Tokyo is one of the most popular destinations when it comes to visiting Japan!
This bustling city is filled with endless places to go and things to do. From the food to the sushi knife, and to the attractions to the parks, shrines, temples, spas, culture, arts, and more, Tokyo is the city that never sleeps in the East. Whether you’ve seen it on the big screen in “Lost in Translation”, know someone who lives there, or have just always longed to visit this classic Japanese city, you’re in luck!
You can go off the beaten path and have an amazing time without any real plan, but here are some basic things to do that are a good investment of your time and will give you a view into the true nature and heart of the city.
Make sure you drink a healthy green smoothie or pick up a blender for green smoothie making while you’re there, because Tokyo is bustling with energy and endless places to explore!
Whether you’re ordering high-quality fresh sushi cut from a sharp sushi knife or wandering one of the many beautiful parks, there’s always something fun to do in Tokyo. Read on to find out what points of interest you should hit up in this wonderful and weird city!
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is a must-visit for any visitor to Tokyo! The palace is a home to the Emperor of Japan. This impressive structure is surrounded by a moat system that once guarded Edo Castle. You can book a tour of the grounds, but it most likely will be given in Japanese – a heads up if you don’t speak the language!
However, keep in mind that sometimes, important leaders and politicians visit the Emperor, so you may not be able to visit on that day. You can also visit one of the many gardens and parks surrounding the palace that are open to the public. You can even grab some things and have a picnic! It’s a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon in Tokyo.
Shinjuku Crossing is one of the most popular and well-known places in Tokyo. Shinjuku Station is made up of train platforms, passageways, and department stores. Not just a few stores, either – the area is home to nearly a thousand shops and restaurants that make up the two underground malls of the station. It’s the perfect place to go for anyone who loves to window shop, maybe even get a few fashionable items while they’re in Tokyo.
Ah, Akihabara. This place is heaven on Earth for anyone who is into manga, anime, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, electronics, collectibles, and more. There are so many things to buy and experience here that can make you for hours. Pop into one of the maid cafes, which are frequently themed, to have a unique and fairly ‘kawaii’ (cute) experience that you won’t forget anytime soon. If you love comic books, animated shows, or anything nerdy or pop culture-related in Japan, Akihabara is the place for you.
Not all visitors are familiar with Kabuki theater, and that’s okay! Many visitors may recall that kabuki is an extensive type of Japanese play. The performance is considered an art form, and Kabukiza Theater is a large kabuki theater located in Ginza that offers performances up to three times a day. Since the full performances are usually around three hours long, the theater also offers tickets for one act, which is a shorter performance but will still provide tourists with an authentic kabuki experience.
Cerulean Tower Bar
The Cerulean Tower is home to many attractions, but is perhaps best known for the Cerulean Tower Bar on the fortieth floor. Be prepared to open your wallet for this one, but the yen you fork over will be worth it for the view you get of Shibuya (and the food, drinks, and musical performances there). It’s the perfect way to end a long day before heading back to a love hotel or your ‘regular’ Tokyo hotel.
Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum
This museum is housed in a beautiful large building that in itself may be worth the trip! The museum follows the history of Japan from the Edo period to the modern day. It’s typically open from 9:30 to 5PM, but check the hours on the day you’re planning on going, just to be sure. Plenty of artifacts and multi-lingual plates make this a fun destination for many tourists. See katanas, models of shogun palaces, samurai armor, historical exhibits and even performances at this engaging cultural museum in Tokyo and get a better understanding of the history of Japan!
Odaiba was once a military installation, but this artificial island in Tokyo Bay has transformed into an entertainment and shopping destination. An artificial beach offers tourists a great view of the Tokyo Bay. Families, especially, like to come here as there are plenty to do and tons of places where you can stop in for a bite to eat. The destination is also a popular spot for couples to go to, shop and explore.
Everyone must go to Shibuya Crossing at some point in their lives! This busy intersection may seem pretty basic, but once the lights turn and everyone starts to cross, it’s actually magnetic to watch huge swarms of people navigate their way across the streets. It’s fun to do and fun to watch, and this crossing is easily one of the most iconic spots in Tokyo, having been featured in countless movies and television shows.
Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi Park
Meiji Jingu is the site of the deified Emperor Meiji. It is also a huge visitor spot, where thousands of people visit the Hatsumode shrine as part of their first shrine visit of the New Year.
This place is said to be a place of power where if you get purified or married there, grace will be bestowed on you. The 700,000 square meter grounds is also home to spiritual places such as the Kiyomasa Well and the Kameishi. Nearby, at the adjacent Yoyogi park, you can enjoy the outdoor weather, flea markets, and frequent concerts.
This 134-acre park is squished between Shinjuku and Shibuya, making it a popular place for people to gather. You may very well find couples having picnics, musicians and magicians performing, and people just hanging out. A friendly atmosphere in Yoyogi Park balances out the peaceful power that is its neighbor, Meiji Jingu.
Sightseeing & Starbucks at Ueno Park
This park was actually the first public park in Japan! Oeno Park covers a decent 530,000 square meters and is filled with tons of cultural facilities. The area inside the park is a favorite for cherry blossom viewing, so if you’re in Japan at the time of sakura season, you’re in for a treat.
Many people go out with their friends and pack sakura-themed lunches to sit and eat on blankets. The pastime is very popular. Shinobazu Pond in the park is a great place to visit, and no matter what the season, Oeno Park is always brimming with natural beauty.
If you’re in the mood for a snack or a coffee, then you’re in luck. Oeno Park is the only park in Tokyo with a Starbucks built on the grounds. Stop in and try the sakura latte if you’re there in the springtime months!
Visit Tokyo SkyTree
Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting tower. The tower opened in 2012, edging out Tokyo Tower in height. The bottom of the tower has plenty of shops and restaurants in the part known as Soramachi. It’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The best time of day to go to Tokyo Skytree may just be in the early morning time, when you will be able to get a breathtaking view of the impressive Mt. Fuji.
Visit Oedo Onsen Monogatari
If you love onsens, or the hot bath routine that Japan holds close to its heart, then you must visit Oedo Onsen Monogatari! This is a hot spring theme park that is the place to go if you want to relax in Tokyo’s Odaiba area. One really cool thing about this park is that it was designed to look like an Edo-Period Street. You can book a private room that has onsens in the open air, order some food, and visit some of the many other attractions at this destination. This Onsen Park will help you experience relaxation and contentment as you never have before!
Go on a Yakatabune cruise
Yakabutane Cruisers cannot be touted enough! You can truly take in Tokyo the way it was meant to be on one of these pleasant cruisers that go gently down the Sumida River. It’s been a popular pastime ever since the Heian era from 794 to 1185, so people have been enjoying this activity for quite a while. You do not only get to take in Tokyo at downtown, but you also get to take in many other sightseeing spots of Tokyo. Pick a cruiser with meal plans to enjoy a leisurely sashimi dish while viewing this bustling city in all its glory.
Bonus tip: Eat Sushi!
One of the best ways to experience Tokyo is to try their world famous Sushi. A big part of this experience is to watch Japanese Chef’s slice up fish and seafood with their precision knives. Sitting at the bar is one of the best places to eat. There are Sushi bars and restaurants everywhere in Tokyo. Just walk into one and enjoy.
Whatever you decide to do, visit Tokyo with your pumps ready for long walks and enjoy the intrinsic culture of Japan! This is a very culture-rich city that you will never regret going to. Share with your family and friends. We would love to hear how your trip goes!
Paula is the founder of ChewTheWorld, where she and her associates blog about the best food recipes, tips & tricks, and finest tech that will help you make exquisite food in your home. ChewTheWorld is concentrated on the taste, the joy of cooking, and making the most out of it.