Sightseeing in Tokyo may seem like an unconquerable list, but there are ways to break it down to a manageable level, we promise. Get a balance of old and new, spiritual and structural, and make sure to visit the unusual too.
Tokyo’s best viewpoints
Either up high or down low, Tokyo is interesting from all different angles. To get you started on surveying this vast city of course there’s Tokyo Skytree – the tallest tower in the world. We also have a guide to the best free viewpoints in Tokyo. For early-risers, why not try some spots for great sunrises and sunsets in the city. Be sure to catch the awesome Diamond Fuji view if you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time. Or, for a more frequent and reliable sight, visit our Tokyo train-spotting guide for Japan’s best rolling stock.
Historic Sites And Old Tokyo
Learn some of the history and see some of the few remaining relics of this ultra modern city by visiting Tokyo’sBest Old-World Districts for a glimpse into the past. You can pay your respects at Sengakuji: the final resting place of the 47 Ronin or wander through Yanaka to see old-town Tokyo at its best. Check out ourtop 5 Edo (Old Tokyo) Period Sightseeing Spots if you’re keen to see more of Tokyo from eras gone by.
Strange and Unusual Sights
Japan has a reputation for being strange at times, so no sightseeing itinerary would be complete without a little quirkiness:
Try out some Weird and unique sights in Tokyo – from sumo wrestlers making babies cry, to sewerage museums. On that point, why not explore the vast underground man-made caverns that make up Tokyo’s emergency flood drainage system or take a daytrip to the Ushiku Giant Buddha — one of the world’s largest statues, complete with some interior surprises.
Alternatively, give the Dark tourist’s guide to Tokyoa try for a taste of the grizzly and macabre, and not for the faint-hearted. Our guide to the strangest museums in Tokyo covers everything from parasites to prisons to ramen, we’ve got it all.
Temples and Shrines
In amongst the tower blocks and skyscrapers, Tokyo has its fair share of stunning shrines and temples and they can be a great way to see the contrasting cultures Japan embodies. The beautiful Meiji Jingu grounds allow a chance to walk through tree-lined paths and enjoy a welcome escape from the crazy streets of Harajuku. In Asakusa, Sensoji is the oldest and one of the most impressive temples in Tokyo, with plenty of annual festivals to enjoy. Meanwhile, the small but beautiful,Nezu Jinja is a lovely Kyoto-esque shrine with stunning gardens in every season. To learn about everything from good etiquette to good luck charms, read our guide to visiting temples and shrinesso you know what to do when you get there. Plus, there’s 5 spots to visit in Tokyo if you’re too broke to go to Kyoto (it’s not quite the same, but you’d be surprised!).
Tokyo’s Classic photo-worthy spots
We can all pretend we’re too good for a selfie at the Shibuya crossing, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of Japan-geekery now and then. Whether you’re a film-fanatic or an anime-lover, there are some sightseeing spots in Tokyo you just can’t miss.
Catch the best views of Shibuya Scramble, the busy intersection that’s famous world-over, but from above. You can also check out some real-life locations from the hit TV show Tokyo Vice: to get you into that yakuza lifestyle for an evening. Find out how to Go-kart through Tokyo like Mario himself (we can’t call it Mariokart, but you can think it!). If this is your kind of thins, then be sure to read our OTT guide to Tokyo: it’s got everything from purikura to karaoke to Cup Noodle Museums.