Who would imagine visiting Japan without going to Tokyo? It’s an attractive city for many reasons. It’s modern, historical, cultural, and vibrant. There’s a little bit of everything and so many things to do in Tokyo. Precisely because Tokyo is so huge, it can be hard to decide exactly what you want to see and do while you are there. I don’t live in Tokyo, but I have been there enough times that I’ve lost count. And there’s always something new to see, or something to see again.
With this post, I’ll share 101 fun things to do in Tokyo to help you decide… Actually, 101 things might make it more difficult to decide what to do, especially if you can be indecisive, like me. Instead, I’ll go through 10 things that I think are the coolest, and at the end of this post I’ll provide a formwhere you can download the entire 101 things to do in Tokyo checklist (arranged by neighbourhood).
Top fun things to do in Tokyo
Asakusa shrine is one the coolest things to do in Tokyo, in my opinion. It’s the closest you can get to a “Kyoto” vibe in Tokyo. There is Sensoji Temple, Asakusa Shrine, Hozomon, and a large gate and red lantern. To get to the temple you pass along a street full of souvenirs and trinkets. It’s a great place to pick up your final souvenirs from Japan. You can also watch the little snacks being made on their assembly line conveyer belts. It’s pretty interesting.
2 Tokyo Skytree (and the Asahi “golden turd”)
Next to Asakusa is the Tokyo Skytree. You can go up for a view of the city, though I haven’t done this. I’ve only been to Tokyo twice since this building was opened. The only time I saw it though, it was cloudy, so I couldn’t even see the whole top of the building. It would have been a waste to go up and see only clouds, I think. If you are looking at Tokyo Skytree from Asakusa area, there’s also the Asahi Beer Hall, and the “golden turd.” It’s supposed to be a golden flame, but I don’t think anyone looks at it that way…
3 Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is one of the three most important Shinto shrines in Japan (the other two are Ise and Atsuta). It’s right next to Harajuku, and is a nice place to walk through. If you are lucky, you might catch a wedding ceremony and the happy couple.
4 Shibuya crossing (and Hachiko statue)
This is only a pedestrian crosswalk, but it’s really cool. The first time I went here, I was overwhelmed by the people from all directions pouring in to the street. This little farm girl had never seen an intersection with hundreds of people in it. There’s also the statue of the dog Hachiko here. And when you get through the intersection, there’s tons of shopping and eating ahead of you.
Harajuku is one of my top things to do in Tokyo, and it’s a little bit special to me. When I was living in Shizuoka in 2005-2006, I always went to Harajuku when I went to Tokyo. I was young, and Harajuku was cool and exciting for me. There are many fun shops and interesting places to eat. At that time, I liked going on the weekend because people dressed in the craziest outfits, though I don’t think this happens as much anymore.
>> Read why I don’t have a bucket list
6 Ueno Park and Zoo
Ueno Park is a huge park in Tokyo, and you can easily dedicate an entire day to it. It is filled with art and history museums, temples and shrines, fountains and nature, and also a zoo. The main attraction at the zoo is the pandas.
Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo with lots of fun things to do and see. There is an interesting looking science and technology museum, a seaside walking park, a small replica of the statue of liberty, shopping (of course), and more. You can probably easily spend most of the day, and a lot of money, here as well.
8 Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea
I have only been to Tokyo Disneyland, not Disney Sea. Though I have been to Disneyland in California, and the one in Tokyo is not quite as impression. As I remember, it was missing a few attractions. But it’s Disneyland in Japan, so it’s a different experience, and I recommend giving it a try. Keep in mind, it’s not in Tokyo. It’s in Chiba prefecture. Like any Disneyland (or any amusement park for that matter), expect to spend the whole day here. Another whole day for Disney Sea, which is geared more toward adults than children.
9 Watching morning sumo practice
I haven’t seen a morning sumo practice, but I have watched a real sumo tournament in Nagoya. And it was pretty cool. So if you are not in Tokyo during the tournament, you can try and catch a morning practice. It’s very interesting to watch the big boys slapping their thighs, throwing salt, and pushing each other out of the ring.
10 Tsukiji fish market
This is the famous fish market and tuna auction. It happens very early in the morning though, and thus I haven’t seen it. I’ve seen smaller fish markets though, it’s fun to see people buying and selling and then stop in a random shop for a bowl of fish. Make sure you add this to your list of things to do in Tokyo.
Top fun things to do in Tokyo
I hope this gives you an idea of some of the coolest things to do and see in Tokyo. If you want even more ideas, sign up to access my free resource library where I have a complete checklist with 101 things to do in Tokyo. Download it, print it out, and use it to help you plan your trip to Tokyo!
What’s your favourite thing to do in Tokyo?