Give your Tokyo trip its fair share of nature, history, and culture by including these top tourist spots in your itinerary.
Tokyo might be a modern, fast-paced metropolis, but it also has many temples, shrines, museums, and gardens that offer refuge from the crowds and bright lights.
These pockets of quiet places have maintained Japan’s traditional architecture and landscape, giving Tokyo’s facade that perfect balance of old and new.
You can spend the whole day stomping on its concrete streets and absorbing its vibrant energy, and end up meditating on a grassy valley or inside an old temple.
We list down our recommended tourist attractions you should see:
Less than an hour away from downtown Tokyo is a beautiful nature trail called Todoroki Valley (the only ravine valley in the metro).
This “hidden escape” is perfect for those who want a break from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis or if you just want to be closer to nature without having to travel far.
With its tall trees, beginner-friendly trail, narrow river framed by a brilliant red bridge, caves with burial sites, Japanese gardens, and the Todoroki Fudoson Temple that sits atop the valley, being here will make you feel transported back in time and more relaxed than ever.
If you’re fascinated by Japan’s royal history, the Imperial Palace is a must-see attraction. Just 10 minutes away from the Tokyo Station, this majestic location is full of stunning gardens and galleries with guided tours and ruins from an ancient fortress.
The palace surrounds the home of the Emperor, making it one of the top destinations for Tokyo’s tourists. Free organized tours within the area are available, and if you’re lucky enough, you may have the chance to see the Emperor himself during special days.
Legend has it that the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, was fished out of the Sumida River by two brothers in 628 AD. Although they kept putting it back in the water, it always returned to them.
As a result, the Sensō-ji Temple was built in 645 AD to enshrine the statue, making it the oldest and most visited temple in Tokyo.
The temple welcomes visitors with the marvelous Kaminari-mon or the “Thunder Gate,” and you can also find a 200-meter long shopping street called Nakamise-dōri toward the second gate, where you can buy all sorts of Japanese souvenirs and snacks.
This temple is one you should visit to experience Japanese history and culture.
Tourists who prefer educational and informative activities can visit the National Museum of Nature and Science. With just a five-minute walk from JR Ueno Station, Park Exit, you will see an impressive collection of life-size dinosaurs as well as replicas of prehistoric animal fossils.
Not only will visitors get a chance to catch a glimpse of several species, but the museum also lets you get up close and personal with interactive experiments.
When ancient and futuristic artifacts mix, it definitely brings out the beauty of science. You can avail of the astronomical observations on scheduled hours at the museum.
Half a day is all you need to appreciate the impressive collection of artifacts from Japan as well as other Asian countries at the Tokyo National Museum.
Despite its small size, the museum is packed with exhibitions and has a simple layout so you can easily go from one collection to another.
Moreover, this museum is located within Ueno Park, one of Tokyo’s most popular parks that houses many other museums, a small amusement park, and a zoo!
If you happen to be in Tokyo during March to May, you can enjoy a picnic at Ueno Park while its cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
This 35-acre zoo is only a five-minute walk from the Park Exit of Ueno Station. It houses more than 3,000 animals from over 400 species, with the Sumatran tiger and western lowland gorilla heading the zoo’s animal population.
This beloved zoo also has pandas, polar and sun bears, black rhinoceroses, koalas, flamingos, king penguins, zebras, Japanese macaques, red-crowned cranes, white-tailed eagles, ostriches, and more.
Photo Credit: Alexdu
Most tourists have found this as the most peaceful place in Tokyo. Just a one-minute walk from the bustling Harajuku Station, entering the gate of Meiji Shrine will instantly transform your excitement to a more calm and relaxed state.
You’ll pass through a tree-lined path and through walls lined with sake barrels and wine casks to get to the shrine dedicated to Emperor and Empress Meiji. This is the perfect spot to wind down from your busy day in the metro.
Visiting Tokyo wouldn’t feel complete without stopping by Tokyo DisneySea, the fifth most visited theme park in the world!
It has an amazing selection of rides and activities, with seven themed areas that both the young and not-so-young can enjoy: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, and American Waterfront.
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Often called the “Sleepless Town,” Kabukichō is the entertainment district of Shinjuku, Tokyo. It’s the hotspot for pubs, hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Here you can enjoy good food and then go on a restaurant or club crawl to experience the colorful nightlife of Tokyo.
Don’t forget to drop by Robot Restaurant, where you will be surrounded by robots, lights, and blue-haired performers that will give you the most colorful show of your life!
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If you plan to shop for hard-to-find gadgets, this is the right place for you. Akihabara Electric Town is lined up with electronics stores offering all sorts of gizmos and gadgets that you can’t find elsewhere.
The place also includes restaurants, cafes, arcades with claw machines, tons of Gacha, and the ever so famous Anime and Manga stores.
Cosplayers are in for a treat because this place is also a meet-up spot for locals and tourists in Anime costumes. Many of the larger gadget and electronics stores can process tax-free purchases for tourists.
Shinjuku is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo. If you’ve ever seen Tokyo in movies with their towering skyscrapers, busy streets, and bright neon lights, then this town is exactly that and more.
Shinjuku is known as a hectic place but it also provides attractions to tourists who prefer serene and relaxing destinations.
To discover the more historical part of the area, tourists can go on a Rickshaw Ride, where you can hop on a carriage that’s pulled and navigated by a Shafu or a trained driver.
For tourists who want to experience how it is to feed penguins, a visit to the Sumida Aquarium should be on top of your list. Situated on the 5th and 6th floors of the famous Tokyo Skytree, this aquarium offers a more colorful look than the other aquariums within the city.
Tourists should check out the jellyfish kaleidoscope tunnel which gives off a soothing and mesmerizing experience. Sumida Aquarium also has a main tank which showcases sea creatures that you won’t find anywhere else in Tokyo.
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