1. Travel around Tokyo on the trainhans-johnson/Flickr
If you’re not sure where you want to go, why not take a trip around Tokyo on the JR Yamanote Line? The Yamanote Line is a loop line which takes about one hour to travel around central Tokyo, including Tokyo Station. From the windows of the train, you can enjoy the city scenery, and get off if you find somewhere that looks interesting. If you aren’t sure of your destination before riding the train, it is possible to buy a ticket to the next station and pay the remaining fare when you arrive at your destination.
2. Great Views of Tokyochibitomu/Flickr
If you’re after a great view of Tokyo on a budget, we recommend visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. The observation deck offers a fantastic view of the city, including Skytree and Tokyo Tower, and it’s long opening hours (9:30-23:00), it is a great place to enjoy the night scenery of the capital. The observation desk is in the First Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which is about a 10 minute walk from the west exit of JR Shinjuku Station.
3. Shibuya Scramble CrossingYohei Yamashita/Flickr
While it really is just a crossing, its location in front of the busy Shibuya Station means it can become incredibly packed, with sometimes more than 3,000 people trying to cross the junction at once. The site of hordes of people crossing at once as the lights change is well worth it. It is very close to the Hachiko gates of JR Shibuya Station. If you go there with children, make sure to keep them close so they don’t get lost in the crowds.
4. Meiji ShrineGary0801/Flickr
If you’re looking to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take a moment to visit Meiji Shrine? The quiet forests feel like a world away from the noisy capital and are sure to soothe you. At the weekends, you may have a chance to see a traditional Japanese wedding at the shrine, too. In June, you can enjoy the beautiful irises in the Imperial garden. Meiji Shrine is a very short walk away from Harajuku Station.
Originally the approach for worshippers to the Meiji Shrine, Omotesando is now known for the countless brand shops that line the streets. If you are into fashion, this is the place for you. Omotesando Hills, located close to the Meiji Shrine has a wide range of children’s products from in addition to baby rooms and all sorts of facilities for parents with young children, making it a great place to go window shopping with your kids.
6. Ueno Parkrich115/Flickr
How about paying a visit to the spacious Ueno Park? In the spring, you can enjoy the beautiful pink of the cherry blossoms and the green of the fresh, new leaves, but whichever season you visit, you can spend a relaxing moment here surrounded by the beauty of nature. The art museum and historical buildings in the park are also well worth visiting, and if you are tired, why not stop and take a break in the Starbucks? Ueno Park is a short walk from JR Ueno Station.
7. Ameyoko Shopping StreetDanny Choo/Flickr
If you have the chance to come to Ueno, this is one place you will want to drop by. At this mixing pot of cultures, with stores run by people of all nationalities and backgrounds, you’re bound to find some great bargains. Why not walk through the bustling streets and spend some time taking in the lively atmosphere with the store owners inviting customers into their shops while enjoying the food and shopping on offer? You might find it hard to resist buying something though.
The place to go if you like electronics, anime or are a self-proclaimed otaku. And even if you are not, you are sure to find something interesting here at this famous center of Japanese subculture. (Even if you do not do actually shopping) You can enjoy yourself even just by window shopping. The Akihabara electronics district is a very short walk from JR Akihabara Station.
9. The Town of Books – Kanda Jinbo-cho
If you like books, here is one place you will want to visit. The 176 book stores that line the streets have a great range of both western and Japanese books, and you might be lucky enough to find the odd rare book. The surrounding area, with its atmosphere of culture, is perfect for enjoying a stroll. If you can’t read Japanese, it’s not a problem at all. The closest stations are Shin Ochanomizu and Jinbo-cho on the subway.
10. Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
A tourist information center in the famous sightseeing district of Asakusa. The information center has a currency exchange desk on the premises. The building itself was designed by famous architect Kengo Kuma and has a free observation terrace on the 8th floor which offers a great view of Skytree and the stores within the Sensoji temple. The tourist information center is located a short distance from Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line.
11. Kappabashi Dogu Streetjun560/Flickr
Kappabashi Dogu Strret is a district dedicated to the food and drink industry. As you can imagine, the stores here sell all sorts of cooking equipment, but you can also find some really unique Japanese items on sale as well, such as noren (the short curtains usually found at the entrance to restaurants in Japan) and the intricate, hand made food samples you so often see outside restaurants. It’s close to Asakusa, so even if you aren’t particularly interested in cooking, it’s well worth a visit. Kappabashi Dogu Street is about 5 minutes on foot from Taharamachi Station on the Ginza Line.
Kappabashi Dogu Street http://www.kappabashi.or.jp/en/index.html
One of Tokyo’s best points is its mix of both urban, commercial facilities and nature. Odaiba is a great example of this. Built on reclaimed land just off the coast of Shinagawa, Odaiba has something for everyone, from great shopping to beautiful parks and beaches. If you’re planning on staying out late, the Yurikamome trains are a great way to get back home. The view from Odaiba Kaihin Koen Station and the train is very romantic.
13. Daimaru Tokyo Branch
If you have the chance to go to Tokyo Station, one place we recommend visiting is the Daimaru Tokyo department store, located just outside the Yaesu North exit. The basement food court has a fantastic range of products that you can sample, and you can pick up a great obento to enjoy on the way to your next destination. The toilets are also a sight to be seen! The picture above is the view from the men’s toilets on the 12th floor. If you’re interested, why not take a look at the 3rd floor toilets as well?
Daimaru Tokyo Branch http://www.daimaru.co.jp.e.md.hp.transer.com/tokyo/index.html
Originally an elegant street lined with high-class stores, however recently a whole variety of shops have opened up in Ginza. One place we recommend is the Uniqlo Ginza Branch, which has over 5,000m2 of floor space and some very unique displays. On the weekends and national holidays, in the afternoon the streets are closed to cars, so you can enjoy some great window shopping. Ginza is also a great place to take a stroll at night.
15. Haneda Airport Terminal 2MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito)/Flickr
If you are travelling from Tokyo to your next destination by Haneda Airport, make sure you come here early as there is a lot to enjoy. Terminal 1 has an observation deck, but from Terminal 2, you can enjoy a great view of the runway from inside the building as well. The terminal also has a huge range of shops and restaurants, so be sure to leave a little time in your schedule to enjoy them.
Also check: 50 Things to Do in Tokyo