Japan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you are planning a trip to the capital of Japan, Tokyo, then you will have plenty of things to do. It can be pretty overwhelming when there’s so much to explore. You don’t want to forget about visiting a special place and then regret it later. So, let’s check out the top 50 things to do in Tokyo, Japan so you don’t miss out.
Starting from ancient temples to beautiful cherry blossoms, Tokyo has it all. Tokyo is rich in culture and you will never run out of things to do or see. You can take in the scenery at the Imperial Palace and Ueno Park and Zoo, eat world-famous ramen at Tokyo Station or shop at the world’s largest Uniqlo. No matter what you like, there’s an option for you.
With so much to see and do, it can be quite easy to lose track of a well-planned itinerary. That’s why you can use this as a checklist, and pick your favorite spots to check out. Even if you aren’t a tourist, and you live in Tokyo, there might be things that you still haven’t done. This list can give you ideas on how to spend your time there. Let’s begin!
Top 50 Things to Do in Tokyo
Tokyo is perhaps the best place to visit in all of Asia. With the perfect blend of modern technology and Japan’s long-held traditions and culture, it is an experience you won’t ever forget. Whether you like to shop on or go check out museums, there’s something for everyone. Let’s go through this list one by one, to decide which ones suit your fancy.
- Take in the View from the Government Building
If you are on a budget, there are plenty of views you can check out for free. Going to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is one such activity.
located in Shinjuku, and it governs all of Tokyo’s special wards, cities, towns, and villages. There are panoramic observation decks on level 25 where you can visit and take in the view, completely free of charge.
- Visit the Tokyo Skytree
You can also go to the Tokyo Skytree, located in Sumida, to get a beautiful view for free. On clear mornings, you can even see up to Mt. Fuji which is about 80 km away.
There’s also a shopping mall on the ground floor called Soramachi. You can buy tons of cute items for yourself and as souvenirs for friends and family back home.
- Meet Interesting People at Omoide Yokocho
Located in a tight alleyway at the west exit of Shinjuku Station, is an area called Omoide Yokocho. It’s an alley full of small restaurants and bars where you can taste authentic Japanese food and have a drink.
This is a great place to socialize and meet friendly locals. There are many famous Yakitori chicken restaurants that you can check out here as well.
- Eat Loads of Sushi!
You can’t just visit Japan and not have any sushi! There are plenty of places all around Tokyo that you can find sushi in.
Sushi in Japan tastes, unlike anything you’ve tried before. They’re fresh and very affordable. Plus, there are more varieties that you can think of. Even if you don’t like sushi, I suggest you take a chance. You might find something you like.
- Visit a Cat Cafe
One of the most interesting things you can do in Tokyo is to visit a cat cafe. Though these are becoming more popular around the world, they are quintessentially Japanese.
If you love cats, you will love these cafes. There are other options too, but I’d suggest the Kyariko Cat Cafe in Shinjuku.
7. Have a Meal at the Convenience Stores
If you’re a tourist, you might not think to visit the convenience stores in Tokyo. But trust me, they are amazing.
They are full of affordable good quality products and you can find pretty much anything you want here. You can even get great meals or snacks if you want.
8. Visit the Candy Alley
The Candy Alley or Ameyoko is just across the road from Ueno Park. It’s a market that sells a wide range of food and assorted goods.
You can spend hours just browsing through the stores and trying out different items. You can even get them as gifts to take home.
9. Explore the Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is one of Tokyo’s largest tourist attractions. Located near Tokyo Station, it is the residence of Japan’s emperor.
While you can’t get in, you can visit the park in front and take beautiful pictures of the grounds. If you are lucky enough to catch it in spring, you will find beautiful cherry blossoms as well.
10. Watch the Cherry Blossoms at Ueno Park
The 530,000 square meters beautiful area at Ueno Park is covered in pink petals all through the Cherry Blossom season. It is a sight you will cherish forever.
This Park is huge and it also has the Shinobazu Pond and a Starbucks. You can take a wonderful walk or have a little picnic.
11. Geek Out at Nakano Broadway
If you are into anime and manga, then you will love Nakano Broadway. It’s an indoor shopping complex filled with anime and manga merch and goodies.
There are plenty of collector’s items and hidden gems in this market that you won’t find anywhere else. It can be easy to get lost here, especially if you’re a huge anime fan. So be careful!
12. Wear Traditional Japanese Clothing
Japanese are known for their beautiful kimonos and fabrics. Though people rarely wear them every day anymore, they are still pretty common and tourists love to dress up in them.
You can easily rent a Kimono for a day and get yourself a little makeover! Take loads of aesthetic pictures or even visit the temples or a festival.
13. Go to Disneyland!
Did you know that Tokyo has its very own Disneyland? It’s right on the outskirts of town, in Urayasy, Chiba Prefecture. It was the very first Disneyland outside of the US, built way back in 1983.
If you have kids or family with you then you will have a wonderful day at this theme park. Even if you don’t, nobody is too old for Disney!
14. Go on a Date to the Tokyo Tower
The Tokyo Tower is Japan’s version of the Eiffel Tower and it is a popular spot that even the Japanese people love. It is a broadcasting tower known to be the symbol of Tokyo.
It lights up with warm orange lights at night and looks beautiful against the Tokyo skyline. It is often said that if a couple gets to see the moment at midnight when the tower lights are turned down, they will be happy forever.
15. Spend a Night in a Capsule Hotel
Capsule Hotels are small compartment-style hotels with a single bed that you can spend the night in. They are very cheap and an interesting way to spend the night.
If you are short on money and can’t find a decent place to say, try out a capsule hotel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
16. Do a Photoshoot at the Inari Shrine
Another sight that you can always relate to with Japan is the Inari Shrine. You have most likely seen pictures of these beautiful red tori gates.
They look amazing in pictures and you can even wear clothes that will look good with the red-orange color scheme. Even as a Tokyo resident, this is a place you should visit.
17. Try Monjayaki
Monjayaki is a Tokyo special way of making Okonomiyaki. If you’ve never had Okonomiyaki before, it’s basically like a pancake made with wheat flour and extra toppings.
In Tokyo, it’s made slightly differently with more liquid content and it tastes amazing. You can share it with a friend and eat with small spatulas.
18. Catch ‘em All at the Pokemon Center!
There are multiple Pokémon Centers in Tokyo and you can visit anyone of them you like. If you are a Pokémon fan, you will love all the merchandise and goodies related to Pokémon.
Whether or not you grew up watching Pokémon, you can always find someone who has. These make for great gifts for kids and adults alike.
19. Cosplay at Haco Stadium
Haco Stadium is a wonderful place for people who love to cosplay. You can dress up as your favorite characters and take amazing pictures at any of the multiple sets available at Haco Stadium.
You can even find props and accessories to complete your look. This could also be a great chance to cosplay for the first time!
20. Shop at Ginza
If you love shopping, you will love Ginza. It’s the hub for all high-end brands and stores in Tokyo.
There are multiple stores and Michelin star restaurants here at the Ginza. This is the posh neighborhood of your dreams.
21. Go to the Meiji Jingu Shrine on New Year’s Eve
Japanese people tend to visit their temples and shrines on New Year’s Eve, wearing a kimono. They eat a lot of street food and watch fireworks and pray for blessings for the upcoming year.
If you visit during this time, you can participate in this activity too. The Meiji Jingu shrine is one of the more popular ones, located in Yoygi Park. It’s where Emperor Meiji is revered.
22. Eat a Crepe!
Tokyo has plenty of Crepe stores on the streets and even in malls. They are found in a lot of different flavors and with a wide range of toppings.
They look very good and usually, these places will have a lot of crepes on display. You can choose the one you like and enjoy a yummy dessert.
23. Pray at the Oldest Temple in Tokyo
The Senso-Ji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple, located in Asakusa. It gathers a lot of visitors every day where people come and pray and smell the incense in front, to keep illness at bay.
Whether or not you’re religious, it’s a beautiful place to visit and experience the culture. It’s one of Tokyo’s top tourist attractions.
24. Visit the Mori Art Museum
Located at the Roppongi Hills, the Mori Art Museum is a modern art museum for all of your art enthusiasts. Locals and tourists alike love to visit and check out the installations.
You can also go up and check the Sky View Observatory to get a beautiful view. It is on top of one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo.
25. Party at the Roppongi Nightclubs
Roppongi is an upscale area in Tokyo and there’s plenty to do here. The nightlife is amazing and there are plenty of lavish clubs and bars that hold great parties and have the latest music.
You might even run into some celebrities, as Roppongi Hills host several famous Japanese celebrities’ homes. Careful with small clubs though, they might take away all your money.
26. Play with Hedgehogs
Japan is known for its range of quirky cafes, and Hedgehog cafes are no different. If you’re not a cat person, you can visit Hedgehog cafes to pet some adorable little buddies.
These places will charge you per hour. You can play with them and feed them as well. If you want you can also take one home.
27. Meet Hachiko
If you haven’t already heard of the famous dog, Hachiko, who spent over 9 years waiting at the local train station for his owner to return home after he suddenly died. There’s a statue in the place Hachi used to wait at.
It’s a popular meeting spot, so expect it to be crowded. You can take pictures or meet a friend and walk around.
28. Cross the Road at Shibuya Crossing
Yes, even crossing the road can be a tourist activity in Tokyo. You’ve probably seen pictures of one of the busiest crossroads in the world, in Shibuya.
This scramble in front of JR Shibuya Station is Japan’s most famous street. Thousands of pedestrians cross every minute!
29. Visit Super Potato
Super Potato is a vintage gaming shop in Akihabara. You’ll feel very nostalgic as you browse through the tons of old games and consoles available there.
You can even play arcade games on the machines there. It’s very affordable and a cheap way to have some fun.
30. Go to a Maid Cafe
Another thing you’ll probably only find in Japan is maid cafes. Maid cafes are a completely different experience from any kind of theme cafes you’ve been to.
If you are into anime or manga, you probably know what they are already. You’ll get served by adorable waitresses dressed in maid costumes who will treat you very nicely. They also sing and dance and perform as well.
31. Get Your Fortune Read at Omikuji
Fortune-readings are very popular in Japan. You can put in a 100-yen coin and shake a pot until a stick comes out. You match the number on your stick to the number on the drawers available there. You’ll find your fortune reading in the drawer. In case you get a bad reading, you can tie it there for better luck.
32. Have a KitKat Break
You will find exotic KitKat flavors in Tokyo that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. They are only sold in Japan.
They are available in a lot of stores, but I’d recommend checking out the Tokyo Station one. They change flavors every season and there is a wide variety.
33. Take the Yakatabune River Cruise
A great affordable way to explore the canals of Tokyo is to take the Yakatabune Cruise. This cruise travels through the Sumida River and stops at Asakusa, Tsukishima, and Hamamatsucho among other ports.
You can get in and out any time you want. It allows you to take in the scenery of many famous sightseeing spots all at once.
34. Eat Omurice
Omurice is short for Omelet Rice and it’s a popular Japanese dish. You can pretty much find it anywhere in Tokyo.
Try out different flavors and toppings to see which one you like. You can even attempt to cook one yourself if you buy the ingredients.
35. Visit the Edo Tokyo Museum
This is a museum that showcases and preserves the history of Tokyo. If you are interested in how this great city came to be, this is a perfect way to find out.
Edo was the original name for Tokyo. You can check out the different exhibitions and learn all about Tokyo’s origin stories.
36. Spend the Entire Day at Odaiba
Odaiba is a man-made island in the Tokyo Bay area. It’s a great place to explore as there are many things you can check out.
You can visit the Ferris wheel, the Rainbow Bridge, and also the Fuji Television building. You can get a tour of the building and see for yourself popular TV show sets.
37. Take the Train
The trains of Japan are world-famous for being punctual and clean. They are usually not even a minute late and always arrive on time.
Whether you are going to visit someplace else or just roaming around the city, taking the train is very convenient. You should experience this at least once if you’re a tourist.
38. Taste the Famous Tsurutontan Udon
A very well-known restaurant in Roppongi is called Tsurutontan and it’s famous for its thick udon noodles served in big bowls. It’s a posh restaurant, so remember to take enough money.
The udon has a reputation for its taste and you shouldn’t miss out on this if you are in or near Roppongi. Especially if you’ve never tried udon before, you should taste it for yourself.
39. Visit a Hair Salon
Japanese hair salons are known for their great customer service and amazing quality. If you’re bored at home or in a hotel, go visit a hair salon to be pampered.
You don’t have to do anything drastic if you don’t want to. Just get a wash or a trim and you’ll feel amazing afterward.
40. Check out The Electric Town of Tokyo
Akihabara is known as the electric town of Tokyo and is perfect for those of you who are obsessed with tech. There are plenty of cool gadgets and tech stores for you to check out.
You’ll also find anime shops and variety stores. There is a lot of unique merch and collector’s items available, though sometimes for higher prices.
41. Watch a Sumo Wrestling Match
If unique experiences are your thing, then you will love watching a Sumo wrestling match. The Ryogoku Kokugikan is a professional sumo wrestling center that hosts competitions 3 times a year.
You can visit during January, May, and September for a good match. Tickets sell out fast, so book ahead.
42. Eat a Meal with Ninjas
There is a special Ninja-themed restaurant in Akasaka called the Ninja Restaurant. You can have your favorite meal in this fort-like restaurant, while ninjas serve you food.
These ninjas will also perform and showcase demonstrations for you in between meals to entertain you. It’s food plus entertainment all in one.
43. Visit a Butler Cafe
If maid cafes didn’t intrigue you, then butler cafes surely might. These are the opposite of maid cafes, where men dress up as butlers and treat the customers like their masters.
You will get treated like royalty. There is a great butler cafe on Otome road, and it also sells anime goods.
44. Explore Science at Miraikan
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or simply Miraikan is a museum with amazing scientific installations that you can interact with. It is located in Odaiba.
You’ll be able to see real-time displays of earthquake data showing Japan gently vibrating. The bigger earthquakes can also be seen as larger movements.
45. Visit the Ueno Zoo
Ueno is one of Tokyo’s popular downtown suburbs. There’s plenty to check out here, including the Ueno Zoo.
This zoo is Japan’s oldest and contains more than 2600 animals. You can spend the whole day exploring and playing with different animals.
46. Play Games at Joypolis
Joypolis is a huge indoor amusement park and arcade, located in Obaida, Tokyo. There are tonnes of rides and arcade games to keep you busy.
You can bring friends, siblings or even family with you to have a lot of fun and spend the day playing different games. It’s also a great way to spend time alone.
47. Get Souvenirs for Your Loved Ones from Nakamise
While going to the Shrine in Asakusa, you can walk down the long road of souvenirs and food stalls called Nakamise. They sell different kinds of items and food, all changing with seasons.
This shopping street has been around since the Edo period. It’s a great way to buy affordable gifts for your friends and family.
48. Relive Your Childhood at the Ghibli Museum
If growing up, you were a fan of Studio Ghibli movies like I was, then you will find great warmth in this museum. It is located in Mitaka, on the west side of Tokyo.
You will have to book your tickets ahead of time because you can’t buy them at the entrance. If you have kids around take them with you as well.
49. Eat at Sansada
Sansada was the very first restaurant to serve tendon. In case you don’t know what tendon is, it’s tempura and rice and is one of Japan’s most popular dishes.
Located in Asakusa, this restaurant is famous for its tendon. If you haven’t tried it before, check it out if you are in Asakusa.
50. Climb up Mount Takao
Located just on the outskirts of central Tokyo, Mount Tokyo is the perfect place for a hike up the mountain to get some fresh air. It feels like it’s far removed from the city, even though it’s only 50 km away.
If you want more of a rural feel, then this is an activity you should try out. It’s a great way to get some peace from the hustle of the city.
Is Tokyo Expensive to Visit?
Yes, Tokyo is slightly more on the expensive side when it comes to Asian countries. But it is cheaper than both London and New York, and most European countries.
Though expenses will vary greatly depending on how you plan your vacation, you can expect to spend about 1500-2000 USD per person. It depends on how you’re spending your money.
Why is Tokyo a Popular Tourist Attraction?
Japan has plenty of places to visit, but Tokyo attracts the most tourists. This is because it is so rich in culture and heritage as well as convenience and modern technology.
There are so many things to do in Tokyo and you will never get bored. This is what makes Tokyo so amazing.
Now that you know the top 50 things to do in Tokyo, Japan, you can begin to plan your trip. If you are low on budget, you can save a lot of money just by planning ahead and choosing activities that don’t cost a lot.
And if money isn’t a problem, then you can opt for a great luxurious vacation as well! No matter what, you will love every moment in Tokyo…