Planning to visit Tokyo? This is your comprehensive Tokyo Travel Guide featuring the best things to do in Tokyo, must-visit tourist spots, places to stay, and sample itinerary and estimated budget.
Discover the irresistible charm of Tokyo, one of the world’s most captivating cities. From historical monuments and unique museums to towering skyscrapers and cultural experiences, Tokyo has something to offer to every traveler.
With so many options to choose from, planning your Tokyo itinerary can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. That’s why I’ve put together a Tokyo Bucket List featuring the best places to visit and things to do in Tokyo. Whether you’re interested in classic tourist attractions or the latest trendy spots, this list will help you experience the best traditional and modern Japanese culture.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Tokyo and experience the unique blend of ancient traditions and modern innovations that make this city so special. Stroll through the bustling streets of Shibuya, indulge in delicious sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, or explore the serene gardens of the Imperial Palace.
With so much to see and do, Tokyo promises an unforgettable journey filled with awe-inspiring sights, sounds, and flavors. So pack your bags, plan your Tokyo itinerary, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget in the fascinating city of Tokyo!
Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan
Visit the Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower is a popular landmark situated in the heart of Tokyo. Standing at 333 meters, it is the world’s tallest self-supported steel tower and a symbol of Japan’s economic resurgence after World War II. Visitors can access the main deck at a height of 150 meters via elevator or a 600-step staircase, which offers an interesting view of the city despite its relatively moderate height. Another set of elevators takes visitors to the 250-meter-high top deck, which provides an even more spectacular bird’s eye view of Tokyo.
Besides its observation decks, Tokyo Tower also features a variety of attractions, including the Red Tokyo Tower e-sports entertainment complex, shops, and restaurants located in Foot Town at the tower’s base. When visiting Tokyo, Tokyo Tower is a must-see destination that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the city from a unique perspective.
How to Get To the Tokyo Tower
To reach Tokyo Tower, visitors have several convenient options for subway stations. Onarimon Station on the Mita Subway Line, Akabanebashi Station on the Oedo Subway Line, and Kamiyacho Station on the Hibiya Subway Line are all within a 5-10 minute walk from the tower. Another option is to walk approximately 15-20 minutes from Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote Line or Daimon Station on the Asakusa or Oedo subway lines.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30)
- 1200 yen (main deck only)
- 3000 yen (both decks, 2800 yen if purchased in advance)
Take a trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort is a massive entertainment complex that provides visitors with a complete and immersive experience. The resort features two renowned theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, which offer spectacular attractions and immersive environments. From classic Disney attractions like Space Mountain to unique nautical-themed ports of call, both parks will captivate visitors of all ages.
Ikspiari, the resort’s expansive shopping mall, is another popular attraction that provides visitors with numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Visitors can shop for a wide range of products, including Disney merchandise, clothing, electronics, and souvenirs. The mall also features several restaurants and entertainment facilities, ensuring visitors have plenty to see and do throughout their stay.
One of the reasons why Tokyo Disney Resort is so famous is its convenient location. The resort is just a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo Station, making it easily accessible for both domestic and international visitors. As a result, it has become one of Japan’s most sought-after tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year. With its various attractions, entertainment options, and accommodations, Tokyo Disney Resort is truly a unique destination that offers something for everyone.
Explore the Sensoji Temple
Asakusa is undoubtedly one of the most authentic places in Tokyo to experience traditional Japanese culture. Sensoji Temple, an impressive Buddhist temple with a history spanning over 1,300 years, draws in more than 30 million visitors annually and is a must-visit tourist spot in Tokyo. The Nakamise Dori, the main approach to the temple, is one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan and boasts a vibrant atmosphere filled with souvenir shops and food stalls.
For a breathtaking view of Tokyo, head to Asakusa’s tourist office, located opposite the famous Kaminarimon Gate, adorned with a massive red lantern. If you’re traveling with kids, take advantage of Hanayashiki, Japan’s oldest amusement park, with various exciting rides and attractions!
Visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen is a vast and well-loved park in Tokyo, offering respite from the bustling city center just a short stroll from Shinjuku Station. Visitors can enjoy strolling along winding paths through serene landscapes or lounging on expansive lawns. Come springtime, the park transforms into one of the most sought-after spots in Tokyo to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms.
Shinjuku Gyoen comprises three distinct types of gardens, each with unique features and charm.
The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden with expansive ponds dotted with islands and bridges. Manicured trees and shrubs encircle the water alongside several pavilions, including the Kyu Goryotei, also known as the Taiwan Pavilion, built to commemorate the wedding of the Showa Emperor. Visitors can also enjoy the chrysanthemum exhibit held during the first two weeks of November, which showcases a variety of stunning flower displays.
The park’s other main gardens include a formal French garden featuring symmetrical arrangements, and an English landscape garden, boasting open, sprawling lawns framed by cherry trees in bloom. Forested areas, several structures such as a restaurant, an information center, an art gallery, and a stunning greenhouse filled with tropical and subtropical flowers complete the rest of the park’s attractions.
Walk around the Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace has been the official residence of successive Emperors since 1868 and consists of the Imperial Residence and the Imperial Palace Complex, where His Majesty the Emperor conducts official duties. It is also home to various ceremonies and public activities.
The Palace is home to several significant buildings, including the Imperial Household Agency building and the Palace Sericulture Center, where the Empresses have raised silkworms since Empress Dowager Shoken, consort of Emperor Meiji, set a precedent in 1871.
Visitors can explore the Palace’s East Gardens, located on the palace grounds’ eastern part, which is open to the public.
Explore Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is an expansive city park in Tokyo, boasting sprawling lawns, serene ponds, and densely forested areas. It offers the perfect setting for a range of outdoor activities, including jogging, picnicking, and more.
While Yoyogi Park may have fewer cherry trees than other popular sites in Tokyo, it remains an excellent destination for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in late March to early April. Additionally, visitors can marvel at the park’s stunning ginkgo tree forest, which turns a radiant gold color in autumn (late November to early December).
Before its transformation into a city park in 1967, the site that now houses Yoyogi Park was the Olympic Village for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and, earlier than that, a residential area for US military personnel.
Visit the Meiji Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine is a must-visit tourist attraction in Tokyo, renowned as one of Japan’s most famous and significant Shinto shrines. Located at the heart of Tokyo, this historic shrine is just a few minutes walk from Harajuku Station and the beloved Yoyogi Park. The expansive grounds encompass a tranquil forest, which leads to the shrine’s main entrance.
Visiting Meiji Jingu Shrine offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, allowing you to soak up the serene atmosphere and forget that you are in the midst of a bustling metropolis. The shrine’s vast grounds also offer many other notable sites to explore.
For those interested in learning about the history of this site, a comprehensive guide to Meiji Jingu Shrine is available. This guide covers everything from the shrine’s origins to the various attractions and activities that visitors can experience while exploring its grounds.
Stroll around Ueno Park
Ueno Park, situated near Ueno station in Tokyo, is a well-known public outdoor space that both locals and tourists frequently visit. During the cherry blossom season, which typically occurs from late March to early April, the park’s over 1,000 cherry trees attract a large number of visitors, making it a popular pilgrimage site. In addition to the cherry blossoms, the park boasts several museums, such as the Tokyo National Museum, the National Science Museum, and the National Museum of Western Art.
The park also features the ancient Kanei ji Temple Pagoda, Tosho-gu Shrine, and Shinobazu-no-ike Bentendo Temple for those interested in historic architecture.
Visit the Tokyo National Museum
If you have limited time to explore Tokyo’s museums, the Tokyo National Museum should be at the top of your list. It boasts the world’s largest collection of Japanese art, featuring an impressive array of ancient pottery, Buddhist sculptures, samurai swords, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimonos, and many other treasures.
Visitors with only a few hours to spare should focus on the Honkan (Japanese Gallery), which has a carefully curated selection of artistic highlights displayed on its second floor. For those with more time to spare, the enchanting Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures is not to be missed, showcasing masks, scrolls, and gilt Buddhas from the Hōryū-ji temple in Nara Prefecture, dating back to 607. Additionally, the Tōyōkan houses a fascinating collection of Asian art, including delicate Chinese ceramics, while the Heiseikan features the Japanese Archaeological Gallery, which displays pottery, talismans, and articles of daily life from Japan’s prehistoric periods.
Walk around the Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing is an iconic symbol of Tokyo, renowned for being one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. It is a bustling intersection that attracts visitors from all over the globe. The area’s large advertising screens and heavy foot traffic are often compared to Times Square in New York and Piccadilly Circus in London, representing Tokyo’s ultra-modern image.
The history of Shibuya Crossing dates back to 1885 when Shibuya Station was constructed, serving as a stop on the Shinagawa metro line, now known as the JR Yamanote Line. Over the past 100 years, the station has expanded to serve more than eight different metro lines in Tokyo, making it a hub for transportation in the city. Today, Shibuya Crossing is a must-see attraction that offers a unique experience for visitors to Tokyo.
Visit the Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree, standing at 634 meters, is the tallest structure in Tokyo and ranks among the tallest structures in the world. Its design resembles a 5-story pagoda, a traditional tiered religious tower commonly found across Asia. However, the tower serves a modern purpose as a broadcast and communications tower.
The tower features two observation decks: one at 350 meters and the other at 450 meters, providing a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of Tokyo. For the more adventurous visitors, there is even a bit of glass flooring to stand on for a unique viewing experience.
Visitors have the option of choosing from three types of tickets. The first ticket grants access to both observation decks; the second ticket allows access to only the lower deck (Tembo Deck), while the third ticket provides access to the upper deck only (Tembo Gallery). Ticket prices vary depending on whether you visit on a weekday or weekend, with slightly higher prices on weekends. A visit to Tokyo Skytree is a must-see experience for any visitor to Tokyo.
See the Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum, located on the edge of Tokyo’s Inokashira Park, is a tribute to the work of Studio Ghibli and its founder, Hayao Miyazaki. The name “Ghibli” means hot desert wind in Italian, which was Miyazaki’s vision for the studio to bring new winds to the anime industry. Miyazaki aimed to create intricate and lush worlds with attention to detail that could make viewers feel that they were real, regardless of the story’s fantastical elements.
The Ghibli Museum displays the studio’s artwork and animation mechanics, and its exhibits are not limited to Studio Ghibli fans. The multi-storied mansion, with its twists and turns, tiny doors, winding staircases, and rooftop garden, replicate the mood of the Studio Ghibli universe. Visitors can appreciate the museum’s fantastic artistry and be charmed by its exhibits.
Take a Photo with Hachiko
While the Hachiko Statue near Shibuya Scramble Crossing may seem unremarkable at first glance, its significance becomes apparent when you learn the story behind it. In the 1920s, an Akita dog named Hachiko would make a daily journey to Shibuya Station to wait for his owner to return from work. However, one day his owner passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage and never returned. Despite this, Hachiko continued to wait at the station every day for the next nine years.
Hachiko’s unwavering loyalty has made him a symbol of devotion throughout Japan, and the statue in his honor is a popular meeting spot for residents of Tokyo. Although small, the statue holds excellent meaning and serves as a testament to the enduring bond between humans and their animal companions.
Visit the Odaiba district
Odaiba, an artificial island located in Tokyo Bay, offers a unique escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Connected by a monorail or footpaths for those who enjoy walking, it comprises several clusters of attractions that provide plenty of options for children.
What makes Odaiba stand out is its waterfront location, giving visitors a rare opportunity to see Tokyo from a different perspective. Accessible only by monorail across the iconic Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba feels like a city within a city. The best sights are clustered around Daiba and Aomi stations, offering a refreshing change from the crowded city center.
Odaiba is an ideal destination for families with older children who will appreciate the open spaces and diverse activities available. Escape the city and explore the unique attractions that make Odaiba a must-visit destination.
Experience TeamLab Planets Tokyo
teamLab Planets is a unique museum that provides visitors with a truly immersive art experience. The museum comprises four large-scale artwork spaces and two gardens created by the art collective teamLab. One of the standout features of the museum is the ability to walk through water in one of the installations. In contrast, another installation allows visitors to become one with the flowers in a garden setting.
Visitors to teamLab Planets often go barefoot to fully immerse themselves in the artwork. The artworks are designed to change based on the presence of people, which blurs the perception of boundaries between the self and the art. As other people move through the space, they also change the artworks, further blurring the boundaries between themselves, the art, and others. The experience creates a unique continuity between the self, the art, and the other visitors, making for an unforgettable experience.
Check out the Shibuya SKY Observation Deck
Shibuya Sky, located on the rooftop of Shibuya Scramble Square, offers the best views of Tokyo from its 360° open-air observation deck. Standing at approximately 230 meters above ground, it is the highest point in the district of Shibuya. The ‘Sky Edge’ corner is an excellent photo spot where visitors can take panoramic shots of the city without any obstruction. The rooftop also features hammocks for cloud watching and an observation compass to identify significant landmarks such as Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Stadium, and even Mt Fuji (on a clear day).
Aside from the stunning views, Shibuya Sky spans three floors and has an indoor section with digital art displays uniquely showcasing the city. Visitors can relax at the café and bar on the 46th floor while enjoying the aerial views of Tokyo at any time of day, regardless of the weather. At night, the ‘Crossing Light’ light show illuminates the city sky with 18 beams, adding to the breathtaking experience. Shibuya Sky is a must-visit attraction for anyone who wants to see Tokyo from a new perspective.
Try Street Go Karting in Akihabara
Experience the streets of Tokyo’s Akihabara district in a unique way by driving a Go-Kart through its bustling shopping district, known for its electronics merchants, manga, anime, and video games. With everything from little vendors to enormous department stores, Akihabara is a must-visit location for anyone interested in technology and Japanese pop culture.
While driving at speeds of up to 60 km/h on public roadways, visitors can take in the city views of Akihabara thrillingly. Don’t miss the chance to drive through one of Tokyo’s most vibrant districts excitingly and unforgettably.
Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo, located on waterfront Odaiba, is an indoor theme park dedicated to the iconic brick. With more than three million LEGO® bricks, the center features a Miniland Tokyo—a dioramic cityscape filled with mini reconstructions of some of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks. Visitors can also enjoy a dynamic 4D cinema and three-themed rides.
The center is user-friendly and provides multipurpose restrooms, stroller parking, an elevator for strollers and wheelchairs, and a cafe. While adults must be accompanied by a child to enter, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tokyo is fun for both small and big kids alike, making it an ideal escape from the heat and humidity of summer. Take the chance to experience Japan’s first indoor theme park dedicated to the iconic brick.
Rent a Japanese traditional kimono
As one of the most traditional representations of Japanese culture, the kimono is a must-try experience for many tourists visiting Tokyo. With its unique blend of traditional and modern culture, Japan offers visitors a chance to explore traditions that have been passed down for generations. From the bustling metropolis of Tokyo to the tranquil countryside, visitors can immerse themselves in cultural experiences only possible in Japan.
Tokyo offers a wide variety of rental options for those interested in trying on a kimono. Visitors can choose from a range of colors and patterns and can accessorize with traditional Japanese hairpieces and accessories. Wearing a kimono can be a great way to explore Tokyo’s traditional culture and experience the country’s unique blend of tradition and modernity.
Go on a Foodtrip
Tokyo is a city that has earned a reputation for being a food heaven, and it’s not hard to see why. Decades of dedication and perfectionism to the art of culinary have resulted in Tokyo being awarded more Michelin stars than any other place in the world, except for France. If you’re ready for an unforgettable gastronomic adventure, Tokyo is the place to be.
With so many incredible food choices in Tokyo, it can be challenging to decide what to eat, especially if you have limited time. Fortunately, there is no shortage of delectable dishes in Tokyo, and there is an option that fits every traveler’s budget, from cheap eats to fine dining.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to embark on a culinary adventure in Tokyo. So, make sure to arrive hungry!
Here are some of the must-try food in Tokyo:
Tokyo Itinerary and Budget
Here’s a sample itinerary that covers some of the top attractions and experiences in Tokyo:
- Start your day by visiting the iconic Tokyo Tower in Minato. Enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. (Main Deck Admission Ticket at Php500)
- After Tokyo Tower, head to Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. Walk through the forested paths to reach the shrine and learn about its rich history and culture. (Tokyo City Half-Day Tour at Php2,500)
- In the evening, head to the lively neighborhood of Shinjuku and explore its streets, shops, and restaurants. Take a stroll through Golden Gai, a network of narrow alleys filled with tiny bars and restaurants.
- Go on a trip to Disneyland or DisneySea. Make the most of your time and spend your whole day there. Php3,600 – 1 Day Pass at Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea
- Start your day by visiting the beautiful Imperial Palace in Chiyoda. Take a guided tour of the palace and its grounds to learn about its rich history and cultural significance. Free
- After the palace, head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Php200 entrance fee
- In the evening, head to the popular entertainment district of Roppongi and enjoy a night out in the city. Visit the Tokyo City View observation deck to enjoy stunning views of the city. Php741 (Roppongi Hills Observation Deck ”Tokyo City View“ Ticket)
- Start your day by visiting the modern and futuristic Odaiba district in Tokyo Bay. Visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and learn about cutting-edge technology and science. Php250 entrance fee
- Visit the Digital Art Museum Odaiba -teamLab Borderless – Php1,318 entrance fee
- VR Experience at Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory – entry fee Php500
- In the evening, head to the trendy neighborhood of Ginza and explore its luxury shops, department stores, and restaurants.
- Start your day by visiting the historic and cultural district of Ueno. Visit the Tokyo National Museum and learn about the rich history and culture of Japan. Then, visit Ueno Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Php400
- In the afternoon, visit the beautiful Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Walk through the colorful Nakamise shopping street leading to the temple and experience the old-world charm of Tokyo.
- In the evening, head to the bustling neighborhood of Shibuya and cross the famous Shibuya Crossing. Explore the shops, restaurants, and entertainment options in the area. Php741 if you go to Shibuya Sky Observation deck
In summary, you’ll need around Php10-15,000 for the activities plus your meals, hotel stay, and return flight from Manila to Tokyo. The meal budget will depend on your preference. If you are traveling on a budget you can buy food at 711, Family Mart, or eat at Yoshinoya or vendo shops. Hotels are quite expensive in Tokyo but there are hostels if you are a backpacker and don’t mind staying with strangers in the room.
Where to Stay in Tokyo
Tokyo is a vibrant and exciting city, and there are many great places to stay depending on your interests and budget. Here are some of the top rated hotels in Tokyo:
- Shinjuku: Shinjuku is a bustling district with plenty of entertainment, shopping, and dining options. It’s also a transportation hub, making it easy to explore other parts of Tokyo.
- Shibuya: Another popular area for tourists, Shibuya is known for its trendy fashion boutiques, street food, and nightlife. The famous Shibuya crossing is also located here.
- Asakusa: This historic district is home to the iconic Senso-ji temple, which is one of the oldest and most popular temples in Tokyo. Asakusa also has a more traditional feel compared to other areas in Tokyo, with its old-fashioned shops and narrow streets.
- Ginza: Ginza is a high-end shopping district with designer boutiques, upscale department stores, and gourmet restaurants. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for luxury accommodations and high-end shopping experiences.
- Roppongi: Roppongi is known for its nightlife and entertainment options, with many bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s also home to the Roppongi Hills complex, which offers great views of the city from its observation deck.
- Ueno: Ueno is a cultural hub, with many museums, galleries, and parks. The famous Ueno Zoo is also located here, as well as the Ameyoko shopping street, which is known for its lively atmosphere and bargain prices.
There are many different types of accommodations available in Tokyo, including traditional Japanese ryokans, capsule hotels, luxury hotels, and budget hostels. It’s important to research and compare options to find the best fit for your needs and budget.
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