If there is one word to describe Japan’s capital, it’s iconic. It’s a city that blends tradition and modernity in a beautiful symphony of towering neon-lit skyscrapers and beautiful temples.
Tokyo is a city that manages to fit the rich and vibrant then-and-now culture of Japan within its compact districts filled with gorgeous temples, buzzing technology hubs, and amazing—though sometimes bizarre—entertainment facilities. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, this city shines with a unique aesthetic that pulls you in and makes it hard to get on a flight back home.
Get a taste of Japanese culture with this itinerary map guide to help make the most of your trip in this iconic city. This map is designed for a five-day visit, but you can always mix it up and customize it further to your preferences.
The mecca of Otaku (diehard pop culture fan) culture, Akihabara or “Akiba” as known to the locals, is where tech geeks, anime fans, and anyone who’s curious about Japanese pop culture go. The Akihabara Electronics Town or Akiba Denki-gai has all kinds of gadgets from cameras and games to computers.
Hidden along its walls are the anime and manga stores where you can get your hands on Japanese comic books and anime merchandise. This is also the place where you can find some of the bizarre things you’ve heard about Japan, like the maid cafés and go-kart racing, which allows you to drive around the city and live out your Mario Kart fantasy.
This sprawling patch of green is one of the most popular parks in Tokyo and is the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a nice picnic. Ueno Park is especially gorgeous during the spring season because of the cherry blossoms in full bloom in the area.
Surrounding the park are several attractions and museums you can also visit like the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Zoo.
From Ueno, head over to Asakusa, the home of the most popular Buddist temple in the city. This area gives off a more traditional Tokyo vibe. The Senso-ji Temple is the spiritual heart of the city where many locals come and worship.
As one of the oldest temples in the city, Senso-ji Temple makes for stunning photos. Inside, there are several oracles charging a small fee for fortune consultation.
Nearby Asakusa is one of the newest attractions in the city. This broadcasting and observatory tower is the tallest structure in Tokyo and provides a stunning view of the whole city.
It does get a little too crowded in peak season, so if that’s something you want to avoid, you can always marvel at the tower from the many plazas below or visit the Tokyo Skytree Town, a shopping and entertainment complex with over 300 stores and restaurants!
This gorgeous Shinto shrine is a popular Tokyo attraction and a must-visit! Here you can take part in Shinto activities like buying charms, giving offerings in the main hall, and writing wishes on a wooden plate called, ema. If you’re lucky, you might even witness a traditional Japanese wedding!
The shrine is surrounded by a large expanse of forest and is adjacent to Yoyogi Park, another popular attraction. Going through it can lead you down the Shibuya district.
This is a major shopping district in Tokyo lined with several designer boutiques. It’s considered the most expensive neighborhood in the city, as well as the leading fashion district.
Apart from doing some shopping, don’t forget to visit Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku for a photo op of the building’s geometrically-shaped ceiling mirrors, which looks absolutely stunning on photographs.
This vibrant and chaotic street is lined with pop culture goods, dessert parlors, and a range of shops selling clothes, accessories, and souvenirs. Most of the goods sold here target the younger generation so expect that the crowds here are made up of mostly teenagers.
Try the famed crepes for a quick snack, or enter one of the interesting shops along the buzzing street, like the store that sells costumes for cosplayers.
Another luxury shopping district, this complex at the west end of Roppongi is a great place to shop, dine, and even drink at. It’s home to the 54-story Mori Tower which has its Sky Deck providing a stunning view of the city. We recommend visiting during sunset or after dark for an incredible viewing experience.
For book lovers, the Tsutaya Bookstore branch here is spacious and one of the most upscale-looking bookstores you’ll ever see. Most Japanese bookstores allow you to open a book and read them but this particular one takes it up a notch as it allows you to enjoy it over a cup of coffee in its own Starbucks Coffee branch inside.
Japan’s famed pedestrian intersection can be found right outside Shibuya station, surrounded by shopping skyscrapers and millions of people.
Find a good spot to elevate yourself by the crossing or simply head up to the Starbucks Coffee inside the Tsutaya building and watch the tide of people coming in from several directions as the pedestrian light turns green. Better yet, why not cross the street yourself and complete the experience?
Once you’ve set foot in Shibuya, the tall skyscrapers with large video screens and neon-lit signs will definitely capture your attention. Enjoy a day just walking through the busy streets and checking out the thousands of stores and massive shopping centers in the area. Also try the restaurants and food stalls selling mouth-watering treats, located along the building’s side streets.
This statue was built in honor of Hachiko, an Akita dog famous for being the country’s most loyal pet after he was seen waiting for his owner by the station’s exit long after his owner had passed away.
The story continues to touch the hearts of locals and visitors, and the bronze statue outside of Shibuya station has become a popular meeting point. Hachiko Exit was also named after him and leads right out to the statue by the Shibuya scramble.
If you want a taste of Old Tokyo, head over to this alleyway lined with eateries and bars that will definitely transport you to another time! Experience Izakaya—the informal after-work dining style—at its finest within old-school restaurants and bars cramped along this narrow alleyway.
Another place where you can find remnants of post-war Tokyo, Golden Gai is a neighborhood lined with hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants. This is one of the most popular places for nightlife in Tokyo.
Just note that Golden Gai is still quite local and is home to some ichigen-san establishments, which are places that are only open for regulars. Keep an eye out for the signs and English menus to know which are open to casual visitors.
This large expanse of green in the middle of the city is an ideal place for a picnic, a jog, and even a leisurely stroll. Most people overlook this stunning park, having been overshadowed by the shopping district, but it’s definitely worth visiting if you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the district.
It’s a fantastic place for cherry blossom-watching in the spring, and the trees around the park in Autumn are also a sight to behold! Even in the rainy season, this garden maintains a quiet charm perfect for lovers of nature and for those craving some “me time.”
On the west side of Shinjuku are the offices and business district, and this particular one provides a stunning view of the whole city. Head up to the 45th floors of these two towers and be captivated by the sight of Tokyo below. The best part is that entrance to the observatory is completely free!
If you’re a Disney fan and a lover of amusement parks, a visit to The Happiest Place on Earth should definitely be on your list. A whole day frolicking around Tokyo Disney Resort is a magical experience.
The first Disneyland to open outside of the United States, Tokyo Disneyland offers unique rides and experiences but maintains the magical splendor of Walt Disney World.
Meet Mickey, Minnie, and all your favorite Disney characters and experience the wonder within its themed-lands and thrilling rides. Travel to the future in Tomorrowland and jet off to outer space on Space Mountain or live out your Happily Ever Afters in Fantasyland. There are also several dining options within the park, including the famed popcorn flavors that range from sweet chocolate to savory curry.
This commercial facility has over 140 establishments including shops, restaurants, and a cinema complex. It’s a great place to hang out and spend the day in if you want to see more of the bayside area than just the Disney parks.
DisneySea is unique in Japan and opened a few years after Tokyo Disneyland park. The park has a maritime theme and features a nautical exploration with architectural designs mimicking ports from different countries around the world.
Tokyo DisneySea attracts more teenagers and adults than children with its thrilling and high-speed rides like the Tower of Terror, a haunting elevator ride that drops you from several floors, and the Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is a coaster ride that tours you through a volcano.
You can check out a more detailed guide on Tokyo Disney Resort.
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