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Best Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide (100% Customizable)

  • Guided , Private Tours , Tokyo , Tour Reviews , Viator

Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan, offers a myriad of attractions and cultural experiences. To truly learn about the city, a private tour with a local guide is the perfect choice.

This tailored tour allows you to explore Tokyo at your own pace and according to your specific interests. Whether you’re fascinated by ancient temples, vibrant markets, or modern architecture, the local guide will create an itinerary that caters to your preferences.

With pickup options and stroller accessibility, this tour ensures convenience and ease of travel. The knowledgeable guides provide insightful explanations, giving you a deeper understanding of Tokyo’s rich culture and history.

The tour is available in multiple languages, making it accessible to a diverse range of travelers. With a 5.0 overall rating based on 210 reviews, this private tour promises an unforgettable and personalized experience in Tokyo.

Great News! You can reserve your spot for free with Viator. You can easliy cancel any time up to 1 day before without paying anything.

Quick Takeaways

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

  • Customized itinerary of must-see sites and local neighborhoods
  • Knowledgeable guides provide explanations about culture and history
  • Options for pickup and stroller accessibility
  • Available in multiple languages

Not for you? Here's a few more great tours and experiences nearby.

  • Private & Custom TOKYO Day Tour Toyota COMMUTER (Max 13 Pax)
  • Private Transfer From Tokyo Port to Tokyo Haneda Int Airport(Hnd)
  • Shinjuku Golden-Gai and Kabuki-Cho Bar Hopping With Master Guide
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What’s Included?

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

The private Tokyo tour with a local guide includes a customized itinerary of must-see sites and local neighborhoods, providing insights into local life and Tokyo culture.

This tailored tour allows you to explore Tokyo based on your specific interests, ensuring a personalized and enriching experience.

The duration of the tour can range from 3 to 8 hours, allowing flexibility to accommodate your schedule.

Pickup is offered, and the meeting point can be arranged and confirmed in advance. The tour ends back at the meeting point, and stroller accessibility is provided for convenience. Service animals are also allowed.

With the option of selecting a guide who speaks English or another language, language barriers are minimized. Plus, the tour is designed for small groups, ensuring an intimate and immersive experience.

The private Tokyo tour offers the freedom to discover the city in a way that aligns with your preferences and interests.

Duration and Pricing

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

The duration of this personalized tour in Tokyo can range from 3 to 8 hours, allowing ample time for exploration and discovery. The pricing for this unique experience varies based on the size of the group, starting from €77.22, ensuring a valuable and memorable journey through the vibrant streets of Tokyo.

  • Flexibility: With duration options ranging from 3 to 8 hours, you have the freedom to choose the length of your tour based on your preferences and schedule.
  • Personalization: This private tour is tailored to your interests, allowing you to create a customized itinerary that suits your preferences and ensures a personalized experience.
  • Affordability: The group pricing starting from €77.22 makes this private Tokyo tour accessible for various budgets, providing an excellent value for the personalized service and insights into local life and Tokyo culture that you will receive.

Customer Reviews

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

Customer reviews for this personalized tour in Tokyo highlight the knowledgeable guides, interesting explanations, and the opportunity to visit famous spots in a few hours. The overall satisfaction of participants is evident from the 5.0 overall rating based on 210 reviews.

Travelers appreciate the expertise of the tour guides who provide insights into local life and Tokyo culture. The guides are friendly, accommodating, and offer customized itineraries based on the interests of the group. Participants also value the precise explanations on history, culture, and more, making the tour not only informative but also engaging.

While some reviewers mention the tour being expensive, they still acknowledge the fantastic experience and personalized attention they received.

The customer reviews emphasize the expertise and satisfaction of the tour guides, making this private Tokyo tour a highly recommended choice for exploring the city’s must-see sites and local neighborhoods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

How far in advance do I need to book the private Tokyo tour with a local guide?

The booking timeline for the private Tokyo tour with a local guide is flexible, allowing you to book the tour according to your preferred dates. This provides you with freedom and convenience in planning your trip to Tokyo.

Can I request a specific meeting point for the tour?

A specific meeting point request can be made for the Private Tokyo Tour with a Local Guide. The best time for the tour can also be discussed and finalized after booking.

Are there any additional fees or expenses that are not included in the tour price?

Additional fees and expenses may apply for transportation, meals, and entrance fees to attractions during the private Tokyo tour. Meeting point options can be arranged, but must be confirmed in advance.

Is there a minimum age requirement for participants of the private Tokyo tour?

The minimum age requirement for participants of the private Tokyo tour is not specified in the given information. It is recommended to contact the tour provider directly to inquire about any age restrictions or guidelines for the tour.

Can I bring my own stroller for the tour, or is there a rental option available?

Stroller options are available for the private Tokyo tour. You can bring your own stroller or choose to rent one. This provides convenience for participants who require strollers during the tour.

Private Tokyo Tour With A Local Guide Tailored To Your Interests

To sum it up, a private Tokyo tour with a local guide offers a personalized and immersive experience tailored to your interests.

The tour covers must-see sites and local neighborhoods, providing insights into local life and Tokyo culture.

With pickup options and the ability to choose a meeting point in advance, convenience is prioritized.

The tour is available in multiple languages, stroller accessible, and allows for service animals.

The cancellation policy is flexible, offering a full refund up to 24 hours in advance.

Based on rave reviews, this private tour guarantees knowledgeable guides, interesting explanations, and the opportunity to create a customized itinerary.

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🏯 The 5 Best Private Guided Tours of Tokyo [2024 Reviews]

If you’re looking for a kaleidoscope of flavors, cultures, and experiences, Tokyo should be at the very top of your list. However, if you really want to take advantage of everything this magical city has to offer, you need to do it right.

If you want an experience that’s as unique as the city itself, then you should sign yourself up for one of these top private tours of Tokyo .

This melding of neon lights, hidden alleyways, and skyscrapers is filled with untold stories and secrets that your guide will let you in on. If that sounds like fun to you, let’s jump right in!

Be sure to see our reviews of Tokyo Food Tours , Mt Fuji Day Trips and Tokyo Bike Tours .

Best Tokyo Private Tours by Locals

Quick answer: the 5 best private tokyo city tours for 2024.

  • Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour – English Speaking Driver
  • Tokyo: Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
  • Tokyo Private Custom Walking Tour with Local Friendly Guide
  • Tokyo Private Tour by Car/Van – Guide Option Available (up to 13)
  • Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day

Tokyo City Private Tour Reviews

1. tokyo private chauffeur driving sightseeing tour.

  • Duration: 7 to 9 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: 9:00, 9:30, 10:00 AM
  • Includes:  Bottled water, driver, pocket Wifi, Private tour, transport by private vehicle

This first tour will take you right into the heart of the vibrant Tokyo metropolis, offering up a sensory overload bound to leave you feeling like you’re in some sort of dream.

The Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour – English Speaking Driver  is one of the best choices you can make if it’s your first time in the city, taking you on a deep dive right into the center of it all.

If that wasn’t good enough, the staff is so professional, knowledgeable, and planned everything perfectly to make for a seamless tour.

First on our list is the grand dame herself: the oldest and most prominent temple in Tokyo, called the Senso-ji. This Buddhist temple is nearly 1400 years old, making it not only a gorgeous sight to see but a journey back in time.

Next up is the Tokyo Skytree, which is an architectural marvel towering 634 meters, completely redefining the term “city lights”.

Now head down into the Tsukiji Fish Market, where street food stalls burst full of energy, mouthwatering scents, and all kinds of interesting flavors.

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It’s one of the most renowned fish markets in the world, spanning everything from food stalls to upscale restaurants serving all kinds of seafood. After you’re all fueled up, it’s time to travel to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace where the Edo Castle ruin tells plenty of stories on its own.

The Meiji Jingu Shrine is a serene haven amidst a wild urban sprawl, offering a moment for peaceful reflection in the middle of your tour. Don’t forget the Shibuya Crossing, which is the busiest intersection in the world and is often compared to New York’s Time Square.

Finally, pay a visit to Takeshita Street, where Harajuku’s avante-garde spirit thrives as a breathing masterpiece of youth culture.

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience, other experiences you may enjoy:, 2. tokyo full-day private tour with nationally-licensed guide.

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure:  Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: Anytime between 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Includes: Licensed local guide, free photos

If the first tour really caught your attention but you’re looking for something shorter, we have you covered. The Tokyo: Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide  is a few hours shorter yet still packs a punch in terms of learning and excitement.

If you have the morning or afternoon available and would like to see Tokyo’s top sights in one day without the hassle of doing it yourself, this is a great option for you.

What always kind of made me avoid tours in the past was the idea that I’d get herded around with a bunch of strangers like cattle, just ticking off a generic list of sights to see.

By now, I’ve learned that that’s not always the case – you just have to know  which  tours are the good ones to take. This tour is one of the best, as it lets you completely customize your itinerary, letting your guide create a schedule perfectly tailored to your needs.

Take some time here before strolling through the Imperial Palace’s Outer Garden, complete with seasonal flowers, original moats, entrance gates, and guardhouses. At lunchtime, you’ll enjoy a Harajuku meal where “kawaii” and “trendy” blend like soy sauce and wasabi.

Speaking of beautiful contrasts, we’ll then hang out in the Meiji Jingu Shrine: a forest oasis settled between the chaos of Shibuya and Shinjuku. Time seems to stand still here, and it’s a wonderful sanctuary for those who need a break amidst the hustle and bustle.

Overall, if you’re looking for a Tokyo masterclass, I highly recommend you consider this tour!

3. Tokyo Private Custom Walking Tour with Local Friendly Guide

  • Duration: 4 to 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 9:00 AM
  • Includes: Professional local guide

Walking tours are something really special, offering you that up close and personal experience that you simply can’t get in any other format.

If you want an authentic way to see this amazing city, the Tokyo Private Custom Walking Tour with Local Friendly Guide  is one of the best, creating an intimate experience where you get a knowledgeable guide to lead you around.

Based on your and your party’s interests, your itinerary will cover some of the most fascinating landmarks in all of Japan.

This full-throttle immersion into the vibrant city’s heart seamlessly combines the modern marvels with ancient wonders, in a way only Tokyo is able to pull off.

The cultural compass of a guide was packed full of fun facts, anecdotes, and intricate pieces of knowledge that only enriched the experience further.

In order to make the most of your time and really experience Tokyo like a local, you’ll be navigating its labyrinthine metro system with your guide who has your back.

The first stop on the tour is the largest fish market on the planet: Tsukiji Market. It’s an explosion of colors, scents, sights, and flavors where you’ll be able to try all kinds of seafood that you’ve never even seen before.

Then there’s Asakusa, where tradition meets modernity in the shadow of the beautiful time capsule that is Sensoji Temple.

The Meiji Shrine is next on the list, which serves as a tranquil oasis amid the urban frenzy, where you’ll be able to take a mental break before heading to Takeshita Street in Harajuku. You can choose to check out the Imperial Palace’s East Garden, or the electric atmosphere of Shibuya Crossing.

The Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Skytree, Odaiba waterfront, and various others are available to add to your customized itinerary.

4. Tokyo Private Tour by Car/Van – Guide Option Available (up to 13)

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Includes: Gas, highway tolls, English-speaking driver, air-conditioned vehicle, Wi-Fi hotspot onboard

If you’re traveling with more than just a few other people, I can’t recommend this next tour enough. The Tokyo Private Tour by Car/Van – Guide Option Available (up to 13)  will let all of you travel together while skipping the hassle of waiting for strangers at places you aren’t as interested in.

This tour lets you completely customize your itinerary based on your schedule and personal interests, so you can maximize your tour experience!

Starting off at 9:00 am, you’ll be picked right up from your hotel lobby so you don’t have to worry about scheduling separate transportation or waking up earlier to meet your driver.

The vehicle is not only air-conditioned but comes with Wi-Fi so you’re never without connection in case you’d like to send photos and videos in real-time to loved ones. Make sure to let them know what you’re most interested in so they can build the ideal schedule for you.

Check out the Senso-ji Temple, which has been standing as a living testament to Tokyo’s history for nearly 1400 years. You’ll learn just a fraction of the countless stories this landmark has seen, but they’re incredibly fascinating.

There’s the Tokyo Skytree, which is a monolith piercing the skyline like some kind of vaporware dream we all imagine when thinking of this city.

Imperial Palace’s East Gardens are like stepping straight into a history book, followed by a delicious trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market. As a haven for foodies, you’ll love fueling up here before exploring the Meiji Jingu Shrine, the swirling vortex of lights that is Shibuya Crossing, the Odaiba District, and so much more.

This is a beautiful adventure that’s perfect if you really love getting down to the raw culture and spirit of a place.

5. Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Includes:  Meet-and-greet service at hotel (if by public transport), professional guide, transport by private vehicle (if by private vehicle), transportation fares (if by public transport), lunch (full-day option only), snacks

If it’s your first day in Tokyo, do yourself a favor and instead of heading to the hotel for a nap, take this tour instead. After just a few minutes of venturing through this magnificent city, you can rest assured any jet lag will disappear.

The Private Custom Tour: Tokyo in a Day lets you explore at your own pace and set your schedule! Navigating Tokyo as a noobie is no joke, so I highly appreciated the fact that our guide came right to our hotel lobby to pick us up.

Your transport will be by comfortable, air-conditioned private vehicle or by public transport if you choose to go with the regular option. Either way, you’ll have your guide there to lead the way and fill you in on interesting tips and historical accounts at each location.

The fun part comes when you tell your guide about your personal interests, so that you can either come up with a half-day or full-day sightseeing itinerary that goes based on them.

Whether you’re a foodie, passionate about Japanese culture, history, or love the outdoors, they are experts at creating memorable tours that honor those interests. However, there are certain spots that most people would like to visit, regardless.

The Tsukiji Market is one of those, which is the most renowned and biggest fish market in the entire world. The Hama Rikyu Gardens are the perfect example of a traditional Japanese garden, making for a serene escape and great photo ops in the middle of this bustling landscape.

If you’re into shopping, Ginza is a youthful, trendy place famous for its brand names and traditional shops.

With such genuinely cool, knowledgeable tour guides, I’d trust them with my eyes closed to create a customized itinerary for me. Whatever you end up doing, you can rest easy knowing you’re going to have a great time.

FAQs About Visiting Tokyo

What will i see on a guided tour of tokyo.

  • Tokyo National Museum – This is Japan’s largest and oldest museum. There is a huge collection of art and artifacts from ancient times to modern day. You will see samurai armor and swords, Buddhist scrolls, kimonos, pottery, paintings and lots more.
  • Shibuya Crossing – Probably the world’s busiest intersection, here you can watch the crowds of people cross the street in all directions, it’s truly a sight to behold! You will find no shortage of shops, restaurants and cafes for you to try.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – This large and beautiful park is in the heart of the city. It has not only a variety of Japanese gardens but also French and English as well. There is also a greenhouse with a variety of tropical plants. Stroll the paths and admire the flowers and trees or better yet have a picnic on the lawn.
  • Tokyo Skytree – This is the tallest tower in the world! Take an elevator to the observation decks where you will have a panoramic view of the city with lots of photo opportunities.

Tour Guides

The Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour is our Editors Choice for the best private guided tour of Tokyo

Krysha Thayer

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Japan » 15 Best Tokyo Tours

15 Best Tokyo Tours

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is a huge tourist attraction. It is a city that blends modern and ancient times. From the huge skyscrapers and world-famous observatory towers, to the ancient streets and temples showing the cultural and religious heritage of the city, Tokyo is worth a visit for all the travel lovers out there.

It is, indeed, a perfect place for people who wish to enjoy a number of activities in one place in Japan.

Below are the 15 best tours you should go for in Tokyo, to make the most of your trip.

1. Mount Fuji Day Tour including visits to Kawaguchiko Lake, and Gotemba outlets

Mount Fuji

Discover one of the most famous mountains, Mount Fuji at the 5th level, i.e. the UNESCO World Heritage Site, while passing by one of the most amazing sites on the way.

This 10-hour tour is accompanied by a local guide and starts from the Shinjuku Subaru building. From the Kawaguchiko Lake to the 5th level of Mount Fuji, and the Gotemba Outlets, this guided tour aims to make your trip an unforgettable one.

These places are definitely worth a visit, and are famous for their mystic natural beauty.

From getting to enjoy souvenirs, and amazing cuisines to saving moments in beautiful pictures, and also learning about the cultural and historical heritage of the temple at Fuji, this tour helps get the most of Tokyo.

2. MORI Building Digital Art Museum tour

MORI Building Digital Art Museum

Get to see the first all-digital art museum in the world. This tour offers one-way private transfer to its tourists, and an admission ticket as well. This means that you can get to this inspiring place just by sending off your hotel details.

The MORI Building Digital Art Museum is surely an amazing place to visit. It features LEDs, resonating lamps, and other digital technologies. The fun part is, you can also control the lighting by using your smartphone. The museum also has a café where flowers and leaves bloom and scatter around your coffee cup.

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3. Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Tokyo Hop-on Hop-off

Get to unravel Tokyo at your own pace within a span of 24 hours, moving around on an open-top double-decker bus. You can hop off and hop on whenever you want to switch your routes or stop at a particular place.

This tour is guided via audio, and booklets are also handed out to the tourists. Free shuttle and Wi-Fi service are also available on this tour.

This tour enables you to see the city of Tokyo as a whole.

4. Shinjuku Samurai Museum Admission

Shinjuku Samurai Museum

Samurais have a long history and a huge place in the culture of Japan. To demonstrate this, there is a special museum in Tokyo called the Shinjuku Samurai Museum. This museum is a very famous spot and exhibits the 800-year journey of the samurai and their evolution, demonstrating their importance in the Japanese culture.

For a tour of this museum, an admission ticket for entrance is offered. By getting this ticket, you can then explore the depths of the history on your own.

The museum features many wonderful things, from the mighty swords used to the scenes of battles immortalized in art and much more.

This tour enables one to learn a lot about the samurais and is worth a visit.

5. Akihabara Go-kart Tour

Akihabara Go-Kart Guided Tour Or Rental

Now get to discover the city of Tokyo from an entirely different perspective. Get your hands on the go-karts at Akihabara, and go sightseeing to explore the streets and towns of Tokyo. This tour is both guided and rental. Thus, you can opt for either renting a go-kart and drive through the city on your own, or go on a guided tour with a local guide that drives with you and helps you unravel a lot more about the city.

This tour lasts around 1 to 2 hours and is highly recommended if you are visiting Tokyo for the first time. Riding these go-karts is nothing less than an adventure, and the best part is that you can explore at your own pace.

6. Tokyo Pub Crawl

Tokyo Pub Crawl

Get an unforgettable experience by joining the Tokyo Pub Crawl tour. It is one of the longest nightlife running tours, featuring a plethora of discounts at certain bars and clubs. This tour is truly amazing and recommended if you love to socialize.

The tour takes about 4.5 hours, and is a guided one. There are about 3 bars where you can have a night-long experience of shots, dancing, and many other activities.

Here you can make lifelong friends and enjoy the nightlife with a bunch of people. From taking pictures to enjoying the generous shots, get to experience the Buzzing club life of Tokyo.

7. Cultural Curiosities Tour

Cultural Curiosities

For all those tourists that love to see ancient times, the Cultural Curiosities tour is definitely a must-try. This cultural tour helps you take a look at the old city. At these places, you get to explore many things. These include the old artworks, making of incense, and even exploring the hidden shops of Tokyo that sell ancient and antique things not commonly found in modern-day Japan.

This tour enables tourists to get realistic and experiential learning about the culture practiced in Tokyo. The tour is a guided one and lasts about 3 hours.

8. Tokyo Tower and One Piece Tower combo admission

Tokyo Tower

Get a chance to see the city of Tokyo from one of the most famous observatory towers in the world, the Tokyo Tower. This tower is also known as the ‘Eiffel Tower of Japan.’ Standing on it, you can enjoy a spectacular and a breath-taking view of the city, making your trip to Tokyo an unforgettable one.

Additionally, this tour ticket also enables access to the One Piece Tower. The theme park here is truly amazing, and definitely a place for you if you are an anime love. You can enjoy the comic culture of Tokyo by visiting this park and make the most of your trip.

The tour is valid for one day only and is not a guided one.

9. Harajuku Owl Café Tour

Harajuku Owl Cafe Experience

Get to experience a very unique tour of the Harajuku district of Tokyo. This tour takes about 1 hour and takes you to a café where you can sip a drink amidst owls, and even falcons.

Here you can get a very close look at these birds, and enjoy hanging out with them in a garden-like atmosphere. You can also touch them gently, however, making sure they are not disturbed.

Tourists, especially kids, love to visit this café. Here you can also take pictures to capture memorable moments with these cute species.

10. Nightlife Shibuya Tour

This walking tour with a local guide in Shibuya in the city of Tokyo is the best opportunity to explore the nightlife of the city. This tour takes about one hour, and you get to unravel the interesting and fun things that you can do in the city during the stay.

The local guide takes you to the most popular venues in the busiest of towns in Tokyo, and can also help you find any particular thing that you need.

Additionally, you also get a T-Shirt as a gift and a digital photo as a keepsake of your tour.

11. Shibuya Food tour

Shibuya Walking Food Tour

Explore the cuisines and food of Tokyo on the streets of Shibuya with a local guide while walking. This tour is of about 3 hours long and is all you need if you are a food lover.

From modern dishes to the old traditional cuisines, get to enjoy the different flavors and tastes of the food in Tokyo. This tour also helps you explore hidden eateries and alleys to try regional stuff.

The tour covers one drink, 10 dishes at 5 food stops, and a desert. This is indeed a family-friendly tour.

12. Tsukiji Fish Market tour

Tsukiji Fish Market

Are you a lover of food, and seafood in particular? If yes, then this tour is definitely the one for you. Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the biggest and busiest fish markets in the world, and this tour will help you make sense of it all.

This tour is a 3.5 hour guided trip, where you get to see a plethora of vendors selling a variety of seafood. You can taste samples of the seafood here, and even get to learn about the cultural importance of seafood in the Japanese culture and traditions. The tour also includes a bottle of water for you.

13. Personalized tour by booking a local guide

Tokyo Alley

Want a tour of the places of your choice? This personalized tour with a local guide is worth opting for. You can book a local guide for as many hours you want, ranging from 2 to 8 hours.

Using this option, you can also get tickets for the attractions and venues you want to go to. Furthermore, the tour also covers the transfer of you and your group from your hotel if it is at a reasonable distance. This tour is a walking one, however, for distant sites that you wish to explore you can book transportation for an additional fee.

This tour helps you gain insight into the places of your choice and lets you wander off in any direction you want.

14. Ghibli Museum & Hayao Miyazaki’s Movies Themed Tours

Ghibli Museum

Want to explore something that is unique and worth a visit? The Ghibli museum and Hayao Miyazaki’s Movie themed tours in Tokyo are definitely worth the investment.

This tour is a 7-hour trip with a local guide that enables you to unravel the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation in the Ghibli museum. Here you can see how Mr. Miyazaki worked on his animations, and click pictures with the signature Robot Soldier in the movie ‘Castle in the Sky Laputa’.

The tour also includes lunch (buffet) at the amazing hotel and other tickets that you may need for the itinerary.

15. Sumo Wrestling Demonstration & Chanko Nabe Lunch

Sumo Wrestling Demo

This 2-hour tour enables you to see a demonstration of sumo wrestling, and even get to explore the lives of sumo wrestlers behind the scenes. A local guide skilled in English is also available to help you understand things.

The tour covers lunch where you get to eat Chanko Nabe, the famous soup that sumo wrestlers eat to help them reach their enormous size.

15 Best Tokyo Tours:

  • Mount Fuji Day Tour including visits to Kawaguchiko Lake, and Gotemba outlets
  • MORI Building Digital Art Museum tour
  • Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour
  • Shinjuku Samurai Museum Admission
  • Akihabara Go-kart Tour
  • Tokyo Pub Crawl
  • Cultural Curiosities Tour
  • Tokyo Tower and One Piece Tower combo admission
  • Harajuku Owl Café Tour
  • Nightlife Shibuya Tour
  • Shibuya Food tour
  • Tsukiji Fish Market tour
  • Personalized tour by booking a local guide
  • Ghibli Museum & Hayao Miyazaki's Movies Themed Tours
  • Sumo Wrestling Demonstration & Chanko Nabe Lunch

Keikaku – Japan-specialized Travel Agency

Visit Tokyo

With a bilingual English-speaking tour guide

Book your guide

An in-depth discovery of Tokyo

For many travelers in Japan, Tokyo is a destination that should not be missed, and they are right!

Although it would be a shame to limit the visit to the Japanese capital, Tokyo is definitely a must-see in the archipelago.

best tokyo tour guide

Tokyo is a humongous megalopolis and the biggest city in the world, with 37 million inhabitants, that will impress Japan’s first-timers.

As a matter of fact, Tokyo is such a large city that it is also a prefecture. And it does not even take into account the encompassing “Greater Tokyo” and its numerous neighboring suburbs. Discover Japan’s capital and its transportation network smoothly, in a way you may not have imagined!

A dedicated guide

The tour you booked is completely private. You will not share your guide with unknown people, for more comfort and privacy.

You guide is dedicated to you or your group (couple, friends, family, etc.) and will offer suggestions during the tour according to the time of the year, the weather and your pace.

Know Japan beyond clichés.

Discover cities under a new approach, closer to their reality; Explore places hidden to tourists, good and sometimes original picture spots; Save time thanks to the locals’ experience who know Japan like the back of their hand; Enjoy your visit without worrying about planning or how to get there.

Step out the usual stereotyped guided tour and explore narrow streets, hidden gems, find the good restaurants that only appear on Japanese maps... Visit a Japan that no Western travel guide can describe!

Touring in the most popular places of Tokyo or Kyoto with our guides is naturally also possible.

Our Certified Tour Guides in Tokyo

Our certified guides in Tokyo are friendly, bilingual experts who will help you discover the capital’s various aspects: contemporary architecture (Shinjuku, Marunouchi, etc.), youth-oriented and trendy neighborhoods (Shibuya, Harajuku, etc.), geek and otaku culture (Akihabara, Nakano, etc.), shopping and luxury (Odaiba, Omotesando, Ginza, etc.), serenity (Chiyoda, Setagaya, etc.)

Meet our local team

For groups of 20 persons and more: Please contact us for a quote Touristic seasons details

  • Your private custom guided tour!
  • The preparation of your tour in Tokyo by the guide, according to your preferences
  • Reservation fee (no additional administration fee or tips)
  • Their full transportation fees (to the meeting place and during the tour)
  • Their lunch up to ¥1,000 (~$6) per meal
  • Their admission fee up to ¥1,500 (~$10) per half a day, full day or evening
  • Your own personal expenses (transportation, meal, admission fee, etc.)
  • Guide’s dinner if you book the “Evening Tour”
  • Insurances you may buy

Allow about ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 (~$6 to ~$13) for transportation per person and per day of visit. Japan Rail Pass allows unlimited travel on JR Lines (for example on the Yamanote Line) but not on the subway.

best tokyo tour guide

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Tokyo – Best Things To Do, See & Enjoy!

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Tokyo – Best Things To Do, See & Enjoy!

Table of Contents

A brief history of tokyo, tokyo fact file, getting to tokyo, getting around tokyo, top 10 helpful japanese phrases, top 10 neighborhoods to visit in tokyo, top 10 tokyo attractions, 10 unique & quirky things to do in tokyo, top 10 views in tokyo, top 10 foods to try in tokyo, top 5 tokyo places for coffee drinkers, top 10 tokyo shopping areas & markets, 10 tokyo travel hacks, 10 fun facts about tokyo, top 5 day trips from tokyo, how to stay safe in tokyo, final thoughts.

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Tokyo is a world unto itself, and it’s an absolute must-see for any travel lover. Soak in the traditional Japanese culture, learn about modern life in the city, and people-watch until your head spins!

Tokyo has it all: from hole-in-the-wall gyoza joints to high-end Michelin sushi bars. If you’re going to Tokyo, plan on trying all the amazing food  — eating here is half the fun.

Food notwithstanding, Tokyo is a crazy and amazing city. You can watch the tuna auction at the Tsukiji fish market in the morning, wander around the Imperial Palace in the afternoon, and sing karaoke with the locals in the evening.

This is a modern, fast-paced city that still embraces its traditional roots. Even though the city is large, there’s a sense of cleanliness and order about Tokyo that makes it extremely accessible to visitors, and keeps it consistently rated by Conde Nast as one of the best cities in the world.

The history of Tokyo stretches back some 400 years. Originally named Edo, the city started to flourish when the Tokugawa Shogunate was established here. As the center of politics and culture in Japan, Edo grew into a huge city with a population of over 1 million by the mid-eighteenth century.

Throughout this time, the Emperor resided in Kyoto, which was the formal capital of the nation. The Edo Period lasted for nearly 260 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when imperial rule was restored. The Emperor then moved to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo and became the capital of Japan.

In September 1923, Tokyo was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake, which caused fires that burned the city center to the ground. Shortly after the earthquake, Japan’s first subway line was opened. By 1935, the population of Tokyo had grown comparable to those of New York and London .

World War II had a large impact on Tokyo. The dual system of prefecture and city was abolished for war-time efficiency, and the 2 were merged to form the Metropolis of Tokyo in 1943 with a governor to oversee. During the final phase of the war, Tokyo was bombed 102 times; many lives were lost.

After the war, a time of gradual recovery began for the nation. Due to the introduction of new industries and technologies, this period saw economic prosperity return to Tokyo. In 1964, the Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, the Shinkansen (“Bullet Train”) line began operations, and the Metropolitan Expressway was opened, forming the foundation for Tokyo’s current position.

Today, Tokyo has become one of the world’s most active major cities, home to cutting-edge technology, information, culture, and fashion, as well as a high level of public safety. Tokyo has been selected to host its second Olympic Games in 2020. In preparation, the metropolitan government is taking many steps to improve the city’s infrastructure, environment, and the promotion of culture in time for the games…so it’s a perfect time to visit!

Tokyo Streets

With more than 38 million people living in greater Tokyo, this city is the largest metropolitan area in the world. Space is limited: the typical size of a hotel room is usually not more than 15 square meters (170 square feet).

Here are some more useful facts and figures to prepare you for your trip:

Population:  13.76 million in the prefecture, 38.3 million in the greater metropolitan area

Area (including greater metropolitan area):  13,572 square kilometers

Primary Language:  Japanese (with each region having different dialects)

Primary Religions:  Shinto & Buddhism

Type of Government:  Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Current Emperor:  Akihito

Current Prime Minister:  Shinzo Abe

Time Zone:  Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)

Currency:  Yen (JPY)

Country Dialing Code Prefix:  +81

Emergency Numbers:  110 to report an accident or crime to the police; 119 to report a fire or ask for an ambulance or rescue service.

Days Mt. Fuji Is Visible:  80 days/year  

Taxi Cabs: 35,000

Michelin Stars:  234 (more than any other city in the world)

Tokyo is served by 2 airports that both service international flights:

Narita International Airport (NRT)

  • Haneda Airport (HND).

Haneda is closer and more convenient to the city but has fewer international connections.

Narita International Airport (NRT) is about 60 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, which is further away than Haneda. However, this is the city’s main international airport, and most international flights to Tokyo will use Narita. It’s likely this is the airport where you will arrive.

The following airlines service Narita:

  • Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Busan, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air Macau, Air New Zealand, Air Niugini, Air Seoul, Air Tahiti Nui, Aircalin, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Eastar Jet, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air
  • Fiji Airways, FinnAir
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, HK Express
  • Iberia, Indonesian AirAsia X
  • Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jet Asia Airways, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Japan, Jin Air
  • KLM, Korean Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines, MIAT Mongolian Airlines
  • Orient Thai Airlines
  • Pakistan International Airlines, Peach, Phillipine Airlines
  • Qantas, Qatar Airlines
  • S7 Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Scoot, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spring Airlines Japan, SriLankan Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines
  • Thai AirAsia X, Thai Airways, Tigerair Taiwan, Turkish Airlines, T’way Airlines
  • United Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways
  • Vanilla Air, Vietnam Airlines
  • Yakutia Airlines

Traveling From the Airport to the City

Once you’ve landed in Narita, you have a few options for getting into the city.

Narita Express

The Narita Express runs between Narita and Tokyo Station. Some trains also start/stop at other stations on the JR Yamanote Line, including Shinagawa and Shinjuku. The trip between Narita and Tokyo Station costs around 3,000 JPY and takes 65 minutes. Trains typically leave every 30 minutes. All seats are reserved; you can activate a Japan Rail Pass and/or make reservations at the JR counters at Narita. For more information, visit their website .

Keisei Skyliner

This is a good option only if you are staying near Ueno. It runs between Narita and Ueno, which is on the JR Yamanote Line. The trip between Narita and Ueno costs 2,470 JPY and takes about 40 minutes. For more information regarding timetables, visit their website .

Tokyo Airport Bus

Airport limousine buses run between Haneda and various points in Tokyo. The trip costs 3,100 JPY and takes between 85 and 110 minutes, depending upon the pick-up/drop-off point in Tokyo. At Narita, the boarding point is at the bus stops on ground floor. The main benefit will be a drop-off directly at your hotel. For more information, visit the limousine website .

Taxis are not typically a good option considering the time and expense it will take you to get into Tokyo. A regular taxi will cost about 21,000 JPY and take around 65-85 minutes, depending upon destination and traffic. You can also reserve a fixed-fare cab in advance at MK Taxi , but it will still run you about the same price.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget to use a card abroad that’ll earn you lots of valuable points – such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred ® Card which earns you 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases . This is our #1 recommended card. But – at the very least you’ll want to make sure you’re using a credit card that has $0 in foreign transaction fees!  

Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda Airport (HND), is about 14 kilometers south of central Tokyo, meaning that it’s more convenient to the city than Narita. An increasing number of carriers offer international flights to/from Haneda, and you’ll most likely land here if you’re arriving from other parts of Japan (most domestic flights use Haneda Airport).

The following airlines service Haneda:

AirAsia X, Air Canada, Air China, Air Do, Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, HK Express, Japan Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Okay Airways, Peach, Phillipine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airlines, Shanghai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Skymark Airlines, Solaseed Air, Spring Airlines, StarFlyer, Thai Airways, Tianjin Airlines, Tigerair Taiwan, United Airlines, Vietnam Airlines

Once you’ve landed in Haneda, you have a few options on how to get into Tokyo.

The Tokyo Monorail

The Tokyo Monorail runs directly between Haneda and Hamamatsucho, which is on the JR Yamanote Line only 3 stops from Tokyo Station. It costs 490 JPY and takes around 13 minutes on an express train. Note that the Tokyo Monorail cannot be used with a Japan Rail Pass. Please see the Tokyo Monorail website for the schedule .

Haneda Airport Bus

Airport limousine buses run between Haneda and various points in Tokyo. The trip costs 930 JPY and takes between 30 and 60 minutes, depending upon the pick-up/drop-off point in Tokyo. At Haneda, the boarding point is at the bus stops on ground floor. The main benefit will be a drop-off directly at your hotel. For more information, please visit the limousine website .

A taxi is also a good option, particularly outside of rush hour or on weekends. A taxi between Haneda and Tokyo will cost around 6,000 JPY and take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending upon destination and traffic conditions.

Tokyo Japan 1

Tokyo is a huge sprawling city, but it’s served by one of the world’s best public transportation systems. Here are all the details you’ll need to get around Tokyo easily.

By Public Transportation

Tokyo’s subways and trains are the best way to get around Tokyo. Stops are frequent, and the vast majority of tourist sites can be accessed via these systems. Rides typically cost a few dollars, but will vary by distance. Here is a map of the stations serviced. Don’t worry about scheduling your trip too much, though — Tokyo’s rail system is typically on time and stops are frequent. Please refer to HyperDia  for operating hours.

While you can buy individual tickets, the easiest and best way to use Tokyo’s subways and train is with a Pasmo or Suica card. These can be bought at many train/subway stations or convenience stores. You simply swipe the card over the reader when entering and leaving the system. The fare will automatically be deducted from your card, and the machine will show the remaining balance. It’s also easy to top up your balance at the automated kiosks.

Note: Avoid riding subways and trains during rush hours (7:30-9:30 am and 5:00-8:00 pm), or be prepared to squeeze in!

Tokyo’s taxis are an excellent way to get around the city, especially outside of rush hour or if you have to go somewhere that’s not close to a train or subway station. However, be aware that they’re not cheap: fares start around $4.

Tokyo’s buses are extensive and efficient, but they’re not ideal for tourists. If you do use them, note that the same Pasmo or Suica cards can be used for rides. For more information regarding fares and schedules, visit the  Toei Bus website .

Hot Tip: If you can’t find the place you’re looking for when you get there, look up! Stores can often be located above ground floor.

While many people in Japan do speak English, it is always helpful to know a few key phrases before traveling to a different country.

1. Arigatou Gozaimasu

You’ll be saying “thank you” a lot, so it’s the perfect place to begin.

2. Sumimasen

“Excuse me” is an important expression in any language, and Japanese is no exception.

3. Onegaishimasu

This means “please.” Use this when ordering food, asking for something, or requesting help.

“Yes/No.” Pretty self-explanatory! Hai can also signify that you understand something.

5. Okaikei (onegaishimasu)

“Check please!” Very useful at restaurants and cafes. Can be combined with sumimasen to get the waiter’s attention as well.

6. Kore wa ikura desuka

Ikura means “how much.” Ikura desuka is a phrase that can be used even if you don’t know the name of a product in Japanese. Kore means “this;” when combined with a little gesturing toward an item, you’re asking “how much is this?”. A shop owner will typically respond by typing the number in a calculator or writing it down for you.

7. Gochisousama deshita

“Thank you for the meal.” This phrase is polite and used after a meal to show your appreciation.

8. Ohayou Gozaimasu

The formal way of saying “good morning.”

9. Konnichiwa 

Konnichiwa is the both formal and informal way to say “hello.” It can apply to morning, noon, and afternoon. It’s a pretty broad way of greeting someone, so mastering this would be useful.

10. Konbanwa

Similar to konninchiwa, konbanwa consists of both the formal and informal ways to say “good evening.” This phrase applies to when the sun goes down and at night time.

With these phrases, you’ll be able to navigate many simple interactions in Tokyo!

You may also be wondering about understanding the Japanese writing system. The good news is that most restaurants have an English menu, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of sign language and gesturing. In addition, most street signs are also written in English. If you plan on taking a taxi, it is useful to have your hotel concierge write down any places you are going as well.

Another tip is to download Google Translate in Japanese, which allows you to access translations offline. Simply open up the camera function and it will translate words over the existing text. This isn’t always reliable since Kanji is often “stylized,” but it’s a good thing to have in a jam.

Walking Around Tokyo

Tokyo is huge, so it’s important to stay somewhere convenient. Without a doubt, the best parts of the city are those near Tokyo Station and in the 2 big urban hubs on the west side: Shinjuku and Shibuya. These are all located near the Yamanote Line, which is the most important form of transport in the city. Here is our guide on picking a neighborhood, along with some quality places to stay in each.

1. Shinjuku

Shinjuku is the best place to stay in Tokyo, especially on the west side of the station. This is one of the city’s biggest transport hubs, and it’s on the all-important Yamanote Line. There are several huge department stores, large electronics shops, thousands of restaurants, and Tokyo’s best bookshop: Kinokuniya. Plus, there are plenty of sights nearby.

🏨 Where to Stay:

  • Park Hyatt Tokyo
  • Hilton Tokyo
  • Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo
  • Hyatt Regency Tokyo

2. Tokyo Station

The Tokyo Station/Marunouchi area is not only the city’s main transport hub, but it’s a great place to stay as well. Here, you’ve got the most important train station, including the terminal station of the Shinkansen line (for easy access to other parts of Japan). Within easy walking distance you have all the city’s main department stores in Ginza, Nihombashi, etc. Nearby, you’ve got the Imperial Palace and adjoining parks, and the area is literally awash with restaurants!

  • Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station
  • Marunouchi Hotel
  • The Tokyo Station Hotel

Shibuya is another huge shopping and transport hub on the west side of the Yamanote Line. It’s pretty similar to Shinjuku: convenient transport connections (including the Yamanote Line), plenty of shops and restaurants, and lots of attractions. It’s just slightly less busy than Shinjuku and a bit more youth-oriented.

  • Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
  • Granbell Hotel Shibuya
  • Shibuya Creston Hotel

Hot Tip: If you enjoy unique accommodations, check out these boutique hotels in Tokyo .

4. Roppongi

Roppongi is another great place to stay, but it’s slightly less convenient for travelers as it is not on the Yamanote Line. If you rate great dining, great nightlife, and plenty of attractions highly, then you should strongly consider staying in Roppongi. This is the sexiest and most cosmopolitan part of the city, and it’s where the big money (both Japanese and foreign) eats and drinks.

  • Grand Hyatt Tokyo
  • Ritz Carlton Tokyo
  • ANA Intercontinental Tokyo

Asakusa is the spiritual heart of Tokyo. It’s home to the city’s most popular Buddhist temple: Senso-ji. It’s also one of the last places in the city where you can feel the vibe of Old Tokyo.

  • The Gate Hotel
  • Ryokan Kamogawa
  • Asakusa View Hotel

6. Ebisu & Meguro

Ebisu and Meguro are small urban hubs on the southwest side of the Yamanote Line, and would be a great base for return travelers to Tokyo. These areas are considered the most desirable places to live by Tokyo’s fashionable and wealthy elite. There are a few hotels in these areas that allow you to enjoy the things locals love: great cafes, hip restaurants and bars, boutique shopping, and pleasant strolling on attractive streets.

  • The Westin Tokyo
  • Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo

7. Shinagawa

Shinagawa is a major transport hub at the southern end of the Yamanote Line. It’s not the most exciting district, but it’s right on the loop line and the Tokaido Shinkansen line, so it’s quite convenient to stay here (especially if you plan to hop on and off the Shinkansen). There are several excellent hotels here that take advantage of the area’s excellent transport connections.

  • Intercontinental The Strings Tokyo
  • Shinagawa Prince Hotel
  • Tokyo Marriott

Ginza was Tokyo’s first Western-style shopping district, and it’s still where the old money shops. The wide boulevards and narrow lanes of Ginza are lined with high-end boutiques, nice department stores, and exclusive restaurants. Its location near the Tsukiji Fish Market makes that 5:00 am alarm to see the tuna auction a little easier to bear!

  • Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Station
  • Remm Hibiya
  • The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo

9. Shiodome

A short distance south of Tokyo Station, Shiodome is a tight collection of high-rise office and hotel towers. It’s a short walk from here to Shimbashi Station, which is only 2 stops from Tokyo Station on the Yamanote Line. It’s not too inconvenient a location for transportation, and there are some good places to eat around here.

  • Conrad Tokyo
  • Park Hotel Tokyo
  • Royal Park Hotel

10. Akihabara

The world’s largest electronics bazaar and center of otaku (geek) culture, Akihabara (“Akiba”) must be seen to be believed! Nearby Kanda is home to temples, shrines, and some good restaurants.

  • Akihabara Washington Hotel
  • Remm Akihabara

Imperial Palace Tokyo

There is no shortage of things to do and see in Tokyo. For a first-time visitor, here are some of the highlights.

1. Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum features one of the largest and best collections of art and archaeological artifacts in Japan, made up of over 110,000 individual items including nearly 100 national treasures. In addition, visiting temporary exhibitions are also held regularly (visit their website for dates). Helpful English information and audio guides are available.

ℹ Visit: Hours vary by day; check out their website for specifics. Tickets are 620 JPY for adults, 410 JPY for college students, and free for those 18 and under and 70+.

🚆 Get There: Located at 13-9 Uenokoen, Taitō, Tokyo 110-8712, Japan in Ueno Park. The closest station is Ueno.

2. Meiji-Jingu

The Meiji Jingu, or Meiji Shrine, is one of the most important tourist attractions in Tokyo. Surrounded by the forest, this Shinto shrine combines traditional Japanese architecture with a love for nature. This place is a relaxing oasis in busy Tokyo, and traditional weddings can often be seen here. See the Tips and Tricks section below for some important things to keep in mind when visiting a shrine.

ℹ Visit:  Open sunrise to sunset. Free to enter.

🚆 Get There: Located at 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan. The closest station is Meiji-jingu-mae or Harajuku.

3. Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is the Emperor of Japan’s primary residence. Far more than just a single palace, the area is a sprawling park occupying a staggering amount of land in the heart of the metropolis. The castle itself is only open on January 2 for the New Year’s Greeting and December 23 for the Emperor’s Birthday.

Many of the outer gardens are open and free to the public, allowing you to stroll through green parks. In April, when cherry blossoms are in full bloom, this becomes one of the best spots in the city for photography. Rent a boat to explore the moat!

ℹ Visit:  Open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily except Mondays and Fridays.

🚆 Get There: Located at 1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan. The closest station is Takebashi.

4. Explore Harajuku

Harajuku is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights. The focal point of Harajuku’s teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothing stores, crepe stands, and fast food outlets geared toward trend-conscious teens. This is also an amazing place to people-watch!

ℹ Visit: No hours, but try to avoid weekends as it gets too crowded to enjoy.

🚆 Get There:  Located at 1 Chome-19 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, 150-0001, Japan. The closest station is Harajuku.

5. Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen (or Garden) is a great place to escape from the craziness of Tokyo to admire and meditate in the beauty of nature. It has many separate themed gardens: French, English, traditional Japanese, and more. It becomes especially striking during the cherry blossom season! Go to their website for details on predicted blooms.

ℹ Visit: Admission is 200 JPY. Open 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays.

🚆 Get There: Located at 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan. There are 3 gates to enter the park, so the closest station will vary.

6. Yayoi Kusuma Museum

This recently-opened museum showcases the work of the well-known Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Her unmistakable touches include large red polka dots, mirrors in the elevators, and a bulbous mosaic pumpkin sculpture on the top floor. Only 50 visitors are admitted at a time during 4 90-minute slots per day, so make reservations in advance on the website .

ℹ Visit: Open Thursday – Saturday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

🚆 Get There: Located at 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-0851, Japan. The closest station is Ushigome-yanagichō.

7. Senso-ji Temple

Japan is home to thousands of temples, but the oldest of them all is the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. During the Second World War, much of the temple was destroyed, but it was rebuilt afterward in the original style. The entrance to the temple is the enormous Thunder Gate with hanging lamps, and it is the base of an annual festival held there each spring.

ℹ Visit: Open sunrise to sunset. The temple is free to enter.

🚆 Get There: Located at 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan. The closest station is Asakusa.

8. Shibuya Crossing

Giant neon screens above display advertisements in bold colors with flashing lights, and the pedestrian crossing is flooded with people at every change of the stoplight. You might recognize the Shibuya area from films or TV, because it’s the perfect way to convey the population density of this enormous city. Sit in the Starbucks above the crossing for a bird’s eye view.

ℹ Visit: You can go there any time, but rush hour will be the craziest.

🚆 Get There:  Arrive at Shibuya Station and take Exit 8 toward Hachiko Square.

9. Tokyo Skytree

The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. With a height of 634 meters, it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree are its 2 enclosed observation decks, which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo from 350 and 450 meters up.

ℹ Visit: Open from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. The entrance fee is 2,060 JPY for the first observatory, an additional 1,030 JPY for the second observatory, and 510 yen for reservations in advance .

🚆 Get There:  Located at 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan. The closest stations are Tokyo Skytree and Oshiage.

An ultra-modern area for residents and businesses alike, the Odaiba district is your go-to place for pleasure cruising, shopping, and general seaside fun. The man-made island built in Tokyo Bay was originally created by the Edo shogunate to protect Tokyo from the threat of marine attacks, but today it serves as an entertainment hub for the entire family. Make sure you go in the evening to see the Rainbow Bridge light up at night!

ℹ Visit:  Always open to walk around and explore. There are activities you can do there that will cost extra.

🚆 Get There:  You can reach Odaiba on the Yurikamome Line at the stations of Odaiba-Kaihinkoen, Daiba, Fune-no-Kagakukan, Telecom Center, and Aomi. You can also ride a water bus to the area from the Rinkai Line’s Tokyo Teleport Station.

If you want unique and quirky, there isn’t a city that can better deliver! There are as many unusual things to do in Tokyo as there are lists of them, and whether you’re visiting for the first time or the tenth, there’s always something new to try. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Green Tea Ceremony & Liquor Tasting

The Sakurai Tea Experience at Souen is a great introduction to green tea ceremonies. Book a session at this beautiful spot and sit back as the master whisks up bitter powdered matcha, steeps delicate sencha leaf tea, or brews aromatic roasted hojicha.  If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, go for the green tea infused liquor tasting with 4 tastings and wagashi (small bites). Selections include rum permeated with hojicha and sencha-infused gin. Go with a friend and try 8 varieties!

Open Monday – Friday from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm. Check out their website for more information.

ℹ Visit: Located at Spiral Building 5th Floor, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Closest Station is Omotesando.

Put the hours you spent playing video games to practical use on the streets of Tokyo with this cosplay go-kart experience. You’ll be set up with costumes, carts, and given a guided tour of the city. Tourists and locals alike will take pictures of you as you zoom through the streets of Tokyo! Be warned: you do still have to observe the rules of the road and must have an international driving license!

ℹ Visit:  They operate out of multiple offices, so pick the location that offers the tour you’re most interested in. Prices run anywhere from 9,000-10,000 JPY, but check their website for tour times and specific prices.

3. Robot Restaurant

Located in Shinjuku’s red light district, the Robot Restaurant is a surreal journey into the weird side of Japanese culture. Lasting for 2 hours, this show involves lots of flashing lights, dancing, singing, and (importantly) robots. After a pre-show drumming performance, head to the main hall for a truly unique experience. I know it’s called a restaurant, but trust me: don’t eat here.

ℹ Visit:  Tickets are 8,000 JPY. The show runs multiple times each day, so visit their  website  for times.

4. Pet Cafes

I’m sure you’ve heard of cat cafes, but Tokyo has plenty of other options for getting your animal fix as well. These cafes became popular because the small living quarters in Japan make it difficult to keep pets in the home. Temporary companions range from rabbits to lizards to hedgehogs and beyond. Depending on your preference, this can be a great way to take a break, grab a drink, and still do something unusual!

I’d encourage you to do your research, as some cafes have come under fire for their treatment of the animals. TimeOut  has a particularly good list of cafes to consider. You typically pay about $10/hour to spend time with the animals, and drinks and snacks will obviously add to the tab.

ℹ Visit: The Akihabara, Ikebukuro, and Kichijoji neighborhoods all have high volumes of cafes, but they can be found throughout Tokyo.

5. Bar Hop in Golden Gai

Golden Gai is an area in Shinjuku made up of 6 alleys tightly packed with independent bars. It’s a great place to grab a drink (or 2) and time travel to an older Tokyo. Half the experience is wandering through and picking a bar that appeals to you. Each small entrance is completely individual, with themes varying from hospitals to toy trolls. Some are covered in stickers, some are pristine and painted, and others are aged and battered.

Some bars do have signs saying “no foreigners,” “no tourists,” or “regulars only.” There are well over 200 bars to choose from, so don’t let that deter you from visiting the area. With many of the buildings housing more than 1 bar, each steep staircase can lead to a completely different experience.

ℹ Visit:  Located at Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kabukicho, 1丁目. The closest station is Shinjuku.

6. Ghibli Museum

This museum showcases the work of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki that produced unforgettable movies like  Spirited Away  and  My Neighbor Totoro . There are a series of rooms with motifs from every single piece of animation produced by Studio Ghibli. All told, you’ll find a children’s museum, a technology museum, and a fine arts museum inside this venue dedicated to the art and technique of animation.

ℹ Visit:  Access is strictly limited to 200 admissions per day for overseas visitors. Tickets must be purchased in advance; they cost 1,000 JPY for adults and are free for those 4 and under. Please see their  website for tickets and pricing.

7. Sumo Stable

Here is your chance to get up close and personal with some uniquely Japanese athletes. Sumo wrestling is a big thing in Japan, but competitions are rare and it can be difficult to get tickets. Instead, watch morning practice in their sumo stable (or beya). There are a few rules to follow should you want to be a fly on the wall: no chatting, no flash photography, no food or drinks inside the stable, and don’t move around once practice has started.

ℹ Visit:  Morning practices start at 5:00 am and usually last 3-4 hours. Most sumo stables are based in the Ryogoku neighborhood. There are 3 that are free and allow visitors: Kasugano Beya, Hakkaku Beya, and Kokonoe Beya.

8. Capsule Hotels

If you’re looking for a cheap yet comfortable place to stay in Tokyo, capsule hotels are abundant and can be found almost anywhere around the city. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a capsule hotel provides a small, person-shaped capsule to sleep in, which is decked out with more amenities than you’d probably expect. Weird and practical — you can’t go wrong checking one of these out.

ℹ Visit:  There are hotels located all over Tokyo, but the capsules are clustered around the main train stations.

9. Vending Machines

No place has embraced the vending machine concept quite like Japan. You can find vending machines all over the country (city or countryside), each packed with both expected and unexpected items. From dirty underwear, work shirts, and electronics to hamburgers and fried chicken, there’s not much you can’t find in a vending machine in Japan.

ℹ Visit: Any street corner! The more unique machines are found in the Akihabara neighborhood.

Living in one of the most volcanically active countries in the world can have its perks, including an abundance of natural hot springs, or onsen. Onsen are the perfect way to relax after a long day of work or sightseeing. You can take a day trip to a hot springs resort (covered below), or you can visit one of the many onsen within Tokyo.

A good option is  Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari in Odaiba. This is tourist-friendly place where you can choose what type of experience you want and the length of your visit. If you want a traditional experience, there are other places to choose from, but this is a great introduction into Japanese onsen culture and etiquette. They are open from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm daily.

ℹ Visit:  Located at 2 Chome-6-3 Aomi, Koto, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan. The closest station is Telecom Center.

Tokyo Views

Tokyo is a massive metropolis that doesn’t have just 1 single iconic skyline — it has many. Here some great places to start!

1. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

You might call it the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, but locals refer to it simply as Tochō. It offers an observation platform where you can admire the sprawling district of Shinjuku below you. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji to the west.

ℹ Visit: Access is free.

2. Tokyo Tower

Although it is only the second largest building in Japan, many prefer seeing the views of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower. This is because it’s become a representative icon of Tokyo, the same way the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The tower measures 332.9 meters in height, and the observatory is located 150 meters up. There is also a special observatory at 250 meters if you really want to catch a glimpse of Tokyo’s rooftops.

ℹ Visit: The fee is 900 JPY for the main observatory and another 700 JPY if you wish to go up to the special observatory.

3. Tokyo City View and Sky Deck

Tokyo City View is the observation deck in Roppongi Hills, adjacent to the Mori Art Museum. It offers impressive 360-degree views of Tokyo and is open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm (1:00 am on weekends). The outdoor Sky Deck closes at 8:00 pm, and could close unexpectedly depending on the weather as well.

ℹ Visit:  1,800 JPY for observatory access; additional 500 JPY for Sky Deck access.

4. Sky Lounge Stellar Garden

The Sky Lounge Stellar Garden at the Prince Park Tower Hotel in downtown Tokyo offers panoramic views of Minato ward. At just 33 floors up, this sky bar can’t compete with the nearby skyscrapers in terms of height, but it has a unique vantage point and a different perspective on the city.

ℹ Visit: The Prince Park Tower Hotel lies in Shiba Park and is free to enter.

5. Bellovisto

Thanks to its central location and vantage point on the hotel’s 40th floor, Bellovisto offers one of the best views of the city you can get. On a clear day, you may even be able to see Mount Fuji in the distance. Great for both daytime and nighttime vistas.

ℹ Visit:  Bellovisto is the hotel bar of the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya.

6. Sky Circus – Sunshine60 Observatory

The Sky Circus has found a way to compete with all the other observatories in Tokyo: it offers virtual reality experiences, and the use of modern art installation techniques offers new ways to experience being up high. However, it’s still an observatory at heart, and the views here are nothing short of spectacular. Admission is 1,200 JPY for adults, 900 JPY for students, and 600 JPY for kids.

ℹ Visit:  The Sky Circus sits in the Sunshine City mall/business park and is open from 10:00 am to 8:50 pm.

7. Rooftop Bar

This is the highest bar in Tokyo at 52 stories up.  There are enormous panoramic windows and a view that makes Tokyo Bay and the nearby skyscrapers look fantastic! Rooftop Bar offers photographers a truly unique chance to capture the city, and it’s definitely worth the trip. Reservations can be made  on their website .

ℹ Visit:  Located in the Andaz Hotel.

8. New York Bar

New York Bar is housed on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo and is well-known to anyone who has seen “Lost in Translation.”  Arrive around 5:00 pm and you won’t have to pay a cover charge. If you’re lucky, they’ll seat you at one of the tables next to the windows! From here, the views of Tokyo at dusk are incredible.

ℹ Visit: Unless you are a hotel guest, a cover charge of 2,400 JPY applies from 8:00 pm on Monday to Saturday, and from 7:00 pm on Sunday nights. A dress code also applies at all times.

9. Odaiba Beach

10. kitte rooftop garden.

This is a commercial facility built on the site of the old Tokyo Central Post Office. The garden on the rooftop of the 6-floor building is open to the public with no admission fees, so anyone can come and enjoy the night view. It’s a great spot to see the lit-up Tokyo Station Building and the trains as they pass through Tokyo Station.

ℹ Visit:  The building is open until 11:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 pm on weekends, but the Tokyo Station Building is only lit up until 9:00 pm…so be careful you don’t miss it.

There are restaurants and cafes on every single corner on Tokyo, so these recommendations are barely scratching the surface. In addition, with all of the Michelin-rated options, a food tour of Tokyo can get pretty expensive! Here are a couple more inexpensive options that will help you experience the food culture of Tokyo without breaking the bank.

1. Yakitori in Piss Alley

You can’t miss Piss Alley while you’re in town (also known as Memory Lane, for the less crude). Once the traditional “relief” spot for drunken partiers in the area, today the alley has cleaned up its act, playing host to a great selection of yakitori joints and tiny bars. You really can’t go wrong with any choice, but always take a look at where the locals are eating for a sure thing! Head down here in the evening for some amazing food and a taste of “old Japan.” Expect to pay about $20/person for a couple rows of skewers and a beer.

ℹ Visit:  Go in the evenings to sit side-by-side with the salarymen of Tokyo.

🚆 Get There: The closest subway station is Shinjuku, taking exit B16. The street is directly north of the station.

2. Soba at Kanda Matsuya

Soba is the traditional noodle in Tokyo, and nowhere is that heritage preserved better than at Kanda Matsuya. Founded 130 years ago and housed in superb wooden premises, it’s a living legend. It’s all about the noodles here, which are rolled and cut by hand in-house by the master’s son. They do have an English menu, so be sure to ask for it when you arrive. The zarusoba and gomasoba are both must-haves!

ℹ Visit:  Opening hours are Monday – Friday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Closed Sundays.

🚆 Get There: Located at 1 Chome-13 Kanda Sudacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0041, Japan. The closest stations are Ogawamachi on the Shinjuku Line and Awajicho on the Marunouchi Line.

3. Ramen Street in Tokyo Station

Among the shops and restaurants in the labyrinths beneath Tokyo Station, there is one special corner dedicated to ramen: Tokyo Ramen Street. Ramen Street is home to 8 of the best ramen shops in all of Tokyo! The location is very convenient for travelers, but unfortunately this also means there will be queues at whichever restaurant you choose.

There are now a good mix of options, from traditional types to some more contemporary styles too. Whether you’re new to ramen or a connoisseur, there will be something new and exciting to try. When ordering, most places have pictures of the ramen on their vending machines, so you can go by photo or compare with an English menu if available. Some even have “#1” or “most popular” labels, so you can always opt for that!

ℹ Visit:  Hours vary by store, but are generally open from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

🚆 Get There:  Located at B1F Yaesu South Exit, Tokyo Station. Look for the signs for “Ramen Street.”

4. Melon Pan at Kagetsudo Asakusa

Melon Pan is the perfect snack after wandering around Senso-ji Temple, and Kagestsudo has perfected it. There are 4 locations around Asakusa, but the convenience of the Kaminarimon store makes this location the best. For about $2, you can experience both the crispy exterior (with crystallized sugar) and the fluffy interior that is Melon Pan.

ℹ Visit: Opening hours are Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Melon Pan often sell out though, so go early!

🚆 Get There: Located in Kaminarimon Yanagikoji, aka “Souvenir Alley.” The closet station is Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line, Exit 1.

5. Okonomiyaki at Sakuratei

Okonomiyaki is a cabbage-based pancake, fried on a hot griddle, and smothered in sauce — it literally translates to “grill what you like.” There are many combinations and styles; at Sakuratei in Harajuku, you can try making your own! After it’s grilled, finish off the okonomiyaki with seaweed, mayonnaise, and Bonita flakes found at the table.

ℹ Visit: Open 11:00 am – 11:00 pm every day

🚆 Get There: Located at 3 Chome-20-1 Jingumae Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan. The closest station is Meiji-Jingumae Station, serviced by the Chiyoda and Fukutoshin lines.

6. Gyoza at Harajuku Gyouzarou

A perfect meal after walking around Takeshita-dori, Harajuku Gyozaro is a no-frills shop. There are just 2 styles of gyoza dumplings available: fried or steamed, at 290 JPY for 6 of them (that’s less than $3!). Most diners sit around the rectangular-shaped counter with the “kitchen” in the middle, where cooks prepare the dumplings in clock-work fashion: fry, steam, pan-fried, scoop, serve. But the word is out…get there early or be prepared to wait! Cash only.

ℹ 🚆 Visit:  Opening hours are Monday – Saturday 11:30 am – 4:30 am, Sunday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm

🚆 Get There:  Located at 6−2−4 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo. The closest station is Meiji-Jingumae Station, serviced by the Chiyoda and Fukutoshin lines.

7. Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Marugo

Tonkatsu is a thick pork fillet covered in flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs, then deep fried — and Marugo has some of the best in Tokyo. This tonkatsu is carefully fried to bring out the flavor, sweetness, and juiciness. The crispiness of the panko and the aroma of the oil come together to make an exquisite dish. You can eat it in whatever style you wish: use the shop’s original sauce, salt, grated daikon radish, and/or wasabi soy sauce that are all available.

Marugo has a line no matter what time of day, so be prepared to wait. There are English menus available. The tonkatsu set meal costs around 2,100 JPY, and it’s cash only.

ℹ Visit:  Lunch from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, dinner from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Closed on Mondays, as well as the first and third Tuesday.

🚆 Get There:  Located at 1 Chome-8-14 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan. The closest station is Akihabara.

8. Tempura at Fukamachi

Nestled in the Marunouchi district not far from the Imperial Palace, Fukamachi offers tantalizing Tokyo tempura in a refined ambiance. All of the fresh ingredients are delicately fried one by one so customers can enjoy the authentic taste of tempura. One of their specialties is “uni” or “sea urchin” fried inside “oba” (shiso) leaves. There are multiple set menus to choose from for both lunch and dinner.

Fukamachi has been awarded 1 star by Michelin Guide Tokyo for continuous years, so make reservations! This can be done by contacting your concierge in Tokyo or paying for a service like Voyagin .

ℹ Visit: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm and 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Closed on Mondays and the first and third Sunday of every month.

🚆 Get There: Located at 2-5-2, Kyobashi, Chuo-ku Tokyo, Sub Jude Glin Kyobashi Shinohara Building 1F. The closest station is Kyobashi, on the Ginza Line.

9. Matcha Parfaits at Saryo Tsujiri Daimaru Tokyo Store

Saryo Tsujiri is a sweets cafe located near Tokyo Station. They have a variety of selections in their menu, including mochi, red bean and mochi soup, matcha mousse, and combo menus with matcha desserts and pure matcha. But their main focus is the matcha parfaits, with more than 10 different types available to order.

The parfait includes matcha ice cream, matcha jelly, matcha mousse, mochi, and many other toppings depending on which one you order. They also have seasonal parfaits using sakura and strawberries during spring.

ℹ Visit:  Open Saturday – Wednesday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, and Thursday – Friday from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.

🚆 Get There: It is located inside the Daimaru Tokyo Department Store, which is a 4-minute walk from Tokyo Station.

10. Konbini Meal

This isn’t your typical convenience store fare! The corner stores (konbini) in Tokyo have a lot of really delicious meals for 120-370 JPY that make for a cheap lunch or late night snack. Be sure to try some of the hot selections, as well as the freshly-made dessert options. It’s completely possible to piece together a great meal for less than $10!

ℹ Visit: Opening hours vary, but many konbini are open 24/7. Popular chains include 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart.

🚆 Get There: On every street corner — seriously.

Once a source of much complaining among foreign residents and visitors alike, Tokyo’s coffee scene has undergone nothing short of a revolution in this decade. The capital is now one of the world’s great coffee cities, with more specialty shops than most people can hope to visit in a lifetime. Here are a few great options for getting caffeinated!

1. Cafe de l’Ambre

No matter the day or time, Cafe de l’Ambre will be packed. The interior looks like it was last remodeled in the early 1980s, although some of the equipment is clearly much older. And it has been around a long time — it’s a Ginza institution.

Take your pick between a lone blend coffee and 30-ish single origin varieties, including a good number of aged coffees. There is an English menu, so you have no excuse not to try something a little odd, including an 18-year-old Brazilian Bourbon cup.

ℹ Visit:  Open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

🚆 Get There:  Located at 8 Chome-10-15 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan. The closest station is Shinbashi.

2. Little Nap Coffee Stand

You might need a pick me up after wandering around Yoyogi Park, and Little Nap Coffee Stand is a perfect solution! The space is quite small; even if it weren’t packed with turntables, it would be difficult to fit more than 5. Coffee shops are always great places to get a feel for the local community, and Little Nap is no exception. Check out their website for more information.

ℹ Visit:  Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, closed Mondays.

🚆 Get There:  Located at 5-65-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan. The closest stations are Yoyogi-Hachiman or Yoyogi-Gyoen.

3. Davide Coffee

Davide Coffee is located between Ueno and Asakusa. Davide’s espresso blend is a rich, slightly acidic mixture, and the milk is well frothed. They also serve affogato for those looking for a sugar fix with their caffeine. Davide serves light meals in the afternoon and seems to be more of an “after-work hangout” than a coffee bar — you might even have the place to yourself if you go earlier in the day.

The ground floor has a bright orange wall and exudes a busy atmosphere, while the smaller space upstairs is more relaxing. There’s also a basement, which is open for the occasional pop-up shop, exhibition, or other event. Check out their website for more details.

ℹ Visit:  Open Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, and Sundays from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Closed Mondays.

🚆 Get There: Located at 2 Chome-3-1 Iriya, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0013, Japan. The closest station is Iriya.

4. Turret Coffee

Turret Coffee is a godsend for anyone making an early visit to Tsukiji Market. Located in the outer-market, it’s a great place to caffeinate before you wait for hours in a sushi line! They’re known for their latte art, but also serve espresso in antique sake cups. Turret Coffee has about 5 counter seats and 2 very small tables with chairs.

ℹ Visit:  Open Monday to Saturday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Sundays from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

🚆 Get There:  Located just near the Hibiya Station exit 1 or 2.

5. Shozo Cafe

Just behind Omotesando Station in Aoyama, a small coffee shop in Commune 246 serves small batch drip coffee from Tochigi Prefecture. There is a shaded outdoor patio and a handful of seats inside as well. Shozo Cafe only serves hand drip, and make sure you try their iced coffee. There are syrups to add, but you probably won’t need them!

ℹ Visit:  Open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 11:30 am – 6:00 pm.

🚆 Get There:  Located at 3丁目-13 Minamiaoyama, 港区 Tokyo 107-0062, Japan. The closest station is Omotesando.

Ginza Toyko

Whether you prefer department-store browsing or rummaging for secondhand treasures, there’s a Tokyo neighborhood or street to meet your shopping needs.

1. Tsukiji Fish Market

One of Tokyo’s must-see locations, Tsukiji Market — the biggest fish market in the world — is where the weird and wonderful bounty of the sea is put on sale each morning. Get up early for the daily 5:00 am tuna auctions, or head down a little later and simply browse the vast market.

Also, don’t pass up the opportunity to eat some of the freshest sushi you’re ever likely to have. If you’re trying to eat at the famous sushi restaurants in the outer market, try to arrive before 7:30 am, or you might not get in!

ℹ Visit: Located at 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan

Ginza is the affluent shopping district in Tokyo, home to the city’s posh boutiques and gleaming department stores such as the classic Mitsukoshi and Dover Street Market Ginza. There’s also the gleaming new high-fashion mall, Ginza Six. But tucked in between some of the more imposing facades are simpler pleasures, like the fine crafts at Takumi, the gourmet food items at Akoymeya, and the 9 floors of stationery and art supplies at Itoya.

Shopping options in this neighborhood reflect the breadth and depth of Tokyo’s consumer culture, which is equal parts high-fashion glitz and down-to-earth dedication to craft. It’s especially fun to visit at night, when the gleaming storefronts come to life.

ℹ Visit:  This is a large shopping area best accessed via Ginza Station, Ginza-itchome Station, or Higashi-Ginza Station depending on your specific destination.

3. Harajuku

The neighbourhood of Harajuku is home to the famed Harajuku girls (and boys) along with the shopping strip Takeshita-dori. Takeshita-dori runs through Harajuku Station and Meiji-dori, and is a crossroads for street-style cultures. Down this pedestrian-only street, you will find shops specializing in unique styles, such as punk or costumes. Though the market may be more crowded on the weekends, it’s worth visiting for the people-watching.

And then there is Ura-Hara, the maze of backstreets behind Omote-sandō, where you’ll find eccentric little shops and secondhand stores. After Gwen Stefani made Harajuku a household name, it only makes sense to check out the birthplace of this street style.

ℹ Visit: Located at 1 Chome-19 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, 150-0001, Japan

4. Nakamise-dori in Asakusa

From 1688 to 1735, special permission was granted for people to open shops in the surroundings of the temple in service to visitors. Today, Nakamise Shopping Street has around 90 shops that sell various kinds of Japanese souvenirs, some dating back to the Edo era. Look out for some good bargains on clothes and shoes. You can also buy traditional snacks and dishes that are popular during festivals. Shops are typically open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

ℹ Visit: Located at 1 Chome-1-36-3 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo, 111-0032, Japan

Shibuya is the fountain of teen trendiness in Japan. If you’re over 30 you might feel way too old here, but just cruise and amuse yourself in the madness. Music shops and cheap, outrageous apparel are everywhere, as are the hip kids who come to primp and pose. Check out the youth-focused fashion at Shibuya 109 or new designers at Fake Tokyo, and don’t miss browsing the floors of homewares, gadgets, and accessories at Tokyu Hands.

Another can’t-miss is the mega Don Quixote store in Shibuya. You can pick up all your souvenirs here, from Japanese knives to every variety of Kit-Kats. Don’t forget to bring your passport to get your tax refund!

ℹ Visit:  To get to Shibuya crossing (a good place to start), head to Shibuya Station and take Exit 8 towards Hachiko Square.

6. Akihabara

The neighborhood of Akihabara is Tokyo’s traditional hub for electronics, and these can still be found in the Akihabara Electric Town district and stores such as Akihabara Radio Center. But the neighborhood has also become increasingly known as a center for otaku (geeks) with shops dedicated to anime, manga, and J-Pop culture. Among the stores catering to this   crowd is the huge Mandarake Complex.

There are also arcades to check out, such as Taito Station. Head to the upper floors where you’ll find some amazing Japanese video game players displaying their skills. While walking around the area, you can’t miss girls dressed up as maids passing out flyers to one of many Maid Cafes; check them out if that’s your thing.

ℹ Visit:  This is a large shopping area best accessed via Akihabara Station.

7. Nogi Shrine Antique Flea Market

On the fourth Sunday of each month, the people of Tokyo (and visitors from all over the world) are anxious to see what goodies are available at Nogi Shrine market. Held on the  s andō road of Nogizaka’s Nogi Shrine, more than 40 shops are set up selling furniture, secondhand clothes, cooking utensils, and other antiques. Get incredible bargains on just about anything. There are also some food stalls selling snacks and other delectable treats just in case you get hungry. Open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Check out their website for more information.

ℹ Visit:  Located at 8 Chome-11-27 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, 107-0052, Japan

8. Ometosando Hills

Omotesando is a street in Harajuku lined with high-end stores that target fashionable Tokyoites. Ask anyone for Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees, which is the nickname for the broad, tree-lined avenue located south of Takeshita-dōri where you will find Omotesando. Although this isn’t a typical market, in this bustling shopping area you’ll find some items you couldn’t in Tokyo’s other markets.

Many famous international stores offering the very best in shopping and dining experiences have been established here. A wealthy clientele can be seen browsing the famous shops, cafés, boutiques, and restaurants, and it’s a fun experience (even if only to window-shop). Open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, and Sundays from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. Visit their website for more details.

ℹ Visit:  Located at 4-12-10 4 Chome−12 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, 150-0001, Japan

9. Heiwajima Antique Fair

Heiwajima Antique Fair is a 3-day event held 5 times a year in the months of March, May, June, September, and December. Heiwajima Antique Fair was established in 1978, making it the oldest antique fair in Japan. It attracts over 280 dealers from all over the country. Since most homes in Japan do not have a garage, the citizens look forward to these events to sell and purchase items.

You will find products like pottery, furniture, textiles, jewelry, paintings, glass, lacquer, and other items. Try going on the final day where you will get the best deals. They have an English website that contains dates and times of future fairs, so if you’re in Tokyo during one, make sure to check it out!

ℹ Visit:  Located at 6 Chome-1-1 Heiwajima, Ōta, Tokyo, 143-0006, Japan

10. Boro-Ichi Street Market

Dating back to some 430 years, Boro-Ichi Street Market is the place to shop if you’re looking for antique kimonos, toys, and clocks, as well as a variety of other items. A trip to this market is not just ideal for shopping — you will also be taking part in a dynamic folk-cultural activity.

In its early beginnings in the 1570s, the market was established as a “free market” where taxes were removed to boost the economy. Now it has grown into a biannual 2-day event set on December 15-16 and January 15-16 attracting over 700 sellers. Make sure to go if you’re in Tokyo during the winter!

ℹ Visit:  Located at 1 Chome-23-1 Setagaya, Tokyo, 154-0017, Japan

Group shot Tokyo Japan

1. JR Rail Pass

This pass is only cost-effective if you plan to explore outside of Tokyo, but it can also be used for free travel on the JR lines within Tokyo. It can only be purchased outside of the country, so make sure you do this before you arrive in Japan!

2. 100 Yen Shops

There are many 100 Yen shops in Japan where you can grab set meals, groceries, water, toiletries, and household items. This is where you want to buy anything you need to eat and shop on a budget!

3. Adapters Not Required

Plugs are flat 2-pinned, so don’t worry about bringing a plug adapter if you’re traveling from the U.S.

4. Cash Society

Many smaller shops don’t accept cards, so it’s good to have cash on you. 7-Eleven is always a sure spot to find an ATM.

5. Garbage Cans (or the Lack Thereof)

Public garbage cans are incredibly rare. Japanese women stash a baggie in their handbag to hold onto garbage until they get home.

6. Tax Free

Tokyo is one of the best shopping destinations in the world. Tourists can take advantage of tax-free shopping, which is available to foreign tourists at licensed stores when making purchases of over 5,000 yen. A passport is required when shopping tax-free.

7. Visiting a Shrine

These are religious sites, so there are some important things to remember. Behave calmly and respectfully. At the purification fountain near the shrine’s entrance, take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water, and rinse both hands. Then transfer some water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth, and spit the water beside the fountain. At the offering hall, throw a coin into the offering box, bow deeply twice, clap your hands twice, bow deeply once more, and pray for a few seconds.

8. Trains on Time

In Japan you will find that trains will actually leave at the time they are scheduled to! In other words, don’t think you can be even 1 minute late — you’ll miss your train.

9. Breakfast

Japanese people think breakfast is an important meal, so hotels (regardless of the budget) do their best to serve up a delicious breakfast. Even a cheap hotel  will offer a good solid breakfast to start your day, and a more expensive hotel will have a more extravagant breakfast. Take advantage!

10. Suica/Pasmo Card

If you have leftover money on your subway card, remember that many vending machines and convenience stores will also accept these cards.

1. Olympic City

Tokyo was selected as the host city for the 2020 Olympics.

2. (Every) Corner Store

Japan has nearly twice as many 7-Elevens as the  United States , with 2,079 stores in Tokyo alone.

3. Catchy Tunes

Tokyo train stations each have their own unique theme song.

As the annual Cherry Blossom Festival nears, television and radio reports include information on the “cherry blossom front,” or the forecast of the cherry blossoms across the different regions of Japan.

5. Rush Hour Traffic

Oshiya, or “pushers,” are employed in some of Tokyo’s railway stations. These station attendants literally push people onto crowded trains during rush hour.

6. A Disney First

Tokyo Disneyland was Disney’s first park outside the U.S. The resort employs over 20,000 people.

7. Bright Lights, Big City

Tokyo has more neon signs than anywhere else in the world. A trademark image in Tokyo is entire streets full of neon lights!

8. From the Movies

Godzilla has attacked and destroyed Tokyo no less than 28 times.

9. Seafood Is King 

Every day at Tsukiji Fish Market, 5 million pounds of seafood (worth roughly $28 million USD) are sold.

10. University Town

Tokyo contains over 100 universities and colleges, giving it the world’s highest concentration of higher learning institutions. One-third of Japan’s university students attend school in Tokyo.

DisneySea Tokyo

1. Disneyland and DisneySea

One of the most unique Disney sites in the world, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are markedly different from the other Disney theme parks dotted across the world. Aside from just enjoying all the usual rides and Disney stuff, you can visit the only DisneySea in the world here, try the variety of popcorn flavors, and enjoy all the matching costumes of the park guests. These 2 parks are the only ones in the world not wholly owned by Disney (although they do have creative control), so it is a great chance to see the Japanese twist on the classics.

Around 2 hours north of Tokyo on the Tobu Nikko line lies the ancient forest and town of Nikko, whose 103 religious structures form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the Tosho-gu shrine, halls commissioned by the Tokugawa family (the family that ruled Edo Japan until the Meiji Restoration) are sure to awe. If it isn’t too crowded, you can really lose yourself in the history of feudal Japan among the towering cedars and ancient shrines. Other attractions include the Shin-kyo Bridge and the Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss, a wooded path protected by statues.

3. Kamakura

While not exactly around the corner, thanks to Japan’s excellent rail system it’s entirely possible to visit Kamakura in just 1 day from Tokyo. The city is famous for its extremely high concentration of Zen, Buddhist, and Shinto temples, thanks to its rich history and former title as the nation’s capital. Kamakura has its own mini rail system to take visitors to all the different temples and down to the sea, so getting around is a breeze.

Besides the required visit to the Daibutsu or Giant Buddha, you won’t want to miss seeing Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu for its sprawling grounds, and Jomyo-ji for its garden and traditional teahouse.

Nestled in the shadow of Mount Fuji, Hakone is a one-stop destination for a side of Japan you won’t get in Tokyo: spectacular rolling mountain ranges, hot springs, slightly-unnerving ropeway rides, and cruises in faux-18th-century pirate ships? All of these things can be packed into 1 solid day. Even better, if it’s a clear day, you’ll get excellent views of Fuji-san.

Daytime admission for the area’s many onsen starts at 1,900 JPY. Be sure to track down a black egg cooked in one of the bubbling sulfur springs — legends say that 1 egg extends your life by 7 years.

5. Mt. Takao

Another popular day trip from Tokyo is Mount Takao. It takes less than an hour to get to Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio line. Visitors can enjoy a nature hike on one of the many trails that ascend the mountain, and if you’re not feeling particularly adventurous there’s a cable car that carries passengers part of the way up. The ancient Yakuo-in, a Buddhist temple established in 744, is one of Takao-san’s must-sees.

Be sure to try a tenguyaki, which is a taiyaki with the face of Tengu: the long-nosed goblin, god of mischief, and patron saint of martial arts who roams around Mount Takao.

Although Japan is generally known for being one of the safest countries in the world, visitors should always stay alert. The general crime rate in Japan is well below the U.S. national average, and Tokyo, like all of Japan, is generally a safe place for visitors. Still, as in other big cities around the world, visitors to Tokyo sometimes become victims of crime, and it’s important to exercise caution. While violent crime is rare, it does exist.

Emergency Contacts in Tokyo

  • To report an accident or a crime, call 110  or locate the closest police box (Koban).
  • To report a fire or ask for an ambulance or rescue services, contact the nearest fire station at 119.
  • Emergency telephone numbers can be called from home phones, mobile phones, and public phones. When making an emergency call from a public phone, neither money nor a pre-paid telephone card is necessary.

Keep Safe in the City

  • Pickpockets and thieves operate all over the world; be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you are walking along the street, keep valuables on your other side. Thieves in cars and motorcycles have been known to grab purses and bags from pedestrians.
  • Never accept drinks from strangers, and always keep yours with you in crowded bars. This is especially important to keep in mind in the nightlife districts of Tokyo, Roppongi, and Kabuki-cho.
  • Avoid deserted areas, especially at night.
  • Remember that possession or use of illegal drugs (including marijuana) are both serious crimes in Japan. Convictions for drug offenses result in lengthy sentences.

Visiting Public Places

  • Never leave your bags unattended.
  • During peak times, the subway can be very crowded. If you can’t avoid travel during these times, be aware of your bags at all times. In addition, there are women-only subway cars available to use (usually the last train car).
  • If you’ve left your belongings on a train, ask a station attendant for help. It makes the search easier if you remember the destination of the train and the train car you were on.
  • If you’ve left your belongings on a bus or taxi, contact (or have your hotel contact) a local service office of the bus company or the taxi company.

At Your Hotel

  • Always keep your passports and other valuables in a locked room safe if available.
  • Hotels are open to the public, and at large properties security may not be able to screen everyone entering. Always lock your room door. Don’t assume that once inside your hotel you’re automatically safe.

Emergency Alerts

Before you travel, it’s always a good idea to check the U.S. State Department’s website for any country-specific warnings.

If a major disaster occurs in Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will establish the Tokyo Metropolitan Disaster Information Center for Foreign Residents to support foreign residents in Tokyo. The Information Center will collect all relevant information and provide it to local authorities for their disaster information service to non-Japanese residents in their community.

The Information Center will also dispatch volunteer translators to such local information services, as well as medical institutions and emergency shelters for language support. The details will be provided to hotels and other places that tourists frequent.

Japan is an earthquake-prone country. Be prepared and don’t panic when it happens! The Earthquake Early Warning or  Kinkyu Jishin Sokuho  is issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency immediately after it detects earthquakes with a seismic intensity of “5-lower” and over (on the Japan seismic scale). Ensure your safety as soon as you see or hear the warning on TV, radio, or loudspeakers. Details will follow in both Japanese and English.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, contact the U.S. Embassy Tokyo or one of the Consulates; check their website for the closest location.

There has never been a better time to visit Tokyo. With preparations for the 2020 Olympics well under way, Tokyo is poised to continue being one of the best cities in the world for many years to come. Japan is not a country to be intimated by either — be polite, speak a little Japanese, and you’ll enjoy an astonishing city!

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The Ultimate City Guide to Tokyo

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best things to do in tokyo.

There is no shortage of amazing things to do in Tokyo! Tourists can enjoy world-famous food, take in the sights, museums, entertainment, and the famous cherry blossoms (depending on the season). There is something for everyone to love in Tokyo.

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Tokyo Private Tour Guides

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Popular Tokyo Tour Guides

Tokyo Tour Guide - Yasuro C.

Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                  

Tokyo Tour Guide - Grant A.

My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. *There will be a price revision at the end of June* My tour fee is Half-Day Tour: 20,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 40,000yen for 5-10hours The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards the time. I am also able to guide historical sites and cities such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko, and Kamakura on request if you pay my rail fare.                                                                                                                                  

Yokohama Tour Guide - Haruo T.

I live in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. I have a license to teach in high schools and was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language in the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 I had been teaching English at public high schools in Kanagawa for 37 years. During that time, I had some experience of guiding students from overseas through sister-school relationship around Tokyo and Kanagawa. Therefore, I had good command of English with the TOEIC score of 935. As for a tour guide experience I earned the certificate of National Government Licensed Guide-Interpreter in English and since then I have guided tourists to the popular sites around Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura and Yokosuka. My guiding focuses on introducing not only Japanese historical and cultural backgrounds but also giving tourists some tips to travel Japan only by themselves, such as how to use trains and subways, find good restaurants, reserve tickets, buy survenier, and speak basic Japanese. In addition, my tour includes opportunities to experience Japanese culture like Zen meditation, ninja performance, visiting anime's location sites based on tourists' request. Besides, by means of my hobbies of writing English Haiku and Waka (traditional Japanese poems) and performing Rakugo (traditional Japanese funny story telling) in English, I can surely entertain tourists during the tour. My moto as a tour guide is let the tourists have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Japan with my profound, intelligible and interestiog guiding.                                                                                                                                  

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                  

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Yoshi S.

Hello, I'm Yoshi!! I started my second career as a tour guide after retiring from the Japanese computer company I had worked for about 40 years. I was born in Asakusa and grew up in down town in Tokyo. I am married with two daughters and three grandchildren, two girls and a boy. I've experienced guiding international visitors in Tokyo and other famous sightseeing spots as a guide for several years. I will be so happy to help you enjoy your stay in Japan. Look forward to joining my tour!!                                                                                                                                  

Tokyo Tour Guide - Tim D.

I came to Japan in 1998, intending to stay a few months, but enjoying Japan, I never left. I was intrigued by the history, culture, language, and food. And the fascination and excitement of exploring and learning new things about Japan still exists with me today. The variety and choices of things to do and places to go can be overwhelming. I can offer you suggestions and a unique perspective on Japan. I can share local knowledge about things often missed. Fluent in Japanese with a master's degree in Japanese Studies and living in Japan for over 20 years, I can be your guide.                                                                                                                                  

Chiba Tour Guide - Jolly S.

Hello! I'm Jolly, government-licensed guide with over 10-year experience of guiding foreign guests from around 40 countries. Are you looking for a friendly and knowledgable guide to talk with a lot? Are you interested in history and clues to understand Japanese culture? If you say "yes", why don't you join my tour? Tokyo is a wonderful city having various aspects. With its 400-year history, Tokyo has a lot of traditional spots like splendid Buddhist temples and serene Shinto shrines. You can also find beautiful traditional Japanese gardens. On the other hand, Tokyo never stops changing. Every year new spots emerge and trend-conscious people enjoy visiting sophisticated shopping districts. Various types of amusement are available from digital art museums to cat cafes. And another very important point is Tokyo is full of delicious food! I love Tokyo and I'd be happy if I could help to make your stay in Tokyo more enjoyable. I'll take you various spots including both traditional and modern ones according to your requests. I really like to talk with my guests about various topics like Japanese culture, religions, history, art, food, everyday life of Japanese etc... I'm looking forward to seeing and guiding YOU soon!                                                                                                                                  

Tokyo Tour Guide - Ritsuko K.

Hi, I'm Ritsuko, a national licensed tour guide. I was born and raised in Tokyo. As Tokyo is a city of many faces, I hope you will discover your hidden gems during the tour. I love to wander around the shops and places downtown and one of my hobbies is to find daily-use products made in Japan. So I can select unique souvenirs for you within your budget! I am football-mad and have been to every FIFA World Cup except one tournament since 1998. I also love to go island hopping in Asia. That's why I have been to over 30 countries. Wherever I went, people were so kind to me. So, it's my turn. I will do my best to make your tour a memorable one! Hope to hear from you soon.                                                                                                                                  

Day trips from tokyo.

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Tokyo Tour Reviews

Half day private tour

“ Fantastic half day spent ”

We spent almost 2 half days with Atsuko in Tokyo. As soon as we met her we instantly became comfortable including my 9 year old. She made us see the best sights and sounds of Tokyo in the 2 days. It was a super experience and we highly recommend her. Thank you so much Atsuko….

Must-see in Tokyo: Asakusa, Tokyo Sky Tree, Ueno, Akihabara

“ Fantastic tour with Atsuko ”

We had a fantastic tour with Atsuko. She was vey friendly and made looking around Tokyo nothing less than outstanding. We saw and learned so much about the city that it made it a very unforgettable day and if you`re looking for the best guide I suggest you book Atsuko...you will not be disappointed I guarantee

Akihabara Walking Tour

“ Akihabara tour ”

Shinya was very polite and punctual. He met us at our hotel in Asakusa and navigated us on the subway to Akihabara to see manga stores. He found the best maid cafe for us to visit and took us to a hedgehog cafe. This tour was just akihabara, but I would guess that Shinya would also be a wonderful guide for other parts or the city too.

Robyn M.

Dear Robyn, Thank you so much for your feedback. I am glad to know that your family had a good time at Akihabara. I hope you enjoyed staying in Japan! Stay safe and take care. Shinya

The best tours and activities

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Local tour guides in tokyo.

Elevate your Tokyo exploration with private tours and a local guide that unveils enriching stories and curated experiences for a unique city adventure.

There’s more to Tokyo than the Sky tree and busy train terminals. A private guide ensures your preferences shape the itinerary, offering you a chance to explore Tokyo's diverse neighborhoods, each with its own style and charm. From the rare finds in Yurakucho, to the book loving streets of Jimbocho, there’s a new discovery around every corner.

Add some cultural depth to your Tokyo trip with a local guide that appreciates the city’s layers. In the historic district of Kagurazaka, known for its old world structures and charm, your guide can share tales of the mysterious yet beautifully preserved geisha culture and lead you to Kagurazaka Street, which is sprinkled with teahouses, artisan stalls, and even French-inspired bistros.

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  • The 7 Best Guided Tours...

The 7 Best Guided Tours to Take in Tokyo

Kabukicho, Shinjuku

Tokyo Writer

Don’t miss out on everything Tokyo has to offer. Sometimes the best way to explore a city is by learning from someone who knows it best. From haunted walks to cruises on the bay, discover the top guided tours to take in Tokyo .

Haunted tokyo tours – blood of samurai.

Haunted Tokyo Tours shows visitors an unexpected side of the city. Explore dark alleys, cemeteries and haunted hills, tunnels and residences hiding underneath Tokyo’s tidy veneer while you learn the haunted histories of these regions. Spooky tours for families are also available.

Cemetery in Bunko, Tokyo

Viator – Meiji Shrine, Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Bay Cruise

Viator’s one-day tour of Tokyo is a great introduction to the city. Get acquainted with some of the top historic sights – Meiji Shrine and Senso-ji – and finish up with a cruise around Tokyo Bay .

Senso-ji, Asakusa

Backstreet Guides – Night Out Tokyo Tour

Backstreet Guide’s Night Out Tokyo Tour is one of their most popular walking tours. This guided trip will have you exploring the sights and sounds of Harajuku and Shibuya, including the famous Shibuya Scramble, before heading on over to Shinjuku to explore Kabukicho and Golden Gai. The tour lasts six hours, so be sure to come energized for a night of exploring.

Golden Gai, Shinjuku

Walk Japan – Tokyo Tour

Walk Japan’s Tokyo Tour is a must-see for history and Japanese culture buffs as it focuses on informing tour groups about the history of the areas. This thorough two-day tour takes you through the Imperial Palace and the surrounding area; Koishikawa Koraku-en, one of few traditional Japanese gardens remaining from the Edo Period; along with Yanaka , the Edo Tokyo Museum, Ameyoko and more.

Koishikawa Koraku-en, Bunkyo

Tokyo Free Guide’s Tours

Tokyo Free Guide is a service that connects local tour guide volunteers with visitors to Tokyo. Your tour guide can take you wherever you want, so this option gives you the most freedom and privacy. It’s also easy on your wallet – since it’s a volunteer service, there’s no fee for guided tours.

Koenji, Tokyo

Context Tours – Otaku: From Geek to Chic

If pop culture is your thing, Context Tours’s Otaku: Geek to Chic is a perfect choice. This tour explores Akihabara , including a stop at one of the area’s infamous maid cafes and a visit to nearby Kanda Shrine. Context Tours focuses on making their tours informative, so if you’re looking to learn something on your trip it’s worth looking into.

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Akihabara Radio Center

Truly Tokyo – Tsukiji Fish Market Tour

Truly Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market Tour is great for foodies and seafood enthusiasts. Navigate the bustling inner and outer markets, take a stroll through nearby Hamarikyu Gardens and finish up with a fresh sushi lunch. The tour price of Y30,000 is for a private tour of up to six people, so it’s great if you’re traveling with a group.

Octopus for sale in Tsukiji

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Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

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best tokyo tour guide

Tokyo (����, Tōkyō) is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures , consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.

Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. Previously a small castle town , Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's largest cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the air raids of 1945.

Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping , entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. The city's history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa and in many excellent museums , historic temples and gardens . Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.

Top attractions in Tokyo

best tokyo tour guide

Tokyo by interest

best tokyo tour guide

Getting there and around

Itinerary ideas.

best tokyo tour guide

  • Tranquil Meiji Shrine
  • Urban exploring in Shibuya
  • Shopping in Shinjuku and youth culture in Harajuku

best tokyo tour guide

  • Ancient Sensoji Temple
  • Cruise down the Sumida River
  • Shopping in modern Odaiba

best tokyo tour guide

  • Exploring Shinjuku's busy streets
  • Relaxing in Shinjuku Gyoen
  • Taking in the skyscraper district

best tokyo tour guide

  • Exploring Asakusa area

best tokyo tour guide

  • Serene Imperial East Gardens
  • Lively Ginza shopping district

best tokyo tour guide

  • Old-fashioned post town
  • Artsy Tennozu Isle
  • Waterfront walk

Questions? Ask in our forum .

best tokyo tour guide

Links and Resources

Tokyo metropolitan government, hotels around tokyo, tokyo hotel guide.

How to choose the best places to stay in Tokyo

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Experiences around Tokyo

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Best of Tokyo Day Tour

Tokyo Skyline At Sunset With Tokyo Tower Standing Above


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On our Best of Tokyo Day Tour , you’ll experience the modern and historical gems of the city, making it one of the best Tokyo tours. Join us for an exciting day in Tokyo, getting lost in the beauty of the Imperial Palace. Wander the gardens and admire the incredible architecture. Tour the incredible Senso-ji Temple – a must-do on everyone’s itinerary – before trying the authentic flavors of Uji Matcha (available 3 times a week). Visit the modern district of Odaiba and cruise along Tokyo Bay – on selective days – passing beneath the Rainbow Bridge. Finally, take your journey to the next level at Tokyo Tower, where unbelievable city views await.

Are you traveling to Tokyo for the first time? Our Best of Tokyo Day Tour  is one of the best Tokyo tours. You will dive into the wonders of Japan’s capital city, from sacred history to magical views. See famous sites with your guide, eat traditional foods, and cruise along Tokyo Bay. Book your Tokyo experience today!

Best of Tokyo Day Tour Highlights

  • Explore the stunning Imperial Palace’s gardens, architecture, and surrounding nature
  • Discover the magic of the world-famous Senso-ji Temple
  • Ascend the Tokyo Tower and enjoy the best views of the city
  • On Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday - see the Meiji Shrine and Hamarikyu Gardens
  • On Monday, Wednesday, or Friday - indulge in Uji Matcha and cruise along Tokyo Bay

Best of Tokyo Day Tour Itinerary

If you have any questions about our Best of Tokyo Day Tour, please contact us. Our team is standing by and will be happy to help

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Tokyo Travel Guide

The world's best mega city, found in translation. Being here is a fever dream that you don't want to wake up from. The city's real pleasures—the yakitori, underground whiskey bars, the elegance of your daily interactions—are a collection of small and subtle discoveries. Here's our comprehensive guide and a collection of tips for visiting Tokyo, Japan, from the experts at Condé Nast Traveler.

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  • Tokyo Cheapo (繁體中文)

Your Guide to Tour Guides in Tokyo

Wondering whether to hire a tour guide in Tokyo? So are thousands of other travelers to the capital. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably not sure that you can justify opening your wallet for the expense. After all, Tokyo is relatively safe and well signposted, so can’t you make your own way around? The short answer is yes, but tour guides can be hugely advantageous in certain situations . Here, we’ll look at when you might use one, and what your options are (including those that don’t cost a single yen).

Observation deck at Roppongi Hills

When it’s a good idea for a tour guide in Tokyo

If you’re only going to be here for a few days, it’s your first time, or you’re a resident but have folks coming to visit and you can’t get off work, then having a tour guide in Tokyo can be helpful. It’s a good way of making sure that you (or your friends and family) get to see the major sights in the city without feeling lost or overwhelmed. I remember my first day trying to navigate the streets of Tokyo – I spent it going in and out of what seemed like countless different exits and entrances of a Bic Camera store. It felt like I was in a labyrinth (and I didn’t even find the floor with the fancy toilet seats).

A group of tourists visits the historic Senso-Ji Temple in Askusa.

Should I book a private or group tour?

Group tours tend to be cheaper, and allow you to blend into the background and avoid lots of chatting with the tour guide – but the lack of individual attention can be frustrating if you have questions about the attractions you’re being shown. They can also be quite restrictive in terms of choice and movement; you might find yourself shunted from one sight to the next on a tight schedule. That said, group tours suit some cheapos perfectly, and can provide a fun experience and the chance to make friends with other tourists.

Private tours can generally be tailored to suit your interests and schedule, and give you the chance to gain a more in-depth understanding of the area. There is also more flexibility when it comes to making changes to the itinerary, like a spontaneous stop-off for ramen or a selfie next to a creatively-titled establishment (cough cough, Grope in the Dark* and so on). While some private tours can be pricey, there are a number of affordable options – and a bunch of free ones, too.

Rickshaw with passengers Asakusa

Recommended tour guides in Tokyo

Right then, which of the hundreds of tour guides in Tokyo do you go with?

If you’re happy paying for a tour, then booking company Viator is a good place to start. They offer a bunch of different day (and night) tours, centered around temples, chow, photography and more–depending on what you’re into. Prices start around US$ 40.00 . They also do bike tours , if you’re wanting to see the city on wheels.

The folks over at Klook have some good deals  too. In addition a wide range of Tokyo-based tours and day trips — like this Mt Fuji day trip — they also have great deals on entry tickets to various attractions.

Tokyo sightseeing bus

Another idea is to take a ride on the double-decker, open-roofed Sky Hop Bus, which circles Tokyo’s major tourist attractions (including the Imperial Palace , Ginza and Omotesando ) and allows you to hop on and off as you please. There is an amphibian version, aptly called Sky Duck, too.

Free Tokyo tours

If you’re happy with a more casual approach and your schedule is flexible, then you could always try one of the many free walking tours of Tokyo . Mostly organized by goodwill guides, they can be a yen-saving way of getting your tourist on.

best tokyo tour guide

DIY: Self-guided tours

If you’ve decided that you’d rather explore Tokyo on your own, you’re not without resources. We’re not about to leave you flapping about with a map under a cherry blossom tree – that would be unsporting. To make things easy for you, we’ve put together a number of itineraries for half-day and whole-day walking tours that take you to spots both well-known and slightly off the beaten track. See for yourself here .

The best thing about taking a DIY approach? You’re likely to stumble across random cool cafes , restaurants , shrines and street art that even local guides wouldn’t think to take you to (that’s the caveat thingy we mentioned earlier).

*It’s a hip-hop apparel store.

This post was originally published in February, 2017. Last updated on September 24, 2018.

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How to Make the Most of 4 Days in Tokyo

Fuel up on coffee at artist takashi murakami’s retro cafe, immerse yourself in a new digital art museum, and take a meditative walk in the heart of a forest..

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Chidorigafuchi Park in Tokyo

The cherry tree-fringed Chidorigafuchi Park is just a short walk from Kudanshita Station in Tokyo.

Photo by Geoff Haggray

Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis with 37.4 million people, presents a dynamic contrast of historical and contemporary. I offer market tours here and many of my clients say how much they love the city. It’s hard not to love. People are polite. The streets are clean. The cuisine is outstanding, from high-end sushi shops to a simple egg salad sando at the convenience store. My tip: Have a rough itinerary but allow time to wander and explore the quiet side streets.

It’s best seen on foot. Paul McInnes, editor in chief and creative director of Voyapon , a site about Japan and Japanese culture, says of the city: “Many people don’t realize that Tokyo is very much a walkable city. One of the best books about this very subject is Laura Elkin’s fantastic Flâneuse , which focuses on exploring various cities, including Tokyo. You really get to know more about how Tokyo works and you find various nooks and crannies that you hadn’t realized existed. So, invest in some comfortable walking shoes and explore this great modern city.” (McInnes himself captures the details on Japan in his psychogeography writings of walking through Tokyo and Kyoto .) Here’s how to best spend four days in Tokyo.

Crowds in the Asakusa district of Tokyo

Tokyo’s Asakusa district is home to a number of historic monuments including the 7th century Sensoji temple.

Day 1: Explore the historic East Side

The Asakusa district is a must-see, even for the Japanese when they visit Tokyo. Start with a traditional Japanese breakfast of onigiri rice balls and miso soup at Misojyu , then walk up the Nakamise Dori pedestrian street lined with shops up to Sensoji , Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Its history can be traced back 1,300 years. Walk over to the Kappabashi kitchenware district and peruse the shops; don’t miss the sleek Kama-Asa for knives and kitchenware (but be sure to carry knives in your checked luggage when you head home).

Take the Ginza subway line a few stops to the Ueno train station, home to several museums, a large park, and an open air market. Grab lunch (soba and tempura) at Yabu Soba , a historic shop dating back 130 years. On the first-floor atelier, buckwheat noodles are made from scratch. Ueno Park has six museums, including the Tokyo National Museum—the largest and oldest art museum in Japan. If you’re traveling with kids, spend some time in the nearby Akihabara district (a 15-minute walk away) for electronics and shops for anime and manga character shops.

Continue on the Ginza subway line to the Ginza district itself and spend the late afternoon perusing the shops. I’m not a big shopper myself, but it’s such a joy in Japan with boutiques like Natsuno for chopsticks, Ito-ya for stationery, and Issey Miyake for my favorite travel wear, Pleats Please. Ginza Six department store is the newest addition to the Ginza main street, complete with a rooftop garden and basement food hall, mostly with sweets. Check out the free art galleries at fashion labels like Issey Miyake Cube or Maison Hermes .

Have sushi for dinner at Ginza Kyubey , the restaurant that created gunkan sushi, nori wrapped around rice to hold soft toppings like uni (sea urchin), followed by cocktails at Bar Orchard . For more local eats, check out the nearby Tsukishima area, which is famous for monjayaki , the Tokyo version of okonomiyaki savory pancakes.

Crowds walk up Takeshita Dori street in Tokyo

A first-time visit to Tokyo ought to include an hour or two on the pedestrian Takeshita Dori street, which is home to all manner of pop culture and clothing shops.

Photo by KenSoftTH/Shutterstock

Day 2: Dive into new Tokyo

The west side of Tokyo is the younger side of the city. Start at Harajuku Station and begin with a meditative walk through the luscious green forest surrounding Meiji Jingu Shrine next door, which was established in 1920 to commemorate Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It opens at sunrise.

Next, snake your way through neighboring Harajuku’s Takeshita Dori , ground zero for Japanese pop culture. The narrow pedestrian street is lined with boutiques for all things kawaii cute, cosplay costumes, and teen fashion. It also offers plenty of street food. Continue the walk along upscale Omotesando Street and down to see the Prada building, one of Tokyo’s most famous architectural designs. Visit the Nezu Museum for its impressive collection of Japanese and Asian artworks, including paintings and ceramics—and don’t miss the surrounding gardens.

Rub elbows with locals at lunch at Yanmo . Seasonal seafood comes directly from the fishing boats each morning to the restaurant, is charcoal grilled and served with set lunches with rice, miso soup, and vegetables. It’s about a 30-minute walk to the hipster and fashionable Daikanyama area, which is known for Japanese denim boutiques. I love the colorful tenugui cotton cloths at Kamawanu that make great gifts for friends. Allow time to get lost in the Tsutaya T-Site bookstore.

An excellent guide to what makes Tokyo so special is the book People Make Places by Charles Spreckley, the founder of the bespoke travel company of the same name. It introduces the people behind the restaurants, boutiques, and museums in Tokyo. “Roku is one of the shops that is included in People Make Places, a really fantastic vintage store that specializes in denim,” Spreckley says. “Kapital is a brand originally from Okayama, the capital of Japan’s denim industry, which is known for its high-quality products and with a shop in Ebisu.”

Wind down the evening at Pizza Marumo in Ebisu—voted number 10 in the world by the Best Chef Awards . Chef Motokura is a former Japanese cuisine chef. Marumo has a full menu of appetizers and an extensive list of pizzas. The dough has a high amount of water so the crust is crispy and the dough is chewy.

A dish at Tokyo's Katsukichi restaurant

Katsukichi restaurant is renowned for its fried pork cutlets, cooked in a blend of oils and freshly made breadcrumbs.

Courtesy of Katsukichi

Day 3: Visit local neighborhoods

Start the day by stepping back in time at old-school kissaten coffee shop L’ambre in Shinjuku, one of the newer parts of the city and a mix of high-rise buildings and spacious green parks; expect toast and coffee with classical music playing in the background. From here, it’s a short walk to one of Tokyo’s spectacular depachika food halls at Isetan . The department store basement has a colorful collection of prepared foods, high-end fruits, seasonal seafood, and exquisitely packaged sweets.

Then venture West on the Chuo train line and hit up a few local stops. North of Nakano Station is Nakano Broadway , a mall that offers a fascinating insight to the anime otaku subculture. Visitors come to shop for vintage watches, peruse manga magazines and anime figurines, or enjoy the rainbow soft serve in the food hall basement. Hidden in the back is Zingaro coffee shop by Murakami. This stop is about pop culture.

There are a few other local stops continuing west on the Chuo line, including Koenji for vintage shops, Ogikubo to visit the Otaguro Gardens and for ramen, Nishi-Ogikubo for antiques, or Asagaya for the Pearl Center shotengai shopping arcade to see how locals shop. If you’re a planner, then be on top of booking tickets to the Ghibli Museum in Kichijoji. Inokashira Koen Park , near the Ghibli Museum, is stunning in spring during sakura season.

From Kichijoji take the Inokashira line train to Shimokitazawa . This sprawling area has curry shops, cafés, and shops for practically everything, but notably vintage clothes. Rest your feet at Balloon d’Essai for a latte, or if it’s summertime for a kakigori shaved ice with sweetened condensed milk and espresso. Continue on the Inokashira line to the terminal Shibuya Station. Check out the popular Shibuya Crossing with up to 3,000 people crossing at one time. If you’re up for a cocktail, mixologist Shingo Gokan has a big following with several bars, including at SG Club . Dinner is tonkatsu, breaded and fried pork cutlets, at Katsukichi . In wintertime I am addicted to the fried oysters.

Digital art at teamLab Borderless

Augmented and virtual realities collide at teamLab Borderless’s art installation.

Day 4: Step into the future

Start the morning at Hamarikyu Gardens on the waterway leading to Tokyo Bay. A former imperial detached palace, it strikes a peaceful contrast to the nearby high-rise buildings. Do not miss the 300-year-old pine tree. For early sustenance, creamy chicken ramen at Ginza Kagari is my favorite bowl in the city.

Head over to Azabudai Hills to see the newest complex to open in Tokyo with about 150 shops, cafés, restaurants, and the digital art museum teamLab Borderless . The flowing modern architecture connects several buildings. Then soak in culture at one or more of the Roppongi museums: the Mori Art Museum with an observatory; the 21_21 Design Sight ; or the National Art Center, Tokyo . For your final night in Tokyo, explore sake and sake-friendly dishes at the friendly Eureka! . If you’re traveling with children, then head to a kaitenzushi shop like Sushiro . Kids will have fun ordering sushi on an iPad and having it delivered by a conveyor belt.

Where to stay

There’s no shortage of great hotels in Tokyo . The Tokyo Station Hotel, in the heart of the city, is the classic hotel with omotenashi hospitality and service. As the name suggests, it’s conveniently located at Tokyo Station, which also helps if you have an early shinkansen bullet train to areas beyond the capital. If dining is a priority, the Aman has some of the best concierges in Tokyo for getting reservations at sought-after restaurants. The spa, pool, and luxurious rooms are ideal for relaxing and unwinding after a day on your feet exploring the city.

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  • Tokyo Tourist Information Center - Online Tourist Guide

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Updated: February 1, 2024

Consult us about your trip free-of-charge from wherever you like, such as at home or your destination.

The Tokyo Tourist Information Center provides tourist information online to visitors to Tokyo from Japan or abroad. This service allows you to receive tourist information in a variety of languages from wherever you like such as at home or your destination, and it is provided free-of-charge to all travelers visiting Tokyo from other parts of Japan or abroad. All communications are done online, so you can easily access this service even from overseas.

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Similar to the Tokyo Tourism Information Center, the online tourist guide introduces tourist spots and routes in Tokyo and all across Japan and provides a guide to access and accommodation information. The four languages of Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean are supported and, provided that you have an Internet connection, you can access this service from anywhere in the world. It is extremely useful for getting information about your destination before departure.

<Languages> Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean <Hours> English & Japanese: 24 hours a day (year-round) Chinese & Korean: 7:00-22:00 (year-round) To contact the service outside of hours, use the email address below. Inquiries will be addressed in the order in which they are received. info@tokyo-tourism.jp Note: Service hours are subject to change. <System requirements> The supported browsers are shown below. If you use anything other than the below systems or browsers, video and telephone call connections may not be possible.

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The best times to visit Tokyo across the seasons

David McElhinney

Mar 25, 2024 • 6 min read

best tokyo tour guide

Read on for the best time to visit Tokyo to escape the holiday crowds © SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images © SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Always dynamic, Tokyo shows a new side to its character with each passing season. There's really no bad time to visit.

Spring and fall bring great weather for sightseeing and seasonal changes in foliage – hanami (flower viewing) in spring and momijigari (leaf-viewing) in autumn – that are followed by locals with giddy enthusiasm.

In summer people gather to watch giant firework displays light up the night sky, and in winter, there are fewer crowds, festive illuminations, and snow-clad Mt Fuji is at its most beautiful. 

Whether you’re hoping to catch Japan ’s capital at its most lively or simply avoid the tourist crowds, here’s our guide to the best times to visit Tokyo.

There are several high seasons in Tokyo 

As Japan’s travel appeal has grown in popularity (it witnessed record-breaking annual tourism figures every year from 2012 to 2019, peaking at 32 million visitors) the high seasons have expanded outwards with it; nowhere has this been more apparent than in the major cities, particularly Tokyo and Kyoto.

While the capital is sprawling enough to accommodate such an influx, Tokyo’s premier attractions are noticeably more thronged for significant stretches of the year as a result. But usually, it’s with good reason.

People walk on a path under a flowering cherry blossom in the Tachikawa district on Tokyo

March to April is cherry blossom season and in May it's Golden Week

March to May is peak season in Tokyo, with great weather and riots of color in city parks thanks to the famous cherry blossom bloom . Locals and visitors gather for open-air picnics and parties, called hanami , to take in the natural splendor. 

March sees the annual Tokyo Marathon and St Patrick's Day parade roll into town, as well as the celebration of Hina Matsuri (Girls’ Day), where public spaces and homes are decorated with o-hina-sama (princess) dolls in traditional royal dress. 

Warmer weather and spring blooms – from floating sakura to tumbling wisteria – make April quite simply a fantastic month to be in Tokyo.

Celebrating the arrival of spring-proper, spirited parties accompany the ritual of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in parks like Ueno-kōen , Yoyogi-kōen , and Inokashira-kōen – get down early to guarantee a spot on the parks’ extensive lawns.

The month of May is also marked by Ōgon Shūkan (Golden Week), which sees a number of significant holidays take place, giving the city an added buzz. Expect plenty of crowds, jam-packed trains and a spike in accommodation costs.

Weather-wise, May is blissfully warm and sunny, so go for a stroll through Tokyo's streets and green spaces, or rent a bicycle and explore quieter neighborhoods in between the well-trodden tourist hubs.

Visitors at Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station with Mount Fuji beyond.

Mt Fuji hiking opens in late-July and summer festivals begin

Despite the chance of late-summer rains, energy-sapping humidity in August, and roaring typhoons in fall, a second tourism peak comes in late July and continues more or less unabated until December. 

Mt Fuji ’s hiking routes are open during July and August, attracting pilgrims and summiters in their stick-wielding droves, while firework-fuelled summer festivals keep people entertained in the city. 

When the rainy season passes in mid-July, suddenly it’s summer – the season for lively street fairs and hanabi taikai (fireworks shows).

The grandest of the lot takes place on the last Saturday in July, with an incredible 20,000 pyrotechnic wonders exploding over Asakusa district (beware, crowds can reach one million). 

August is the height of Japan's sticky, hot summer (which locals love to bemoan with the phrase atsui desu ne – "hot, isn't it?"). The O-Bon national holidays mean attractions popular with students and families will be crowded, while accommodation will likely be pricey. 

Asagaya's Tanabata festival sees Tokyo’s signature shōtengai (shopping arcade), Pearl Centre , decked out with colorful lanterns and papier-mâché decorations (some with cheeky pop culture references).

The twice-annual Comiket (Comic Market) also rolls into town in August, a highlight of the year for major manga fans. It focuses on doujinshi , self-published and fanfic comics.

Small white lights are wrapped around every tree lining a pathway. A blurred figure walks down the path

September to November is best for fall foliage and moon viewing

Clear skies around the autumn equinox in September call for tsukimi (moon-viewing gatherings), another quintessentially Japanese pastime.

Plenty of big events also take place at this time, including the Tokyo Film Festival and extravagant Halloween celebrations in October.

Pleasantly warm days and cool evenings make this an excellent time to be in Tokyo. There are a number of big events too, including Tokyo International Film Festival, screening works from international and Japanese directors, and Halloween, which sees thousands of costumed merry-makers now converge on Shibuya Crossing for one big, chaotic street party.

True to form, late-October also welcomes the Ikebukuro Halloween Street Party, one of the largest cosplay events in Japan.

The temperature cools to agreeable levels as Tokyo moves through the fall, paving the way for the koyo (autumn foliage) phenomenon. O-tori shrines such as Hanazono-jinja hold fairs called Tori-no-ichi where vendors sell kumade – stylized rakes that literally symbolize "raking in the wealth".

Meanwhile people gather to watch the city’s trees undergo magnificent seasonal transformations during kōyō (autumn foliage season). Rikugi-en, Koishikawa Kōrakuen , and Hama-rikyū Onshi-teien are three favorite local viewing spots.

In November, the city’s parks, gardens, and high streets are painted in fiery hues as deciduous trees – ginkgo, momiji, maple, zelkova, and more – bid their leaves adieu. Some gardens, like Rikugi-en in the north, illuminate the falling leaves after dark.

Cool Asian woman has a wheelchair enjoy the night life in Shibuya, Tokyo

December to February (plus June and July) are best for avoiding crowds

Tokyo is quiet during the winter period, with the exception of the latter half of December when locals head out to end-of-year work parties and get-togethers.

This is, however, a good time to see the city decked out in dazzling winter lights, and observe religious ceremonies in full swing at temples and shrines during Shōgatsu (the Japanese New Year) at the beginning of January.

Accommodation prices are generally low during this period and crowds are thin. However, it’s worth noting many businesses close over the New Year period.

It’s also quite cold, though frequent clear blue skies mean snow-decked Mt Fuji is particularly beautiful at this time of year.

The height of the rainy season, usually arriving in mid-June to mid-July, is another low season for tourism in Tokyo, but the damp conditions are not great for sightseeing.

Early June is lovely, though by the end of the month tsuyu (the rainy season) sets in. The trade-off is that accommodation prices will drop after the April–May spike.

Should the rain arrive early, visitors can head to the BeerFes Tokyo during the first weekend of June, where over 100 different craft beers from around Japan and the world are on offer at the iconic Yebisu Garden Place.

Other celebrations in June include Sannō Matsuri (held on even-numbered years), a centuries-old festival that involves traditional music performances and takes place over 11 days in mid-June at Hie-jinja .

Keep planning your trip to Tokyo:

Wondering where to stay in Tokyo? We give you a rundown on the best neighborhoods .  Travelling on a budget? Save your yen with  tips for visiting Tokyo for less . Find out the  key things to know before you go . And why not plan a day trip: here are the best 5 day trips to add to your itinerary.

This article was first published Feb 16, 2021 and updated Mar 25, 2024.

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  • Tokyo’s Best Speakeasy Bars to Feel the Vibes

Discover Tokyo’s booming and blooming cocktail bar scene.

Japan date night Bars Editor's Pick Things to do in Tokyo Tokyo

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Tokyo’s bar culture is thriving. Immerse yourself in exciting bars, with a broad choice ranging from traditional Japanese classic bars to hyper-hip mixology spots. Recently, cocktails incorporating Japanese elements like shochu, sake, and Japanese tea have been on the rise. Level up your Tokyo nights with cocktails featuring Japanese touches at these unique bars.

The Bvlgari Bar- Yaesu( Bvlgari Hotel Tokyo )

The bar features a counter with an elegant mosaic background and a spacious terrace where you can enjoy spectacular views from the 45th floor. The place is perfect for large-scale parties, accommodating up to 100 people. With the theme of craftsmanship, the cocktails by Andrea Minarelli, who is passionate about visiting producers in Japan to source the best ingredients, perfectly complement the bar snacks created by the Chef Nico Romito , One MICHELIN Star Restaurant “ Il Ristorante Nico Romito .” Indulge in every moment of Italian elegance.


Virtu- Otemachi( Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi )

World-acclaimed head bartender Keith Motsi grew up in the UK, where a well-established cocktail culture thrives. His witty conversations and the cool, entertaining atmosphere are loved by experienced bar-goers. “Takara” (meaning treasure in Japanese) is his take on a Manhattan, inspired by the Japanese fairy tale “Momotaro,” using French chartreuse and Japanese “Denki Bran,” an old-school Japanese cocktail mix created in Asakusa.

Takara Ⓒryomayagi

Mixology Salon- Ginza

A tea-themed cocktail bar opened in 2017 by renowned mixologist Shuzo Nagumo. Nagumo has deep knowledge about marrying flavors and aromas. His signature cocktails are six types of ‘tea-tail,’ a series of low-alcohol tea cocktails served in wine glasses to appreciate their aroma and long aftertaste. Over time, the multi-layers of flavors and aromas are unveiled, symbolizing light cocktails that suit modern palates.

ⒸMixology Salon


The advanced techniques and refined movements of Japanese bartenders have established a genre in the bar industry known as “Japanese-style bartending,” attracting global attention. This is the place to experience it. Owner bartender Hidetsugu Ueno is famous for judging cocktail competitions worldwide. The shakes using a three-piece shaker and the elegant stirring movements are masterpieces of craftsmanship.



A bar founded by long-established French crystal brand ST Louis, in collaboration with three MICHELIN Starred restaurant Restaurant Kei ’s chef owner, Kei Kobayashi. All the glassware, including glasses and chandeliers, are by ST Louis, and there are original cocktails with recipes by ST Louis. Bar manager Riku Suzuki explores Edo-era history, expressing Japanese flavors with cocktails like “Modern ‘Honnaoshi’” shochu and mirin-based on old recipes. The outdoor Japanese garden is a must-see.


Gold bar at EDITION- Toranomon( The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon )

Experience the contrast between the nostalgic atmosphere of the pre-prohibition era in the United States and a futuristic menu themed “duality,” revealing a secret menu under black light. The cocktails, created by bar director Hideyuki Sato, who has rich overseas experience, incorporate Japanese alcoholic beverages, giving them exotic accents.

ⒸGold Bar at Edition

EUREKA!- Nishi Azabu

Named after the word exclaimed by ancient Greek philosopher Archimedes when he made a discovery, “Eureka!” is led by charismatic owner Marie Chiba and is popular for its unique pairing of Japanese sake and food. For example, pairing blue cheese and ham cutlet with “Doburoku” (unfiltered sake) reveals undiscovered charms. As the name suggests, you’ll discover new ways to appreciate Japanese sake.


The SG Club- Shibuya

ⒸThe GS Club

BenFiddich- Shinjuku

Owner bartender Hiroyasu Kayama has unique titles as both a farmer and a bartender. This bar serves cocktails themed “Farm to Glass.” In Saitama prefecture, two hours by train from the bar, he grows various plants like juniper and absinthe, using what he harvests to create cocktails. He actively travels overseas, researching unique local alcohol and incorporating it into his creations. He also works with the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Japan to commercialize wood drinking alcohol, made by extracting alcohol from wood chips.


Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience- Omotesando

Shinya Sakurai, who has researched various ways to enjoy and brew Japanese tea, opened a tea shop in Omotesando in 2014. They offer a wide variety of teas, including in-house roasted tea, “gyokuro” tea, and the rare fermented tea called “Goishicha,” as well as tea cocktails. Enjoy a set of gyokuro, blended tea, and four tea cocktails accompanied by Japanese sweets. The tea cocktails brewed in the quiet ambiance will help you take a deep breath and refresh.

ⒸSakurai Japanese Tea Experience

Top Image: ⒸEUREKA!

best tokyo tour guide

Kyoko Nakayama has almost 20 years of television experience in Japan, working as a news anchor before transitioning to food journalism. She stayed in Singapore for 6 years until 2019, where she worked as a radio DJ at MediaCorp. She currently bases in Tokyo and contributes to prestigious newspapers and magazines in Japan and worldwide. To explore global food culture, she travels more than 60 countries, writes both in Japanese and in English.

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