Top 43 Things to Do and See in Tokyo

Are you planning to visit Tokyo?  Well, this blog post is for you as I present my top 43 things to do and see in this wonderful and exciting city, organized in 4 categories:

  • Things To Do
  • Places to See
  • Shopping and Fashion
  • Just Outside Tokyo (a 1/2 day or day trip)

Which is your favorite?  Do you have any other suggestions so I can make this a top 50 list?

Things To Do

1. Attend a festival (matsuri) throughout the year to experience Japanese culture and a local street party like atmosphere, carry a portable shrine or dance in a Bon Odori

Festival1 Festival2

2. Attend a convention at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba or the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba


3. Watch super big bodies collide at sumo wrestling held 3 times a year at the Ryogoku Kokugikan


4. Watch a traditional Japanese show of Kabuki, Noh, Nihon Buyo or Takarazuka at a theater


5. Climb Mount Fuji in the summer (August), but be well prepared (picture by Tanaka Juuyoh (田中十洋) via Creative Commons)


6. Visit a museum such as the Tokyo Edo Museum, National Art Center and Nezu Museum

Tokyo Edo Museum

7. Pray to the gods and find your fortune at one of the many Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples


8. Eat, drink and be merry under the Cherry Blossom trees at a hanami party in the spring, don’t forget to buy beer and food at your local konbini (convenience store)


9. Wear your yukata and watch spectacular fireworks at a hanabi in the summer

Hanabi Fireworks

10. Enjoy a cup of tea and a sweet at a traditional Japanese tea ceremony

Tea Ceremony

11. Stay at a ryokan (Japanese style inn) overnight for a truly unique Japanese experience


12. Clean up and take a Japanese style hot bath at an onsen


13. Taste the freshest sushi in the world at a traditional Japanese restaurant


14. Drink Japanese wine (sake or shochu) at a local izakaya


15. Enjoy the serenity of a Japanese garden at one of the many parks in the city such as the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Hamarikyu Garden, Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen


16. Witness a traditional Japanese wedding at Meiji Jingu on a weekend


17. Pluck down your money and play the machines at a Pachinko parlor


18. Cruise the Sumida River through the Tokyo Bay area in a water bus

Water Bus

19. Ride a rickshaw for a unique way to travel


Places To Visit

20. Watch a baseball game, shop or take a ride in the amusement park at Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex

Tokyo Dome

21. Try to find royalty and enjoy the quiet park surroundings at the Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

22. Look up and marvel at the skyscrapers in Shinjuku, go to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building (free) for a bird’s eye view of the city, then bar hop at the Kabukicho at night


23. See an early morning fish auction (that’s at 5:30 am!) at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Photo courtesy of Yelena_YK.


24. Greet Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Tokyo Disney

Tokyo Disney

25. Visit the harborfront or Chinatown at the port of Yokohama, less than an hour from Tokyo


26. Cross the Rainbow Bridge to enjoy yourself at one of the many leisure, shopping and entertainment areas in Odaiba


27. Buy the latest electronic gadgets and visit a maid cafe in Akihabara

Akihabara1 Akihabara2

28. Go to the top of Tokyo Tower for a view of the city – no, you are not in Paris!

Tokyo Tower

29. Bet on the winning horse at the Tokyo Racecourse

Horse Racing

30. Follow the 1964 Olympic trail by visiting the sites of the Komazawa Olympic Park, Tokyo National Stadium, Nippon Budokan and Yoyogi National Gymnasium


Shopping and Fashion

31. Visit the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles in Harajuku


32. Stay forever young by hanging out with all the teeny boppers at Shibuya, look for the Hachiko statue and try not to get trampled walking across Shibuya Crossing!


33. Shop and dine at the elegant and expensive department stores at Ginza


34. Go bar hopping in Roppongi or go to Tokyo City View at the top of Mori Building for a breathtaking view of the city


35. Sip a latte and shop till you drop at the trendy Daikanyama complex near Shibuya


36. Window shop at one of the high-priced designer boutiques at the Aoyama Fashion Street


37. Shop at one of the extremely large department stores at Ikebukuro and check out the tall Sunshine 60 building


38. Find bargains and cheap stuff in the Ameyayokocho open-air street market district in Ueno


Just Outside Tokyo

39. Kamakura


40. Nikko


41. Mount Takao

Mount Takao

42. Hakone


43. Kawagoe


14 thoughts on “Top 43 Things to Do and See in Tokyo

  1. Nice list. But I think Mt. Fuji should be in the “outside Tokyo” category. ;)

    How about:

    – One of the many zoos in and around Tokyo.

    – Toshimaen amusement park / pools.

    – Japan’s oldest amusement park: Hanayashiki in Asakusa.

    – Tokyo Sky Tree. Japan’s tallest structure.

    - Asakusa’s “Lightning Gate” and Sensoji Temple.

    – (outside of Tokyo) World biggest flower garden…「くりはま花の国」 (“Kurihama Flower Country”)

    – (outside of Tokyo) “Kamogawa Sea World”

  2. Wow, you know how badly you make me wanna visit Tokyo? But unfortunately, it’s a bit over my budget now, I’m contemplating Seoul. Shall see.. But to really see everything here, I would need more than a month.

  3. Pingback: East Asia Blog Roundup : 11/4/2010 « Eye on East Asia

  4. Great list here. I lived in Japan for 10 years and did most of them. Could never get up early enough to go to the Tsukiji fish market.

    I would love to go back to Japan as a tourist, instead of visiting my wife’s lovable, but dysfunctional family in her small quite hometown of Toki in Gifu.

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment – much appreciated for sure!

      I hear you … have been to Tsukiji several times, but never early enough to see the fish auction (maybe one of these days when I can’t sleep).

  5. Hi there,

    I’m from Tdot as well! :)

    I came across your website when I was looking for a picture of Tokyo Dome. Could you please tell me how you got the Tokyo Dome picture for your blog (in the “Places to Visit” section)? I would like to use the picture in my Japanese course website but I wasn’t sure if I would violate any copy-right. Please let me know. Thank you for your time! :)

    • Hi Lily,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I took the picture in this blog post (as well as all the pictures in my blog, unless I specify otherwise – in which case, I will mention the source).

      Thank you for asking, please go ahead and use this picture in your own website. I would just ask that you acknowledge the source.

  6. Pingback: Insider Guide: What to do in Tokyo « Konnichiwa

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