From the iconic Tokyo Tower and bustling Shibuya Crossing to the serene Meiji Shrine and vibrant Akihabara, discover the best places to visit in Tokyo – Japan’s dynamic capital.
Tokyo, a city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with futuristic innovation, offers an array of experiences, making it a top destination for travelers. With its vibrant mix of history, culture, technology, and cuisine, the places to visit in Tokyo cater to every kind of traveler.
From the serene beauty of traditional gardens and shrines to the neon-lit streets of its bustling districts, Tokyo is a city of contrasts.
Not only do Tokyo attractions include towering skyscrapers and cutting-edge technology, but also peaceful parks and historic temples, each telling a story of the city’s rich heritage.
The city’s unique blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, makes it an endlessly fascinating place to explore. Each corner of Tokyo offers a different experience, ensuring that this list of places to visit in Tokyo is as diverse and dynamic as the city itself!
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1. Tokyo Tower
Visiting Tokyo Tower is an essential experience when exploring the various places to visit in Tokyo. Not only is it an emblematic symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth, but it also offers a unique perspective on the city.
Standing at 333 meters, it provides breathtaking panoramic views, particularly enchanting at night.
Tips for visiting Tokyo Tower
- Consider going during off-peak hours to avoid crowds, typically early morning or late evening. The latter offers a chance to see the city transition from day to night.
- Don’t forget to check out the FootTown building at the base of the tower, which houses a range of attractions including an aquarium and a wax museum.
- Take advantage of the tower’s central location in Minato to explore nearby attractions.
2. Senso-ji Temple
Visiting Senso-ji Temple is undoubtedly worth it and ranks high among the essential places to visit in Tokyo. As the city’s oldest temple, Senso-ji is not just a religious site; it’s a vibrant embodiment of both the historical and the contemporary aspects of Japanese culture.
The temple’s majestic Thunder Gate, the vibrant shopping street of Nakamise leading up to the temple, and the striking five-story pagoda all combine to create a unique experience that is quintessentially Tokyo.
Tips for visiting Senso-ji Temple:
- Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds and experience the temple’s tranquil atmosphere. This is also a great time for photography, capturing the temple’s beauty without the bustling crowds.
- Don’t forget to explore the surrounding Asakusa area, which offers a glimpse into old Tokyo with its traditional shops and eateries.
- Try to catch a cultural event or festival at the temple if your visit coincides with one, as Senso-ji is known for its vibrant celebrations, adding an extra layer of cultural richness to your list of places to visit in Tokyo.
3. Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Shibuya Crossing is a unique and worthwhile experience, often highlighted as one of the must-see places to visit in Tokyo. Known as one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world, it encapsulates the essence of Tokyo’s bustling urban energy.
Watching hundreds of people crossing from all directions simultaneously is a spectacle that symbolizes the fast-paced life of this metropolis.
Tips for visiting Shibuya Crossing:
- Visit the crossing during the evening rush hour or at night when the area is illuminated by neon lights and billboards, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
- Head to one of the nearby buildings with an elevated view, like the Starbucks in the Tsutaya building or the Shibuya Sky observation deck.
4. Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is certainly a worthwhile experience, especially when exploring the myriad places to visit in Tokyo. Nestled in a serene, evergreen forest, this Shinto shrine offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city.
Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the shrine is not only a spiritual center but also a stunning example of traditional Japanese architecture.
Tips for visiting Meiji Shrine:
- Explore the surrounding forest, which consists of around 100,000 trees donated from all over Japan.
- Observe the traditional Shinto rituals and customs, such as offering prayers or purchasing omamori (charms) for good fortune.
- Meiji Shrine’s proximity to Harajuku makes it a perfect addition to your itinerary.
5. Tokyo SkyTree
Tokyo Skytree is a highly recommended experience, especially when exploring places to visit in Tokyo. As the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world, it offers unparalleled views of the city.
The Skytree not only provides a bird’s eye view of Tokyo but also, on clear days, a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance.
Tips for visiting the Tokyo Skytree:
- Explore the Skytree Town at the base, which includes an aquarium, a planetarium, and a shopping complex.
- Book a table at one of Skytree’s restaurants, offering both exquisite cuisine and panoramic views, making it a multifaceted addition to your list of places to visit in Tokyo.
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Renowned as one of the most upscale places to visit in Tokyo, Ginza is a dazzling district where luxury, art, and culinary excellence converge. Known for its high-end boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants, and elegant art galleries, Ginza offers an exquisite taste of Tokyo’s finer side.
Tips for visiting Ginza:
- Visit Ginza during the weekend afternoons when the main street, Chuo Dori, becomes a pedestrian haven. This is when the area is closed to traffic, allowing pedestrians to stroll leisurely and enjoy street performances.
- Visit one of the area’s renowned department stores, where you can explore exquisite Japanese craft and design, and even enjoy refined rooftop dining.
Visiting Akihabara is a must for anyone interested in experiencing Tokyo’s unique subcultures, making it a standout among the many fascinating places to visit in Tokyo.
Known as the epicenter of otaku culture, Akihabara is a vibrant district buzzing with electronics shops, anime and manga stores, and themed cafes.
Tips for visiting Akihabara:
- Explore the smaller, niche shops tucked away in the back alleys where you can find rare collectibles, vintage video games, and unique memorabilia.
- Visit a maid café, which is quintessential to Akihabara’s culture. These cafes offer a unique experience where guests are served by waitresses in maid costumes, providing a taste of modern Japanese pop culture.
- Time your visit to coincide with a local event or festival, as Akihabara hosts various anime and gaming events throughout the year.
- Even if you’re not a hardcore anime or electronics enthusiast, Akihabara’s lively atmosphere and colorful streets make it an intriguing addition to your list of places to visit in Tokyo, offering a glimpse into a distinct facet of Japanese culture.
Visiting Harajuku is definitely worth it, particularly for those who are intrigued by contemporary culture and fashion, making it a vibrant and essential part of the places to visit in Tokyo.
Known for its youthful energy and being the epicenter of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, Harajuku offers a unique glimpse into the diverse and dynamic urban culture of Tokyo.
Tips for visiting Harajuku:
- Wander off the main Takeshita Street to explore the side streets and back alleys. Here, you’ll find a variety of unique boutiques, vintage clothing shops, and quirky cafes that aren’t as crowded as the main thoroughfare.
- Consider visiting on a Sunday when many local teens dress up in their most extravagant outfits, offering a colorful spectacle of contemporary Japanese fashion.
- Visit the nearby Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park for a contrasting experience of tranquility and nature, juxtaposing the bustling streets of Harajuku.
9. Ueno Park and Zoo
Visiting Ueno Park and Zoo is highly recommended, especially as part of exploring the diverse places to visit in Tokyo. This large public park, rich in cultural and recreational activities, offers a delightful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
It houses Ueno Zoo, Japan’s oldest zoo, known for its variety of species, including the beloved giant pandas.
Tips for visiting Ueno Park and Zoo
- Try going during the cherry blossom season when Ueno Park transforms into one of Tokyo’s premier hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots. The sight of over a thousand cherry trees in bloom is truly spectacular!
- Allocate time to explore the park’s several museums, like the Tokyo National Museum or the National Museum of Nature and Science, which provide insightful cultural and scientific experiences.
Visiting Asakusa is absolutely worth it and is a highlight among the diverse places to visit in Tokyo. This area is renowned for its old-town ambiance, blending the historical and the cultural in a uniquely Japanese setting.
Asakusa is home to the famous Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, which is a magnificent representation of Japan’s rich history and religious traditions.
Tips for visiting Asakusa:
- Explore the backstreets and alleys around the main temple area. These less-traveled paths offer a more authentic glimpse of traditional Tokyo, with quaint shops selling handmade crafts, local snacks, and unique souvenirs.
- Take a rickshaw tour around the district. This not only provides a unique way to see Asakusa, but also offers insights from local guides who can share stories and hidden gems that you might not discover on your own.
Visiting Odaiba is definitely worth considering when exploring places to visit in Tokyo. This futuristic and entertainment-filled island in Tokyo Bay offers a unique blend of attractions, from shopping and dining to leisure and sightseeing, making it a standout destination in the city.
Tips for visiting Odaiba:
- Enjoy the journey there via the Yurikamome line, an automated, driverless train. This ride offers stunning views of the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo waterfront, setting the stage for what’s to come.
- Visit the life-sized Unicorn Gundam statue, especially during its transformation show in the evening.
- Enjoy Odaiba’s beachfront park for a relaxing evening stroll, offering a picturesque view of the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline, especially beautiful during sunset.
- Visit one of the onsen-themed parks, which provides a unique Japanese hot spring experience within the city.
- Odaiba’s Palette Town, a large shopping and entertainment complex, and teamLab Borderless, a world-renowned digital art museum, are must-visits for those looking for modern entertainment and shopping experiences.
12. Roppongi Hills
Visiting Roppongi Hills is indeed a worthwhile experience when listing places to visit in Tokyo, particularly for those interested in contemporary culture and nightlife.
This upscale, multi-use complex embodies modern Tokyo with its blend of art, architecture, shopping, and dining.
Tips for visiting Roppongi Hills:
- Explore the Mori Art Museum located within the complex. Known for its contemporary art exhibitions, the museum also offers stunning panoramic views of Tokyo from its observation deck.
- Visit the Roppongi Hills Garden, a hidden oasis amidst the urban landscape, perfect for a peaceful stroll. Also, consider visiting the complex in the evening to experience Roppongi’s vibrant nightlife and dining scene. The area is renowned for its diverse array of restaurants and bars, offering both Japanese and international cuisine.
13. Tsukiji Outer Market
Tsukiji Outer Market is a must-do for food enthusiasts exploring places to visit in Tokyo.
Although the inner wholesale market has moved to Toyosu, the Tsukiji Outer Market continues to thrive, offering an authentic taste of Tokyo’s culinary scene. It’s a bustling hub where visitors can savor fresh seafood, sushi, and a variety of Japanese street food delicacies.
Tips for visiting Tsukiji Outer Market:
- Go beyond just sushi and explore the lesser-known stalls and shops. Try unique Japanese delicacies like tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), grilled seafood skewers, and various types of tsukemono (pickled vegetables).
- Many vendors offer samples, so it’s a great opportunity to try new flavors for free!
- Many shops in Tsukiji are small family-run businesses, so engaging with the vendors and learning about their products can enhance your experience.
- Sign up for this Tsukiji Outer Market tour with a local!
14. Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is undoubtedly worth it, especially for those interested in Japanese history and architecture, making it a distinguished entry among the places to visit in Tokyo.
The palace, the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, is a symbol of tradition and elegance amidst the city’s modern landscape. Its beautifully maintained grounds and gardens offer a serene escape from the urban buzz.
Tips for visiting the Imperial Palace:
- Explore the East Gardens, which are open to the public and do not require prior reservation. The gardens are a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, especially during cherry blossom season.
- Visit the nearby Imperial Palace East Garden’s Ote-mon Gate, which is particularly picturesque.
15. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is absolutely worth it and is a standout among the various places to visit in Tokyo, particularly for those seeking a natural retreat within the bustling city.
This expansive park seamlessly blends traditional Japanese, English, and French garden styles, offering a serene and picturesque landscape ideal for relaxation and leisurely walks.
Tips for visiting Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden:
- Explore the lesser-known areas of the garden. While the central and most popular areas are often crowded, the park’s size means there are many quieter spots.
- Bring a picnic, as Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the few parks in Tokyo where picnicking is allowed.
- Check the park’s event schedule before your visit. They occasionally host cultural events and flower exhibitions.
Visiting Yanaka is definitely worth it, especially for those looking to experience a more traditional and less commercialized side of Tokyo.
As part of the Yanesen area (which includes Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi), Yanaka stands out as a charming neighborhood that has retained much of its old Tokyo character, making it a unique inclusion in the list of places to visit in Tokyo.
Tips for visiting Yanaka:
- Take a leisurely walk along Yanaka Ginza, the main shopping street. This street is famous for its traditional shops, small eateries, and cat-themed goods, reflecting the area’s reputation as a haven for cats.
- Visit some of the many temples and shrines scattered throughout Yanaka. These are often less crowded than more famous religious sites in Tokyo.
- Explore the Yanaka Cemetery, a sprawling and historic resting place that’s also known for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring.
- Visit during a local festival or market day, when the neighborhood comes alive with street food stalls and cultural performances.
17. TeamLab Borderless
TeamLab Borderless is a remarkable experience and a standout among Tokyo attractions, especially for those who appreciate innovative digital art and immersive experiences.
This museum, located in Odaiba, transcends traditional art boundaries, creating a world where art moves freely across rooms and interacts with visitors.
Tips for visiting TeamLab Borderless:
- Download the TeamLab app before your visit. The app enhances certain exhibits and provides a map, helping you navigate the expansive and maze-like space.
- Don’t rush your visit. TeamLab Borderless is a place to wander, explore, and interact with the art at your own pace.
18. Sumo Museum at Ryogoku Kokugikan
Sumo Museum at Ryogoku Kokugikan is indeed worthwhile, especially for those interested in Japan’s traditional sports, making it a unique addition to the range of Tokyo attractions.
Located within the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s primary sumo wrestling venue, the museum offers an insightful look into the history and culture of sumo, Japan’s national sport.
Tips for visiting Sumo Museum at Ryogoku Kokugikan:
- Visit during one of the Grand Sumo Tournaments held in Tokyo (usually in January, May, and September). Watching a live sumo match would significantly enhance your museum experience.
- If your visit doesn’t align with tournament dates, attending a sumo practice session, which are sometimes open to the public, can be a great alternative.
- Explore the Ryogoku area, often referred to as the heart of the sumo world. The neighborhood is filled with sumo-related attractions, including stables where wrestlers train and chanko restaurants serving the traditional sumo wrestler’s stew.
- Pay special attention to the displays of ornate ceremonial aprons (kesho-mawashi) and the portraits of sumo grand champions (yokozuna), which are unique highlights.
19. Edo-Tokyo Museum
Edo-Tokyo Museum is a must-do among the various Tokyo attractions, especially for history buffs and those interested in the evolution of Tokyo from the Edo period to modern times.
The museum’s detailed exhibits and interactive displays provide a deep dive into Tokyo’s past, showcasing how the city transformed from a small fishing village into a bustling metropolis.
Tips for visiting Edo-Tokyo Museum:
- Take advantage of the volunteer guides available at the museum. These guides offer valuable insights and stories that bring the exhibits to life.
- Set aside enough time to thoroughly explore the museum. Its extensive collection spans several floors, each dedicated to different eras and aspects of Tokyo’s history, including life-size replicas of historical buildings and streets.
- Check the museum’s schedule for special exhibitions and workshops, which often focus on specific aspects of Tokyo’s culture and history.
Shimokitazawa, often referred to as “Shimokita” by locals, is for those looking to explore the more bohemian and indie side of Tokyo attractions.
This trendy neighborhood is a haven for vintage fashion enthusiasts, music lovers, and those seeking a more laid-back, alternative vibe compared to Tokyo’s more bustling areas.
Tips for visiting Shimokitazawa:
- Take time to meander through its narrow alleys and backstreets. This is where you’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage clothing stores, quirky boutiques, small theaters, and cozy cafes, each with its unique character.
- Explore Shimokitazawa’s vibrant food scene. Beyond the usual sushi and ramen, the area is known for its array of international cuisine, cozy bars, and unique cafes, offering a more diverse culinary experience than found in many other parts of Tokyo.
- For those interested in live music and theater, Shimokitazawa is a goldmine. Check out the local live houses and theaters which frequently host indie bands and small-scale theatrical productions, providing an intimate entertainment experience.
21. Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
Visiting Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea is a fantastic experience, especially for families and Disney enthusiasts, making them standout Tokyo attractions.
These parks offer a unique blend of classic Disney magic with distinct Japanese touches, creating an unforgettable experience.
- Utilize the FastPass system to minimize wait times for popular rides. However, be strategic; FastPasses can run out quickly for the most popular attractions, so prioritize your must-rides early in the day.
- Plan to stay at one of the Disney hotels. This not only provides convenient access to the parks but also extends the magical experience beyond the park hours.
Ikebukuro is great for those looking to explore one of the more vibrant and diverse Tokyo attractions. This bustling district offers a blend of entertainment, shopping, and cultural experiences, catering to a wide range of interests.
A unique aspect of Ikebukuro is its focus on anime and manga culture, similar to Akihabara but with its own distinct flair.
Tips for visiting Ikebukuro:
- Visit the Otome Road, Ikebukuro’s answer to Akihabara’s Electric Town, which is popular among female anime fans. This area offers a variety of shops and cafes catering to anime and manga enthusiasts.
- Explore Sunshine City, a large complex that houses an aquarium, a planetarium, shopping centers, and dining options.
- The Sunshine Aquarium, located on the rooftop, offers a unique experience with its outdoor marine life exhibits.
- Ikebukuro is home to several small theaters showcasing local and independent productions. Checking out a show can offer a glimpse into Japan’s contemporary theater scene.
- Ikebukuro’s dining scene is as diverse as its entertainment options. Venture beyond the main streets to find local izakayas and ramen shops where you can experience authentic Japanese casual dining.
Shinjuku is an absolute must for anyone exploring Tokyo attractions. Known for its bustling streets, vibrant nightlife, and diverse entertainment options, Shinjuku offers a microcosm of Tokyo’s dynamic urban culture.
Tips for visiting Shinjuku:
- Explore the area west of the station, known for its skyscrapers and government buildings. Here, you can visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which offers free observation decks with stunning panoramic views of Tokyo and, on clear days, Mount Fuji.
- Wander in the narrow alleys of Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho. These areas, filled with tiny bars and eateries, offer an intimate and authentic glimpse into Tokyo’s nightlife. Each bar has its unique character, often reflecting the personality of the owner.
- Shinjuku’s department stores and underground shopping malls provide a vast array of goods, from high fashion to quirky souvenirs.
- Visit Kabukicho, Tokyo’s entertainment and red-light district, known for its colorful neon lights and endless entertainment options.
24. Nakano Broadway
Nakano Broadway is a haven for Japanese pop culture, making it a unique and compelling choice among Tokyo attractions. This shopping complex, located in Nakano, is a treasure trove for fans of anime, manga, and vintage collectibles.
Unlike more mainstream destinations like Akihabara, Nakano Broadway offers a more eclectic and varied selection of goods, including rare collectibles, retro toys, and niche hobby items.
Tips for visiting Nakano Broadway:
- Explore the higher floors, which are often overlooked by travelers. Here, you might find hidden gems and less crowded shops.
- Take time to explore the Mandarake stores, which are famous for their extensive collection of pre-owned manga, anime merchandise, and unique collectibles.
- Nakano Broadway has an array of snack shops and local eateries tucked within the complex. These spots offer delicious and affordable food options!
25. Tokyo National Museum
Visiting the Tokyo National Museum is highly worthwhile, especially for those interested in the rich history and art of Japan, making it a key highlight among Tokyo attractions.
Located in Ueno Park, it’s not only Japan’s oldest national museum but also one of the largest in the world dedicated to Japanese art and artifacts.
Tips for visiting Tokyo National Museum:
- Focus on specific galleries or exhibits that interest you the most, as the museum’s vast collection can be overwhelming.
- Visit during special exhibitions, which are frequently held and offer a glimpse into unique aspects of Japanese history and art not always on regular display.
- Don’t rush your visit. Allocate enough time to explore the museum’s beautifully landscaped grounds, including the Japanese garden behind the Honkan (Japanese Gallery), which adds a serene complement to the museum experience.
26. Hamarikyu Gardens
Hamarikyu Gardens is definitely worth it, especially for those seeking a peaceful escape amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, making it a unique and serene addition to the list of Tokyo attractions.
This historic garden, once a feudal lord’s residence, is a beautiful example of traditional Japanese landscape design, complete with a large pond, teahouses, and meticulously manicured trees.
Tips for visiting Hamarikyu Gardens:
- Enjoy a matcha tea experience in one of the teahouses. Sit on tatami mats and sip tea overlooking the garden
- Take a boat ride from Asakusa or Odaiba to the gardens. The boat trip along the Sumida River provides a unique view of Tokyo’s skyline and leads you directly to the garden’s waterfront entrance.
27. Kabuki-za Theatre
Kabuki-za Theatre is a highly worthwhile experience, particularly for those seeking a taste of traditional Japanese culture, making it a standout among Tokyo attractions.
Located in the Ginza district, Kabukiza is the principal theater in Tokyo for Kabuki, a classical Japanese dance-drama known for its elaborate costumes, dramatic makeup, and stylized performances.
Tips for visiting Kabukiza Theatre:
- You can purchase single-act tickets, an ideal option for those who might find a full-length Kabuki play too lengthy or are short on time. These tickets are sold on the day of the performance
- Before the show, explore the Kabukiza Gallery, located within the theater building. This gallery offers an insight into the world of Kabuki, displaying costumes, props, and other artifacts.
28. Kappabashi Kitchen Town
Kappabashi Kitchen Town is a unique and worthwhile experience, especially for those who have an interest in cooking and culinary culture, making it an intriguing addition to the array of Tokyo attractions.
Located between Ueno and Asakusa, Kappabashi Street is renowned for its numerous stores selling everything related to cooking, from kitchenware and restaurant supplies to realistic plastic food models.
Tips for visiting Kappabashi Kitchen Town:
- Look for specialized shops that focus on a particular type of kitchenware. For example, you can find stores dedicated solely to knives, where you can even get your name engraved on a high-quality Japanese chef’s knife, making for a unique souvenir or gift.
- Appreciate the craftsmanship in the plastic food samples, known as “shokuhin sampuru”. Some shops even offer workshops where you can try your hand at making these incredibly lifelike food replicas.
29. Omoide Yokocho
Yokocho in Shinjuku is certainly worth it, offering a unique and atmospheric experience that stands out among Tokyo attractions.
This narrow alleyway, also known as “Memory Lane” or “Piss Alley,” is steeped in history and is famous for its tiny, traditional eateries and bars, exuding a distinctly Showa-era ambiance.
- Visit Omoide Yokocho in the evening when the area truly comes to life.
- Be adventurous with your food choices. Many stalls serve unique and traditional Japanese dishes that you might not find elsewhere. Trying dishes like yakitori, grilled innards, or sizzling hotplates adds to the authentic experience.
- Be mindful of the small size of these establishments. They often seat only a handful of people, making for an intimate and cozy dining experience. This is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with locals or the chef.