Top 15 Things to Do in Tokyo

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Tokyo, the capital city of Japan is a city to admire. It is the most populous metropolis in the world.

There are a ton of things to do in Tokyo from visiting skyscrapers, ancient temples, museums to gardens and tasting fresh sushi. You will run out of time to see all its attractions, especially if you are visiting Tokyo for a short period of time. So here's a list of our top 15 picks that you shouldn't miss, while on vacation in Tokyo.

Visit the sacred Senso-ji Temple

Sensoji-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Located in the Asakusa area, Senso-ji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo. It is a popular Buddhist temple visited by many tourists while in Tokyo. You can take the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Line or Hanzomon Line towards Asakusa Station and from there it will only take a few minutes to to get to Senso-ji Temple.

If you are keen to learn about the traditional Japanese culture and history this is the perfect place to do so. According to the legend, this temple was built for the goddess of Kannon, the goddess of mercy by two brothers; Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari after discovering a statue of the goddess of Kannon from the Sumida River while fishing. They put the statue back to the river, but it kept returning to them.

Tourists visit The Kaminarimon gate, near Senso-Ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

You will find many things to admire at the temple. From the main gate popularly known as 'Kaminarimon' or the 'Thunder Gate' to Nakamise shopping street with sweets, local delights and souvenirs, 'The Hozomon', the inner gate to the temple, red and black chochin lanterns, 'Hondo', the main hall, Gojuno-to, the 53.32 meters high iconic vermilion-colored five storied pagoda are not to be missed while at the premises.


Enjoy magnificent views from Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree Buildings in Sumida Cityscape View

Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting tower, housing some of the very famous Japanese networks and you shouldn't miss this attraction no matter what.

Tokyo Skytree stands out from anything else at 634 meters high to be the tallest tower in Japan, surpassing the Tokyo Tower. Upon arriving at the tower you will come across a shopping complex and an aquarium at its base.

View of Tokyo city from Skytree Tembo Deck

You can enjoy spectacular views of Tokyo city from its two observation decks; Tembo Deck and Tembo Galleria at 350 meters and 450 meters high. You will not only be able to enjoy the amazing views, but also to enjoy mouthwatering French and Japanese cuisine at the Musashi Sky Restaurant. You will come across a spiral ramp with huge glass windows and on top of it an observation platform. You can get some good photographs of the Tokyo Skytree along the Sumida River or a close up view from the south of the Skytree Town.

Experience the busy vibe at Shibuya Crossing

View Shibuya Crossing at sunset Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing also known as Shibuya Scramble is one of the coolest places in Tokyo that you should definitely visit. It is also an insta-worthy place where you can get some cool photographs of the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.

You will go crazy witnessing a large number of pedestrians cross the streets when the lights turn green. It is magical with all the giant colorful screens on both sides of the streets, especially at night when the neon advertisements are on display. You will simply find everything here from shopping malls to restaurants, cafes and bars. Do not forget to check out the popular 'Hachiko Statue' symbolizing the loyal dog who waited for his master at Shibuya Station.

Visit the robot restaurant in Kabukicho, Shinjuku

Robot restaurant in Kabukicho area, Shinjuku, Tokyo

You can witness some extraordinary robot shows at the Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho, the largest red light district in Tokyo. You will surely be amazed at the spectacular and very rare high tech robot performances here together with colorful lights, dances including Kawaii dances and neon lights.

It is the perfect way to spend a night out to get a feel of Tokyo's nightlife and the futuristic side of Tokyo. It will truly be a one of a kind experience for you with all the loud music and the live performances of the robots.

Enjoy crazy rides at Tokyo Disneyland

People in costume ride on the train at Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is absolutely a must visit when in Tokyo, especially if you are traveling with kids. Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is a theme park consisting of seven themed lands. It was the very first Disney park outside the United States of America and it is definitely worth a visit.

You will find the World Bazaar at the main entrance to the theme park, where you can do a little bit of shopping at the various shops. The other six themed lands are Tomorrowland, Toontown, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Adventureland and Westernland.

You will find all your favorite space rides in Tomorrowland including Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlasters and Star Tours. If you are in love with Mickey and Minnie, you will be able to visit them at their houses in Toontown. Your kids can also play on Donald Duck's Boat in Toontown. Critter Country is where you will find the Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Bear from the film 'Song of the South'. You will feel the magic in Fantasyland where you will find Cinderella's Castle and the all time favorite Disney characters. You will thoroughly enjoy Peter Pan, Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast and Pooh's Honey Hunt rides. If you are in for some adventures head straight to Adventureland where you get to join the Pirates of the Caribbean ride or the Jungle Cruise. Westernland offers the Big Thunder Mountain ride and you will be amazed by Tom Sawyer Island here too.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel faces Tokyo Disneyland Park

A few steps from the Tokyo Disneyland Station will take you to the theme park. Another alternative way is to walk from the JR Maihama Station. In just a few minutes you will reach Tokyo Disneyland.

Get adventurous at Tokyo DisneySea

Apart from Tokyo Disneyland, this is yet another amusement park in Tokyo for you to enjoy. Just 20 minutes away from the Maihama Station you will arrive at Tokyo DisneySea.

Located in the Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo DisneySea will mesmerize you with its seven themed ports; Mysterious Island, Mediterranean Harbour, Mermaid Lagoon, Port Discovery, Arabian Coast, American Waterfront and Lost River Delta. You can explore the undersea world in a submarine belonging to Captain Nemo and the center of the earth in an underground car when at Mysterious Island. Designed as an Italian town, Mediterranean Harbor features gondolas and canals. Your kids will love the Mermaid Lagoon featuring caves, treasure chests, jellyfish rides and musical acts of Ariel and friends in 'The Little Mermaid' story. You can take the Nemo and friends searider, Electric Railway ride and ride the Aquatopia for some water action. You get to explore Jasmine's gardens in a Flying Carpet ride or enjoy a Genie Magic Show at the Arabian Coast. Enter the Tower of Terror or play with Woody and Buzz at American Waterfront and take a cruise or go on an adventure to the excavation sites in the Lost River Delta. All in all you will not run out of rides here at Tokyo DisneySea.

There is a great Nationally-licensed tour that brings you throughout Tokyo and brings you to DisneySea near the end of the tour.

Have a picnic at Yoyogi Park

Hanami Cherry Blossom Spot in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, Japan

Located next to the Meiji Shrine in the city of Shibuya, Yoyogi Park is an excellent location to spend your time leisurely. It is also a popular spot to arrange a picnic or even to engage in activities such as jogging, walking etc. With its forests, ponds and lawns, Yoyogi Park sets the perfect setting for some quality relaxed time with your family.

The park is popular for its cherry blossom trees and you can gaze at them while at the park. But, it is most famous for its golden ginkgo trees as they turn golden in Autumn. This place has even been the Olympic Village of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. You can get to this park in 5 minutes from the Harajuku Station.

Pay a visit to the Meiji Shrine

Torii Gate at Meiji Jingu Shrine Tokyo Japan

If you plan to come to Yoyogi Park, make sure to pay a visit to Meiji Shrine too.

Meiji Shrine is a popular tourist spot and it is built to commemorate the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It was completed in 1920. It was during the Meiji period that Japan modernized upto the standards of all the major countries in the world. Emperor Meiji, the very first emperor of modern Japan was instrumental in this development.

You will come across the Torii Gate, a large iconic gate at the entrance of the Shrine premises. You can get to the entrance from the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station or from the southern entrance near Harajuku Station. As you enter from the Torii Gate, you will be welcomed by a forest. You might see Shinto activities within the premises and if you are really lucky you will be able to witness a Shinto wedding.

Make a visit to the Meiji Jingu Museum where personal belongings which were used by the Emperor and the Empress are restored. Among the artifacts is a carriage used by the Emperor.

Visit the Imperial Palace

Imperial palace in Tokyo, Japan

Home to the longest hereditary monarchy in the world, the Imperial Palace is a mandatory attraction in Tokyo to be visited.

The existing palace you see now is located in the area where the Edo Castle was once situated. The inner grounds of the palace are not open to outside visitors, but the East Gardens are open throughout the year for visits. You can even arrange a guided tour to explore the grounds. Just 10 minutes away from the Tokyo Station you will arrive at the Imperial Palace.

You can visit all the previously mentioned places on a nice leisurely bike tour. It makes for a great way to experience the city while getting some exercise and fresh air!

Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market to shop for some fresh seafood

Tsukiji Fish market in Tokyo Japan

A visit to the world's largest wholesale market is a must if you are a seafood lover. The wholesale market (inner market) has been relocated to Toyosu and you will find the tuna auction there. The outer market features various shops and sushi restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and sushi. The Oedo Subway Line from Shinjuku Station will take you to the Tsukiji Shijo Station.

Go on a hike to Mount Mitake

View from top of Mount Mitake in Japan

When in Tokyo, Mount Mitake should not be missed by any chance. It is most popular for its Musashi Mitake Shrine at the top of the mountain.

Located in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Mount Mitake has a history of more than 2000 years. On your way to the 929 meter high mountain, you will find Japanese styled shops including souvenir shops in a small village.

You can go on hikes to explore its surroundings from the Shrine including the Rock Garden, a small valley with stones covered in moss. You will also find two waterfalls closeby. It will only take you less than an hour to get to the Rock Garden from the Shrine. You can even embark on another hike to Mount Otake from the Rock Garden. On your way you will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.

Spend some quality time at the Ueno Park

Big Crowd for Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) at Ueno Park, Tokyo

Ueno Park is a massive public park in Ueno, a little away from the Asakusa area. You can spend an entire day at this park and you will not run out of activities to do inside the park.

Ueno Park is home to a number of museums including the Tokyo National Museum, National Science Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and National Museum for Western Art as well as to the Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Japan. The park's surroundings look amazing with the cherry blossom trees. These trees attract many 'hanami', those who enjoy viewing cherry blossom trees, as part of an ancient tradition in Japan. You will witness more than 1,000 cherry blossom trees here at the park. This is also the ideal spot to set up a picnic and relax a little.

Explore Japanese artifacts at the Tokyo National Museum

Hyokeikan museum building at the Tokyo National Museum

Built in 1872, Tokyo National Museum is the oldest and biggest museum in Japan. The museum was however relocated to Ueno Park where it is today from its original location, Yushima Seido Shrine.

The museum is home to approximately 110,000 historical Japanese artifacts, including a wide collection of art. It consists of six large buildings namely; Honkan, Hyokeikan, Toyokan, Heiseikan, Horyuji Homotsukan and Kuroda Memorial Hall.

Honkan museum building that holds the Japanese Gallery in the Tokyo National Museum

You will find various artwork in the Honkan building including ceramics, masks, costumes and even scrolls and statues. The Hyokeikan building houses artifacts relating to the Meiji period and being the oldest building of the museum, it was built to celebrate the wedding of the Emperor Taisho. The Toyokan building features artifacts from other countries and regions including Egypt, China, India and Korea. Similarly, Heiseikan was built to celebrate the wedding of the Crown Prince in 1993. Most of the religious artifacts are displayed in the Horyuji Homotsukan building, while Kuroda Memorial Hall displays art of Kuroda, a Japanese artist popularly recognized as the father of modern western paintings in Japan. After exploring the various grounds, you can visit the Japanese garden and the tea houses also situated inside the premises.

Enjoy green spaces at Shinjuku Gyoen

People relaxing in Shinjuku Park under a cherry blossom tree

Shinjuku Gyoen is yet another spectacular park in the city of Tokyo. It was built during the Edo Period, was converted to a botanical garden and later used as a recreational park. The highlights of Shinjuku Gyoen are its gardens. You will get to explore its three gardens; Japanese Landscape Garden, French Garden and English Landscape Garden. The Japanese Landscape Garden is a traditional garden with bridges and ponds. Exhibitions of flowers are also held at the Japanese Garden. The other gardens feature beautiful lawns, cherry and maple trees. Inside Shinjuku Gyoen is also a stunning greenhouse with a variety of flowers. Do not forget to explore the greenhouse as you will love exploring it.

Watch a practice session of Sumo Wrestlers

Sporting arena for Sumo in Tokyo, Japan

This is a unique way of learning the different aspects of Japanese culture. Sumo is considered as a national sport in Japan and you will get many sumo stables in and around Tokyo city. You can watch the sumo wrestlers practice in the morning, especially in the Ryogoku area. It is interesting to watch them in action and some of these practice sessions are open for visitors to watch. If you are really interested in sumo wrestling you can book for a match in a sumo tournament to catch some live action.


View of Tokyo skyline at sunset

If you are planning on visiting Japan, we highly recommend you to visit Tokyo, the most populous metropolis in the world. Some of the highlights of this article are the sacred Senso-ji temple, Shibuya Crossing, Robot Restaurant, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Meiji Shrine, Mount Mitake, Tokyo National Museum, Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park and Yoyogi Park. So, make sure to visit at least some of them to make the most of your time in Tokyo. We are sure that you will love Tokyo city and everything about it and that you can leave the city without regrets.

If you haven't included it in your trip and you have the time, you should also make a day trip out to Mt. Fuji, one of the top tourist destinations in the world!

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