The Ultimate Guide to Tokyo: Top 7 Must-See Destinations

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends traditional culture and modern technology. With its neon lights, towering skyscrapers, and unique culinary offerings, Tokyo is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan. Here is our ultimate guide to the top seven must-see destinations in Tokyo:

Must-See Destinations in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower with flowers is one of our Top 7 Must-See Destinations in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Tower

Standing at 333 meters tall, Tokyo Tower offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck. Visitors can take an elevator up to the main observation deck at 150 meters or continue up to the special observation deck at 250 meters for an even more spectacular view. Tokyo Tower is especially beautiful at night when it's illuminated with different coloured lights, and visitors can enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the tower's restaurants while taking in the view.

The famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan, is one of our top 7 must-see destinations in Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing

Known as the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya Crossing is a sight to behold, especially during rush hour when thousands of people cross the street at once. Visitors can watch the chaos from the Starbucks on the second floor of the Tsutaya building or get in on the action and cross the street themselves. The area around Shibuya Crossing is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.

Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is one of our top 7 must-see places in Tokyo, Japan

Meiji Shrine

Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the Meiji Shrine is a serene oasis in the middle of the city. Visitors can enter through the impressive Torii gate and walk along a path through a forested area to reach the shrine. The shrine is also home to many traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies and visitors may be lucky enough to see a bride and groom in their wedding attire.

View of the bridge at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, one of the must-see places in our Tokyo travel guide

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace in the centre of Tokyo is a beautiful destination featuring traditional Japanese gardens, historic buildings, and open spaces for visitors to explore. Although the palace itself is not open to the public, visitors can enjoy the stunning view of the palace gates and the Nijubashi Bridge. Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, participate in free guided tours of the palace gardens, and experience the rich history and culture of Japan. The park is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, and admission is free.

Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan. One of our top 7 must-see destinations in Japan.

Harajuku

Known for its street fashion and cosplay culture, Harajuku is a vibrant and colourful neighbourhood that's full of energy. Visitors can explore the many shops and boutiques that offer unique clothing and accessories, and may even spot a few Harajuku girls or boys dressed in their colourful and creative outfits. Takeshita Street is the main thoroughfare through Harajuku and is always bustling with activity.

Tokyo Disneyland

Japan's version of the famous theme park is just as magical as the original and is a must-visit for families with children. The park offers many of the same rides and attractions as the original Disneyland, as well as some unique Japanese twists. Visitors can meet their favourite Disney characters and enjoy the parades and shows that are put on throughout the day.

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, Japan is one of the must-see places in Tokyo

Sensoji Temple

Located in the Asakusa neighbourhood, Sensoji Temple is Tokyo's oldest and most popular Buddhist temple. Visitors can enter through the Kaminarimon gate and walk down the bustling Nakamise shopping street to reach the temple. The temple grounds are home to several impressive structures, including the main hall and a five-story pagoda. Visitors can also try their luck at the omikuji fortune-telling stalls and purchase lucky charms and other souvenirs.

Flights to Tokyo

To get to Tokyo from London, there are several airlines that offer direct flights, including British Airways and Japan Airlines. The flight duration is approximately 11 hours, and prices can vary depending on the season and availability.

Best time to visit Tokyo

The best time to visit Tokyo is during the spring and autumn months (March to May and September to November), when the weather is mild and comfortable. The summer months can be hot and humid, while winter can be cold and snowy.

Cherry Blossom in Tokyo, Japan for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Spring

Festivals in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is home to several festivals throughout the year, including the Cherry Blossom Festival (late March to early April), the Summer Festival (July to August), and the Autumn Festival (October to November). These festivals offer a unique opportunity to witness traditional Japanese culture and customs.

Travel Etiquette

Travel etiquette in Tokyo is important, and visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions. For example, it is customary to remove shoes when entering a home or temple, and visitors should avoid eating or drinking while walking.

Getting around Tokyo

One of the easiest ways to get around Tokyo is by using the city's efficient and extensive public transportation system, which includes subways, buses, and trains. Visitors can purchase a prepaid IC card called a Suica or Pasmo card, which can be used on all forms of public transportation.

View of shopping centre in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Shopping

Tokyo is a shopper's paradise, with several neighbourhoods and districts offering unique shopping experiences. Some of the top shopping destinations include Ginza, Shibuya, and Harajuku, which offer high-end fashion, trendy streetwear, and unique souvenirs.

Japan's Bullet Train Shinkansen, from Tokyo

Taking Japan’s Bullet Train, Shinkansen

If you have some extra time in Japan, taking the bullet train (Shinkansen) to explore other parts of the country is highly recommended. It's a great way to see more of Japan's incredible natural landscapes and historic landmarks. Nikko, located about two hours north of Tokyo, is a beautiful mountain town that's home to stunning temples and shrines, including the famous Toshogu Shrine. The Nikko National Park is also a popular destination, where you can enjoy scenic hiking trails and breathtaking waterfalls.

Hakone, located about an hour and a half west of Tokyo, is another popular destination. This mountain town is home to the famous Hakone Shrine and the stunning Lake Ashinoko. Visitors can also take the Hakone Ropeway for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and visit the hot springs for a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs.

Mount Fuji in Japan

Mount Fuji, located about two hours southwest of Tokyo, is the tallest mountain in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can climb to the summit of the mountain or take a scenic boat ride on Lake Kawaguchi for breathtaking views of the mountain. The area around Mount Fuji is also home to a variety of hot springs and museums dedicated to the history and culture of the region. No trip to Japan is complete without exploring these incredible destinations, and taking the bullet train is an exciting way to experience the country's diverse offerings.

Adding Tokyo, Japan to our bucket list…

In conclusion, Tokyo is a city that offers something for everyone, whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or a lover of technology and pop culture. With its unique blend of traditional and modern elements, Tokyo is a truly unique destination that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. By visiting the top seven must-see destinations we have outlined in this guide, you'll experience the best that Tokyo has to offer. From the towering Tokyo Tower to the bustling Shibuya Crossing and the serene Meiji Shrine, these attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression. And if you have time, don't forget to explore other parts of Japan using the bullet train. With its rich culture, stunning natural scenery, and welcoming locals, Japan is a country that should not be missed.

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