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Ten Awesome Things To Do In Tokyo Japan

Imagine a kaleidoscope of neon lights, Mario and Luigi zooming by in go-karts, girls rocking their cutest kawaii outfits, a giant 3D kitty batting a yarn ball on the side of a skyscraper, and Godzilla keeping watch from above! Welcome to Tokyo, the city that beats to its own drum! When everything's totally bonkers and amazing, planning an itinerary can feel impossible. That is why we’ve created this ultimate list of Ten AWESOME Things To Do In Tokyo, Japan.

Whether you are traveling to Tokyo for the first time or you are a seasoned visitor, some experiences are just as essential as rice for sushi. Make everything in your power to wrap up your trip with a heart full of joy, a head packed with crazy memories, the desire to return soon, and all the most awesome things to do in Tokyo ticked off your list.

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Awesome Things To Do in Tokyo

1. Get the Best View of Shibuya Crossing

Step into the organized chaos of Shibuya Crossing, where people navigate the world's busiest pedestrian intersection with a mix of determination, confusion, and occasionally engage  in questionable high-concept photoshoots during the 47 seconds available to cross. This famous landmark is not only epic from the ground, it's also a fantastic sight from above. Find your perfect spot, grab a drink, and enjoy the views!

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Shibuya Crossing Must Visit Viewpoint at rush hour
best thing to do in Tokyo Shibuya Crossing Viewpoint
Famous tokyo crossing in Shibuya

2. Visit Meiji Shrine

To reach one of the best shrines in Tokyo, Meiji Shrine, cross through one of the largest wooden torii gates in Japan and wander around a beautiful forested area. This experience will momentarily make you forget that you are in the center of the bustling city of Tokyo.

To delve into a slice of Japanese history while admiring the shrine’s beautiful architecture and its collection of colorful sake barrels is one of those Tokyo cultural activities you can't afford to miss. Meiji Shrine hours of operation are from sunrise to sunset, but undoubtedly, the best time to visit is during the weekend if you wish to get a chance of taking a glimpse at a traditional wedding ceremony.

man in front of Torii Gate at Meiji Shrine entrance
must see traditional japanese bride in Meiji Shrine in Tokyo
famous wall of sake barrels in Meiji Temple Tokyo

The presence of sake barrels in Meiji Shrine is not unusual. Sake has a long-standing association with Shinto rituals and ceremonies in Japan, being considered a sacred beverage and often used in offerings to the gods. These barrels are generously provided by local breweries.

Within the shrine grounds, keep an eye out for “Meoto Kusu” (Husband and Wife), two camphor trees that have grown together and are believed to be sacred. They symbolize a happy marriage, and you may witness several people seeking their blessings in matters of love ❤️.

traditional japanese bride at the best time to visit Meiji Shrine
child making a wish at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo
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3. Go Kawaii at Takeshita Street

From the Meiji Shrine to Takeshita Street is only a small and enjoyable walk. Visit Takeshita Street for the biggest kawaii fest you will ever witness, and to see one of the coolest streets in Tokyo. Visiting fashion-forward kawaii shops, seeing quirky cosplayers, tasting the ultimate rainbow sugar rush, and testing your attention span with mischievous vending machines competing for your attention are only a handful of the things to do in Takeshita Street.

woman in Instagrammable colorful creperie in Takeshita street in Tokyo
kid eating colorful cotton kandy in Takeshita Street

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4. Experience TeamLab Tokyo

Teamlab art exhibitions can now be found in several cities around the world, but each one has its own special flair. If you are looking for fun activities in Tokyo, make sure not to skip TeamLab Planets or TeamLab Borderless. Walk on water, let your perception of infinity be put to the test, and share laughs with strangers while trying to walk on a giant pillow.

couple in must do attraction in Tokyo Team Lab Planets
woman in light room at must-do activity in Tokyo Teamlab Planets

Both art exhibitions will transport you to a mesmerizing realm where interactive art, technology and whimsy collide. But hey, you are not the only one that wants to get a trippy fun experience, so plan ahead, as tickets sell out weeks in advance!

woman in blue led lights room in Teamlab Planets
man with early entrance ticket at Teamlab Planets Tokyo
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5. Eat Sushi the Night Away

Can’t you enjoy amazing sushi anywhere in Japan? Absolutely. However, you MUST try it in Tokyo. Here, you will find the iconic Toyosu fish market tuna auction, the world’s largest fish market, and the most insane fish auction, all in one place! With Tokyo’s proximity to the sea, longstanding culinary tradition, and skilled sushi chefs, you are in for an unparalleled level of expertise and craftsmanship in sushi preparation.

Tokyo’s sushi scene caters not only to all tastes, but also to various budgets. Enjoying sushi in a high-end restaurant might be fantastic, but dining among Japanese at a sushi counter is one of the most awesome things to do in Tokyo.

Find a sushi restaurant where you'd like to eat and make a reservation in advance. Quality sushi restaurants in Tokyo often have waiting lists of over 6 hours. People arrive at these restaurants at opening time to join the queue for lunch. How crazy is that?

Sushiman cutting salmon in must visit Tokyo market
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6. Find the Dark Side of Shinjuku

There is a darker side to the neon-filled Shinjuku than the giant Godzilla ready to attack from the rooftops or the enormous cute cats that play all day long on a 3D screen the size of a soccer field. A black market past still lingers in some of Shinjuku’s most iconic areas, and exploring it is one of the most awesome things to do in Tokyo:

busy street of Shinjuku in Tokyo

shinjuku omoide yokocho

Once the home to black market stalls and illegal alcohol vendors,  Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho, is  now a vibrant culinary hotspot and the Tokyo street food alley of choice for many. Navigate the narrow alleys packed with charmingly cramped izakayas (the equivalent to a Japanese pub or tavern), and don't be surprised if you accidentally rub elbows with salarymen on a much-deserved sake pilgrimage.

japanese old man smiling in shinjuku omoide yokocho
woman visiting shinjuku omoide yokocho

Soak up the lively atmosphere, embrace the smoky aromas, and indulge on some grilled skewers and sizzling yakitori, in this joyous chaos. This perfect blend of nostalgia and culinary excitement will make you even forget to ask, “Why is it lovingly called Piss Alley?”

Legend has it that Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho is known as "Memory Lane" or "Piss Alley" because, during the postwar era when it was the hub for illegal alcohol vendors, public restrooms were scarce, to say the least. As a result, people would relieve themselves in the alley itself. Not the most romantic story, is it?😅

window at japanese bar with japanese people having a drink in Tokyo

Find the Best Bars in Golden Gai

If you ask around for bars in Shinjuku, chances are you will end up wandering around Golden Gai, where cramped alleyways house pint-sized bars that defy the laws of physics. The character and atmosphere of what was originally a post-war black market area, offering a place for Japan's underground culture to thrive, are now present in the over 200 tiny bars and eateries that reside here.

narrow alley in must visit Golden Gai in Tokyo

Many of the best bars in Golden Gai are nowadays for members or locals only, as an attempt to guarantee it is not taken over by tourism, and its essence is preserved. Nevertheless, visiting it is still one of the most awesome things to do in Tokyo. You'll have a fun and nostalgic glimpse into Tokyo's past, while enjoying a glass of Shōchū and finding your place in the Tetris-like seating arrangement of your bar of choice.

man in bar area Golden Gai Tokyo
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7. experience purikura

Purikura means "print club" in Japanese, and despite appearing as a simple photobooth from the outside, it is so far from it! For the Japanese, it's a complete experience, with entire floors dedicated to hair, makeup and outfits to ensure you reach your highest kawaii level.

Each machine has its own “super powers”, and with an array of quirky accessories, zany backgrounds, and the ability to draw on your photos with digital magic, Purikura will make you crack up as soon as the first photo shows on the screen. Seeing your face immortalized in its kawaii form forever is an experience in itself. Print it and guarantee you take home the best Japan souvenir ever!

stickers with purikura photos of couple

8. Feel the Otaku Culture in Akihabara

Get yourself a bag of coins, some ear plugs, and sunglasses (for all the neons😎) and get ready to explore Akihabara, the mecca of otaku culture.

Otaku culture is the fervent subculture of passionate enthusiasts of all things related to Japanese anime, manga and video games.

From the moment you step out of the train, you'll feel like you've entered an alternate universe where reality seamlessly merges with fantasy. Thousands of neons, someone cosplaying Sailor Moon having a lively chat with a Goku, dozens of maids handing out fliers, and endless shops full of merchandise, and shelves overflowing with collectibles that will make any fan weak in the knees.

must visit Akihabara street

A maid cafe in Japan is a unique establishment where waitresses dressed as French maids (or several other themes) provide attentive and extra cute/kawaii customer service. This experience is an insight on Japanese pop culture, but be aware there might be massive language barriers, and potential high prices, as every interaction by the maids towards the guests is charged separately💸.

japanese maid in Akihabara street in Tokyo

The one space that nobody can ignore is the game centers. With floors of gashapon, and claw machines screaming for your attention, you may end up spending a fortune trying to get that giant stuffed pig plush that will never physically fit in your bag. One of the most awesome things to do in Tokyo is to visit the top floors of these game centers, where locals gather in an arcade reign, full of games that they have completely mastered. Give it your best shot, or stare at the pros while flinching at the loud mix of music, taps, drums, and jumps.

japanese woman playing arcade game in Akihabara

9. Relax at Yoyogi Park

Cross Yoyogi Park in between visits to other nearby attractions. Yes, we know you probably have parks back home, but this is a fantastic way to get a feel for how Japanese people spend their free time and interact among friends. Do you know what you didn't realize you needed until now? To see Japanese rockabillies. Yes this is the place for it, if you are lucky!

japanese rockabilly sitting in Yoyogi Park Tokyo

In this oasis of greenery amidst the bustling city, you will find vibrant cultural events and diverse recreational activities such as yo-yo practise, pro archery,  and about five different dog parks to ensure all doggos regardless of size, can find friends to play with (yes, staring at dogs and wanting to possibly hug them is an activity and you can’t tell us otherwise😂).

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10. Marvel at Sensō-ji Temple

You cannot leave Tokyo without visiting the city's oldest Buddhist Temple, Sensō-ji Temple. Enter through Kaminarimon, the temple's grand entrance gate adorned with a majestic red lantern and a colossal thunder god statue. Begin strolling down the vibrant Nakamise shopping street (yes there is a shopping street “inside” the complex), where you will need to control your sweet tooth amidst all the delicious snacks available, side by side with traditional crafts and souvenirs.

morning at Sensō-ji Temple main entrance
woman holding must try japanese sweet in Sensō-ji Temple

Sensō-ji is one of the most famous temples in Tokyo, so the bustling atmosphere is present from early in the morning. Hear the rattle of people wishing for good fortune, cross the cloud of incense that lives at the Temple’s door, and marvel at the impressive five-story pagoda.

old japanese man praying at Sensō-ji Temple Tokyo
two japanese man celebrating main celebration of Sensō-ji Temple

Best Places To Stay in Tokyo

Looking for the best places to stay in Tokyo can be an intense task, but rest assured each Tokyo neighborhood has something special about it. Shinjuku is your all-rounder, bursting with energy, neon lights, and endless entertainment. Shibuya and Harajuku are fashionistas' paradises, with trendy stores, funky vibes and iconic landmarks like the Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko statue. For a glimpse of old-school Tokyo, Asakusa offers temples, traditional shops, and a laid-back atmosphere. If you are looking for a fashion-forward and upscale experience Ginza is the place for you. Akihabara is the ultimate playground for anime and manga fans, while Roppongi brings the international flair with fancy restaurants and exciting nightlife.

The ultimate decision on what is the best area to stay in Tokyo will always depend on your personal preferences and what you expect from your time in this amazing city. The only important thing to have in mind when choosing your Tokyo abode, is to consider the proximity to public transportation, to ensure a seamless experience around Tokyo. That being said, here you have some of the best places to stay in Tokyo in our opinion:

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When To Visit Tokyo

When to visit Tokyo depends on your trip expectations, as each season has its pros and cons. For pleasant weather and beautiful scenery, the best times to visit Tokyo are during the Spring months of March to May, or the Autumn months of September to November. Explore Tokyo with mild temperatures, dreamy cherry blossoms in Spring, and vibrant fall foliage during Autumn. Needless to say, these iconic scenarios attract thousands of people to Japan every year.

To minimize the impact of large crowds (let’s get something out of the way: there will always be crowds😅) and potentially secure lower prices, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (May-June or September).

Planning Time

If you are ready to start planning your next trip, here you have all the usefull links you need to make it happen! By using them you are supporting our work as we might get a small fee from it. But hey! You pay the same (or might even get a discount), so is a win-win situation!

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