Tokyo’s Top 20 Destinations You Should Visit
Tokyo is one of the world’s biggest cities. No surprise there.
One thing that attracts people is the fact that Tokyo has a bunch of different styles and atmospheres. Depending on where you go, you can feel the history of long traditions or experience the future through new technology.
Since it is a big metropolis, you may not be able to cover all the hot spots in one visit. So it’s important to get information beforehand and focus on what you really want to do. Here are some of the most popular tourist places and neighborhoods in Tokyo to help you plan your trip!
Tokyo Station, Marunouchi (東京駅、丸の内)
Tokyo Station (東京駅)
As you disembark your train in Tokyo, you will come out of the famous red-brick building Tokyo Station. It was destroyed during the war and has been repaired over the years, but its current appearance is the same as when it was built over a hundred years ago.
There is the Station Gallery inside the building if you want to learn more about Tokyo Station.
Besides the gallery, the station also has interesting pedestrian streets inside, such as Ramen Street and Character Street. There is a fancy hotel inside the station too. You can experience different facets of Japan without even leaving the station.
Imperial Palace (皇居)
When you do exit the station, you can feel the crisp air of the neighboring business district - Marunouchi. Walking to the Imperial Palace (皇居) from the station is a typical sightseeing move. It’s the perfect area to tick off some major sights in central Tokyo.
・Best Things to Do in Marunouchi Tokyo Station
・Exploring the Imperial Palace (with the official free tour)
Ginza, Yurakucho (銀座、有楽町)
If you catch the JR Yamanote line trains, you can visit a diverse range of areas in Tokyo. When getting off at Yurakucho Station, why not walk to the world-famous area for luxury shopping in Ginza.
Strolling through the streets and discovering new shops is always fun, but if you want to find high-quality products without walking a lot, you can just go to the malls.
Ginza Six is one of the shopping malls that you must visit, with 241 different brands inside the mall. Fashion, art, cosmetics, tableware, food, books… they have everything, and it’s all stylish and beautiful.
Ginza - Wako and Mitsukoshi
Another place you can go is a classic department store called Ginza Mitsukoshi. It has been at the heart of Ginza for more than one hundred years.
Ueno, Asakusa (上野、浅草)
If you are landing at Narita Airport, then Ueno is a great place to stay. It’s the easiest place to access by train from Narita Airport. It’s also on Tokyo’s most convenient train line; the Yamanote line.
There are plenty of affordable places to stay, including youth hostels for backpackers, as well as hotels with big rooms for families.
Ueno - Ameya Yokocho
Ueno has an interesting street called Ameya-Yokocho where you’ll find fresh fruit, fish markets, foreign street food, and old Japanese shops. There are also art museums and a beautiful park with a zoo that children can also enjoy.
Asakusa - Sensoji
Asakusa is also a great spot to go sightseeing with or without the family.
Tokyo’s oldest temple Sensoji (浅草寺) is located here. You can walk through the eye-catching Kaminari Gate (雷門) and enjoy the shopping street that leads to the temple.
Asakusa also has many places to stay, from reasonably priced hostels to family friendly hotels. You can get to Asakusa by subway on the Asakusa line.
・Best Things to Do in Ueno
・Ueno Ameyoko and Street Food
・Best Things to Do in Asakusa
・Where to Eat in Asakusa
Yanaka Ginza - Yuyakedandan
Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi are collectively known as the Yanesen area and this is where you can feel the “Shitamachi” vibes of Tokyo. Shitamachi literally means “downtown”. People are considered friendlier and more open-minded in Shitamachi, and with a unique sense of humor.
There are quite a few shrines and temples in this area too. Among them, the Nezu Shrine is the most famous and is believed to have been built around 1900 years ago. If you want to go to a shopping district with Shitamachi vibes, you should head to Yanaka Ginza. Not to be confused with the high-end district Ginza, Yanaka Ginza is a much more casual place.
You can get to the Yanesen area by getting off at Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote line. If you happen to be riding the subway, the Nezu or Sendagi stations on the Chiyoda line will both get you there.
・Best Things to Do in Yanaka Neighborhood
Ryogoku, Sumida (両国、隅田)
West Entrance of Ryogoku station
If you are interested in Japanese history and traditional culture, Ryogoku is the place to visit!
Ryogoku Station is situated on the JR Sobu line and has an Edo period-styled shopping mall called Ryogoku NOREN. The Edo period lasted for over two hundred years from 1603 to 1868.
Early Morning Training Sumo Stable
Ryogoku is also famous for its sumo stadium. Sumo tournaments are held here in January, May, and September, but you can enjoy sumo traditions and culture even if you aren’t able to attend a tournament.
There is a sumo museum in the stadium (国技館) and numerous shops where you can get sumo goods on the street! If you are interested in tasting what sumo wrestlers eat, why not try one of the restaurants serving chankonabe (a Japanese hot pot that sumo wrestlers eat to gain weight)! There are many hotels in this area too, so you can immerse yourself in the Edo period.
・Best Things to Do in Ryogoku
Kanda, Akihabara (神田、秋葉原)
Akihabara is the biggest electric town in Japan. People often say it’s a center of Otaku culture, celebrating things like anime, idols, and maid cafés. But you can enjoy this town without being an Otaku!
There are retro gaming arcades where you can get nostalgic seeing the old Famicon, Nintendo, and Sega games. For those who work in an IT field, you can explore the different PC parts shops that are located on the main street.
Akihabara is also home to Japan’s first make-your-own keyboard shop. There are also lots of ramen shops that you can try out.
Akihabara - Super Potato
On the other hand, Kanda has tons of used bookstores. Jimbocho (神保町) (in the Kanda area) is known as Tokyo’s biggest used bookstore district. Most of the books are in Japanese but there are stores that have non-Japanese books as well. Some Japanese books and old magazines are fun to look at even if you can’t read Japanese.
Akihabara and Kanda are both on the Yamanote line!
Kanda Jimbocho - Book Store
Relive scenes from the movie "Lost in Translation"
Shinjuku is a very convenient place from where you can go anywhere in Tokyo or even access the surrounding areas outside of Tokyo. Because of its central location, it might be a good idea to stay here if you are planning to make excursions to other places while still being in the heart of Tokyo.
There are plenty of hotels, from affordable youth hostels to fancy hotels such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo where the movie “Lost in Translation” was filmed!
Shinjuku also has lots of shopping malls and tall buildings where you can get great views, as well as a nightlife district with shiny neon signs and even an LGBT-friendly district (新宿二丁目).
But Shinjuku isn’t all about huge buildings and entertainment areas; be sure to check out the beautiful park Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑). It has a Japanese garden where you can enjoy a cup of matcha tea while soaking up Tokyo’s more peaceful side.
・Best Things to Do in Shinjuku
・The Best Ramen in Shinjuku
・Bars in Shinjuku
・Shopping in Shinjuku
Shibuya - Hachiko
Shibuya crossing (Scramble Crossing)
Shibuya is the place where most of Japan’s street cultures originated! It is also known as a hub for young people. You might be surprised to see how busy this town is! The JR Shibuya Station is on the Yamanote line.
If you take the Hachiko Exit, you can see the statue of Japan’s most famous dog “Hachiko”. Then continue straight to another famous Shibuya spot, the “Scramble Crossing”.
When it’s busy, around two thousand people will cross the road each time the signal changes. It’s popular to get a window seat at Starbucks to get a great view of the crossing! Shibuya has many hotels for both backpackers and families, so it’s a great place to stay if you want to hang out in the city.
It is undeniable that there are many popular shopping malls here, and that each one has a different taste. Have fun while discovering what makes each one unique!
・Shopping in Shibuya
・Where to Eat in Shibuya
・How to Leave your Luggage in Shibuya
Harajuku, Omotesando (原宿、表参道)
Harajuku - Crepes Santa Monica
Harajuku is another town where crazy fashion trends originate. Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu… you may know those popular fashion trends from Harajuku. Takeshita Street is the busiest street in Harajuku and the ideal place to just walk and people watch.
Harajuku - Meiji Shrine (明治神宮)
Harajuku is also home to one of the biggest shrines in Tokyo - the Meiji Shrine (明治神宮). The Meiji Shrine has amazing trees on its grounds and is the perfect place to enjoy a long walk in the fresh air. Adjacent to the shrine is Yoyogi Park, which is an ideal place for a picnic. If you are with children, they can enjoy running around and lying on the grass.
Harajuku has great balance, with its intense shopping street juxtaposed against a relaxing green shrine and park area. Omotesando is only a few minutes away from JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote line and is where you can find stylish cafes and high-end brand shops. You can also catch the subway along the Ginza line to Omotesando Station.
・Cat Street: The Backstreet of Harajuku and Shibuya
・What to buy in Harajuku and Aoyama
・Where to Eat in Harajuku and Aoyama
Daikanyama, Ebisu, Nakameguro (代官山、恵比寿、中目黒)
If you are looking for stylish places to chill out, Daikanyama, Ebisu, and Nakameguro are three places you should check out. Daikanyama and Nakameguro are on the Tokyu Toyoko line while Ebisu is on the Yamanote line.
These three towns all have sophisticated, yet casual cafes and restaurants. Daikanyama is a famous date spot, with small and fashionable kick-knack shops lining the streets.
Nakameguro has lovely cafes by the riverside, with each one having its own, unique taste. Meguro Fudoson (目黒不動尊) is the local temple and features a water spring that is said to have never run dry since it was discovered 1200 years ago!
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (TOP Museum)
Ebisu is a little bit busier than Nakameguro and Daikanyama. The Ebisu Garden Place, a major landmark in Ebisu, has many things to offer. The Photographic Art Museum (東京都写真美術館) is a must-see spot in the Ebisu Garden Place if you like photos!
・Best Things to Do in Nakameguro
・What to Eat and Drink in Nakameguro
・Best Things to Do in Daikanyama
・Best Things to Do in Ebisu
・Where to eat in Ebisu
Roppongi Hills Sky Deck - Tokyo Tower
Roppongi - Kin no Kokoro (Golden Heart)
Roppongi used to be a famous nightspot for clubbing and still has a lot of fun establishments to enjoy throughout the night, but there are also exciting entertainment places for families to visit during the daytime.
Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown are probably the most popular places to visit, either with or without your family. Roppongi Hills has a sky deck where you can see all across Tokyo, including a beautiful view of the Tokyo Tower. Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown both have art museums and event spaces to keep you busy! There are also fancy hotels in this area if you want to find a place close by.
As for nighttime entertainment, there are hundreds of bars and clubs where you can spend the entire night. It makes it easy for you to hop from place to place whenever you want. When you are tired of one place, the next place is right around the corner! You can get to Roppongi along the Hibiya subway line.
・Nightlife in Roppongi
・15 of the Best Late-Night, Early-Morning Ramen Shops in Roppongi
Odaiba has one of Tokyo’s hottest spots, Team Lab Borderless, which is a super popular place for travelers to visit. Team Lab Borderless is a digital art museum where you can experience Japan’s high-tech culture.
Here, you will see something you have never seen before! It is known as the most Instagrammable spot in Tokyo.
Tokyo Joy Police
Odaiba is also home to the headquarters of Fuji TV (Japan’s national TV company). with plenty of activities where you can experience the worlds of their TV programs.
If you’re traveling in the rainy season, the Tokyo Joy Police theme park will ensure your trip is still energetic! It’s a big theme park that’s entirely housed inside a building, so you don’t have to worry about getting wet!
Trick Art Museum
In addition, Odaiba has a Trick Art Museum, a beachside park, shopping malls, and even a big onsen (お台場 大江戸温泉物語) where you can spend the night! You can get to Odaiba along the Rinkai and Yurikamome line.
・Best Things to Do in Odaiba
・What to Eat in Odaiba
Shinagawa is a very convenient place to stay, as it has a Shinkansen (bullet train) station and is on the Yamanote line, as well as many other JR lines.
There are also numerous hotels where families can stay around the station. It’s not as busy as Shibuya or Shinjuku but it still has many places you can visit.
Shinagawa - Maxell Aqua Park
Shinagawa - Maxell Aqua Park
One of the most popular places in Shinagawa is Aqua Park Shinagawa, an aquarium where the marine life is displayed in extraordinary ways. They use effective lights and sounds to create a fantastic atmosphere.
A 15-minute walk from Shinagawa Station to the surrounding residential area takes you to the Hara Art Museum. It’s the perfect place to enjoy unique artworks in a peaceful setting.
You might also want to visit the Shinagawa Shrine (品川神社) to experience Japan's traditional culture too. It’s just 15 minutes away from the station and will leave you with a sense of calm.
・Best Things to Do in Shinagawa
Shimbashi, Shiodome, Akasaka (新橋、汐留、赤坂)
Hayao Miyazaki's Nippon Television Big Clock
Shimbashi (which is also on the Yamanote line) is home to the headquarters of several big companies. One of them is a TV company, Nihon TV, which is Japan’s national TV company and has a tower known as the Nittere Plaza.
Don’t miss the clock at the entrance, as it has become the symbol of this tower and was designed by Hayao Miyazaki!
Shiodome - Ad Museum
From Shimbashi Station, you can walk to Shiodome where there are a bunch of stylish museums. The Ad Museum, established in honor of the 4th president of Japan’s biggest advertisement company, Dentsu, is an interesting choice. Here you can learn about Japan's advertising culture and its history.
Akasaka - Hie Shrine (日枝神社)
Akasaka, which can be accessed along the Chiyoda subway line, has a different atmosphere from Shiodome.
Among the sophisticated shops of this area, you’ll find the Hie Shrine (日枝神社). There are also various types of hotels in these three towns, from affordable to high-end.
Otome Road (“Akihabara for females”)
Japan has several cities with Otaku culture. Ikebukuro is one of them and its specialty is anime. Otome (Japanese for “maiden”) Road has many anime shops, especially for girls.
If you say Akihabara is a hub for male Otaku, Ikebukuro would be the center for female Otaku. The Butler Café and Otaku Bar are both interesting places to have a look, even though you are not an Otaku.
Ikebukuro Sunshine City
Ikebukuro has plenty of family entertainment attractions too. Ikebukuro Sunshine City, which has an aquarium on the top floor, is the perfect place to spend a day. It’s a landmark in Ikebukuro that has been there for over forty years and includes a shopping mall, museums, and restaurants.
Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo is one of the most popular spots in Sunshine City. There are plenty of hotels here that accommodate families. It’s on the Yamanote line and provides easy access to other big cities in Tokyo.
・Where to Go in Ikebukuro
Akagi Shrine (赤城神社)
This sophisticated town was developed during the Edo Period and is filled with old Japanese buildings. It can be accessed by catching the subway to Kagurazaka Station on the Tozai line.
Big towns in Japan were often developed through the cultural influence of shrines. In the case of Kagurazaka, the Akagi Shrine (赤城神社) was the key to its development.
The Akagi Shrine is a short walk from the station, making it easy to visit. It has been renovated several times and is now known as one of the most stylish shrines in Tokyo, designed by the world-famous architect Kengo Kuma.
It is famous for bringing women good luck in things such as meeting a good partner, having a good marriage, and having a healthy birth. The surrounding shops are nice as well, with many having a French influence, and there are restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy the marriage of Japanese and French culture.
・A Day in Kagurazaka
・What to Eat in Kagurazaka
・Shopping in Kagurazaka
Sangenjaya, Shimokitazawa, Koenji (三軒茶屋、下北沢、高円寺)
Sangenjaya - cafe
Shimokitazawa - Tolo Coffee & Bakery
Koenji - Retro shop
History, new technology, modern art or Otaku culture - Japan has various sides to attract all different kinds of people. Another one of Japan’s attractions is its sub-cultures.
Sangenchaya, Shimokitazawa, and Koenji are all centers for Japanese sub-culture. One of the main things that you can enjoy in these towns is shopping at vintage stores. From clothes to shoes, bags and accessories, these shops all showcase slightly different tastes and it is fun to find “the one” that’s meant for you.
In addition to vintage shops, you can also find retro cafes in these areas, which are another attractive point. Although they also have trendy new cafes and Instagrammble street food shops, these retro cafes are still worth visiting.
There are also quite a few famous live music houses where amateur bands play for affordable prices.
Getting there is easy by train. Sangenchaya is on Tokyu Denen Toshi line, Shimokitazawa is on the Inogashira line, and Koenji is on the JR Chuo line.
・Small Tokyo : Sangenjaya
・Best Things to Do in Shimokitazawa
・What to Do in Koenji
Mitaka, Kichijoji (三鷹、吉祥寺)
If you love Hayao Miyazaki, you need to go to Mitaka! When you get off the train at Mitaka Station on the JR Chuo line, you can walk along the tree-lined river to Inogashira Park where there is a Ghibli museum!
Walking along with the river is already pretty “Ghibli” but inside the museum, you can experience a whole world of Ghibli movies. You need to book tickets in advance to enter the museum, so plan accordingly!
Inogashira Park is fun to walk around but you do have the choice re you can float around on a swan boat. As you walk towards Kichijoji Station from Inogashira Park, you can feel a different atmosphere, with shopping malls, small cafes, and cute gift shops that are fun to look around.
JR Kijchijoji station is next to Mitaka on the Chuo line. Both of these towns have several hotels where you can stay, but not too many.
・Best Things to Do in Kichijoji
・20 of the Best food in Kichijoji
Mt. Takao (高尾山)
Takao-san (高尾山) - Lift
Takao-san (高尾山) - View from the top
Takao-san is probably the easiest high mountain that can be accessed from Tokyo. Well, it is still in Tokyo actually! You can take the JR Chuo line to Takao, then transfer to the Keio line. Takao-san-guchi is where you need to disembark to explore the mountain.
There are several walking paths you can follow up the mountain and you can choose one depending on how hard you want the walk to be! There is also a cable car and chair lift if you don’t want to climb all the way up to the top on foot, as well as numerous places where you can have a meal.
The head temple of Takao-san, Yakuo-in (薬王院), offers Shojin-ryori, which is Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. You need to make a reservation to have this meal but it will be a very special experience.
Takao-san (高尾山) - Beer Garden (Beer Mount)
Takao-san also features a beer garden (ビアマウント) that is known for being at the highest point in Tokyo. The mountain’s busy season is from May to November.
・Mt. Takao in One Day
・Only 60 mins from Shinjuku! Top travel tips for Mt.Takao
Tokyo Disney Resort (東京ディズニーリゾート)
Who can miss Tokyo Disney Resort on a trip to Tokyo? You can access this magical resort by train to JR Maihama (舞浜) Station on the Keiyo line. Once you disembark at the station, your journey into the world of dreams immediately begins.
There are two theme parks here - Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea. Tokyo Disney Land is full of classic attractions such as the Cinderella Castle, whereas Tokyo Disney Sea has romantic views with an ocean-themed atmosphere.
They are both guaranteed to give you splendid experiences. There are nighttime parades and the lights after sunset are really something to see.
The Tokyo Disney Resort has four official hotels and unquestionably, they are extremely popular. You need to book your room well in advance. If you don’t care where you stay but still want to spend two or more days in the resort, there are hotels near Maihama Station, as well as one or two stops away.
・Where to Stay When Visiting Disneyland & Disneysea