Besides being Japan’s capital, Tokyo is actually the world’s most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, with the Izu and Ogasawara Islands also being part of it. Tokyo was initially known as Edo before 1868. It became Japan’s political center in 1603 and has grown into one of the world’s most populous cities in the following few years. In 1968, when the emperor moved to this city from Kyoto, he renamed it Tokyo, meaning “eastern capital”.
Today, Tokyo exudes a brilliant amount of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining options for locals and tourists. With it being Japan’s capital, there are many sites, landscapes as well as districts that showcase the beauty and history of this city that goes all the way back to the 16th century. From museums, temples and gardens, be prepared to explore the rich history that this city has to offer with these day trips.
Trips that only cover Tokyo will be suitable if you don’t want to spend so much time on a tour and instead, more of some free and easy time, where you can explore the wonderful city on your own. Listed below are the trips and tours that are taking place within Tokyo only.
In this tour, be prepared to be enchanted by some of Tokyo’s best spiritual and cultural attractions, from gardens to temples and shopping areas, this 8.5 hour trip will end off with a relaxing one-hour boat cruise around the Tokyo Bay. Besides the attractions, this tour, which offers pick ups from selected hotels, will also bring you to the shipping districts of Ginza and Aqua City Odaiba. There will also be lunch provided.
The first attraction will be the Meiji Shrine, or the Meiji Jingu in Japanese. This shrine was built to be dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken in 1920, eight years after the passing of the emperor and six years after the passing of the empress. The emperor was also the first of modern Japan, being born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867. It is located next to the Harajuku Station and has spacious, natural grounds that are perfect for relaxing morning strolls. The shrine was actually destroyed in World War II but was rebuilt shortly after. The shrine is surrounded by over 100,000 trees that were planted during its construction. Visitors of the shrine can make offerings, buy charms and amulets as part of the typical Shinto activities. The Meiji shrine is seemingly more frequented during the New Year when it welcomes more than 3 million visitors and for the rest of the year, it hosts regular traditional Shinto weddings.
You will also visit the iconic Asakusa Kannon Temple, also known as the Sensoji Temple. This Buddhist temple is one of Japan’s most popular temples and is also one of Tokyo’s most colourful. The temple’s construction was completed in 645, resulting in it being Tokyo’s oldest temple. The temple’s entrance, the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), is also the symbol of Asakusa as well as the city of Tokyo. There is a shopping street called Nakamise located in the temple that runs for over 200 metres (656 feet) selling Japanese souvenirs such as yukata, folding fans and traditional Japanese snacks.
Panoramic Tokyo Day Tour - Meiji Shrine, Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Bay Cruise
Price: from 100 USD
Duration: around 8 hours required.
This night food tour will have you exploring Tokyo’s culinary scene by visiting the city’s popular bars and restaurants as well as enriching your knowledge with Japan’s culinary and cultural traditions. This small tour group that is limited to just 12 people will ensure you personalised attention and friendship opportunities.
Pleasure your palate with Japanese culinary favourites such as yakitori, monjayaki and wagashi and not to forget, the sweet cakes and sake. The tour will be guided by an expert gastronomic local who will bring you to famous food places like the Yakitori Alley, the Monja Street and to Ginza, which is a district filled with various confectionery shops selling authentic Japanese sweets, perfect for bring-home souvenirs. You’ll end your tour at a local pub that offers local beverages at your own expense.
Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Tour
Price: from 120 USD
Duration: around 3 hours required.
The Tokyo tower stands at 333 metres (1092 feet) high, making it the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower. It is 13 metres (42 feet) taller than the Eiffel Tower. Its construction was completed in 1958 and currently serves as a symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth as a major economic power. Interestingly, the Tokyo Tower was Japan’s tallest structure, up until 2012 when the Tokyo Skytree was built. Today, this broadcast antenna still remains a popular tourist spot in Japan. From the tower’s main observatory, which is 150 metres (492 feet) from the ground and can only be accessed by the chargeable elevator or 600-step staircase, you can get amazing views of the city. On that same level, visitors can buy gifts from the souvenir shops or refreshments from the café. At the Foot Town building, which is located directly below the tower, there are a variety of souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants as well as the One Piece Tower which is an indoor amusement park that was officially opened in 2015, the 15th anniversary of the popular manga.
This tour will bring you to the iconic Tokyo Tower as well as give you a chance to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a cruise trip around the Sumida River, which is a river that branches from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows into Tokyo Bay. The full-day tour includes lunch and hotel pick ups and also consists of a visit to the Asakusa Kannon Temple, which is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. There will also be a drop off at the shopping district of Ginza.
Tokyo Tower, Tea Ceremony and Sumida River Cruise Day Tour
Price: from 122 USD
Duration: around 8 hours required.
The Tokyo Skytree is Japan’s new television broadcasting tower and had finished its construction in 2012. It serves as a centrepiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City ward and is also the landmark of Tokyo. It stands tall at 634 metres (2080 feet), or Musashi which is a historic name of the Tokyo Region and is the tallest structure in Japan, and the second tallest in the world. It has a large shopping area that includes an aquarium at the base of the tower. Its chargeable observatory decks are located at 350 (1148 feet) and 450 metres (1476 feet) and not only offers amazing views of the city’s landscapes, but are also the highest observation decks in Japan.
The Kiyosumi Garden, or the Kiyosumi Teien, had originally served as residence to the Edo era merchant. When a feudal lord gained ownership, the place was turned into a garden and during the Meiji Period, the founder of Mitsubishi bought the garden to entertain his guests. It was finally donated to Tokyo and was opened to the public since 1932. Many visitors swarm this garden due to the many stones set on the grounds as it is told that landscape stones are highly valuable and sought after. Some of the ones found in the garden are well known and were acquired from all across the country. There are a few stepping stone paths located around the gardens which are called Isowatari. You can even catch a glimpse of the turtles and fishes in the pond. There is also a restaurant located in the garden that appears to be hovering over the water. Reservations are required for this restaurant.
The Sumo Stadium is located in Ryogoku, the district of many sumo-related attractions. From sumo stables to chanko restaurants, entering this district is almost like entering a sumo world. The Sumo Stadium hosts sumo events and tournaments, although some tournaments take place outdoors at the shrines and temples. The stadium, more famously known as Kokugikan, is the fourth one built in Tokyo and was used since 1985. It can have a seating capacity of over 10,000 visitors and hosts 3 annual sumo tournaments. There is also a souvenir shop selling sumo-related items. Additionally, a sumo museum is located in the premises and is open to visitors.
Viator offers a half-day tour that enables you to visit the above-mentioned attractions by bike. This small group tour, limited to just 10 riders, is 6 hours long and also consists of visits to the Fukagawa-fudo Temple and Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, two of Tokyo’s most interesting religious sites. Beverages will be provided.
Tokyo by Bike: Skytree, Kiyosumi Garden and Sumo Stadium
Price: from 91.5 USD
Duration: around 6 hours required.
Listed below are trips that cover places out of Tokyo, such as Kyoto and Kamakura. These trips will mostly take place throughout the day, which are suitable if you are dedicating the whole day to just touring!
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain, standing tall at a whopping 3776 metres (12,388 feet). Interestingly, this volcano has been referred to and worshipped as a sacred mountain over the centuries. It last erupted in 1708 and is situated on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka. Mount Fuji can often be seen from prefectures like Tokyo and Yokohama but the views are often blocked by the clouds. The best views are actually during the winter seasons or in the early and late hours of the day.
Lake Ashi was actually found after Mount Hakone’s eruption 3000 years ago. It is also the mountain’s last eruption and the lake is located in Mount Hakone’s caldera. There are small towns and even some lakeside resort hotels located in the east and north of the lake’s mostly undeveloped shores. There is a sightseeing boat pier at the lake where the best views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji can be enjoyed.
In Viator’s full-day tour, you can enjoy two of Japan’s most well known attractions, including the Mt Komagatake Ropeway. Transportation will be by coach as well as a boat cruise at Lake Ashi. You will take the aerial tram all the way to the top of Mt Komagatake, where you can enjoy amazing views of the Owakudani volcanic valley, Hakone National Park and Mt Fuji. This is also Viator’s most popular Tokyo day tour, which means that it’s most likely to sell out so be quick! There is also an upgrade option available which comes with an authentic Japanese lunch that consists of local favourites such as udon, tempura and sashimi.
Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Price: from 161 USD
Duration: around 11 hours required.
In this full-day tour, enjoy the historical and cultural delights that the city of Kyoto has to offer. Kyoto was the capital of Japan, from the year 794 to 1868, in which Tokyo became the capital from then. Today, Kyoto is Japan’s seventh-largest city and houses a population of 1.5 million people. Although several parts of Kyoto were destroyed by the countless wars and fires over the centuries, there are actually many temples, shrines and other historical landscapes and structures that still remain today. To be specific, there are 2000 religious places, 400 shrines, and 1600 temples that are located all around Kyoto! Some of these monuments are also listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. There is also an abundance of Japanese cuisine and food that is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
In this day tour, you’ll visit various local attractions such as Mt Fuji, Heian Shrine, Sanjusangen-do Hall and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. There will be lunch provided and transport will be by the high-speed bullet train. This tour also provides pickups from the hotels!
Kyoto Rail Tour by Bullet Train from Tokyo
Price: from 447 USD
Duration: around 12 hours required.
Kamakura is located in the Kanagawa Prefecture and is just an hour south from Tokyo. In 1192, Kamakura became the political centre of Japan in which the Kamakura government continued to rule the country for over a century. Kamakura had remained the political centre of Eastern Japan for quite some time after that, and today, it is a popular tourist destination amongst the locals and tourists. This city is home to the Great Buddha, as well as countless temples, shrines and other historical structures. It is sometimes called the Kyoto of eastern Japan and it has also attracted large crowds due to its natural sand beaches in the summer.
The Tokyo Bay, located in the southern Kanto region of Japan, spans the coasts of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture. It is also connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Uraga Channel.
In this day trip, explore the beautiful historic landscapes and monuments in the city of Kamakura. You’ll visit the city’s top attraction, the Great Buddha, as well as the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine. You will have the chance to sip authentic Japanese green tea and enjoy a Japanese lunch while overlooking a rock garden. This trip will take place in a coach and pick ups are included. The tour will end with a drop off at the shopping districts of either Ginza or Shinjuku, your pick.
Kamakura and Tokyo Bay Day Trip from Tokyo
Price: from 122 USD
Duration: around 9 hours required.
8.Yamanashi Wine Taxi
Yamanashi Prefecture is located west of Tokyo and is home to over 80 wineries that contribute to at least 30% of the wine production in Japan. This could be due to the climate in Yamanashi. Yamanashi Prefecture’s climate is suitable for grape production. The famous Koshu grape, a white wine grape, is grown primarily here. Its name Koshu, is actually the previous name for Yamanashi. The Koshu grape offers a clean, delicate and fresh flavour that is best savoured when paired with Japanese cuisine. Yamanashi houses 95% of the Koshu plantations in Japan.
The Yamanashi Wine Tour offers a hop-on, hop-off service that will enable you to visit four wineries in the Koshu wine region. Namely, the Shirayuri Winery, Chateau Mercian, Lumiere and the Asaya Winery. The taxi also comes at 15-minute intervals where you can have the luxury to organise your own timings, to enjoy your experience sampling the wines at the different wineries. Apart from the wine experience, the taxi tour will bring you around Yamanashi, which offers stunning views of the vineyards and hot springs that you can enjoy along the way.
Oh, to note that the alcohol legal age in Japan is age 20 above. Well check the terms and condition at the given website below.
Yamanashi Wine Taxi
Address: Pick up point: JR Ishiwa-onsen tourist information
Price: from 47 USD
Opening Hours: Available during the weekends between April and September.
Duration: around 4 hours required.
With love, Tokyo
There’s so much more to explore in Tokyo than what is commonly shown on postcards. With its history dating back to the 16th century, be prepared to be enlightened by the numerous historical landscapes and sites around the city. This lovely city is also very convenient to get around, with the very efficient transport system. There are also many nature parks that offer photogenic green spaces around the city as well!
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