Tokyo What to See and Do

Tokyo What to See and Do – Guide 2024

There are numerous things to see in Tokyo and to do during your trip to the wonderful capital of Japan . A populous metropolis, it combines Japanese tradition and culture with futuristic elements . Among the ancient temples stand the skyscrapers that characterize its skyline. Walk in its parks during the cherry blossom season , visit the Imperial Palace and its gardens , as well as the sanctuaries . If you want to discover art and culture, however, the numerous museums will meet all your needs. In this article, we will see together what to visit in Tokyo and what to do in this metropolis during your wonderful trip to Japan!

Where is Tokyo, Why visit it

Tokyo is located in Japan and offers numerous things to see and do during our trip. The beautiful capital is located in the Kanto region , on the island of Hoshu . Here, in the Chiyoda neighborhood , we find the seat of government and parliament , as well as the imperial palace. Thanks to the heritage and history of Japan, in its museums we can discover its past, through the artifacts and numerous works of art preserved. Originally, Tokyo was a fishing village called Edo . It became a politically important city during the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu , becoming his base in 1603 . In 1868 , Emperor Meiji moved the imperial seat here, calling it Tokyo , i.e. eastern capital , compared to the previous Kyoto .

Erroneously known as a city, it is a real urban area with 23 municipalities within it and is one of the most inhabited cities in the world . Between futuristic elements and tradition , there are many things to visit and do in Tokyo, including ancient historic temples and skyscrapers. Among the most popular shrines in Japan, don’t miss the Meiji Shinto Shrine . Visit the Imperial Palace and its public gardens and the wonderful museums displaying works of classical Japanese art , such as the National Museum . At the Edo-Tokyo Museum , where the kabuki theaters are reconstructed .

Through its most iconic neighborhoods , let’s see together what to visit and what to do in Tokyo during your trip! 

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Read also: Where to stay in Tokyo: best areas and hotels

10 Things to See in Tokyo

So, let’s go and discover the capital of Japan and see together what the 10 things to see in Tokyo are .

Below you will find the map of the city where you can find the attractions not to be missed in Tokyo during your trip to Japan. Subsequently we will discover them in detail in our guide What to See and Do in Tokyo, Japan.

1. Santuario Meiji

In the heart of Tokyo, among the first things we recommend you visit in the capital of Japan, we find the wonderful Meiji Shrine. Among the main historical sites to see here, the Shinto shrine is also surrounded by a beautiful forest dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken : it was they who moved the capital to Tokyo. Meiji-jingu is located near Meiji-jingumae and Harajuku stations, making it easy to reach by subway. It was built in 1920 , for the celebrations of the emperor and empress, after having established relations with the great world powers.

Like many other buildings in the city, part of the sanctuary was destroyed in World War II , and was later rebuilt with public funds. In the center of an urban forest with many trees, we find the Meiji Jingu complex , absolutely among the things to see in Tokyo. Here we can discover Shinto rituals , leave offerings and visit the shrine, writing our wishes on ema tablets or buying lucky charms as souvenirs . In the area to the south of the sanctuary we find the internal garden , one of the empress’s favorites and full of irises . Here there is also a traditional tea house and the Kiyomasa well : a much visited place to receive positive energy .

Entrance to Meiji Shrine - Tokyo what to see
The entrance to the Meiji Shrine

2. Asakusa

To breathe the ancient atmosphere of Tokyo Japan, among the things to see here don’t miss the Asakusa district. In this place, in fact, we can find wonderful local craft shops and traditional restaurants, such as in Nakamise Street , near the Sensō-ji temple . In this neighborhood of Tokyo worth visiting we also find the Hanayashiki playground , built in the 19th century and, overlooking the river, the Kuritsu Sumida Park where we can observe fireworks displays and where some festivals are held. Among the symbolic places of the Asakusa district in Tokyo among the things to see, we find the red thunder portal . From here starts the Nakamise-dori avenue , which takes us to the Sensoji temple.

To experience traditions and watch a play, however, go to the Asakusa Engei Hall theater , where rakugo tales are brought to the stage . Along the Sumida river , which Asakusa overlooks, we can observe some important buildings, such as the Azuma-bashi bridge , where you can see the Tokyo Skytree : the tallest tower in the world with its 634 m and the second tallest artificial building, after the Burj Khalifa , in Dubai. Furthermore, among the things to do in Tokyo Japan, don’t miss an excursion on the river aboard a Hotaluna : ferries born from the imagination of the cartoonist Matsumoto , father of Captain Harlock . Finally, in Rokku Broadway don’t miss the Edo style sushi!

tempio Sensō-ji a asakusa - cosa vedere a tokyo - cosa vedere tokyo
Il tempio Sensō-ji, a Asakusa

3. Tokyo Imperial Palace

Among the things to absolutely visit in Tokyo during your trip, don’t miss the Imperial Palace. This is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and is located in the Chiyoda district , near the city station in a wonderful park . Inside the palace complex of approximately 1.15 km² we can also see other structures, such as the Kyuden palace , the private residence of the imperial court, and various shrines . Among the main temples that we can observe inside the palace, there are Fukiage Ōmiya Palace , former residence of the late Empress Kōjun , and that of the Palace . The wonderful gardens to see here in Tokyo among the things to do, and the only ones open to visitors , are Kitanomaru Park and the Oriental ones . Furthermore, the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito took place here in 1990 .

To visit the complex up to the Kyuden , you need to wait for two events a year, the first is New Year’s Eve, when the royal family looks out from the balcony, and the second is the emperor’s birthday . During the shogunate the palace was known as Edo Castle . In 1873 a fire destroyed the old Nishinomaru Palace, thus starting the construction of the current one, finishing in 1888 . Due to the numerous earthquakes and fires that occurred in the Meiji period, the palace changed its appearance several times and added important concrete constructions . Furthermore, in 1945 the palace was almost completely destroyed by bombing and it was rebuilt. To visit the palace in the best way, you need to book a guided tour .

Seimon Bridge Ishibashi Imperial Palace - things to see in Tokyo - what to do in Tokyo - things to do in Tokyo
The Seimon Ishibashi Bridge, which leads to the Imperial Palace

4. Shinjuku

From the traditions of the imperial palace, we move on to the liveliness of the Shinjuku district, the busy and frenetic heart of Tokyo. A place full of contradictions , as only Japan is. In the Nishi-Shinjuku area we can observe the incredible skyscrapers , such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Building and prestigious hotels are located here . To the east of the neighborhood, among the things to see in Tokyo to discover a different side of it, we find the night life . Arriving from its station , we will find a lot of comings and goings, being the busiest in the world . An immense underground labyrinth between shops, shopping centers and even a hotel! Coming out of the East Gate side , you will find the Studio Alta shopping center , dedicated to women’s fashion. Next to it stands the giant screen and the iconic 3D cat .

Kabukicho is the red light district . Unlike others in the world, this is a very touristy place and there are many restaurants. Also among the things to see here is the 12m Godzilla head on the Toho Palace. The authentic soul of Shinjuku and a hidden gem is the Golden Gai . A place that still retains authenticity and founded in the 1950s , it has resisted the modernization of Tokyo. Among small clubs and tiny bars in the labyrinth of alleys, stop in an izakaya to taste Japanese specialities. Finally, among the things to visit in this neighborhood of Tokyo we find Omoide Yokocho , the street of memories, and Shinjuku Gyoen , one of the largest parks in the capital where you can admire the cherry trees in bloom in spring .

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Il Golden Gai, a Shinjuku

5. Shibuya

Special neighborhood of Tokyo, among the things to do here you cannot miss a visit to one of the most photographed places in the capital. Its intersection , in fact, is the metaphor of the chaotic order of the city, between art and fashion. In addition to its liveliness, this neighborhood also has an artistic soul . In fact, among the streets we can observe the fashion of young people and all the styles present here, shopping at Shibuya109 or purchasing our original souvenirs at the immense Don Quijote . Head to Miyashita Park to enjoy traditional dishes, or to Shibuya Yokocho which offers numerous restaurants, including yakitori, ramen and sushi, karaoke bars and sumo wrestlers .

Above the neighborhood station and among the things to visit in Tokyo we find the Shibuya Scramble Square with the Shibuya Sky : a platform at 230 m that offers a breathtaking 360° view. Among the main attractions of Shibuya, however, at its station we find the statue of the dog Hachiko , which also inspired a wonderful film thanks to its touching story. Finally, walk along the pedestrian street called Supeinzaka , meaning Spanish hill , to the Parco shopping center, which is reminiscent of a Spanish street, for the Japanese.

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The iconic Shibuya Crossing

6. Ginza

With a rich history, rooted in the Edo period , it is now a symbol of elegance to be seen in Tokyo. In the past, the mint was built here , today we find the long shopping street with the historic warehouses of the capital and fashionable boutiques . Not only a place to visit in Tokyo where you can find prestigious brands , but also starred restaurants to taste the best of typical cuisine or kabuki restaurants to watch traditional shows. Furthermore, here we also find the Buddhist temple of Tsukiji Hongan-ji and the Tsukiji fish market . Furthermore, from here you can also easily reach the Imperial Palace .

Another symbolic building of Ginza is the Tokyo International Forum , a huge conference center built in steel and glass where concerts, shows and exhibitions are held. Its corridors suspended in the void will leave you speechless, for an example of modern architecture to see in Tokyo. To take a unique photo, go to the labyrinth of alleys of Yurakucho Yokocho , illuminated only by the light of lanterns between small traditional restaurants where you can enjoy yakitori . Furthermore, the Ginza district is also a unique place in Tokyo to admire contemporary architecture , such as the glass and concrete Hermes building designed by Renzo Piano .

The Ginza Six shopping mall
The luxury Ginza Six shopping mall

7. Roppongi Hills

Among the major urban complexes in all of Japan, in the Minato district , among the things to see in Tokyo, we find Roppongi Hills. Among the things to do here in Tokyo, visiting this place is a unique moment among incredible architecture, such as the Mori Tower , which will leave you speechless. This city within the city covers 11 hectares and its construction began in 1986, inaugurating it in 2003 . Work of the entrepreneur Minoru Mori , his idea was to guarantee its inhabitants all the necessary nearby services, thus having more free time . A very unreal vision of modern, fast-paced Japan. Above the complex we see the Mori Tower building, with 54 floors , where mainly offices and hotels are located, but also the Mori Art Museum ; ideal for contemporary art enthusiasts.

At Tokyo City View, thanks to its elevator , at a cost of 1500 Yen, you can admire the view over the entire city. A particular structure at the foot of the Mori Tower is the Maman , an enormous steel and bronze sculpture in the shape of a spider created by the French-American Louise Bourgeois . Now a renowned tourist destination, Roppongi Hills is among the most fashionable places in Tokyo and among the things to do here include its panoramic observatory and the headquarters of Asahi TV . Famous series all over the world were born from this channel, such as Doraemon , and the first floor can be visited.

spider statue Roppongi Hills
Maman Statue and Mori Tower

8. Ueno

One of the most fascinating neighborhoods to see in Tokyo and full of things to do, Ueno will surprise you. A quiet place that combines culture and nature , it winds around Ueno Park , the green lung of the capital, where most of the attractions are located. A day spent in Ueno is a moment of relaxation away from the frenzy and mass tourism. Its vast park is near the train station and was originally part of the sacred complex of Kaneiji Temple , transforming it into a public park in 1800 . Walking inside, we can still admire the remains of the temple today, among woods, gentle hills, paths among the cherry trees in bloom in spring and lakes.

Furthermore, this place is one of the most popular places for hanami in spring : the tradition of enjoying the beauty of flowering trees by having a picnic. Among the things to do in this Tokyo park, go to Shinobazu Pond to relax in a romantic atmosphere among the greenery, while the skyscrapers stand out in the background, or take a ride on a pedalo . In the center of the pond stands the Bentendo Temple of the goddess Benzaiten, dating back to 1600 . Inside the park we also find numerous museums , such as the National, Metropolitan Art, Western Art and Science Museums. Outside the park, however, we find the Ameyoko market and the Ueno zoo , one of the main things to visit in Tokyo and do with children. Finally, visit the Toshogu shrine , dedicated to the Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu , with a wonderful peony garden.

The Shinobazu-no-ike pond
The Shinobazu-no-ike pond in Ueno Park

9. Akihabara

A destination loved by fans of Japanese pop culture , the Akihabara neighborhood cannot be missing from the list of things to see in Tokyo. An area created after World War II as the seat of the electronics black market , today the main advanced technology shops of the capital are located here . Furthermore, today, it is the mecca of otaku : nerds passionate about comics, video games, manga and related products. Cosplayers and local pop idols stroll through its streets . Among its bright signs and duty-free shops, manga and anime fans will find everything they desire; like at the Akiba Culture Zone .

In Gigo , the neighborhood’s iconic arcades, gamers from all over the world gather in a high-rise building, or stop for a drink in a manga-themed café . Numerous Japanese pop groups were born in the AKB48 Theater and many shops rent cosplay costumes so you can walk through its streets in a unique way. A multi-faceted neighborhood to visit in Tokyo, between its more modern soul and ancient places of worship in its residential area .

akihabara game district
L’Akihabara Game District

10. Toyosu

Finally, among the things to see in Tokyo the artificial island of Toyosu could not be missing . Built in the 1930s , the largest fish market in the world stands here , double the size of its predecessor, the Tsukiji market . Furthermore, here there is LaLaport Toyosu , a huge shopping center overlooking the ocean, and Toyosu Park , much loved by families and with vast green areas. Furthermore, it is a meeting point thanks to its pitches equipped with barbecues . Among the things to visit here in Tokyo, don’t miss its fish market which attracts many travelers every day, as well as industry workers and the best chefs in the country.

Arriving in the morning , you can enjoy a delicious breakfast of fresh sushi and admire the liveliness of the place. Opened in 2018 to replace Tsukiji Market, fishing boats from all over the world arrive here in the morning at 5am and it is open to the public until 3pm . Instead, it is closed on public holidays. This fish market has become a real attraction thanks to the tuna auctions , also having stands to observe them. Finally, go near the island’s station , where ships docked in the past, to walk along the sea among shops and restaurants. Then stop to admire the sunset from the Rainbow Bridge .

Toyosu fish market
The Toyosu Fish Market

Tokyo what to See, FAQ

What to see in Tokyo in 3 days?

In 3 days visit the Asakusa district, Ueno, Akihabara, Ginza, the Imperial Palace, Shibuya and Sensoji Temple.

What to see in Tokyo in 4 days?

With 4 days visit the districts of Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tsukiji and Roppongi and their main attractions

Tokyo in 7 days, what to see?

A week at your disposal is enough to visit the main attractions of Tokyo and add an excursion to Nikko, to visit its shrines, or to Kamakura.

Tokyo in 2 days, what to visit?

In 2 giorni visitate Ueno, Asakusa e Chiyoda, Shibuya e Shinjuku.

What to see in Tokyo in 5 days?

Con 5 giorni a Tokyo visitate Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tsukiji, Roppongi, Monte Takao e Nakano Broadway.

What to see in Tokyo in 1 day?

With just one day in Tokyo visit Senso-Ji Temple, Tokyo Tower and Shibuya

What to absolutely see in Tokyo?

Among the things to absolutely visit in Tokyo, don’t miss those indicated in our guide.

Travel tips for visiting Tokyo

Now that we have seen together what attractions not to be missed in Tokyo, we thought we would recommend a series of tours that allow you to visit this wonderful city.

Travel Tips for Tokyo and Japan

To discover the country from Tokyo to Kyoto, we recommend our Group Tour: Enchanted Japan. An extraordinary journey that allows you to experience Japanese life at 360°, with travel by bullet train and an overnight stay in a ryokan.

Group Tour: Enchanted Japan

In short: 10-day Classic Japan Trip from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Itinerary: Tokyo, Shirakawa, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Nara, Kyoto.
Duration: 12 days – 9 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: JPARCH1201

With only a week at your disposal, the one for you is the Mini Tour Japan: from Tokyo to Kyoto. 7 days with visits to discover the country from Tokyo to Kyoto, traveling by Shinkansen train.

Mini Tour Japan: from Tokyo to Kyoto

In short: 7-day semi-individual Japan tour from Tokyo to Kyoto with transfer by shinkansen.
Itinerary: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Fushimi, Osaka.
Duration: 9 days – 6 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: JPARCH0901

Instead, for a semi-individual journey to discover the Islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, choose our Japan Tour: The Secrets of the Southern Islands. The tour that blends tradition and modernity, offering a complete vision of the land of the samurai.

Japan Tour: Secrets of the Southern Islands

In short: 12 Day Japan Tour to discover the Southern Islands.
Itinerary: Tokyo, Osaka, Dogo Onsen, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kyoto.
Duration: 13 days – 10 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: JPARCH1301

How to visit Tokyo and Japan

Now that we have seen what to see in Tokyo and which tours and excursions are recommended for your trip, you are ready to go !

We always remind you to inform yourself about the documents necessary for your entry into Japan. In this regard, we advise you to consult our Safe Traveling Japan section to better organize your trip. Finally, if you are looking for some advice for your next trip to Japan, pop over to our Japan Blog!

Although it is possible to organize your trip to Tokyo and Japan completely independently, we at Arché Travel always recommend relying on a specialized tour operator for the organization of your group trip. In this way you will be sure to have a  travel experience in Japan in total  safety and reliability, discovering what to see in Tokyo.

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