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Equal parts futuristic and fiercely traditional, Tokyo, Japan, is quite possibly the world’s most thrilling metropolis. This is a city that thrives on contradiction: Neon signs flash only blocks away from ancient temples, bustling concrete jungles close into narrow gardens, and the latest trends are just as beloved as long-treasured tea ceremonies.
You could easily spend weeks exploring just one side of Tokyo’s coin, but we’re betting you won’t want to. Once you witness this high-energy wonder in action, it’s tough to resist its otherworldly charms.
Of course, knowing where to begin your Tokyo excursions can be difficult. With 12 million residents and dozens of distinct districts, this city is never short on local spots to explore. Get acclimated to the area by starting in the tourist centers of Central Tokyo’s Chiyoda or Old Tokyo’s Taito. The former will give you access to the Imperial Palace’s stunning gardens, and the latter is home to several must see shrines. Make sure to spend a little time at the iconic Sensoji; it’s the city’s largest Buddhist temple and one of the most breathtaking attractions in Tokyo.
For a peek at the city’s more youthful side, head to the shopping and dining mecca of Shibuya. This effervescent area encompasses the fashion-forward Harajuku district, and it’s one of the best places to browse boutiques, snack on gourmet yakitori and watch a parade of people strolling the tree-lined streets. You’ll also find a variety of after-hours Tokyo activities here, but Shinjuku is an even better bet for bars and nightclubs. Visit during twilight to wander through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and then head to the narrow alleys of Golden Gai to grab a cocktail at one of its nearly 200 bars.
If all this action leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, consider booking a few Tokyo tours. These guided excursions are some of the top ways to uncover the city’s iconic sights and off-the-beaten-path experiences, and you won’t have to worry about decoding a map. From foodie jaunts through Yakitori Alley to cherry blossom viewings in Sumida, an expertly planned tour ensures that you’ll never run out of things to do in Tokyo.
Heading to Tokyo on a budget? The following can be seen for nothing.
Intermediatheque Museum - Stroll around and explore the interesting exhibits at this popular museum.
House of Shiseido - This is an ideal place to get your culture fix and find out about the thriving local arts scene.
Kokyogaien National Gardens - Let the kids have a good time or let your own inner child run free — this place was built for fun.
Japan Meteorological Agency - If you enjoy modern-style architecture, add this attraction to your list of must-sees.
Nijubashi Bridge - Soak up some of the interesting history of the region through this attraction.
SL Square - Stay a while in this popular spot and experience life as a local resident.
Ōi Keibajō - Open up your guidebook and learn why this place is worth a spot on your travel itinerary.
Karasumori Shrine - Gain a better understanding of the local beliefs at this sacred place.
Karasuyamagawa Green Road - Slip away from the busy city life and spend time in Mother Nature at this picture-perfect spot.
Hibiya Park - Cultivate your green thumb and appreciate the glorious plants on show.
If you want some fun in the sun, take a look at these outdoor activities:
Throw yourself into a few of these appealing indoor activities and turn a rainy day into something fun:
Bring comfortable shoes because there are lots of iconic attractions that are begging to be explored:
Don't go home without crossing off the following fantastic attractions:
There are plenty of fun experiences here that are just the thing if you're traveling on a tight budget:
You could put your wallet in the hotel safe for the day, because these fabulous attractions won't cost you a penny: