What to see in Tokyo you ask? The city is not only massive in regard to its size but also in regard to its sightseeing offer. You could be visiting attraction after attraction non-stop for weeks. To assist your decision on places to visit in Tokyo, I’ve narrowed down 11 unmissable Tokyo attractions to be ticked off your bucket list.
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The Tokyo attractions you MUST visit
Tokyo offers you an exciting mix of things to see. Whether it’s museums, towers, temples, parks, or markets – you name it; Tokyo has it all! The list is truly endless, but this list is a good start to know what to focus your Tokyo sightseeing around. At the end of this article, you’ll have a map of all Tokyo main attractions
1. Senso-Ji Temple
Asakusa Senso-Ji Temple may be one of the most important Tokyo attractions, which is why I decided to list it first. Senso-Ji is an ancient Buddhist temple and when I say ancient, I mean the oldest temple in Japan. It dates back to the 6th century. Apart from being the oldest, Senso-Ji is also one of the most significant and most-visited temples in the country.
On the way to the main hall, you’ll walk along Nakamisedori path which is surrounded by one souvenirs store after the other. From shirts to candy, you will find anything here. Senso-Ji temple is also known to bring luck to its visitors. You’ll find a handful of fortune tellers on site that will predict how your year will be. The prediction is accompanied by a short, authentic Japanese poem. Chances are it will be crowded when you get to the temple (I’ve never seen it not packed), however, it is still worth a visit and a must-see attraction in Tokyo for every visitor.
- Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa (Taito)
- Admission: free
2. Tokyo Tower
Toyko Tower, officially named “Japan Radio Tower”, is the city’s iconic communications tower. Looking at the photo, you probably immediately notice the unbelievable resemblance to the Parisian Eiffel Tower. The truth is, it was actually inspired by the French landmark. However, standing 1,092 ft (333 m) high it is 30 ft (9 m) taller than the original at only 1,062 ft (324 m). Its height makes Tokyo Tower the second-highest structure in Japan.
Tokyo Tower attracts many visitors thanks to its observation decks. The main deck is located at a height of 150 and offers an interesting perspective of the city as you’re not too high up. The top deck is located at a much higher altitude at 820 ft (250 m), enabling you to enjoy amazing views of Tokyo Skytree.
- Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen (Minato)
- Admission: from $8
3. Ueno Park
Tokyo’s Ueno Park is a spacious, public park covering 54 ha. Ueno Park is home to a zoo, several galleries, temples, street performances, and great museums, including the Tokyo National Museum which is also included our list of the top Tokyo attractions.
The popular Tokyo attraction draws even more visitors during Sakura in late March and early April when the over 1,000 bustling cherry trees show their most beautiful blossoms. You will often hear the word “Hanami” in this context which translates to cherry blossom viewing parties.
- Address: 5-20 Uenokoen (Taito)
- Admission: free
4. Tokyo Skytree
There’s no Tokyo sightseeing without Tokyo Skytree! The good news is that you won’t be able to miss it. It is the city’s broadcasting tower and also an essential part of its skyline. Upon completion in 2010, it became did not only become the second tallest structure in the world but also the tallest structure in Japan standing 2,080 ft (634 m) tall. Besides being a TV tower, Tokyo Skytree also hosts a restaurant, cafés, souvenir shops and most importantly, two observation decks at different heights. They offer you the best views of the city. As a matter of fact, you can even see until Mount Fuji from up there!
Being the tallest building in Tokyo, the observation decks guarantee phenomenal, panoramic views of the city. The unparalleled views from up there make Tokyo Skytree one of the best-rated Tokyo attractions.
- Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage (Sumida)
- Admission: $21 (skip-the-line $26)
5. Meiji-Shrine (Meiji Jingu)
Another one of the top Tokyo attractions is Meiji-Jingu, one of Japan’s most popular shrines. It was dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan who, during the Meiji Restoration, contributed to the modernization of the country. The shrine, however, was only completed in 1920, 8 years after the emperor’s death. As great parts of the Meiji Shrine were destroyed during World War II, what you’ll see in Tokyo is a replica.
Meiji Shrine is surrounded by Yoyogi Park, one of the greenest spaces in urban Tokyo. Though visiting the Meiji Shrine is free, the Treasure House and Inner Garden require an entry fee (¥500/$4.50). Unfortunately, the Treasure House remains closed through fall 2019 due to constructions on the shrine in light of its 100th anniversary in 2020. The construction’s effect on visitors is kept to a minimum, meaning most of the shrine will be accessible as usual.
- Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho (Shibuya)
- Admission: free
6. Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace belongs on every bucket list when visiting Tokyo. It is the primary residence of the Japanese imperial family, located on the site of the former Edo castle. When the capital city was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in the 1860s, the construction of the Imperial Palace began and it wasn’t until 1888 that the construction of the palace was completed. During World War II, the palace was heavily damaged and later rebuilt true to the original.
The Imperial Palace is located in a green area, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Inside the Imperial Palace, you’ll find the main palace, the private residence of the imperial family as well as museums and administrative buildings. While the parks and gardens are open to the public at all times and at no cost, the inner grounds are off-limits and can only be accessed on two days a year – namely on New Year’s Greeting (January 2) and the Emperor’s Birthday (February 23) – as well as through guided tours.
- Address: 1-1 Chiyoda (Chiyoda)
- Admission: free
7. Tsukiji Market
The Tsujiki Market is famous for its many local shops that offer culinary delicacies. It dates back to the 1920s and has since become a popular market for locals and tourists alike. Besides fresh fish, you will also find fresh produce, desserts and kitchen utensils. This is probably the freshest food you can find anywhere! Until October 2018, the iconic tuna auction had been held here until it moved to its new location at the Toyosu Market. What’s left is the Tsujiki Outer Market – a foodie’s haven. To anyone who’ll ask me about the best places to visit in Tokyo, I’d name Tsukiji Outer Market right away!
You should visit Tsukiji Market in the morning or around noon as it typically closes at 2 pm. There is no admission fee, however, you can take a guided food tour for a small price.
- Address: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji (Chuo)
- Admission: free
8. Rainbow Bridge
Built in 1993, Rainbow Bridge is Tokyo’s iconic suspension bridge connecting Shibaura Pier (Tokyo Bay) and the man-made island of Odaiba (Minato). It is 2,618 ft (798 m) long and to our surprise, did not get its name from Mario Kart’s Rainbow Bridge! The name Rainbow Bridge was picked because the bridge illuminates in rainbow colors at night. On special occasions, the colors are specifically selected. What’s even greater about it? Rainbow Bridge is using solar energy that’s been generated throughout the day. Though the bridge wasn’t named after Mario Kart we did, however, cross it while driving real-life Mario Kart in Tokyo.
Rainbow Bridge was designed for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Walking across it, it offers you mesmerizing views of the city. Upon arriving in Minato the view gets even better: you’ll see Rainbow Bridge with Tokyo’s skyline as the backdrop. Keep in mind that Rainbow Bridge closes at 9 pm in the summer and 6 pm in the winter. For a crossing, calculate around 25 minutes of your time.
- Address: Rainbow Bridge
- Admission: free
9. Ghibli Museum
One could say that the Ghibli Museum for the Japanese is what Disney or Universal is for Americans. It’s one of Japan’s most famous animation studios that’s produced movies such as Princess Mononoke. Its incredible reputation makes it one of the best places to visit in Tokyo.
The museum is divided into two different floors. On the first floor, you’ll learn about the history and the various animation techniques. On the second floor, you can enjoy temporary exhibitions. In addition, there are many life-size characters and full-size replicas that make many visitors revisit their childhood. Tea room and rooftop garden. Purchasing tickets at the Ghibli Museum is nearly impossible, which is why you should come prepared with your tickets already in your pocket.
- Address: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku (Mitaka)
- Admission: $44
10. Tokyo National Museum
When talking about the best things to see in Tokyo, one could never forget the Tokyo National Museum. It is the oldest Japanese national museum and at the same time one of the largest, not only in Japan but the entire world.
The museum complex contains 6 buildings that host art collections, archeological artifacts, and treasures – a total of more than 110,000 items. Needless to say, you could easily spend an entire day here soaking in the art in the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. Don’t underestimate the size. The main building Honkan overview of Japan’s history. Surrounded by shops and cafés, a garden and a teahouse. The museum complex is located in Tokyo’s spacious Ueno Park.
- Address: 13-9 Uenokoen (Taito)
- Admission: $6
11. Disneyland Tokyo
Any city that is home to a Disneyland, should have it listed as one of their top attractions. It is, after all, the happiest place on earth! Disneyland Tokyo is no exception and therefore in our top Tokyo attractions. It is the city’s largest amusement park and also the first Disney theme park ever to be created outside of the United States.
It consists of seven different lands: World Bazaar, Tomorrowland, Toontown, Fantasyland, Critter Country, Westernland, and Adventureland – all of which offer unique experiences. Disney is the happiest place on earth for kids and adults alike and just like any other Disneyland, it is busy all year round which is why you should take care of tickets before your trip if possible. Adjacent to Disneyland, you’ll also find DisneySea in Tokyo – a great setting for a perfect day.
- Address: 1-1 Maihama (Urayasu)
- Admission: from $68
What else is there to see in Tokyo?
The fun doesn’t stop after having ticked off Tokyo’s top tourist attractions! There are many more things to see and places to visit in Tokyo:
- Shibuya Crossing
- Toyosu Fish Market
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Yoyogi Park
- Ueno Zoo
- Edo-Tokyo Museum
- National Museum of Nature and Science
- Sumida Aquarium
- National Museum of Western Art
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
- Yasukuni Shrine
- Mori Art Museum
- Zojoji Temple
- Showa Memorial Park
- Tokyo Dome City