Tokyo

Tokyo Travel Guide

Credit :

Andrea Fazzari

Navigating the world’s largest metropolis—home to almost 13 million people—can be a daunting prospect for visitors. Tokyo’s maze of neighborhoods seems to offer up every imaginable sight and sound—some of them cacophonous and modern (speeding bullet trains; herds of hurrying, be-suited businessmen; bizarrely futuristic toilets), and some of them ancient (centuries-old shrines and temples; the waddling combat of sumo wrestlers). The trick here is to explore one enclave at a time; for instance, starting in Ginza or Shibuya for shopping, then heading to Shinjuku or Roppongi for nightlife. And if you get lost, just ask for help—Tokyo residents are some of the politest city-dwellers in the world.

Once a fishing village, Tokyo has evolved into an economic powerhouse with a population of 13 million. It's a city of delightful contrasts, where skyscrapers demand as much attention as Zen-style gardens. Ready to book your trip? Craft the perfect itinerary using this Tokyo travel guide.

Things Not to Miss in Tokyo

Anime fans should check out the Studio Ghibli, nicknamed the Disney of the East because it showcases characters from various Studio Ghibli films and exposes the animation process. Other top activities include:

• Buddhist temples and ancient pagodas
• Mt. Fuji day trip
• Tokyo Tomin Golf Course
• Tokyo Joypolis
• Designer shopping in midtown

When to Visit Tokyo

Weather in Tokyo is generally mild, with hot summers and mild winters. Typhoon season peaks in August and September. Many festivals take place during the month of July, when Mount Fuji is also open for climbing. Springtime is the best time to not only beat the tourist rush, but also see the landscape at its most lush. October is also lovely.  

Tokyo has many cultural celebrations. Every two years in May, thousands flock to see the elaborate floats at the Kanda Matsuri Festival. Other festivals include the Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri (Azalea Festival) in April and Hinode Matsuri (Sunrise Festival) in May.

DON'T MISS

  • An afternoon wander through the city’s most peaceful oasis, Meiji Jingu in the Shibuya district—where a gorgeous Shinto shrine is surrounded by 175 acres of forest, gardens, and walking paths. (If you’re a morning person, substitute a visit to Tokyo’s oldest shrine, Sensoji, before it fills with crowds.)
  • Diving into Tokyo’s unique, fantastical culinary offerings—either by visiting the legendary fish stalls in Tsukiji, tasting local delicacies at Isetan Depachika, sampling libations at a sake seminar, or digging into street-food staples like yakitori and ramen.
  • Embracing the city’s wild (sometimes just plain weird) youth culture, from Harajuku’s mod-Goth Lolitas to the manga shops and “maid cafes” of Akihabara.

RECOMMENDED LINKS

  • For >bars in Tokyo, visit NileGuide

Articles about Tokyo

The Roppongi neighborhood in Tokyo has a well-deserved reputation for being dissolute, but far more interesting than the seedy clubs and bars nestled in its streets are its world-class museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants. Some of the best i...
While not for everyone (claustrophobics, need not reserve), Tokyo’s capsule hotels are a sight to be seen. Photographer Won Kim took to the city’s streets on a mission to capture the incredibly small capsule hotels—and when we say small, we mean d...
The reinvention of this walkable, former punk-rock neighborhood began 10 years ago with the opening of Frank & Easy. At the tiny boutique, owners Ryo Shibata and Keisuke Morizawa turn salvaged gold into angular rings and pendants, and make cool cl...
The reinvention of this walkable, former punk-rock neighborhood began 10 years ago with the opening of Frank & Easy. At the tiny boutique, owners Ryo Shibata and Keisuke Morizawa turn salvaged gold into angular rings and pendants, and make cool cl...
Palace Hotel Tokyo is giving you an up-close-and-personal look at Japan’s beloved sport: Sumo wrestling. Visitors can choose one of two “Grappling Tokyo” experiences: a tournament season stay and an off-season trip. Both options feature two nights...
Mumbai: The Bombay Canteen The Chef: Floyd Cardoz, a pioneer of haute Indian cuisine in New York City. New Digs: A colonial-inspired space near the world’s tallest residential tower. The Dish: Cardoz pays homage to his Goan roots with creatio...
In order to stock the New York and Tokyo locations of the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Store, Emmanuel Plat and his team spend two months a year on the road. “The majority of our items are imported from Japan, so it’s a big trip for us,” he says ...
Earlier this month, Godzilla was named official tourism ambassador for Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, and now (perhaps inevitably) the legendary monster is showing up in two types of rooms at Tokyo’s Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. Guests staying in the Godzil...
When it comes to L.A.’s top shopping destinations, few are as iconic as the ivy-covered Fred Segal boutique in West Hollywood. Since it’s opening on Melrose Avenue in 1961, the retailer has become synonymous with laid-back California cool, touting...
A five-star rating on Yelp is nice, but there's perhaps no better restaurant recommendation than one that comes from the mouth of a chef. Phaidon's new edition of Where Chefs Eat banks on that idea, curating a culinary expert-sourced guide to the ...