Do you want to experience a spectacular holiday? The one which gives the vibes of really in your face, then Tokyo is the best city to wander.
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan hosting over 36 million people.
The streets here are filled with giant and towering multi-storied buildings with colorful and vibrant pandemonium. It’s busy, super loud and buzzes with madness and chaos with lit buildings.
Things to know before visiting Tokyo:
ATMs won’t be available most of the time after 9 pm and never on weekends, holidays, so plan and take loads of money. The streets are safer to carry heaps of cash.
Learning Japanese along the way wouldn’t hurt and the locals will appreciate your adorableness in trying to imitate their language.
Learn common words like-
Hello – Konnichiwa, Thank you – Arigato, Sorry – Sumimasen, Yes – Hai, No – Ie
Let’s get back to some amazing things to do in Tokyo now-
Asakusa is a district in Tokyo that is quite famous for Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple. It’s a colorful area with vibrant cultural history and wild tradition.
Just put on a traditional Kimono and stroll through the place to explore the ethnic streets of Asakusa. Because it is one of the most visited places of worship attracting 30 million devotees every year.
You must see the “Thunder Gate” the glorious entrance to the temple adorned with a paper lantern enhanced by red and black stones.
Plenty of sightseeing and shopping opportunities are here too and don’t forget to have some noodles, they are to die for. Remember, to slurp the noodles to show appreciation. The louder, the better.
Tour the Imperial Palace
The imperial palace was the largest fortress in the world in its heyday. It is a lap of luxury filled with galleries, castle ruins, and gardens.
Although the inner grounds of Edo Castle are off-limits most of the year, the palaces east garden is open for visitors.
Though the castle has lost its glory and little remains today, it’s an excellent place to dive for an adventure in the emperor’s life.
Then there’s Kokyogaien National Garden which is a serene place for regular joggers and forms the largest green area in Tokyo.
You must see it in Tokyo!
Go Shopping in Akihabara
Akihabara is the hotbed of all anime, manga and video games creation. It is famous for its countless electronic shops and basically like an electronic city and home to Otaku culture.
You can find the widest variety of electronic gadgets in “Yodobashi Camera”. Ideal to spend 2 – 3 hours of your time and money on high tech products.
Maid Cafe is one of the top attractions in Akihabara, get ready to a royal feel as the staff in the cafe dress as maids and butlers will serve you as Masters.
And don’t ever leave a tip in any restaurant because that’s considered rude. They feel tipping is not generous rather as a charity which is a huge insult.
Have Fun at Tokyo Disneyland
Nobody can get tired of visiting Disneyland, anywhere in the world especially if you’re a hardcore fan of Cinderella, Snowwhite and other Disney characters.
What makes this magical kingdom famous is that most of the people will be in their traditional Japanese attire.
Tokyo Disneyland has also won the Travellers Choice award 2019, enough to take you to the fantasy neverland.
The park is busy and apparently mad with screaming happiness. A lot of people visit the park all year hence even the low seasons in Disneyland are still busier.
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek family-friendly rides are the most famous.
Definitely worth a visit to spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland.
Try Tokyo Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu is a mouth-watering standard lunch menu in Japan. The thick slices of pork coated with eggs, bread crumbs deep-fried with rice and curry is a signature dish you must try in Tokyo.
The pork cutlet is succulent and opens new taste buds in your tongue. It typically costs around 800 – 1500 yen.
Best restaurants to try Tonkatsu is-
- Butagumi Tonkatsu
Don’t think of coming back without trying this dish.
Tour the Sumo Museum
Originated as a ritual among Shinto shrines, Sumo has been a classical spectator sport of Japan for centuries. The pocket-sized museums will tell you the history behind Sumo wrestling.
There are Nishiki-e woodblock prints of ancient celebrated champions and silk ceremonial aprons worn by the prominent wrestlers.
As a courtesy from Japan’s Sumo association entrance to the museum is absolutely free. you can also view the official ranking of top sumo wrestlers in Japan and 500 sumo dolls.
Enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival at Yasukuni Shrine
Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo has the most controversial story behind it as it serves as a memorial to those have lost their lives in World War II. This great backstory itself warrants a visit.
Yet the cherry blossoms in the springtime are well worth a visit too. The festival is held on this site, and the importance of location adds a special flavor to watch the cherries bloom.
Ascend Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo sky tree was the tallest structure when it was originally opened in 2010. Standing at its full height of 634 meters, it’s worth the view from the top. It’s impressive to see all of Tokyo from above.
The observation decks located on the 45th floor is free for viewing. It’s better to purchase the Skytree Fast Ticket because it allows you to skip the never-ending lines. More expensive though.
Mt. Fuji can be clearly seen on a sunny morning day with no buildings and structures to object to your view.
Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum
This is the best place to soak in the information on Japan’s historic breakthrough from Edo’s period to the modern era. The museum is the rare blend of educational, entertaining and informative.
The building itself has the most succinct design from the exterior. There are replicas of Nakamura Theater, Choya newspaper publishing building, and the original Nihonbashi Bridge.
The various meticulously designed models will give you an idea of how the infrastructures came to be post-Edo period.
They have a Grutto pass program that allows admission into the museum for free or on a discount. If you don’t purchase it the admission cost around 600 yen.
Enjoy the Ramen Museum
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum was built in 1994, making it the world’s first food-themed amusement park.
Inside the museum, there are 7 restaurants representing Japanese style and 2 from Germany and New York style.
There is a vending machine outside each of the restaurants to order the food. There’s a chance you might get intimidated by this because it’s rare to find anything written in English. Right?
Fear not, the machines are Japanese but they do have laminated menus in English.
Check out this video of a restaurant that makes Blue Ramen. After watching this video you may be convinced that tasting Blue Ramen can be the best thing to do in Tokyo.
There is a variety of ramen in the world and Japan possesses 30 distinctive types alone. With 9 separate restaurants inside the museum, you can have your fair share of ramen noodles.
Take a Trip to Yokohama
Yokohama is the second-largest city in the population after Tokyo. It’s a prominent port city and a commercial hub of Japan. exploring this city can be one of the best things to do outside Tokyo.
A plethora of sightseeing spots like shopping malls, amusement parks, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, and Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery is found here.
You might be familiar with Yokohama Tires too, this is where they are made.
Go Shopping in Harajuku
Harajuku is proverbial for its colorful streets, youth fashion, vintage clothing stores along the Takeshita streets. It’s the buzzing fashion capital of Japan famous for Kawaii – the cute little fluffy things that are shy and vulnerable. (Hello kitty dolls)
Upscale shopping centers, thrift shops, and themed cafes are the attraction here. Lolita style cutesy dresses, the pancake boom, Kyari Pamyu Pamyu is the things you can shop around.
As it is the epicenter of fashion, teenagers are obsessed to go on a shopping spree.
Then there’s Daiso Harajuku where you can purchase household products to cheap souvenirs for just 100 yens.
Travel to Odaiba Island
Odaiba is an avowed shopping and entertainment district which is man-made fort islands found in Tokyo bay. Daiba means fort and built during the Edo-Period to protect Tokyo against possible attacks.
You can find marvelous buildings on Fuji TV. Telecom Center, Rainbow Bridge, Gundam Front Tokyo, French Statue of Liberty, Tokyo Big Sight, boasts beautiful parks, museums, and charming coastlines.
And still, there are many other special spots and facilities that bring thousands of visitors every day.
Take a Day Trip to Onjuku Beach
Everyone loves the beach, and do I need to even start about Onjuku beach. The Japnese legendary habit of attention to detail still marvels me. The beach welcomes you with a big cactus saying Amigo Onkuju.
The beach’s sand is crystal white and clear and you can see a lot of surfers because of the high and mighty waves. There’s plenty of shops that rent surfboards so it’s a feast for surfers.
Doesn’t matter if you’re not a surfer, taking a stroll through the calming sound of sea waves and eating like a local in good looking restaurants is not bad. You can eat on the deck to have a view of the beach and pool too.
Visit Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a fun indoor and outdoor recreation center for relaxing and immerse oneself in the hot springs.
Keep in mind that you’ve got to wear a Yukata for the rest of the day. there’s a large indoor bath that gets water pumped from the hot springs which are located 1400 meters below ground.
Try to walk on the pebbles which improve blood circulation in the feet stimulating the pressure points. And also try your hand at game stands to show off your ninja skills.
Ride the Asukayama Park Monorail
Tons of people participate Hanami picnic in the Sakura season at Asukayama Park. The color-rich pansies and tulips look elegant. Despite museums and gorgeous sceneries, there is a big fun looking playground for kids too.
There are three infamous museums like Asukayama Museum, Paper museum andShibusawa Memorial Museum.
The walk up the hill may be tiresome of elderly and handicapped hence the monorail facility is available to them started from 2009. It’s free of charge.
Have fun going up and down in the monorail.
Stay in a Capsule Hotel
Capsule hotel is similar to individual pod hotel in western countries. Never miss the opportunity to experience the Japanese authentic brilliance without getting a bad night’s sleep in these tiny pod rooms.
They’re unlike any other accommodation you’d come across in a lifetime. Some have multiple pods in a single room with a communal bathroom. Small lockers and shelves are provided to keep your electronic and personal things.
Sleeping in them may feel like getting into a high-end plastic tub for science experimentation. Again the rooms are spotless and neat, thanks to their attention to detail skills. Even the toilet is commendable with ultra technology.
Staying a night at this hotel costs up to $30.
Stroll around Ueno Park
Ueno Park is a popular city park in Japan that welcomes over 10 million visitors in a year. It gets busier during the spring season because people rush to have a look at the blossoming cherries.
The notable points of interest here are temples, shrines, museums, zoos, and ponds. Keneiji temple sits at the north end of the park which carries some interesting historical stories.
The Kiyomizu Kannon Temple, Ueno Toshugu Shrine are important cultural properties to look at.
The Shinobazu ponds have a myriad of lotus flowers displaying their exquisiteness
Other attractions are Ueno Zoo, Tokyo National Museum, National Science Museum is a perfect visit for nerds and history lovers.
Visit the Enoshima Beaches
Enoshima beach is another tourist captivation because of its amazing swimming and sunbathing quality.
Before dipping your foot in the ocean know there are some restrictions on entering and behavior. Entering the sea is only possible between 9 to 5 pm.
If the weather is angry, you won’t be allowed to enter the sea, drinking alcohol or smoking is impossible except for the designated smoking area.
No barbeque parties with friends either. (It’s prohibited by law)
It is the best thing to do in Tokyo for a trip.
Check Out the Seafood at Tsukiji Market
Well- known for its famous Tuna fish auction, Tsukiji was the largest fish market. Now it’s reopened as Toyusu Market.
It’s the best place to have Sushi for breakfast and other kinds of seafood for lunch because the fish in the dish is fresh as a cucumber.
You can find fish, processed foods along with knives for butchering them and typically open from 5 am in the morning. It’s full of restaurants and wholesale-retail shops in the narrow lane.
Bargainers and fish lovers can get cozy here.
Enjoy a Sumo Match at Ryogoku Kokugikan
Ryogoku Kokugikan is a Sumo stadium; Ryoguku is a district where Sumo Stadium, sumo stables, chanko restaurants, and other sumo related things can be found.
Watch a Sumo wrestling match and enjoy the way the thick and flabby fighters go at each other. It’s really interesting to see the drama going on in the ring. Sumo is an ancient and well-known sport in Japan.
Attending a Sumo basho (tournament) if you have a flexible travel schedule is amazing. The fighters even walk around the stadium humbly which is unlike other wrestlers in the world.
Try to get into seeing at least one match at the right time. Wouldn’t want to miss the fat, flabby muscles of the wrestlers flailing sportively when in Tokyo.
It’s a signature attraction and a great thing to do in Tokyo.
Take a trip to Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan built in 1920 It depicts the Japanese history of industrialization, urbanization, and colonial expansion.
It is built to venerate the Meiji emperor under whose rule Japan became a modern state. It’s a popular place for Japanese traditional weddings.
The long path in the shrine’s building is adorned with cedar trees which are refreshing to watch after a long day. It has 1,20,000 trees of 365 different species.
The Treasure House has all the Kimono clothes worn by the royal family. Have a fun and interesting day visiting this out of the world place.
Enjoy the View From Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower (333mt) is 13 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. It is considered as a symbol for rebirth and economic power of Japan.
There are two decks and both offer a great view of the city like Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji. There’s a 600 step staircase for the main deck and an arcade on the lower floors too.
Of course, the view from the tower is wonderful although expensive, it’s well worth a visit.
Visit the Tokyo National Museum
If there’s one museum you want to see out of all, then be it Tokyo National Museum.
Because it has a curated collection of the world’s largest Japanese art, ancient poetry, Samurai swords, Buddhist sculptures, beautiful Kimonos, vibrant woodblock prints and much.
Explore the beguiling Gallery of Horyu-Ji, which portrays masks, scrolls, and gilt buddhas including fragile Chinese ceramics. It’s better to check whether it’s off-limits to watch the vintage teahouses.
Watching the antique works pottery, talisman, and articles of daily life are more than enough to make your trip worthwhile.
Visit Fukagawa Fudo-do
The Fukagawa Fudo-do temple is quite eccentric and not very beautiful to look at. The large LED screen and a hyper-modern building with Sanskrit black, white, gold letters littered across the walls is a mishmash really.
Some part of the ground is concrete while others are smeared in green to make the appearance even less appealing.
The God of justice is worshipped here who is said to fend off evil with his sword and monstrous looks.
Another thing you need to see is the hallucinatory rooms in the temple. taking pictures is forbidden.
Tour Ghibli Museum
It is one of Japan’s most famous animation and art museums. It’s also one of the top tourist spots in Tokyo. The studio has gained a reputation because of movie releases like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totaro and much more.
It gives an in-depth history of animation’ s origin and its progression into media. The museum has a cafe, gift shop, children’s play area and the coolest rooftop to relax and soak in the view.
Ticket purchasing is a bit of a hassle but you can get it online for 1000 yen. The exterior of the building is awesome to look at so take as many pictures as you want.
Surely, the best place to spend your time in Tokyo.
Travel to Kamakura
Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura is the political center of Japan. It also offers temples, shrines, and other historical monuments. It shares many traditional features of Japan.
Be sure to visit the Engakuji temple and its forest which has some mesmerizing structures of Shaka Buddha.
And a beautiful spot to sip tea by the large bell which is popular in Autumn. Marvel at the Great Daibutsu at Kotoku -in and explore the mystery of the Hasedera temple.
To Sum Up
Tokyo is a place with exquisite culture combined with historical eccentricity, landscapes, and shining-modernity. 24.4 million people visit Japan every year and it’s climbing.
You can experience the life of a caterpillar by staying in a capsule pod for a night and be enlightened by delicious food roaming around Tokyo. It also has some fluffiest and soft snow making it the holy grail of skiing.
It hosts the world’s best toilets too. Unequivocally, these are the best places for you to spend your money’s worth.
Tokyo is busy, brilliant, loud and super loud.
How many days should I spend In Tokyo?
Normally, foreigners who want to visit Tokyo stay for at least 2 weeks in Japan. From those 2 weeks, it takes 2 to 3 days to explore the magnificent city Tokyo and remaining days in other major sightseeing places.
Is Tokyo expensive?
Yes, Tokyo is expensive but reasonably. There are a lot of upscale restaurants, if you want to try them, then the trip is probably expensive and you can save some buck because there is no tipping in Japan. It is rude to do so. Foods are cheaper too.
Is Tokyo safe?
Yes, Tokyo is a safe place. The crime rate here is below the U.S average. But still, it is better to be cautious because visitors fall victim to crime.
Is there an Uber in Tokyo?
Yes, there is Uber, but it is not known that well and definitely not a convenient option for visitors to travel around big places in Japan.
Is English spoken In Tokyo?
Yes, many Japanese outside Tokyo do know English but they won’t be ready to speak or write in English. It’s not like traveling to Germany or Sweden where everyone can speak English. But people in High-end hotels may speak.