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The Top Tourist Sights and Places to See in Tokyo

Tokyo is a fascinating city with plenty of sights, culture, and great food! Check out all the fantastic tourist spots and places to see in Tokyo.

There is plenty to do in Tokyo! It is a fascinating city with plenty of sights, culture, and great food!  Here is our list of tourist sights and places to see in Tokyo. Hopefully, it won’t take up all of your allotted time in this amazing Asian country of Japan, because even though Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind city…there’s more out there.

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Meiji Shrine Tokyo.
Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Tokyo Top Attractions You Must See!

Meiji Jingu Shrine

One of the most iconic and must-see spots to kick off a tour of Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu Shrine.  Located in a large forested park, the shrine sits back and serenely puts you in the frame of mind of relaxing and relieving your stresses. Many people come to the shrine to write wishes on strips of white paper or to clang the bell and pray to the Gods.

Many people just come to wander through the park and see who is there. On Sundays, especially in summer, you will often see brides and grooms at the shrine  to look for blessings as well. The brides are often in elaborate dresses and their hair is piled on top of their heads in a more traditional style.

Sensoji Temple Asakusa.
Sensoji Temple Asakusa’s cleansing area.

Sensoji Temple

As quiet and peaceful as the Meiji Shrine is, the Sensoji Temple and the Asakusa area around it is just the opposite. People flock here on any day of the week, but the weekends are frenetic. From the shopping street, Nakamise, all the way to the temple people are shopping and eating. You can buy all kinds of souvenirs from inexpensive to very high quality traditional items, like yukatas, fans, stamps, chopsticks, whatever you have in mind.

Food stalls offer street food, candy vendors are making candy right there, and the traditional restaurants offer the best tempura in the city. When you reach the temple, you will see crowds of pilgrims and tourists streaming through the red arches. You will have to pass by the urn smoking away with people’s prayers and wishes. The statue, pictured above, sits over the cleansing station, and the main entrance to the temple is just beyond. You can easily entertain yourself for hours in the Askakusa district.

Rappongi Hills.
Roppongi Hills – This statue of a spider sits in the courtyard amidst plenty of restaurants and the museum.

Roppongi Hills

For a great dinner, night out at the movie, a chance to see some great art, or a fantastic view of the city, go to Roppongi Hills.  A shopping center located in the center of the Roppongi district, this mall has it all.  It’s easy to spend some time here. 

Go in the afternoon and take in the latest exhibit at the Mori Art Museum, then have a drink and wander around the deck for the best viewing, Tokyo City View.  Afterwards, pick from one of the many restaurants like the sushi restaurant that I like to go to. 

If you go in the winter season, there is even a Christmas market right inside. You can get all the traditional foods and even some gluhwein as well as get some of your Christmas shopping done. And when you are finished, you can walk around the gardens and streets in the area looking at all the winter illuminations. They’re pretty spectacular.

Rappongi Hills has it all, great museums, beautiful gardens, good food, seasonal exhibits and markets, and lots of shopping!

Eating sushi.
Roppongi Hills
Kappabashi store front.


One of the most interesting areas in Tokyo, especially if you are a foodie, is Kappabashi.  Go there to find all kinds of crockery, pots, pans, dishes, knives, wooden bowls, chopsticks, aprons, everything for your kitchen or restaurant, including that uniquely Japanese plastic food that helps you choose your dinner each night.  Basically a street lined with shops on both sides, with a few off-shoots down the side roads, you can shop, shop, shop.  The mascot of the district looks like a turtle and is called the Kappa or River child.  Look for them all over the district!

Additional Reading: Where to Stay in Tokyo for Tourists and First Time Visitors

Tokyo Sky Tree.

Tokyo Sky Tree

One of the newest additions to the Tokyo skyline is the Tokyo Sky Tree.  It hasn’t completely taken over the role of the Tokyo Tower, but it’s trying!  The Sky tree starts on the fifth level of a shopping mall.  There are escalators and stairs, or you can take an elevator, if you can get in.  Sky Tree is so new, it’s still extremely popular and the ticket lines are crazy long. 

Even if you have the foresight to order your tickets and go somewhere for the day and come back, you will still be waiting in lines.  The most popular time to visit is, of course, at sunset, but really anytime you will find crowds of people.  Just in case you were wondering, one sign at the bottom said to leave all pets behind unless they are caged.  So yes, you can take your hamster!

Tsukiji Fish Market.
Tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

For a great look into the Japanese fishing industry, and especially selling fish wholesale off the boat and into the hands of middlemen, the Tsukiji Fish Market is the place to go. The entire process seems somewhat mysterious as businessmen first inspect and then bid on their favorite tuna.

There is plenty more to do in Tokyo such as going to an animal cafe, eating lots of street food, looking for geishas, going to a Sumo tournament, or taking a day trip to Nikko. If you have more time in Tokyo, say 5 days, check out this great itinerary.

And then other parts of Japan have so much to offer as well, like going to see the snow monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park or even attending a salmon festival.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Have you been to Tokyo?  What are your favorite things to do there?

All the best things to do in Tokyo!


Friday 15th of February 2013

A lot of cool and interesting ideas here. Not what I expected, in a good way! it's refreshing to read something a bit different. I lived in Tokyo for 3 months and I have to say I've only visited two of these places. May add Kappabashi to my list of places when I go back to visit there this summer.


Saturday 16th of February 2013

Thank you for the nice comment Harley! Enjoy your trip to Tokyo!


Thursday 14th of February 2013

You will have so much fun in Tokyo. Are you going anywhere else in Japan? I have friends and relatives all over, so if you have any questions while you're planning, drop me an email and I'll see what I can find out for you. Enjoy!