25 Best Things to Do in Tokyo

25 Best Things to Do in Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the cities hitting the top of everyone’s bucket list. Conde Nast Traveler recently named it as the second-best city in the world, just behind Singapore. Japan’s capital is a metropolis of towns, villages, and wards, offering something for every traveler. Previously known as “Edo”, it has transformed from a small town to one of the largest cities in the world, famous for its cherry blossom trees.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional Japanese culture or attracted to the city for its famous tea houses, Tokyo is a destination everyone should visit at least once. It’s packed full of museums, public gardens, Michelin-star restaurants, and historic temples. 

We’re sharing our list of 25 places to go in Tokyo to add to your itinerary when visiting Japan.

ZenHotels Blog
18 minutes read


The best places to stay in Tokyo as a first-time tourist

Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games in 2020, showcasing it as one of the technology-driven capitals of the world. The Japanese capital is a destination you’ll need to visit more than once just to tick off the major attractions. It’s great for travelers on any budget, with streets full of contemporary stores, free museums, and an affordable restaurant scene, easy to navigate using public transport. 

Asakusa is one of the most traditional parts of the city. If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife, check out Shibuya. Tourists hoping to explore the area’s unique fashion trends and shopping districts should stay in Shinjuku. The Sumida River runs through the city, making it an ideal base for travelers exploring multiple districts.

Our guide below lists some of the top Tokyo attractions by location, helping you decide where to stay.

Photo: yoshi0511 / Shutterstock.com

25 things to add to your Tokyo sightseeing list

Tokyo is unique as one of the few cities in the world with something for every tourist. Amongst the skyscrapers and traditional tea rooms, you’ll find plenty of green space to recharge your batteries after a day exploring the crowded streets of Japan’s capital.

We’re dividing our list of the best things to do in Tokyo by district to help you plan your itinerary. It has a great public transport network, making it easy to navigate around the city on a budget.

What to do in Shibuya

Tokyo blends its historic and contemporary districts together seamlessly. Shibuya is evidence of this as one of the city’s up-and-coming areas. Start off exploring its shopping complexes, stop by an art gallery, and finish off your night at a bar with Sake, the traditional Japanese rice wine. It is famous for its nightlife and ideal for budget travelers. 

1. Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is one of the world’s most famous streets. It’s instantly recognizable for its skyscraper-high advertising screens and its sea of tourists and locals crossing paths with each other.

Photo: f11photo/ Shutterstock.com

While we usually recommend avoiding tourist areas at a peak time, you’ll want to see this tourist destination at dusk when the advertising lights are at their most impressive. 


2. Visit the Hachiko Statue

No visit is complete without stopping to see Hachiko. When you arrive on the train, look down for the paw prints and follow them to the loyal dog’s statue.

Photo: Geiga Pratama/ Shutterstock.com

Hachiko is a dog who famously waited outside the station for his owner to come home every day, including after his owner’s passing.

The statue is considered to bring good luck and is a popular place to meet people.


3. See Tokyo from above

There’s no shortage of skyscrapers to enjoy during your vacation. You can see the city with fresh eyes at the top of Shibuya Sky with its iconic 360-degree views, including

Photo: Jacqui F and elsontai/tripadvisor.com

Mt. Fuji. You can expect to pay around $13 for a ticket to the viewing gallery at Shibuya Scramble Square. You can get similar views from other buildings in the area for free.


4. Expand your music collection at Tower Records

Photo: Jeff K /tripadvisor.com

Japan is famous for its music scene. If you’re a fan of alternative music, you’ll want to visit the famous Tower Records store. It’s a must-see for music enthusiasts and collectors, whether you’re looking for vintage records or contemporary music. The shop hosts free live shows almost daily and recently underwent a major refurbishment in February 2024. 


5. Splurge at Vintage Qoo

While Asia is famous for its antique shopping, it’s growing its reputation for second-hand luxury fashion. Vintage Qoo is one of the city’s most popular boutiques, with cabinets full of antique gems. You’ll see accessories and bags from Celine, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, and Cartier.

Photo: VINTAGE QOO TOKYO /maps.google

This vintage store specializes in pieces from the ‘90s through to the mid-2000s, with seasonal collections to appeal to tourists from all over the world. There’s a dedicated section for its pre-loved Chanel products. Don’t forget to bring your passport to take advantage of tax-free shopping. If you want to shop without the crowds, visit before lunchtime. 


What to do in Harajuku 

If you want to experience Tokyo like a local, you need to see the kawaii fashion that you’ll find in Harajuku. The area is famous for being the birthplace of the popular Lolita fashion trend.

You’ll find independent fashion boutiques and vintage stores alongside popular international brands. Although Harajuku is known for its fashion, its food scene is just as exciting.

6. Yoyogi Park

Grab a coffee and head over to Yoyogi Park to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main street of Harajuku. This 134-acres park is a popular choice for locals as the perfect picnic spot. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in this park, so we recommend staying on the north side. 

Photo: HelloRF Zcool/ Shutterstock.com

You’ll find an array of performers dotted throughout the park and locals playing sports, including badminton. The Japanese Zelkova trees offer plenty of shade to escape the sun. 


7. Tamawarai Restaurant

Tokyo is where you can visit a Michelin-star restaurant without breaking the bank. One of these hidden gems can be found in Harajuku.

Photo: guide.michelin.com

It’s the sort of restaurant you’re likely to walk by without thinking twice. Tamawarai is a soba restaurant with a Michelin star, famous for its noodles and cultivating its own soba. There are only 14 seats in this restaurant, so come early.


What to do in Tsukiji

Every area of the city has its own unique character, and Tsukiji is no exception. You’ll see signs of Western influence throughout Tsukiji, most notably with the Catholic Church in the area. This area is ideal to stay in if you want to explore Tokyo by sea with a harbor cruise from Hamarikyu Gardens Pier. 

8. Tsukiji Outer Market

Your taste buds are in for a treat! If you’re searching for traditional Japanese foods, look no further than this famous market. 

Photo: Stray Toki /Shutterstock.com

You’ll find a range of wholesale sellers alongside retail stores and restaurants to sample the latest Japanese food trends. Get off at Shimbashi station, and it’s just a 15-minute walk to this foodie paradise. 


9. Tsukiji Hongwanji

Take a little time to savor the history and culture of Tokyo by visiting the Buddhist temple, Tsukiji Hongwanji. This temple dates to the 17th Century and is unique for being built in a traditional Hindu style, fusing different Asian styles.

Photo: Richie Chan/ Shutterstock.com

It’s a great idea for an afternoon with a café and restaurant conveniently located on the temple’s grounds. The temple is open to visitors from 6 am to 4 pm daily. 


What to do in Shinjuku

Shinjuku is Tokyo’s commercial center, with something on every street. It’s famous for its nightlife with a range of luxury department stores if you’re shopping for a unique souvenir. You can reach Shinjuku Station on all the JR lines, and less than an hour from Haneda Airport.

10. Yayoi Kusama Museum

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most famous contemporary artists from Japan. Her work has expanded from sculptures and installations to video art, poetry, and paintings. Kusama famously collaborated with Louis Vuitton and has a museum in the district dedicated solely to her work. 

Photo: Mettt/ Shutterstock.com

If you’re a fan of avant-garde art, you’ll want to visit this museum. Its “infinity room” has gone viral on social media with a sea of polka-dot paintings in Kusama’s signature style. The exhibition in the museum is changed twice a year, exploring different aspects of Kusama’s prolific career as one of Asia’s most successful artists. All tickets must be booked in advance. 


11. Isetan department store

If you’re planning on shopping in Tokyo, you want to visit Isetan. This luxury department store started its life as a kimono shop in 1886 and has since expanded to several locations. Its flagship store is popular with tourists and locals alike, with nine floors full of hidden treasures.

Photo: tripadvisor.com

Discover independent Japanese brands and sample some of the local cuisine in the food hall. If you’re looking for a quick lunch, pick up a bento box for an authentic Japanese experience.


What to do in Sumida

If you’re a fan of sumo wrestling, you’ll want to stay in the Sumida area of Tokyo. It’s a blend of traditional Japanese culture, including traditional bathhouses, alongside modern buildings, and small boutiques. There’s plenty to see around the Sumida River, which runs through the heart of Tokyo. 

12. Ryogoku Kokugikan

Sumo wrestling is an ancient Japanese tradition. What makes it different from modern wrestling is its ritual elements. Ryogoku Kokyugikan is the home of sumo wrestling in Tokyo. The stadium was built in 1985 with a 10,000-seat capacity. It’s a quick walk from the nearby Ryokoku Station, which you can reach on the JR Sobu and Oedo lines.

Photo: fritzmitfranz/tripadvisor.com

If you’re visiting in January, May, or September, you can check out the national sumo tournaments hosted in the venue. Tickets are not sold on the day, with advanced ticket sales starting a month before the event. You can find ticket information on the Japan Sumo Association website.


13. Tokyo Skytree

  • Type of leisure: Sightseeing
  • Date: Open year-round from 10 am to 10 pm
  • Cost: JPY3,400 per adult
  • Where to stay: Section L Asakusa East

Photo: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock.com

While Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building at 2,717 feet, Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest tower at 2,080 feet. Its 360-degree observation deck is one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist attractions and an ideal way to experience the city from above. It drastically changed Tokyo’s skyline and is easy to reach by train on the Hanzomon Line.


Things to do in Asakusa

Known as the “low city” of Tokyo. You feel like you’re walking through history when exploring this district. While most of the region has evolved, this popular tourist area feels like a time capsule of the mid-20th century. 

14. Sensoji – Asakusa Kannon Temple

Sensoji, commonly referred to as the “Asakusa Kannon Temple,” is one of the world’s most visited Buddhist temples with 30 million people visiting annually.

Photo: TTstudio/ Shutterstock.com

Legend suggests that two brothers found a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, in Sumida River in 628. Every time they tried to return the statue to the water, it came back. Eventually, the Sensoji temple was built in 645 to honor Kannon, making it the oldest established temple in Tokyo.


15. See Asakusa in a Rickshaw

Although it’s easy to get around on foot, don’t pass up the chance to enjoy a guided tour on a rickshaw. You’ll find plenty of these around with 30, 60, and 120-minute tours available. 

Prices will vary depending on the vendor and the duration of your tour, but it’s an experience you don’t want to pass up. If you’re planning on getting in a rickshaw, consider getting the full experience by renting a kimono or yukata. 


Things to do in Aoyama

If you want to escape the crowds in Harajuku, head over to Aoyama. This centrally located neighborhood is a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere to stay that makes it convenient to travel across the city. While Harajuku is popular with younger tourists, Aoyama is an ideal alternative for older travelers looking for a fashionable but quieter spot. This elegant district is full of bars, restaurants, museums, and cafes for every budget.

16. Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

  • Type of leisure: Tea tasting
  • Date: Open daily from 11 am
  • Cost: JPY4,800 for a tasting flight
  • Where to stay: Hotel Asia Center of Japan

Photo: Donny Pusawong / tripadvisor.com

Tea is an important part of Japanese culture and something to be savored. Get an authentic experience in this intimate café that offers over 30 different types of green tea. It’s a contemporary twist on the traditional tea ceremony, created by Shinya Sakurai, who hand-selects every tea that is roasted in-house daily.


17. Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

  • Type of leisure: Museum
  • Date: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, except Tuesdays
  • Cost: JPY650
  • Where to stay: Tokyu Stay Aoyama Premier

Art fans need to visit the stylish district of Minamiaoyama to check out the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum. Okamoto is one of the country’s most successful contemporary artists, famous for his sculptures and avant-garde paintings that you can find throughout Japan’s various public spaces. 

Photo: Shiro_SHONAN-JAPAN/ tripadvisor.com

The museum opened in 1998 and acted as his primary studio until he died in 1996. When you visit, you’ll see the paintings he was working on at the time, which sit unfinished. 


What to do in Ginza

If you want the freedom to bar hop and experience Michelin-star restaurants alongside some of the best nightlife in the region, look no further than Ginza. 

18. Shiseido Gallery

  • Type of leisure: Art
  • Date: 11am to 7pm, except Sunday (6pm) and closed on Mondays
  • Where to stay: Koko Hotel Ginza 

Photo: TomoeMakino/ tripadvisor.com/

Shiseido is the country’s oldest gallery still in operation today. Opened in 1919, it has hosted over 3,000 exhibitions with free admission. It’s the best way to break up your day and escape the hustle and bustle of this shopping district. 


What to do in Daikanyama

Daikanyama is one of the trendiest areas. What makes it unique from other districts is that it’s quieter and more residential with low-rise buildings. If you want to escape the high traffic and skyscrapers, head over to the independent restaurants and local boutiques dotted throughout Daikanyama. You can explore this compact district on foot with all its popular destinations within just a few minutes of the local station.

19. Kyu Asakura House

  • Type of leisure: Sightseeing
  • Date: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, except Mondays
  • Cost: JPY100
  • Where to stay: Prince Smart Inn Ebisu

You’ll find brilliantly preserved homes that showcase traditional Japanese architecture. Many of these homes are in the Daikanyama area. The most famous of these, Kyu Asakura House, was the residence of Torajjro Asakura, a government official. Built in 19919, the ownership of the property was given to the local ward and is now open to the public.

Exploring this historical home is a tranquil experience that feels like walking into a postcard. You can spend up to two hours exploring the different rooms in this house, from the cedar rooms to the Japanese garden with its maple trees.


20. Daikanyama T-Site

The Daikanyama T-Site was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. While it might look like a bookstore, this building hosts a lot more on the inside. Opened in 2011, this building is a contemporary space with cafes, restaurants, and a library of music, books, and movies to enjoy.

Photo: ckroad/ tripadvisor.com

It’s a celebration of art and culture with a campus-inspired design. You’ll find plenty of bilingual and foreign books and magazines available if you want a unique souvenir.


21. Art Front Gallery

  • Type of leisure: Museum
  • Date: Open Wednesday to Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday
  • Where to stay: Ebisuholic Hotel

Art Front Gallery is a contemporary gallery in the Daikanyama district. Opened in 2010, this commercial gallery hosts an average of 10 exhibitions annually, showcasing both local and international art. Exhibitions for 2024 include Yume Aoyama and Noriko Yanagisawa. 


What to do in Roppongi

Roppongi is one of the most glamorous districts in the region, full of nightlife, skyscrapers, and world-famous museums. You’ll find some of the best and most unique bar experiences is this upscale area.

22. Roppongi Hills

Photo: tripadvisor.com

Roppongi Hills is a complex with something for every tourist, based around the Mori Tower. See the lights from above at the observation tower, opened all night long. You’re guaranteed to find a bar or restaurant that suits your taste buds and budget. 


What to do in Nakano

If a love of anime has inspired your travels to Japan, you’ll want to stay in Nakano.. It’s a quiet neighborhood and one of the most affordable for international travelers. If you want to do some shopping without spending a fortune, you’ll find budget-friendly shops and smaller stores throughout this area. 

23. Nakano Broadway

Anime and manga are subcultures in Japan that have opened the country to the world. These popular forms of media are common reasons for tourists to visit, and even move, to Japan. If you’re a fan of anime or manga, you’ll want to visit Nakano Broadway. Opened in 1966, this multi-story shopping arcade has over 300 small stores across its five floors, offering every type of retro toy and collectible on the market. 


24. Mandarake Nakano

Photo: mandarake.co.jp

Mandarake is a popular shopping store with several franchises. Its location in Nakano is one of its most popular, selling everything from vintage trading cards to magna dolls, alongside contemporary collectibles. Set aside a few hours to explore everything these stores have to offer.


25. Indulge at Daily Chiko

Food in Asia is worthy of its own tourist guide. Stop by Daily Chiko for its famous gigantic ice creams. Much of their menu comes in at over 20 cm tall with multiple layers. You’ll see this ice cream store all over Instagram, with matcha and vanilla being its best sellers. Grab a coffee and ice cream to indulge in as you explore everything Nakano has to offer. 


Explore the best of Japan with ZenHotels

ZenHotels is your partner in bringing your dream Japan trip to life with hundreds of hotels available to book throughout the city and beyond. Whatever your budget, we’ll help you find a hotel, hostel, or apartment that works for your needs, whether you’re a solo traveler or going with friends. 

Explore our top destinations on ZenHotels and start planning your bucket-list vacation.


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