If you are wondering what to do in Tokyo and how to have unique Tokyo experiences, here is my list. I am a tour guide who resided in Tokyo for a long time and this is my things to do list in Tokyo. I combined all the main attractions and activities. This is the list of experiences I usually recommend my guests based on what I personally like and enjoy doing as a resident. Below I listed 25 things to do in 4 days in Tokyo.

If you only have 1 day in Tokyo I would take you to:

1- SHINJUKU GYOEN GARDEN
Shinjuku Gyoen

  • Nice relaxing Japanese garden in the middle of the city. Near Tokyo Metropolitan Building,  a FREE-entry Skyscrapper with an observation deck where you can see the full Tokyo skyline. (The metropolitan bldg. is closed until mid-January for renovation)
  • Tip: Shinjuku Gyoen is near MAIKOYA kimono tea ceremony, a must do cultural activity in Tokyo.
  • Tip:  Shinjuku Gyoen is near Golden Gai and Piss Alley where you can have a night walk and food-sample.

2- ASAKUSA SENSOJI TEMPLE
Sensoji

  • Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple. Check the giant lantern at the gate that weighs 700 kgs and donated by Panasonic.
  • Tip: It is believed that if you cover your body with the smoke from the giant pit, you never get sick.

3- IMPERIAL PALACE EAST GARDENS (near Tokyo Station)
Tokyo imperial palace and gardens.

  • This is where the Edo Castle, the home of shogun, used to be. It is a huge area, some parts of the park and the imperial palace are often closed but the East gardens are open.
  • Tip: The Chidorigafuchi Park behind the palace has an amazing view during the Cherry blossom and Fall leaves.

4- HARAJUKU TAKESHITA STREET (Near Meiji Jingu and Yoyogi)
Harajuku

  • The cultural icon of modern Tokyo. This is where you can find trendy cafes and spot Japanese youngster with a little strange sense of fashion.
  • Tip: If you go to Omote Sando street you can find Tokyu Plaza with a rooftop style cafe and also the famous Kiddy Land shop.

5- MEIJI JINGU/ Yoyogi Park
Meiji Shrine gate

  • Meiji Shrine was built 100 years ago right after emperor Meiji passed away. The shrine gate has the largest torii gate in Japan. You can walk to the Yoyogi Park where the Tokyo Olympics were held in 1964.
  • Tip: At the Meiji Shrine you can write your wishes on wooden plates (ema) with a small donation.

6- Old TSUKIJI FISH MARKET & New Toyosu Fish Market
Sushi

  • The famous Tsukiji fish market moved to Toyosu last year!!!. The new Toyosu Fish market is not that popular among travelers. The Tsukiji fish market area now has many food stalls and is still very popular. You can view the fish auctions at the new Toyosu Fish market but only behind glass windows and there are not many street food stalls around.
  • Tip: The new Toyosu Market has a huge roof area covered by grass where you can see Tokyo skyline.

 

7- SHIBUYA CROSSING / Hachiko Statue

  • This is the busiest pedestrian walking area and intersection in the world. It appeared in more than half a dozen movies (Last in Translation, Fast and furious, etc.). Near the JR station you can see the famous Hachiko Statue.
  • Tip: You can watch people cross the intersection from the Starbucks on the 3rd floor of the Tsutaya Building.

8- Akihabara for Anime Fans
Akihabara Shops 12

  • This is where you can find many unique anime figures and electronics. On weekends you can also spot many youngsters doing cosplay. There are also maid cafe where the waitresses dress up as house maids.
  • Tip: You can find any kinds of electronics and figures at the Yodobashi Camera.

 

9- Tokyo Skytree

TOKYO SKYTREE_東京スカイツリー_8
This is the tallest building/structure in Japan (634 m). The tower is not far from the Asakusa area. Under the tower there is a shopping mall and a well-designed aquarium.

  • Tip: There are nice cafes and benches by the river next to Skytree. The night illumination of the tower is also picture worthy.

Kimono Wearing and Tea Ceremony near SHINJUKU

kimono tea ceremony

  • Best cultural experience including kimono wearing, Japanese sweets tasting, performing a Japanese ritual, doing meditation and learning zen. Once in a life time experience.
  • Tip: You can choose to do it with or without wearing a kimono.

10-Odaiba (Tokyo Beach, Fuji TV, Gundam Front, Aqua City & Diver City)
Gundam Tokyo

  • This is an artificial island with malls, entertainment centers and unique buildings. You can spot many unusual exhibitions and statues inside the buildings. Tip: The rainbow bridge has a beautiful nighttime illumination.
  • Tip: Odaiba Oeda Onsen Monogatari is a nice Japanese onsen (hot spring) that has spa and Japanese-style public bath.

 

11- Rikugien Japanese Garden
Rikugien
Rikugien is the most popular Japanese garden in Tokyo and its name means the garden of 6 principles. It was an unknown Edo-period garden until the founder of Mitsubishi company restored it.

  • Tip: The garden has the best views in the Fall and Sakura seasons.

12- Tokyo Disneyland & Disney Sea
Tokyo Disneyland

  • Disney’s first international park opened in 1983. It is located outside the Tokyo City area and often a date spot for young lowers. Different from Disneyland in the US, there are many hidden Mickey Mouse signs you should discover.
  • Tip: Every night there is a3-d mapping and fireworks.

 

13- Ghibili Museum
Ghibili Museum
This is a must-see spot for Anime fans a theme park based on Gibili movies such as spirited away and Totoro.

  • TIP: you have to buy tickets 30 days in advance. You can purchase them on the website of Lawson convenience store.

14- Mount Fuji & Hakone Day Trip
The reflection of Mt. Fuji

  • Mount Fuji is obviously not in Tokyo City but not far (112 km). You can just go to Shinjuku Station and jump on the high way bus to go to Kawaguchiko. Most people do not climb to the summit and just have a boat ride on the lakes.
  • Tip: If you don’t have time to go to Mount Fuji, you can still come close to the Mount fuji while riding a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. The bullet train passes by the mountain. Tip: If the weather is not clear, it is not worth making the trip to Mount Fuji.

15- Nikko Toshogu Shrine Day Trip
NIKKO

  • This is a shrine dedicated to the Tokugawa shogun which is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are 42 buildings on the site with priceless wood carvings.
  • Tip: You can see the Nikko National park and Kegon Falls that have an amazing view in all seasons.

16- Kamakura & Yokohama Day Trip
Buddha

  • Kamakura is the first capital of the samurai government and home to the giant Amida Buddha Statue (11.4 meters). On the way to Kamakura you can see the Yokohama City and visit the old Chinatown.
  • Tip: The Sankeian Japanese garden near downtown Yokohama has a nice relaxing atmosphere.

17- Kagurazaka / Yanaka Areas in Tokyo City – The old Tokyo

Yanaka

  • Kagurazaka is known as the geisha area of Tokyo. You can see many old houses and traditional neighborhoods if you go to the Yanaka area.
  • Tip: You can rent a bicycle at Tokyo Bike Rentals Yanaka.

18- Tokyo Tower and the Ropponghi Area
Tokyo Tower

  • Before Skytree Tokyo Tower used to be the most popular tower and the tallest building in Japan (333 m). In my opinion it has a better view compared to the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. Tip: The main deck entry fee is 900 yen and the top deck is an additional 700 yen. For the night time it is worth going to the top deck.
  • Tip: There is a One Piece Tower Tokyo, a cool manga cafe you may want to check out. Tip: There is Zojoji temple right behind the tower dating back to 1600s.

 

19- Mario Themed Street Cart
MariCar at Tokyo tower, Tokyo, Japan

If you are a thrill seeker this is it. Although you drive slowly because of safety reasons, you get to drive in traffic while wearing costumes. Nintendo recently sued the company and the name changed from Mario to something else.

20- Watching a Sumo Wrestling Game
Sumo

  • Sumo is actually a Shinto ritual done to wish for a better harvest season. Women are not allowed to enter a stage and wrestlers stomp their feet to scare the devils away. if it is the sumo season you can watch a game.
  • Tip: If it is not the sumo season you can visit the sumo museum or buy a ticekt to watch the morning practice at a sumo stable.

21- Teamlab Borderless Art Display
teamLab Borderless,Odaiba Tokyo

This is a recent interactive modern art museum. The reviews are very positive as there is nothing like it in other countries.

22- Cooking Class At Maikoya Shinjuku

 

  • The best way to immerse yourself into culture of Japan. You can learn how to cook sushi, cook ramen noodles, make Japanese sweets and more.
  • Tip: You can combine it with other cultural activities e.g. calligraphy, ikebana, origami,etc. These activities are good for honeymooners and couples.

23- Kawai Monster Cafe & Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant

  • Some call it cool theme cafe and some call it a tourist trap. This is an interesting place where you can order colorful hamburgers and creatively designed sweets and also watch shows.
  • Tip: If you find this place touristy you can check out Vampire cafe or Alice in Restaurant cafe.

24- Snake Cafe, Owl Cafe, Cat Cafe & More in the Harajuku Area
Owl Cafe Tokyo 2015

Owl cafe is in many Tokyo visitor’s bucket list. The most popular owl cafe is in Akihabara but you can find all different kinds of animal cafes mostly in the Harajuku area.

25- Robot Restaurant
robot restaurant
This is the most popular show in Tokyo for tourists but it is in the middle of the red light district and I would not take my family there.

26- Kimono Wearing and Tea Ceremony near Shinjuku

kimono tea ceremony

 

  • Best cultural experience including kimono wearing, Japanese sweets tasting, performing a Japanese ritual, doing meditation and learning zen. Once in a life time experience.
  • Tip: You can choose to do it with or without wearing a kimono.

PLEASE ENJOY TOKYO!!!

ARIGATOU!

Contact us : info@mai-ko.com

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