Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo to Make Your Visit in Japan More Unforgettable
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Japan has seen its name in lights globally due to its unique culture and traditions. The fact that lots of these are still in practice today, all the more it makes the island nation a force of nature.
Tokyo is the quintessential capital city that best represents Japan in the world. About every conceivable chunk of the city has Japan's distinctive stamp on it.
Each month, Japan attracts several millions of foreign visitors. And for good reason, the thousands of things to do in Tokyo has contributed a lot more to this growing figure.
Sorting out your travel plans to Japan for the first time can be excruciating at some point. But we're here to help you get started.
Check out what to do in Tokyo that will make your vacation in Japan a trip of a lifetime.
1. Go back in time at Tokyo National Museum
The best way to sink your teeth into Japan’s history is to visit top-level museums. The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest and largest of them all.
Now located in Ueno Park, the national museum complex has five special buildings. They hold more than 110,000 items in total, including almost a hundred national treasures.
Dive deeper into Japan's ancient figures by visiting more museums around Tokyo. Check out the Edo-Tokyo Museum, Samurai Museum, Nezu Museum, Shitamachi Museum, and more.
Price: ¥620 ($6)
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
Nearby Attractions: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Ueno Zoo, Toshogu Shrine, Kyu Kaneiji Pagoda
2. Shop and dine in Takeshita Dori and Omotesando Hills
Takeshita Dori is a 400-meter stretch of cheap and hip finds. Fashion boutiques, crepe stands, trendy cafes and whatnots line up the street. It's quite popular among teenagers with extreme funky style.
Right at the end of Takeshita Dori is Omotesando Hills, the avenue geared towards adults. Omotesando Hills is home to fancy restaurants and upscale brands. No wonder it's been often called as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees.
Address: Takeshita-Dori, Harajuku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11 a.m. - 8 a.m. daily
Nearby Attractions: Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Nezu Museum
3. Witness Tsukiji Market in action
Tsukiji Market is the largest and oldest fish market in the world. It's one of the main sources of fresh seafood and vegetables in and nearby Tokyo. Every day, it brings about 2,000 tons of marine products.
The market has seen a surging number of tourist visitors over the last few years. It wasn't something the management had foreseen over the last 80 years in operation. But starting October 2018, they will retire Tsukiji Market and move to a new location in Toyosu.
Make sure to pay the market a visit soon as it might be the last time you see the world’s oldest market in action. If you want to see a tuna auction, be there at the market as early as 5 a.m.
Address: 5-2 Tsukiji Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 5 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily
Nearby Attractions: Tsukiji Hongan-Ji Temple, Hama Rikyu Gardens, Suitengu Shrine
4. Watch robots perform at the Robot Restaurant
Contrary to popular first impressions, Robot Restaurant isn’t a dinner spot. It's a cabaret show where zany robots take the center stage to entertain spectators.
There are four shows every night, each lasting for about an hour and a half. Robot Restaurant is quite popular among locals and foreign tourists. So, be sure to book your ticket in advance.
Price: Starts at ¥8,000 ($70)
Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,Japan
Opening Hours: 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. daily
Nearby Attractions: Godzilla Road, Samurai Museum, Shinjuku Golden Gai
5. View Shibuya Crossing from above
Shibuya Crossing is the busiest intersection in the world. It rose to fame around the world due to its...busyness. Called the “scramble”, hundreds of pedestrians cross lanes from all directions at once. It’s pretty satisfying to watch, most especially if you view it from the top.
Some establishments have open seating to witness the intersection come to life. Options include Starbucks Coffee, L'Occitane Cafe, Gusto Shibuya Ekimae, and Mark City. But if you want to get a good top-down angle, do some research on which hotels you should be looking down from.
Address: Hachiko Exit (Exit #8), Shibuya Station, Shibuya, Tokyo
Nearby Attractions: Shibuya Center Gai, NHK Studio Park, Genki Sushi
6. Drive around central Tokyo on a go-kart
Driving around Tokyo is one of the best gifts to motorists. Despite its population and tourist arrivals, it remains to be a good place for four wheels. And that includes a go-kart.
Roaming in the city on a go-kart is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Tokyo. If you don't have an entire month to explore the city, it could be a time saver to see more places in a short period of time. In only a couple of hours, go-karting in Tokyo will bring you to many sides of the central areas.
Price: Starts at ¥5,000 ($45)
7. Explore fantasy theme park Tokyo Disney Sea
Tokyo Disney Resort has two fantasy theme parks: Disneyland and DisneySea. The latter is unique to Japan. Tokyo DisneySea is suitable for all ages, but it’s designed to attract grown-ups.
The theme park has seven ports that are taking immense inspiration from myths and legends of the sea. It’s more than a theme park as it offers a range of table services for guests to enjoy Japan’s culinary asset.
Price: Starts at ¥7,400 ($66)
Address: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
8. Dress up like a Geisha
Dressing up like a geisha, also called geiko or geigi, complete with makeup is one of the best things to do in Tokyo. You'll don a colorful kimono and have your pictures taken in a studio or outdoors. It’s become more popular among female foreign tourists.
In real life, a geisha is a female entertainer who ushers guests for a living. This ancient tradition dates back to the 6th century BC. Although Tokyo is a hotspot for ochiya (tea houses) for geisha dinners, they're not always in sight. So it’s advisable to book a tour if you want to see one perform.
Price: Starts at ¥10,000 ($90)
9. Move around a new dimension at teamLab Planets
Arts collective teamLab Planets has recently opened its doors in Tokyo. This digital art museum is one the newest attractions in the city that you shouldn’t miss.
TeamLab Planets will transport you to a borderless 3D art space. Your physical self will coexist with an artistic virtual dimension through technology.
TeamLab Planets has two locations in Tokyo -- Toyosu and Odaiba. Each offers a different experience. No tickets are available at the door as they're selling like hotcakes so be sure to get yours in advance.
Price: Starts at ¥2,400 ($21)
Address: 6 Chome-1-16 Toyosu, Koto, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.
10. Hunt for goods around Akihabara
For hard-core lovers of anime, manga, and games, Akihabara is the true definition of heaven. It boasts hundreds of shops selling all kinds of gadgets and otaku (diehard fan) goodies.
Some must-visit electronic shops around Akihabara include Yodobashi, Akihabara Crossfield, Sofmap, and Laox. For manga and anime buffs, dare not miss Maid Cafe, Don Quijote, Super Potato, Gundam Cafe, and many more.
Things to Do in Tokyo
Japan offers more than 10 things to do in Tokyo--that's for sure. If time allows, do yourself a favor and explore every bit of the city.
If you’re visiting Tokyo soon, do let us know in the comments. Make sure to drop your favorite activities that you would want to do first the moment you arrive here.
Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!