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Tokyo Tourism: Best of Tokyo

A nonstop city of thrilling contrasts
With its futuristic skyscrapers, unrivaled food scene, and wild nightlife, Tokyo is a rush of pure adrenaline. This vast and multifaceted city is famously cutting edge, yet its ancient Buddhist temples, vintage teahouses, and peaceful gardens offer a serene escape — and a poignant reminder of the city’s long history. And for those who know where to look, Tokyo’s smaller pleasures (secret ramen spots, shopping alleys, chill record bars) are often hiding in plain sight.

Travel Advice

Essential Tokyo

Itineraries from real travelers

Traveler Spotlight

Take a Dip: Tokyo's Hot Springs and Bathhouses

Japanese onsen (natural hot springs) and sento (public bathhouses) have a very special place on my things-I-love-about-Japan list. Soaking in steaming hot water is my perfect end to a big day of walking, sightseeing, and souffle-pancake-eating—and a wonderful way to experience a part of everyday life in Japan.
anneolivia, New York City, NY
  • Spa LaQua
    Located in Tokyo Dome City, Spa LaQua is like the Disney World of Tokyo bathing destinations. It's super modern, and offers just about every water "attraction" you can think of: mineral baths, several saunas (one designed to look like ancient ruins), foot baths, steam rooms, and so on. Plus there are great views of the city!
  • Thermae Yu
    My perfect night in Tokyo? Ramen and karaoke in Shinjuku, topped off with a hot soak at this big, pristine, 24-hour spa complex.
  • Akebono-yu
    This pretty temple-like bathhouse has been popular with Asakusa residents for decades. It's actually Tokyo's oldest bathhouse—make a day of it by visiting Asakusa's Sensoji (Tokyo's oldest temple) and taking a steamy soak in Akebono-yo.
  • Shimizuyu
    If you're well-versed in Japanese bathing etiquette (and really you should be before going to *any* bathhouse) and comfortable with a lack of English signage, this bathhouse is well worth the visit. Locals love the mineral-rich black mud bath (common in this part of Tokyo).
  • Heiwajima Onsen
    Travelers with super-early flights should know about this 24-hour natural hot springs facility. The bathhouse even offers free late-night/early-morning shuttle service to and from Haneda Airport (smart!).
  • Utsukushi no Yu
    Near Inokashira Park and the Ghibli Museum, this neighborhood wellness center has indoor tubs, saunas, and a relaxation room, plus outdoor rotenburo baths, for a low entry price. Its restaurant serves treats like noodles, dumplings, ice cream, and beer.

Explore Tokyo by interest

See the city after dark

Late-night eats, trendy bars, and more

Picture-perfect cafes

Where drinks and sweets are works of art

Pop culture comes to life

Anime museums and shops, arcades, and more
Tokyo Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Tokyo

Tokyo is so much easier to get around in than you expect before you get there. It is crowded and busy but organized and sensible (as opposed to, say, Rome or Los Angeles). The system of subways and trains can be daunting because there are so many, but you can get anywhere you want to go with a good station map.
Don't ask for "bathroom,” ask for "toilet.” I'm terrible at picking up a new language, but I managed to make it through. Usually, I'd say something in mangled Japanese, then would get a response in English.
Get maps and travel information in English before your trip and at tourist information booths in large Japanese cities.

In the words of those who've been there before ...

Ben M
I see Tokyo as the perfect balance of opposite elements. The size and scale bring a sense of chaos yet everything seems to flow and work in perfect order. It balances a wonderful history with modern and edge. It is vast but offers intimate small experiences that are hard to replicate. It is a perfect balance of contradictions that draw you in and leave you with a sense of wonder.
Madison S
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 Akihabara 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.
Given all of Tokyo's skyscrapers and salarymen, it's easy to assume that the city is a barren urban wasteland without a breath of fresh air to punctuate its high-tech and industrialized neighborhoods. But between all those glittering shopping centers and glass business buildings are pockets of beautiful parks, serene walking paths, and tranquil temple and shrine gardens — all helping you to slow down and take a breather.
Madison S
Something old, something new, and something delicious — just for you. Everyone loves a good meal, and in Tokyo— Japan's greatest metropolis — there seem to be good meals on offer at every turn. From ramen bars to all-you-can-eat izakaya, to traditional sushi restaurants where steaming cups of green tea accompany flawless cuts of sashimi, to ultra-modern cafes where girls in French Rococo-inspired outfits dig into dainty, creamy cakes, and decorated coffees...
Tokyo has everything, great shopping, excellent restaurants, neon-lighted hustle and bustle, and nice quiet places to walk around.

What is the best way to get there?


Tokyo is serviced by two major airports, Narita and Haneda. Haneda is closer to the city.

You can find more information here.


The Japan rail network is extensive and trains from other cities could arrive in multiple stations in Tokyo. The most serviced would include Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station and Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku is known as the world’s busiest train station. For bullet trains (shinkansen), the stations are Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station.

Do I need a visa?

Currently, citizens from 68 countries can travel into Japan visa-free. Please check on your eligibility and visa information here.

When is the best time to visit?

October to February: Tokyo is a great destination all year round. However, the summer months can be excruciatingly hot. Avoid July, August, and early September if you don’t like to sweat as the average temperature over these months hovers at 85 Fahrenheit (29 Celsius). Tokyo’s high season falls between mid-March to late April, especially because many domestic and foreign travelers like to come at that time to see the cherry blossoms. Similarly, October and early November are peak times to view the fall foliage.

On the ground
What is the timezone?
Japan Standard Time
What are the voltage/plug types?
Typically these are 100 Volts / 50-60 Hz. (You will occasionally find 200 Volt outlets for larger appliances like air-conditioning units.) Plugs are Type A and B.
What is the currency?
The Japanese Yen.
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Yes and no. Many high-end restaurants and small shops are cash only. Major departments stores and hotels will usually accept credit cards. It is always advisable in Japan to carry cash.
Is it easy to find a bank?
No need to tip. In general, restaurants are not used to receiving tips at all. Tipping is accepted on very limited occasions. You could tell a taxi driver that you don't need changes after paying the fare, they would accept the change as a tip (but they don't really expect to receive it). When you are visiting some bars, you could buy a bar master a drink if you are having a really good time instead of tipping.

Are there local customs I should know?

Blowing your nose
Try not to blow your nose in public, and avoid both eating and drinking on the street (ok in parks). It is considered rude.
Counting your change
Do not count change in view of the person who gave it to you. It is also considered rude.
Public transportation
Try to be quiet in trains, at restaurants, and at your hotel. Japanese culture puts great emphasis on consideration for others and maintaining a quiet and harmonious atmosphere.
Remove your shoes when entering private homes, ryokans, and even some restaurants and offices.
If you have a tattoo, forget trying to visit a Japanese hot spring. Unless you have booked a hotel room with a private bath, you won’t be able to enter.

For more observations on customs in Japan, here's a useful site.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tokyo

Tokyo is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:

If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Tokyo between December and February, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.