Tokyo, Japan has been one of my DREAM destinations for so long. Between the rich culture, the incredible food scene, and the never-ending list things to do, it is no wonder this place is frequented by many.
Everywhere you look, its an assault to your senses. Tall technicolored buildings, beautiful parks and temples, traditional neighborhoods, and whacky cafes.
Even though our trip was scheduled months away, I scoured the internet (slightly obsessively) in order to put together a list of the most epic things to do in Tokyo. So regardless if you’re just looking for inspiration, or planning a trip for yourself, read up enjoy, and start dreaming of your own trip to Tokyo.
- 1 Go on a Food Crawl
- 2 Eat Your Way Around Tsujuki Market
- 3 Visit Yoyogi Park
- 4 Wander Around Harajuku
- 5 Observe the Busy Streets of Shibuya Crossing
- 6 Go to the Robot Restaurant
- 7 Enjoy the Tokyo Skyline
- 8 Watch Sumo Wrestlers Practice
- 9 Go Ramen Hunting
- 10 Have a Drink in Golden Gai
- 11 Visit the Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge
- 12 See the Cherry Blossoms
Go on a Food Crawl
Admittedly, my love for Japan has a lot to do with food so it’s no surprise that Food Tours make it to the top of my list. Explore the best of Tokyo by going on a food and bar crawl with local guides around popular neighborhoods like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Asakusa. In order to experience the best of the best, check out these guided tours in Tokyo by MagicalTrip.
Not only do they have awesome Food Tours, but they also have cultural, walking, and cycling tours as well. A few of our top picks that we are also itching to try are their karaoke night tour, Ryogoku sumo wrestling tours, and their Anime and Gaming Adventure Tour in Akihabara.
In our 4 years of travel, small local tours are definitely the best way to see a place. The local guides are able to provide so much insight and insider tips to the culture (and food), making it an unforgettable experience. Plus, the guides are all heaps of fun, really making you feel at home!
Eat Your Way Around Tsujuki Market
Although the inner Tsujuki Market closed last October, the outer market is still very much alive and bustling. If you’re feeling in the mood to eat (and you should always be while in this country), head to the outer market and gorge on the beautiful array of street food.
Everything from fresh blowtorched scallops, uni, to skewers of fresh seafood. This place is indeed foodie heaven. If you still want to experience the vibes of inner Tsujuki Market, they relocated and was renamed as Toyosu Market. The new market is set to have a viewing deck for tourists to watch the popular fish auction.
Visit Yoyogi Park
If you’re not a city person, the key to enjoying Tokyo is by taking breaks in their many parks, temples, and shrines. One of the most famous is Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. Sprawling with open lawns, picnic areas, and cycling paths, this park is really popular amongst the locals.
Apart from being a beautiful park, this place is also home to the popular Meiji Shrine which pays homage to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
If you’re looking to take a break, Yoyogi Park is the perfect place to sit back and take a breather.
Wander Around Harajuku
If you’re looking for a funky place to spend a day, Harajuku will not disappoint. Filled to the brim with everything weird and wacky, this place has a little bit of something for everyone. Head to the popular Takeshita Street where you can people watch and enjoy the many crazy and somewhat bizarre Japanese trends. From themed cafes, lolita garbed teens to fashion-forward boutique stores, this place honestly seems larger than life at times!
One of the best things to do in Harajuku is people watch so go ahead and find a crazy cafe to sit down and watch this fascinating world unfold around you. If you’re looking for a popular lunchtime spot, Harajuku Gyozaro for some gyozas is a super popular (and cheap) spot to go to!
Observe the Busy Streets of Shibuya Crossing
If you want to get a feel of Tokyo and its hustle and bustle, head to the famous Shibuya Crossing otherwise known as the Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble Crossing. If you want to get a good view of this busy intersection, head to the Starbucks in Tsutaya or Estacion Cafe in Excel Hotel Tokyu catch a bird’s eye view of this place.
If you want to catch this scene in all its glory, head here in the late evening in order to catch a glimpse of all the technicolored lights and people. It is really one of the most iconic sights in all of Tokyo.
If you’re in the area, drop by the famous statue of Hatchiko, Japan’s famous loyal dog. If you don’t know who that is, I recommend you watch the film (don’t forget the tissues!).
Go to the Robot Restaurant
As mentioned, Japan is known for the weird and wacky which is why it is no surprise that one of their top attractions is the famous robot restaurant. If you close your eyes and imagine what a robot restaurant would look like, chances are, you will see it during the show.
Bright lights, elaborate dances, robots, lasers…you know, the works. The entire experience is a sensory overload…but in a good way. I mean, who doesn’t love robots? We do recommend that you save your appetite for somewhere else as the restaurant is popular for the show and not necessarily the food.
Enjoy the Tokyo Skyline
As you would in any busy metropolis, enjoying the incredible view of the skyline is a must. Tokyo, naturally is no exception. While gazing out into this incredible view, the Tokyo Skytree (the tallest building in Tokyo) stands out amongst it all. They have an observation deck on the 350th floor giving you access to one of the most vibrant skylines imaginable.
If you want to save some money (and steer clear of the crowds), you can also head to the 52nd floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building located in Shinjuku. This is an awesome alternative for those that don’t want to spend money.
Watch Sumo Wrestlers Practice
Another big part of the Japanese culture is sumo wrestling. You can immerse yourself in this cultural activity by either watching them practice or if you’re lucky, watch them compete in a tournament. These shows or even the practice rounds come high in demand so make sure you book and reserve to avoid disappointment.
Sumo wrestling tournaments happen in the following months:
- January- Tokyo
- March- Osaka
- May- Tokyo
- July- Nagoya
- September- Tokyo
- November- Fukuoka
It truly is a fascinating sport to watch! If you’re not there during the tournament times, watch them practice during their morning Keiko practice. This can fill up easily so I recommend you make use of tours similar to that of Magical Tours to reserve a spot.
Go Ramen Hunting
Naturally, one cannot go to Tokyo without hunting the best Ramen joins. Being someone who is obsessed with Ramen, there are tons of options to choose from. Whilst ordering can be a bit difficult as you have to order using machines, for the most part, you can always count on the food to be delicious.
If you’re willing to wait, there are also a few Michelin Starred ramen joints like Tsuta Ramen and Nakiryu, offering you the chance to like a king…for around $15 max. The waiting time for some of these places can take up to two hours but if you’re willing to wait, it is so worth it!
Have a Drink in Golden Gai
If you want a taste of Tokyo, head on over to Shinjuku’s famous Golden Gai which is a collection of over 180 restaurants and bars. These establishments are usually tiny (think 5-8 people) which adds to the overall appeal of the place. Bar or restaurant hop between the many different places and experience a slice of Tokyo’s nightlife.
Visit the Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge
Fun fact…there is a Statue of Liberty in Tokyo called the Odaiba Statue of Liberty. Although it is much smaller compared to the one in New York, it still is pretty impressive, especially when you admire it together with the stunning Rainbow Bridge in the background. The statue is located near Odaiba-kaihinkoen Station and provides a dramatic photograph in the night time.
See the Cherry Blossoms
Year after year, thousands of tourists flock to Japan during Cherry Blossom or Hanami Season in order to witness the beautiful display of pink flowers. While in Tokyo, despite being a busy metropolitan city, there is no shortage of places to enjoy the stunning flowers bloom.
A few places we recommend are Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park which have thousands of trees blooming during the right season. Most of the time, the cherry blossoms bloom late March/April which is why you would need to plan and book hotels ahead of time as it really is a busy season.
Hopefully, this list has given you some travel inspiration and ideas for your trip to Tokyo. While I know I have only scratched the surface with this list (Tokyo is one of those cities where its impossible to run out of things to do!), I hope you enjoyed it none the less.
Whatever you do, enjoy the sights, take in as much of the culture as you can, and lastly, eat and try every dish you see- trust me, you can’t go wrong with these three tips!
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