Top 6 Things to do in Tokyo

Planning a Japan holiday? Get your lowdown on the top things to do in Tokyo from our destination experts.

5 min
Things to do in Tokyo: Visit the Shibuya District
Author: Mouli

A fascinating blend of futuristic technology, explosive design, and centuries-old culture, Japan is famous for bridging the past and the present in all aspects of life – and nowhere in the country is this more evident than in its stunning capital city, Tokyo.

On your Japan vacation, discover the exciting contrasts between pop culture and spirituality, big city life and artfully landscaped Zen gardens, traditional shrines and sparkling skyscrapers. With our list of things to do in Tokyo, the city is at your fingertips. What can you see? What will you do? Here’s a list of our favorites.

Here is our list of top 6 things to do in Tokyo

1 Shibuya District

Shibuya District is the most colorful of the 23 wards in the city: colorful shops, top Tokyo restaurants, nightclubs and bars attract thousands every day, thus lending a unique, buzzing air to the area. Shibuya’s busy intersection has been immortalized in numerous movies as Tokyo’s unofficial landmark. It’s no wonder then that many visitors are drawn to what is certainly the epitome of Japanese big city chic.

Visit the vibrant Shibuya District

Stroll through streets thronging with enthusiastic shoppers, let yourself be carried away (in spirit) by the rush of people all around you, and immerse yourself in the endless energy of Tokyo. After all, it’s the Far East’s ‘city of the future’!

2 Hamarikyu Gardens

Japanese gardens are renowned for their artistic design, and their cultural and spiritual significance. These often include refined miniature landscapes with elaborate ponds, bridges and forested sections intended to provide peace and tranquility for your soul. Naturally, Tokyo has several such gardens, but the Hamarikyu features high on our list of things to do in Tokyo.

The park has numerous lakes fed by the sea so you’ll find the water level rise and fall depending on the tide.

Hamarikyu Gardens
Hamarikyu Gardens

Overlooking the Bay and set against Tokyo’s impressive skyline, this picturesque garden offers interesting contrasts. The extensive park is brimming with numerous open lakes fed by the sea so you’ll often find the water level rise and fall depending on the tide.

Take a walk through the winding alleyways, over hanging bridges, past giant trees until you reach the delightful teahouse set in the midst of this green paradise. Settle down with a freshly brewed cup of matcha tea. Bliss.

3 Meiji Shrine

One of the most visited shrines in Japan, the Meiji Shrine is another one of our favorite Tokyo attractions. Completed in 1920, this beautiful Shinto shrine is dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji-tennō and his wife Shōken-kōtaigo. A bevy of people visit it every day, and yet, it’s a far cry from the crowded Sensoji Temple premises. Nestled amid an artificial evergreen forest right next to the Yoyogi Park, this peaceful haven offers a quiet respite from the bustle of the city. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-maintained complex and escape the metropolis, if only for a brief spell!

With a bit of luck, you might run into a wedding party – the Meiji Shrine is a popular site for Japanese weddings.

Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine

Admire the imposing wooden arches and elaborate ornaments of this majestic structure. You can also take part in an ancient ritual: write a prayer or a wish on a piece of paper and tie it to the prayer wall. Who knows, you might just get your heart’s desire! With a bit of luck, you might even run into a wedding party – the Meiji Shrine is a popular site for Shinto weddings and this is your chance to see these Japanese traditions firsthand!

4Things to do in Tokyo: Boat ride on the Sumida River

The historic Sumida River has fed this city for centuries and so, a boat ride on it naturally features high on our list of things to do in Tokyo. Take a relaxing cruise down the river and see the metropolis from an entirely different perspective.

Things to do in Tokyo: Boat ride on the Sumida River
Boat on the Sumida River

Choose from the several available routes, for example, a ride from the Hinode Pier in Tokyo Bay to Asakusa. About 40 minutes long, you’ll see interesting sights and panoramic views of the city, and pass under a total of 12 bridges. With at least four of these bridges illuminated in the evenings, dusk on the boat is magical indeed!

5 Old Town

Follow the narrow winding streets lined with unique cafes and small Senbei shops (selling traditional Japanese rice crackers) from Nippori Station until you reach the heart of Tokyo’s Old Town.

Traditional Japanese treats await you alongside modern fusion cuisine – a delightful blend of the old and the new.

Things to do in Tokyo: Old Town
Yanaka in Tokyo

In the Yanaka neighborhood, quiet side streets invite you for a lazy amble. Walk past the historic cemetery and numerous temples until you’re in Market Street. Here, traditional Japanese food awaits you alongside modern fusion cuisine – a delightful blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, existing side by side in Yanaka.

6 Modern Architecture and the Akihabara ‘Electric Town’

Be inspired by cosplay, manga, animation and a world of futuristic computer games.

If you’re passionate about technology and modern architecture, Tokyo is the place for you! The district of Odaiba is home to an exceptional number of modern buildings which you can admire as you walk past.

Akihabara ‘Electric Town’
‘Electric’ Tokyo!

The Toyota showroom or the futuristic Panasonic Center offer incredible insights into Japan’s technological advancement. In Tokyo’s ‘Electric Town’ Akihabara, immerse yourself in the world of Otaku Culture and be inspired by cosplay, manga, animation and a world of futuristic computer games!

Discover a unique metropolis with our handy guide on things to do in Tokyo

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