There is no other city like Tokyo. People can visit museums and temples along with eating at several thousand delicious restaurants. But that’s not all that Tokyo is about. Here we have a list of some of the greatest experiences that you can have in this great metropolis that will surely leave you enchanted and bewildered. These experiences are not only fun but safe too.
Given below is a list of our favorite unique but also weird and downright cool stuff that one can do when they are in Tokyo. Tokyo is definitely one of the best places in the great nation of Japan. Towards the end of our post you will also find a map of all the places that are mentioned in our list along with some tips on exploring this great city.
Top 18 Things to Do in Tokyo
1 – Cosplay Go-Karting
Driving a go-kart while dressed up as your favourite character on the streets of Tokyo is the coolest thing that one can do in Tokyo according to us. Yes, you heard us right! People can drive a tiny go-kart in Tokyo amongst actual cars, trucks and buses! Although it can be terrifying for people new to this idea, but it’s a dream come true for those who are familiar with the concept. The experience is absolutely surreal as people drive past tiny shrines and skyscrapers, quiet residential neighborhood as well as busy crossings while people around stare or wave and even take pictures of your!
One of the biggest highlights of go-karting can be driving around the Rainbow bridge which is massive in itself. From here you can also get an incredible view of the whole city. The skyline is absolutely mesmerizing. In case you are wondering if it is at all safe, go-karts are very easy to operate. Although you will be asked to produce your international driving permit in order to ensure safety. Make sure you have one before you reach Tokyo.
Note: This was initially known as Maricar because people used to dress up as the famous game character Mario but Nintendo made it shut down. Nothing much has changed about the go-karting since except that now you can dress up as other characters.
2 – Tokyo DisneySea
If you think you are too grown up to be at Disney then wait till you hear all about DisneySea at Tokyo. It is a place like no other Disney parks across the world. If you ask us, we think it is the best. It is a nautical theme park that features seven ports that are inspired by actual ocean legends and real places which include a Mediterranean harbour which resembles Italy, American waterfront, unique mysterious island with erupting volcano and Arabian cost. Attractions are actually much more adult-oriented when compared to neighbouring park Tokyo Disneyland where you can have a cocktail and see Broadway shows inside a 1920s launge on a cruise liner. Doesn’t that sound fun?!
It is a great place with fairy tale castles and fun rides such as Space and splash mountains. If you have more than one day you can spend a great deal of time at each. If this idea hits home with you, you can also check out Universal Studios Japan which is in Osaka. It is home to some amazing rides and the magnificent Harry Potter World. It is undoubtedly the top most tourist attractions in Japan.
3 – Robot Restaurant
The robot restaurant is nothing like what the name suggest. There are not many robots and it is not actually a restaurant. In fact, it is a show which is considered as one of the weirdest yet coolest things in Tokyo. The Robot Restaurant presents an energetic performance featuring ninjas, creepy clowns, drums, robots, blue haired dancers, dragons, guitarist on swings, really loud music and a great deal of neon lights. If you are into any of these things we are sure that you are going to love it!
4 – TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum
If you are spending a lot of time scrolling Instagram then visiting TeamLab Borderless art museum is probably the most aesthetic thing that can happen to your Instagram account. But taking pictures is not the only reason why you should visit this museum. This place is guaranteed nothing like any other museum that you may have visited in your life before. The museum provides no directions on map to its visitors as they believe discovery is a part of the fun. People enjoy wandering down dark corridors choosing doors randomly and exploring immersive displays which utilise lights as well as projections in the most creative ways possible. Inone such rooms, waves will crash on the walls as the visitor sit on a bean bag feeling like some tiny boat in the vast sea.
Within their relaxing Floating Nest visitors can lie on a massive net as the room will spin around them. In another room called Forest of Lamps, visitor move through a room of changing colourful lights. Another room called Athletic Forest is highly interactive and it it features play areas for big and small kids. En Tea House with flowers blooming within your cup is also so very captivating site. The museum is so engaging that one must alot at least a few hours for exploring it.
We also recommend eating before visiting the museum as they do not offer any food services inside. If you do not have enough time you can explore the popular areas such as the Crystal World, Floating Nest and Forest of Lamps. We also suggest that you reach there on time as the queues can get really long.
5 – Ghibli Museum
This is for the people who are massive Studio Ghibli fans. Although most of their short animations and exhibits are presented in Japanese but don’t worry as they also present props as well as drawings from various classic films such as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. They also present exhibitions on food which the characters within films eat. The great deal of attention given to small little details in movies is absolutely astounding.
6 – Harajuku
It is the youth neighbourhood of Tokyo which has the Takeshita Street as it’s heart. Harajuku is a very crowded place especially on weekends. Nonetheless the place is worth a visit for the cosplay kids and browsing quirky fashion stores. Not to mention eating at one of their most popular crepe stands. People can also visit Omotesando which is a very elegant shopping street or Meiji shrine which is within Yoyogi Park. You can also visit Ota Museum.
7 – Sensoji Temple
It is a Buddhist temple which is located in Asakusa. It is the most traditional neighborhood within Tokyo. Here visitors can still find some old wooden shops. The temple is in vibrant red colour and often gets extremely crowded. But one can easily escape by wandering off to the gardens of quieter shrines. You will also find fortune tellers within the main area. Here you can get yourself covered in incense to attract good luck. Nearby visitors can get free views of Tokyo Skytree which is world’s tallest tower and of the Nakamise shopping street which leads to Sensoji.
8 – Ota Memorial Museum of Art
You are going to find this museum in Harajuku. It is a small gallery which presents different exhibits of magnificent Ukiyoe, Japanese wood block prints. If you are lucky enough you may get to see 36 Views of the Mount Fuji made by Hokusai which also includes the Great Wave off Kanagawa.
9 – Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
It is a beautiful park within Tokyo. The best time to visit is when cherry blossoms are blooming or in late summer. You can also enjoy the park in autumn when the leaves are turned red. The visitors can enjoy strolling past the pagodas, teahouse and ponds. There are French, Japanese and English gardens. The garden feels like an oasis from the otherwise busy and crowded city. Picnic in the garden is the perfect way to spend your day in Shinjuku.
10 – Kaiseki Meal
It is a traditional multi course tasting Japanese meal which is prepared using seasonal ingredients presented beautifully. Having this meal in a private tatami mat room is a whole different experience in itself. This meal tends to be a little expensive so we recommend going for lunch rather than dinners which are relatively costlier. In case you’re wondering if a vegetarian can enjoy it then you don’t have to worry. Shojin Ryori is supposedly Zen Buddhist vegan which is considered equivalent of kaiseki.
11 – Ramen Vending Machine Restaurant
Transactions in typical ramen restaurants is a bit different than the regular restaurants. As you enter any ramen restaurant within Tokyo you will place your order and pay to a vending machine present at the entrance. After that you have to take a seat on the counter and give your ticket to the chef. There are many ramen joins within Tokyo city. Don’t worry if you are vegetarian Ramen Puja and T’s Tantan are the best places for you to enjoy a meal.
12 – Department Store Food Basement
In case you are planning to get introduced to authentic Japanese food you can navigate downstairs within the massive department stores such as Isetan or Takashimaya. These food basements are packed with the culinary delights starting from sushi to sake including odd flavoured kit kats, pickled vegetables, beautiful bento boxes, dozens of rice crackers and hundred dollar melons. You will probably have no idea what you’re looking for the majority of the time. But if you are a non vegetarian, it is a good place to pick up your picnic lunch.
13 – Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
As mentioned above, there are numerous places from where you can admire the beautiful Tokyo Skyline. But the best place to do so is Tokyo Metropolitan Government building which is in Shinjuku. It’s North Tower is open till as late as 11:00 p.m. and visitors can enjoy the skyscrapers and the highways which are lit up in the night’s darkness. If you plan on visiting during the daytime, morning will be the best time according to us as you can you will be able to appreciate Mount Fuji from its South Tower.
14 – Memory Lane
Memory lane or Piss Alley is also interesting place to be at. It gets its name it got its name after World war 2 when the toilet facilities were not available. Although public toilets are available now but the place surely takes you back in time. The street is full with little yakitori restaurants which can only contain a handful of people on their counters. You will see red lanterns and smoke coming from the grills which makes it very intimidating place to walk into. The menus are mostly written in Japanese but you can use skewers to place your order. There are many vegetarian options available as well.
15 – Golden Gai
It is yet another network of pretty narrow lanes within Shinjuku. But this time these Street are of tiny bars instead of restaurants. A lot of these bars do not allow foreigners. But the ones that are welcoming to the tourists usually put out signs in English. This place can be better explored with some local tourist guide.
16 – Shibuya Crossing
One of the most iconic places within Tokyo is its busy pedestrian crossing in front of Shibuya station. The visitors can mingle with the crowd and can also get a good view from above at busy Starbucks or Hikari Building. Although Hikari building is a little bit distant but it’s quieter. People can also visit this place during the daytime. Although the crossing is at it’s most dramatic stage during the night. It is lit in neon lights from the signs above at night. We recommend you visit during the day if you wish to get a kimono photoshoot done here.
17 – Walk over Rainbow Bridge
It is a huge suspension bridge that connects Odaiba to Tokyo. Odaiba is an entertainment island located in Tokyo bay. People can walk across it for a beautiful view of the skyline. We recommend going at the time of sunset to witness the day transform into night. You can also go-kart if you don’t wish to walk around. The view nonetheless is spectacular.
18 – Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory
It is an observation deck located in Ikebukuro which features great views of Tokyo City along with some cool interactive elements as well as virtual reality rides. People can visit it anytime during the day but we recommend going at sunset to get best views of day and night. It will only take an hour and half to explore areas such as kaleidoscope hall, mosaic mirror, VR rides and taking pictures.
We think Shinjuku is the perfect place to stay when in Tokyo. Excellent access to transport, tourist attractions and good food will make your stay memorable. We hope that this article was useful to you. Thank you for reading!