What better place to start your exploration of Tokyo than Tokyo Station itself? This busy transport hub is teeming with more than just passengers. With upmarket restaurants and bars only minutes away from track-side yokocho — it has art galleries, department stores and more — all within walking distance.

It’s iconic facade sets the tone for exploring the area — a combination of modern and traditional, Japanese and Western influences. So whether you want to stay in the labyrinths of the station’s many internal streets or venture out into the business central of Marunouchi, you’ll have plenty to see in and around Tokyo Station. Here are our top 10 suggestions to keep you fed, cultured and happy in and around Tokyo Station!

1. Tokyo Ramen Street

Before you step outside into the cold/sweltering heat, fill up on some of the best ramen in the city at Tokyo Ramen Street. In Japan, train stations are a mecca for good food, and this one is no exception. Tokyo Station invited 8 of the best restaurants in town to open up shop and you can try everything from rich tonkotsu (pork bone) to mouth-watering shio (salt) to wholesome vegan options. There may be queues but it is worth the wait, and there is plenty of information posted about each restaurant. And don’t forget to read our full Tokyo Ramen Street guide!

Towards the Yaesu Underground Central Exit of the Station, B1

2. Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum is located in the eye-catchingly classic red brick building originally designed by English architect Josiah Condor in 1894 following the end of Japan’s national seclusion. It was actually torn down in 1968 but was faithfully reconstructed according to the original plans and using some original features. The museum focuses on late 19th- to early 20th-century art and holds 3 special exhibitions a year in addition to the permanent collection of 19th-century art. It is open from 10am to 6pm, on regular days but stays open until 9pm on Fridays, the second Wednesday of every month and the Monday to Friday of the final week of exhibitions. It is closed on Mondays and admission varies depending on the exhibit.

A 5-minute walk from Tokyo Station Marunouchi South Exit

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3. Streets, skyscrapers and shops

Marunouchi House Terrace
Marunouchi House Terrace | Photo by Gregory Lane

Tokyo Station has an amazing combination of modern glass-covered buildings and old-fashioned red brick buildings, many of which are filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. If you want to get a feel of modern Tokyo, this is a great place to start. Some of the best buildings include Marunouchi Brick Square for specialty shops and boutiques, Oazo for its 4-floor Maruzen bookshop with a large international section, Tokia for trendy bars with a good atmosphere, Kitte for its rooftop garden and the Marunouchi Building for amazing views of the city. If you head towards Yūrakuchō Station to the south of Tokyo Station, you will find plenty of alleyway yokochō beneath the train tracks and bridges too.

4. Character Street

Totoro plushies in a basket
Photo by Gregory Lane

Akihabara might be the holy grail for anime and pop culture fans, but Character Street in Tokyo Station should not be overlooked. This ‘street’ is actually a section of a mall under Tokyo Station, which means everything is in one compact space making it easy to navigate — you can do a full loop in a fairly short space of time. With Pokemon, Rilakkuma, Ghibli and some lesser-known but equally as weird/cute character shops, you can do some great souvenir and gift shopping, as well as just looking around in wonder. Nearby there are sweets and omiyage shops too, so you can really stock up if you need to.

Towards the Yaesu Underground Central Exit of the Station, B1


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5. Nakadōri Avenue

Photo by Gregory Lane

This quiet, pretty, tree-lined street is home to modern office buildings, trendy shops and winter illuminations as well as modern art installations. Whether you prefer to gaze at the luxury stores with their bright lights and beautiful displays or find the unique creations of international artists along the way, this is a lovely city stroll. In the evening you get that Tokyo feel of neon lights and skyscrapers, in the day it’s a bright and airy escape from the crowded station. Illuminations take place from December until mid-February.

1 minute by foot from Tokyo Station

6. The Imperial Palace

Entrance to the East Gardens | Photo by istock.com/kuremo

Now, we can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room, especially when the room is Tokyo and the elephant is the Imperial Palace. Just over on the west side of the station lies the palace and the surrounding gardens, perfect for a stroll to blow away the cobwebs after a long journey. The palace is usually closed (aside from the January 2 and December 23), but you can always explore the East Gardens which are the sites of the Edo castle’s inner and outer defense circles. There is a stunning Ninomaru Japanese garden and a number of free walking tours that visit the area.

10-to-15-minute walk from Tokyo Station

7. Tokyo Station Gallery

Established in 1988 and housed within the original redbrick walls of the 1914 station building, Tokyo Station Gallery aims to bring art and culture to travelers. Closed in 2006 for refurbishments, it finally reopened in 2012 and holds around 5 exhibitions each year along with an educational program. There are short breaks between the exhibitions where the gallery is closed so be sure to check their page here to see if it is open.

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Last Entry 5.30pm)
Located within the station building

8. The Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum
Tokyo International Forum | Photo by Chris Kirkland

One of the city’s best architectural designs, the International Forum is a convention and performing arts center with restaurants and shops to explore. It is home to the Mitsuo Aida Museum as well as having various modern art installations throughout the building by artists including Andy Warhol, Peter Halley and Yasuto Asuhina, so if you fancy exploring impressive modern architecture to find art with a coffee, this is a great spot. There are a wide range of events including exhibitions but also markets such as the Ōedo Antique Market — the biggest of its kind in Tokyo. You can check their calendar here to see what’s on!

5-minute walk from Tokyo Station, connected by the B1 concourse near Keio Line.

9. Earn your modern art

If you don’t mind a bit of a stroll or if you’re already planning on visiting the Imperial Gardens, then the National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) isn’t far away at all. MOMAT is one of the top spaces for modern Japanese art and is also home to the Crafts Gallery and the National Film Center, so there is certainly plenty to do! There are a great variety of exhibitions and Grutt Pass holders can get in for free.

Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 10am – 8pm Friday and Saturday, Closed Monday
About a 20-minute walk from Tokyo Station

10. Wash it all down with a craft beer

Craft beer aficionados may be familiar with Hitachino Nest Beer, but for the uninitiated it’s a relatively well-known craft brewery in Japan so what better place to try it than in Tokyo Station? You’ll find the Hitachino Brewing Lab tucked above the Yaesu entrance offering a selection of their beers on tap — some of which are exclusive to this location. They also have a food menu featuring both Japanese and Western style food, so it’s a perfect way to finish off your day of exploring.

While we do our best to ensure that everything is correct, information is subject to change. Last updated in September 2022 by Maria Danuco.

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