15 Best Things To Do In Tokyo Japan – Food, Temples, & Castles

by David & Intan

Tokyo Japan is commonly rated the world’s #1 city for travel, and there are so many things to do.

Even though it’s the largest metro area in the world, it’s also one of the safest and easiest to get around, thanks to Japan’s convenient rail system.

Here’s our list of some of the best things to do in Tokyo Japan! Most of these are free or can be done on a pretty modest budget!


Where To Stay In Tokyo

 
 

Best Things To Do In Tokyo Japan

1. Visit The Samurai Museum

No Tokyo trip would be complete without a visit to the Samurai museum in Shinjuku. You can see swords, armor, helmets, guns, and more historical stuff here.

The entrance fee is a little on the high side, but it includes a free guided tour in English.

After the tour you can get your photo snapped wearing a Samurai helmet, or you can even wear a full Samurai costume if you want!

Read More: Shinjuku Samurai Museum


 
 

2. Eat At Omoide Yokocho

The Shinjuku district is a good place to try some Japanese eats. One of the most famous spots is the Omoide Yokocho alleyway, where you can find all kinds of grilled meat skewers and other things in a laid back ‘street food’ type setting.


 
 

3. See The Famous Shibuya Crossing

The Shibuya Crossing is famous as the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world — as many as 3,000 people cross the intersection at a time!

It’s fun to watch the sea of people crossing the street, especially on a weekend. This also happens to be a great area for shopping or eating, so you’ll want to stick around.

Shibuya Crossing Japan

Shibuya is the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing


 

4. Explore Akihabara District

This is the major electronics district of Tokyo. You can find anything related to electronics here, but it especially caters to anime/manga and video gaming. The SEGA and Nintendo retro game shops here are fun to explore.


 
 

5. Join A Tea Ceremony

As you may already know, tea is a big deal in Japan, and it can be a fun cultural experience to join a Japanese tea ceremony!

This is an important traditional ceremony that takes place on a tatami (floor mat), and a lot of preparation goes into it. The tea ceremony is full of artistic detail. For Japanese people, it’s meant to represent purity, tranquility, respect, and harmony.

Even if you’re not really a tea lover, it’s a good dose of Japanese culture and history. Some places also let you rent a kimono to wear as an add-on, making the experience even more immersive and unique.

Book Now: Tea Ceremony In Tokyo

 

6. Shop For Souvenirs

Of course you can’t leave Tokyo without doing some souvenir shopping.

There’s the usual assortment of fridge magnets and keychains, or you can bring home an artsy paper fan, ceramic bowl, kimono, or Japanese knife.

The Shinjuku and Shibuya districts are two of the best for shopping, but we also found some great souvenirs in places we didn’t expect it, like the street stalls at Sensoji Temple.

Japan fridge magnets

Fridge magnets for sale in Tokyo


 

7. Ride A Bullet Train

It’s always fun to travel by train, and Japan has some of the best. The trains here are very efficient and some of the rural routes can be incredibly scenic.

Japan’s futuristic bullet trains are called ‘shinkansen’ and they’re especially fun to ride since they can go hundreds of kilometers per hour. You can ride these on the JR East and JR Central lines near Tokyo.

If you buy a Japan Rail Pass (also known as JR Pass) you can enjoy unlimited rides on JR trains for one, two, or three weeks. This can be a very cost effective way to do long distance train travel in Japan!

Shop Now: Japan Rail Pass

Bullet Train Japan

Faster than a speeding bullet!


 

8. Climb The Tokyo Skytree

The Skytree is the tallest tower in the world, and the 2nd tallest building in the world (after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai). From the top of this tower you can get some great views of the Tokyo cityscape.


 
 

9. Visit Sensoji Temple

Sensoji is the biggest and most popular temple in Tokyo. It’s also the oldest, since it was built in the 7th century.

If you only visit one Japanese temple during your time in Tokyo, this is the one to see! On the outside, it has a 5-story pagoda and a giant paper lantern that’s popular for photos.

Sensoji also happens to be a great place for souvenir shopping. We found lots of great stuff in the street shops surrounding the temple.

All in all, Sensoji was one of our favorite things to do in Tokyo.

Read More: Sensoji Temple

Travel guy at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa Tokyo Japan

Sensoji Temple is the oldest and most popular temple in Tokyo


 

10. Visit Kawasaki Temple

Kawasaki Daishi is one of the nicer temples in the Tokyo area, in Kawasaki City.

It may not be quite as big and famous as the one at Sensoji, but it’s worth a stop if you’re looking for more things to see in Tokyo.

This one was originally built in the 12th century, but it was mostly destroyed in World War II. Even though the current building is a reconstruction, it’s still pretty impressive and looks authentic.

Read More: Kawasaki Temple

Main gate at the Kawasaki Daishi Temple In Tokyo Japan

Kawasaki is more than just a motorcycle brand


 

11. Wear A Kimono

There are lots of kimono rental shops in Japan where you can rent the country’s famous traditional dress for a day.

My wife rented a kimono in Tokyo and we headed over to the famous Shibuya Crossing — perfect photo spot!

If you ask the locals, they aren’t offended at all by foreigners wearing the kimono. Japanese people like to see others enjoying their culture.

Tokyo Pictures kimono girl

Cheesing at Shibuya Crossing


 

12. See Mount Fuji

As the highest peak in Japan, Mount Fuji is also one of the country’s most beloved icons. You’ll see it on postcard photos, souvenirs, and artwork all over Japan, and you should see the mountain with your own eyes too!

The Fuji area is spectacular and you can visit it on a day trip from Tokyo. Prime photo spots include the scenic lakes and the Chureito Pagoda, which is a picturesque 5-story pagoda you can photograph with Mount Fuji in the background.

Long ago Fuji used to be an active volcano, but it hasn’t erupted for hundreds of years (since 1707). If you enjoy hiking, you can also climb Mount Fuji! The trail is beginner friendly, but also challenging enough to be a good workout.

Book Now: Mount Fuji Day Trip / Private Tour

 

13. Day Trip To Kamakura

Kamakura is one of the closest day trips you can take from Tokyo since it’s just 1 hour south of the Tokyo city center. Some top tourist sights here are Hasedera Temple and the giant Buddha statue at Kotoku-in.

Kamakura Buddha

The famous giant Buddha statue at Kamakura is easy to visit from Tokyo


 

14. Day Trip To Matsumoto Castle

Japan has lots of Samurai castles left over from its medieval period. These fortresses are impressive works of art and they can be fascinating to explore.

If you run out of things to do in Tokyo city, Matsumoto is an awesome black and white castle that you can visit on a day trip from Tokyo.

This is one of Japan’s top 3 Samurai castles, along with Himeji and Kumamoto.

Read More: Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle Japan

Matsumoto Castle is a black and white Samurai castle you can see on a day trip from Tokyo.


 

15. Day Trip To Snow Monkey Park

One of the best winter day trips you can do from Tokyo is to visit the Snow Monkey Park near Nagano.

This is a long day trip (ideally it’s better to do as a 2 day trip), but you get to hang out with Japanese snow monkeys in the mountains and watch them soak in the natural hot springs.

The monkeys are hilarious to watch, and photo ops are endless. There’s a bit of easy hiking required, but the snowy view along the way is one of the best parts of the trip.

Read More: Jigokudani Monkey Park

Snow monkeys bathing in a hot spring at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Japan

The Japanese snow monkeys are a blast!


 

Tokyo Hotels

 

 

More Tokyo Travel Tips

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this list of some of the best things to do in Tokyo Japan.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Japan Travel Guide for more tips, info, and photos!

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1 comment

Ding Hon Kim January 16, 2021 - 1:53 pm

Very well presented.

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