Going on a trip to Tokyo, but overwhelmed by planning out your itinerary? Don’t worry, I got you! Here is a list of the 25 top things to do in Tokyo! Including everything from where to shop, sight-see, have fun, and eat delicious food! Of course, this list doesn’t include ALL the things to do in Tokyo, but it definitely covers the most popular ones. Enjoy!
1. Marvel at the Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is one of the tallest broadcasting towers in the world, situated around 20 minutes by walk from Asakusa. Exactly 634 meters tall, this magnificent tower easily stands out in the Tokyo skyline and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. If you don’t want to spend an entrance fee of around 2000 yen (more info here) to go up the tower and observe the city view from above. You could always opt for the free version (like I did), and just simply enjoy the gorgeous view of Tokyo Skytree from afar. I took this picture below with my crappy iPhone 5 when I celebrated my twentieth birthday gazing in admiration at the beautiful Tokyo Skytree from the rooftop of my hotel.
2. Visit the Tokyo Tower
Okay, if you went to Tokyo without even visiting the Tokyo Tower, did you actually go to Tokyo? Just kidding, you don’t actually HAVE TO visit the Tokyo Tower. However, it is such an iconic symbol of the city that you should definitely check it out. Standing at 333 meters tall, the Tokyo Tower is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower and 13 meters taller than its French equivalent, the Eiffel Tower. If you have the time, I also recommend going to the observation deck and observe the city view from inside the Tokyo Tower. The entrance fee is around 1200 Yen ($11 USD) for just the main deck. And 3000 Yen ($28 USD) for both decks. Check out the Tokyo Tower website for more info
3. Go crazy at Tokyo Disneyland
If you have time to dedicate an entire day in your itinerary to go visit the Tokyo Disneyland. I would highly recommend you do. Of course, it’s much more expensive than all the other things to do in Tokyo (on this list). But if you’re a Disneyland fanatic, this money will be well-spent for sure. The tickets are around 8200 Yen ($76 USD) for adults and 4900 Yen for kids ($45 USD). And if you’re not looking to spend more money on food inside the park. Please remember to bring your own lunch and snacks because everything is expensive once you’re inside Disney’s territory. Since the lines for rides are always pretty long at Disneyland, make sure to take advantage of the free Fastpass system at Disneyland. It’ll save you so much time.
4. Try the Best Pizza at Savoy (Azabu-juban)
My favorite things to do in Tokyo is to eat, eat, and eat. And so of course, I had to see how pizza tasted like in Japan. Praised as the “Best pizza in the Tokyo” in Netflix’s popular food show Ugly Delicious, Savoy Pizza is a must-try if you ever visit Japan. I made the mistake of not making a reservation early enough. And had to wait almost an hour to get seated in the tiny restaurant of less than 10 seats.
However, once my friends and I got to finally sit down, we were pleasantly surprised by the attentive customer service as well as the amazing dining experience. Right in front of us, the chef spreads out the dough and starts making our pizza from scratch. We got to witness how simplistic ingredients were transformed into a mouth-watering chewy crusted pizza. Honestly, who would have known that the best pizza I’ve ever tasted would be found in Japan? This place is definitely worth all the hype!
5. Shopping in Ginza
Ginza, also known as the Beverly Hills or Rodero Drive of Japan, is a must-see if you want to experience the lavish lifestyle of rich Japanese housewives and maybe spot a celebrity in disguise. With Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, and endless numbers of high-end fashion brands within walkable distance, you can shop (or window shop) to your heart’s desire. And if you are like me and rather spend money on more affordable clothing, then hop on over to the biggest Uniqlo in Japan, which is situated right in Ginza. With 12 floors and nearly 5000 square meters in space, you can spend the whole day in there shopping for a comprehensive style of Japanese style apparel.
6. Try Delicious Japanese Strawberries
Did you know that Japan is the number one strawberry eater in the whole world? Due to a landmass of almost 80 percent mountains, Japan doesn’t have a lot of room for fruit crops, and therefore fruits in Japan are quite expensive but also sweet and delicious due to the labor-intensity and detail-orientedness of their fruit cultivation process. My favorite fruit from Japan has to be strawberries. Japan produces various varients of premium strawberries such as white strawberries, Aiberries, and Skyberries. I’m not exactly sure which kind of strawberries I tried, but all I know was they were EXPENSIVE. It was 2700 Yen ($25 USD) for 4 big strawberries. I know, crazy. But hey, they were definitely the largest, juiciest, and sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had. Worth the money though? You be the judge.
7. Stay up all nightclubbing
Clubbing in Tokyo is definitely a much different experience than clubbing in the United States, and therefore it’s one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo. Clubs in the US tend to close pretty early at around 1 to 2 am. Meanwhile, clubs in Tokyo don’t close until the sun comes up. So if you’re going clubbing in Japan, make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before so you can stay up having fun all night.
There are endless numbers of amazing clubs in Tokyo, and the one that I personally went to was “1 Oak” in Roppongi, which is a slightly more exclusive and expensive club, with a cover fee of around $25 dollars. The music is a mix of hip hop and EDM which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the size of the club also allows for a lot of dancing which is a plus! Clubbing in a foreign country in itself is a pretty amazing experience, but clubbing in the awesome city of Tokyo is without a doubt a whole nother level of unforgettableness.
8. Stroke cats at a Cat Cafe
Many cat cafes started in Tokyo because a lot of people live in small apartments and can’t keep cats with them, and so these cafes became a go-to place for cat-lovers to enjoy playing with these adorable creatures while they study or drink coffee. Cat Cafe Calico in Shinjuku for example, has more than 30 cats you can play with and the entrance fee is around 1000 Yen ($10 USD) per hour, which is pretty acceptable considering the fact that you get to be in the presence of all these beautiful kitties. Of course, there are a lot more options in Tokyo that you can go to, but this cafe popped up on my google search result first and I said, why not. So if you’re tired of walking around Tokyo and want to rest your feet, consider visiting one of the many cat cafes in Tokyo.
9. Go-karting in the streets of Tokyo
Imagine zooming through the hustling and bustling streets of Japan dressed in your favorite SuperHero costume while basking in the beautiful city lights of Tokyo. This is the one activity on my”things to do in Tokyo” that I did not personally get to experience because I did not have a driver’s license at the time. Ugh, such a shame! But once I get my drivers license (hopefully soon), this would be the first thing I cross off on my bucket list.
A few of my friends have done this and they all LOVED it. A guide will take you through the different streets and tourist destinations in Tokyo (depending on the kind of tour you pick), and also take awesome pictures and videos of you. Of course, these tours are not cheap and range from $60 to $90 USD. But the memories you get in exchange is priceless. I mean, not many people can say they went Mario Go-Karting in Tokyo right? For more detailed information, check out this comprehensive guide to Tokyo Go-Karting.
10. Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing is the world-famous intersection known for the embodiment of Tokyo itself, action in all directions. With flashing flights coming from billboards of all directions and people pouring into the street from everywhere, you feel as if you’re in the center of the world. It is such an interesting experience being in the middle of the frantic mess of swerving and avoiding bumping into the hundreds of people coming your way as you try to cross this busy street. This famous intersection has also appeared in numbers of movies and music videos such as “Lost in Translation” and “The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift”, which makes it all the more popular. And lastly, to test your patience, try to get a picture of yourself standing in the middle of the intersection haha. You’ll take forever to get a decent shot.
11. Take a stroll down “Memory Lane”
Omoide Yokocho, which literally means memory lane in Japanese, is a small alley with more than sixty restaurants cramped together. You can barely spread your arms without hitting someone next to you. In stark contrast to the bright and shiny streets of Shinjuku, this relatively dark and smokey alley definitely emanates a vibe of the old show-era Japan. Historically, this area started out a black market in the days right after WWII, and it was actually quite a dangerous area to visit back in the days. However, today the area has transformed into a tourist attraction while still keeping the spirit of the old black market era with its traditional decors. Definitely check out this unique part of Shinjuku and experience the traditional nightlife in Japan.
12. Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken, and it is located quite close to the Harajuku Station, with a ten-minute walk from the station to the southern entrance of the shrine. The Meiji Shrine is also right in the middle of a tranquil forest. And so in contrast with the surrounding city, the tranquility of the shrine is indeed a breath of fresh air. With free entrance, you get to go and take a stroll around the Meiji Shrine for as many times as you want, and also partake in Shinto activities, such as buying charms and writing your dreams and wishes on an ema (wooden plate) in hopes that they come true.
13. Slurp Ramen Noodles at Ichiran
Ichiran Ramen is probably one of the most popular ramen chain restaurants in Japan. You can find it in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and many other parts of Tokyo. Are you super picky with how spicy you want your broth and how firm you want your noodles to be made? Well, at Ichiran, you get to fill out a preference sheet while you wait in line and customize every little detail of how you want your ramen to be cooked.
In addition to Ichiran’s ability to cater to your taste, the dining experience is also another reason why it’s so popular. Different from other ramen places, you sit in the comfort of a cubicle while you obnoxiously slurp on your delicious noodles. Perfect for solo travelers who don’t like to dine alone. Also, your server delivers your ramen through a little bamboo curtain in front of you, so no eye contact is made what-so-ever. Pretty interesting huh?!
14. Explore the Japanese 7-11
If 7-Elevens in the United States is the equivalent of crappy motels, then the Japanese 7-Elevens are basically like the most extravagant and expensive Four Season Hotel that you can find on planet earth. There are more than 20,000 7-Eleven chains in Japan, making it the largest convenience store chain in Japan. And apart from the sheer quantity of 7-Elevens, the customer service and the crazy variety of food that you can find in there is absolutely mind-blowing. And I’m not going to lie, a lot of my favorite food in Japan can be found in the aisles of 7-Elevens. From triangle rice balls to red bean pancakes… ugh, just the thought of Japanese 7-Elevens makes my mouth water and my heart flutter. Can I just say that these convenience stores in Japan are my favorite place on earth!?
15. Shop till you drop at Takeshita Street
Make sure you have your comfortable shoes on and your arm muscles tight and ready before your venture to the crowded, tourist-filled street of Takeshita. This street in Harajuku is 400 meters long and jam-packed with colorful stores of quite possibly everything and anything you can think of. Be prepared to leave this street with an empty wallet because you will be tempted to buy lots of things you don’t even need. Apart from shopping, this street is also filled with lots of fun themed restaurants such as the Kawaii Monster Cafe.
16. Spend your coins at an Arcade
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a gamer or if you’re not a teenager anymore, arcade games don’t discriminate. As long as you’re willing to spend your coins, arcade games are fun for anyone. And if you don’t have coins to spend, simply watching the skilled locals play will leave you amazed at how skilled and talented they are. My favorite arcades in Tokyo are probably Taito Stations and Club Sega. They have a wide selection of games and claw machines you can choose from, and there are usually multiple floors for you to explore.
17. Treat yourself to Matcha Ice Cream
Matcha is a must-try in Japan. And even if you don’t like the taste of Matcha tea, you should at least give Matcha ice cream a try. Though Matcha is originally from China, in Japan, Matcha has become popular in zen monasteries from the 14th to 16th centuries and was highly appreciated by the upper echelons of the society. Nowadays, you can find Matcha-flavored dessert almost anywhere in the world. However, Matcha-flavored ice cream in Japan is especially known for its richness and just the right amount of bitterness, with Saryo Tsujiri Daimaru being one of the most popular Matcha ice cream shops in Tokyo.
18. Explore Akihabara
Akihabara is the anime-lovers heaven. As you walk down the street of Akihabara, you can easily spot guys and girls dressed up in cosplay costumes that are inspired by anime, manga, and video game characters. And if you want to dress up as well, ACOS Akihabara has a wide selection of outfits that you can choose from. And apart from the wide variety of anime and video game shops, large electronics retailers are also everywhere. If you’re looking to buy some cheap cameras, computers, mobile phones and so on, you should definitely check out Akihabara since a lot of these electronic stores offer tax-free shopping to tourists.
19. Souvenir Shopping at Don Quijote
If you need to buy souvenirs for your hundreds of family and friends, head over to Don Quijote and you’ll find everything you need. They sell everything from weird face masks, Japanese cosmetic items, crazy bedroom toys, animal onesies, Japanese snacks and candies, bracelets, keychains, chopsticks, T-shirts, electronics, kitchenware, and basically anything you can think of. There are several Don Quijote chain stores in Tokyo and most of them are more than four stories tall. If you worry that you won’t be able to fit all the stuff you buy into your suitcase. Don’t worry, Don Quijote got you covered because guess what, they sell suitcases too. I personally bought a suitcase from Don Quijote and it still works perfectly fine today. And believe me, I’m not lying when I said you could buy anything you can think of there. Get ready to shop till you literally drop.
20. Sleep in a capsule hotel
I know some of you are thinking, “Now why on earth would I spend money to sleep in a capsule when I can enjoy the comfort of a queen-size bed at hotel or Airbnb?” Well, I think after watching this viral video by Miss Mina where she stayed at the “9-Hours” capsule hotel in Tokyo, or this video by Tyler Williams, at Bay Hotel you’ll be tempted to experience it for yourself too. Please don’t force yourself to cram into one of these capsules if you’re claustrophobic. But if you’re looking for a different experience for a night, I’d say give it a go.
21. Eat Japanese Sushi
How can you leave Japan without trying Sushi? (Unless your allergic to fish). Sushi is everywhere in Japan. You’ll bump into it at a local supermarket, at 7-Eleven, on the menu of your hotel room service, and basically every ten steps you take in Japan. Without a doubt, eating Sushi is one of the most ESSENTIAL things to do in Tokyo.
A lot of people obsess over having to try the most “authentic” Japanese Sushi in Japan. But I personally feel content with just being able to eat Sushi made by actual Japanese people. Maybe my standards are too low, but I love the Uogashi Nihonichi (Standing Sushi Bar). It’s a pretty affordable Sushi chain restaurant in Japan, and weirdly enough, standing up while eating Sushi makes it an even more interesting and unique experience.
22. Watch Sumo Wrestling
Official sumo tournaments are only held six times a year, and three of those are held at the Ryoguku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo in January, May, and September. If you’re lucky enough and happen to visit Tokyo during one of the official sumo tournament dates. You should invest in a ticket and partake in one of the most ancient sporting events in Japan. For more detailed information on the etiquette as well as how to buy tickets, check out this website.
23. Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, with more than one and a half millennia of history under its belt. It also features Tokyo’s biggest souvenir market, as well as one of the most famous tourist attraction, the Kaminarimon Gate and the huge red lantern. The temple is just a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo Station so it’s relatively easy to locate. However, be prepared for a lot of tourists and traffic.
24. Bar Hopping Golden Gai
Bar hopping at Golden Gai was definitely a rather weird yet interesting experience for me. Seeing the number of hippy-ish, graffiti-filled, 80s, and 90s themed bars jam-packed into the sketchy narrow alley of Golden Gai was honestly quite astonishing. The alley itself also has some peculiar rules such as “no-photography and videos without permission”. Though no one is there to strictly enforce the rules, still just make sure to be discreet when snapping a photo. Golden Gai is great if you just want to have a chill night out, and maybe meet some super cool people in these alternative and exotic bars.
25. Teamlab borderless
If you’re looking to take some bomb Instagram photos and unleash your inner IG model energy. Then head to The Mori Building Digital Art MuseumL Teamlab Borderless. The number of cool pictures you can take will blow your mind. This museum is the definition of sensory overload. There are more than 500 computers and 400 projectors within a 10,000 square meter space to provide you with an experience that will stimulate literally all of your five senses. The art is dynamic and ever-changing. You’re not just looking at the art, but you’re always a part of the art, with no border in between. Check out their website for more details and ticket prices
Have Fun In Tokyo!
I hope this list of “25 Things to do in Tokyo” has helped you plan your itinerary, and have a better idea of what to do in Tokyo! Comment down below if you have any other suggestions in regards to the things to do in Tokyo, I would love to hear from you!