Translated by Hilary Keyes
Writer, translator, designer, weirdo.
Tokyo, Japan's capital and cultural center, is home to numerous cutting-edge and trendy shops, great gourmet restaurants of all kinds, and numerous sightseeing spots. Learn all about this fantastic city with this comprehensive guide.
Tokyo, Japan's capital, is the political and economical center of Japan and the world's largest mega-city.
The most popular travel destination in Japan, Tokyo offers numerous facilities and services that make it an ideal place to visit. In this city, you can find almost everything, and the public transportation system is also incredibly convenient to use. And it goes without saying that Tokyo also has some amazing tourist attractions as well.
In this article, we will outline the weather in Tokyo, how to reach Tokyo from Narita and Haneda airports, discuss the public transportation system, the features of the main areas of the city, places to visit, and overall discuss what sort of place this mega-city is.
1. The Weather in Tokyo
2. How to Reach Tokyo
3. Transportation Within Tokyo
4. Area Guide to Tokyo
5. 35 Most Recommended Spots in Tokyo
6. Accommodation in Tokyo
7 Tokyo's Restaurants
8. 10 Day Trip Spots from Tokyo
9. Where to Get Souvenirs in Tokyo
10. Other Important Travel Information
The weather in Tokyo depends on the four seasons.
Despite the sometimes sudden weather changes from sunny days to rain, many visitors come to Japan in the spring, while the hot temperatures and high humidity caused by June's tsuyu or rainy season mean the summer starts out quite wet - be careful of sudden thunderstorms and torrential rain during this season as well.
There are plenty of brisk autumn days in the fall, but this season is changeable as well given the number of typhoons that take place during it; there are many heavy rainstorms that occur in fall as well. There are far fewer rainy days in the winter in Tokyo. However, the air becomes quite dry during this season. It sometimes snows, which means that the transportation systems may experience delays or have to temporarily shut down due to the snow accumulation.
Here are the monthly average temperatures for Tokyo and some recommended clothing items to bring with you on your trip.
January (Temperature 1.8-10.4℃)
Clothing that will protect against the cold, such as down jackets and coats are necessary. Mufflers, scarves, gloves or mittens are also good to have with you too.
February (Temperature 1.9-10.4℃)
Much the same as January, clothing that will protect against the cold, such as down jackets and coats plus winter accessories are necessary.
March (Temperature 5.8-15.5℃)
You'll need a warm coat.
April (Temperature 10.1-19.4℃)
Something not too heavy, such as a jacket or cardigan, is perfect for this month.
May (Temperature 16.6-26.4℃)
During the day time you can typically get away with short sleeves, but in the early morning and evening, you will want to have something with long sleeves, such as a light jacket, hoodie or cardigan with you.
June (Temperature 18.6-26.4℃)
You will want to have either short or long sleeve shirts. There is a lot of moisture in the air during this month, so clothing that provides good ventilation is key.
July (Temperature 23.2-30.1℃)
Short sleeves are perfect for this time, but make sure you have protection against UV rays - sun block is necessary.
August (Temperature 23.9-30.5℃)
Much like July, short sleeves and sun block are key.
September (Temperature 19.8-26.4℃)
During the day short sleeves are fine, but in the evening you might find yourself wanting a light jacket or cardigan.
October (Temperature 14.8-22.7℃)
Cardigans, jackets, even a light winter coat are useful during October.
November (Temperature 10.7-17.8℃)
Jackets and sweaters or even coats - warm items are our recommendation for November.
December (Temperature 5.8-13.4℃)
Down jackets, winter coats and winter accessories start becoming necessary as the month progresses.
* Please note: this is based on the weather data for the year 2015.
To learn more about the weather, please refer to The Temperature In Tōkyō And What To Wear.
There are two major airports in Tokyo: Narita and Haneda. Both are international and domestic airports, considered to be the front doors to Japan. Below, we will explain the main routes to take from the two airports to Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station, as well as the time required and fares.
To travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station, we recommend taking the inexpensive and transfer-free Keisei Line.
Duration: about 50 minutes
Fare: 2630 yen
Departs from: for Terminal 1, from Narita Airport Station, and for Terminal 2 and 3, from Terminal 2 Station
Duration: 68 minutes
Fare: 1450 yen
Departs from: for Terminal 1, from Narita Airport Station, and for Terminal 2 and 3, from Terminal 2 Station
Transfer: switch to the JR Yamanote Line at Shinbashi Station
Duration: 1 hour (depending on traffic conditions)
Fare: 900 yen for advance reservations, 1000 yen for same-day, same-day fares with IC cards (SUICA or PASMO) 950 yen.
Departs from: #31 Stop at Terminal 1, #2 or #19 at Terminal 2, and at #1 stop in Terminal 3
To learn more, read Tokyo Station To Narita For 1000 Yen! Keisei Highway Bus - Tokyo Shuttle.
Duration: 58 minutes
Fare: 2670 yen
Departs from: for Terminal 1, from Narita Airport Station, and for Terminal 2 and 3, from Terminal 2 Station
Transfers: Take the JR Yamanote Line from Nippori Station
Duration: 72 minutes
Fare: 1440 yen
Departs from: for Terminal 1, from Narita Airport Station, and for Terminal 2 and 3, from Terminal 2 Station
Duration: 85 minutes
Fare: 3100 yen
Departs from: #2 and #11 stop in Terminal 1, #6 and #16 stop in Terminal 2, and #4 stop in Terminal 3
Duration: 30 minutes
Fare: 575 yen
Departs from: Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station
Transfer: Take the JR Yamanote Line from Shinagawa Station
Duration: 35 minutes
Fare: 647 yen
Departs from: Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Terminal 1 Station, Terminal 2 Station and International Terminal Building
Transfers: Take the JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho Station
Duration: 25-45 minutes (depending on traffic conditions)
Fare: 930 yen
Departs from: Terminal 1 (1st floor #1), Terminal 2 (1st floor #4), International Terminal (1st floor #1 stop)
Duration: 30 minutes
Fare: 601 yen
Departs from: Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station
Transfer: Take the JR Yamanote Line from Shinagawa Station
Duration: 35-76 minutes (depending on traffic conditions)
Fare: 1230 yen (late night/early morning service 2000 yen)
Departs from: #5 1st floor stop of Terminal 1 and 2, 1st floor International Terminal stop #3
When traveling from the airports to Tokyo, it's possible to plan your journey based on several factors, such as whether it has any transfers or not, the frequency of the service, the time required, the fare and more. And, as there are some services with discounted fares available when reserved in advance, it's a good idea to thoroughly plan out your route before you travel.
For information on traveling to other stations in Tokyo, please take a look at some of MATCHA's other articles.
How To Travel From Narita International Airport to Tokyo
Tokyo Station To Narita For 1000 Yen! Keisei Highway Bus - Tokyo Shuttle
Getting to Shinjuku From Shibuya, Ueno, Tokyo, Asakusa and Airports
Getting to Harajuku from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Asakusa and Airports
The public transportation system in Tokyo is very advanced; it's possible to reach nearly all of the sightseeing spots in the city via train or subway. Or, you can tailor your journeys by skillfully making use of the buses and taxis, enabling you to move about efficiently and helping you to really enjoy your sightseeing.
The different areas within the city each have their own distinct features. From places full of cutting edge technology to fashion-forward spaces to districts full of historical ambience, Tokyo has it all. Now, let's take a closer look at the various areas of the city.
Asakusa is a popular sightseeing area where you can experience the atmosphere of Japanese traditions, history and culture all around you. The famous shopping street, Nakamise-dori leading towards Sensoji Temple, is a charming street where you will find historical Japanese sweet shops and souvenir stores. There are many friendly, 'Edokko' (Tokyo-based for generations) staff at these shops, who are a lot of fun to communicate with.
On the other hand, this same area is where you will find the ultra-modern Tokyo SkyTree; if you would like to experience the best of the old and the new in Tokyo, this is a great place to start.
To learn more about Asakusa, please take a look at: Asakusa Area Guide: Sightseeing, Dining, Shopping, Festivals and More!
Ueno is a culture-lover's paradise as it is home to art galleries, (Ueno Royal Museum, The National Museum of Western Art, etc) and the National Museum of Nature and Science、Ueno Zoo, the International Library of Children's Literature, the Shitamachi Museum and many other fascinating centers. And, Ueno Park is a public park where visitors can enjoy seasonal flowers like sakura and lotus blossoms, and beautiful leaves in the fall.
See Ueno Park Guide: Ueno Zoo, Museums, Temples and Other Highlights! for more information on Ueno.
Although Akihabara has always been famous for being an electronics area, in recent years it has become internationally known as the sacred place for the anime and idol loving subculture called 'otaku'. Here you can, of course, find maid cafes, idol live houses, cosplay specialty stores and, for anime fans, the Tokyo Anime Center can't be missed either.
To learn more about Akihabara, take a look at Akihabara Area Guide and Top 44 Best Spots for Otaku Culture.
Ginza is very well-known as a commercial district for adults; here you can find brand name shops and boutiques and numerous high class restaurants as well. Marunouchi is a business district, where companies from all across Japan have an office, and Tokyo Station's Marunouchi Station building is a bustling place full of fashionable restaurants, while the Maru building, a huge commercial building, is constantly crowded with people.
Tsukiji is home to the world's largest and most historical fish market, Tsukiji Market. It is a very exciting and impressive place to visit early in the morning. Tsukiji became famous as a sightseeing spot in the 1990s, and is known as an area where you can enjoy many different Japanese foods; the sushi restaurants in particular offer very reasonably priced and delicious meals.
To learn more about the Ginza and Tsukiji areas, take a look at A Guide to Elegant Ginza: Things To Do, Shopping, Dining and More!
Walk Around Fashionable Ginza - 7 Shopping Spots
Marunouchi Station Building, An Important Cultural Asset
If You Get Lost On Your Journey To Tsukijishijo Station, Get Help At Puratto Tsukiji Tourist Information Center!
Roppongi is one of Tokyo's most fashionable areas, full of skyscrapers, and overflowing with a chic, urban atmosphere. Also a business district, there are plenty of nightclubs and the like here as well, making it the total package for business people. And with the large shopping and dining centers Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown also located here, it is a perfect cityscape to visit day or night. From Roppongi Hills' observatory, you can enjoy the city and see both Tokyo Tower and SkyTree, two sights you can't usually enjoy together as they are the other tallest viewing platforms in the city.
For more about Roppongi, please see Roppongi Area Guide: How To Get Around, Sightseeing and Dining.
No matter what your purpose is, Odaiba is a place for everyone; it's perfect for dates, hanging out with friends or spending time with your family. With numerous different facilities in the area, Odaiba is full of sightseeing spots that are relatively close together, meaning that you can efficiently move about and have your fill of fun all in one place.
Some of the facilities here include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, where you can enjoy seeing Japan's most cutting edge technology in action, visit the art gallery-like shopping center VenusFort, walk along the beach at Odaiba Beach Park, or even enjoy soaking in a hot spring at Oedo Onsen Monogatari.
If you are interested in fashion, then the Shibuya, Harajuku, Ebisu and Omotesando are must visit places for you. Everything from high fashion brands to reasonable fashion accessories can be found in this area. Shibuya's incredibly busy intersection, the Scramble Crossing, is quite famous itself too.
Harajuku is the origin of Japan's 'kawaii' culture, and Takeshita Street is where you can enjoy these unique and original fashions and plenty of fun shopping too among crowds of stylish youngsters. While Shibuya and Harajuku may cater to a younger crowd, Ebisu and Omotesando are for more polished adults to enjoy. Ebisu Garden Place has numerous fashionable and delicious cafes and restaurants, while Omotesando Hills is a shopping center full of brand name shops for stylish adults - both are great places to pass the time.
To read more about Shibuya, take a look at Shibuya Complete Guide: Access, Sightseeing, Hotels, Shopping and More!
Check The Latest Trends At 11 Shopping Spots In Shibuya
Harajuku Guide: Access, Recommended Fashion Shops, And More!
Kachidoki, Yurakucho, Roppongi And Ebisu! Tokyo's Urban Marchais
Shopping in Omotesandō Hills, Where Japanese Trends Are Born
Shinjuku has plenty of restaurants and the like that are beloved by their regular customers. Not only that, but here you will also find plenty of great accommodations and recreational facilities too. Easy to access and travel about in, Shinjuku is a very convenient place for tourists too. And if you'd like to take a short break from the crowds of the city, then Shinjuku Gyoen, a peaceful park, is the perfect place to sit down and relax, or enjoy a stroll through a charming green space.
As busy as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro is home to Bic Camera and Yamada Denki, and many other retail electronics stores. There are many shops here that cater to even a student's budget, meaning that delicious and reasonably priced restaurants are everywhere, so taking a walk around Ikebukuro can bring you to some very interesting spots. There are also plenty of entertainment facilities here too - you won't find yourself getting tired of this area easily.
There are simply too many sightseeing spots, accommodations, restaurants and souvenir shops for us to mention in a single article. Of the vast number of these places, we have pared it down to 35 of the most popular and some very fun little-known spots that we would now like to recommend.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest wholesale fish market in the world. People are permitted to freely come and go here and observe the various markets and stalls, which is one of the highlights of this spot. The most popular event however is the tuna auction, which can be observed by the public but does require advance registration.
Tsukiji Market is also where plenty of fresh foods are available, meaning that around this area restaurants serving anything and everything can be found, most of which sell their delicious wares for very reasonable prices.
Tsukiji Fish Market - What To See At The World's Greatest Fish Market
"Tsukiji Wonderland" - Japan's Greatest Fish Market Caught On Film
Tsukiji Fish Market Tour Followed By Sushi Workshop!
Tsukiji Fish Market Tour With Japanese Tea Tasting In Ginza
How To Reach Tsukiji Market From Shinjuku, Shibuya And Ginza
Hamarikyu Garden, a history-rich park that sits in the heart of the city, surrounded by very modern skyscrapers. The vast pond, the only ocean water pond like it in the city, takes up the middle of this park, while tea houses and other buildings built in traditional construction methods, splendid old pine trees and an overall very Japanese atmosphere permeate the area. The best part of visiting this park is enjoying Japanese sweets and green tea as you take in the contrast between the ultra modern city buildings and the traditional ones within the garden itself while also surrounded by greenery. There are voice-guidance devices and pamphlets available in Japanese, English, French, Chinese and Korean here too, making it easy for tourists from around the world to cultivate a better understanding of Japanese traditional culture in this stunning garden.
Kasai Rinkai Park was selected as one of Japan's 100 most beautiful shorelines. Not only can you enjoy strolling along the beach, splashing in the water and even shell collecting, but Kasai Rinkai Park, Tokyo Sea Life Park, and the Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel are all closely connected to one another, making it a perfect spot to enjoy numerous different activities.
Address: Edogawa, Rinkaicho 6-chome
Website: Kasai Rinkai Park
If you'd like to enjoy traditional Japan and the friendly atmosphere of a historical commercial area, then Asakusa is our number one recommendation, hands down. The symbol of Asakusa is without a doubt Sensoji, the oldest temple in all of Tokyo. The huge red paper lantern within Kaminarimon, the main gate to Sensoji, is the photography spot for visitors coming to Asakusa - there are people taking photos here all hours of the day. With many great little restaurants surrounding it, the road leading to the temple itself, Nakamise-dori, is full of charming little souvenir shops that sell many various items. At these shops, you can even buy traditional handicrafts, clothing items and other objects that can't be purchased anywhere else too.
Also found in Asakusa, Hanayashiki is Japan's oldest amusement park. Unlike the other large-scale amusement parks, however, this smaller park is perfect for those with small children. The roller coaster, which reaches a top speed of 42 km per hour, rather than being known for its speed is better known for the thrills it gives as it travels along, almost seeming to touch the buildings nearby.
The entrance fee to the park itself costs 1000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children and over 65s, while children under elementary school age are free - the pricing of this park is very reasonably set.
Ryogoku Kokugikan is the home of Japan's national sport, sumo. Occasionally boxing matches and other sporting events take place here, meaning that it is possible for visitors to enjoy other martial arts in this space as well. On the first floor of Kokugikan, you will find the Sumo Museum, where ranked lists of the rikishi (sumo wrestlers), their ornamental aprons and other sumo-related goods are displayed. If you are a fan of sumo, then this is a must-see place. In their shop, you can also purchase professional sumo wrestling goods that can't be found anywhere else either, so if you want to buy a unique Japanese souvenir, this might be just the place you're looking for.
The tallest structure in Japan, with the most popular observatory, is the Tokyo Skytree, a radio tower. This 350 m tall, 360-degree glassed-in observation deck is the ideal place to go if you'd like to see the city as it spreads out all around you. And if you'd like to see the city from even higher up, then the 100 m higher (450 m total) glass tube observation deck, the Tembo Galleria, is right for you. Here you'll really feel like you're walking through the clouds.
These decks and the views aren't the only ways to have fun at Tokyo SkyTree though. After you've seen the sights from the sky, head down to Tokyo SkyTree Town, the shopping plaza located at the base of the tower next. This plaza is home to a planetarium, aquarium, restaurants, shops - over 300 different genres of places to choose from. It's a lot of fun just to walk around here and window shop too, you might find that there's not enough time to enjoy all of it in one day.
The Sumida Aquarium is the aquarium located in the aforementioned Tokyo SkyTree Town. Rather than just being a place where you can watch the fish, this aquarium makes it possible for you to experience and learn new things as you have fun as it is an interactive establishment. With there being illuminations that change from day to night and habitats carefully constructed as close to nature as possible, this aquarium is also known for the amount of care that it provides for its living inhabitants. Built on two floors, the small scale of the structure was carefully designed to make the most of its space and resembles an art gallery thanks to its beautiful layout - it is a very peaceful and relaxing place to visit.
Mukojima Hyakkaen Garden is a garden that has existed in Japan since the time of the shoguns. The most noteworthy point of this garden is its 30 meter long flowering bush clover tunnel, which is surrounded by bamboo. These clovers bloom in September, but there are plenty of other plants to enjoy here all year round. Just before the spring are the plum blossoms, then in early summer come the irises, chrysanthemums in the fall, and many other seasonal flowers to enjoy in this skillfully maintained garden.
Rikugien is a peaceful garden made by mountains and ponds. In the spring the park's symbol, the 15 m tall, 20 m wide weeping cherry tree (shidare zakura) blooms brilliantly, while in the fall there are stunning maple and gingko trees to enjoy; in total there are about 1000 plants that give this garden its vivid seasonal colors.
Kanda Shrine is a historical shrine also known as Kanda Myojin that has been worshiped at since ancient times. When speaking of Kanda Shrine, you cannot help but mention Japan's Three Great Festivals and the Three Great Festivals of Edo as well, because of the famous Kanda Matsuri. This festival takes place in May and spans over 6 days, and a great number of people come out and take part in it each year. The biggest highlight of this festival is the procession of the omikoshi that takes place in the metropolitan area.
On the other side from the bustling Korakuen Amusement Park and Tokyo Dome stands the tranquil Japanese garden, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. With sakura, wisteria, irises, azaleas and red spider lilies, this garden is a stunning place to visit from early spring all the way through to the late fall. And one of Koishikawa Korakuen's other noteworthy points is Engetsu Bridge. This bridge, unusual in its closeness to the fields, gets its name from the reflection of the rounded arch of the bridge in the water's surface; it was constructed to create a circle like the full moon when viewed. If you are looking for an escape from the noise of the city, this is the ideal garden to visit.
Address: Tokyo, Bunkyo, Koraku 1-chome
Website: Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
Until the construction of Tokyo SkyTree, Tokyo Tower was the tallest radio tower and man-made structure in Japan. It has stood as the symbol of Tokyo for many years. Coming in at 223.55 m tall, the special viewing platform at Tokyo Tower allows visitors to see as far away as other prefectures, and on a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji from here. Tokyo One Piece Tower, an attraction based on the hugely popular anime "One Piece" is also a highlight of this spot, and seen by many visitors daily.
In Tokyo's old town of Ueno, you will find Ameyoko, which is the largest shopping street in Japan, and one that has been loved by the common people for ages. Here you can find various different goods for exceptionally reasonable prices, making it a very popular area for visitors and locals alike. The name of this street, Ameyoko, has an interesting history to it. During the food shortages after the Second World War, this 'yokocho' (side street) was where goods for the American forces were sold, as well as where numerous 'ame' (candy) stores could be found, hence it became known as Ameyoko (American/candy street). This still thriving shopping street is also where you can do something rather unusual for Japan: haggle for goods. It seems to be a lot of fun to chat and bargain with the shop staff here too.
Ueno Zoo is the zoo located in Ueno Park. Here is where the first pandas to be successfully breed in Japan are located, which is one of the reasons for its renown. The zoo itself is divided, with the first Asian animal-based exhibit area in the eastern portion, and the African and other continent-based areas to the west. There is also a very popular petting zoo in the Children's Zoo, where you can see sheep, horses, rabbits and other domesticated animals up close.
Ueno Park is formally known as Ueno Onshi Koen, and is where you will find Ueno Zoo, the National Museum of Western Art, the Ueno Royal Museum, the Shitamachi Museum, and many other famous museums and art galleries. There are also temples and shrines, bronze statues of famous figures here, as well as cherry blossoms in the spring, lotuses in the summer, and colorful leaves in the fall to enjoy in this park, making it a bustling place to visit all year long. With leisure facilities, architecture to study and nature to appreciate all in one place, this public park is just right for those with a variety of interests.
Tokyo National Museum is a museum located in the vicinity of Ueno Park that houses and displays numerous Japanese and Asian important cultural properties. With items ranging from paleolithic Japan, earthen statues, armor and helmets from the Warring States period (around the 16th century), katanas, and even ukiyo-e prints, there are over 110,000 items on display in this museum alone, making it an ideal place for anyone interested in Japanese art and history.
Located in Ryogoku, along with Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall, is the Edo-Tokyo Museum . In the Edo Zone, you can experience life in an ingeniously recreated version of Edo, the former name for Tokyo, that will have you almost believing that you have slipped back in time, and certainly won't leave you feeling bored for an instant.
On the other hand, the Tokyo Zone shows what life in the city was like after the Edo era, when Western culture began to spread through the country and is focused on Japan during the post-World War II era. From this zone, you can learn more about what shaped modern-day Japan into the country that it is today.
The Mitsuo Aida Museum is an art gallery where the works of the poet and calligrapher Mitsuo Aida are displayed. This museum is of particular interest to those fascinated with the written word, as the content of the poems and the peculiarity of the calligraphy itself are quite moving. As the works have also been translated into English, it is still possible for those who are unable to speak Japanese to enter into the world of Mitsuo Aida. You can also purchase souvenirs featuring of some of his works here as well.
The characters born from Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, Sanrio, and weekly magazine Shonen Jump have all gained international fame. But if you are trying to buy goods featuring these beloved characters from their many official shops, then you just might find yourself spending far too much time and energy running around looking for them.
Tokyo Character Street is where you can find the vast majority of these popular characters all gathered together in one place. There are many rare and unique goods sold here, as well as fun photography spots featuring these many characters too, making it a great place for character fans to have fun. It is also conveniently located directly across from Tokyo Station's Yaesu underground ticket gate, which is also very helpful for those traveling about the city.
The 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is where you will find a little-known sightseeing spot: an observatory. From this observatory it is possible to enjoy a 360 degree view of Tokyo, including Tokyo SkyTree, Tokyo Tower, and, on a clear day, even as far away as Mount Fuji. The observatory is divided into two parts, north and south, with the south section being open from 9:30-17:30, and the north section open from 9:30-22:30. And surprisingly, there are also shops and cafes in here as well. This observatory is free of charge, so it is a great spot to stop by and take in the incredible view of the city whenever you have the chance.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a park located in Shinjuku that is divided into three skillfully maintained styles, a Japanese garden, an English landscape garden and a French shaped garden, that leaves you feeling like you have escaped from the city into the countryside. The Japanese garden makes it easy to enjoy the culture of Japan, while the English garden feels quite open and the French leaves you feeling very composed. If you would like to enjoy a break surrounded by nature, this is a great spot to visit.
Kabuki is one of Japan's many traditional performing arts. Although it is somewhat hard to attend a kabuki performance, the Ginza Kabukiza is one of the places where this is possible. Ginza Kabukiza theater has tickets starting from 1000 yen and subtitle-providing guides that guests can rent, making it possible even for those with zero Japanese ability to enjoy each performance. Thanks to the use of classical Japanese and peculiar manner of singing speech, many Japanese people also find it quite difficult to follow the spoken portions of kabuki as well. In order to make kabuki even more enjoyable, it is a good idea to spend 1300 yen and purchase a 'sujigaki' or written synopsis of the performance just in case.
A hot spring theme park, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is located in Odaiba. Within this facility, everywhere you look you will find people relaxing and enjoying themselves in yukata, a light cotton kimono. The large public baths are filled with natural hot spring water, which is very effective for guests to soak away their sightseeing fatigue in. This facility is fully loaded with Japanese tradition; right down to the wooden baths and tiles featuring copies of Katsushika Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji ukiyo-e works. If you would like to enjoy the air outside, there is even an open-air bath here too. And, thanks to the rest space designed after a Japanese festival, this is a facility that really offers a taste of almost all the customs that Japan has to offer. Please note however, that patrons with tattoos are not permitted to use these facilities whatsoever, even if the tattoos are covered.
Odaiba Beach Park is a beach easily reached from the city. Odaiba itself is a sightseeing spot and shopping filled area, and when you find yourself feeling tired after taking all of this in, then this beach is the perfect spot just away from the crowds where you can relax. The coastline footpath spans about 800 m, and from the observation decks, you can enjoy great views at Tokyo Bay and its surrounding skyscrapers; this is a lovely spot to enjoy the sights around you as the day passes.
Rainbow Bridge is the massive bridge that connects the artificial island of Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo. This bridge is also quite well-known as a filming location. Skyscrapers, Tokyo Bay and its boats both coming and going, and Odaiba's famous sightseeing and photography spots like the giant Ferris wheel are all visible from the Rainbow Bridge as well. Spanning a distance of 798m, it is also possible to walk across this bridge. The great sense of freedom being on this expanse gives during the day is only rivaled by the stunning and romantic atmosphere of the bridge when it is lit up at night, which makes it a wonderful place to visit any time of day.
Koukyo is the name used to refer to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Although it may have the image of being a place that is impossible to enter, if you undertake and follow the correct procedures, it is possible to visit this area.
However, a fixed number of people are able to visit each day, and the tickets are distributed on the day and limited to a certain number of hours, so if you are adamant about visiting, then it is very strongly recommended that you make your applications and arrangements in advance. Even without visiting the residence itself, a trip to the park surrounding it can be more than enough for many. The 5 km long tree-lined path surrounding the palace is a pleasure to the eye, and is the most popular jogging course for residents of the area as well.
Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that has won international acclaim. The Mitaka no Mori Ghibli Museum is a sacred place for Ghibli fans: here you can view displays of works made by Hayao Miyazaki, meet the characters from the movies, and see original works of anime that cannot be viewed anywhere else. Entrance to this museum is controlled by tickets which must be purchased in advance based on day and time. If you are a Ghibli fan and want to make a trip to this museum, then it is a good idea to set up your schedule and purchase your tickets well in advance to ensure that you are able to visit.
Jindai-ji is a temple located in the Chofu ward of Tokyo that is best known for its abilities to ward off evil and for aiding those praying for marriage. This temple is quite old; in fact, it was first built roughly 1300 years ago. Blessed with nature-rich surroundings, the area around this temple is full of retro shops, where the local specialty is soba, especially soba that is eaten outside. For those who aren't big fans of this buckwheat noodle dish, there are also shops selling bread and sweets made from soba flour here too, which make great souvenirs as well. Amazake, a sweet half-sake made from fermented rice, is also quite popular here, and is just the thing to drink as you walk around the area; it's sure to take away your fatigue in no time.
Roppongi Hills is, along with Tokyo Midtown, a facility having both a business and shopping side to it, and stands as one of the representative places of the Roppongi area. Here you can enjoy it all, shopping, cuisine, and gorgeous cityscape views from the observatory. Of particular note is the romantic dining that is available here, with night views across the city that include both Tokyo SkyTree and Tokyo Tower. If you would like to enjoy a taste of luxury, then a trip here is a must.
Hello Kitty, My Melody and other popular characters are all products from Sanrio, which has its own theme park designed around these internationally loved characters, Sanrio Puroland. This is a dream-like world where, as well as being able to be goods unavailable anywhere else in the world, visitors can enjoy various attractions and shows, and even meet their favorite characters too.
Address: Tama, Ochiai 1−31
Website: Sanrio Puroland
Scramble Crossing is a relatively new sightseeing spot in Shibuya and has quickly become one of the most famous busy intersections in the world. At any given time when the light turns green, roughly 3000 people make their way back and forth through this crossing in all their own directions, typically without bumping into one another - this is such a novel experience for so many visitors that it has become quite popular to take photos of this intersection. If you would like to take your time and observe this crossing for yourself, then we recommend visiting one of the many cafes or restaurants overlooking it.
The home of mainstream youth fashion trends in Japan is without a doubt, Shibuya, and Shibuya 109, one of the most well-known landmarks of Shibuya, is the holy land where these fashionistas gather. Within this shopping center are about 120 different stores that are closely packed together, and even those who are not sure what the latest trends are can enjoy a visit here to be dressed and styled by the friendly and fashion-aware shop staff.
Located near the eternally youthful Harajuku is the greenery surrounded shrine, Meiji Jingu Shrine. One of the charms of this shrine is its great wooden torii, the largest wooden shrine gate in all of Japan, while its procession of sumo wrestlers during the New Year celebrations is quite the famous event.And in February, the Kigensai Festival that takes place here is very famous as well. The highlight of this event is the parade, which features 14 portable shrines and about 5000 participants each year. Tens of thousands of people come to view this procession, and as such, the atmosphere in the area becomes wonderfully lively. Meiji Jingu Shrine is where many of the locals come at every opportunity to pray for happiness and good fortune, and is a very peaceful place to spend some time.
Takeshita-dori is located directly in front of JR Harajuku Station and is the 360 m long main shopping street where the alternative fashion-focused youth of Japan come to shop. The origin place of Japan's 'kawaii' culture, Takeshita Street has everything from fashion to miscellaneous goods, and, as a place where cutting-edge style is key, is where you can find different brands and shoppers from around the world gathering as well. It's also a great gourmet place, with many restaurants that offer moderately priced meals and treats that students can afford and enjoy as they walk about and window shop - you can enjoy light meals and many very unique treats here as well.
Yoyogi Park is a wonderful green oasis in the city that is always bustling with activity. With woods and ponds where you can relax in the Shinrin Park side and track and field facilities, as well as an outdoor stage in the Hiroba section, Yoyogi Park feels like two different parks in one. And other than just being for sports or live events, the skillfully maintained seasonal flowers, like sakura, rape blossoms, and roses, make this a charming, all-purpose public park.
Technically located in Chiba prefecture but exceptionally close to the capital, the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are the two Disney Resorts found in Japan, and where you can not only meet the characters of your favorite movies but also see unique shows and enjoy different attractions as well. These are two parks not to be missed by Disney fans!
Tokyo is visited by both domestic and international tourists on a daily basis and as such, the number and types of accommodations available are quite high, making it easy for many to become perplexed. For those who are troubled by this, here we will now introduce our most recommended hotels and other accommodations based on area. Please refer to Accommodation Facilities In Japan - MATCHA's Complete Guide for even more on accommodations in Japan.
Address: Shinjuku, Shinjuku 3-2-9
Access: 8-minute walk through the underground direct tunnel from JR Shinjuku Station's south exit (open from 06:00-22:45)
Prices: 11,980 - 25,380 yen (* depends on day)
Address: Shinjuku, Minami Shinjuku 1-23-1
Access: 3-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station's south exit
Prices: 9980 - 20,400 yen (* depends on day)
Address: Shinjuku, Minami Shinjuku 6-6-2 1F
Access: Take the shuttle bus from stop #21 of JR Shinjuku Station's south exit (8 minutes)
Prices: 26,920 - 69,730 yen (* depends on day)
Hotel Sun Members Shinjuku
Address: Shinjuku, Minami Shinjuku 3-5-13
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station's south exit
Prices: 9532 - 23,220 yen
Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
Address: Shibuya, Yoyogi 2-3-1
Access: 3-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station's south exit
Prices: 14,703 - 25,248 yen
Address: Shinjuku, Shinjuku 4-2-10
Access: 2-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station's southeast exit or 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Sanchome Station's E5 exit
Prices: 4352 - 10,323 yen
For more on hotels in the Shinjuku area, please refer to Find the Hotel For You! Shinjuku West Exit's Top 5 Hotels, and 4 Recommended Hotels Near Shinjuku Station South Exit.
Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan and Hostel
Address: Taito, Nishi Asakusa 3-15-1
Access: 1-minute walk from Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station, 7-minute walk from Ginza line Tawaramachi Station, or 12-minute walk from Toei Asakusa line Asakusa Station
Prices: 2200 - 3400 yen per person (* depends on room type)
Tokyo Hikari Guesthouse
Address: Taito, Kuramae 2-1-29
Access: 1-minute walk from exits A0 and A1 of Toei Asakusa line Kuramae Station
Prices: 2800 - 12,000 yen (* depends on room type)
Sakura Hostel Asakusa
Address: Taito, Asakusa 2-24-2
Access: 11-minute walk from Asakusa subway station, 4 minute walk from Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station
Prices: 3000 - 25,000 yen (* depends on room type)
Sukeroku no Yado Sadachiyo
Address: Taito, Asakusa 2-20-1
Access: 8-minute walk from Tawaramachi Station, 10-minute walk from Asakusa Station, 3-minute walk from Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station
Prices: 8200- 22,800 yen (* depends on the number of people and course chosen)
For more on accommodations in Asakusa, see 9 Unique Places To Stay In Asakusa.
Dormy Inn Ueno Okachimachi
Address: Taito, Ueno 6-7-22
Access: 5-minute walk from Okachimachi Station north exit; 7-minute walk from the Hirokoji exit of JR Ueno Station; 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Hirokoji Station, Exit A8; 1-minute from Toei Oedo Line Ueno-Okachimachi Station, Exit A8;
1-minute from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Naka-Okachimachi Station, Exit A8
Prices: 7990 - 22,000 yen (* depends on day)
Hotel Villa Fontaine Ueno
Address: Taito, Kojima 2-4-4
Access: 10-minute walk from Okachimachi Stations's north exit, or a 5-minute walk from Shin-Okachimachi Station's A2 exit
Prices: 8619 - 15,007 yen (* depends on day and room type)
Address: Taito, Higashi Ueno 6-1-2
Access: 2-minute walk from Inaricho Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and 10-minute walk from Ueno Station on the JR Yamanote Line
Prices: 3039 - 9725 yen
Candeo Hotels Ueno Park
Address: Taito, Negishi 1-2-13
Access: 3-minute walk from JR Uguisudani Station
Prices: 10,000 - 28,000 yen
For more hotels in other areas of Tokyo, please refer to Area-Based Selection of Tokyo's Popular and Reasonable Hotels. And if you would like to learn more about accommodations in general, see A Guide to Budget Hotels, Ryokan and Accommodations in Japan as well.
Tokyo is a foodie's paradise as dishes from around the world can easily be found throughout the city. But, since you've come all the way to Japan, you should enjoy some incredible Japanese dishes. Two of the most popular and internationally known Japanese dishes are of course sushi and ramen, and as such, now we will introduce one of our most recommended restaurants for each of these cuisine types.
When asked to think of Japanese food, many might first picture sushi. Tsukiji Tama Sushi was established at Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in Japan and where fresh marine products can be easily purchased daily. This sushi restaurant has an over 90-year long history and is known for its incredibly fresh seafood and all-you-can-eat sushi course. Perhaps the most exciting point of this course is that there is no time limit to it. However, reservations for two or more are required.
Prices for this menu are as follows: for two women it costs 7000 yen, a mixed couple is 8000 yen, and two men cost 9000 yen. In the case of an odd number of people, an extra female guest will cost an additional 3500 yen, while an extra male will cost 4500 yen. Children from ages 3 to 12 are 2000 yen each.
To learn more about this shop, see Tsukiji Tama Sushi - 91 Years Of Quality Sushi.
If you want to eat ramen, then why not have the mildly flavored tonkotsu ramen that has slowly made its way overseas, served at Ichiran? Not only found in Japan but also throughout Asia, it is possible to order in English, Chinese and Korean here as well. And as the meal tickets are printed in four languages, it is really easy for those who aren’t confident in their Japanese skills to purchase their ramen too.
For more on Ichiran, check out In Japan! In Asia! The Popular Natural Tonkotsu Ramen Specialists Ichiran. And to find other Ichiran locations, see the Ichiran website.
For other recommended restaurants in the city take a look at 10 Selected Restaurants In Tokyo + Japanese Food Guide.
As expected of the capital of Japan, Tokyo is also conveniently located near numerous other prefectures, making it an excellent place to travel from as well. After staying for a while in the city you might find yourself wanting to get out of the city. Here we have outlined ten different day trips that can easily be made from Tokyo.
Taking the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station for about an hour will bring you to Kamakura. This area is best known for its Great Buddha statue and its charming shopping street with a long history. The coastline views from the train here are also very peaceful.
Known for its exotic international shops, Yokohama is a great tourist destination where you can not only enjoy lots of fun shopping but also snack as you walk about on many different delicious treats. If you take the JR Shonan Shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station, you will arrive in Yokohama in roughly 35 minutes.
With former samurai residences and historical structures lining the streets, Kawagoe, also known as Koedo (‘little Edo’), is an area steeped in Edo era ambiance. By taking the Tobu Tojo line from Ikebukuro Station, in just 35 minutes you will find yourself seeming to have slipped back in time to this historical era.
The internationally famous Tokyo Disney Resort is divided into two huge theme parks - Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. You could spend an entire day thoroughly enjoying a single park, or split your day between the two, both are great plans. And, as it only takes 15 minutes to reach Tokyo Disney from Tokyo Station, you will find yourself standing in a dreamlike world in no time.
Mount Takao is a 600 m tall mountain located in Tokyo’s Hachioji city. Equipped with a cable car, this mountain is perfect for everyone from advanced climbers wanting to reach the summit to absolute beginners, and is even well-known in mountain climbing circles abroad as well. Another factor in its popularity is its ease of access; Mount Takao can be reached in about 50 minutes by taking the Keio line from Shinjuku Station. If you want to get away from the city and have your fill of nature, then a trip here is ideal.
Nikko is home to the UNESCO World Heritage recognized Nikko Toshogu Shrine, and can be reached in as little as two hours by taking the Spacia Special Express from Asakusa Station. Other than Toshogu, here you can see the five-storied pagoda, the three wise monkeys and the sleeping cat carvings, and other impressive historical works as well.
Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, and symbol of the country is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its snow-covered peak, the stunning almost bilateral symmetry of this beloved mountain can be enjoyed from almost any angle it is viewed from. By taking either a direct bus from Shinjuku or transferring at Kawaguchiko, Mount Fuji can be easily reached just about three hours.
Surrounded by nature, Hakone is one of Japan’s most popular hot spring areas. A trip here takes only an hour and 20 minutes on the Odakyu Romance Car train. Hakone is very famous for its stunning fall colors, and enjoying these brightly colored leaves from a hot spring is fantastic.
Saitama prefecture’s Chichibu is an outdoor lover’s paradise; this nature-rich spot is amazing. Here you can enjoy everything from paragliding to snowshoeing, which makes it a popular place for families to visit as well. In the summer, the Chichibu Matsuri takes place, and this festival makes the area even more popular than it already is. Chichibu can be reached in an hour and 20 minutes via the Seibu Red Arrow Limited Express departing from Ikebukuro Station. Doesn’t it sound like fun to get out and thoroughly enjoy all the natural beauty that Japan has to offer?
For more on Chichibu and Saitama, see 100% Saitama - Sightseeing, Food, Shopping And More!
Hatsushima is the closest outlying island off Japan to Tokyo. By first taking the Tokaido shinkansen from Tokyo Station for 40 minutes to Atami, then taking the bus for 10 minutes to Atami harbor, and then the ferry for a further 25 minutes, Hatsushima can be reached in roughly an hour and a half. This charming, tropical-feeling island, which doesn’t feel at all like it is near Tokyo, is not a very well-known tourist area just yet, making it the perfect place for those who prefer traveling to little-known places.
There are many other day trips to enjoy from Tokyo, to learn more about these options please read 10 Itinerary Suggestions For A One-Day Trip From Tokyo.
You can find almost anything in Tokyo, which makes it even harder to decide just what sort of souvenirs to purchase when visiting. Below are our top recommended places to visit when hunting for the perfect souvenir.
Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstores are found near almost every major station and are easily recognized by their vivid yellow signs. Their claim to fame is their ability to sell top Japanese cosmetics and toiletries as well as daily necessities for exceptionally reasonable prices, which makes them quite popular with men and women of all ages. If you are looking to get a lot of souvenirs for a moderate price, then this is our best recommendation.
Don Quijote is a discount superstore that is open for nearly 24 hours a day. Best known for their jumbled, slightly intimidating displays, this shop is most recommended for those who like to shop as if they were treasure hunting. It's especially fun when you finally find the perfect item you might not even have known you were searching for - that will definitely add to your travel memories in Japan.
Japan's unique subcultures have gained international recognition and as a result, many visitors come to Japan searching for character-based goods or anime goods. Popular character goods store Kiddyland is where you will find plenty of 'kawaii' goods, and you might even find something fun for yourself there too.
Ameyoko is a bustling shopping street loved by the locals and found near Ueno Station. Mainly selling foodstuffs, here you can also find moderately priced toiletries and miscellaneous goods too, which is part of the charm of this shopping street. The real pleasure of visiting this area is being able to haggle for a better price on your purchases, which is a very unusual aspect you won't find in many places here in Japan.
Haneda Airport and Narita Airport are places where you can quickly pick up many different sorts of souvenirs from Japan. With shops selling Japanese-style items, you are sure to be able to find goods that can only be purchased in Japan in either airport as well. And if you've simply not had the time to shop while visiting Japan, you can easily pass the time between check-in and boarding by shopping in the numerous stores inside the airport.
If you would like to know more about souvenir shopping spots in Tokyo, please take a look at 10 Budget Friendly Souvenir Shops Near Stations In Tokyo.
Only 40 Minutes From Narita Airport! Shopping At Mitsui Outlet Park Makuhari
Near Narita Airport! Shisui Premium Outlets
The Closest Guesthouse To Haneda Airport 328 Hostel And Lounge
How To Sleep In Haneda's International Passenger Terminal
Here is more helpful travel advice and information to make your trip in Japan go smoothly.
The article below will show how much the food costs in Japan, so take a look when planning your budget.
If you find yourself running low on cash, look for the ATMs with the "PLUS" logo, as they offer cash advances with certain credit cards. Or, if you need to exchange currencies, visit the bank, or try the ATM at 7-Eleven.
The article below will show the simple phrases you can use when checking into hotels.
"Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi" is a service for the visitors from abroad. Be sure to download the application in advance.
Overflowing with entertainment facilities, restaurants, shops, and more, Tokyo is truly a city that can fulfill almost all your hopes and dreams. Although it would be impossible to fully explain each and every highlight of this mega-city, we have tried to put together here the best, and most useful information about Japan's capital. If you are planning a trip to this city, then please think of this article as your guide.