When in Tokyo, the possibilities of sights to see and things to do are endless. Thriving in both history and modernity, visiting ancient temples (like Sensoji, the oldest temple in Tokyo) is as important as visiting (or dining in) the futuristic Tokyo Skytree, that just opened in 2012 and is currently the tallest tower in the world.
Whether you’re planning a visit in 2020 for the highly-anticipated Summer Olympic Games or you’re embarking on a much-needed vacation, here’s our guide to Japan’s beloved capital: from the old to the new, your Tokyo to-do list begins here.
A Day in Asakusa
Visit Tokyo’s “old town” of Asakusa and explore everything from traditional craft shops and Japanese street-food on the street of Nakamise to the oldest temple in the city, Sensoji. At Asakusa, you can also enjoy the outdoors at Sumida Park, which offers both a view of Tokyo’s downtown area and numerous cherry blossoms. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can kayak on the Sumida river while taking in the views.
Asakusa also features some new mixed in with the old in Tokyo Skytree. The world’s tallest freestanding tower is the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kanto region, and was made to resemble a 5-story pagoda to help it fit into the historical area. The tower also features observatory decks and dining.
Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms
Take a stroll through a local favorite destination, Ueno Park located in the district of Taitō. Within the park there are many attractions including the Ueno Zoo and the Tokyo National Museum.
A Local Feel of the City
Not far from Ueno, lies a lesser-known treasure for those wishing to escape the tourist life for a more authentic representation of life in Tokyo. Yanesen is a district in the city that is known for its traditional style. Escape the crowds of Tokyo’s major districts and visit the three neighborhoods of Yanaka (where to go for temples and tranquility), Nezu (don’t miss the vibrant grounds of Nezu Shrine) and Sendagi (if you’re looking for local crafts, this is your place) that make up Yanesen. The area is full of beautiful shrines, temples and forests that make for a leisurely and calm exploration of true Tokyo.
The Big Egg
Tokyo Dome (nicknamed “The Big Egg”) is a stadium in Bunkyo, Tokyo. The modern stadium in the entertainment complex of Tokyo Dome City has hosted concerts, basketball games, American football games, mixed martial arts events and many more. Major acts have performed in the Tokyo Dome, including Michael Jackson, U2 and Mick Jagger. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and even if you aren’t attending an event inside it, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found right outside of the Dome from a spa, restaurants and shopping to video game centers and an amusement park (that includes a hubless Ferris wheel.)
Haute Couture in Tokyo
Ginza is one of the city’s major shopping districts that features flagship stores of high-end fashion labels like Gucci, Dior and Chanel. It is one of the most high-end shopping districts in the world and therefore, a must-visit even if only for window-shopping. Over the years, it has been a gathering place for the city’s elite and it continues to be an undeniable tourist attraction.
Tokyo’s “Times Square”
A mixture of the old and the new, Shibuya is a major commercial and business center (some claim it to be the busiest intersection in the world) that has been around since it was the site of a castle in the 11th century; however, it wouldn’t be until the 1980’s that it would make its way toward becoming the huge commercial hub that it is today. Similar to NYC’s Times Square, three giant television screens overlook the streets that are filled with pedestrians at any given time. Shibuya intersection is last on our list, but most certainly not least. As with Times Square, it’s basically the number one site that lets you know you’ve officially made it to Tokyo.
If you want to attend the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, we’ve got your hotel stay, transportation and more covered. View our Tokyo 2020 travel packages.