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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.

Top 10 attractions in Tokyo

#1
Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

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As Japan's highest mountain, the legendary Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san) stands 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) tall. Travelers from around the world head to Hakone National Park to see the mountain, and over 1 million of them hike all the way to the top each year for the 360-degree views of Lake Ashi, the Hakone mountains, and the Owakudani Valley.More
#2
Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

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At 1,092 feet (333 meters) tall, Tokyo Tower is an impressive Japanese landmark offering 360-degree views of the city from its two observation decks. Built in 1958 from red and white latticed steel, the Eiffel Tower-inspired structure houses a wax museum, a Shinto Shrine, an aquarium, restaurants, and other entertainment spots.More
#3
Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara Forest

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The dense Aokigahara Forest lies at the northwestern base of Mount Fuji, the iconic, near-symmetrical cone-shaped mountain that rises in eastern Japan. It holds the grim distinction of being the second-most popular destination for people intent on dying by suicide. Despite this, it’s a peaceful place to hike and enjoy nature.More
#4
Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

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Home to Japan’s Emperor, the Tokyo Imperial Palace occupies the site of the original Edo Castle (Edo-jō), the Tokugawa shogunate's castle, which was once the largest fortress in the world. Located in the center of Tokyo, the palace is surrounded by moats and serene gardens.More
#5
Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree

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Since opening in 2012, the Tokyo Skytree has taken the title of Japan’s tallest building—and one of the tallest in the world—measuring an incredible 2,080 feet (634 meters) high. In addition to serving as a TV and radio broadcast tower, it has two observation decks affording spectacular views across Tokyo and the distant Mount Fuji.More
#6
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

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The Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is the most important and popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, in 1926, the shrine comprises buildings of worship, gardens, and a forest where each tree was planted by a different citizen of Japan wanting to pay respects to the emperor. A highlight of the shrine is the Meiji Memorial Hall, where visitors find more than 80 murals dedicated to the emperor.More
#7
Nikko National Park

Nikko National Park

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Known for its impressive botanical garden, intricate Iemitsu mausoleum, and ornate Toshogu Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Nikko National Park is an area of incredible natural beauty with plenty to see and do. In addition to shrines and temples, the park is home to numerous lakes, elaborate bridges, excellent hiking trails, and two stunning waterfalls—all set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery.More
#8
Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

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The must-see Senso-ji Temple (also known as Asakusa Temple or Asakusa Kannon Temple) combines architecture, centers of worship, Japanese gardens, and traditional markets to offer visitors a modern-day look at Japan’s rich history and culture. Erected in AD 645 in what was once an old fishing village, Senso-ji Temple was dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Stone statues of Fujin (the Shinto wind god) and Raijin (the Shinto thunder god) guard the entrance, known as Kaminarimon or the Thunder Gate. Next is Hozomon Gate, which leads to Nakamise’s shopping streets, filled with vendors selling handicrafts and Japanese snacks. Don’t miss the Asakusa Shrine or Kannon-do Hall.More
#9
Shibuya

Shibuya

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The area surrounding Shibuya Station—famous for its busy streets, flashing neon advertisements, trendy boutiques, and teeming malls—ranks among Tokyo’s most energetic neighborhoods. Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in its own right.More
#10
Mt. Fuji 5th Station

Mt. Fuji 5th Station

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At 7,546 feet (2,300 meters), Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station affords incredible views over Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone National Park. Easily accessible by road, 5th Station lies at the midpoint of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji’s summit; many hikers begin their ascent here.More

Trip ideas

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

Small-Group Tokyo Biking Tour

Small-Group Tokyo Biking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Tokyo

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Fun Walking Tour
MaraSmithCapella, Nov 2021
Tokyo Imperial Palace Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
Really interesting to see the comparison of old and new in one place.
star-5
A wonderful day tour.
Roger_D, Aug 2021
Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
The tour was a great way to see the area and Khizar made it easy and efficient.
star-5
Enjoyable tour
Hideo, Jun 2021
Tokyo Virtual Tour
Very comprehensive tour of Tokyo to understand where to visit
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Tour review
carabarker, Feb 2020
Tokyo Walking Tours with a Local Guide: Private & Tailored to You ★★★★★
She spoke great English.
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
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.
CheeJin_L, Dec 2019
Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
Excellent service by the English speaking guide.
star-5
Excellent
Robin_J, 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
Sandra_K, Nov 2019
Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Small Group or Private Tour
Great guide that spoke wonderful English.
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Excellent Driver and Service
Patricia_B, 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.
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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.
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Tokyo with a local
tony g, Nov 2019
Tokyo Tours By Locals: Private & Tailored to You, 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.
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Tokyo bike tour
Christina_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.
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More Time at Nikko Preferred.
Brian_Y, Oct 2019
Nikko 1-Day Bus Tour :World Heritage of Nikko Toshogu,Lake Chuzenji,Kegon Falls
The Lake and Waterfall were nice but the main attraction of the tour was Nikko.
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Fabulous Shrine, Waterfall, and Lake
Alison C, Sep 2019
Nikko 1-Day Bus Tour :World Heritage of Nikko Toshogu,Lake Chuzenji,Kegon Falls
Spectacular views of waterfall and lake.
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Amazing Tokyo
MaFlorentina_d, Sep 2019
Tokyo Private Tour by Car / Van - Guide Option Available
We were able to see a lot of beautiful and amazing Tokyo sites.
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Tokyo full day tour
leszek w, Sep 2019
Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day
I highly recommend this as it was custom and we picked the top attractions to our liking.
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See a lot with a great guide
John_A, Jul 2019
Small-Group Tokyo Biking Tour
Highly recommended way to see Tokyo.
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Great Tokyo Tour
Abraham_W, Jul 2019
Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day
This tour is a great way to see some of the major sites in Tokyo.

All about Tokyo

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.

A local’s pocket guide to Tokyo

Claire Bourillon

While living in Tokyo, Claire spent her time exploring the traditional and modern streets of the city, shopping in Harajuku, and eating at izakayas (Japanese pub restaurants).

The first thing you should do in Tokyo is...

get an IC rechargeable card—it makes it easier to travel around the city’s public transport network and explore.

A perfect Saturday in Tokyo...

starts with a stroll in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, followed by a visit to the National Museum, a shabu-shabu hotpot in Shinjuku, and karaoke to end the day.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Shibuya Crossing. Wait to cross alongside thousands of pedestrians while staring wide-eyed at the flashing advert-filled screens.

To discover the "real" Tokyo...

wander the historic Asakusa district, take a tour of the Senso-ji Temple, and sample kibi dango (mini mochi balls) and taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes).

For the best view of the city...

climb to the free observatories in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. On cloudless days you might be able to glimpse Mt. Fuji.

One thing people get wrong...

The language barrier is real but Tokyoites will do their best to help, so don’t hesitate to ask.

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