Here is our ultimate Tokyo city travel guide – it has our favourite places to eat and things to do in Tokyo! We start with a short list of things we deem absolutely necessary in Tokyo followed by our recommendations grouped by location.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Soon to be relocated with no guarantee that it will be available to the public in the future, the Tsukiji tuna auction is worth the sacrifice of sleep. While registration begins at 5 am, it is recommended that you arrive before 3 am as there are only 120 spots a day. If unwilling to sacrifice some beauty sleep, Tsukiji is also a must for the best omakase meals, which start at around 2500 yen. The most famous restaurants are Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi – expect lines way earlier than the opening time of 5:30 am. Alternatives include local favourite Sushibun and the cheaper Edogin.
100 Yen Shops
100 Yen shops are Japan’s higher quality versions of the Canadian dollar stores. You can find almost anything at these stores and they are the perfect place to get souvenirs (such as Japanese tableware and stationary), crafts supplies, and snacks! One of the most popular is Daiso, with the biggest 100 yen shop in Tokyo being the one near Harajuku Station. I would advise you to stock up on drinks like Pocari Sweat and Calpis here, as they are the cheapest compared to other retailers.
Department Stores: Tokyu Hands, Loft, & Muji
Tokyu Hands and Loft are famous Japanese stores that sell everyday lifestyle items like Muji. Though not as concentrated on minimalism like Muji, these two stores are always fun and entertaining to walk around whether you’re looking for something specific or just window shopping. There are a variety of locations across Japan and you can often find them all located in the same shopping centre.
Japanese Discount Retailers: Uniqlo & GU
Everyone is aware of Uniqlo and their great quality at a good price; however, many do not know it’s little brother GU. GU, which is a pun of the word free in Japan, is actually cheaper than Uniqlo and offers much of the same designs and basic pieces. They are also usually not located far from one another.
Ichiran & Vending Machine Restaurants
Ramen chain Ichiran is a very unique Japanese experience. Famous for having singular booths, Ichiran’s policy is to limit the interaction between shop workers and customers. You simply order and pay (cash) at the vending machine, find a seat, hand your ticket to the staff, and wait to be served. Most of the vending machine restaurants are very similar and known for being fast. If you`re looking for a quick bite, don’t be alarmed if there is a line and be ready to have the most comfortable – table for one – experience.
Unlike any other Disney theme park in the world, DisneySea is designed for an adult audience. With versions of the Disney’s best rides (like Toy Story Mania, Indiana Jones Adventure, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth), amazing food, and meticulous detail, DisneySea truly transports you into a magical world. Be sure to go on a weekday, buy your tickets online (where you can print ahead of time), and arrive early to take advantage of the Fastpass. In addition, check the weather (as some rides close with rain) and this Crowd Calendar to help you pick the perfect date to go!
Studio Ghibli brings you into the land of Ghibli; however, don’t even think about going to this renown animation studio unless you buy your ticket a month in advance. This can be done either from wherever you are via the JTB Group or Lawson online. Alternatively if in Japan, you can buy it at the local Lawson convenience store. Though ticket sales are controlled, it can get quite crowded in the afternoon so it is best to go as early in the day as possible.
- Free Observatory: Tokyo Metropolitan Building
- See the Godzilla head
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
- Tempura House: Tsunahachi
- Cheapest Michelin-Star Restaurant: Nakajimi – 900 yen lunch specials
- Ramen: Nagi Ramen – famous for sardine-based broth
- Tonkatsu: Tonkatsu Wako Shinjuku i-land
- Shibuya Crossing
- Hachiko Statue
- Omotensando – Champ Elysees of Tokyo
- Shop: Shibuya 109
- Tonkatsu: Maisen
- Beef Tartar Tonkatsu: Gyukatsu Motomura
- Sushi: Umegaoka Sushino Midori
- Pancakes: Bills Omotesando
- Strawberry Shortcake: Harbs
- Coffee: The Roastery by Nozy Coffee
- Coffee: Little Nap Coffee Stand
- Coffee: Lattest
- Coffee: Cafe Kitsune
- Meiji Shrine
- Walk around Harajuku
- Shop: Daiso Harajuku
- Mirror Entranceway & Shop: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
- Cheese Tarts: Pablo Omestando
- Ice Cream & Churros: Zaku Zaku Harajuku
- Roast Beef/Steak Bowls: Red Rock
- Rainbow Cotton Candy: Totti Candy Factory
- Pancakes: Eggs N Things Harajuku
- Pokemon Centre
- Sunshine City
- Skytree – go up the Skytree, Pokemon Centre
- Moomin House Cafe
- Chirashi: Noguchi Sengyoten
- Conveyor Belt Sushi: Toriton Solamanchi (in Skytree)
- Green Tea House: Nana’s Green Tea
- Izakaya: Gonpachi
- Teppanyaki: Bambino
- Green Tea House: Koots
- Udon: Tsurutontan
- The National Art Centre
- Take the Yurikamone Line
- Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation)
- Gundam Statue & Gundam Front Tokyo
- Tokyo Trick Art Museum
- Ueno – Ueno Zoo, Ueno Park, walk around Tokyo University
- Chiyoda – Tokyo Imperial Palace, Akihabara (anime & manga, shopping for electronics)
- Asakusa – Senso-ji Temple
Day Trips from Tokyo
- Ramen Museum
- Yamashita Park
- Osanbashi Pier
- Kirin Beer Factory – free brewery tours
Something missing from our Tokyo city travel guide? Visited one of these places and want to write about it? Have some more questions? Leave us a comment below!
Stone & Fern is a travel and lifestyle blog started by friends who have a passion for exploring cities, capturing moments, and trying new food. This is part of our Check In city guides series.