A walking tour in the land of high speed bullet trains? Hear us out: walking tours are a great way to get to know Tokyo — it’s local side, that is. And unlike bus tours, walking tours tend to be smaller, meaning a more personal experience.

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 all kinds of tours — from culture to food to fully customizable. Excellent, now you’re on board. Read on for a curated list of the best Tokyo walking tours, arranged by interest.

Most of these tours are small group tours, so you might even make some friends or travel buddies while you’re at it.

Tokyo history and culture tours

Young African female traveler attempting to find her way through the streets of urban Tokyo with a smartphone.
You got here! Now where to go? | Photo by Getty Images

Tokyo has a fascinating history, and a deeper understanding can enrich the experience of being here. You’re also sure to learn a thing or two about Japanese culture.

These walking tours hit up some of the most interesting historic districts in Tokyo. Your expert guides will soon be filling your head with knowledge that you can use to impress everyone back home.

Yanaka neighborhood walking tour

¥11,000 per person (for two people booking together)
3.5 hours in the morning or afternoon
Book here

If you want a taste of old school Tokyo, this is the tour for you. Yanaka is a neighborhood in central Tokyo near 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 famous cemetery. Your guide will share information about Yanaka and its history, which stretches back to the Edo Period (1603 to 1867).

Close up of a cute cat sculpture
Yanaka has lots of charming details — you just need to know where to find them. | Photo by Getty Images

Yanaka walking tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 10 people
  • Solo bookings? Yes, single travelers can book a spot for ¥18,000

There are also discounts for groups, as the price per person goes down as the number of people booking goes up. For example, if you book for three people the cost is ¥10,000 per person, for four people it’s ¥9,500, and so on.

Asakusa history walking tour

¥14,000 per adult (for groups of 2–8 people)
3.5 hours in the morning
Book here

Asakusa is on everyone’s bucketlist when they visit Tokyo — and for a good reason. This area has the traditional (though 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, Asakusa’s famous temple, and Nakamise, the historic shopping street at the temple’s entrance.

And of course, you’ll learn how to visit a Japanese temple so you can be respectful during your visit.

Hana matsuri at Sensoji
A guide can help you better appreciate what you’re looking at. | Photo by iStock.com/Elm98

Asakusa walking tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 8 people
  • Solo bookings? Yes, single travelers can book a spot for ¥14,000
  • Group discounts? No, the price per person is same for groups of 2–8 people

Shinagawa and Old Tōkaidō Road walking tour

¥10,000 per adult (for two people booking together)
3 hours in the morning or afternoon
Book here

This is another part of Tokyo you might not know about, but that is also 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 some really local places. It also includes complementary hot drinks.

Shinagawa walking tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 8 people
  • Solo bookings? Yes, single travelers can book a spot for ¥15,000

There are also discounts for groups, as the price per person goes down as the number of people booking goes up. For example, if you book for three people the cost is ¥9,500 per person, for four people it’s ¥8,500, and so on.

Tokyo food and drink tours

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

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, these walking tours will take you to where the locals eat and drink.

Tsukiji Fish Market food and culture walking tour

¥13,525 per adult
3 hours in the morning
Book here

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!

Tsukiji Market walking tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 20 people
  • The price is the same no matter your party size

Bar hopping night tour in Shinjuku

¥14,500 per adult
3 hours in the evening
Book here

Want to check out Tokyo’s bar scene instead? This tour takes place in Shinjuku, a westside Tokyo district 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.

You’ll visit three izakaya and like any good food tour, food and drinks are included. And don’t worry: izakaya are just as known for their food as for their drinks, so you won’t go hungry.

Hipster young man and woman walking into Japanese bar with lanterns, nightlife, date, food and drink
Let a local show you where to go. | Photo by Getty Images

Shinjuku night tour tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 20 people
  • The price is the same no matter your party size.

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.

Akihabara anime and games tour

¥1,200 per adult
3 hours in the morning or afternoon
Book here

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 a retro game arcade, a photo booth, and even a maid café.

Akihabara anime tour details

  • Includes maid café entry fee and one drink
  • Also included: purikura (photo booth) photo session
  • Maximum tour size: 8 people
anime shops in Akihabara
Akihabara Electric Town. | Photo by iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

Ueno Park architecture tour

¥17,000 per adult (for two people booking together)
3 hours in the morning or afternoon
Book here

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 20th century architecture, and on this private tour you won’t miss a single one.

The tour finishes at the Tokyo National Museum, which is also interesting from an architectural standpoint. After the tour, you’re free to explore the museum.

Ueno Park architecture tour details

  • Includes admission to the Tokyo National Museum (a value of ¥1,000)
  • Private tour (only your party)
  • Solo bookings? Yes, single travelers can book a spot for ¥24,000.

There are also discounts for groups, as the price per person goes down as the number of people booking goes up. For example, if you book for three people the cost is ¥13,000 per person, for four people it’s ¥12,000, and so on.

Shitamachi ghost tour

¥21,000 per adult (for two people booking together)
3 hours in the evening
Book here

Is Halloween your favourite time of the year? Then you might want to check out this spooky Tokyo ghost tour.

Your guide will take you to spots in three neighborhoods: Ōtemachi, Minami Senju, and Asakusa — all while regaling you with stories of ghosts and spirits that are sure to give you goosebumps. You’ll even learn about some Japanese folklore and monsters while you’re at it.

Shitamachi ghost tour details

  • Maximum tour size: 8 people
  • Solo bookings? Yes, single travelers can book a spot for ¥40,000.
  • Group discounts? Yes, the price per person goes down as the number of people booking goes up. For example, if you book for three people the cost is ¥16,000 per person, for four people it’s ¥13,000, and so on.

There are also discounts for groups, as the price per person goes down as the number of people booking goes up. For example, if you book for three people the cost is ¥16,000 per person, for four people it’s ¥13,500, and so on.

Customizable tours

Woman visiting city to enjoy solo time. Having lunch, shopping, walking in town and public park.
So many choices. | Photo by Getty Images

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. You also won’t have to share your guide with other travelers.

Full-day private tour: Choice of 3–4 sites

¥42,000 per group (up to five adults)
8 hours
Book here

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.

Evening lights at Hamarikyu Gardens
Hamarikyu Garden is just one of the place you can visit on this tour. | Photo by iStock.com/tifonimages

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

¥25,700/¥36,500 per adult (for two people booking together) half-day/full day
4 hours (half-day)/8 hours (full day)
Book here

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.

The prices quoted above are for tours that use public transport option traveling between sights. There is also a pricier option that includes private vehicle transfers between attractions, but this is much more expensive.

The price for all options does scale down as group size increases. For example, if you can pull together 8 people, you can do a full-day customizable tour using public transport for just ¥15,300 per person.

Completely custom tours with Anytimes

From ¥1,500/hour
From 1 hour
Book here

Another option is to get a completely customized tour through Japan skill-sharing app Anytimes. Rather than choose from limited options, you can choose your guide, the length, and the locations that you’d like to check out. If you don’t know where to go, you can also give the provider your criteria and they’ll create a tour for you.

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

Tokyo Free Walking Tour, an organization of licensed local guides and interpreters, offers free tours around Tokyo. 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.

Explore any of these areas under their expert guidance:

The length of the tours vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours. To join, reserve your spot on their website.

Imperial Palace Bridge
Imperial Palace Bridge. | Photo by Gregory Lane

Tokyo SGG Club Tours

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 regularly scheduled walking tours at the following:

They also offer English guided tours of Shitamachi Museum and ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture.

Tokyo Localized

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.

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

Crowd of people and a young man in downtown district of Shibuya
Don’t worry, we got you. | Photo by Getty Images

How much do walking tours in Tokyo cost?

The price of a guided walking tour in Tokyo can vary a lot. There are free options, run by volunteers. Meanwhile, a specialist tour might cost something like ¥20,000 per person.

On average, expect to pay about ¥10,000 per person (for two people booking together). While most tours will accept booking from solo travelers, unfortunately you’ll be paying almost the same as two people booking together. Groups, on the other hand, can take advantage of sliding scale rates that bring down the per person cost.

Expect to pay more like ¥12,000¥15,000 if food and drink is included. Private and customized tours will be more expensive.

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 generally 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 Tokyo tour 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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