What to see in Tokyo
Tokyo is the city of the future. Here the threads of the past and new technologies intertwine. It is a city that never sleeps. Life pulsates in Tokyo bright glare and is not going to stop. You will never be bored here.
Tokyo – the city of the future.
This is one of the best places to get acquainted with the latest technological innovations, to see modern robots, to meet with artificial intelligence. But Tokyo is also a city that cherishes traditions and passes them on to the next generation.
Japanese gastronomy is one of the tastiest in the world. It is appreciated by gourmets. Tokyo is especially famous for its seafood. Where else but here to try sushi?
The best places to eat in Tokyo
Since the 17th century Tokyo has become the political, cultural and economic center of the country. Therefore, the city has preserved all the most important landmarks of Japan. The best preserved cultural monuments are those associated with the life of the imperial family and the main clans of the country.
Imperial Palace in Tokyo
It is one of the main attractions of the city and country. The Imperial Palace covers an area of over 2,000,000 square meters. Vehicles are forbidden to fly over the palace complex so that the peace of the imperial family is not disturbed. The garden laid out around the Imperial Palace is beautiful at any time of the year. Especially, it is loved by newlyweds for their wedding photo shoots in spring during the plum and sakura blossoms.
Disneyland in Tokyo covers an area of about 115 acres. It is one of the country’s premier entertainment venues. It opened in 1983, and since then the amusement park has attracted adults and children alike. The whole complex is divided into thematic zones: Westernland (Wild West), Fantastyland (Fantasy World), World Bazaar. Each area besides the main attractions also has all the necessary infrastructure. There is a huge selection of cafes, restaurants, hotels and stores. Thematic zones are united by a railroad, which is convenient to get to different parts of Disneyland.
Tokyo Sky Tree
The sky tree in Tokyo
The Tokyo Sky Tree claims to be the tallest building in Japan. The spire of the television tower soars to 634 meters. Only two colors are used to illuminate the building, changing every other day: blue and pink. Tourists are attracted to the tower mainly because of the observation deck. There is also a fine restaurant and a shopping mall.
It is a historical museum that takes you back in time and shows you how Tokyo has evolved over the centuries. The museum features full-scale replicas of old feudal houses, a theater, and city walls. Among the museum’s exhibits are many ancient manuscripts, maps, and documents.
Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Hall)
Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Hall)
For an introduction to the original culture of Japan, the National Martial Arts Hall is the best place. Kokugikan hosts not only sumo competitions, but also boxing and wrestling, and the room is also used as a concert venue. But the tourist should come here, of course, for the sake of sumo. To find out all the secrets of the ancient martial art, first have a look at the museum, and then you can take a seat in the hall. Sumo is a centuries-old tradition in every movement and entourage: special hairstyle of sumo wrestlers, special attire of the judges, the rituals before the fight. The spectacle is mesmerizing!
Shinjuku Imperial Garden
Shinjuku Imperial Garden
Many people think that Tokyo is a big metropolis consisting entirely of glass and concrete. But that’s not entirely true! There are still green oases in the city and the Shinjuku Imperial Garden is one of them. The Imperial Garden is divided into three themed areas: the Japanese Garden, the English Garden, and the French Garden. The Japanese garden is especially beautiful in early spring, when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom. These days the garden is especially crowded with vacationers and tourists.
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theater. If you want to see a classic performance, you have to go to Kabukijo. Here you will find a great show with amazing artists, and it is a pleasure to follow the theatrical twists and turns of the plot. Keep in mind that theatrical performances are twice as long as European productions and can be as long as 4-5 hours.
National Museum in Tokyo
National Museum in Tokyo
One of the most famous museums in Japan is located in the Ueno Park. It is worth going here to learn more about the history of the city and Japan. Under the arches of the National Museum are collected works of Japanese art: ceramics, sculpture, weapons, engravings. One of the halls displays a collection of kimonos, which are embroidered with gold threads by hand. Try to set aside a few hours to visit the museum, it will be well worth it.
What to see in Tokyo in 3 days
Tokyo is beautiful at any time of year, but especially so in spring and fall. For a short trip it is worth choosing weekdays to have time to enjoy the main attractions while bypassing the tourist flow. For Tokyo, 3 days is certainly not enough. But it is enough to immerse yourself in the distinctive atmosphere of Japan.
The first place to go is the Ginza district. There are several blocks located near the Imperial Palace. Here all the contradictions of a major metropolis and the traditional Japanese way of life meet and intertwine. Fashionable boutiques rub shoulders with kabuki theaters. And authentic Japanese eateries nestle alongside name-brand stores. On weekends, part of the neighborhood turns into a pedestrian zone, where you can stroll past the neon lights of Tokyo at night.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market
Another metropolitan attraction that is sought after by tourists, though not intended for them. It is a wholesale fish market where the hottest auction fights for the spoils of the sea take place. Tsukiji market starts its work at 4 am, to get here you need to register in advance. From here, tons of fresh fish are shipped daily to restaurants throughout Tokyo. The most interesting auction takes place in the battle for tuna. The cost of fish can reach several thousand dollars per unit. Many foodies consider a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market the main culinary event of the year.
This is an artificial bulk island, which was originally intended for military purposes. An artillery battery was located here in the 19th century. Then warehouses and port facilities appeared on the island. And at the end of the 20th century, the capital’s authorities decided to carry out a large-scale reconstruction of Odaiba with residential and commercial real estate. Today it is one of the elite districts of Tokyo, where are located the headquarters of major Japanese companies. It is also worth going here to get a tan on the island’s sandy beach. The beach is known for its unusual sights, such as a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
According to legend, the temple was founded in the 7th century at the site where the golden statue of the Goddess of Mercy Kannon was found. Today the temple is one of the main attractions of the Japanese capital. The entrance to Senso-ji Temple begins at the “Thunder Gate”. Here you can find out your “destiny” in Japanese. If you get a bad prediction – you can leave it in the temple, if the opposite – you can take it with you. In the treasury of Senso-ji are stored ancient manuscripts and Buddhist religious artifacts. Believers often come to the temple to take incense. They believe that it has healing powers and can cure diseases. Next to the temple there is an old shopping street where you can buy traditional Japanese handicrafts.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
For several years the building held the status of the tallest in Japan. On the 45th floor there is an observation deck for visitors. From 200 meters high it offers a picturesque panorama over the entire city, and on a clear day you can see the Japanese holy Mount Fujiema. Surprisingly, you can visit this site absolutely free. Around the government building is laid out green park, which is especially appealing to children.
Everyone knows that Japan is famous for its karaoke bars. Karaoke here is a favorite pastime of the inhabitants of the metropolis. Everyone sings here, both old and young. With this in mind, you should definitely take the time to visit the main entertainment of the Japanese. One of the most famous karaoke bars in Tokyo is called Karaoke Kan. This place has gained popularity after the release of the movie “Difficulty of Translation” with Bill Murray in the title role.
What to see in Tokyo in a week
In seven days in the city you can manage to see all the main sights and enjoy the hospitality of the capital of Japan. Buddhist temples and monasteries, sumo wrestling, parks, and national museums are all must-see activities.
Miraikan (Museum of the Future)
Miraikan (Museum of the Future)
To understand why the capital of Japan is called the city of the future just come to the Miraikan – National Museum of Advanced Science and Technology. The museum features all the latest achievements of Japanese science in the field of genetics, robotics, chemistry, medicine. The ASIMO robot, which can perform complex tasks, for example, it can kick a ball and hold a conversation with a person, is a perennial success with visitors. The museum is interactive, and all the exhibits can and should be touched, tasted, pressed and studied in every possible way. Here you can also feel like a discoverer and dive to the sea bottom in a submarine. Or conquer the silent space of space. A number of exhibits will allow you to “survive” an earthquake and even a storm.
Cruise on the river Sumida
Sumida River Cruise
To see the city from a new perspective, take a river cruise. The length of the trip depends on the chosen itinerary. The shortest cruise lasts only 30 minutes. Of course, the Sumida River is not the most beautiful in the world. It can not be compared, neither with the canals of Venice, nor with the canals of Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. But from the river you can see all parts of the city.
This is one of the ancient cities of Japan, which is ideal for a day trip from the bustling capital. Kamakura is known for its amazing architecture. The city is home to several significant Buddhist temples in Japan. They are Engaku-ji Temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Temple. Here is also the second largest statue of Buddha in Japan, its height is over 11 meters and weighs more than 90 tons. All the temples of Kamakura are inscribed in the surrounding landscape: green hills on three sides and the sea on the fourth. Nearby are ponds in which white and red lotuses grow.
Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the Japanese Emperor Meiji and his wife. Unlike the Senso-ji Temple, it is a Shinto shrine. The temple appeared in the early twentieth century, but did not last long. Fighting during World War II led to the complete destruction of the temple. After the war ended, the temple was rebuilt and a classic Japanese garden was laid out around it. There is a relaxed and serene atmosphere where you can take a pleasant break from the noise of the big city.
One of the most interesting places in the capital of Japan is the Robot Restaurant, where demonstrations of robotics and live actors and dancers take place. The institution does not offer haute cuisine, but here you can watch a unique musical and theatrical performance. During the intermission, do not forget to take a photo with the participants of the show.
Onsen (hot springs)
Onsen (hot springs)
Another element of Japan’s traditional culture is visiting hot springs. In a country where volcanic activity remains high, thermal springs are everywhere. It is customary to visit them as a family or in large groups. Oedo Onsen Monogatari offers visitors not only hot water relaxation, but also massage. Here you can also try sake or ask a fortune teller about your future.
If you are in Tokyo for a few days and are thinking about exploring the surrounding area, a visit to Yokohama is the best choice. It’s not really a city, but rather a suburb of Japan’s capital city. The distance to Yokohama is only 3 0 km. The Port of the Future is being built on reclaimed land by the sea. The Silk Center offers the highest quality goods, and the Silk Museum will tell and show the process of production of openwork fabrics, which go to the production of kimono. An imposing Ferris wheel will show you the city from a height of several hundred meters. You can finish with a stroll through authentic Yokohama neighborhoods, such as Chinatown.
Love Tokyo: 34 best sights
The capital of Japan is a giant, ultra-modern metropolis. How do you have time to see all the most interesting things? Learn about Tokyo’s iconic sights: Japanese cultural monuments, colorful neighborhoods, museums and parks. Aisuru Tokyo – fall in love with Tokyo!
Exchange rate: 100 yen (JPY) ≈ 72 RUB.
Tokyo sights on a map
The main attraction of Tokyo and the symbol of Japanese statehood is the Imperial Palace, surrounded by picturesque gardens and a canal. You can visit the gardens and park for free, but to get into the palace, you need to sign up in advance. Learn more about the Imperial Palace.
Double bridge over moat, Imperial Palace (Photo: @alexlanting / unsplash.com)
Tokyo Skytree observation deck
It’s a great idea to see the sights of Tokyo from a bird’s eye view! The best views of the metropolis are from this 634 meter high tower. Very unusual looks openwork TV tower in the evening when lit with LED lights. Learn more about Tokyo Skytree.
Popular tours in Tokyo:
Tokyo Skytree Tower (Photo: @tunamayoonigiri / unsplash.com)
A blooming man-made island in the bay is one of Tokyo’s modern landmarks. The enterprising and industrious Japanese have managed to turn trash land into a symbol of the future. There are tons of interesting sights on the island – it’s a must-see. Learn more about Odaiba Island.
A replica of the Statue of Liberty on the island (Photo: @jezael / unsplash.com)
Tsukiji Fish Market
At the largest bazaar in Japan’s capital, the amount of fish and seafood is overwhelming! Japanese housewives and Tokyo’s best restaurants eagerly buy fresh goods at Tsukiji Outer Market. It’s the perfect place to sample delicious delicacies, steamed and grilled fish, and delicious sushi. Learn more about Tsukiji Market.
Sea urchins on the counter (Photo: @tuannguyen728 / unsplash.com)
Old TV Tower.
The beautiful 333-meter-high red Tokyo Tower structure resembles the Eiffel Tower. It has been towering over the city since 1958 and was once considered the tallest steel structure in the world. There are two observation decks at the top. When the weather is good, you can see the white top of Mount Fuji – be sure to see it and Tokyo! Admission to the observation deck at 150 meters high costs 600 yen.
Tokyo Tower (Photo: @yoavaziz / unsplash.com)
A non-trivial landmark in Tokyo is the cool, colorful Akihabara district in the center of the city. Called the Anime District and Electronic City, Akihabara boasts colorful street signs, loud music, and anime and manga characters prowling the streets. Computers, consumer electronics, and used electronics are plentifully available at the counters. Learn more about the Akihabara District.
Video game showroom (Photo: @jezael / unsplash.com)
Studio Ghibli Museum
Anime fans will find it hard to miss the wonderful museum of Japan’s most famous Studio Ghibli. Dive into the world of Mononoke and Totoro, admire the cute characters and kawaii faces with big eyes! You’ll learn about the history of animation and see how cartoons are made. Learn more about the Studio Ghibli Museum.
Museum building (Photo: Los Paseos / flickr.com)
A colorful and distinctive part of Tokyo, the Ginza district is an informal attraction in the city. If you love shopping, be sure to check out the luxury shopping district with its most famous malls, clubs, and restaurants. It’s a place where Japanese and tourists alike enjoy spending money. Learn more about the Ginza district.
Mitsukoshi department store (Photo: Kakidai / wikimedia.org)
The bustling Shinjuku is home to Japan’s tallest skyscrapers and a giant train station handles more passengers in a day than any other station in the world. There’s a red-light district, steep city views, and a giant Godzilla head! Learn more about the Shinjuku area.
Shinjuku district (Photo: @erikeae / unsplash.com)
Yogi Park is home to Tokyo’s largest Shinto shrine. Meiji Shrine was erected in 1920 in honor of the Emperor of Japan and his wife. During the Meiji rule, the country made a huge leap in development, so the Japanese remember him with great gratitude and reverence. Visitors enter the shrine through a large cypress gate. There are 365 species of trees found in Japan growing near the shrine. Spectacular festivals and competitions are often held in the Outer Garden.
Cypress gate in front of Meiji Shrine (Photo: @michalp24 / unsplash.com)
Worth seeing in Tokyo is the city’s oldest temple, which attracts a meditative atmosphere and a mysterious history of geisha and samurai. The shrine’s second name is Asakusa Kannon. According to legend, its history began in the 7th century when two fishermen found a statue of Buddha – Kannon. At the gate, tourists are greeted by guards – the deities of Wind and Thunder. Take a walk down Nakamise-dori Street, admire the elegant pagodas, and get a prediction in Japanese for a small fee!
Senso-ji Temple (Photo: @moizk / unsplash.com)
How do you understand the mysterious soul of the Japanese without touching the culture of the great warriors? One of the iconic places to see in Tokyo is within walking distance of JR Shinjuku Station. You will see the ancient costumes, defenses and weapons of the samurai and learn about their history and traditions. Tours of the halls are conducted in several languages, including English. Admission for adults costs 1,900 yen.
To experience the atmosphere of rarified Tokyo, come to the central part of Tokyo’s shitamachi, the Lower City. Colorful temples, lively streets with stores and department stores. No one ever gets bored here! It’s fun to walk around on foot but you can also order a rickshaw to get more of the atmosphere. Learn more about the Asakusa district.
Five-tiered pagoda of Ruriko-ji Temple, Asakusa (Photo: @moizk / unsplash.com)
Toyota Mega Web Car Museum
Fans of Japanese cars enjoy visiting Toyota’s main showroom. It is not just a museum, but a huge showroom of the famous concern and a fantastic amusement park. Look at the cars of the future and take pictures against the backdrop of exclusive cars from the 1950s-70s! Grab your driver’s license to be allowed to test-drive the latest Toyota model. You’ll have to pay 300 yen for this pleasure.
If you like quiet places, take a walk in a beautiful park where the Japanese themselves like to relax. Ueno Park was created in 1837. The green area has trees and shrubs from all over the world. Ueno Park is one of the attractions of Tokyo, where people come to admire the sakura. Ueno has four museums and a zoo. You can get into the park for free, and a ticket to the zoo costs 600 yen.
Ueno Park (Photo: @bantersnaps / unsplash.com)
Like the Louvre, you can walk around Tokyo’s biggest museum for a week and never see all the wonders on display. No wonder, since the halls and vaults of the Japanese mega-collection contains over 120,000 items! They occupy five buildings. Check out the fine sculptures, kimonos, warrior armor, and Japanese paintings! Admission costs 620 yen.
Fragment of the composition of the Twelve Heavenly Generals, a tree with polychromy and inlaid crystal eyes (Photo: sinkdd / flickr.com)
It is one of the main attractions in Tokyo, and it is worth seeing with children. It is the first amusement park to be built outside the United States. Tokyo Disneyland has 7 themed zones, and the centerpiece is decorated by Cinderella Castle. Come in the evening and you’ll see a colorful procession of characters from your favorite cartoons. A one-day ticket for adults costs 8200 yen, 6,900 yen for children 12 to 17 years old, and 4 to 11 years old 4,900 yen.
Disneyland Tokyo (Photo: @colt_jones / unsplash.com)
One of the places to see on your own in Tokyo is a museum dedicated to the subway. The Tokyo subway network is a unique transportation system! It carries more than 3.6 billion passengers per year. The entrance to the museum is made in the form of a turnstile of an ordinary subway station. Look at old cars, line maps, archival photos, and mock-ups of underground tunnels. Test your skills on the dispatcher and driver simulators.
A lovely landscaped park in Tokyo was created based on the stories of poems from the popular Kokinshu and Manyoshu collections in Japan. There is a hiking trail around the small lake, and there are signs with poems along it. People come here to enjoy the blooming azaleas and shady corners of the garden, relax on the bank of the pond, and watch the golden carp. Admire the romantic landscapes that illustrate poetic lines!
Rikugien Garden (Photo: ginomempin / flickr.com)
To explore the fashion world of Tokyo, head to the Harajuku district. There are many stores here that sell clothes and accessories. Not just shirts and dresses, but things with catchy slogans, portraits of iconic bands and cartoon characters. Anything that allows you to create a striking image and stand out from the crowd. And there are some important Tokyo landmarks too! Learn more about the Harajuku district.
Entrance to Tokyo Plaza, Harajuku (Photo: @ramonkagie / unsplash.com)
Mori Art Museum
The remarkable museum is located at an altitude of 238 m. The collections occupy the top two floors of the Mori Tower. The first exhibition in the Tokyo tower was held in 2003. See works by Japanese and international artists, paintings by Matisse, Kandinsky and Monet!
Spider Maman sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, Mori Museum (Photo: IQRemix / flickr.com)
National Noh Theater
The Shibuya district is home to an exotic theater that originated in Japan in the 14th century. Actors wearing brightly colored masks act out stories of gods, spirits, demons and ordinary people who lived in an archaic country. The colorful action is accompanied by dancing and music. Have patience – the performance lasts from 3.5 to 5 hours. Ticket prices depend on the seat and start at 2,300 yen.
Geisha dance (Photo: Maiko & Geiko / flickr.com)
Lovers of antiquity are advised to check out the museum exhibit in Tokyo, which is dedicated to the history and traditions of this country. Discover a corner of authentic Japan! The lower floor of the museum is a reconstructed street with buildings, shops, and craft workshops from the Meiji period. Upstairs is an exhibition of traditional Japanese housing. Check out the rickshaw stroller, the candy store and the store selling vintage shoes. Admission costs 300 yen.
Model kitchen with sewing machine (Photo: Daderot / wikimedia.org)
In Japanese, the name of the park means “Garden of Eight Landscapes. The green corner is really beautiful from all sides, in addition, the number 8 in Japan is considered a symbol of good luck and happiness. In a traditional Japanese garden there is no symmetry familiar to Europeans. It is designed to convey the beauty and majesty of wildlife. Come here any time of the year and you won’t be disappointed!
Behind Tokyo’s beautiful gardens and parks is hard work (Photo: @bantersnaps / unsplash.com)
The picturesque Koganei Park displays about three dozen structures that have been brought to Tokyo from different regions of the country. Architecture connoisseurs love the elegant houses and mansions, the tiny police station – koban, the bathhouse – sento, antique sofas, chandeliers and fittings. If you get hungry, have lunch at the cozy retro cafe, which is open in a Meiji era house.
Street model of old Tokyo, 1-in-30 scale (Photo: IzuenGordelekua / flickr.com)
A small statue near Shibuya subway station is a touching landmark in Tokyo that attracts Japanese and foreigners alike. Tokyo residents make appointments at the dog monument, as the Muscovites do near the Pushkin Monument on Tverskaya Street. Hachiko became famous for his loyalty to his master, and today it is known not only in Japan, but all over the world.
Unconventional sights in Tokyo
Cafe with owls . Cafes with cats in Tokyo are known to many. Another thing is the institutions where you can have a cup of coffee in the company of real owls. There are several such cafes in the city. The most popular is the cafe “Les Auru” located near Akihabara station.
Shibuya intersection . During rush hours, Tokyo’s busiest place is crossed by 2.5 thousand people per minute, and there are up to 2 million crossings at the famous intersection in a day.
Yasukuni Jinja Temple . The Shinto shrine, which is dedicated to fallen warriors, offers a wonderful view of Tokyo.
Miraikan Museum . The main showcase of Japan’s futuristic achievements. Are you sure you know everything about Japanese science and technology? An amazing interactive museum that will convince you otherwise!
Akasaka Palace . The only Neo-Baroque palace in Japan was built at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. The appearance of Akasaka Palace is similar to that of Buckingham Palace in London.
Chidorigafuchi . The most romantic sight in Tokyo is a moat with water, the banks of which are planted with 300 sakura trees. During the blossoms, Japanese and tourists enjoy boating on Chidorigafuchi.
Ryogoku Kokugikan . The national arena where sumo wrestlers compete. A great place to experience Japan’s original culture!
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden . An ancient park surrounded by skyscrapers and preserving the layout of the 17th century. It costs 300 yen to enter this fairy-tale land.
What to see in Tokyo in 1 day
Start your journey through the Japanese capital at Tsukijo Fish Market. Then visit the Imperial Palace and Meiji Jingu Temple. In the afternoon, see the Shinjuku and Harajuku areas.
Chidorigafuchi Moat, with sakura branches hanging from the bank (Photo: Arashiyama / flickr.com)