The top 10 things to see and do in Tokyo, according to me. Some items in this list are a group of places that make sense to do or visit together, due to proximity. I’ve weighted the list heavily towards “central” Tokyo, and also included items that would give first-time visitors to Tokyo a general sense of the city.
(1) Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace Grounds
See: Tokyo Imperial Palace jogging map
(2) Tsukiji Market and Ginza
- (sadly, the old market has recently close) See: How to visit Tsukiji fish market (Tsukiji fish market map) 築地市場を訪問する方法
- Some views of Ginza at night: Day and night: beauty falls on Tokyo
(3) Hibiya Park and Hibiya Hall
Hibiya Park is Japan’s first Western-style park. It’s not very large, but often has fun events on the weekend and is a welcome respite from the city, and is easily accessible to the Yurakucho and Ginza neighborhoods.
(4) Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park; Harajuku and Omotesando
- Meiji shrine: a wooded and tranquil escape from the city, but very convenient
- Yoyogi park: always active and vibrant
- Harajuku: not a place you need to so too often, but worth visiting once
And Cat street: meandering pedestrian street with shopping and people-watching…
(5) Shibuya crossing and surrounding area
- Shibuya Crossing
- Hachiko: even if you’re not interested, you kind of have to see this sculpture, as it is a mere feet away from Shibuya crossing
- Taro Okamoto’s “Myth of Tomorrow” mural
- Shibuya Center Gai センター街: the main pedestrian shopping street and heart of Shibuya
- Love Hotel Hill: see this map of most/all of the hotels of “Love Hotel Hill” (map)
- (now under construction) Shibuya Miyashita Park. The old version of the elevated park included rock climbing and skateboarding.
- Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkard’s Alley) 渋谷のんべい横丁: crowded area of tiny, old bars
(6) Yokohama Waterfront
Not in Tokyo, but nearby, and worth a visit. See: “I am waiting” for scenes from Yokohama’s waterfront
Old railroad bridge, lined with cherry trees, leading to the waterfront:
Former elevated train line, now a pedestrian path:
See also: How should I spend a day in Yokohama, Japan?
(7) Old Manseibashi Station 万世橋駅遺構
This former train station is now home to mAAche ecute, a mixed-used retail facility.
(8) 3331 Arts Chiyoda (closing March 2023)
Former school, now a wonderful space for art galleries and other creative activities. See: 3331 Arts Chiyoda アーツ千代田3331. Sadly, this facility is closing indefinitely for renovations in March 2023.
Although located in the heart heart of central Tokyo, Yanaka follows a slower pace. The neighborhood is set on a hill above the city, which made it a popular location for many temples. Major points of interest include Yanaka Cemetery, Yanaka Ginza shopping street, and Snake Street, a meandering shopping street that used to be a river. (See: I love Yanaka 谷中好きです！)
And the wonderful Yanaka Beer Hall 谷中ビアホール:
(10) Jiyugaoka and Todoroki Ravine
Jiyugaoka is a fun and laid-back neighborhood good for shopping, dining, and just going for a stroll. Nearby is the Todoroki Ravine, an almost magical stream that cuts fairly deep below the neighboring residential streets.
See: Todoroki Ravine Park map 等々力渓谷公園の地図