Walking tours are a great way to discover the authentic side of Toyko. They’re all led by an expert guide who will lift the lid on local culture, traditions and landmarks. These Tokyo tours focus on everything from historic sights to foodie delights, so there’s something here to suit all types of travelers.
First-timers will love checking out the famous Shibuya Crossing. It’s the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing and has been featured in countless movies. Meanwhile, over in the riverside district of Asakusa, you’ll be surrounded by amusement parks and high-end boutiques.
If you’re interested in Japanese heritage, a walking tour of the Yanaka district is a must. This is where you’ll find the old city, with temples and shrines dating to the Edo era. It’s a fascinating contrast to the neon lights of Shibuya.
Some walking excursions also take in the Tsukiji Fish Market. Set up in 1935, this iconic attraction is packed with fresh seafood, friendly restaurants and kitchen-related goods. It’s a great spot to taste local delicacies and snap some photos.
Food is a big part of Japanese culture, and to understand the cuisine is to understand the country’s heritage. There are lots of different Tokyo tours that concentrate on culinary experiences. Make sure you turn up hungry – you’ll be feasting on lots of local delicacies during these excursions.
One of the most popular destinations for Tokyo food tours is Shinjuku. Here, you’ll explore hidden alleyways and enjoy tastings at izakaya bars favored by locals. This is one of the biggest nightlife areas in Tokyo and is famed for its great food and buzzing atmosphere.
Meanwhile, over in the bustling streets of Ginza, you’ll be surrounded by upscale restaurants as well as traditional street food. There’s a more modern vibe here, with both local and international cuisine on offer. This is a great place to try dishes like tempura and yakitori.
If you fancy getting hands-on, there are several sushi tours and classes to try. There’s no better place to indulge your palate and learn how to make this popular Japanese dish.
Want to see the capital of Japan from above? Then head up the futuristic Tokyo Skytree and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling city. This is one of the tallest towers in the world, and standing on the two observation platforms feels like being up in the clouds.
The panoramic Tembo Deck is 350 meters above the ground, giving you unsurpassed views across the city and beyond. If you have a head for heights, you can venture up to the Tembo Galleria Skywalk which is a whopping 450 meters high. Don’t worry, there’s an elevator that takes you up the tower, so you’ll arrive without breaking into a sweat!
From this lofty vantage point, you’ll be able to see as far as Mount Fuji, Tokyo Bay and of course the Tokyo Tower. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow for all the photo-taking you can handle.
There’s a souvenir shop, café and a restaurant serving French-Japanese fusion cuisine if you fancy prolonging your visit. Make sure you book tickets in advance as it’s a popular spot!
A Japanese tea ceremony is an important part of any visit to the country, and often features on Tokyo tours. Dating back to the eighth century, this ritual is central to the culture of Japan. The experience has been made available to visitors to help them understand the significance of this revered tradition.
The ceremonies take place in an authentic tearoom and are as spiritual as they are tasty. You’ll learn the age-old methods of preparing the green matcha tea before getting to drink the results! This is a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and practice a bit of mindfulness.
Some tea sessions include a lesson in Zen Buddhist meditation. It’s a peaceful experience, and you’ll come away with knowledge of the religion and its place in Japanese architecture and art. Dressing up in a kimono is not obligatory but is highly recommended.
Sake tastings are also on the cards, with bars and breweries providing the perfect setting. Pair your sake with a bit of sushi to help enhance the flavors.
This Shinto shrine is one of the best things to see in Shibuya, and it’s handily located right next to the Harajuku Station. The grounds of the Meiji Shrine have a network of forested walking paths that offer a relaxing respite from the city chaos.
Built in 1920 in dedication to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken, the shrine is a bit of a pilgrimage site. Meiji was modern Japan’s first emperor and oversaw the country’s ascension to a major world powerhouse.
A visit to the Meiji Shrine is included on several Tokyo tours. During your trip, you can take part in a number of traditional Shinto activities such as making offerings and purchasing amulets. You can also write your dreams on a wooden ema plate and hope that they come true!
Don’t miss the elegant entry gate or the Meiji Jingu Museum which is home to some of the emperor’s personal belongings. The gardens are worth a visit too, especially in June when the irises are blooming.
One of the most popular day trips from Tokyo is to Mount Fuji. You can see Japan’s highest peak from afar, but to experience it up close will take your breath away. This snow-capped volcano is still active, but don’t worry, the last eruption was in 1708.
Mount Fuji is listed as a World Heritage site and is the most iconic image in the country. The mountain is just 150 kilometers from Tokyo so it’s easy to visit on a day trip. It takes around 2 hours to get there by road.
There are several options when it comes to visiting Mount Fuji. Some tours take you by road, with lots of scenic countryside to enjoy along the way. Others focus on a cruise for a relaxing experience that brings you close to nature.
One of the highlights of a Mount Fuji experience is a Lake Ashi boat trip. The mountain offers a superb backdrop to your cruise, while the forested shores make for dreamy photos.
Get the heart pumping and practice your driving skills at a go-karting session in the city. This is a fun way to explore the streets of central Tokyo for those who like to experience the unusual. You’ll get to dress up as a cartoon character and parade through the city in style.
Following your trusty guide, you’ll drive along the roads in convoy, passing some of the major landmarks as you go. Traditional markets and towering skyscrapers all make an appearance on this quirky excursion.
The drive takes you through several different neighborhoods to help you get a true feel of the city. You’ll explore the narrow alleyways of Golden Gai and zoom through the scenic Shinjuku district, turning heads along the way. A jaunt through the bright lights of the Roppongi area is a fitting end to your adventure.
For something a little more mainstream, Tokyo bike tours are another option. If you want to get a local’s perspective of the city, this is the way to do it.
For kids young and old, Tokyo’s theme parks all deserve a place on the world entertainment stage. Whether you want character-themed experiences or thrill-seeking roller coaster rides, there’s something here for everyone.
The colorful Legoland universe is perfect for creative travelers, with interactive building sessions and workshops on offer. Lego rides and 4D films just add to the thrills, with special effects like snow and rain making for an immersive experience.
Meanwhile, at Sanrio Puroland you’ll be stepping into the world of Hello Kitty. Here, you can meet some of your favorite characters and enjoy live theatre and themed rides. It’s predominantly pink, which makes for great Instagram photos.
Disneyland and DisneySea are the other two Tokyo theme parks you mustn’t miss. These iconic attractions are fun for all the family, with enough activities to fill a whole day. Unique to Tokyo, DisneySea is a land of fantasy, with ocean-inspired sections packed with submarine trips, mermaid encounters and jungle rides.
Escape the city bustle with a boat ride, either in Tokyo or on one of the nearby lakes. These Tokyo tours offer a serene and scenic experience. There are several excursions to choose from, and each is different so feel free to book more than one if you have time.
First up are the dinner cruises around Tokyo Bay. This is an idyllic way to see the city illuminated at night while enjoying a gourmet meal. The traditional houseboats take you on a journey around the bay and along the Sumida River – head to the top deck for the best views.
A little further afield, Lake Ashi is the perfect spot for panoramic sightseeing. Boat trips around the lake give you unrivaled views of Mount Fuji, so keep your camera handy. Glass bottom boat excursions are highly recommended for a little extra flair.
Day trips to Nikko are popular too. Here, you can explore the ancient Japanese town and hike the forest trails. The highlight is a boat tour on Lake Chuzenji.
Unleash your inner warrior with some authentic Samurai training sessions in Tokyo. Under the careful instruction of an expert Samurai tutor, you’ll learn some of the techniques used by these fearsome fighters.
You’ll dress up in a traditional Samurai outfit and undertake a training session with a katana – the famous single-edge sword. In no time you’ll be stepping into the mindset of a Japanese warrior.
By the end of your lesson, you’ll be wielding your weapon like a true Samurai, and performing various moves worthy of a professional. Many courses come with a photo shoot and video footage to capture your achievements.
Staying with the sporting theme, you can enjoy Ninja experiences in Tokyo too. If you want to have a go at martial arts, then training with a Ninja is a dream come true. You’ll learn the art of meditation as well as those all-essential kicks.
If you’d rather be a spectator, then Tokyo’s Sumo wrestling shows are the business. Discover why they’re so popular in Japan as you cheer on your favorite wrestler.
Tokyo is the bustling capital city of Japan and is visited by millions of international tourists each year. It’s a metropolis of contrasts, with everything from neon lights and skyscrapers to historical temples and Shinto shrines. If you want a taste of Japanese culture, then Tokyo is a great place to start.
Formerly known as Edo, Tokyo used to be a small castle town before growing into one of the world’s biggest cities. After suffering an earthquake in 1923 and air raids during World War II in 1945, the Tokyo of today is thriving. It’s an exciting place to be and can feel almost futuristic when compared to other cities around the globe.
Tokyo tours are the perfect way for a first-time visitor to explore – it can be a bit daunting going it alone. This is one of the most forward-thinking cities on the planet, with a mind-blowing range of entertainment, dining and shopping options.
Many visitors spend a few days in Tokyo before venturing further inland to explore the countryside and coast. It’s easy to reach the city with plentiful international flights arriving daily. Opt for Haneda Airport if you can as it’s closer to the city than Narita.
Tokyo is a vast city, so it’s important to base yourself somewhere convenient. Many first-time visitors choose to stay in Shinjuku, Shibuya or near Tokyo Station as these districts give you easy access to the main attractions. Budget conscious travelers should look at the Shitamachi area for cheap hotels. Wherever you stay, expect smaller rooms than you’re used to.
To help get your bearings around the city, Tokyo hop-on hop-off bus tours are a fun way to explore. You’ll cruise around the streets in style, disembarking at the places you most want to visit. It’s much easier than trying to navigate the busy public transport systems.
If you do head out independently, the subways and trains are your best bet. You can buy a Pasmo or Suica travel pass to avoid the hassle of purchasing individual tickets on site. Avoid rush hour if you don’t fancy battling those infamous crowds at the stations.
Despite feeling like a city of the future, Tokyo runs on cash rather than card payments, even at high-end restaurants. It can be difficult to find an ATM with English language capabilities, but most convenience stores should have one.
For history and culture, don’t miss the popular Asakusa neighborhood. This is the place to go if you want to see some traditional Japanese architecture. Museum buffs will enjoy visiting the Ghibli Museum and the Bonsai Museum to discover art, animation and mini trees!
Meanwhile, tech and anime enthusiasts should head to the Akihabara district. Here, you can have your fill of unique stores, animal cafés and all the neon you can handle. It shows the more modern side of Japan and is full of surprises.
Once you’ve exhausted all the Tokyo tours that have caught your eye, why not head out on a day trip? You can visit the hot springs at Hakone, check out the temples in Kamakura or explore the flower park at Ashikaga. Taking a ride on the iconic Shinkansen bullet train is another option and can be incorporated into lots of day excursions from Tokyo.
Tokyo is an expensive city, but for those keeping an eye on their budget, there are plenty of free things to do in the capital. Head to the observation deck at the Asakusa Culture and Tourist Center or visit the Tokiwaso Manga Museum. The Sumo Museum is also free to enter.