50 Things to Do in Tokyo
- Published: Mar 07 2015
- Last updated:
From the well-known staples to hidden gems, here is a compilation of 50 things you must do in Tokyo. Be sure to check it out before you head out on your trip and use it as a reference when creating your vacation itinerary!
21. Kinshicho Daiso [Shopping]
Supplying everything from daily necessities to fashion items and meal ingredients, Daiso is a popular 100 yen shop. The Kinshicho Daiso is famous for being the biggest one in Tokyo. Their selection of underwear, cold weather items, dinnerware, hygiene-related items and gardening goods is particularly good. It would be good if you stop by on your way to or from the Tokyo Skytree.
22. Ueno - Ameyoko [Shopping]
After World War II, the Ueno area became one of Tokyo's leading downtown areas, and black markets used to be held there. As there were many candy shops in the area, it was given the name "Ameya Yokocho" ("ameya" for candy shop and "yokocho" for alley), which was later shortened to Ameyoko. It's still a popular area where you can find food and miscellaneous goods for sale. It's a rare area in Tokyo where you can haggle for the best deals, and stores along this street are often featured on TV.
23. Ueno Park - Cherry blossoms and Starbucks [Sightseeing]
Ueno Park was the first public park to be instituted in Japan and has an area of 530,000 square meters. The park is called the "forest of culture" thanks to the various cultural facilities on the grounds. The area inside the park called Shinobugaoka is well-known throughout Tokyo as a spot where you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing. Also, the symbol of Ueno Park, Shinobazu Pond, has a charming feature all year round. In the summer, the lotus leaves are beautiful, and in the winter you can enjoy the gathering of ducks on the pond. It's also the only park in Tokyo that has a Starbucks on the grounds, so you can stop in and enjoy a drink in the middle of your walk.
24. Tokyo Tower [Sightseeing]
Tokyo Tower is a broadcasting tower well-known as a symbol of Tokyo. At night, it lights up with warm orange lights, and it colors the Tokyo skyline. It's a popular date spot, and it is a spot that even the Japanese people feel they would like to visit at least once in their lives. If a couple sees the moment at midnight when the tower lights are turned down, it's said they'll find happiness for eternity.
25. Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Mid Town [Shopping]
Roppongi is an area where many celebrities live. In Roppongi there is a huge, stylish complex with not only places to shop, but also art museums, Japanese-style gardens, a TV station, high-rise office and apartment buildings, and other facilities that make it its own small town. People who visit as a couple can make reservations at fancy restaurants that have beautiful views of the skyline.
26. Roppongi Nightclubs [Night life]
Roppongi is famous for being an area where you can come into contact with the latest music. There are many famous luxurious clubs, some even having celebrity patrons. Also, since it's an area with many foreign inhabitants, sports bars are popular and people from many different countries gather there. Many young people go to clubs one after another. The weekends get rather crowded and chaotic, so it's recommended that you put personal belongings into a coin locker for safe-keeping.
27. Roppongi - Tsurutontan [Food & Drink]
Tsurutontan is a popular dish that modernly arranges Japanese udon noodles. It's presented in a bowl that's bigger than one's face, with originally arranged toppings and sauce for tsurutontan. It has an established reputation for its taste. Visitors who want to experience the chic store interiors and the delicious noodles should definitely stop by.
28. Ichigaya Fish Center [Activity]
This fish center handles aquarium fish and fishing tools and has one of Japan's largest fishing ponds. It is a very popular fishing spot for families and middle-aged and elderly men. At the aquarium corner where you can simply appreciate fish, you can see goldfish, koi fish and other Japanese fish.
29. Tokyo Zen Center - Zen Café [Food & Drink]
The Myoushin-ji sect of the Rinzai school of Buddhism set up the Tokyo Zen Center in order to spread the Zen culture. It's a recommended spot to visit for people who feel that experiencing zazen (seated Zen meditation) at a temple is too awkward or embarrassing. A "Zen cafe" is open where you can experience zazen sitting in cafe-style seats. Prior reservation is required.
30. Meguro Gajoen [Arts]
In the 1930s, a businessman reformed this residence into a traditional Japanese restaurant, and began Japan's first wedding ceremony-reception hall. That luxurious building is referred to as "the Showa era's Palace of the Dragon King" and there is a huge number of art pieces decorating it. Currently, there is a wedding hall, a restaurant and a hotel, so it's a spot where men and women of all ages gather. There are full-time guides there, who can take you on a tour of the grounds to experience and enjoy Japanese art.
31. Meiji Jingu and Yoyogi Park [Sightseeing]
Meiji Jingu is where Emperor Meiji is deified and it also achieves the largest number of visitors for Hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the New Year. It's said that if you get married or purified there, you will have grace bestowed upon you. The huge 700,000 square meter grounds are famous as a power spot and hold the famous Kiyomasa Well, the Kameishi, and other spiritual items that gives it a mysterious atmosphere. Also, Yoyogi Park, adjacent to Meiji Jingu, holds frequent flea markets and concerts, making it one of Tokyo's prominent outdoor spots.
32. Harajuku - Takeshita-dori [Shopping]
Takeshita-dori is the most well-known fashion street in the internationally famous area of Harajuku. There are stores featuring flashy clothing lining the street and there are places where you can find different genres like Gothic, Lolita and punk. Many people like to shop while eating the famous Harajuku crepes. There are miscellaneous goods stores like Fancy Pocket and the main office of Nico Nico Douga where you can buy souvenirs.
Also check: 50 Things to Do in Harajuku
33. Shibuya - Scramble Crossing [Sightseeing]
The scramble crossing outside of the JR Shibuya Stationo is often used as the symbol of Shibuya for TV news. Because people of all ages and from all over the place come together to cross the scramble in Shibuya, it's one of the places where you can instantly feel the metropolis-ness of Tokyo. During events like the World Cup and Halloween, when young people get wild with enthusiasm, the street fills with people and the police have to get involved. If you want to take a picture of the crossing, the Starbucks on the 2nd floor of the QFront is recommended.
Also check: 50 Things to Do in Shibuya
34. Shibuya 109
109 (nicknamed Marukyu) is a shopping mall that is called the Mecca for people in the gyaru subculture. It's ten floors crammed full of stores aimed for young people. Also, many of the people working at the shops at 109 are featured as reader models in magazines, so many middle and high schoolers mimic the fashion style of these shopkeepers. It's a spot where you can experience the youth culture of Shibuya.
Also check: 50 Things to Do in Shibuya
35. Shibuya Center Town - Japanese souvenir vending machines [Shopping]
The shopping street that runs through the center of Shibuya is called Center-gai. Among the crowded street, there are fast food joints and arcades that overflow on weekday afternoons with middle and high schoolers. In the evening, you can spot a large number of businessmen making their way to izakaya bars or karaoke boxes. A day in Shibuya will let you feel the diversity of the city. In one section of Center-gai, there is a "Japanese souvenir vending machine" area where you can buy souvenirs like kanzashi hairpins and Japanese-style earrings. It's something you can't miss.
36. Daikanyama - walking around and TSUTAYA [Sightseeing]
Daikanyama is one train stop away from Shibuya, and it's an area that fashionistas flock to because it's full of elegant boutiques and restaurants. There are many hidden places that only people in the know are aware of, so do your research before you go. Once you're done with the shopping, you can stop at Tsutaya bookstore and look at fashion magazines from all around the world while taking a coffee break. There are also a lot of top-notch dessert cafes in the neighborhood as well.
37. Shinjuku - Omoide Yokocho and Goldengai [Food & Drink]
Since Shinjuku is the business center of Tokyo, it is full of areas where businessmen gather. The narrow alleyway outside of Shinjuku Station's west exit is called Omoide Yokocho. Omoide Yokocho developed in the post-war period as an area for bars and drinking establishments. At that time, motsu (giblets) and chicken were easy to obtain, so even now there are many chicken yakitori places. Also, in the center of Kabuki-cho, an area that developed as pleasure quarters, stands Golden-gai, an isolated area of row houses. Formerly the red light district, now it's a street full of privately-owned bars. Taking a meal in Golden-gai's will give you the opportunity to meet the locals.
38. Kappabashi - Dogugai [Shopping]
Kappabashi Dogugai is an 800 meter long specialty shopping street between Asakusa and Ueno. Everything offered here is related to food, from cooking tools to tableware to confectionery-making items, restaurant furnishings, and more. Professionals often go here for their needs. Among foreign tourists, the most popular spots are the stores that sell food samples, the plastic models of food that are often in front of Japanese restaurants. There are also stores that hold workshops where you can create your own food samples out of wax.
39. Shinjuku - Awaodori Restaurant [Food & Drink]
This is a popular restaurant among foreigners just 2 minutes away from Shinjuku Station's east exit. They offer all the standard meals like sushi, yakitori, sukiyaki, shabushabu, and others, as well as the local cuisine from Tokushima, which is where the Awaodori dance is from. This restaurant is famous for its Awaodori dance performance that is held twice a day and an event where people who have taken a lecture can dance with them. You can enjoy the bustling festival atmosphere here.
40. Shinjuku - Cat Café Kyariko [Activity]
Cat cafes are popular spots for people who want to play with adorable cats. Around 30-40 cats roam freely around the floor, and you can spend a relaxing time giving them snacks or playing with them. In this cafe, there are many staff members who speak English, so you can spend your time there easily.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.