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Best Places to Visit in Tokyo

Prefecture: Tokyo


  • Sensoji Temple – Sensoji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is very colorful and popular and is Tokyo’s oldest temple, famous for the huge lantern hanging from the main entrance gate, its long path lined with stalls (Nakamise Shopping Street) selling Japanese food and products and its five storied pagoda. Subway: Asakusa Station | Main hall: 6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March) | Free entrance
Sensoji Temple’s huge lantern, 5-story pagoda, Nakamise Street, Ningyo Yaki (cake with red bean paste)

  • The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) [Website] is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634m, it is the tallest structure in Japan. A large shopping complex with aquarium is located at its base. Restaurant reservation (at first observatory): 31 days in advance | 8:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) | No closing days | Fee: First observatory at 350m – 2060 yen (3000yen for fast ticket), Second observatory at 450m with sloping glass panels (Tembo) – additional 1030 yen (1000yen for fast ticket) | Subway: Tokyo Skytree Station or Oshiage Station

Left: Tokyo Skytree night illumination. Right: The spiral ramp of the Tembo Gallery observation deck (2nd deck).

  • Asahi Beer Hall


  • Ueno Park (上野公園, Ueno Kōen) is a large public park in central Tokyo. Tokyo’s most popular cherry blossom spots (late March – early April). Kan’ei-ji Temple – remnants of a large temple during Edo period which has been destroyed. Kiyomizu Kannon Temple – home to an image of Kosodate Kannon, the goddess of conception. Walk around Shinobazu Pond to enjoy the beautiful sight of Sakura in spring and lotus flowers in summer, you will see the Bentendo Hall (an hexagonal temple) on an island in the pond. Subway: Ueno Station (next door) | Free entrance | 5am-11pm
1. Ueno Park during Cherry Blossom Festival. 2. Bentendo Temple (hexagonal temple) on Shinobazu pond

Museums/ attractions at Ueno Park which require entrance fee:

  • National Museum of Nature and Science – authentic specimens related to space, the Earth, the evolution of life, and the advancement of science and technology, based on the theme of “Coexistence of Mankind and Nature”. Many taxidermy animals. Theater 360 – a spherical, wrap-around theater showing videos about nature and space. Fee: 620 yen | Weekday: 9am-5pm, Fri/Sat: 9am-8pm | Subway: 5 min from JR Ueno Station (Park Exit).  
  • Tokyo National Museum – Japan’s oldest and largest museum, national treasures, cultural items. Fee: 620 yen | 9:30 to 17:00 (extended hours on some Fridays and weekends) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a holiday), Dec 24 to Jan 1. 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum – temporary art exhibitions by various art groups. Some exhibitions are paid, others are free. 9:30 to 17:30 (until 20:00 on Fridays) | Closed: First and third Monday of each month or following day if Mon is a holiday, New Year holidays
  • National Museum of Western Art – displays Western art, primarily by European artists. 9:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 in winter, until 20:00 on Fri and Sat) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 28 to Jan 1 | Fee: 430 yen (free on 2nd and 4th Saturday each month, and Nov 3)
  • Shitamachi Museum – exhibits and reconstructions that show what life was like in Tokyo from the late Meiji to early Showa Periods. 9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Mon is a holiday), Dec 29 to Jan 1 | Fee: 300 yen
  • Ueno Zoological Gardens – the oldest zoo in Japan. Over 3000 animals from 400 different species. Pandas, Gorilla Woods, Tiger Forest, 5 storied Pagoda, Take Monorail ride to the west lower area – Petting zoo (ayes-ayes, pygmy hippos), Vivarium (Reptile and Amphibian House), Small Mammal House (nocturnal animals). Fee: 600 yen. Senior: 300 yen. 12-14yo: 200yen | 9:30-17:00, close on Mondays | Subway: 5min walk from JR Ueno Station

Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya

Shinjuku Gyoen Sendagaya Exit —(15m walk to)— Meiji Shrine —(next to)— Yoyogi Park —(next to — Takeshita Street (Harajuku) —(15min walk to) Shibuya crossing

  • Shinjuku (新宿) – World’s busiest railway station. Buy Hakone Freepass at Odakyu Line.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) – one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks, great place in the city to see cherry blossoms. The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges where chrysanthemum exhibit is held during first two weeks of November. French garden, and an English landscape garden with cherry trees. There is a Greenhouse with flowers. Subway: Shinjukugyoenmae Station (5min walk) or JR Sendagaya Station (5min walk) | 9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00) | Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3 | No closing during cherry blossom season and Chrysanthemum Exhibition | Fee: 200 yen 
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁, Tōkyō Tochō) in Shinjuku – observation decks open to the public for free, good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond, Mt Fuji sometimes. Two towers, each with an observatory height of 202m. Subway: Tocho-mae Station (basement of building), 10 min from JR Shinjuku Station (west exit) | Hours- North Observatory: 9.30am-11pm (closed: 2nd and 4th Monday). South Observatory: 9:30am-5:30pm (closed: 1st and 3rd Tuesday) | Closed: December 29 to January 3 (except January 1) | Admission: Free
  • Samurai Museum (Shinjuku) [Website] – Display and history of samurai swords, armor and other weapons like guns, visitors can try on samurai costumes. Performance of sword battle (2-5pm hourly for 15 min) | hours: 10.30am-9pm; last entry 8.30pm | Admission: 1800 yen | Subway: 8 min walk from Shinjuku Station (East Exit). 4 min walk from Seibu Shinjuku Station
  • Harajuku (原宿) – Between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. Taskeshita Dori (Street) – extreme teenage culture fashion and trendy shops, popular Snacks, desserts like crepe.
  • Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi Kōen) is one of Tokyo’s largest city parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and forested areas. Ginko tree forest, which turns intensely golden in autumn. Located next to Meiji Shrine. Subway: Harajuku Station (5 min walk) | No closing time 
Next to Yoyogi park, Meiji Shrine massive Gateway (Torii). Many Japanese wine (sake) barrels. Ritual of washing the hands and mouth before entering the shrine.

  • Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū) [Website] is a shrine dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Forest oasis in the middle of Tokyo, consists of around 120,000 trees. The shrine buildings are made from Japanese cypress wood with green cooper plates used for the roofs. Huge collection of sake barrels as decoration. Pathways covered with pebbles. Subway: Harajuku Station (few steps) or Meiji-jingu-mae Station | hours: Sunrise to sunset | No closing days | Free
  1. Treasure House – displays many interesting personal belongings of the Emperor and Empress, including the carriage which the emperor rode | 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from November to February) | Fee: 500 yen
  2. Inner Garden – popular during the middle of June when the irises are in bloom.  | 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from November to February) | No closing days | Fee: 500 yen 
  3. Restaurants near Meiji Shrine – Afuri Ramen, Kyushujangara Harajukuten Ramen, Tsukiji Gindako- Takoyaki (next to Harajuku Station JR Line), Harajuku Gyouzarou (dumpling) 
  • Shibuya (渋谷) – busy shopping and entertainment area around Shibuya Station. Shibuya Crossing – Outside of Hachiko exit at Shibuya Station, world’s busiest intersection. Hachiko statue – to commemorate Japan’s most loyal dog.


  • The Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo. It is the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family. Visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The main Palace Garden is only open to public twice a year, 2nd January and on the Emperor’s birthday, when the Emperor meets the people in the inner palace grounds. During normal days, no buildings can be entered. 10 min walk from Subway: Tokyo Station. 


  • Tsukiji Market (築地市場, Tsukiji shijō) [Website] – Large wholesale market with Tuna auctions (max 120 visitors. 2 sessions per day from 5.25am. 15 min each session. [Auction Guide]), locals buy and eat fresh seafood, Tamagoyaki (rolled Japanese omelette), high quality sushi restaurant nearby. Subway: Tsukiji Shijo Station (Oedo Subway Line) | Tsukiji Station (Hibiya Subway Line) | Closed on Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays. Scheduled to close and move to another location in October 11, 2018.
The popular tuna auction and rolled omelette snack at Tsukiji Market
  • Ginza


  • Roppongi
tokyo tower
Visited Tokyo Tower at night. Went up by elevator, and down the 600 steps burning off some calories. Lookdown windows on the floor at the Main Observatory.

  • Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower, at 333m high, 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Main observatory – at 150 meters is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase (both paid) with “lookdown windows” in the floor to stand on, shop, cafe. Special Observatory (Upper deck) – 250m, can get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo. Subway: Onarimon Station or Akabanebashi Station (5-10 min walk) | 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30) | No closing days | Fee: 900 yen (main observation), 1600 yen (both observation decks) *Upper deck is closed for renovation until around spring 2019
  1. One Piece Tower theme park (below the Tokyo Tower)-  shows, games and other attractions that feature characters from the manga series. | 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) | No closing days | Fee: 3200yen

Tokyo East

  • Disneyland/ DisneySea – 1 Day pass (either park) RM262 (Klook) | original price: 7400 yen (RM263). To bypass long lines you can get the FASTPASS ticket, and will be asked to come back at a certain time- it’s free. Subway: Maihama Station. P: Popular (longer wait time, Fastpass available) in red, T: Transportation, E: Experiential, D: go thru darkness, S: Speed, R: Rotates
  1. Disneyland Attractions:
    Adventureland: Western River Railroad (T) | Pirates of the Caribbean (D) | Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions (T) | Swiss Family Treehouse (E), The Enchanted Tiki Room (Theater).
    Westernland: Shootin Gallery (extra fee) | Country Bear Theater | Tom Sawyer Island Rafts (T) | Big Thunder Mountain (P/ 102cm) | Mark Twain River Boat (T)
    Critter Country: Splash Mountain (P/ 90cm) | Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes (T)
    Fantasyland: Alice’s Tea Party | It’s A Small World | Castle Carrousel | Snow White’s Adventures (D) | Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall (E) | Dumbo The Flying Elephant | Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (D) | Peter Pan’s Flight (D) | Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (P/ D) | Haunted Mansion (P/ D) | Mickey’s PhilharMagic (3D/Theater)
    Toontown: Gadget’s Go Coaster (90cm/ S) | Goofy’s Paint ‘n’ Play House (E) | Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse (E) | Toon Park (E) | Donald’s Boat (E) | Minnie’s House (E) | Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (D)
    Tommorrowland: Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (P/102cm/S/3D) | Stitch Encounter (Theater, D) | Space Mountain (P/ 102cm/ S) | Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (P/ D) | Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek! (P/ D)
  2. DisneySea Attractions
    Mediterranean Harbor: Venetian Gondolas (T) | Transit Steamer Line (T) | Fortress Explorations (E, D)
    American Waterfront: Tower of Terror (P/102cm/S/D) | Turtle Talk (Theater,D) | DisneySea Electric Railway (T) | Toy Story Mania (P/3D/D) | Big City Vehicles (T)
    Port Discovery: Aquatopia (R) | Nemo & Friends SeaRider (P/D/90cm)
    Lost River Delta: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (P/S/D/117cm) | Raging Spirits (P/S/R/ 195cm)
    Arabian Coast: Caravan Carousel (R) | Arabian Coast (D) | Jasmine’s Flying Carpets (R) | The Magic Lamp Theatre (P/3D)
    Mermaid Lagoon: Ariel’s Playground (E,D) | Jumpin’ Jellyfish (D) | Scuttle’s Scooters (R) | Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster (S,90cm) | Blowfish Balloon Race (D,R) | Mermaid Lagoon Theater (P) | The Whirlpool (D,R)
    Mysterious Island: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (P/D) | Journey to the Center of the Earth (P/S/D/117cm)
  • Tokyo Sea Life Park – Admission: 700yen (adult). 350 yen (senior). 250yen (junior high school) | Hours: 9.30am-5pm | Closed: Wed (or following Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday or Tokyo Citizens Day) and year-end and New Year holidays) | Subway: JR Kasai Rinkai Koen Station (5 min walk). 20 min ride from Tokyo station (Keiyo Line)

South of Tokyo
Yokohama – Japan’s second largest city, 1 hour away from Tokyo by train. 

  • Chinatown (Japan’s largest Chinatown)
  • Minato Mirai (future port) – many attractions.
  • Cup Noodles Museum – interactive museum, history of instant noodles using exhibits and hands on workshops – My Cupnoodles Factory (design your own Cup Noodle, create your own flavours, 300 yen). Cupnoodles Park (300 yen) children’s playground | Admission: 500 yen (activities cost extra) | Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:00). Closed on Tuesdays (or the following day if Tuesday is a national holiday), New Year holidays |  10 minute walk from either Minato Mirai Station (Minato Mirai Line) or Sakuragicho Station (JR Negishi Line and Yokohama Subway Line).
  • Hakkeijima Sea Paradise – aquarium theme park | Website | Varying hours. Typically 10:00 to 18:00 | Admission: 3000 yen (Aqua Resorts). 3000 yen (unlimited rides at Pleasure Land) or individual rides at 300-1000 yen. 5050 yen (Aqua Resorts and unlimited rides at Pleasure Land) | Subway: Hakkeijima Station (Kanazawa Seaside Line) 
  • Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
  • Motomachi Street – Shopping 
  • Food: Torikizoku (yakitori) 

Hakone (箱根) (hakonenavi.jp/english) is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, 100km (2 hours by normal train) from Tokyo – hot springs, natural beauty, volcanic valley and Lake Ashinoko, view Mount Fuji (better visibility during colder months).

1. Black eggs cooked in volcanic springs. 2. Amazing view up the volcanic zone at Owakudani Trail. smell of sulphur (sulfurous acid gas, don’t stay too long). 3. Hakone Sightseeing Boat on Lake Ashinoko

  • Hakone Freepass | purchase here or Odakyu Line Shinjuku Station – Unlimited usage of the Hakone Tozan Railway (Odawara-Gora), the Souzan Cablecar and Hakone Ropeway between Gora to Togendai, the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Tozan Buses and Odakyu buses within the free area and Numazu Tozan Tokai Buses between Mishima and Moto-Hakone. Discounted admission to other attractions/ facilities. From Shinjuku Station (round trip): 2-day pass at 5140 yen (RM188) | 3-day pass at 5640 yen | Free for kids 5yo and below. One way: 2 hours
  • Romance Car limited express train | book here – A surcharge of 890 yen (one way from Shinjuku, 85min) and seat reservations are required.
  • Owakudani – amazing view up the hill, Valley of Hell, walk up the volcanic zone, sulphur smell, black eggs cooked in volcanic springs. 
  • Lake Ashinoko was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. The best views of Mount Fuji from Moto-Hakone, Detached Palace Garden and boats cruising the lake.
  • Hakone Kowakien Yunessun | hakone-kowakien.com/english – hot springs. Yunessun spa zone- where you can wear swimsuits (male & female together). There is also the usual no-clothes zone. Red wine, green tea and coffee baths. fishes to nibble away the dead skin on your feet. From 1,900 JPY. 

Food in Tokyo

Lunch is much cheaper than dinner. Cheap eats can be found at subway stations underground, small restaurants some with vending machine, busy intersections or residential areas. Higher end, more expensive restaurants in Ginza area. Many outlets don’t accept credit card – bring cash. 

  • Ramen (wheat noodles in miso meat-based broth) – Ramen Street (Tokyo Station): Different type of ramen | Ramen Jiro ラーメン二郎 (30+ branches): big pile of cabbage/ bean sprouts, thicker noodles in pork (tonkotsu) broth, fr 600yen | Afuri Ramen (website) at Harajuku, Roppongi hills, etc. many branches: chicken+dashi or vege broth, thin noodles, yuzu (pomelo) zest, fr 880yen.
1. Ramen Street with many choices. 2. Afuri Ramen. 3. Ramen Jiro and the big pile of veggies

  • Tsukemen (ramen noodles dipped in a separate bowl of broth) – Rokurinsha 六厘舎 (Tokyo Solamachi Mall at Tokyo Skytree/ Ramen St/ Haneda Airport): popular, rich seafood+meat broth, fr 830 yen. 
  • Sushi (vinegared rice with toppings mainly seafood-often raw or vege) – Uoriki Kaisen Sushi at Tokyu Department Store, Shibuya Station | Tsukiji fish market – Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi: popular, long wait. Try one with shorter queue, they serve fresh sushi | Sushi no Midori (Ginza/ Akasaka/ Shibuya) – popular, good quality sushi at reasonable price, sushi assortment fr 2100 yen | Sukiyabashi Jiro (Ginza): 3 Michelin star, one of the best in the world, hard to book, 30k yen (20-course) | Sushi Iwa (Ginza): most talked about, 1 Michelin star, fr 5k yen.
  • Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) –  Iseya at Inokashira Park | Torikizoku (many branches) – 298 yen each
  • Tempura (seafood or vege deep fried in light batter) – Tenmatsu (Nihonbashi and Shibuya): tempura set at 980 yen | Momose (Kudanminami, Chiyoda): hidden gem, great tempura
  • Soba (buckwheat noodles served in soup or cold) – Narutomi Soba 手打ち蕎麦 成冨 (Ginza): soba at 840 yen | Yabu Soba (Ueno): famous for handmade soba and side dishes.
  • Sukiyaki (meat, vege, noodles in hot soup made of soy sauce) – Yoshihashi Sukiyaki よしはし at Moto-Akasaka
  • Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) – Sometaro Okonomiyaki 染太郎 at NishiasakusaTaito | Kiji (Tokyo Station): fr 830 yen.
  • Takoyaki (snack made of flour, octopus, onions shaped like a ball) – Minatoya at Ameya Yokocho Market (Ueno)
  • Tonkatsu (deep fried breaded pork cutlet) – Maisen Tonkatsu in Shibuya | Inaba Wako at Takashimaya Department Store in Shinjuku
  • Gyukatsu (Deep-fried breaded beef cutlet) – Gyukatsu Motomura at Shibuya, Shinjuku, many branches (served quite rare, grill is provided to cook to preferred doneness, melts in your mouth, long queue, most popular)
  • Gyoza (meat dumpling) – Harajuku Gyozaro: 290 yen for 6.  

Dessert/ Snacks:

  • Croquant Chou ZakuZaku (Taskeshita Street at Harajuku) – pastry filled with custard cream.
  • Mille crepe – HARBS at Roppongi Hills is famous (has fresh fruits and cream)
  • Taiyaki (fish-shaped pancake filled with red bean/ custard chocolate, etc. cream) – Teriyaki Wakaba (10 min walk from Yotsuya Station): original, authentic | Kurikoan at Nakamise shopping street near Sensoji Temple, Asakusa.
  • Crepe – Marion Crepes at Takeshita Street, Harajuku
  • Tokyo Okashi Land at Tokyo Station – Japanese snacks

Ref: japan-guide.com, wikipedia.org, flickr.com/photos/harukasan, triplelights.com, matcha-jp.com, odigo.jp
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