This is THE guide to our 23 fun things to do in Tokyo, Japan; from watching Sumo wrestlers go at it to anime museums, delicious Japanese street food and everything in between that the largest metropolis on Earth has to offer to the world.
This Asian metropolis is one of the best cities in the world for you to visit. Its culture and its food are going to blow your mind.
Tokyo, a great mix from modern and traditional cultures in each corner, beautiful temples with hundreds of years of history, modern and gigantic buildings, parks with fantastic landscapes, and streets just like the best cities in the world; NYC, London and Paris.
Check out also their incredible hostels, bars and much more in our our guide to 3 Best Hostels in Tokyo, Japan – From Luxury Cafés to Backpacker Nightlife
Just Browse through our list , and pick up your favorite.
1. Morning Sumo Practice
Let’s start this list with a morning of 300 pound men fighting each other in a small circle.
Sumo is unique to Japan and has a long history going back over 400 years.
If your trip is outside the months of January, May and September you won’t be able to see the Sumo tournaments which are held only three times per year during these months in Tokyo.
No need to miss out though, you can take a tour of a Sumo Wrestler Stable and see the wrestlers train up close.
This tour is the only way to guarantee getting the full Sumo experience while in Tokyo with a local guide to explain all the moves to you as well as the history of the Sumo tradition.
Remember the rules in the Sumo stable are quite strict during the tour as these morning practices are important training sessions for the Sumo wrestlers.
Don’t try and jump in the ring with them during your tour unless your goal in Japan is to upset a Sumo wrestler, then go ahead.
2. Go Kart around the Streets of Tokyo
Roam the streets of Tokyo in a motorcade of little red machines on a Costume go-Kart tour.
Most big cities have public bikes you can rent for cheap, Tokyo takes things to the next level upgrading the bike share to high speed go-karts!
Dress up and have a blast driving through the streets of Tokyo in a little red Go Kart.
Remember: You need an international drivers license to be able to sign up for the tour.
Find prices and schedule at: Get Your Guide
Before, you could even dress up as Nintendo characters!
Nintendo recently won a lawsuit against MariCar that operate these Go Karts, so you may not be able to dress up like Super Mario anymore but it’s still a blast driving through the streets of Tokyo in a little red Go Kart.
Here you have a video with tips to ride your kart around Tokyo.
3. Find anything, ¡Yes! ANYTHING in Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya
Don Quijote isn’t just a store, it’s an insane nirvana of discount goods.
The chain can be found all over Japan but the stores in Tokyo are the biggest and offer the greatest choice of products.
Find anything from a 100 ¥en razor set to a wide screen TV to groceries and a lot more all under one roof.
Check out the 24/7 Shibuya Mega store or the store in Roppongi complete with roller coaster on top.
…yes, a roller coaster!
Its never been used though due to the local residents not being too happy with the idea of living with the constant excited screams of discount shoppers all day, still it makes for a great pic.
So, go and see for yourself¡
4. Cruise Ship From the Future Around Tokyo
Himiko’s cruise ships are a mix between space ship and lost submarine.
Getting to see these ships up close is worth the ticket price in itself, the river cruise company have many routes to take along the rivers and throughout Tokyo Bay all providing for unique photo ops.
Make sure you can get out of the space ship hull and enjoy the views from the open deck.
Good to know: The Akakusa to Odaiba offers the best views of Tokyo.
Find prices and schedule at: Tiqets
5. Ninja Akasaka
The funniest possible dinner available in Tokyo, maybe anywhere.
Sadly there are no Ninjas in Japan anymore… well probably.
Despite the lack of Ninjas though you can still have an authentic Ninja experience at Ninja Akasaka and be served by Ninja waiters and even take part in some Ninja training.
The food here does not disappoint and is worth the slightly high price.
Price Meals range from 5000-20,000 ¥en but it still works out a bargain considering all the Ninja action around you.
6. Chill out in Shinjuku Gyeon
Odds are you’ll be spending a lot of time in Shinjuku, many of the things to do for fun in Tokyo are located in this part of the city.
This Gyeon, Japanese for garden, is a place to take a break in the center of Shinjuku, a hidden treasure among the many skyscrapers of downtown.
You can explore three types of gardens here – French, English and traditional Japanese.
Head to a Konbini to stock up on some delicious picnic food and spend the afternoon relaxing in an oasis away from all the Shinjukus chaos.
Price Entry is 200 ¥en, tickets can be purchased at the park entrances with last admission being 30 minutes before closing time at 4:30pm.
7. Nakagin Capsule Tower
Ever wondered what a skyscraper made of washing machines look like?
This building was an experiment designed by famed Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa during the 1980’s as an example of future urban living, built up capsule upon capsule in less than a month.
Some years ago, you could even experience a capsule room renting a room here.
Right now, you can only visit it with a Nakagin guided tour. There has been a lot of debate whether to demolish the building or renovate it for future use.
This piece of Tokyo history may not be around for much longer and is worth a stop on your itinerary before it’s torn down and turned into just another high rise apartment building.
As you stare up from street level in awe at this washing machine skyscraper don’t forget to take as many pics as you can, it might not be there for much longer.
If you want to experience what the future was like in 1972, you can buy a ticket and take the opportunity to observe the building before it gets demolished.
8. Jump into a Blade Runner World at TeamLab Borderless
Shinjuku, Shibuya and Roppongi are some of the places around Tokyo where you can feel like your really in a Blade Runner future.
At TeamLab Borderless you can take it all in without having to worry about the traffic around you and locals wondering why you keep walking into lamp posts.
This space is a massive upgrade on the traditional art museum.
At TeamLab Borderless your immersed in the art in every direction featuring huge halls that seem composed solely of every kind of light imaginable.
Find prices and schedule at: Get Your Guide
9. Hang out in Harajuku
Harajuku is the cultural capital of Japan. Cosplay is the norm here so if you want to get some use out of that D. Va costume then bring it with you to Yoyogi Park and feel free to let your inner superhero out.
This is one of the best girly things to do in Tokyo.
Harajuku also offers more than just cosplay, it boasts some seriously awesome food from Japanese crepes in Takeshita Street to sushi at Gonpachi Nori-Temaki and much much more.
Set aside 10% of your food budget just for Harajuku, you won’t regret it.
You can easily lose track of time and spend all day wandering around Harajuku stuffing your face with glee surrounded by cosplay and kawaii.
There are worst ways to spend a day though, Harajuku will guarantee that it’s not a boring one at least.
10. Nostalgia Electronics in Akihabara
Ready to become an 8 year old again? Yeah? Alright then let’s go to Akihabara, the undisputed paradise of electronics in Japan.
After walking down memory lane in the many large stores here buy a dirty cheap 1990’s laptop or phone just for the story or take a chance on one of the many artists and singers selling their own work, a lot of which is actually quite good.
When your brains has been fried by the immense amount of electronics, take a break in one of the many maid or cosplay cafes.
11. Make Friends with Owls at Owl Village in Harajuku
Animal cafes are fairly common nowadays in major Asian cities, the owl cafe phenomenon however is unique to Japan. While in Seoul and Taipei you can hang out with cats or dogs, in Tokyo you can drink a coffee surrounded by curious… owls.
And spend 30 minutes trying to make them your friends too. The owls are mostly friendly.
Staff members at Owl Village speak English so need to worry about any awkward owl related language barrier situation.
12. Walk Rainbow Bridge at Night
Another thing you should do in Tokyo, which for me it was quite special, was to walk across the Rainbow Bridge as the sun goes down and the lights turn on.
It was then when I got the feeling of “I’m in Tokyo!”
Rainbow Bridge connects Shibaura District to Odaiba Island. A replica of the Statue of Liberty, being out of the usual tourist zones, this bridge is often overlooked but shouldn’t be.
The views of Tokyo at night from the walkways are stunning. And it is completely Free!
Tip: Take the North Walkway for the best views of Tokyo including a close up view of Tokyo Tower.
13. Spend an hour in a Net Café
Usually an Internet café should be kept far away from a guide of fun things to do in a city, but not in Tokyo.
These Net Cafes are a part of big city life in Japan and you can’t walk a street in central Tokyo without spotting at least one and definitely much more than that if your walking in Shinjuku or Shibuya.
There are a largest amount of net cafes in Japan and most offer self serve ice cream and drinks included in the price along with:
- high speed internet,
- television and
- a huge collection of anime and manga.
And accommodation as well, yes you can sleep in a Internet a cafe in Tokyo, Japan.
Prices are around 100 ¥en for 30 minutes and 800-1500 ¥en for three hours.
14. Drink All Night long at Shinjuku Golden Gai
No trip to Tokyo is complete without at least one night of getting drunk with the locals.
Golden Gai in Shinjuku is THE place to drink the night away until you wake up the next morning and forget who or where you are.
Golden Gai consists of hundreds of bars squeezed into a network of narrow alleyways in Shinjuku.
Some bars only serve regular customers but the majority are welcoming to foreigners and some even have foreign owners.
Many of the bars are themed with rock, karaoke and jazz bars taking up the largest share.
You should spend the night barhopping and see how many different types you can visit and how much you can drink before your too drunk to walk.
Once you are too drunk to walk, no worries, just find a quiet spot next to all the salary men on the pavement and have a sleep or if you can still walk book yourself into a capsule hotel nearby.
15. Relax in a Japanese Onsen
After waking up with a Golden Gai hangover, have a curry at CoCo’s Curryhouse or a bowl of Ramen and then head to Oedo Onsen Monogatari Luxury Spa to recover.
The almost boiling water temperatures here will cure you instantly.
The Spa is themed after the Edo era and uses real hot spring waters pumped from 1,400 meters below ground into the many natural baths.
The facilities also include a shopping mall and amusements as well as massages and other types of natural healing.
Be prepared to leave your swim shorts or bikini behind as this is a No Clothes hot spring.
And if you have Tattoos give this one a miss, like many hot springs in Japan it’s operates a No Tattoo policy.
Here you have 6 tips to enjoy a Japanese public bath:
16. Pay your respects to histories most loyal dog – Hachiko
Hackiko returned to wait for his deceased owner to return outside Shibuya Station everyday for nine years until he himself passed away in 1935 aged 11.6.
The story of this loyal dog has been an inspirational story for the Japanese for almost 100 years now and the legend of Hachiko is saluted every year with an annual ceremony.
The most prominent landmark associated with Hachiko is this statue outside Shibuya Station where he waited for those nine long years for his owner to return.
The legend of Hachiko lives on with this statue saluting his loyalty.
You can also go and pay Hachiko himself a visit or at least his stuffed fur which is on display at the National Science Museum of Japan.
Tip: Don’t set this as the location of a meetup with your new Japanese drinking buddies, for some reason a lot of Tokyoite’s meet at this statue among a few hundred other people also meeting up at the same time.
17.Visit Zōjō-ji Temple
Zōjō-ji Temple provides the best setting of the many ancient Buddhist temples within the city.
Tokyo Towers looms high over the temple grounds creating a special contrast between ancient and modern Tokyo and earns it’s place on this list as the most fun temple experience to be had in Tokyo.
There are many events and ceremonies held at the temple throughout the year, the temple is one of the favorite cherry blossoms viewing spots in Spring.
Tip: Go early in the morning before the crowds descend.
18. Get your Manga fix at Ghibli Museum
This one is for the anime lovers and the anime curious.
The Ghibli Museum is the biggest collection of the works of Studio Ghibli whose films include My Neighbor Totoro and world famous Spirited Away.
The museum gives the feeling of being in an anime itself with large set pieces recreated from the studios films located around the grounds, the rooftop garden is also a nice bonus since it is one of the more relaxing places in Tokyo.
Super Budget Version If your on a tight budget head into Lawsons or 7-Eleven and browse the anime and manga shelves which can sometimes turn out to be even more interesting.
Find prices and schedule at: Get Your Guide
19. Mount Fuji Tour
If our heading to Tokyo during climbing season from July to September then make sure not to miss climbing Mount Fuji and looking down upon an ocean of clouds as the land of the rising sun does its thing.
The Willer Express tour leaves from Shinjuku at 7:30am and by 4am the next morning you will be on top of Japan.
You can take a day trip to visit Japan’s highest mountain and one of the Fuji five lakes at lake Kawaguchi-ko, with Japanese lunch included.
Tip: If your not into hiking or are not visiting during climbing season you can visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on a clear day and spot Mount Fuji on the horizon, entrance to both towers viewing platforms is completely free.
Find prices and schedule at: Get Your Guide
20. Spend a night (or a few hours) in a Love Hotel
Nothing beats the capsule hotel experience, well this does.
Love hotels in Tokyo are cheap and offer luxurious features that you won’t find in your typical Four Season or Hyatt.
The main areas to find these special hotels are Uguisudani near Ueno, Kabukicho in Shinjuku and Dogenzaka also known as the Love Hotel Hill.
The best thing about staying in a love hotel in Japan is that all the hotels are different.
Hotels have unique themes ranging from subway train to hospital to LED palace and almost all of them come complete with a Jacuzzi or large bath tub.
Price A night at a Love Hotel can range from 8,000-12,000 ¥en with hourly rates at 3,000-5,000.
21. Asakusa Street Food and Local Drink Tour
Tokyo Food & Drink Tour offers a night of food and drink around Asakusa a hot spot for foodies, a mix of walking tour and food tour to get your fix Tokyo’s varied dishes.
Ordering food in Japan can sometimes be daunting, the language barrier is a real thing here.
This tour provides a bridge, you get to taste the best of the local food and drink without having to worry if you ordered an octopus when you just wanted chicken on a stick.
Highly recommended for those who don’t speak Japanese but still want to eat that authentic Japanese cuisine… Probably most of us to be honest.
Find prices and schedule at: Get Your Guide
22. Japanese Hip Hop at Club HARLEM
If you only go to one nightclub during your time in Tokyo make it this one.
Opened in the 90’s as Japan was establishing it’s own hip hop scene, Club HARLEM draws in leading local and visiting international hip hop artists every week.
Despite being located in party hot spot Shibuya, the club is far from your tourist trap nightclub.
You won’t find many tourists here, only Tokyoite’s and a few foreigners like you who read this list.
Check out the clubs schedule before you go here – http://www.harlem.co.jp/schedule/schedule.html
Price: Entrance ranges from 1500-3000 ¥en and includes the first drink.
23. Sushi-go-round? Interesting place!
Someone said sushi!
If you love Japanese food and sushi as much as I do you should visit a go around sushi restaurant, they are very interesting place, and great food.
We all want to experience Japanese culture
24. Escape to Onjuku Beach
The only fun thing to do on this list that is truly outside of Tokyo but it’s a must visit and only two hours away from the downtown area making for a great day trip.
Surf, sunbathe and revel in the glory of the pacific ocean as you down a cold Asahi and drink to your time in Japan.
If your new to surfing and want to try it out for the first time in Japan Onjuku Beach offers waves if not the biggest in the world to get started, surf lessons as well as board rentals are available from several surf shops near the beachfront.
How to get there Onjuku Beach is located in Chiba prefecture just two hours by highway bus from Tokyo.
Highway buses leave four times a day from Tokyo Station.
We have decided to add some more fun things to do in Japan, so you make the best of your visit.
So keep scrolling!
through its cuisine so do not miss out their amazing restaurants.
25. Showa kinen park
A close friend from Tokyo recommended this place as it is one of her favorite spots in Tokyo.
It is the Japanese answer to Central Park in NYC.
You should rent a bike and cycle around this beautiful park with its many flowers, fountains, and more.
Note: this park is also a great place to go see the Cherry Blossom season.
26. Experience a Tokyo’s old-school alleyways, called „Yokocho“
These tiny streets can be found all over Tokyo, and remind you of the old days. Here you can find eateries, pubs, and every kind of shops. These streets are now becoming very trendy among locals again as hip modern restaurants are settling down here.
The most popular one is the Nonbei Yokocho (‘Drunkard Alley’), the most representative yokocho plus most-visited in town. It is still worth it to come here and check it out.
Another one we really like is the „Minamiguchi no Nomiyagai“, a street for food-lovers on budget!
It opens already for lunch time and keep being busy until it closes.
Find a great guide for „Tokyo Alleyways“ here: http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/feature/9714/Tokyo-alleyway-guide
27.Market to visit
While in Tokyo, you can’t avoid Tsukiji fish market.
Many travelers check it out every single day. It is naturally quite touristic, but absolutely worth it to step by.
We recommend to check it out in the morning as there will be less people.
It is worth it!
28. EXTRA: Okatimachi Ameyoko Street
This place is Japan in one street. You will find here everything from food to clothing, watches and basically everything from small to big.
FYI This street was once a black market place to buy illegal American products.
List of the fun things to do in Tokyo
To make things easier, we marked the mentioned places on a map. That way, you can just save the map, use it offline, and find all the places mentioned.
Here are the top 8 things to do in Tokyo:
1. Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable
2. Ride a Go Karts around the Streets of Tokyo
3. Take the Cruise Ship Odaiba From the Future Around Tokyo
4. Make Friends with Owls at Owl Village in Harajuku
6. Jump into a Blade Runner World at teamLab Borderless
7. Get your Manga fix at Ghibli Museum
Is there anything super unique and awesome we missed?
Let us know in the comments !
We put also all the best things to do in Tokyo on a map. That way, it will be easy for you to navigate through the city.
Where to stay in Tokyo
Staying on a budget? Then opt-in for the best hostels in Tokyo:
- Kaisu Hostel – female solo-travelers and backpackers
- Book and Bed Asakusa – top pick for solo-travelers
- Grids Hostel in Akihabara – great for families and groups
You can read our full guide to the 3 Best Hostels in Tokyo, Japan – From Luxury Cafés to Backpacker Nightlife
If you are more an hotel person, here you have the greatest answers!
We asked our friends and family that already visited the city, so these are friends of friends top recommendations:
For a romantic stay in Tokyo, I recommend the ICI HOTEL Akasaka by RELIEF.
Its location is fantastic as it is in the Minato District, very close to monuments and attractions such as the Hundertwasser Millennium Clock, Hisakuni Shrine and Kaishu Katsu House.
Its decoration is modern and clean, and its rooms are very comfortable.
This lovely hotel has private rooms with private bathroom.
You can also relax on the terrace, while having a refreshing drink.
Every morning, the hotel serves an a la carte breakfast to kick-start your Tokyo tour.
If you are going to spend a few days with the family in Tokyo, a very good option is the aparthotels.
Petit Grande Nuage is fantastic option because it has comfortable facilities, large beds, it is equipped with a bathroom, kitchen, washing machine, microwave, television and THE best thing, it has access to a hot tub.
Sounds fantastic, right?
Its decoration is very beautiful and clean.
It is very close to attractions like Tokyo Skytree, Sensoji Temple.
Tokyo has lots of fun things to do for group of travelers and also a comfortable and quiet accommodations too.
If you travel with friends, I recommend the Residential Hotel IKIDANE Machiya.
Its facilities are very nice and clean.
Beds are large and comfortable, perfect for groups.
It also has free WiFi and lovely terrace to chill after a long day of walking.
Its location is great, close to the Sunpop Machiya shopping center, parks and museums.
General Information about Tokyo
There is also some general information about the city that you should know.
The official currency in Japan is the Yen
100 Yen Shop – you never know
100 yen is roughly one dollar, and those shops are perfect for travelers on budget in case you need anything from snacks, tableware, kitchenware, tools, leisure good, you name it.
You can find those shops all over Japan, and they are a good source to have in mind when needed.
Transportation around Tokyo
The subway is one of the most complicated metro systems in the world.
Even Tokyoite (locals are called Tokyoite) get confused.
This website gives you an introduction to the metro system which will help you.
What are the most important places to visit in Tokyo?
When visiting Tokyo with a limited time, here are the things you should not miss:
- The Imperial Palace
- Ginza District
- The Sensō-ji Temple
- Tokyo National Museum
What are the MUST things to do in Tokyo?
If you do not have much time and want to visit the essentials of the culture and history of Tokyo we do recommend you to visit:
- Meiji Shrine
- Asakusa Temple
- Oriental Garden of the Imperial Palace
- Ginza Shopping District
What are Fun and Cool things to do in Tokyo at night?
Tokyo is a big city! Like London or New York,… it never stops.
If you stroll at night, you will still encounter many amazing places to have a great time.
Here’s a list of fun places in Tokyo for you to have fun nights:
- Robot Restaurant
- Shinjuku, the best neighborhood for a night out in Tokyo
- Walk Rainbow Bridge
Wanna dance? The nightls clubs are located in Roppongi and Shibuya areas.
What are fun things to do in Tokyo with family?
Tokyo is not only a party and nerdy city. There are also fun and incredible places to enjoy with the family. From beaches and cafés, to restaurants and leisure activities.
During this guide we have mentioned some activities for families in Tokyo:
- Manga at Ghibli Museum
- Go-Kart tours: very fun and famous
- Owl café
Here you have some other attractions in Tokyo that you can do during your family trip:
- Odaiba: an artificial island to enjoy with the family
- Chiku Chiku Cafe: one of the funniest cafes in Tokyo. Especially for children, who can curiously stare at animals like hedgehogs.
What are fun things to do in Tokyo for couples?
Tokyo can be also romantic. The city even be a great idea as a anniversary celebration.
There are a lot of romantic places in Tokyo to visit:
- taking a boat ride and taking
- admire the beautiful cherry blossom landscape
- take amazing photos from giant skyscrapers
- visiting beautiful and huge parks – and picnic! (or simply walk)
Looking for more ideas? Here you have fun attractions in Tokyo for couples that you will surely enjoy:
- Rowing a boat through the Chidorigafuchi Moat
- See the city from Skytree Tower
- Yoyogi Park: one of the largest parks in Tokyo.
- Enjoy a thermal bath or canoe in a Japanese Onsen
As always, we wanted to make this guide as useful and informative as possible.
And yet you may have still questions left. Please leave a comment and “bother” me. I appreciate your questions and would love to help you.
In fact, your question will help me and all our fellow travellers too.
So, please do not be shy and drop us a line the comment below.
More genuine info
You are still here? By now, you should be packing and preparing your Tokyo trip:
- 3 Best hostels in Tokyo, Japan – From Luxury Cafés to Backpacker Nightlife
- Getting Lost on Purpose in Tokyo – Discover Hidden Tokyo
- Best hostels in Japan
- Fun things to do in Taipei
Smart and Simple Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality accommodation, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries