Time-honoured tradition and fast-paced future meet at bustling crossroads in Japan’s capital city. Bursting with around-the-clock activity, Tokyo visits are never short of adventure.
Tokyo is located in the Kanto region, in the east of the Japanese archipelago.
Culture and Tradition
Tokyo is a modern city built on tradition. Soaring skyscrapers sit side by side with perfectly preserved shrines and temples. The city’s old traditions live on through food and festivals you can experience today. Turn the corner on one of Tokyo’s streets and you could be transported back to the bygone Edo period, turn another, and you could find yourself in the heart of a subculture hub that’s out of this world.
Visit beautiful temples and shrines such as Sensoji Temple, Kanda Shrine or Meiji Shrine. Head to Tokyo’s Marunouchi district to take a tour of the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace is still in use by the Imperial family, surrounded by beautifully preserved moats and walls and nestled in the middle of its 17th century parks.
Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s weird and wonderful subcultures—there’s something for everyone! See fictional characters brought to life with cosplayers in Harajuku, witness Rockabilly alive and kicking in Yoyogi Park or embrace your inner otaku and geek out in Akihabara.
You can sample everything from 3 dollar bites to 3-starred menus in Tokyo. There’s a meal to suit every budget (and dietary requirement) with many of the food stalls and restaurants located in the major hubs such as Ginza, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Don’t forget to visit Tsukiji Outer Market for the freshest seafood in town.
Japan has more festivals (matsuri) than most, with each one celebrating tradition in spectacular fashion. Popular festivals include Kanda Festival, Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival and Sanno Matsuri.
Galleries and museums
Peruse artistic collections that capture the past, present and future. Popular museums include The National Art Center, Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. Those looking for something a little different, the Yayoi Kusama Museum and Ghibli Museum are highly recommended.
Explore the city that never shuts down. Go laneway bar-hopping through some of the city’s famous spots; Nonbei Yokocho and Ebisu Yokocho in Shibuya and Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku. After dinner and drinks, head to a karaoke bar or hit the dance floor in the club districts of Roppongi. If you’re looking to unwind, stroll through one of the many illumination events held in the city, or take a night cruise around Tokyo Bay.
There are a total of 23 wards (districts) in Tokyo, each its own tiny world, with its own distinct ‘thing’:
Home to the famous ‘Shibuya crossing’, Shibuya is the city’s major entertainment, dining and shopping district.
Shinjuku is the largest neighbourhood not just in Tokyo, but Japan! You’ll find just about everything; luxury hotels, department stores, cheap eat alleyways, museums, bars and the sprawling Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Ginza is where you go to shop, featuring hundreds of luxury flagship stores and fine-dining establishments.
This one-of-a-kind district is home to Japan’s bizarre street fashion subcultures and youth culture shops.
Head to Akihabara to geek out on manga, anime and electronics. It’s also where you find maid cafes and otaku shops.
Known as the ‘old part of town’, Asakusa is filled with temples, izakaya, ryokan and quaint family businesses.
Tokyo’s charming ‘hipster’ neighbourhood lined with cafes, bars, shops and some concert halls.
Wedged between giants, Shinjuku and Shibuya, this neighbourhood is home to the city’s most dynamic park, Yoyogi Park.
Known for Ueno Park that’s filled with colourful markets and some major attractions including Ueno Zoo and world-class museums including the National Museum of Nature and Science.
Tokyo’s central neighbourhood surrounded by universities. A great spot to shop for books and snowboarding gear!
Tokyo has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world—that’s 230 restaurants with stars! Must-try dishes include sushi, yakitori and ramen, all of which can be found down yokocho (alleyways), under train stations or in reservation-only establishments. Not limited to Japanese cuisine, many international chefs also call Tokyo home.
Accommodation comes in all different sizes, shapes and budgets. Wake up on tatami to a traditional breakfast at a Japanese inn (ryokan), curl up in a capsule bed in a capsule hotel or gaze out at a sparkling cityscape with a view of Tokyo Tower from your luxurious hotel room.
How to get around
Tokyo is accessible by air, land and sea; served by two international airports (Haneda and Narita), citywide JR lines and the Port of Tokyo.