Tokyo city is the mesh of traditional culture and long-lasting history with high-tech modernity, haute couture, and a busy lifestyle. Although Tokyo is known for its dizzying pace of innovation, the city has always had a sense of preserving tradition. This consciousness is expressed in historic gardens, shrines, spectacular temples, and pagodas. So, what to see and what to do in Tokyo? Let’s check out our top rated 10 top things to do in Tokyo including best things to do in Tokyo, cool things to do in Tokyo, unique things to do in Tokyo, must do in Tokyo, must things to do in Tokyo as follows!
- Tokyo best temples & shrines — 7 most famous, beautiful shrines & best temples in Tokyo
- Top places to visit in Tokyo — 15+ most famous, must-visit & best places to visit in Tokyo
- Tokyo street food blog — 17+ best street food in Tokyo & must eat food in Tokyo
- Tokyo itinerary 3 days — How to spend 3 days in Tokyo & what to do in Tokyo in 3 days?
- Tokyo travel blog — The fullest Tokyo travel guide for first time visiting Tokyo
All these magnificent attractions make you get a little tough choice for your first-time trip. Therefore, it is very important to plan your trip through unique cultural experiences and choose where to go and what to do in these Tokyo spots. Let’s check them out!
Gaze at the city view from the Tokyo Skytree (#best things to do in tokyo)
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan
Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Phone: +81 570-550-634
One of the most popular spots in Tokyo is to visit the Tokyo Skytree in Sumida. At a height of 2,080 feet (approx. 634 meters), the Tokyo sky tree is the tallest building in Japan. You can gaze at a panoramic view of Sumida city and the Asakusa district from the top of the observation decks. It is also the second tallest building in the world with the adoption, after the famous Burj Khalifa. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is two observation decks, which are at the heights of 350 meters and 450 meters respectively with spectacular views out over Tokyo.
It is the highest observatory in Japan and one of the tallest observation decks in the world. At the top of a spiral ramp, it exits an observation deck, including an area reaching tall windows from which to look out over Tokyo. This floor is officially located at 451.2 meters and constitutes the highest point of the observation decks.
Tip: To get the most out of your Tokyo Skytree ticket, please visit the building an hour before sunset and you will have a chance to see Tokyo during the day, at sunset, and in the dark.
Tour the Imperial Palace (#must things to do in tokyo)
Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
Hours: 9:00 – 11:15 am, 1:30 – 2:45 pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays
Phone: +81 3-3213-1111
The Japanese Royal is one of the oldest hereditary monarchies in the world and their major residence is the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Tokyo Imperial Palace is still the official residence of the Japanese Royal. Also, as same the residences for state heads in over the world, the palace buildings and the inner gardens are not open to visitors. However, on two days of the year (December 23 and January 2), visitors can enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.
Featuring a beautiful outer moat, perennial cherry blossom trees, and quaint architecture, the palace is a real-life fairy tale castle. Walking around the palace grounds you will discover the rich history of the royal in the land of the rising sun. To the east of the mansion, which is the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, opens to visitors every day, except Mondays and Fridays. The campus offers green spaces and peaceful lakes along with a beautifully manicured Japanese garden.
Visitors can easily see the ruins from the old city walls. The nearby buildings are the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, the MOMAT Kogeikun Crafts Gallery, and the Science Museum. Just north of the palace is Kitanomaru Park, a public area that houses the Nippon Budokan Arena. Budokan is a world-renowned martial art, wrestling, and music performance center featuring international stars such as The Beatles, and Taylor Swift. Just a little walk to the northwest will bring you to Yasukuni Shrine.
Tips: When you explore the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, do not miss the path along the moat. You will find one of the most popular spots to photograph the iconic Japanese cherry blossom trees.
Visit the Meiji Shrine (#top things to do in tokyo)
Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan
Hours: 6:40 am – 4:00 pm
Phone: +81 3-3379-5511
Constructed to commemorate the virtue of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, who took the initiative to make a foundation of modernized Japan, Meiji Shrine is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in the city. Located in the middle of a large park with thousands of trees from all over Japan, it creates a quiet and sacred atmosphere. This shrine is to dedicate Emperor Meiji, the first emperor after the Tokugawa Shogunate was toppled. Due to many spiritual elements, there are plenty of festivals and annual wedding parties held in a pure atmosphere, despite the numerous visitors.
Upon a visit to this shrine, visitors will be able to step through a huge wooden Torii gate with a height of 12 meters made from a 1,500-year-old cypress tree, then walk for about 10 minutes to reach the main hall. At the main hall, visitors must perform handwashing and mouth-washing rituals to purify the body and mind at the cleansing fountain (Temizuya) in front of the entrance.
Inside the ground, you will be overwhelmed with the Torii gates in the sky and the gardens with many green trees. Furthermore, the shrine is located very close to other famous landmarks including Harajuku and Shibuya. Despite being located in the heart of Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is eerily quiet in the midst of a forest of 100,000 trees unaffected by the hustle and bustle.
Tips: Although the entrance to Meiji Shrine is free, there is a small fee to enter the garden of Meiji Shrine, which is only about five USD. Look for traditional weddings taking place on Sunday mornings with brides in all-white Kimonos, and grooms in a Haori coat decorated with one’s family crest and Hakama.
Visit the Tokyo National Museum (#what to do in tokyo)
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8712, Japan
Hours: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, closed on Mondays
Phone: +81 50-5541-8600
The Tokyo National Museum, established in 1872, is the oldest museum in Japan, the largest art museum in Japan, and one of the largest art museums in the world. It houses about 114,000 artifacts. Apart from Honkan, the museum is also divided into ten other major exhibition areas such as Heiseikan, Hyokeikan, Toyokan, and more. Among the currently held objects, which include 87 National Treasures, and 634 adopted Important Cultural Properties of the Japanese country with countless rare documents.
You must be healthy to go around all attractions here. Therefore, all of you are advised to join the separate tours in each exhibition area, conducted by volunteers from the Tokyo National Museum. The tours are sometimes guided in English, if you would like to join, please check the schedule and other information on the official website of the museum. The current website supports the following languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean, German, French, and Spanish.
Tips: The entrance fee is just 05 USD. The museum is free on the third Monday of September, and International Museum Day.
Stroll through Ueno Park (#must do in tokyo)
Address: Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan
Hours: 5:00 am – 11:00 pm
Phone: +81 3-3828-5644
Visitors can spend a whole day in Ueno Park, the largest green space in the city. Inside the park, you will find a series of walkways that lead to some of the best museums in Tokyo, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Shitamachi Museum.
Ueno Park is also a popular cherry blossom spot, which is like a home with over 1,200 cherry blossom trees. The cherry blossom trees were originally planted to decorate the grounds of the Kaneiji temple, which has existed here for a long time before constructing the park.
- Tips: The most direct route to the park is from the JR Ueno Station, follow the signs to Ueno Park Exit or Shinobazu Exit (to choose a park guide) when you leave the station. The park can get crowded in the mid-afternoon, so visitors are advised to arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds.
A day sightseeing trip to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo (#unique things to do in tokyo)
Mount Fuji is just located 13km west of Tokyo and is visible from the capital on sunny days. This is an active volcano located between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. It is majestic and the highest mountain in Japan with an altitude of 3,776m. Since ancient times, it has been used as a subject for many artworks, and become the icon of Japan.
Mount Fuji is known as an object of worship, there is a pagoda at the top of the mountain. Currently, there are many attractions such as Safari Fuji parks, and Shiraito waterfall around the mountain, there are many tourists climb the mountain in the summer. In 2013, this place was designated as a world cultural heritage along with other related cultural monuments.
The best season to climb Mount Fuji is at the end of the rainy season, from the end of July to the end of September, climbing 2 days in a row during this time. Those who want to climb leisurely should choose weekdays. Depending on the climbing program, the climbing gate will be different.
Visitors can take the Fuji Excursion Limited Express train from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchi and you will get there in less than two hours for 40 USD/one-way. It is worth exploring the lakes surrounding the mountain like Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko once you get there.
Tips: If you want to save money, take the bus instead of the train. From Tokyo Station, you can buy a round-trip ticket to Kawaguchiko Station for less than 20 USD, and the journey takes about two hours.
Sumo Tournament Experience (#best things to do in tokyo)
Referring to the interesting things to do in Tokyo, you cannot miss the Sumo tournament. Visitors can watch the tournament or can experience it by attending a short class.
Sumo is the oldest traditional martial art in Japan. At the same time, it is also a ceremony of Shinto, a religion of Japan, often held at festivals. In localities across Japan, festivals have been held until now. Sumo, in which famous festivals are held at Yasukuni-Jinja Shrine and Ise-Jingu Shrine in spring. As a ritual from the ancient days, Sumo took it very sincerely, and that is why Sumo wore nothing but Mawashi (loincloths). How to learn and experience many Sumo practices and venues are found.
Tip: Before each Sumo tournament, the wrestler will have to perform a ritual that includes throwing salt, stretching legs, squatting, and stamping for more than 5 minutes. Don’t miss this Japanese cultural experience.
Enjoy meals at one of the signature restaurants in Tokyo
One of the special things about Tokyo is that the city is full of strange-themed restaurants. Across Tokyo, you will find a series of various restaurants arranged by interesting themes including Sumo wrestling, Moomin, Alcatraz, Alice in Wonderland, and gaming-themed eateries.
Tip: There is usually a surcharge to dine at one of these restaurants (less than 5 USD) and the food is served at the price list. When you come here, determine to focus on a thematic experience rather than having a fancy meal.
Take a walk at the famous Shibuya Crossing (#cool things to do in tokyo)
Address: 1-2-1 DōgenzakaShibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan
Also known as the Shibuya Scramble, this particular crossing is located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. It is considered an iconic attraction in Tokyo. It is famous for its heavy traffic of pedestrians in all directions. On average, more than 2.4 million people daily cross the Shibuya Crossing, which becomes one of the busiest roads in the world.
Tip: To get a panoramic view of Shibuya Crossing, go to Mag Park and move to the rooftop of Magnet mall. From the terrace, you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic views below.
Watch a traditional dance show at the Kabuki Theater, Ginza (#must things to do in tokyo)
Address: 4-12-5 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo, Japan
This is the main Kabuki theater of the city. Here, traditional Japanese dances are performed daily. The building is an icon of the neighborhood and is also a must-see tourist attraction in this place. The 2-story wooden house, with a tiled roof, was once used as a city theater with a revolving stage, decorated with flowers and cushions. The current building was restored in 1985 and is currently in use for a variety of events.
On days, when there has no event, visitors can visit the hall and its interior. In addition, visitors can try standing on the stage to experience the feeling of the actors. These elaborate plays have wowed visitors for centuries as it involves the actors’ colorful costumes and dazzling and elaborate makeup.
Above are the 10 best places to go and the best things to do in Tokyo. Tokyo is a big city, and taking a tour is a time-efficient way to see the top sites and one of the best ways to learn about what you are seeing. More often than not Tokyo’s image abroad results from clichés and commonplace concepts, which may misfire into giving the city an aura of coldness. Nothing could be further from the truth! This post aims to shed light on that sort of misunderstanding and let Tokyo’s abundance of beauty and attraction shine through.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Tokyo you can refer to
- Private Narita International Airport Transfers (NRT) for Tokyo 23 Wards, Hakone, or Karuizawa
- Private Haneda International Airport Transfers (HND) for Tokyo 23 Wards, Hakone, or Karuizawa
- Airport Limousine Bus Transfers from/to Narita and Haneda International Airport (Free Wifi Onboard)
- Tokyo Amazing Sightseeing Bus Day Tour
- Tokyo Highlights Private Day Tour
- Nikko Day Tour from Tokyo
- Mt Fuji & Hakone Day Tour: Lake Ashi & Ropeway Day Trip from Tokyo
- Nikko Cultural Day Tour from Tokyo
- Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, or 72 Hours)
- Tokyo Skyliner and Tokyo Subway Ticket
- Shuttle Bus Transfers (One Way/Round Trip) from Shinjuku/Ikebukuro to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea
- Sky Hop-on and Hop-off Bus Pass
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Looking for best autumn spots in Japan? Read here. And Kyoto here. And top things to do in Tokyo: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Tokyo travel blog — The fullest Tokyo city guide for a budget trip for the first time visiting Tokyo, Japan.