10 things you absolutely must do in Tokyo

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Tokyo, the sprawling metropolis, an urban agglomeration whose different facets alternate and flow along the dense railway network of the city. Tokyo is a city that deserves to be experienced to the fullest: it is metropolitan chaos e sacredness of temples, it is madness and calm, it is dark and lively. Tokyo is simply everything, and each neighborhood shows a new and never the same side of the city, a side to explore and get lost in, only to find yourself again.
There are many things you can do and see in a city like Tokyo, but today I propose only a dozen of my favorites, so here are the 10 things you absolutely must do in Tokyo.


  1. Admire the city from above
  2. Go to a Neko Cafe
  3. Visit Akihabara
  4. Stroll to Takeshita Doori
  5. Enjoying the city parks
  6. Take part in a city matsuri
  7. Attending a Sumo tournament
  8. Discover the neighborhoods outside the more touristy routes
  9. Enjoy the rich gastronomic offer
  10. Visit one of the city's museums
  11. Plan your trip: Hotel and Tour
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Admire the city from above

I am a lover of landscapes, every city is able to give unique and breathtaking scenery, and Tokyo is no exception. If you want to admire it in all its enormous vastness there are many places you can choose from: you go fromTokyo Metropolitan Government Office Observatory, located on the 45th floor and totally free, in the brand new Tokyo Skytree, inaugurated in 2012, is the tallest tower in the city with its 634 meters, for a 360 ° view over the city.
A great classic is the Tokyo Tower, Real symbol of the city, with its 333 meters of height. But my favorite viewpoint remains the Tokyo City View a Roppongi Hills, a magnificent Observatory located on the 52nd floor, where the Mori Art Museum which often offers very interesting exhibitions. There is also it Skydeck Open Air with a 360 ° outdoor view, but closed in case of adverse weather conditions.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office - Shinjuku district

  • How to get there: stop Tocho-mae, metro Toei Oedo Line; alternatively, it can be reached on foot in 10 minutes from JR station Shinjuku, West exit
  • Free entry
  • Timetables: North Observatory 9.30-23.00 (closed the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month); South Observatory 9.30-17.30 (closed on 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month). Both Observatories are closed on New Year's Eve holidays (December 29 to January 3)

Tokyo SkyTree - Sumida district

  • How to get there: stop Tokyo Skytree Station, Tobu Isesaki Line, or stop Oshiage Metro Toei Asakusa Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Keisei Oshiage Line
  • Admission: 2,060 Yen first level; 3,090 Yen both levels, Buy priority ticket online!
  • Hours: 8.00-22.00. It has no closing days

Tokyo Tower - Minato district

  • How to get there: stop Onarimon, Toei Metro Line Mita; stop Akabanebashi, metro Toei Oedo Line; stop Kamiyacho, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
  • Admission: 900 Yen first level; 1,600 yen both levels
  • Hours: 9.00-23.00. It has no closing days

Tokyo City View - Roppongi district

  • How to get there: stop Roppongi, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
  • Admission: 1,800 Yen for the first level, 500 Yen additional for the Skydeck
  • Hours: 10.00-23.00 (Skydeck 11.00-20.00, open according to weather conditions)

2 - Go to a Neko Cafe

Il Neko Cafe is a thematic café, in which the main attraction is cats (Neko in Japanese means cat). In these rooms while having your own coffee, drink or a small meal, you can play and observe the cats housed inside. In Tokyo they are widespread, and there is no better way to spend a lazy rainy afternoon than to pamper our feline friends in a quiet environment, designed especially for them, with soft lights and tones, and where you can sip something to calmly and calmly. drinking: ideal for relaxing a bit during hectic city tours. In these places, in addition to the normal consumption, an entrance price is often asked, on average you get to spend around 1,500-2,000 Yen.
One of the Neko Cafes I like most is located in Kichijoji, a suburb to the west of the city, where it seems to enter a enchanted forest: Temari no ouchi Cafe (about 10 minutes walk from JR Kichijoji station).

3 - Visit Akihabara

Lovers of electronics, manga and all the weirdest things from Japan, can definitely not miss a visit to the crazy neighborhood of Akihabara, realm of electronics and of the otaku world. Known as Electric Town, here you can find everything, a visit to Yodobashi Akiba, huge electronics store, where you can safely vent your desire for electronic gadgets.
This is also the arcade district, as well as the famous Maid Cafe, the cafeterias where you will be served by the maids, girls with a particular uniform of Victorian or French style, decorated with lace, who also entertain customers with games and songs, all in full kawaii style (cute and a little childish ).

  • How to get there: JR station Akihabara along the Yamanote Line, a circular route that touches the key points of the city.

4 - Stroll to Takeshita Doori

During even a short stay in Tokyo, you cannot miss a stop in the madness of Takeshita Street, pedestrian street just in front of the exit of the Harajuku station: it is the street of alternative fashion, of young people and of kawaii, where you will find yourself submerged by a flood of incredible people and with many shops where to shop: do not miss the sweet crepes of Marion Crepes, and a stop from is a must Daiso, a 5-storey shop where you will find everything for 100 Yen (about € 1), an ideal destination for compulsive shopping and for buying cool souvenirs.

  • How to get there: 5 minutes walk from JR station Harajuku, Yamanote line.

5 - Enjoy the city parks

One aspect that many underestimate in a city like Tokyo is green: Tokyo is full of green areas, beautiful city parks where you can enjoy an afternoon or a morning of pure relaxation, where to have a picnic and where to admire the beauty of the cherry blossoms in spring, or the fiery red of momiji, Japanese maples in autumn. Among the parks that absolutely deserve a visit, one cannot fail to mention the Ueno park, one of the largest and most important public parks in the Japanese capital, a classic destination for hanami, la contemplation of blossoming sakura.
Another wonderful green area not to be missed is the Yoyogi park, another traditional destination for making hanami, and where on Sundays you could meet rockabilly groups, to relive the luster of the 50s between jelly, leather jackets and wild dancing!
Impossible not to mention the Shinjuku park, true green lung in the heart of Shinjuku, the largest park in the city where inside you will find Japanese, French and English gardens, ideal to visit in autumn to admire the foliage.

Ueno Park

  • How to get there: "Parco" exit from the JR station Ueno, Yamanote line
  • Free entry
  • Hours: always open

Yoyogi Park

  • How to get there: 5 minutes walk from JR station Harajuku
  • Free entry
  • Hours: always open

Shinjuku Park

  • How to get there: Shinjuku entrance, 10 minutes walk from JR station Shinjuku (South exit) or 5 minutes walk from the stop Shinjukugyoen-mae, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line; Sendagaya entrance, 5 minutes walk from JR station Sendagaya, Chuo / Sobu line
  • Admission: 200 Yen
  • Hours: 9.00-16.30. Closed on Mondays and for New Year's holidays (from 29 December to 3 January)

6 - Take part in a city matsuri

One of the most beautiful and special things that can happen to you in the city is to attend a typical matsuri, one of the traditional Japanese festivals. The ideal season for matsuri is summer, but also in spring and autumn you will have the opportunity to take part in the more cheerful and lively side of the Japanese. Stop at the numerous stalls of excellent street food and try to breathe deeply the atmosphere of fun and joy, it is definitely contagious! Among the most beautiful and important festivals in Tokyo, do not miss the Sanja matsuri, Asakusa's Sensoji festival, is one of the city's three main matsuri, where you can watch the mikoshi (portable shrines) parade along the streets of the neighborhood.
In June, however, do not miss the They know Matsuri of the Shrine of Hie, one of the most famous festivals in the Japanese capital and which takes place every two years, in even years, alternating with the Kanda matsuri, which instead takes place in odd years.

7 - Attending a Sumo tournament

Every year all over Japan are held 6 great Sumo tournaments, in Tokyo take place in the months of January, May e September. So if you go to the Japanese capital during these times, you may have the opportunity to attend the fighting sessions. Sumo is it Japanese national sport and it is considered an art form, attending a tournament is certainly a unique experience to live: sessions usually last all day, starting at 8.30 in the morning, even if the major divisions fight after 15.00, and each start of division is preceded by a purification ceremony.

  • Where: Kokugikan, sumo stadium in the neighborhood of Ryogoku
  • How to get there: a few minutes walk from the JR station Ryogoku, Sobu line
  • Prices: from 5,300 Yen to 13,400 Yen, depending on the place

8 - Discover the neighborhoods outside the more touristic routes

Tokyo is a huge city, made up of 23 special neighborhoods which in turn are cities within the city; each with its peculiarities: from the youthful follies of Shibuya, to the calm of Ueno and to the tradition of Asakusa, each area has its own unique character and well-defined identity. But beyond the more purely tourist areas, which obviously cannot be missed on a trip to Tokyo, I recommend other districts and streets less traveled by tourists, for example the residential areas of Daikanyama e Nakameguro, which have become quite trendy in recent years thanks to their somewhat vintage and a little hipster shops and clubs.
Returning to the Ueno area, however, be sure to take a walk between Yanaka e Nezu, areas that take you back in time, with their streets and narrow alleys. Yanaka Cemetery is one of the most famous destinations during the hanami for its cherry blossoms.
Another traditional area is Kagurazaka, where among its narrow streets you will find many cafes and restaurants, and where once there were the tea houses of the geisha.

9 - Enjoy the rich gastronomic offer

Tokyo is there world capital of gastronomy, where to find the greatest concentration of starred restaurants (13 restaurants have in fact received the 3 Michelin stars), and even without spending staggering amounts, the number of restaurants and clubs that you find around the city is truly impressive. One thing is certain: here you will never die of hunger, the advice is to experience the rich culinary offer of the capital, do not stop only at sushi. Absolutely to try are the Windows, the typical tagliolini in broth (a bowl can cost from 500 Yen to 1,000 Yen depending on the type)okonomiyaki (about 800 Yen) a frittatone made with cabbage and bacon (or with the ingredients you prefer, okonomi = to your taste) cooked on the grill, usually right in front of you, and then takoyaki, sukiyaki, Yakitori... in short, there is to go crazy! And remember that Tokyo is a city that develops vertically, so don't be surprised to find excellent restaurants on the 3rd or 4th floor in a building (eyes always up), but also in the station: Japanese stations are full of excellent restaurants, often some floors are reserved only for gastronomy (don't think about the sadness of the bars in Italian stations, here you can eat really well!).

10 - Visit one of the city's museums

Even if you are not one of those who like to shut up in a museum, during your visit to Tokyo I recommend that you stop at at least one of the beautiful museums that the capital offers: it can also be an ideal refuge during the hottest and humid hours of the day (especially in summer) or during a rainy day. My advice if you only have time for one museum is to visit the Tokyo National Museum, found in the Ueno park, the first museum in Japan that boasts the largest collection nationwide: over 100.000 pieces including Japanese and Asian archaeological finds and works of art.
Another gem not to be missed is theEdo-Tokyo Museum, museum dedicated to the city of Tokyo, its past and its future, located in the district of Ryugoku, the district of Sumo.
Studio Ghibli lovers won't want to miss out on the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, west of Tokyo, while if you are not easily impressed and you are a lover of strange places, the bizarre Parasite Museum, a Meguro is definitely the one for you.

Tokyo National Museum

  • How to get there: 5-10 minutes walk from JR station Ueno, Yamanote line
  • Admission: 620 Yen + cost of temporary exhibition (1,000-1,500 Yen)
  • Hours: 9.30-17.00. Closed on Mondays and for the New Year holidays

Edo-Tokyo Museum

  • How to get there: 5 minutes walk from JR station Ryogoku, Sobu line
  • Admission: 600 Yen
  • Hours: 9.30-17.30. Closed on Mondays and for the New Year holidays

Ghibli Museum

  • How to get there: from the JR station Mitaka, Chuo line there are shuttles that reach the museum (210 Yen one way, 320 Yen return). From the station it can also be reached by taxi (around 750 Yen)
  • Admission: 1,000 Yen, Buy your ticket online!
  • Hours: 10.00-18.00 (reservation is required). Closed on Tuesdays and for the New Year holidays

Parasite Museum

  • How to get there: 15 minutes walk from JR Meguro station, Yamanote line
  • Free entry
  • Hours: 10.00-17.00. Closed on Mondays and New Year's holidays

Plan your trip: Hotel and Tour

Tokyo is a huge city that offers several areas suitable for a living room. According to many, Shinjuku e Shibuya they are the best options, above all because they are well connected in terms of transport, both towards the various districts of the city and towards the airports.
Also recommended is the Roppongi Hills area, full of excellent restaurants and shops.

  • where to sleep: Discover our hotel offers in Tokyo
  • our tours: t365.it/tokyo- Entry-sky-tree, t365.it/tokyo- Entry-museo-ghibli

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