The heart and soul of Japan, Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, a city that reverberates with the energy of life. It’s a sprawling metropolis that houses a seemingly endless array of sights and experiences, a melting pot of everything you can think of, and more. Whether it’s the sleek skyscrapers that pierce the sky or the tranquil temples that quietly nestle amidst the urban chaos, Tokyo is a city that beautifully marries the old with the new.
There’s an electric vibe to Tokyo that you feel the moment you step foot in the city. It’s the thrill of the pulsating nightlife, the buzz of the world’s busiest crosswalk in Shibuya, the vibrancy of Harajuku’s fashion-forward youth, and the quiet elegance of the city’s historic temples and shrines. It’s a city where technology meets tradition, and where every corner has a story to tell.
Tokyo is a city that effortlessly combines the old and the new, and there is no shortage of breathtaking sights that are a testament to this. From high-tech observatories to tranquil gardens and everything in between, the city offers a plethora of experiences that cater to all types of travelers.
For a peek into Tokyo’s past, head to Asakusa, home to the historic Sensoji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Nearby, you can explore Nakamise Shopping Street, a centuries-old market offering traditional local snacks and tourist souvenirs. While you are there, why not check out the Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, which offers a panoramic view of the city that is nothing short of spectacular. In the same building, you can find the Pokemon Cafe and Kirby Cafe. These themed cafes serve up a delightful array of dishes inspired by the beloved characters. These cafes are incredibly popular, so make sure to book your reservation months in advance!
First up is Shibuya Sky, a stunning observatory that provides an unparalleled panoramic view of the city. Not for the faint-hearted, this attraction offers a thrilling experience where you literally walk on air, with the city’s landscape beneath your feet. From there, dive into the sensory overload that is Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. It’s an experience that encapsulates the organized chaos that Tokyo is often associated with. Nestled in the bustling streets of Shibuya is a touching tribute to loyalty and friendship – the Hachikō Memorial Statue. Do you like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, or Pokémon? Then you might want to visit the Tokyo Nintendo Store in the Shibuya Parco building. The store is packed with merchandise, from clothing to collectibles, ensuring that you can bring a piece of the Nintendo Magic back home with you. Last but not least, embrace tranquility at Meiji Jingu located right next to Yoyogi Park, surrounded by a lush forest that feels worlds away from the bustling city outside. Don’t forget to grab an Omamori before you leave!
The Oldest Temple in Tokyo – Sensō-ji
The World’s Busiest Crossing – Shibuya Crossings
For those seeking a taste of Tokyo’s nightlife, Kabukicho is the place to be. This vibrant district is packed with a variety of entertainment options. Be sure to check out the Godzilla-themed hotel for a truly unique experience! You can enter the hotel and get a close-up view of Godzilla himself for free! Next is the newly opened Kabukicho Tower, a 48-story skyscraper that officially opened on April 14, 2023. The tower is Shinjuku’s largest entertainment facility featuring the nightclub ZeroTokyo, the neon-covered food hall Kabuki-Yokocho, an amusement center by Bandai Namco that features events with anime, manga, and video game characters, and the escape room Tokyo Matrix. Just outside Kabukicho is Omoide Yokocho, a famous narrow alley filled with tiny bars and eateries serving traditional Japanese food, notably yakitori (grilled chicken skewers). Looking for a touch of nature amidst the city’s skyscrapers? The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is an oasis of tranquility, offering beautiful landscapes in every season. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll and unwind from the city’s bustle.
For those of you who are art enthusiasts, Teamlabs Planets is a must-visit. This digital art museum immerses you in a world of interactive artwork that is both visually stunning and experientially engaging. It’s an art experience like no other! Once you are done, you can head to Zepp DiverCity to see the Unicorn Gundam Statue. Zepp DiverCity is where most concerts in Tokyo City happen! Then there is Aqua City, a popular large complex shopping center. Perhaps the most unique is Tokyo Joypolis, one of Tokyo’s largest indoor amusement parks, powered by Sega. This tech-savvy funhouse boasts thrilling rides, VR attractions, and arcade games that merge the digital and physical worlds. If you are tired and need to relax on the beach, why not visit Odaiba Beach, home to the Statue of Liberty?!
The Red Light District – Kabukicho
The Unicorn Gundam Statue – Zepp DiverCity
Don’t forget to visit Akihabara, a paradise for anime and retro gaming enthusiasts. If you’re a fan of animation, the Ghibli Museum is a magical place where you can immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Studio Ghibli films. Another famous spot for anime is Ikebukuro Sunshine City which is home to the One Piece Mugiwara store and many other fun anime-inspired stores and events including ACOSTA. If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can head to the TOEI Animation Museum in Tokyo!
Gaming enthusiasts will be thrilled to visit the Red Tokyo Tower, the largest eSports arena in Tokyo. Whether you’re a gamer or not, the state-of-the-art facilities and the electric atmosphere make it a must-visit.
The Imperial Palace, the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family, is another must-visit spot. The palace itself is not open to the public, but the picturesque gardens and historical architecture surrounding it are worth exploring.
Suggested daily budget – 50-60 EUR / 52-62 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)
We recommend picking up these books before you go!
Each of these attractions offers a unique perspective of Tokyo, and together they capture the essence of this incredible city – a place where tradition meets innovation, and where every street corner has a story to tell.