I’ve visited Tokyo on three separate occasions, and I love returning to the city to tick off some of the other major tourist attractions that I have not yet visited. However, now that I have got good experience in the city, let’s see what I rank as the top 10 attractions to put on your itinerary!
Please click on the links below where available to read my full blog post on each destination, and if you’re looking for something out of the city, then check out my article on the top 5 day trips from Tokyo!
10. Akihabara Electric Town – a thriving centre for video games, consumer electronics, anime, and manga! The area has an identity completely different at night, but at any time of the day you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Asia similar to Akihabara! It really is unique! Some good deals can be found for anything electronic in the huge megamalls on Chuo Dori, but don’t forget to check for bargains on the smaller market stalls, too!
9. Tokyo Skytree – the highest man-made structure in Japan, opened in 2012, offering supreme views across Tokyo from two separate observation decks. The Skytree is located within a larger entertainment complex which features shops, restaurants, and even an aquarium, so your visit to the second-tallest structure in the world (after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) will certainly be eventful!
8. The Meiji Shrine – an old shrine complex dedicated to Emperor Meiji and situated deep in the enchanting woods of Yoyogi Park. There are plenty of shrines in Japan but this one is a favourite among tourists. The dense atmosphere of the forest, as you walk closer and closer towards the shrine, is a great feeling!
7. Odaiba Island – an entertainment district with incredible night life and plenty to do during the day, plus a huge Gundam statue and a huge Ferris Wheel! Part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games competition venues.
6. Shibuya Crossing – the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing overlooked by the world’s busiest Starbucks café. Admittedly, it’s just a crossing, but here in Tokyo everything is multiplied by ten and you will be amazed as you look on at the controlled chaos around you.
5. Sensoji Temple – Tokyo’s oldest temple remains a place of worship even while pulling in over 30m visitors each year! This temple was a great highlight for me, and whilst it is not as spectacular as some of the temples that you will find in Kyoto, it is nevertheless the finest of its kind here in Tokyo. Sensoji is located in the Asakusa district and is easily accessible by the Metro.
4. Ginza – the shopping mecca of Tokyo, with upscale and luxury consumer products everywhere. Ginza comes to life after dark with glitzy advertising billboards and light shows. It is possible to walk all the way from Maranouchi (location of the Imperial Palace) to Shibuya via Ginza, which will give you a great flavour of what Tokyo has to offer for any taste or budget.
3. Tokyo Disney Resort – Tokyo Disney Resort boasts two of the world’s most visited theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. I have never been to Disneyland but I can really recommend DisneySea. It has some of the most amazing attractions in the world, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the incredible Tower of Tower. When I visited DisneySea I was actually the only European guy in the park, which was a little lonely, although I had at least realised my dream of visiting what the experts call the best theme park in the world!
2. The Imperial Palace – the main residence of the Emperor of Japan was once valued in the 1980s as higher than all the real estate in California. Now one of the main tourist sites in the city. A tour of the Palace complex needs to be book well in advance. The nearby upscale Maranouchi tree-lined shopping boulevard and the recently renovated Tokyo Station are both close by to add to the atmosphere.
1. Tsukiji Fish Market – under threat from closure, this is the world’s biggest seafood market. Most of the action here goes on very early in the morning so try to make your way there in time for when the fish and seafood auctions occur before 7am. Yet at any time of the day it is nevertheless intriguing to experience just how fish of all kinds are prepared for wholesale! You may even get to try some (for a price)!
I hope I have given you a good idea of what to see and do when you next visit Tokyo!