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22 Things to Do in Tokyo: The Best Bucket List Activities in Japan’s Capital

By Lucy Baker
December 2, 2021
Updated: December 2, 2021

Japan’s bustling capital city, Tokyo is a wonderful and exciting metropolis with so many things to do! If you are wondering what are the best things to do in Tokyo when planning your next trip, put these activities on your bucket list! Along with a range of indoor activities and outdoor adventures, there are so many districts of Tokyo with their distinct personalities to explore. Whether you're a shopaholic, love to immerse yourself in local culture, or want to uncover Tokyo’s best kept foodie secrets, there’s always something to do in Tokyo! These are our top picks for everyone form first timers or seasoned veteran visitors.

22 Top Things to Do in Tokyo

Where to begin? Well, here are the top 22 things to do in Tokyo that you should tick off your bucket list when visiting Japan’s capital. From the best things to do in Tokyo when it's raining to cheap things to do in Tokyo, this list of attractions and activities will help you to kickstart your adventures in Tokyo. 

  1. Embrace all things kawaii at Harajuku’s Takeshita Street
  2. Taste different street foods in Ueno’s Ameyokocho district
  3. Explore retro shotengai (shopping streets)
  4. Join a Japanese cooking class
  5. Try the most expensive ramen in Tokyo
  6. Discover the culinary delights of Tokyo’s original fish market, Tsukiji Market 
  7. Visit the Yayoi Kusama Museum
  8. Sign up a food tour in Tokyo and see a different side of the city
  9. Join the fun in Yoyogi Park and wander through the peaceful Meiji Shrine 
  10. Learn about Tokyo’s history at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
  11. Soak up some sun at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
  12. Take a trip down memory lane and eat at tiny bars in Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho
  13. Stay the night in a capsule hotel
  14. See a sumo match in action at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall
  15. Party it up on a night out in Shibuya and brave the Shibuya Crossing
  16. Experience traditional Japanese culture at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
  17. Take in the stunning city views from the "Sky Deck" of Tokyo Skytree 
  18. Grab your shopping supplies and food samples from Kappabashi Street
  19. Browse through the luxurious food halls in Isetan, Tokyo’s most famous department store 
  20. Immerse yourself at teamLab Borderless
  21. Take a day off of city life and go hiking at Mount Takao
  22. Unleash your inner child at Tokyo Disneyland

1. Embrace all things kawaii at Harajuku’s Takeshita Street

Explore Tokyo’s weird and wonderful kawaii culture at Harajuku’s bustling Takeshita Street. Sample the quirkiest street foods (such as a locally famous crepe), take some cute snaps in a purikura photo booth, and check out the latest fashion trends in this hyper colorful hub for youths. It’s one of craziest things to do in Tokyo to kickstart any Tokyo trip! 

2. Taste different street foods in Ueno’s Ameyokocho district

Its name meaning “candy store alley,” Ameya Yokocho (or Ameyoko for short) is a busy market street in Ueno with excellent street food and sweet treats galore! Wander through the market and you’ll never know what delicious snacks you might find! Once you’re full, you can relax in Ueno Park or visit Ueno Zoo nearby. 

3. Explore retro shotengai (shopping streets)

There are a number of shopping streets or shotengai tucked away in small pockets of Tokyo such as Nakano Sun Mall that’s filled with otaku geek culture. You can get cheap souvenirs and gain a feel for what it’s like to be a local in these shopping streets. Other notable shotengai in Tokyo are Musashi Koyama Shopping Street Palm (a covered shopping arcade that's perfect for all weather) or Sunamachi Ginza (a quiet local neighborhood) to name a couple. 

4. Put on an apron and join a Japanese cooking class

Roll up your sleeves to try a hands-on approach to learning about one of the best parts of Japanese culture, and join a cooking class in Tokyo! You could become a sushi making master or learn how to sculpt handmade wagashi sweets, or even try your hand at a range of dishes in a Japanese home cooking class. 

5. Try the most expensive ramen in Tokyo

Made with top tier, A5 grade wagyu beef, truffle oil, and gold leaf flakes, the most expensive ramen in Tokyo is a luxurious and mouth watering experience. Put your wallet where your mouth is and put this opulent bowl of ramen to the test for yourself! 

6. Discover the culinary delights of Tokyo’s original fish market, Tsukiji Market 

While Toyosu Fish Market is now the largest fish market in Tokyo, visiting Tsukiji Market is still one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo. While it no longer hosts the famed tuna auction, its outer market is still operating and offers great insight into the market’s legacy. Bustling in the morning, small shop fronts sell the highest quality produce, as well as sushi and fresh seafood bowls called kaisendon. 

7. Visit the Yayoi Kusama Museum

Mosaic Pumpkin at Yayoi Kusama Museum

Whether or not you’re a fan of the famously spotty artworks by Yayoi Kusama, it’s worth a visit to the Yayoi Kusama Museum on a trip to Tokyo to add some culture into your itinerary. The eclectic exhibitions feature Kusama’s signature pumpkin works which are worth a look, but note that you must book your tickets well in advance. 

8. Sign up a food tour in Tokyo and see a different side of the city

Whether it's a deliciously themed street food tour or a bar crawl in the best of Tokyo’s backstreets, food tours in Tokyo are a great opportunity to explore a new neighborhood with a foodie lens. Guided by experienced locals in Tokyo, like ramen enthusiast Frank during his ramen tasting tour, you can join a Tokyo food tour to try new Japanese foods or meet like minded travelers. 

9. Join the fun in Yoyogi Park and wander through the peaceful Meiji Shrine 

Sake barrels at Meiji Shrine near Yoyogi Park

If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Tokyo, you can tack on a visit to Yoyogi Park after you visit Harajuku and chill out on the open grass. Check out groups of friends playing games and practicing dance routines, and more! You can also experience the tranquility of Meiji Shrine, a major tourist attraction and Shinto shrine, next door as you wander past the giant sake barrels and delve through the forest-immersed paths. Both of these activities are free. 

10. Learn about Tokyo’s history at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

Close up of model Edo at Edo-Tokyo Museum with many tiny figurines walking around

As one of the best things to do in Tokyo when it’s raining, you can discover more about Tokyo’s history in-depth with a trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum in the Ryogoku area. Built in 1993 with the aim to preserve Edo's cultural heritage, this museum features models of Edo period life in Japan and more. Great for history buffs! 

11. Soak up some sun at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Spring with skyscraper in the background

Often hosting flower shows, Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is the biggest park in Tokyo. It offers a nice place to relax if you need a break from the skyscraper district of Shinjuku, especially after it has had recent refurbishments done or during cherry blossom season. You can also make a visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building nearby to get a free view of the city from the observatory that’s 202 meters high! 

12. Take a trip down memory lane and eat at tiny bars in Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku Tokyo alleyway with bars

Experience a night out in Shinjuku and sit shoulder to shoulder with salarymen in the drinking alley known as Omoide Yokocho, also known as “Memory Lane." Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the nostalgic street food in the tiny alleyway bars and restaurants tucked away in Shinjuku. You’ll feel miles away from the hubbub of Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district (home to the Robot Restaurant). Another great place to meet locals and visitors alike is in the tiny 5 seater bars of Shinjuku Golden Gai. When it comes to things to do in Tokyo, you won’t forget your experience meeting locals and tasting delicious izakaya (Japanese style pub) food anytime soon.  

13. Stay the night in a capsule hotel

Inside of Tokyo Capsule Hotel with pods stacked

Sleep like you’re in the future! Experience a capsule hotel, sleeping in your own pod in the city. It’s cheap accommodation and truly something different to add to your Tokyo itinerary (especially if you’re an adventurous sleeper)! 

14. See a sumo match in action at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall

People watching a Sumo wrestling tournament in Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall

Have you ever wanted to see a sumo match? Check out sumo wrestling in action at Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall, also known as Kokugikan Arena. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Tokyo and seriously impressive to watch! 

15. Party it up on a night out in Shibuya and brave Shibuya Crossing

Let your hair down and party at the bars and clubs in Shibuya, one of the most fun things to do in Tokyo. You can get your selfie with the Hachiko dog statue before launching into some karaoke, going dancing, or enjoying drinks at one of Shibuya’s hundreds of bars and restaurants. But before you get a taste of Tokyo nightlife, you’ll need to brave the largest and busiest intersection in Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing

16. Experience traditional Japanese culture at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa

Entrance to Sensoji Temple at Asakusa with people walking everywhere

Sensoji Temple in the city’s traditional Asakusa district is the oldest in Tokyo. You can experience traditional Japanese culture and rituals performed at this popular spot, making it one of the best cultural things to do in Tokyo. 

17. Take in the stunning city views from the "Sky Deck" of Tokyo Skytree 

View of Tokyo Skytree with sky in background

Head to the top of Japan's tallest tower at a whopping 634 meters tall! Visiting Tokyo Skytree is one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo, as the observation deck offers stunning 360 degree views of the city. 

18. Grab your shopping supplies and food samples from Kappabashi Street

Close up of different plastic food samples in Kappabashi Kitchen Street in Tokyo

Visit the shopping street that's famous for selling Japan's famous plastic food samples. Kappabashi Street or Kitchen Street is filled with high-quality kitchen supplies for both professional chefs and home cooks alike, as well as food samples resembling any dish you can imagine!

19. Browse through the luxurious food halls in Isetan, Tokyo’s most famous department store 

Bento stall inside of Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku in Tokyo

Isetan is Tokyo’s most famous department store, and an absolute wonder to browse through. Its depachika or underground food hall brims with hundreds of specialty food stores that would make anyone’s mouth water, and always has plenty of free food samples being given away! Isetan’s flagship store is in the heart of Shinjuku, spanning multiple floors with luxury goods for those who love to shop.

20. Immerse yourself at teamLab Borderless

teamLab Borderless floating lantern exhibition in Tokyo at digital art museum

Lose yourself in the epic and futuristic installations at teamLab Borderless in Odaiba! This high-tech and incredibly Instagram-worthy digital art museum is full of color and interactive exhibitions to explore. You could get lost for a whole day! 

Note that teamLab Borderless is closing in August 2022.

21. Take a day off of city life and go hiking at Mount Takao

Yakuoin Temple at Mount Takao in Tokyo

Need a little break from big city life? If you like hiking or walking in nature, Mount Takao is just a short train ride from the center of Tokyo. Yakuoin Temple resides at the top with stunning scenic views, and a monkey park as well! 

22. Unleash your inner child at Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland Castle

Run wild in the happiest place on earth! Spend the day out at Tokyo Disneyland watching the parade, eating Disney-themed snacks, and bracing yourself for a thrill on exciting rides. A great day out for families, friends, couples or anyone who wants to unleash their inner kid. 

There are endless things to do in Tokyo, whether you’re on a budget or just passing through for a few days. For any Tokyo bucket list, you should make sure you get a good mix of cultural experiences and foodie activities into your itinerary. But if you only have a three days, check out our ultimate Tokyo 3-day itinerary!

Browse Japanese food experiences or subscribe to our YouTube channel for more things to do in Tokyo and beyond!

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan’s food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Lucy Baker
Never not hungry, Lucy is an artist and foodie from Australia. You can find her hunting for the next delicious deal, documenting her food, or brunching. She lives firmly by the philosophy that food friends are the best of friends.
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