Traveling to the world’s most populated city, Tokyo (according to the UN) can be a daunting task to plan! There are so many options for history, art, nature, food, adventure how do you choose? We have rounded up 15 photos to help inspire your next Tokyo itinerary. Make sure to include some of these for the ultimate vacation in Tokyo, Japan.
Rumor has it this is the busiest intersection in the world with an estimated 1,000 people crossing in all directions at peak times during the day. Sit on the second floor of Starbuck’s and watch as the lights turn red to green and the people look like hoards of ants crossing the street. Definitely, a fitting activity to experience in the world’s most populated city!
The Sensō-ji shrine is not only Tokyo’s oldest shrine it is also the most visited spiritual site in the world with an estimated 30 million visitors annually. Don’t miss an opportunity to see the massive shrine to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy as you build your Tokyo itinerary.
At 2,080 feet (634 meters) this is the second tallest structure in the world following the Burj Khalifa. While it’s a dominant feature of the Tokyo skyline, our tip is to just view it from afar. We were less than impressed with the views from the top and the price tag to see it.
For an evening filled with vivid colors, zany costumes, larger-than-life robots, and catchy music head over to the Robot Restaurant. Honestly, no words can describe the craziness we witnessed during our 90-minute show. It’s something that would only happen in Tokyo and is a “must-see” once. We left saying “What was that?” and loved every second of it.
For a true Ramen experience, head to Ichiran. You place your order in a digital booth, you sit isolated in your own ramen cube reminiscent of study cubes at the library. When the ramen arrives, you don’t see a person serving you. The shade will be lifted just enough for the server’s arms to extend the bowl out and will quickly close. While the isolation may seem odd, the experience you have with just your bowl of ramen will be incredible!
See a Sumo Match
You have to experience Japan’s traditional sport of sumo wrestling when building your Tokyo itinerary. If you are not traveling during the times when an official match is occurring, don’t worry. You can arrange for a viewing of some of the wrestler’s practices to get a feel for this unique sport.
Tsukiji Fish Market
A visit to the world’s largest, busiest fish market must be included in your Tokyo itinerary! For those early risers, you can schedule a visit in the early morning hours (before 5 am) to witness the day’s auctions. Or if you want to go while the hustle and bustle is calming in late morning you can experience the clean-up of the day’s activities. Either way, it will be quite the experience.
Experience all the Color in Harajuku
This popular neighborhood is known for its colorful art and fashion. But that doesn’t just apply to clothes, it creates a crazy food scene as well. There are artful eats and drinks throughout. Our favorite was this zany ice cream cone from Eddy’s Ice Cream.
Experience Michelin Star Rated Sushi
Sukiyabashi Jiro earned sushi master Jiro Ono 3-Michelin stars. He has passed his craft onto his son, Takashi Ono who has a second branch, Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi, which has received 2-Michelin stars. We were respectful of the dining experience so didn’t take any pictures throughout but when the chef found out we were from Texas, he offered to pose for a picture with his Texas shot glass! To say we were star-struck was an understatement. The restaurant is small with 8 counter seats for a very intimate and mind-blowing sushi experience.
Indulge in Sake tasting at Dassai
To experience one of the premium sake brands of Japan, stop in for a tasting at Dassai. They use hand-crafted traditional methods to produce some of the purest and finest sake in the country. The tasting is informative and you can taste various varieties with different levels of rice processing. Indulging while learning is the best combination!
Walk the Streets of Ginza in daytime
Ginza is their premier neighborhood with luxury shops and many Michelin star eateries. It is considered one of the most luxurious streets in the world. On the weekends the streets are sometimes closed to accommodate the many people strolling the neighborhood.
Walk the Streets of Ginza in the evening
Return to Ginza in the evening and see all the lights. There are several eateries and nightclubs for evening indulgence.
Eat all the Sushi
We have a new-found respect for the sushi-making craft after visiting Japan. We loved finding sushi bars where we could get up-close and personal with the chefs. We showed a genuine interest in the craft and found them very friendly in introducing the fish varieties, explaining the cutting process as well as the importance of rice. Eat every bit you can while you are there, we promise it won’t taste the same anywhere else in the world!
Find a Street Market
The street food is plentiful here and delicious! Some of our favorites included: Okonomiyaki – grilled savory pancakes, Takoyaki – fried octopus balls, Yakitori – skewered chicken, and Taiyaki – fish-shaped cake filled with red bean paste. My mouth is watering as I reminisce about the experience.
Get a Tokyo Metro Map
Being the most populated city, the Tokyo Metro will become a life-saver. It is efficient and connects all neighborhoods. Google maps even recommends routes including the metro. We took this multiple times per day to get to our attractions and dining destinations. As a tip, find a hotel nearby a station for ease of transportation. We found ANA InterContinental to be the perfect base.
Cheers for booking your trip to Tokyo! We hope we gave you some inspiration to build your Tokyo itinerary filled with a bit of culture, art, cuisine, luxury, and history. Get ready to experience a trip of a lifetime!