28 Epic Things to See & Do in Tokyo On Your Japan Adventure

As the biggest city in Japan and the dynamic centerpiece of the world’s most populated metropolitan area, Tokyo is one of the planet’s absolute must-see travel destinations. But with the city’s immense size, hunting down all the best things to do in Tokyo can seem like an endless quest.

The top tourist attractions in Tokyo always leave travelers in awe, from its beautiful temples and shrines to its wonderful restaurants and skyscraping modern points of interest. Dig into the city’s heritage in Asakusa, Tokyo’s most traditional district. Get a breath of fresh air at Meiji Shrine before heading back into surrounding neighborhoods like Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. End your evening chowing down on sushi at restaurants in Ginza or sipping sake and beer in Golden Gai.

Ready to plan the ultimate trip to Japan’s capital city? Start exploring with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Tokyo!

What to see & do

Asakusa

The folkloric tales of Japan match up to the ancient streets of Asakusa, Tokyo’s most traditional central district. In a city whose fame emanates from its never-ending, glass-filled skyline and, at times, futuristic glow, Asakusa is a breath of fresh air. This beautiful neighborhood is one of the city’s must-sees, even if you only have one day in Tokyo.

The approach in the area begins at the grand Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate). Over a millennium of history pre-dates the gate, although the current incarnation is a modern-era reconstruction. The gate opens up to Nakamise-dori, a traditional shopping street where you can fill your bags with trinkets and various souvenirs for the folks back home.

Asakusa

At the district’s heart rests Senso-ji Temple. The history of this Buddhist temple, which is among the most famous temples & shrines in Tokyo, digs back to the 7th century. Even though today’s rebirth is a post-war construction, the grandeur of Sensoji Temple hasn’t been lost. Admission to the temple and its beautiful grounds is free.

Besides all the obvious things to do in Asakusa, the district is simply a pleasure to wander around aimlessly. Plenty of traditional Japanese wooden houses, restaurants, and shops dot the streets spoking from Asakusa’s center. Slip into the alleyways and saunter the surrounding blocks to see what you’ll find!

PRO TIP: Intimidated by Tokyo’s mammoth size? Fortunately, public transportation in Tokyo is top-notch, and getting around the city is a breeze, thanks to the plentify metro and rail systems. Many of the city’s top attractions are a quick train ride away from each other. (Just a quick warning: Avoid rush hour if you don’t like crowds; they can get pretty intense!)

Meiji Shrine

To watch Tokyo slow down, find your inner peace at Meiji Shrine near Shibuya’s gutsy Harajuku neighborhood. Unlike many other Tokyo attractions, this lovely place of worship doesn’t have a history reaching back to long bygone centuries. Meiji Shrine was originally completed in 1920 and is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

Fast forward twenty-some years, World War II handed the shrine a massive strike. What you’ll see here now is, like so many Tokyo points of interest, a post-war reconstruction holding true to the original.

Entrance Torii at Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine shares greenspace with Yoyogi Park, one of the city’s most popular green spaces. The main complex of this Shinto shrine sits an equal distance from both the southern and northern entrances. A large torii (gate) marks the main entrance near Harajuku Station as you escape the bustle of Shibuya for its tranquil wilderness.

Once you reach the main complex of Meiji Shrine, there are a number of interesting buildings to check out. Keep your eyes open for the Treasure House. The treasure house holds a number of important artifacts from the Emperor and Empress.

The Inner Garden is also impressive; be prepared to shell out a few yen for the pleasure of visiting.

Takeshita Street

While wandering around Harajuku, you’re bound to stumble upon the neighborhood’s heart & soul at Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori). The stretch is famous as the epicenter for Japan’s edgy youth fashion styles. Along Takeshita Street, you’ll encounter everything from hip fashion boutiques to vintage shops.

Takeshita Street in Harajuku

The avenue is also one of the famous places to eat in Tokyo for street food—especially for its desserts! While visiting, don’t miss a chance to wiggle yourself in among the crowds at one of its popular crepe stands or ice cream shops. Yum!

Tokyo Imperial Palace

While it certainly won’t compete with what you’ll find in Kyoto, Tokyo Imperial Palace unfolds a classic scene that no Tokyo itinerary should skip.

Realistically, though, there isn’t much for visitors to do here without a little pre-planning. The Imperial Palace is the current residence of the Emperor and Empress; needless to say, you can’t simply show up and expect to walk around unfettered. Tours are available, however, with advanced registration.

Book your free 1.25-hour tour on the Imperial Household Agency website or by showing up 30 minutes prior to the tour time—usually 10:00 am and 1:30 pm (outside summer only), Tuesday to Saturday—at the Kikyo-mon Gate.

Nijubashi at Tokyo Imperial Palace

Even if you missed snagging your spot on a tour, the Outer Garden (Kokyo Gaien), East Garden (Kokyo Higashi Gyoen), and Kitanomaru Park are open to the public.

The finest view of the whole lot, though, is in front of Nijubashi, Tokyo’s most famous bridge. Elbow your way through the permanent crowd of amateur photographers to grab your shot of the stone bridge backdropped by the classically Japanese guard tower in the inner grounds.

Yasukuni Shrine

While wandering around the Chiyoda neighborhood, keep on the lookout for Yasukuni Shrine. Located northwest of the Imperial Palace and Kitanomaru Park, this Shinto shrine was built in 1869. It enshrines the spirits of about 2.5 million people who died in the various wars that helped to establish Japan as a modern country.

Yasukuni Shrine

Moving adjacent to Yasukuni Shrine, history buffs can forge some insight at the Yushukan, a large museum dedicated to Japanese military history. The grounds also teem with hundreds of beautiful cherry trees. The collection here includes the tree whose first blossoms indicate the official start of the sakura season.

Yoyogi Park

Hanging out beside Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi Kōen) in Shibuya’s Harajuku neighborhood is a great place in Tokyo to catch a breather. Although it’s not as tranquil as the forests further north, there’s a buzz in the air that’ll capture your attention as you ditch the busy streets for greener alternatives.

Hanami @ Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is a massively popular hangout for Tokyoites. While you won’t find quite the same level of weirdness here as at one of the infamous Sunday gatherings on nearby Harajuku Bridge, don’t be surprised when you encounter odd characters and entertainers who unwind and practice their skills here.

Move to the northern and western fringes of Yoyogi Park to enjoy a little more solitude.

Toyosu Fish Market

So, visiting a fish market probably isn’t on top of your Tokyo bucket list. The smells are off-putting, and the whole scene is a little grotesque at times. But there’s no doubt that an early morning jaunt to the tuna auction at Toyosu Fish Market should be high on your list of what to do in Tokyo.

The Toyosu Fish Market replaces the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Although many tourists don’t feel the experience is as authentic, it’s still a worthwhile addition to your itinerary.

You’ll need to get a one-up on the sun and launch your trip to Toyosu Fish Market in the pre-dawn hours. The tuna auction runs daily from about 5:30 am to 6:30 am.

Although anyone can watch the auction from the public viewing gallery, there’s a special lower deck that’s closer to the action. Only 27 visitors are permitted in this area per day. Entry is on a lottery basis and only open one week per month. You can try your luck at getting advance reservations by clicking here.

If you’re not interested in the tuna auction, there’s still plenty to be seen at Toyosu Market. Head up to the 4th floor of the seafood wholesale building to browse over 100 shops, restaurants, and eateries. Pick up some sake, kitchen knives, or bento boxes for a snack later on.

Sushi Breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo
A tuna, sea urchin and salmon egg breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market

Even if it no longer hosts the tuna auction, the old Tsukiji Market is still worth a gander, too. The former Tsukiji Outer Market still teems with market stalls, food vendors, restaurants, and eateries. Grab your spot at one of Tsukiji’s many food stalls for a yummy sushi breakfast that’ll forever destroy your ability to enjoy sushi anywhere else.

Nezu Museum

Art lovers are in heaven when they trot along to Nezu Museum. Located at the end of Omotesando Avenue in the hip Aoyama district, this private art museum features a collection of over 7,000 pieces of pre-modern Japanese & East Asian art that’s one of the finest of its kind in Japan.

Nezu Museum

Even if the art doesn’t turn your crank, the Nezu Museum is equally famous for its lovely landscaped garden. Stroll through its paths among moss-covered statues, ponds, waterfalls, and gnarled pines. The best season to visit the garden is in autumn when its stunning fall colors are out in full force.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Unlike the more energetic Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden rebalances the chi as Tokyo’s most spectacular nature unfolds before your eyes. Stroll through the pathways among the ponds and greenery in this 58-hectare park for the perfect escape from the ever-electric Shinjuku district.

Three main gardens—Japanese, French, and English—frame the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. All are impressive, but be sure not to miss the Japanese Garden. This beautiful garden features paths that meander over bridges and around ponds and pavilions. It has a truly distinctive Asian feel that captures the imagination.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

If you’re visiting in late March and April during Tokyo’s cherry blossom season, be sure to scope them out here. Autumn is also a great time to dwell in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden when the leaves take on new hues for a colorful scene.

The park is open from 9 am to 4 pm every day except Mondays (and Tuesdays after a national holiday that falls on a Monday. The entrance fee is ¥200.

Shibuya

In all my travels, I’ve yet to encounter another place quite like Shibuya. When I dreamt of the streets of Tokyo, flooded with neon and a never-ending stream of passers-by, Shibuya’s where I first found it.

Although it’s a huge district, Shibuya usually alludes to the shopping and entertainment district centered around Shibuya Station. Much of Tokyo’s edgy fashion sense emanates from the department stores and boutiques around this electric neighborhood.

Shibuya Crossing

Soak in the buzzing city atmosphere at Shibuya Crossing, dubbed as the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. Unload some yen shopping in the boutiques along Center Gai or in Shibuya 109.

The restaurant selection in Shibuya is equally spectacular. Cheaper eateries rub elbows with more upscale sushi restaurants and izakaya. There are plenty of delicious choices for all budgets for checking off all the must-try Japanese foods.

After soaking up everything in Shibuya, treat yourself to a bowl of ramen noodles at Ichiran or eat sushi at a standing bar like Uogashi Nihon Ichi.

Ryōgoku Kokugikan

If your dream vacation involves big, sweaty men grappling in skimpy aprons, you’ve come to the right place. Even if not, you’ll still get a kick out of visiting Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Ryogoku Sumo Hall). Near the banks of the Sumida River, this famous arena offers travelers and locals alike a taste of Japan’s national sport of sumo wrestling.

Sumo Wrestlers @ Ryogoku Kokugikan

During national tournaments (in January, May, and September), over 10,000 spectators pile into Ryōgoku Kokugikan to cheer on their favorite wrestlers. Whether you’re in town to attend the tournament or not, there’s also a Sumo Museum in the complex to help you get a better handle on the sport.

If you’re interested in Tokyo’s earlier history, stop in at the Edo-Tokyo Museum next door. The museum features a number of fascinating exhibits that detail the city’s history prior to 1869 up to the modern era.

Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley)

Somehow, the true English translation of Omoide Yokocho wasn’t cutting it. For reasons we’d rather not bring up, the nostalgically named Memory Alley shaved off its family-friendly handle for the brasher—but, admittedly, more memorable—Piss Alley.

Omoide Yokocho

No, Omoide Yokocho isn’t as deplorable as its nickname would suggest. Actually, exploring it heartily is one of the top things to do in Shinjuku!

Dozens of small bars and eateries line this narrow alleyway near Shinjuku Station. A rich history, full of fires and public urination, pre-dates present-day Omoide Yokocho.

Things are calmer around Omoide Yokocho now, yet it still maintains that authentic atmosphere that bolstered its popularity. The pleasures here are simple: eat, drink… and enjoy!

Golden Gai

Like Omoide Yokocho, Golden Gai sends travelers spiraling back into Tokyo’s past with its nostalgic collection of small alleyways in the buzzing Kabukicho area of Shinjuku. While most of Tokyo was either bombed in World War II or flattened to build its new modern face, Golden Gai was still able to preserve its original looks.

Golden Gai

In the expanses of the narrow warrens of Golden Gai, you’ll stumble across hundreds of pubs & restaurants—some only large enough to fit five patrons! Many of these bars & restaurants aren’t just traditional but quirky, with interesting decor and menus that are anything but ordinary.

Although the Golden Gai area is a popular escape for tourists, it’s not known for being overly friendly to foreign visitors. Don’t be offended if you’re refused a seat at one of the local pubs.

Yurakucho

On the other side of town, away from the chaos of Shinjuku and Shibuya, Yurakucho is another shopping and entertainment district that’s worth digging into. The main stretch of restaurants clings below the JR Yamanote Line. They’re a perpetual favorite among hard-working Tokyoites, and watching them in action is one of the coolest things to see in Tokyo.

Yurakucho Alley Restaurants

Yurakucho is most famous for its izakaya (Japanese pubs) and yakitori joints that hide along the train tracks. Pick one and pop in for one of Tokyo’s must-try dishes and cold beer for a truly authentic experience.

Shin-Okubo Korean Town

If you can’t slip Seoul into your East Asia travel plans, Shin-Okubo Korean Town in Tokyo might be the next best thing. A good chunk of the 80 thousand or so Koreans in the city call this eclectic neighborhood home. Shin-Okubo is located just north of Kabuchiko in Shinjuku.

Shin Okubo Korean Town

Although Korean restaurants are popping up all over the capital of Japan, Shin-Okubo offers some of the tastiest Korean food in the city. Follow your nose to one of the delicious Korean barbecue joints along Okubo-dori, the main drag in Shin-Okubo, to tackle your appetite.

Keep your ears perked up for the sounds of K-Pop inviting you into one of the many Korean shops in Shin-Okubo. Prepare for a cultural experience that can only be described as odd.

Tokyo Dome

You might be scratching your head, asking how in the world a stadium cracks a list of the most exciting activities in Tokyo. Although Tokyo Dome is the famous home of the popular Yomiuri Giants baseball team, this complex is much more than a simple sports venue.

Tokyo Dome

The area around the Tokyo Dome stadium features everything from a hot springs resort (LaQua) and multimedia space museum (TenQ) to an indoor sports park. There’s also a free amusement park here that’s famous for the Thunder Dolphin, the fastest rollercoaster in the city. If you get a chance, catch a baseball game or concert followed by a shopping spree, onsen soak, or an adrenaline-pumping ride.

Tokyo Tower

Paris has the Eiffel Tower; Japan’s capital has the Tokyo Tower. And the similarity between two of the most famous landmark towers in the world isn’t accidental.

Like so many towers around the world, the architects of the tower used the City of Lights’ star as its inspiration—and then surpassed it by stretching 13 meters higher!

Tokyo Tower

Although it’s been supplanted as the tallest structure in Japan by the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower offers some of the most impressive vistas of the cityscape—even with its distinctive red girders missing from view.

The main observatory at Tokyo Tower soars in at a height of 150 meters, and costs 900¥ for admission. There’s also an even higher special observatory to enhance your views with an extra 100 meters in height.

Roppongi Hills

Fascinated with Tokyo’s modern side? Carve out a little time to visit Roppongi Hills, one of the Japanese capital’s most ambitious urban development projects. Located in Minato just south of the upscale Akasaka district, Roppongi spins together a mishmash of offices, apartments, restaurants, bars, museums, and shops, all sparked by the area’s growing high-tech industry.

Roppongi Hills

Plenty of attractions within Roppongi Hills await to keep you busy from day to night. Ideas include:

  • Mori Tower is a 238-metre-high 54-storey tower that’s one of the city’s tallest buildings. Mori Tower hosts a barrage of shops, restaurants, and offices, along with a few goodies that’ll appeal to travelers.
  • Tokyo City View is an incredible observation deck located atop Mori Tower. The floor-to-ceiling windows at Tokyo City View unleash epic 360-degree views over the skyline.
  • Mori Art Museum is another great place to visit in Mori Tower. The Mori Art Museum showcases modern art exhibitions from both Japanese & international arts. Even non-art-lovers will love the unpretentious nature of Mori Art Museum over other stuffier galleries around the world.
  • Mori Garden is a beautifully landscaped Japanese garden stuffed between the neighborhood’s modern buildings. Visit during cherry blossom season to catch Mori Garden at its finest.

Odaiba

Is there any better place to spend an evening in Tokyo than Odaiba? Perhaps not. This impeccably developed waterfront district is situated on a man-made island on Tokyo Bay. Odaiba is a premier destination for watching a sunset and a great place to chow down or fill your shopping bags.

The evening and nighttime views from Odaiba over the horizon are simply magnificent. Framed by the famous Rainbow Bridge, the waterfront vistas sit among the most classic captures of the city’s skyline.

Gundam Statue at Diver City in Odaiba

Even during the day, there’s a ton to do in Odaiba. The area is a full-fledged shopping and dining district with options to suit every taste.

Relieve your wallet of some yen at Aquacity Odaiba or Decks Tokyo Beach, two of the area’s most popular shopping malls. Kids (and adults!) will love the enormous Transformer-like Gundam statue in front of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza.

Robot Restaurant

If you thought the stationary Gundam statue in Odaiba was cool, you’re in for a real treat if you visit the Robot Restaurant in the Kabukicho entertainment district. As weird & wacky as this place is, there’s hardly a visitor—whether they loved or hated it—who’d say it’s not an essential experience to have while visiting Japan.

Robot Restaurant Kabukicho

Watch in amazement as the world’s undoubtedly strangest cabaret show unfolds. It’s loud & obnoxious, full of brightly-coloured flashing lights, dinosaurs, samurai, ninjas, panda bears, and, naturally, gigantic robots. In short, the Robot Restaurant might just be the most ridiculous and over-the-top entertainment you’ll ever catch anywhere on Earth!

Of course, this whacked-out restaurant is immensely popular among visitors. Be sure to book your tickets online before arriving at the Robot Restaurant save time & money, and ensure your spot in the madness.

Tokyo Disney Resort

If you’re traveling to Tokyo with kids, there’s no escaping spending time at Tokyo Disney Resort. This massive resort, tethered to the edge of Tokyo Bay, is home to two separate theme parks, hotels, and a shopping mall.

Tokyo Disneyland

The star attraction of the resort is, of course, Tokyo Disneyland. Modeled after its American counterparts, the vast amusement park features seven themed lands:

  • World Bazaar is a covered shopping arcade designed to resemble an American downtown in the early-20th century.
  • Tomorrowland is an area focusing on space & futuristic themes. Tomorrowland includes the popular Space Mountain ride.
  • Toontown is a cartoony land where all of Disney’s most famous characters, from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to Goofy and Pluto, come alive.
  • Fantasyland is an area that brings to life Disney animated classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Winnie the Pooh.
  • Critter Country is based on the film “Song of the South.” This land features the quirky Br’er animals (rabbit, fox, bear) and wet & wild Splash Mountain.
  • Westernland offers a nostalgic look at the wild western frontier of the United States. Westernland also features a cool river cruise.
  • Adventureland is one of the most entertaining parts of the park. Adventureland puts you into the mindset for adventure and lets you explore a treehouse & pirate ship. You can also float leisurely along the water on a jungle river cruise.

Tokyo DisneySea

Besides spending time exploring Disneyland, don’t miss out on Tokyo DisneySea. The resort’s other fantasy theme park cruises through seven unique ports: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, and the American Waterfront.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

If you don’t want to shell out hard-earned yen for sweeping views of the city, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a fantastic alternative. The free twin observation decks peer out at the skyline from 202 meters. They’re the most budget-friendly option for massive vistas of the entire city.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

On clear days, you can expect to see as far as Mount Fuji from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, with many of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks emerging in view.

Both observatories at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building are open year-round (except from December 29th to January 3rd) from 9:30 to 23:00 (North Observatory) and 9:30 to 17:30 (South Observatory). The North Observatory closes the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month while the South Observatory is closed the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month.

Ginza

Missing High Street shopping? Let Ginza fill the void! Ginza is Tokyo’s upscale shopping district. Here, prestigious Japanese stores like Wako and Mitsukoshi vie along with many of the world’s most recognized international fashion brands—from Armani and Burberry to Chanel and Dior—to drain the wallets of the city’s well-to-do.

Buildings in Ginza

While shopping is among the top things to do in Ginza, budget-conscious travelers will still find plenty of joy here. Like Shinjuku or Shibuya, walking around the streets of Ginza offers the quintessential modern Japanese urban experience. Duck into side streets to uncover hidden restaurants and shops.

In fact, Ginza is one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Tokyo, offering a safe and central location to launch your travel adventures. (Try a capsule hotel like Tokyo Ginza Bay Hotel for an extra special experience!)

Find your way to Ginza on the weekends when Chuo-dori closes off to traffic for even more excitement. The so-called Pedestrians’ Paradise lures street performers and miscellaneous hawkers to create an enticing scene full of energy.

Tokyo Skytree

Haven’t quite had your fill of Japan’s biggest city from above? Set aside time to visit Tokyo Skytree in Sumida. This massive 634-meter tower holds the title of the tallest structure in Japan. (As of 2023, Tokyo Skytree is still the fifth tallest structure in the entire world!)

Tokyo Skytree

The two observation decks at Tokyo SkyTree hover at a whopping height of 350 and 450 meters. As you’d imagine, the 360-degree panorama from each is spectacular!

Buy your tickets for the first observation deck on the 4th floor (regular: ¥2,060; Fast Skytree: ¥3000).

From the first observation deck, you can continue up to the second platform for an extra ¥1,030. Alternatively, purchase a Fast Skytree combo ticket for ¥4000 that gives express access for both.

Akihabara

Seeking out the latest gadgets in Japan’s capital city always starts with a stop in Akihabara. Also referred to as Electric Town, Tokyo’s famous electronics shopping district is the perfect place to browse through mobile phones, computers, or cameras.

Even if you don’t need the latest Nikon DSLR or iPhone, the main drag of Akihabara, Chuo-Dori, is a colorful place to while away your day.

Akihabara at Night

As of late, the face of Akihabara has been changing. The district has garnered international fame for its grand expression of otaku culture, with plenty of otaku shops springing up among the electronic vendors. The otaku shops specialize in all things Japanese pop culture, from anime and manga to video games and collectible goods. Visiting these quirky boutique shops has become one of the most popular things to do in Akihabara.

Perhaps the weirdest development of the bunch for non-Japanese is the explosion of theme cafes in Akihabara. If you’ve ever fancied yourself a propertied well-to-do, grab a coffee or tea at a maid cafe like @home cafe or Cure Maid Cafe to get pampered by waitresses dressed as French maids.

Other odd options include a cat cafe (Neko JaLaLa), an owl cafe (AkibaFukurou), and the Cheese Hedgehog Cafe.

Tokyo National Museum

Lovers of fine arts can’t afford to give the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park a miss. The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest museum of its kind in Japan. It’s home to the biggest collection of Japanese artwork and antiquities in the world.

Tokyo National Museum

Exploring the Tokyo National Museum to its fullest takes the better part of a day. Highlights include the Honkan (Japanese Gallery), a collection of Japanese art spread over 24 exhibitions; Tōyōkan (Asian Gallery), showcasing art from elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East; and Hōryū-ji Hōmotsukan (The Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures), containing treasures dating as far back as the 7th century.

Entrance to the museum is ¥600 for adults and free for children and seniors. It’s open from 9:30 am to 5:00 p.m. every day except Mondays (with extended hours on weekends during high seasons).

Oedo Onsen Monogatari

Want the classic Japanese onsen experience without leaving the city? The Oedo Onsen Monogatari hot spring park in Odaiba is the premier place in Japan’s capital to go for it!

OedoOnsen Inside

Opened in 2003, this hot spring theme park became an instant success. It’s designed to replicate the hot springs resorts and bath houses of the Edo era—and does quite a convincing job of it.

Even if you’re not interested in stripping down to the—ahem!—bare essentials for a hot springs bath, the onsen offers less “intrusive” foot baths and an entertainment area in the courtyard with food stalls, a bar, souvenir shop, carnival games, and performers.

Rikugien Garden

One of the most memorable parts about traveling around Japan is getting to experience the grace of a well-manicured Japanese garden. In Tokyo, there’s none more compelling for visitors than Rikugien Garden in the north of the city.

Rikugien Garden

These gardens are among the most beautiful places to see in Tokyo. They originated in the 18th century under the 5th Tokugawa Shogun and perfectly exemplify the typical landscaping of the Edo Period. As you stroll through the paths that snake around a central pond and into deep foliage, you’ll watch as scenes from famous Japanese poems are re-created.

Although the garden is absolutely lovely all year round, try to visit in autumn to witness its dense greenery erupt into a sea of color.

Where to stay for sightseeing

With the city’s massive sprawl, choosing where to stay in Tokyo isn’t always easy. For most travelers, the areas in & around Asakusa, Shinjuku, Ginza, or Chiyoda are great places to base yourself. Here are a few hotels to start your accommodations search…

  • Red Planet Asakusa Tokyo: A contemporary 3-star hotel that’s just five minutes from the center of Asakusa. The rooms are super clean and provide perhaps the best value among budget-friendly accommodations in the city.
  • Hotel Rose Garden Shinjuku: A cozy, no-frills hotel offering spacious rooms (by Japanese standards) in the buzzing Shinjuku area. Some of the city’s top points of interest, like Shinjuku Gyoen and the Metropolitan Government Building, are within close walking distance.
  • Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier: One of the most popular mid-range picks in the city, this elegant Ginza hotel capitalizes on Tokyo’s boastful skyline with impressive cityscape vistas from its rooms.
  • Park Hyatt Tokyo: Among the city’s top luxury hotels, this Shinjuku favorite unleashes 5-star service at its finest. Whether you want to chill out with a massage at The Club or enjoy a nightcap with the skyline in full view at The Peak Bar, this splurge-worthy hotel isn’t one you’ll want to miss.
Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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