Trying to decide what to do in Tokyo is enough to cause a serious case of information overload. To help you choose, we’ve created this high-level guide so you can make the most of your time in the city.
Tokyo Tower: Blue Planet Studio / Shutterstock.com
Tokyo is loaded with fantastic attractions ranging from ultra-traditional to hypermodern. On this page, we list the main things to do in each category and we link out to our pages where you can get all the details. We keep it simple and brief so hopefully we won’t add to your information overload!
Things To Do In Tokyo List:
Check out a Traditional Buddhist Temple or Shinto Shrine
Start your time in Tokyo by going back to basics: the spiritual roots of the Japanese people. Check out our guide to Tokyo’s Best Shrines and Temples.
Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa: Patrick Foto / Shutterstock.com
Tour a World-Class Museum
Tokyo has a collection of fantastic museums covering all aspects of Japanese culture, art and history. Get a good sampling with our Tokyo 1-Day Art Lover’s Itinerary. And, for cutting edge digital art, check out Teamlab Borderless.
Edo-Tokyo Museum: picture cells / Shutterstock.com
Stroll Through a Japanese Garden
Hidden around the city are some fantastic pockets of green. Check them out with our Tokyo Nature and Garden Lover’s Itinerary.
Shinjuku-gyoen Garden: Piti Sirisriro / Shutterstock.com
Eat Some of the Best Food of Your Life
Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city on earth. With a little effort you can eat some of the best meals of your life. Check out our Tokyo Restaurants page. And, if you’re adventurous and want something really authentic, check out our Eat Like a Local section.
Sushi chef in Tsukiji: PANUWAT YUTKITSATAPHON / Shutterstock.com
Enter the World of Miyazaki at the Ghibli Musuem
If you or your kids love the magical films of Hayao Miyazaki, then you should make the trip out to the wonderful Ghibli Museum.
Robot at Ghibli Museum: cowardlion/ Shutterstock.com
Spend a Day at Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea: Andreas H / Shutterstock.com
Shop for the Perfect Gift or Souvenir
Tokyo is the best shopping city on earth, full stop. Whether it’s Japanese or imported, you’ll find it here. Check out our Tokyo Shopping guide.
Japanese lacquerware: Kei Shooting / Shutterstock.com
Escape the Tourists in a Hip Local District
Shimokitazawa: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com
Check Out the View from the Tokyo Skytree
If you need a bit of perspective on it all, take the elevators up the Tokyo Skytree for some truly eye-popping views. Check out our Tokyo Skytree guide.
Tokyo Skytree in the evening: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Take a Daytrip or Overnight Trip Out of the City
Within easy distance of Tokyo you’ll find attractions like Mt Fuji, Nikko, Kamakura, and Kyoto (that’s right: you can even do it as a day trip). Check out our Best Day Trips from Tokyo guide.
Tosho-gu Shrine at Nikko: Iceink / Shutterstock.com
Take a Deep Dive into Japanese Pop Culture
If you love anime, robots, kawaii things and whatever else is popular in Japan right now, you’ll love Tokyo. Why not grab a seat at Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant? Or, how about a snack at the Kawaii Monster Café in Harajuku? And, if you love Hello Kitty (you know who you are), then you can’t miss Sanrio Puroland.
Robot Restaurant: Swedishnomad.com - Alex W / Shutterstock.com
Check out a Baseball Game
Baseball in Japan is just like baseball back home, except it’s totally different. Check out a game to see what we mean. It’s easy to get tickets – just read our Baseball in Tokyo guide.
Tokyo Dome: Christopher PB / Shutterstock.com
See a Sumo Match
You can’t come all the way to Japan and not see sumo. If a match is on while you’re in town, you gotta see it. Check our How to Buy Tickets for a Tokyo Sumo Match.
Sumo match in Tokyo: J. Henning Buchholz / Shutterstock.com
Keep the Kids Happy
We know what it’s like to travel with kids. We give you all the information you need to keep everyone happy. Just check out our Tokyo 1-Day Itinerary with Children.
Gundam Statue in Odaiba: freehunter45 / Shutterstock.com
If you need some ideas about how to put it all together, check out our Tokyo Itineraries page. And, if you need some help planning your trip, we’d be happy to help you plan things with Japan Travel Consulting.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online with Klook for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how.
- It's essential you have travel insurance for Tokyo - we recommend World Nomads