The Top Must Visit Attractions in Tokyo

Tokyo provides an endless array of things to see and do
Tokyo provides an endless array of things to see and do | © PixHound / iStock
Alicia Joy

Tokyo Writer

With so much to see and do in Tokyo, the list of must-sees is potentially endless. Narrow your search with these top 14 Tokyo attractions.

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum is spread across multiple galleries and structures in Ueno Park. If you’re tight on time, make your way to the Main Gallery (Honkan) for a chronological exploration of Japanese history and art.

Ryogoku Sumo Hall

Ryogoku Kokugikan is the best place to catch a sumo tournament in Tokyo. The hall is also home to a museum of the sport, and will be used to host the boxing competition during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Kabuki-za

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese dance drama, using elaborate costumes, make-up and sets to wow audiences. The recently rebuilt Kabuki-za is the chief kabuki theatre in the region and still retains its traditional charms.

Takeshita-dori

Colourful and lively Takeshita Street is located in Harajuku and is one of the district’s most iconic attractions. The shopping area is packed with small shops and vendors selling offbeat fashions, quirky souvenirs and everything kawaii.

Senso-ji

Senso-ji is one of Tokyo’s most-visited temples. Not only because of its sheer size and cultural significance, but because it claims to be the oldest of the city’s temples. The surrounding historic district and shopping street, Nakamise-dori, also contribute to Senso-ji’s popularity.

Imperial Palace and Gardens

Tours of the Imperial Palace grounds must be booked in advance, but the Imperial Palace East Garden is open to visitors year-round. On the other side of the moat, Chidori-ga-fuchi is a popular cherry blossom-gazing spot.

Meiji Shrine

This shrine was built in honour of the Meiji Emperor and his wife, Empress Shoken. With its thickly wooded grounds, sky-scraping torii and proximity to Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya Stations, it’s easy to see why it remains one of the city’s most popular Shinto shrines.

Hamarikyu Onshi Teien

This traditional Japanese strolling garden was once the property of the Tokugawa Clan, the former shoguns of Edo. Don’t forget to visit the antique teahouse located within its walls, Nakajima no Ochaya, for the full experience.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is known as the busiest pedestrian scramble in the world in terms of foot traffic. It’s the perfect starting point to any exploration further into the district.

Tokyo Dome

The Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s oldest professional baseball team, call the Tokyo Dome home, but the multipurpose structure also hosts concerts and other sporting events. Catch a game rain or shine, or spend an hour browsing the nearby Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari

If you’re happily tattoo-free, make your way to Oedo Onsen Monogatari for a traditional-meets-modern onsen (hot spring) experience. This Edo-themed onsen park lends out colourful yukata to all guests and invites visitors to experience Old Japan in their wading pools, hot springs, dining halls and festival atmosphere.

Mount Mitake

Mount Fuji is beautiful from afar, but neighbouring Mitake-san is in a class of its own. Embark on a breathtaking hike to the summit, stopping to shop and dine at the nearby village, and pay your respects at the ancient Shinto shrine.

Golden Gai

Golden Gai is a collection of narrow alleys and two-storey bars, a rare sight in the metropolis of Shinjuku. Most are so small that they can only accommodate a handful of customers, which is the reasoning behind the hefty seating charges. It has mostly been taken over by visitors in recent years, but you’ll still encounter the odd locals-only signage or chilly reception now and then.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in the entire prefecture and a popular attraction among locals and visitors alike. Shop and dine at the Skytree Village, or make your way to the observatories for a new perspective on Tokyo. It’s located in Sumida Ward.

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