Tokyo, the largest city in the world and the original mega-city is full of striking yet harmonious contrasts. Ancient traditions meet futuristic innovation in Japan’s capital city. There are many things to do in Tokyo like crossing the world’s busiest intersection and immersing in cutting-edge art galleries. This is all alongside the exploration of tranquil nature attractions and historic temples.
Visiting Tokyo is stepping into a captivating blend of past, present, and future, all seamlessly woven into this sprawling city. There is a lot to see, which is exactly why booking guided tours and staying in Tokyo hotels is the best way to check items off your Tokyo bucket list. Don’t forget to schedule a bit of downtime — one of the very best things to do in Tokyo is simply explore!
Cross the Shibuya Crossing
There is perhaps no Tokyo experience more iconic than seeing the Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in the world. During peak hours, as many as 2,500 people cross it every two minutes! Whether you observe the scene from the Starbucks that overlooks the crossing, look out from the Shibuya Sky at 229 meters above street level, or actually cross with the throngs of people, this is one of the most exciting things to do in Tokyo. And if you’re wondering, “Where is Shibuya Crossing?” the 5-way intersection is just outside Shibuya Station.
Get a Birds’ Eye View From Tokyo Skytree
Even if you have just 24 hours in Tokyo, visiting the Tokyo Skytree is a must. Standing at 634 meters (2,080 feet), the tower is the third tallest building in the world. Simply seeing the iconic structure towering above the rest of the skyline is mind-boggling, but those with an affinity for heights and great views should add the tower’s observation decks to their Tokyo bucket list. The tri-level Tembo Deck sits at 350 meters (1,148 feet) high, and an elevator connects it to the Tembo Galleria at 450 meters (1,476 feet). While the Tembo Deck is certainly impressive, the glass spiral ramp in the Galleria is the crown jewel of Tokyo Skytree.
Take a Walk Through the Tsukiji Fish Market
If you’re even a little bit of a foodie and you’re wondering what to do in Tokyo, make a beeline for the Tsukiji Market. Before 2018, this was the largest fish market in the world! Today, it’s two individual markets, the original Tsukiji and the new Toyosu. You can browse the enormous market, the very same one where many restaurants get their seafood daily, sample some of the freshest sushi on the planet, and watch fast-paced tuna auctions.
When you book our Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Tour and Cooking Experience, you’ll get to experience all this excitement through the eyes of an expert local guide. Plus, you’ll participate in a cooking workshop. Learn how to make sushi, ramen, and other authentic Japanese dishes from a professional chef!
Explore the Bars of the Shibuya District
It should come as no surprise that the Shibuya District, home of the world’s busiest, fastest-paced intersection, is also where you’ll find some of the city’s best nightlife. From traditional sake bars to Irish pubs and live music venues, bars in Shibuya have something for every patron. Here are some of our favorites:
- An Solas – an authentic Irish pub with frequent live music
- Bar Nekohachi – a whiskey bar with over 100 varieties
- Living Room Cafe – a live music and art bar with multiple patios and terraces
One particularly unique thing that belongs on your Tokyo bucket list is the alleyways. Just off the main thoroughfares throughout the Shibuya District, these alleys house dozens of tiny bars right next to one another. Nonbei Yokocho, or “Drunkards’ Alley,” near Shibuya Station, has bars so small they only accommodate 4-5 people! To experience one of these alleys, book our Bar-hopping Night Tour of Shibuya. On the tour, you’ll visit three bars in Shibuya’s off-the-beaten-path Meat Alley, a two-story indoor alleyway catering mostly to locals who—you guessed it—love meat and strong drinks.
Unlock Tokyo’s Art Scene
It’s no secret that Tokyo is a mecca for art enthusiasts of all types. Whether you’re drawn to the striking design the city is renowned for, its museums, or something else entirely, experiencing the vibrant art scene is one of the best things to do in Tokyo. When you book our Tokyo Art Tour, you’ll get an in-depth immersion into the art culture. Spend a day exploring art galleries, museums, and entire neighborhoods. Some of the tour’s highlights include the Asakura Museum of Sculpture, Nezy Shrine, Scai Bathhouse, and the Yanaka neighborhood.
Immerse in Harajuku’s Kawaii Culture
One of Tokyo’s smallest districts is also one of the most immersive and fashionable: Harajuku. On the city’s western side, surrounded by Yoyogi Park near the wildly popular Shinjuku, Harajuku is one of the most fun, unique destinations when it comes to what to do in Tokyo. Here, you can immerse in Japan’s colorful “cute” culture, shop the newest street fashion trends, and see the beautiful Meiji-Jingu shrine…all in a few hours. On our Kawaii Culture and Food Tour, learn about Harajuku Tokyo on a deeper level and (of course!) enjoy a colorful, pop art-themed lunch and treats.
See the Iconic Senso-ji Temple
The oldest and arguably most famous temple in the city, Senso-ji Temple belongs on any Tokyo bucket list. The temple sits in a beautiful, idyllic complex in the Asakusa Tokyo district, alongside one of Japan’s tallest pagodas and the bustling Nakamise market. Visit Senso-ji and learn about why it stands out among other Asakusa temples on our 1,400-year History Exploration Tour. Plus, enjoy local sweets and snacks. Nearby, you’ll also find one of Tokyo’s best capsule hotels, ENAKA Asakusa Central Hostel.
Ramen isn’t just delicious, it’s also an important aspect of Japanese culture. So of course sampling it is one of the best things to do in Tokyo (especially on a rainy day!)! You can find your favorites among the best Tokyo restaurants, or you can book the Ultimate Ramen Tour. You’ll have an expert guide you through six of the city’s best versions. As you go, learn about the history, preparation techniques, and variations of different ramen throughout Tokyo.
Uncover the Lesser-known Old Town
Old Town Tokyo stands in stark contrast to many of the city’s major attractions. The charming streets have a distinct air of nostalgia, and there are several historical sites, temples, and hidden gems to visit. If you’re looking for some lower-key things to do in Tokyo Japan, consider booking our Food Tour of Tokyo’s Old Town or Yanaka: Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo’s Old Town. On each of these, you’ll explore Yanaka’s peaceful yet bustling streets and enjoy traditional foods. On the historical tour, you’ll visit the Nezu Shrine, one of Tokyo’s oldest.
Turn Your Tokyo Bucket List Into Unforgettable Memories
Tokyo offers an endless array of experiences for every type of traveler. And while the ultimate Tokyo bucket list offers a bit of everything, this bustling urban wonderland also serves as the perfect jumping-off point to visit other parts of Japan. In addition to our Tokyo tours, we also offer several Tokyo-based tour packages that include other cities. For example, you can easily visit Osaka or travel from Tokyo to Kyoto, even in just a few days. Feeling inspired? It’s time to plan your trip to Japan to experience Tokyo! For more ideas on how to spend your time in this incredible city, check out our Ultimate Guide to Tokyo.