Sure, exploring on foot sounds boring when in the land of high speed bullet trains, but rest assured it’s anything but. Walking tours are a great way to get to know Tokyo and unlike bus tours, Tokyo walking tours tend to be smaller, meaning you’ll be making new friends in no time. It also means the guide can focus on their guests better and you’re not as pressed for time.

As you pound the pavement you’ll catch glimpses of everyday Japanese life, pass cute little shops, and get a more intimate feel for the city. Sold? What if we told you that there are a whole range of walking tours out there to suit every taste? Excellent, now you’re on board. Here we’ve curated the best Tokyo walking tours, arranged by interest, so you can find the best one for you.

History and culture tours of Tokyo

Tokyo is a treasure trove of interesting spots for history buffs and those wanting to learn about Japanese culture. These walking tours will hit up some of the most interesting historic sites in Tokyo, and your expert guides will soon be filling your head with knowledge that you can use to impress everyone back home.

Yanaka Walking Tour

¥22,000 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
3.5 hours
Book here

Yanaka Street Shot
A shopping street in Yanaka. | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

If you want a taste of old school Tokyo, this is the tour for you. Yanaka is a neighborhood in central Tokyo, just a stone’s throw away from Ueno Park. It’s rarely on tourists’ radars, which is unfortunate because it’s such a charming area. This walking tour will take you through the neighborhood, visiting temples and even a cemetery. Your guide will share information about Yanaka and its history which stretches back to the Edo Period (1603 to 1867).

Asakusa history walking tour

¥14,000 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
3.5 hours
Book here

Suggested Activity
Yanaka Area Tour: Stroll through Tokyo’s History
Even in a modern city like Tokyo there are still some areas that preserves the quality and lifestyle of times gone by. Yanaka is one of those areas, with a traditional market-style shopping street, temples and shrines, Edo-era architecture and a beautiful cemetery. Explore the area with a guide, sample local Japanese snacks and dishes, snap a pic of the ...
Hana matsuri at Sensoji
Sensōji Temple in Asakusa. | Photo by

Asakusa is on everyone’s bucketlist when they visit Tokyo — and for a good reason. This area has the traditional (although highly commercialized) vibes that you might expect to find in Kyoto. Exploring the area as part of a tour means that you’ll really come to understand the history of Sensōji and Nakamise. And of course, they’ll explain how to visit a Japanese temple so you know you’re being respectful.

Shinagawa and Old Tōkaidō Road walking tour

¥15,000 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
3 hours
Book here

This is another part of Tokyo you might not have heard of that is steeped in history. Shinagawa is in the southern part of central Tokyo and — as you’ll learn on your tour — was an important place on the Old Tōkaidō Road. This tour will take you through the back streets to historical sites, and even includes complementary hot drinks.

Food and drink tours of Tokyo

Foodies love Tokyo and for good reason — it’s the city with the most Michelin Star restaurants in the world afterall. But with all the hype comes the problem of choosing where to eat. That’s where these food and drink tours come in. No more falling for tourist trap restaurants and bars, see where the locals eat and drink on these walking tours.

Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Culture Walking Tour

¥13,525 per adult
3 hours
Book here

A quiet moment before the crowds arrive at Tsukiji Outer Market. | Photo by Maria Danuco

If you’re a fan of seafood this one’s for you. Tsukiji Fish Market was once the home of the world famous tuna auctions, and while the auction has moved to Toyosu Fish Market, Tsukiji still has the charm and liveliness that made it so popular. This tour will hit up all the best places, and of course all food on the tour is included!

Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku

¥14,500 per adult
3 hours
Book here

Suggested Activity
JR Rail Pass
The JR Pass is a 1 week pass that allows unlimited travel on Japan Rail lines throughout the country. This ticket is extraordinarily good value for long distance and inter-city travel. *Restrictions: Can only be purchased by temporary visitor visa holders not already in Japan. ...
An alley full of izakaya in Shinjuku. | Photo by

Want to check out Tokyo’s bar scene instead? This tour takes place in Shinjuku, a neighborhood in western Tokyo that’s a popular shopping and entertainment district. But you’re here for the bars. You’ll visit some real hole-in-the-wall type places tucked in narrow alleys called yokochō that are frequented by locals. You’ll visit three izakaya and like any good food tour, food and drinks are included.

Special interest tours — Anime, architecture, and ghosts

Tokyo really has something for everyone, as these special interest tours can attest. We’ve got a tour of Akihabara for the anime fans, Ueno Park for architecture aficionados, and Shitamachi if you like a good ghost tour.

Ueno Park architecture tour

¥24,000 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
3 hours
Book here

Autumn leaves Ueno Park
Tokyo National Museum | Photo by Park

Any architecture nerds out there? There are lots of things to do in Ueno Park, but it’s also an architectural hotspot. Throughout the park are fantastic works of architecture, and on this private tour you won’t miss a single one. The tour also includes entry to Tokyo National Museum (fee included in the price of the tour).

Akihabara anime and games tour

¥9,100 per adult
3 hours
Book here

anime shops in Akihabara
Akihabara Electric Town. | Photo by

Gamers and anime fans will have heard of Akihabara — the Tokyo neighborhood that is the go-to destination for all things geeky and nerdy. This tour will take you to all the best spots, including popular shops, a gachapon hall, and even a maid café. The entrance fee to the maid café is included in the price of the tour.

Shitamachi Ghost Tour

¥40,000 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
3 hours
Book here

Is Halloween your favourite time of the year? Then you might want to check out this Tokyo ghost tour. Your guide will take you through Ōtemachi, Minami Senju, and Asakusa while regaling you with stories of ghosts and spirits that are sure to give you ghost bumps. You’ll even learn about some Japanese folklore and monsters while you’re at it.

Customizable tours

None of the above tours quite doing it for you? Maybe you have a few very specific locations in mind. Then you might want to consider a customized tour instead. This way you have full control over where you go but still get the knowledge of an expert guide.

Full-day private tour: Choice of three to four sites

¥42,000 per group (up to five adults. Groups up to 10 can also be accommodated)
8 hours
Book here

shibuya scramble crossing
Shibuya Scramble Crossing | Photo by

This full day tour allows you to choose three to four sites to visit from a list of recommendations. However, depending on the attractions you choose, it might not be a ‘walking tour’ in the purest sense. Instead, you may have to use public transport or taxis to move between locations, and the cost is not covered in the tour price, so keep this in mind.

Full-day or half-day private tour: Fully customizable

¥36,500/¥53,500 per adult (discounted price available for bookings of two or more)
4 hours (half-day)/ 8 hours (full-day)
Book here

Gotokuji Maneki neko
Maybe you’d like to visit Gōtokuji and its lucky cats? | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

If you’d prefer full control over your tour, then this is the one for you. Not only can you choose between a half- or full-day tour, but you can discuss your perfect day with the operator. They will then arrange an itinerary for you, which can even include entry fees to your chosen attractions and lunch if you choose the full-day tour.

Free Tokyo walking tours

If you’d rather save your hard earned cash for bowls of ramen and souvenir shopping, fear not. There are a number of groups offering free (or free-ish) walking tours of Tokyo. Read on to see what’s on offer.

Tokyo Free Walking Tour

Imperial Palace Bridge
Imperial Palace Bridge | Photo by Gregory Lane

This tour group offers four different tours around Tokyo — all completely free. The guides are English speaking volunteers who want to build positive relationships between Japan and foreign countries by sharing their knowledge of Japanese history and culture with visitors. Under their expert guidance you can explore the Imperial Palace East Gardens and learn about the days of the Shōgun in Tokyo . The other options are a tour of Asakusa, a combined tour of Meiji Jingū and Harajuku, and Ueno Park. The length of the tours vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you want to join a tour you can reserve your spot on their website.

Tokyo SGG Club Tours

sensoji temple tokyo walking tour
Sensōji Temple in Asakusa | Photo by Grigoris Miliaresis

Tokyo SGG Club is another volunteer group running walking tours in a number of Tokyo neighborhoods. SGG stands for “Systematic Goodwill Guide,” and volunters hold a 2-hour walking tour of the Imperial Palace East Gardens and 90-minute tours of three other popular areas in Tokyo — Asakusa, Ueno Park and Yanaka. They also offer English guided tours of Shitamachi Museum and ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture.

Tokyo Localized

Akihabara | Photo by

Started by a traveler with a love for tour guiding, this site has various free and paid tours that visit different Tokyo neighborhoods including night tours. They also have a private tour option that allows you to personalize your itinerary.

The most interesting option, however, is probably the Shinjuku Night Tour, which takes you through Kabukichō, Omoide-Yokochō, and Godzilla Road before winding up in Golden Gai. An ideal way to explore a sketchy part of town, this tour meets up at the Shinjuku Tourist Information Center.

Golden Gai Street
Golden Gai in Shinjuku | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

Reservations for all tours can be made via their website. Also know that unlike some of the other groups on this list, Tokyo Localized encourages you to tip your guides.

Frequently asked questions

How much do walking tours in Tokyo cost? The price of a guided walking tour in Tokyo can vary a lot. There are of course free options, but a mid-range small group walking tour costs about¥19,000 on average. Expect to pay more for private and customized tours.

Are walking tours worth it? Yes. Despite its size Tokyo is a very pedestrian friendly city, and wandering around neighborhoods on foot is one of the best ways to experience it. By joining a tour, you’re guaranteed an experience with a knowledgeable local guide who can point out things you might have missed by yourself.

Are walking tours a good way to avoid crowds? In short, it depends. During peak tourist seasons, basically everywhere will be crowded — there’s almost no way to avoid it. But, there are tours that are more niche and therefore take you to place away from the main tourist spots.

Should you tip your guides? Tipping is not common practice in Japan — guides will not expect it. However, some tour companies (especially the free ones) might encourage you to tip the guides, so follow their guidelines on this.

Do the guides speak English? All the tours we’ve recommended have English speaking guides. In some cases, there are also options to request guides who speak other languages too.

We do our best to make sure all the information in this post is correct, but, like everything in life, it’s subject to change. Originally published in May, 2014. Last updated in March 2023 by Maria Danuco.

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