If you do not know what to see in Tokyo, your journey should be with an experienced guide. The fact is that the attractions of Tokyo are so numerous and different that it is really difficult to develop the best tour itinerary on your own.
If you decide to sightsee Tokyo without a companion, use our overview. We will tell you about the main sights of Tokyo in brief, but from a professional point of view:
To begin with the Imperial Palace of Japan, which is located in the heart of Tokyo. On the territory of almost 7500 square kilometers you will see a chic palace complex with ancient structures, moats and canals. You will not be allowed into the personal imperial chambers, but the surrounding square is open to the many tourists. You will be able to see the outer Eastern Park, the courtyard, the Fushimi Yagura watchtower, and the stone and steel bridges, which were arranged during the Shogunate period.
Every tourist of the capital should visit the “Music Hall of the Peach Garden,” and enjoy the concerts of national and classical music given here.
Official website: http://sankan.kunaicho.
Few attractions in Tokyo are as vast as this neighborhood. We’ve included it in our ranking because of the number of cultural and architectural masterpieces it contains: Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise Shopping Street, Senso-ji and Dempoin Buddhist temples, and Sumida Park. After seeing these and many other local historical landmarks in Tokyo, you can go shopping at the huge Rocks Department Store or stroll down the kilometer-long Kappabashi Street with its many restaurants and boutiques.
Official website: http://web-japan.org/
Not sure what to see in Tokyo in 1 day? Go to the observation deck located on the 52nd floor. You will see all the sights of Japan at a time. After the Burj Khalifa, the Tokyo Sky Tree Town TV Tower is the second highest number of levels in the world. A bird’s-eye view of the city often elicits exclamations of amazement.
Guides in Tokyo especially recommend visiting this observation tower to fans of Japanese pop culture. The fact is that on the lower floors of the tower is a giant store dedicated to the characters of Japanese games and anime. Reviews not only of children but also adults about visiting the specialized “supermarket” are exceptionally positive.
Official website: http://www.tokyo-skytree.
Seeing this Tokyo landmark is also a must - otherwise your trip would be incomplete. Our recommendations are justified: the largest shopping centers (including duty-free outlets) selling all kinds of household and computer equipment are located here. This is the center of the IT-industry and at the same time the national art of anime. For fans of Japanese animation themed stores, clubs and restaurants are open here: the characters of manga and Japanese cartoons will serve you.
Tours in Tokyo and a visit to the Miraikan Museum will allow you to observe the “live” work of the famous humanoid robot Ashimo. Among the popular exhibits is a live video broadcast from seismometers located throughout the country, proving that Japan is being lightly “shaken” by earthquakes literally every minute.
Official site: http://www.miraikan.
Huge amusement park with 6 incredible exhibits: you can not only look, but also ride the exhibits. There are hundreds of Toyota Formula 1 cars of all models, ages, and sizes. Also present are incredible prototype cars that will never end up on real roads.
Official website: http://www.megaweb.
Several tons of fresh seafood and fish are sold (sliced, cleaned, opened) at the market every day. Here you will also be offered ready-made dishes of sea creatures and many other products (including exotic ones). Not sure what to visit in Tokyo if you are hungry? Head to the fish market, you won’t be left without food for your entire vacation.
Official website: http://www.tsukiji-market.
One of the reasons for the success of this landmark in Tokyo is the total lack of symmetry typical of garden parks in Europe. This corner of tranquility and unspoiled nature sits in the middle of the capital’s noisiest and busiest neighborhood, surrounded by glass and concrete. As you stroll through the park, you can find a waterfall hidden in the dense greenery, watch imperial carp swimming quietly in a picturesque pond. Where to go in Tokyo if you are tired of modernity, lights and hustle and bustle? Now you know the answer.
Official website: http://happo-en.com/
Just like many Tokyo attractions, Ginza is made for lovers of clubs, restaurants, malls and boutiques. The noisiest and most fun district of the capital, plus it’s the most expensive in terms of real estate cost per square meter. You can find electronics, cosmetics, shoes, clothes and other goods from almost all known and obscure manufacturers. But keep in mind that due to the exorbitant rates for rent and purchase of space for trade, the price of any product will be inflated. The cost of hotels in Tokyo here is also the highest. However, tourists can walk around Ginza and gawk at huge supermarkets and endless representations of modern concerns, such as Sony, for free.
Official website: http://www.ginza.jp/en/
Shrine and the largest Shinto shrine in the capital. The building is a unique example of Japanese temple architecture (cypress was used in its construction). The temple is surrounded by a majestic garden and there is a treasury with personal belongings of Emperor Meiji. The outer garden features the Wedding Hall, where nuptials in the Shinto tradition are still performed today, and the Picture Gallery with frescoes depicting the life of the imperial family. Each guest is given a fortune telling sheet, the omikuji. If you want to know your destiny, plan a visit to this Tokyo attraction.
Official website: http://www.meijijingu.or.
Our list of “best Tokyo attractions” continues with a pedestrian narrow street located in Shibuya. What is it famous for? A large number of restaurants, cafes and trendy boutiques. Local stores offer the latest novelties of the fashion-industry. And if 10-15 years ago the outlets sold a lot of fakes, today here are sold not just exclusive, but invariably original goods Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo and other famous brands.
About 2,000 people pass this intersection during rush hour. Locals say that the number of pedestrians reaches 1 million a day. It’s also the place to celebrate Christmas, Halluin, and similar calendar festivals.
The “golden street” has numerous small bars in old two-story houses. The neighborhood is called an island of nightlife, particularly beloved by bohemians. If you don’t know what to see in Tokyo at night, Golden Gai’s 200-plus establishments can help you. But be warned: some bars have incredibly high prices. Check out the sign-up menus before you enter.
Over 30,000 square meters, there are exhibits of Japan’s future, present, and past. Walking through the halls, arranged in chronological order, you will learn how the ancient Japanese cultivated the land and the modern natives built skyscrapers.
Official website: http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.
Shinto shrine with its own history museum. A kind of symbol of the country’s aggressive-military ambitions. Twice a year, ritual celebrations are held here: members of the Emperor’s family are sure to attend the celebrations.
Official site: http://www.yasukuni.or.
A huge cultural center with more than 120,000 exhibits. In addition to the main collection, there are thematic collections on anime culture, pharaonic history, and other similar subjects.
Official website: http://www.tnm.jp/
An indoor sports arena that serves as a venue for sumo, wrestling, and boxing competitions. Music performances are also often held here.
One of the capital’s most beautiful garden and park complexes, located on the shore of the city’s bay. Such sights of Tokyo photo with names and descriptions always enthrall. The tranquil Japanese gardens peacefully coexist with the skyscrapers of the adjacent futuristic Shiodome district.
Official website: http://teien.tokyo-park.
A gem of garden art from the Meiji Emperor’s reign. The area is divided into English, French and Japanese gardens. The Kyugoryo-tei Pavilion, a monument of national architecture, tropical trees, shrubs and plants, deserves attention.
Official website: http://www.env.go.jp/garden
What would be fun to visit in Tokyo for people of all ages? This amusement park is more than 450,000 square meters. The Disney complex is divided into “states” in the style of W. Disney’s animated universes. There is a “land of the future”, “city of cartoons”, “country of the Wild West” - a fascinating world for every traveler.
Official site: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.
If, after seeing the above sights, you have some free time left, by all means visit:
An unconventional art museum that will introduce you to modern and already legendary animation: the anime “Howl’s Walking Castle”, “Princess Mononoke”, “My Neighbor Totoro” and other creations of Ghibli developers.
Official website: http://www.ghibli-museum.
Services are conducted in Japanese, but the harmonious and unusually clear chants of the local choir attract even those tourists who do not understand the national language.
The area, which is home to more than four hundred species of animals, including western plains gorillas and rare sumatrai tigers, is divided into western and eastern parts. We recommend that you visit reptiles, elephants, polar bears, tigers, giant pandas, and other birds and beasts for the day. Especially since admission will be free for small children (on certain days).
Official website: http://www.tokyo-zoo.net
The complex is represented by cafes and souvenir shops, a steam room and a sauna. But most importantly, there are 6 types of baths (including mineral water baths, stone baths and sand baths). The decorations of hot springs convey the spirit of feudal Japan. You can take water procedures on the bulk island of Odaiba.
Official website: http://daiba.ooedoonsen.jp
The magnificent pagoda has been restored several times and moved to different locations. At the same time, the entrance gate from the early 17th century was able to be kept intact. Entrance guarded by dragons, past which the guests of the temple enter a charming Japanese garden: with small pagodas, lanterns made of stones and cedars reaching into the sky. Also on the territory is arranged cemetery, part of which is dedicated to the unborn children of Japan.
Official website: http://www.zojoji.or.jp
One of the classical theatrical arts in Japan is Kabuki - spectacular performances using eye-catching makeup, costumes, expressive gestures and actions in order to convey the meaning of the story to the audience. This is an important point, given that theater productions use an outdated form of language that is not easy to understand even for the Japanese themselves. A striking representative of the Kabuki movement is the Kabukiza Theater, which has the status of the most important cultural attraction in Japan. It is located in the Ginza district of Tokyo, in the vicinity of the city’s main shopping street. The building was originally built in 1889, but as a result of cataclysms and wars has been repeatedly destroyed and reconstructed. The theater seats nearly 2,000 spectators, and productions sometimes last up to 5 hours.
Official website: https://www.kabukiweb.
There’s hardly a person who, when traveling around the world, wouldn’t like to have a new gastronomic experience along with the sights. Especially when it comes to Tokyo, which is considered the best place in the world for foodies. A special category in the capital is street food, which allows tourists to satisfy their hunger literally on the go, without interrupting their cognitive walk. And even if the ubiquitous and familiar fish, noodles and rice are already bored and you want the usual meat dishes, in this case, Japanese cuisine will please everyone. In Tokyo, one of the places specializing not only in traditional cuisine, but also in quite budget meat dishes, is the old alley Omoyede-Ekoto, where you can find yakiniku - grilled meat dishes. Throughout this street there are traditional eateries with grilled meat dishes, among which the chicken kebabs are especially attractive.
Shitamachi Museum on the banks of Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park in the Taito District Tarourashima
All the brightness of autumn colors has already descended and the cherry blossom season is still a long way off, but what to see in Tokyo in December to make up for the winter weather? It is time to move from contemplating the beauty of the landscape to the national treasures of Japan in museums, especially since there are many of them in Tokyo. There’s the Shitamati Museum, for example, which shows how people lived in the city’s business centers at different times, starting in the 17th century. The museum collection is presented on two floors: the lower is an authentic street with reconstructed buildings from the Meiji period, the upper floor presents the interiors of the inhabitants of the old city with ancient artifacts and traditional household items. The makeshift alley even changes a little bit from season to season, with umbrellas appearing in the fall and warm clothes and other cute little things in the winter, for example.
Official website: http://www.taitocity
Tokyo museums are an original combination of ancient traditions and the latest achievements of modernity. It is this contrast that allows you to fully comprehend the soul of this unique country. The Mori Art Museum is considered to be the highest located museum in the Japanese capital, since it is located on the top floors of the 238-meter Mori Tower. The creator of the institution is Minuro Mori, who deliberately placed the rooms at such a height, thus emphasizing the importance of art. The museum’s collection is mainly comprised of modern art - works by contemporary artists from the mid-20th century, canvases by contemporary masters, and other thematic exhibits from around the world. Purchasing a ticket to the museum gives visitors the opportunity to visit the observation deck surrounding the museum square from all sides.
Official website: https://www.mori.art
Asia’s largest national museum of western art is devoted to European art in sculpture and painting. It holds the most valuable collections of works by European masters from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Most of them were acquired by the museum’s organizer, Kojiro Matsukata, during his travels in Europe, especially in Paris. During this time, he collected about 2,000 European and about 8,000 Japanese works of art, and the museum building was designed by the collector’s friend, the artist Frank Brangwyn. Nowadays, the museum offers not only Matsukata’s collection of 370 pieces, but also other exhibitions prepared by the museum’s specialists. In addition to the exhibitions themselves, there are regular classical music concerts, lectures and international meetings.
Official website: https://www.nmwa
Late autumn is a time of reduced tourist traffic in Tokyo, and it is pleasing with a lack of bustle and crowds near the sights. That’s why you can also find some pluses in Tokyo autumn and choose what to see in Tokyo in November. While the November nature is not happy colors, it is time to see nature, but within the walls of the museum. The National Museum of Nature and Science will delight visitors of all types and ages: from science trick lovers to those who just want to spend a rainy day with benefits. Its exposition is astonishingly diverse - over 14 thousand exhibits on the environment, space, light, sound, magnetism and motion as important natural phenomena are concentrated here. Separate attention should be paid to the exposition about the origin of the Universe, the evolution of terrestrial life, the exhibition about the flora and fauna of Japan.
Official website: http://www.kahaku.
When the city is covered by the bright carpets of autumn leaves, it’s time to head to the parks that adorn Tokyo’s neighborhoods - picturesque walkways, blooming botanical gardens, and cozy squares on the outskirts of the city. Visiting the park areas around the palaces, you can combine a pleasant walk in nature with contemplation of the magnificent architecture and interiors of the historic structure. There is no question what to see in Tokyo in October, if you can already imagine how beautiful Akasaka Palace looks surrounded by the park, painted in magical autumn colors. The grandiose architectural complex, built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, is located in a quiet and peaceful area of the metropolis. Akasaka is the largest structure of the Meiji era and Japan’s only building in the neo-Baroque style. Its interior is a treasure trove of masterpieces by sculptors, artists, weavers and furniture designers.
Tokyo Station, located in the Chiyoda district, is the city’s main train station and a major transportation hub serving city and suburban trains. The historic station building, erected in 1914, is made in a retro style of dark red bricks and its domes are decorated with bas-reliefs. Infrastructure of the station is stunning in its scope - both underground and on its surface there is a large number of stores, restaurants of Japanese, European and Chinese cuisine, souvenir shops, there are even beauty salons, supermarkets and hospitals. And, of course, the main thing is that super high-speed trains and subways depart from here through a network of intricately interwoven railroads. For example, take the high-speed Shinkansen train to explore the authentic sights of Kyoto and experience the contrast with the mind-blowing creations of the modern, prosperous capital.
Official website: https://www.tokyoinfo
In general, vacations in the Japanese capital are considered expensive, but even here you can save money and see free Tokyo attractions that will both leave an impression and save your savings. This includes the Rainbow Bridge, one of the modern symbols of the city, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. It is a huge suspension bridge, connecting one of the city’s business districts with the artificial island of Odaiba. The two-tier structure is more than 900 meters long, over 120 meters high, and on the very tops of the pylons are observation decks. When imagining the Rainbow Bridge, everyone imagines something bright and colorful, but this is not quite true. The bridge is painted white, and only at midnight does magic with it - it becomes iridescent, lighting up with colored lights.
Official website: https://www.shutoko.
The multifaceted Tokyo hides an entire neighborhood of dubious entertainment on its streets. Kabukicho is a neon-lit red-light district filled to the brim with sex shops, gambling halls, and lavish hotels, and located right next to Shinjuku Station. A century ago, the history of the district might have taken a very different direction - a bedroom community was planned within the district, and it was here that the Kabuki Theater building was originally going to be erected. But funding problems prevented that plan from coming to fruition, and the name for the neighborhood had already taken hold. The abandoned areas were bought up by the Chinese, who built up the area on a very different scale. These days, the area comes alive after 6 p.m., and you shouldn’t pass it up because in addition to entertainment, there are a number of decent restaurants and cafes here, mostly with fresh seafood dishes.
So now you know the must-see sights in Tokyo for every visitor to the country. Before you go on a tour, be sure to check the conditions of admission and the opening hours of the sites and entertainment and cultural venues.