There are well over 50 things to do in Tokyo, Japan’s lively capital city, as it’s home to several public parks and fun attractions. One of the best things to do in Tokyo with kids is to visit Tokyo Disneyland. As for girly things to do in Tokyo, go shopping in colorful Harajuku or Odaiba, which is also conveniently home to a hot springs resort. A city that never sleeps, things to do in Tokyo at night include shopping at Mega Donki or having dinner and a drink in Piss Alley.
Finally, the best things to do in Tokyo in October include seeing the leaves change color at Yoyogi Park or Rikugien Gardens. So if you’re looking for things to do in Tokyo today, keep reading, as there are 25 things to do in Tokyo, Japan listed below.
1. Tokyo Skytree
For 360-degree views of the city’s sprawling metropolis, head to the top of Tokyo Skytree. At 2080 feet-tall, it’s the world’s tallest tower and the second tallest structure (after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa). With two observation decks, visitors can see the snow-covered Mount Fuji on clear days. Skytree is also home to multiple cafes and restaurants, as well as shops and an aquarium on its lower level. For avid photographers, the view looks its best at sunset.
Completed in the 7th century, Sensoji is the city’s oldest and most significant temple. Located in the Asakusa district, visitors enter the ancient Buddhist temple through Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). They’re then greeted by Nakamise, a popular shopping street overflowing with stores selling cute Japanese souvenirs and traditional local snacks. Nakamise connects the Thunder Gate to the Hozomon Gate, which leads to Sensoji’s five-story pagoda and the Asakusa Shrine. Sensoji also hosts annual events throughout the year.
3. Tokyo Tower
Before the aforementioned Skytree came along, Tokyo Tower was the city’s main broadcast and observation tower. Featuring orange and white stripes, the 1029-ft tall eye-catching beacon was modeled after The Eiffel Tower. Like the Skytree, this centrally-located attraction also features two observation decks, which you can reach by elevator or by climbing 600 steps! At the base of the tower is Foot Town, a shopping complex with an array of souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, and One Piece Tower, an indoor amusement park.
4. Tokyo Disneyland
Spread over 115 acres, Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to be built outside the United States. Opening in 1983 and modeled after California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Magic Kingdom, it features seven themed areas, as well as the always-popular seasonal decorations and parades. The themed areas include Westernland, Fantasyland and the iconic Cinderella Castle, the World Bazaar, and the outer space-inspired Tomorrowland. This is easily one of the top things to do in Tokyo, with nearly 20 million annual visitors.
5. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
A paid attraction, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the city’s largest and most popular parks. It features walking paths, spacious lawns, a greenhouse filled with tropical plants, and three main gardens, which are the Japanese, French, and English-landscaped gardens. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is truly a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city’s natural hustle and bustle and is also one of the best places to visit in spring when its 400-plus cherry blossom trees bloom.
6. Imperial Palace
Located in a large central park surrounded by moats and stone walls, the Imperial Palace is the main residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Although you cannot tour the palace itself, there are guided tours of the palace grounds. Available at 10 am and 1:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday, advanced registration is required. Alternatively, the adjacent Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public year-round and are home to a Japanese-style garden, as well as the remaining foundation of the former Edo Castle Tower.
7. teamLab Borderless
One of the most Instagrammable things to do in Tokyo is to visit teamLab Borderless. The immersive museum is known for its colorful and interactive digital art installations. Walk through the Crystal World, be mesmerized by the Forest of Lamps, enter the physically challenging 3D space known as the Athletics Forest, and make tea and infinite flowers bloom at En Tea House. teamLab Borderless is also home to Future Park, an educational project and amusement park for kids.
8. Shibuya Crossing
Be prepared for crowds at Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. Located in front of Shibuya Station’s Hachikō exit, vehicles are stopped in all directions to allow pedestrians to cross at all angles for a two-minute cycle. Surrounded by neon lights and large TV screens, it’s no wonder Shibuya Crossing is one of the city’s most iconic symbols. Crossing the street in Shibuya may be one of the more unusual things to do in Tokyo, but it’s an important part of the local experience.
9. Tsukiji Market
Formerly known as Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world’s largest wholesale food markets, this inner marketplace moved to Toyosu Market in 2018. However, the Tsukiji “Outer” Market still exists and the stalls still sell fresh fish and seafood (from Toyosu Market) at wholesale prices. Tsukiji Market is also home to restaurants and retail stores selling everything from souvenirs to dried food and kitchenware. Stop by for lunch to enjoy local delicacies like sushi and sashimi rice bowls.
Harajuku is a colorful and quirky neighborhood. The vibrant Takeshita Street is known for being the city’s center for teenage culture. It’s lined with street art, youth fashion boutiques, eccentric vintage clothing stores, crepe and bubble tea carts, and cosplay shops. Contrastingly, Harajuku’s Omotesando is a tree-lined street that resembles Paris’ Champs-Elysees. With international designer boutiques and modern restaurants, it’s geared toward adults. Harajuku is also home to Meiji Shrine and the Nezu Art Museum.
11. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is Japan’s most popular city park. Visited by over 10 million people annually, the spacious public park’s grounds were originally part of the Kaneiji Temple. Today, you could easily spend a full day visiting all of Ueno Park’s attractions, which include temples, shrines and museums, like the Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Science Museum. Not to mention Ueno Zoo, Japan’s first zoological garden. With over 1000 cherry blossom trees lining its central walkway, it’s also a great place to visit in spring.
12. Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum is an animation and art museum by Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli. One of Japan’s most famous animation studios, they have produced popular films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. The museum’s first floor features exhibits on the studio’s history and techniques, as well as a theater showing exclusive short films. Meanwhile, the second level displays temporary exhibitions. The Ghibli Museum also has a rooftop garden (complete with a life-sized robot), a gift shop, and a cafe.
Odaiba is a popular shopping and entertainment district located on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Connected to the city center by the Rainbow Bridge, some of the top things to do in Odaiba include visiting the interactive teamLab Borderless, seeing the view from the Hachitama Spherical Observation Room, riding the Palette Town Ferris Wheel, and shopping inside the unique VenusFort shopping mall. Odaiba is also where you’ll find Oedo-Onsen Monogatari, an indoor spa and hot springs center.
14. Mega Donki
Don Quijote Shibuya (also called Mega Donki) is Japan’s largest Don Quijote store. The popular department store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whatever you’re looking for, you will probably find it on one of Mega Donki’s seven levels. This includes groceries, liquor, fancy dress costumes, Japanese souvenirs, name brand clothing, household items, and electrical appliances. However, maybe don’t enter Mega Donki if you’re claustrophobic, as the aisles are chaotic, narrow, and always full of shoppers.
15. Rikugien Gardens
Regarded as the city’s most celebrated and beautiful Japanese landscaped garden, Rikugien Gardens was built at the turn of the 18th century. A prime example of an Edo Period strolling garden, it features a central pond, which is surrounded by man made hills, forested spaces, open lawns, several teahouses, a river, and a network of walking trails. While the other parks and gardens mentioned are popular springtime destinations, Rikugien Gardens looks its best in autumn when the maple tree leaves change color.
16. Kamakura City
A seaside city, Kamakura was once the political epicenter of medieval Japan. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination that’s filled with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and beaches that draw large crowds in summer. The city’s iconic symbol is the 13th-century bronze Great Buddha statue, which sits on the grounds of Kotoku-in Temple. Other popular things to do in Kamakura include visiting Hokokuji Temple and Hachimangu Shrine, hiking over the city’s wooded hills, and surfing at Yuigahama Beach.
17. Shonan Area
Shonan Area is the name of a coastal region located on Sagami Bay, approximately 30 miles southwest of Tokyo. Commonly called the California of Japan, Shonan is known for its surf beaches and laidback vibe; a striking contrast compared to Tokyo’s lively atmosphere. Top things to do in the area include visiting Enoshima, a small tourist island that’s home to a shrine, observation tower, park, shops, and restaurants. Meanwhile, Kugenuma Beach is a popular surfing beach, with direct train access from the city.
18. Izu Peninsula
You won’t believe you’re still in Japan when you visit the Izu Peninsula. Only a 50-minute train ride from the city, its diverse landscape includes rugged and rocky coastlines, beautiful beaches with azure waters, hot springs, and a forested mountain interior. Visit Kawazu Nanadaru, a collection of seven waterfalls near Kawazu Town. The Jogasaki Coast also has a six-mile hiking trail that hugs the coastline. Then relax at Shuzenji Onsen, one of Izu Peninsula’s most popular hot spring resorts.
Dominated by multi-level department stores, large signs, and neon lights, Akihabara is a shopping district known for its electronic goods. Start your visit to Akihabara at the nine-level Yodobashi Camera store, which has the widest variety and the latest tech gadgets. Then head to Mandarake, the world’s largest anime and manga store. Akihabara is also known for its superhero street go-karting, where fancy dress is mandatory. When you need to rest, head to the quirky Maid Cafe.
A waterfront district, Ryogoku is known as the home of sumo wrestling. Sumo has been practiced in the area for centuries and three of the country’s six annual sumo tournaments take place at Ryogoku’s main sumo stadium, Kokugikan. The district also has sumo stables, where wrestlers live and train. Chanko nabe is a staple part of a wrestlers’ diet, so follow in their footsteps and enjoy this hot pot dish at one of Ryogoku’s chanko restaurants, which are commonly owned by retired wrestlers.
21. Piss Alley
Although it doesn’t have a charming name (a nickname from its debaucherous post-WWII days that unfortunately stuck), a visit to Piss Alley is one of the best things to do in Tokyo at night. Located near Shinjuku Station’s west gate and also known as Omoide Yokocho or Memory Lane, Piss Alley is a narrow laneway lined with small local bars and street food stalls. Do as the locals do and enjoy yakitori – grilled chicken skewers – followed by sake.
22. Tokyo National Museum
One of the country’s oldest and best museums, Tokyo National Museum is just one of the many attractions to be found in Ueno Park. The art and archaeological museum’s collection includes over 110,000 historic artifacts from Japan and other Asian countries. The National Museum complex consists of six separate buildings. Don’t miss the antique Buddha statues and National Treasure Room in the main building, as well as the Asian art displays in the Toyokan building. Information and audio tours in English are also readily available.
23. Yoyogi Park
You will find the spacious Yoyogi Park near Harajuku Station in Shibuya. Located on the site of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Village, Yoyogi Park is divided into two sections by a main road. On one side, there is plenty of open space, ponds, walking paths, forested areas, and different landscaped gardens. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic and other outdoor recreation activities. Across the road is an athletic track, basketball courts, and an outdoor stage.
24. Ueno Zoo
Established in 1882, Ueno Zoo is the country’s oldest zoo. Over 3000 animals from more than 500 worldwide species call the zoo home. This includes Sumatran tigers, elephants, gorillas, zebras, and giant pandas – the symbol of Ueno Zoo. Split into eastern and western sections, the zoo also features a petting area, the five-story Kaneiji Temple pagoda, and Shinobazu Pond’s migratory bird residents. Conveniently located in Ueno Park, visiting the zoo is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Tokyo.
25. Tokyo Dome
Nicknamed The Big Egg, Tokyo Dome is a multi-use stadium. The home ground for the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, the Dome also regularly hosts music concerts, basketball games, and American football games. It’s also where you’ll find the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Next door is Tokyo Dome City, which is home to shops, restaurants, and an amusement park. Favorite attractions include the Big O Ferris Wheel, the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster, the Laser Mission course, and the regular water, sound, and light fountain show.