Tokyo is a huge city with a ton to offer. You will never see it all. But after living here for a couple of years, I believe it has some key “themes”, so if you only have a day (or two or three), I recommend you pick one of each from these general categories. I’ve then provided some examples of some of my favorites but the possibilities for each category are endless!
- Visit a Shrine or Temple
- Visit a Museum
- Visit a Park or Garden
- Explore One Neighborhood
- Partake of one specialty food option or venue
Shrines and Temples – There are hundreds (if not thousands) Shinto and Buddhist temples and shirnes in Tokyo. Here are some of my favorites.
Asakuska Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo and where old Edo (Tokyo) was founded.
Kishibojimmae Shrine with its tree lined street and has a 700 year old gingko tree
Meiji Jingu Shrine where the Emperor Meiji is enshrined
Nezu Shire with its beautiful red Torii gates
Kameido Tenjin Shrine (if visiting in late April / early may) to see the Wisteria
Gotokuji Temple (Cat Temple)
Museum – Museums come in all shapes and sizes in Tokyo. You can visit a traditional history or art museum or at the other end of the spectrum a digital art museum! A few examples are below…
Tokyo National Museum (huge complex where you can spend half a day easily)
National Museum of Modern Art
Edo Tokyo Tatemono En
Borderless lab (digital art museum)
Yushukan (war museum)
Park or Gardens – For such a modern city, Tokyo has a lot of green space.
Imperial Palace East Gardens
Ueno Park and Zoo
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden with its beautiful bridges
Neighborhoods – There are too many to count; Tokyo is huge
Ginza – upscale shopping
Shibuya – busiest crossing and lots of stores and character
Shinjuku – a little bit of everything
Harijuku – crazy costumes, crowds, and junk food
Roppongi – food and nightlife
Specialty Food option –
Ramen alley in Tokyo Station
A themed café: Robot restaurant, Monster Café, Vampire Café, The Lock Up, Alice in Wonderland, Cat Café, Goat Café etc…
Nikkinku-ya Garlic restaurant
Park Hyatt Happy Hour (from Lost in Translation)
If you have multiple days in Tokyo, I recommend you pick 1-2 districts / neighborhoods per day and follow the same basic layout for each… walk around, visit a museum, explore a temple and park, eat something cool! Repeat….