Despite the amazing urban environment, Japanese culture and nature can still be found in Tokyo, making it one of the most exciting places in Japan to visit. International flights are available to Haneda International Airport at Ota, Tokyo, or Narita International Airport at Chiba Prefecture right beside Tokyo Prefecture. The subway system conveniently connects almost every part of the city, and all services are fast, making travelling around the city an easy feat. From skycrapers and temples, to cheap eateries in Tokyo and beautiful parks, its no wonder that Tokyo was chosen to host the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games. Read on to find out what activities you should do in the capital to make the best out of your visit!
1. Japan’s tallest structure – Tokyo Skytree
It is no exaggeration to say that Tokyo Skytree is the most prominent landmark of Japan. Located about 30 minutes from Tokyo Station by subway, the 634-metre-tall (2,080-foot-tall) tower can be seen from almost every corner of Tokyo city, and it was officially completed in 2011. It is also the tallest tower in the world. The tower is open all year round from 10:00 to 21:00 and the view from the observatory is simply amazing! You can also visit the Sumida Aquarium that is right beside the Tokyo Skytree.
Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida Ward, Tokyo
Access info: 30 minutes’ subway ride from JR Tokyo Station
Opening hours: 8:00 - 22:00
Fixed holiday: nil (observatory may not be accessible if there are ongoing checks)
Contact: +81 570-550-634
Entrance fee: 2,060 JPY (18.80 USD) for the day ticket to observation deck,
2. Senso-Ji, a temple within the city
Just 10 minutes from Tokyo Skytree by bus is Senso-Ji, a temple with over 1,400 years of history. Found within the temple are famous landmarks such as the Five Story Pagoda and Kaminarimon, a huge gate with the famous 4-metre-tall (13-foot-tall) "Kaminarimon Lantern". The main hall of Senso-Ji is lit up at night, and the austere yet relaxing atmosphere of the quiet temple is completely different from what it is in the day.
Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
Access info: 5 minutes’ walk from Asakusa Metro Station
Opening hours: 6:00 - 17:00
Fixed holiday: nil
Contact: +81 3-3842-0181
Entrance fee: free
3. Enjoy the harmony of culture and nature at Nezu Shrine
Nezu Shrine is a shrine said to have been built around 1,900 years ago, and it is one of the biggest shrines from the Edo period (1603 to 1868) that is still preserved today. Nezu Shrine is 5 minutes from Nezu Station, and just 20 minutes from Tokyo Station via subway. Despite still being in the city, you will be encapsulated by the serene natural atmosphere once you step into the shrine complex. Every April, the Bunkyo Azalea Festival is held, and over 3,000 pink Azalea flowers line the paths within the shrine.
4. Ghibli Museum, a must go for Ghibli lovers!
With prominent works such as "My Neighbor Totoro" and “Spirited Away”, Studio Ghibli ranks as one of the most famous animation film studios worldwide. Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, is located within Mitaka Inokashira Park and is filled with exhibits ranging from character statues to storyboards. Tickets to the Ghibli Museum can only be purchased with a reservation due to popular demand.
Address: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo
Access info: Take community bus from JR Mitaka Station south exit
Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Fixed holiday: Tuesdays
Contact: [email protected]
Entrance fee:1,000 JPY (9.10 USD). Advance online reservation is from here
Duration: 1 - 1.5hr
5. The subculture street: Nakano Broadway
Located at Nakano, just 5 minutes from Shinjuku Station via subway, Nakano Broadway is a building that Japanese subculture-lovers would yearn to go to. At the 3rd floor of Nakano Broadway, you can visit the flagship store of Mandarake, Tokyo’s largest anime and manga vendor. There are also various stores selling cards, games, cosplay, and toys within the building that have rare products in stock. Find your latest anime goods here!
Address: 5-52-15 Nakano, Tokyo
Access info: outside Nakano Station
Opening hours: 12:00 - 20:00
Fixed holiday: depends on shop
Contact: +81 3-3388-7004
Entrance fee: free
6. Tokyo Tower, the other symbol of Japan
The 332.9-metre-tall (1,092-foot-tall) Tokyo Tower used to be the tallest structure in Japan before the Tokyo Skytree was completed. With a history of almost 60 years, it has been the symbol of Japan for a long period of time, starring in various posters, books, and movies. At the 150-metre-mark (492-foot-mark), an observatory, open from 9:00 to 23:00 daily, will give you a splendid view of the whole city. Although a lift will bring you up to the observatory, you will be presented with a certificate if you choose to climb the stairs. Go on and race up to the observatory with your friends!
Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato Ward
Access info: 5 minutes’ walk from Oedo metro line Akabanebashi Station or 15 minutes’ walk from JR Hamatsucho Station
Opening hours: 9:00 - 22:30
Fixed holiday: nil
Contact: +81 11-622-5167
Entrance fee: 1,600 JPY (14.60 USD) for both main deck and special deck access
7. The illumination of Tokyo Station
With a history of more than 100 years, Tokyo Station is one of the busiest stations in Japan. It is also the nucleus of the country’s transportation hub. At night, the Marunouchi Terminal building is beautifully illuminated and it is the perfect place for photographers to take a scenic night shot!
8. Tokyo Disney Resort
Not much description is needed for this world-famous theme park. Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are some of the most famous attractions in the world under The Walt Disney Company. With exciting rides and exclusive souvenirs, they are surely on the bucket list of millions of Disney-lovers around the world. Come visit the land of dreams!
Tokyo Disney Resort
Address: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture
Access info: JR Maihama Station
Opening hours: 9:00 - 22:00
Fixed holiday: please refer to the Tokyo Disney Resort website
Contact: +81 45-330-5211
Entrance fee: please refer to the Tokyo Disney Resort website
9. Unbelievable oasis in the busy city
Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku Park, is located in the middle of the Shinjuku area, and it originated from the Edo period. There are more than 10,000 trees around the park and it is an oasis for people working around the area. The park also attracts many tourist. A different kind of ambience can be enjoyed, thanks to the seasonality of the plants and the park’s architecture. A Japanese tea ceremony is available in two tea houses within the park. The taste of green tea with the great view will be such an experience!
Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku Park)
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Access info: North exit of JR Sendagaya Station or south exit of Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Gyoen Station
Opening hours: 9:00 - 16:00
Fixed holiday: Mondays and Dec 29th to Jan 3rd every year
Contact: +81 3-3350-0151
Entrance fee: 200 JPY (1.80 USD)
10. Biggest and busiest crossroad in Tokyo
This crossroad in front of Japan Railway’s Shibuya Station, at the Hachiko exit, can be annoyingly busy. Try to be the part of mob, get swept away in the frenzy, and feel Tokyo local’s vibe!
Getting ready for the Olympic Games
With the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Tokyo is expected to become a more popular tourist destination than ever. Located on the main island of Japan, Honshu Island, Tokyo is a city filled with excitement. Although there are many places to visit, careful planning will help you maximise your time in Tokyo. Have fun planning, and do check out more of our articles about Tokyo and Japan!