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.