city. This impressive Buddhist temple stands out for its vivid red color and the beautiful carvings that cover its facade. Besides visiting the temple itself, you should also walk along the 200-meters street that connects the two gates of the temple.
Tip: If you happen to be in Tokyo in May, don’t miss the Sanja Matsuri festival, which takes place in the temple!
Tokyo Skytree is a 634-meter tall television broadcasting tower, which is considered the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest building in the world! Tokyo Skytree is located in the Sumida district, close to Asakusa. The most famous spot of the tower is its observation decks, from where you can marvel at the panoramic view of the city! Tokyo Skytree also features restaurants, an aquarium, a planetarium, several shops, and a postal museum.
The top places to eat in Tokyo
How about eating scrumptious Japanese food in a restaurant inspired by the popular Alice in Wonderland book? That’s what Alice in a Labyrinth themed restaurant is all about! In fact, there are quite a few such restaurants in Tokyo, all decorated based on the iconic book, with rose-shaped chairs, a ceiling covered with cards, and several scenes of the story. The menu is pretty basic, but the scenery is worth the hype!
Info: 8-8-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, 104-0041, Japan
If you want to try Kaiseki, the Japanese approach to gourmet cuisine, then the Michelin-starred Ginza Kojyu restaurant is the best place to dine! Ginza Kojyu is located in the Ginza district and comprises private dining rooms as well as a wooden counter placed in front of the chef. Its seasonal menu consists of about 8 kaiseki dishes inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine.
Info: Ginza Kojyu, 5-4-8 4F Karioka Bldg., Ginza, Chuo 104-0061 Tokyo
Where to have a drink in Tokyo
You can’t just leave Tokyo without drinking sake, Japan’s national alcoholic beverage. One of the best places to taste the authentic Japanese sake is Gem by Moto in Shibuya. The scenery in this bar is minimal and calming, perfect for a quiet drink along with some finger-licking good local specialties.
Info: Gem by Moto, 1 Chome-30-9 Ebisu, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0013
Best day trips from Tokyo
Mount Fuji is the highest peak in Japan with a height of 3.776 meters, as well as a Unesco World Heritage Site. It lies at a beautiful location between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. An active volcano and sacred mountain, Mount Fuji attracts millions of visitors every year and has inspired numerous artists over the centuries. Some of the must-visit places around Mount Fuji are Lake Kawaguchi, Arakurayama Sengen Park, Yagizaki Park, and Lake Sai Iyashinosato Ancient Japanese Village.
Tip: The best way to get to Mount Fuji is by train, as the train journey lets you marvel at breathtaking vistas of Japanese nature along the way!
A day trip to Kamakura is a great option if you want to get out of Tokyo for some extra exploration. Kamakura is a beautiful town located on the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture, about an hour away from Tokyo. The area is best known for its amazing architecture, elaborate temples, and shrines, as well as long sandy beaches. Some places you need to visit while in Kamakura are the Great Buddha statue, the Hasedera Temple, the Hokokuji Temple, the Hachimangu Shrine, and the Hachimangu Shrine.
How to get to Tokyo?
Due to its distance from other countries (especially European), the best way to get to Tokyo is by air. However, if you’re planning to travel to Tokyo from another city in Japan, the train is a very good alternative!
Where to stay in Tokyo?
The best areas to stay in Tokyo are Shinjuku (for first-time visitors), Asakusa (for travelers on a budget), Roppongi (for nightlife), and Odaiba (for families).
What is the best time of the year to visit Tokyo?
Tokyo is amazing all year round! However, the best time of the year to visit Tokyo is in spring, during the cherry blossom season (March-April). Winter in Tokyo is mild yet chilly, while summer is steaming hot and humid.
What are the most famous attractions in Tokyo?
The most popular attractions to visit in Tokyo are the Sensoji Temple, the Digital Art Museum, the Tokyo Skytree, and the Imperial Palace.
What are the best foods to eat in Tokyo?
The best delicacies to try in Tokyo are sushi, tempura, ramen, and yakitori.