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Tokyo: Japan's sprawling capital city, with a reputation for variety that attracts travelers the world over. Whether you're visiting for business or leisure, to glimpse into history at the Imperial Palace and its many cherry-blossom-studded shrines, or to peek into the future in districts like electronic paradise Akihabra and edgy, fashionable Shinjuku, Tokyo will cater to almost every curiosity. A cradle of politics, culture, and business for Japan, Tokyo offers an almost limitless variety of entertainment, shopping, dining, and alternative opinions. If you're only visiting for a little while, deciding what to do might seem an impossible task. This guide narrows down what to see by area, and what can be done in a day, taking advantage of the city's excellent connectivity and public transport to make sure you're able to appreciate green spaces and famous places along the way. It aims to give you an experience as diverse as Tokyo itself. Yōkoso, Tokyo! (Welcome to Tokyo!)

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Luxury Traveler
  • Thrifty Traveler
  • Trendsetter

11 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

11 Places

Shinjuku

Destinations

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Harajuku Takeshita-dori

Points of Interest & Landmarks,

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Gardens

Shibuya Crossing

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Akihabara

Neighborhoods

Senso-ji Temple

Sacred & Religious Sites

Imperial Palace

Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings

Ginza

Neighborhoods

Rainbow Bridge

Bridges

Tokyo Tower

Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Madison S's City Tips

  • Taxi meters are cheap and they make it easy to get to a location. Doors open and close automatically.
  • The Tokyo Metro goes almost anywhere in the city, and tickets are mostly purchased on a single-ride basis, at machines. If you are having trouble with the machines, seek a teller.
  • Some restaurants (especially traditional or themed) do not allow photos. Be aware of policies via signs posted, and be courteous, as you are expected to police yourself.
  • At restaurants, offering the wait staff a tip is considered taboo. In taxis, the practice is completely optional - use your discretion, but 20% is usually a fair amount.
  • Some underground lines are run by different companies, so you may have to purchase a separate ticket for transfers. Sticking to one line where possible will save travel time.
  • You can purchase a PASMO card (refundable deposit), a metro pass that you can top up at any time. It does not give travelers a discount, but it does work across lines.
  • Get your best foot fashion going! Wear matching socks that you're happy to show off - some establishments require you take off shoes. A must if you are visiting a home, too.
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    Shinjuku
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Starting off the day in bustling Shinjuku, you'll find a mix of the eclectic and the traditional waiting for you, offering a seamless blend of entertainment and education. Shinjuku is home to a number of Tokyo's most impressive skyscrapers, but also some of its most beautiful and luxuriant gardens. Known as a trend-setting district, it's famous for its fashion and shopping, especially among Japan's most avant-garde youth. With an energetic nightlife and a penchant for the original, it's no wonder that this is one of Tokyo's most popular wards, and a must-visit destination. Explore underground malls, endless department stores, rooftop restaurants, public parks, and museums, all packed into one exuberant locale.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Shinjuku Station is served by over 10 subway lines, including JR Yamanote (from Ueno) & JR Chuo (from Tokyo Station). It's the world's busiest station!
    • Shinjuku's Skyscraper District boasts some of the ward's most delicious restaurant destinations, but note that many shops will close between lunch and dinner hours.
    • Isetan is Shinjuku's staple department store, a flagship that boasts ten levels, with an impressive market in the basement and rooftop dining that offers a great city view.
    • The Japanese Sword Museum is in this area, showing off the art of sword-making with its small but grand display of blades and hilts, forged hundreds of years ago for the samurai.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    • Shinjuku
  • Save
    Meiji Jingu Shrine
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Located in Shibuya, Shinjuku, the Meiji Jingu is a handsome Shinto shrine, built to honor the Meiji Emperor and his wife on the site of an isis flower garden the couple had once been fond of. Though the original was leveled during wartime, its restoration is nestled in the heart of a 175-acre evergreen forest with trees donated by patrons across Japan, creating a tranquil green space in the heart of Tokyo. The inner shrine, Naien, contains the main complexes of the structure, including a small museum which houses items once belonging to the Imperial couple. Outside, the Gaien is home to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, host to over 75 murals depicting the life and times of the Meiji Emperor. With its charming grounds, Meiji Jingu is a wonderful place to take a breather and absorb the history of Japan's capital, and the role it played in creating the Japan of today.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You might catch either a historical re-enactment or a shinto wedding while you are in the area. It is popular especially for the latter, and visiting in June offers your best shot.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 291 things to do in Shibuya
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Meiji Jingu Shrine 08/15/2018
    • Japanese shrine in Harajuku 08/14/2018
    • Meiji Jingu Shrine
    Address:
    1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho
    Shibuya 151-0052
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-3379-5511
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    5:45 AM - 4:30 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Harajuku Takeshita-dori
    Points of Interest & Landmarks,
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Harajuku is the place to go for trendy shopping, people-watching, and daytime dessert. Takeshita Street is its most well-known destination, and is often thronged with visitors who want to take advantage of the area's reputation for Japan's most outrageous, diverse, and forward-thinking fashion fads - both in the stores and on the street. Blocked off to any automotive traffic, youth culture and luxury chains collide on Takeshita, where young people often dress to the nines (and in their funkiest outfits) to visit Takeshita's cafes, restaurants, independent boutiques, and second-hand stores. The people-watching is only beat by the window shopping in this area, which you can do with a sweet treat in hand here, as the many creperies offer a distinctly Japanese twist to the typical French food: sweet adzuki bean and green tea, anyone?

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The crowds can be daunting, especially during peak times on weekends, where the throngs will literally be shoulder-to-shoulder. Be prepared for slow moving at these times.
    • If you're especially interested in seeing street fashion, visiting on a Sunday gives you the best opportunity to see Japanese youth wearing the latest trends and Cosplay outfits.
    • Takeshita is also near to the Nezu and Ota Memorial Museums - the former displaying pre-modern Asian fine art, the latter home to many ukiyo-e woodblock paintings.
    • Near to the Meiji Jingu, this makes for a great visit after you've explored the Shinto shrine.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 32 things to do in Jingumae
    • Crowded shopping street with great fashion choices 08/14/2018
    • Very crowded shopping area geared for teens? 08/12/2018
    • Harajuku Takeshita-dori
    Address:
    1
    Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-3403-2525
    Other:
  • Save
    Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Also located in Shinjuku, the Gyoen National Garden was established as a private home during the Edo period, and today spans acres of public parkland dotted with colorful tulip trees, vast Himalayan cedars, and Imperial plane trees. Also boasting 1,500 cherry trees, Shinjuku Gyoen is especially breathtaking in the springtime, when its blossoms burst into life over a two month period in shades of pink and white. But with enough foliage to look gorgeous in any season, babbling brooks filled with koi fish, and a greenhouse that is home to over 1,700 warm-weather plants, the garden is always a splendid break from the inner city. Because English and French landscaping techniques are employed to the north, while the traditional Japanese aesthetic is installed along the south, it is best to take your time exploring the grounds in their entirety, and if you'd like to rest your legs, there is even a tea house onsite.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The park is popular for hanami (viewing picnics) during cherry blossom season (March-April). Though crowded, it's a fun time to visit and even try hanami yourself.
    • There is a small admission fee.
    • The park is closed on Mondays, except during the cherry blossom season (March-April) and some dates in early November.
    • Last admission to Shinjuku Gyoen is at 4pm. The park closes at 4:30pm.
    • The nearest metro station is Shinjuku-sanchōme. The park is about a five minute walk from exit C1.
    • A great place to take a breather after the bustle of Harajuku.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 420 things to do in Shinjuku
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Closed on Mondays 08/13/2018
    • National Garden 08/10/2018
    • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
    Address:
    11 Naitocho
    Shinjuku 160-0014
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +91 88002 37808
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Shibuya Crossing
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    While you are in the Shibuya area, it is worth making a short stop at the Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble. This busy street crossing is the most famous of its kind - it stands right outside of Shibuya Station, allowing those on foot to cross from any angle or direction, and all at once. When the traffic lights change to red the crowds surge forward, and the mingled crowds of businessmen to fashionistas make for quite a sight! The scramble is also well-located to jump off to other sites, including the famous statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station, or the prominent Shibuya 109 building, where over 100 shops cater to the sharpest dressers. If you're feeling hungry, there is also the Tokyu Food Show in the basement of Shibuya station to explore, offering counter after counter of fried fish, fresh vegetables, saucy noodles, and tempting sweets.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • The Hachiko statue honours the famous dog, who would loyally meet his owner after his commute home. When he died one day at work, Hachiko continued to wait every day for 9 years.
    • If you'd like to enjoy the view without being out in the crowd, the nearby high-rise Starbucks on the north end of the crossing lets you watch the with a sakura latte in hand.
    • If you want to visit at night, the area and its surrounding buildings are lit up with giant moving advertisements that give the scramble its photogenic popularity.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 291 things to do in Shibuya
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Shibuya Crossing 08/15/2018
    • If you like watching people 08/14/2018
    • Shibuya Crossing
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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    Akihabara
    Neighborhoods
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    For a change of scenery, after Shinkuku head to Electric City Akihabara! (Akiba for short). The district is home to the city's most impressive electronic shops and arcades, and is also a haven for 'otaku' culture, featuring specialty hobby stores and energetic 'maid cafes.' Chuo Dori street is studded with shops catering to every technological and electronic need, from very small individual parts, to old and obsolete collectables, to the most modern toys and conveniences you can imagine. Akiba is a dizzying maze of side-streets, and exploring these will also turn up a number of vintage stores, comic shops, and unique anime offerings. This is the place to go if you need a new camera for the trip, or want to grab a few 'purikura' (customizable sticker photos) with your crew!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • The most impressive store in the area is the huge, multi-story Yodobashi Camera, located east of the main station. It has a wide array of merchandise at reasonable prices.
    • From 1pm to 6pm on Sundays, no automotive traffic is allowed along Chuo Dori. (Sometimes only until 5pm depending on the month.)
    • Remember to check for compatible plugs and voltages when buying electronics to take home. If you're unsure, it's best to shop in the store's international section.
    • Many stores offer tax-free buying when you purchase a certain amount (usually upwards of ¥10,000). Ask if you are curious before buying.
    • Since the area has many hidden gems, you might want to take a tour. Several companies offer tours tailored to certain sites and hobbies.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 386 things to do in Chiyoda
    • a must for anime lovers 08/12/2018
    • Special 08/09/2018
    • Akihabara
    Address:
    Sotokanda
    Chiyoda 101-0021
    Tokyo Prefecture
  • Save
    Senso-ji Temple
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Historic Asakusa, a district with old world grace and an ancient Edo aesthetic, will make you feel as if you've stepped back in time. The jewel in Asakusa's crown is the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple, Tokyo's oldest and most prominent. A peaceful location surrounded by vermillion torii gates, small souvenir shops, and street-side food stalls, it serves as a symbol of harmony and rebirth for the city, with greenery having overgrown some of the scars the grounds suffered during wartime. Entering via the 'Thunder Gate,' a giant paper lantern is the first sight visitors encounter, evoking the power of nature, while the inner structure is home to a five-story pagoda, a well-kept garden, and a shrine devoted to the god Kannon. The temple itself allows visitors to consult an omikuji ('fortune telling paper'), so if you want to see what the future holds, you know where to ask!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo's biggest festival, takes place at Sensoji in the spring. The area becomes a hotspot for activities and street food, and no automotive traffic is allowed.
    • Surrounding the temple area are many restaurants serving classic dishes, from soba to yakitori, wagyu to tempura. Definitely have a meal in one of the many olden structures here.
    • Omikuji ("fortune telling papers") are bought by donation, but be aware - the predictions are all in Japanese.
    • Tin cups are available by a fountain for washing your hands. It is customary to purify in this manner when visiting a temple or shrine in Japan.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 486 things to do in Taito
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • This was one of the best Japanese temples I visited 08/13/2018
    • Wonderful but.. 08/13/2018
    • Senso-ji Temple
    Address:
    2-3-1 Asakusa
    Taito 111-0032
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-3842-0181
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Imperial Palace
    Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Tokyo Imperial Palace resides on the grounds of the formal Edo Castle, and provides another pivotal cultural location for visitors to soak up outside the hustle and bustle of the main city. Though the Palace itself is not open to the public (it is the current home of the Imperial family), its grounds and gardens are. The impressive landscape includes picturesque moats and high stone walls and bridges, over which the main castle can be spotted with its white wall faces and lilting tile roofs. Modeled after its Tokugawa-era counterpart, the Palace puts on museum-quality exhibitions for visitors, and its landscape is lush and lavish at any time of the year, making the Imperial Palace worth a short but edifying visit.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Imperial Palace is a very short walk from Tokyo Station, a central hub for the rest of the city.
    • Tours of the grounds are offered (with an English audio guide), but must be booked in advance via the Imperial Household Agency.
    • The Palace itself is open to public visits on January 2 (for the New Year) & December 23 (the Emperor's birthday). The Imperial Family greets crowds from their balcony.
    • The East Gardens are closed on Mondays, Fridays, and most national holidays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 386 things to do in Chiyoda
    • A real palace 08/14/2018
    • Very nice free guided tour in English 08/12/2018
    • Imperial Palace
    Address:
    1-1 Chiyoda
    Chiyoda 100-8111
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-3213-1111
    Other:
  • Save
    Ginza
    Neighborhoods
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    As evening settles in, head for the Ginza district and the nightlife opportunities it provides. Considered home to Tokyo's most up-market shopping and dining, Ginza is always a hive of activity, with packed coffee houses, chic boutiques, luxurious sweet shops, and high-end restaurants open well into the evening. Art galleries, night clubs, and ritzy bars also serve to jazz up a night out, and even if you don't plan to indulge in the sticker prices, Ginza is worth seeing for the elegant show it puts on. Most stores are open every day of the week, so no matter when you visit, the lit-up streets will be a treat to wander. Plus, there are a number of department stores (like Matsuya and Mitsukoshi), whose amazing market floors allow you to eat the finest food without lamenting the exchange rate. Come to shop, eat, drink, and enjoy Tokyo's chic side.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • In December, the streets of Ginza are lit up by an "illumination" of fairy lights, making it especially lovely and charming to visit during winter.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 540 things to do in Chuo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Shop till you drop 08/11/2018
    • Very expensive 08/10/2018
    • Ginza
    Address:
    Ginza
    Chuo 104-0061
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Other:
  • Save
    Rainbow Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Not far from Tokyo Tower lies Rainbow Bridge, a suspension bridge along the Odaiba waterfront. A testament to Japanese ingenuity and creativity, it is lit up via solar energy at night, when the structure takes on a rainbow hue. The strong colors make for a unique city view, and the bridge was given its fond nickname by the locals. If you're feeling inspired and your legs aren't jelly from a full day's sightseeing, the bridge also has a pedestrian walk on the lower deck.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Trendsetter
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The bridge can be reached via Shibaura-futō Station (Yurikamome Line) or Tamachi Station (using JR East).
    • A model Statue of Liberty overlooks the bridge in Odaiba. Installed in 1998 (the "Year of France") to honor French culture, it was so popular that the city later re-installed it.
    • Walking paths along the bridge close at 9pm, and final entry is at 8:30pm.
    • If you decide to visit by morning rather than nightfall, this walk provides views of Mount Fuji on a clear day, as well as the Tokyo Bay and harbor areas.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 11 things to do in Daiba
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not much special 08/11/2018
    • Nice views 08/10/2018
    • Rainbow Bridge
    Address:
    Tokyo Bay
    3-33 Kaigan
    Daiba, Minato
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-5463-0224
    Other:
  • Save
    Tokyo Tower
    Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Ending your night at Tokyo Tower, in Minato, brings the entire Tokyo experience together. A staple in Japan's history and pop culture alike, the Eiffel Tower look-alike was once used as a communications tower, and today houses observation decks where you can take in breathtaking views of the city. Best enjoyed by nightfall, when Tokyo's skyline becomes a blaze of lit skyscrapers and snaking highways, the tower also provides visitors with a museum about its origins, a Shinto shrine, a souvenir shop, and dining options high in the sky. At its base, an area called FootTown houses a small aquarium, restaurant, and market. The roof of the FootTown building is also host to a number of live acts for children, as well as small, tame carnival rides. Included in many stories and films, Tokyo Tower was the city's largest structure for over fifty years and is still a pinnacle in the Tokyo skyline.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • The Tower is lit up in various patterns only on special occasions (e.g. Christmas).
    • As of 2010, the Tokyo Skytree is Tokyo's tallest tower, and though not as iconic, its observation tower actually offers a wonderful view of Tokyo Tower in the distance.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 562 things to do in Minato
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Just to say... I've been there... nothing special! 08/15/2018
    • Worth the walk 08/13/2018
    • Tokyo Tower
    Address:
    4-2-8 Shibakoen
    Minato 105-0011
    Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone:
    +81 3-3433-5111
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
    Other:
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