Tokyo is a crazy, frenetic, and amazing city. Here you can visit the imperial palace, the morning fish market, see the beautiful cherry blossoms, party in the Tokyo’s trendy nightlife district, sing karaoke, and eat lots of amazing food….I mean it’s Japan after all! I love Tokyo — it’s one of my favorite cities in the world! I love the fast-paced modern city that still embraces its traditional roots. I love the orderly crowds when you expect chaos. Tokyo is a city like none other. It’s not cheap, but this travel guide to Tokyo can help you navigate the city on a budget to make the most out of your visit (and hopefully fall in love with it too!).
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Tokyo
1. Admire Sensoji Temple
2. Visit the Tokyo Tower
3. Tsukiji Fish Market
4. Visit the Imperial Palace
5. Explore Ueno Park
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Ueno Zoological Gardens
Located in Ueno Park, the Zoological Gardens is the oldest zoo in Japan and worth a visit for the day. The pandas are particularly rare and interesting to watch. Children get in free and adult tickets are 600 JPY. Admission is 600 JPY.
2. Watch a sumo match
Kokugikan is Japan’s most famous sumo wrestling arena and is where tournaments are held three times yearly. A visit to one of the sumo stables nearby can be interesting but must be arranged well in advance.
3. Gaze at Mount Fuji from Hakone
Hakone is a great place to take in the view of Mount Fuji. There are numerous guesthouses, many with their own private onsen, in the area. It’s a great place to get away from the business of the city and relax for a few days.
4. See the Hachiko Statue
The Hachiko Statue is a life-sized statue of a dog from 1925. The dog’s owner died, but every day the dog still went to the train station to wait for him to return from work. It signals loyalty and devotion to the Japanese and is a popular monument. The statue stands in front of the Shibuya Station.
5. Shop at Akihabara Electric Town
For Tokyo, this is the Tsukiji Market of the electronics world. You can find pretty much anything you’ve ever imagined, as well as all of the things you’ve never even dreamed of. Many up-and-coming electronics are tested here, and there is a ton of cool stuff to browse.
6. Wander Roppongi Hills
A dream brought to life, this is a complex of architectural wonders. There are various buildings to see, all of which have been designed by leading architects, as well as various public art displays. This visual feast doesn’t cost anything — all you have to do is catch a ride up the hill.
7. Drink in Golden Gai
If you are looking for something interesting to do at night, this little alleyway of back-street bars is a great place to start. There isn’t much going on during the day here, but come sundown, these zigzag hallways and closet-sized beer rooms are filled with interesting people and cheap drinks. This is what you might consider “old-school” Tokyo.
8. Get on a suijo-bus
For centuries, Tokyo has been centralized around its rivers. One of the traditional ways to get around has always been via water-bus. This is a great alternative to the subway (when possible) and offers a different perspective of the bustling city. There are even floating restaurants, known as yakata-bune.
9. Visit the Great Buddha
Make a day trip to Kamakura, where you can see a 13m bronze statue of Buddha. It was initially built in a temple, but the temple was washed away – on several occasions – by storms. The statue now sits in the open air. Entrance is 200 JPY.
10. Check out a sento
A sento is a traditional Japanese public bath house. While they were originally built to accommodate those that did not have such facilities in-house, they are now a great place to go for some peace and relaxation. They are typically separated by gender. The Japanese are not shy in these places so you need to be comfortable with nudity! A budget-friendly sento will cost you just under 1,000 JPY.
11. Get touristy at Tokyo Disneyland
What can I say, I’m a sucker for Disney attractions! This is a great choice for anyone traveling with children, but also for any adults who just love to have fun at amusement parks! Adult admission is 7,400 JPY while child tickets cost between 4,800-6,400 JPY depending on their age.