Last updated: August 1, 2017
Tokyo is without doubt one of the coolest cities and the cliché that there is something for everyone has never been as true as in Tokyo.
I have never been so fascinated by a city before and when it comes to attractions and things to do; it seems that the range is almost infinite, and it is always popping up new things to do in Tokyo.
Because there are so many things to do in Tokyo, it can be tough to choose between the various tourist attractions and activities. To explore the whole city would take several weeks, but with a little planning, you can visit the best and do all the “must things to do” in a few days.
Here you can read about my favorite things to do in Tokyo and the tourist attractions that I like the most!
Walk across the iconic Shibuya Crossing
When the traffic light turns green for pedestrians something unique happens, and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of the world’s most populated crosswalk.
It’s a surreal feeling that goes through your body when you walk across famous Shibuya Crossing. The best time to do it is during rush hour, but until midnight, it is almost always a lot of people at the Shibuya Crossing.
One of the best views if you just want to see the crowds from above can be found at Starbucks, but be prepared to queue for the window seat unless you are lucky, and someone is just about to leave when you get there.
Japan is known for its anime and manga, and it is in the Akihabara that you will find the largest selection. There are hundreds of shops selling anime and manga related stuff, both new and limited edition, but also second hand.
The streets are characterized by its enormous neon billboards and television screens, and even if you’re not a fan of manga and anime, it is worth experiencing the atmosphere and just to walk around and check out what the fuss is all about.
Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower
The world’s second tallest building is 634 meters high and offers a spectacular view of the city. Another famous tower is the Tokyo Tower, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
It is almost a must to visit one of these two towers, both of which are classic tourist attractions in Tokyo.
City tour, food and pub crawl
To be sure of getting the most out of the city, I can heartily recommend food tour and pub crawl. A city tour can be done on your own, but can be interesting if you want to know more about different sites and areas you visit.
The food tour, however, showcases the best that Tokyo has to offer when it comes to food.
Afterward, you can go on a pub crawl to experience the cool nightlife while you get to meet others who are traveling and eager to party.
Go to a Sumo Wrestling match
Japan’s national sport, has become famous all over the world, and it is certainly an extraordinary experience to attend a sumo wrestling match.
Good to know is that the tickets are released only a few weeks before each event and that there are limited amounts of tickets.
I can recommend going to the sumo wrestling arena Ryogoku Kokugikan. Tickets can be bought at 7-eleven stores or online and picked up.
To get an authentic shiatsu massage in Japan is something that everyone should do, and a visit to the country is not complete without having had this type of traditional massage.
Tokyo Disneyland Resort
A dream world for both children and adults with a variety of attractions and rides, and of course all the favorite characters from Disney’s fairy tale world. In Tokyo, you can visit one of the biggest Disneyland worlds and it is also the Disneyland, which is the cheapest to visit.
If you have a few days of traveling here with kids, this is without a doubt one of the must things to do in Tokyo.
Temples and holy places
Although Tokyo is a super modern city in its true meaning, there are plenty of the old left to explore. The Japanese temples and “shrines” are incredibly beautiful, and continues to play a significant role among the local population.
The most famous ones that should not be missed are the Sensoji Temple, Zojoji Temple, Meiji Shrine, Meiji Shrine, Asakusa Shrine, Sengakuji Temple and Hie Shrine.
To visit any of these temples should definitely be on your list of things to do in Tokyo.
Tokyo is also a paradise for shopaholics. Here you can find all the brands and shops that you can imagine, and the largest stores have several floors. For example, a trendy Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza is 12 stories high. Large shopping centers are more of than you can count on two hands and one is never far from a major department store.
The best shopping on offer is found in Shibuya, Ginza, and Shinjuku. In Shibuya, you’ll also find trendy Harajuku where several popular clothing brands are represented mixed with second-hand shops.
Do not miss to go to Uniqlo, Don Quixote and 100 yen shops (Daisho is one of the largest).
Visit an Izakaya
Japan’s equivalent of a pub. This is where all the businesspeople in Japan go after work to drink and socialize. An izakaya is often a small bar or a hole in the wall with very limited space. This makes the atmosphere more familiar and friendly, thus also results in a different experience than what one otherwise might be used to compared with regular pubs back home.
One shouldn’t leave Tokyo, without visiting an Izakaya!
Visit a theme cafe
Japan is known worldwide for its themed cafes, and it is in Tokyo to find the largest selection. Cat Cafes are perhaps the most famous, but there are plenty of theme cafes with different themes such as Alice in Wonderland, Moomin cafe, anime cafes, French maid cafes, Cuddle Cafe (yep, a cafe where you can cuddle with a stranger) and much more.
Eat sushi on a conveyor belt
If you want to do something authentic and unique you should visit a restaurant serving sushi on a conveyor belt. My personal favorite is, however, another variant who’s also serving sushi on a conveyor belt, but where you order the sushi via a computer screen.
It’s easy, fun, different and above all fresher than other sushi restaurants where they send out sushi on the conveyor belt willy-nilly.
My favorite restaurant for sushi is Uobei Shibuya Dogenzaka. However, this is a popular place, so you might have to wait half an hour before you get a table, but usually, it’s faster, and it’s well worth the wait, I promise.
You get two pieces of sushi for 100 yen, which is very affordable, especially since the restaurant is located in central Shibuya.
My favorite area in Tokyo. It has just about everything you could want and imagine, including neon signs, unique shops, and above all; people everywhere. To visit Shibuya is unquestionably something you have to do while in Tokyo. One can easily spend a few days just in Shibuya and stroll around and explore all that this fantastic area has to offer.
Do not miss out on the hipster area called Harajuku, store Don Quijote, and Shibuya Crossing.
Other attractions and things to do in Tokyo
To stroll around the Japanese Gardens is a dream for anyone who likes flowers and gardens. They are most beautiful during the Cherry Blossom or later in the fall when all the colors tinged with red, green and orange.
In Tokyo, it is mainly Gyeon Shinjuku National Garden that stands out from the crowd, but also Ueno Park, Happoen Garden, and Yoyogi is worth a visit if you want to experience traditional Japanese gardens.
Go outside of town
If you have a couple of days, you should make a day trip outside the city. Do not miss out on Mount Fuji, especially at Chureito Pagoda for a spectacular view of Mount Fuji.
If you like nature, Mount Fuji is the perfect place to go. Nature is wild and flowers and trees are growing everywhere. There are also lots of beautiful lakes and hiking paths.
In addition to Mount Fuji, I can also recommend a day trip to Yokohama, which is an artistic hipster city and Hakone, Kamakura and the Izu Islands.
Shinjuku and Ginza
Shopping, business, restaurants, and once again shopping. Here you will find gigantic malls mixed with the major international chains and the most exclusive brands. It is also here that a large part of any office elves work and socialize after work and during lunch.
Two exciting city areas to explore!
Try Matcha Latte
In Japan, it’s popular to mix other products with the matcha flavor. It is primarily Match latte that has spread further in the world. I don’t like the taste of matcha very much as it reminds me of a strange taste of seaweed, but it is clearly something different that is fun to try!
Also known as Kitchen Town. A fun street to explore with all kinds of kitchen gadgets and dishes, glasses, etc. An excellent place to find bargains and fun souvenirs.