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What To Do For Stopover In Tokyo, Japan


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Erin Looper



Welcome to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, Japan! With its vibrant cityscape, rich culture, and countless attractions, Tokyo is a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world. Whether you’re stopping over on your way to another destination or planning a dedicated visit to this incredible city, Tokyo has something for everyone.


As Japan’s capital and largest city, Tokyo offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. From ancient temples and shrines to futuristic technology and skyscrapers, Tokyo seamlessly combines the old with the new. The city’s efficient transportation system makes it easy to navigate and explore its various neighborhoods, each offering its own distinct charm and attractions.


During your stopover in Tokyo, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, indulge in delicious cuisine, go shopping in trendy districts, and experience the city’s vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, a fashion enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tokyo has something to satisfy your interests.


In this guide, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of what to do during your stopover in Tokyo. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, we’ll cover all the essential experiences that will make your time in Tokyo unforgettable.


So get ready to explore the dynamic city of Tokyo, where tradition meets innovation, and where every corner holds something new and exciting. Let’s dive in and discover the best of Tokyo together!


Arriving in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! Upon arriving at either Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport, you’ll find yourself immersed in a city that seamlessly blends efficiency and hospitality. With convenient transportation options, you’ll have no trouble getting from the airport to your chosen accommodation in the city.


If you land at Narita International Airport, you can take the Narita Express (N’EX) train or the Keisei Skyliner to reach downtown Tokyo. These trains offer a comfortable, fast, and direct connection to major stations such as Tokyo Station, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Alternatively, you can opt for a shared shuttle service or a taxi if you prefer door-to-door convenience.


For those arriving at Haneda Airport, you’ll have various transportation options available. The Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Line provide direct access to downtown Tokyo, while buses and taxis are also readily available. If you’re traveling with heavy luggage or prefer a hassle-free transfer, consider booking a private airport transfer in advance.


Once you arrive at your accommodation in Tokyo, take some time to settle in and freshen up before embarking on your explorations. Tokyo offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels, so you’re sure to find something that suits your preferences and budget.


It’s worth noting that public transportation is the most convenient way to get around Tokyo. The city boasts an extensive subway and train network, making it easy to reach all corners of the city. Consider purchasing a prepaid IC card like the Suica or Pasmo card, which can be used on trains, subways, buses, and even for payment at convenience stores and vending machines.


Now that you’ve arrived and settled in, it’s time to begin your Tokyo adventure. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, incredible sights, and unique experiences that await you in this captivating city.


Exploring the City

When it comes to exploring Tokyo, the possibilities are endless. From iconic landmarks to hidden neighborhoods, there is so much to see and do in this vibrant city. Here are some of the must-visit areas and attractions:


1. Shibuya: Start your exploration by visiting the famous Shibuya Crossing, known as one of the busiest intersections in the world. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the Hachiko statue before exploring the trendy shops and cafes in the area.


2. Shinjuku: Head to Shinjuku for a taste of Tokyo’s bustling city life. Explore the neon-lit streets of Kabukicho, visit the observation deck at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for panoramic views of the city, and indulge in delicious food at the countless restaurants and izakayas.


3. Asakusa: Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s traditional side by visiting Asakusa. Explore the historic Senso-ji Temple, stroll down Nakamise Shopping Street for souvenirs, and take a relaxing boat ride on the Sumida River.


4. Akihabara: Known as the electronic and anime district, Akihabara is a must-visit for tech enthusiasts and pop culture fans. Browse the countless electronics stores, visit maid cafes, and explore the anime and manga shops in this quirky neighborhood.


5. Ueno Park: If you’re looking for some greenery and cultural experiences, head to Ueno Park. This spacious park is home to various museums and art galleries, including the Tokyo National Museum and the Ueno Zoo.


6. Ginza: For luxury shopping and upscale dining, Ginza is the place to be. Explore the high-end boutiques, department stores, and art galleries before indulging in a delicious meal at one of the renowned restaurants in the area.


7. Odaiba: Located on a man-made island, Odaiba offers a mix of entertainment, shopping, and stunning views of Tokyo Bay. Visit the futuristic Fuji TV Building, relax at Odaiba Seaside Park, and admire the Rainbow Bridge.


Remember, Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, so take advantage of the vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re interested in traditional nightlife like izakayas and karaoke or trendy nightclubs and bars, there’s something for everyone.


With countless neighborhoods, each offering its own unique atmosphere and attractions, exploring Tokyo is an adventure in itself. So put on your walking shoes, grab a map or your smartphone, and get ready to discover the wonders of this incredible city.


Cultural Experiences

One of the most fascinating aspects of visiting Tokyo is the opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. From ancient traditions to modern artistic expressions, the city offers a wide range of cultural experiences. Here are some must-try activities to deepen your understanding of Tokyo’s rich heritage:


1. Traditional Tea Ceremony: Take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, known as “sado” or “chado.” Experience the grace and precision of the tea preparation process and savor the flavors of matcha green tea in a serene setting.


2. Sumo Wrestling: Witness the fierce and traditional sport of sumo wrestling. Check the sumo tournament schedule and secure tickets to watch these powerful athletes in action. You can also visit a sumo stable to see the wrestlers practice up close.


3. Kimono Dressing: Rent a kimono and stroll through Tokyo’s historic districts, such as Asakusa or Yanaka. Experience the elegance of wearing this traditional garment and capture stunning photos against the backdrop of ancient temples and streets.


4. Kabuki Theater: Attend a performance at one of Tokyo’s Kabuki theaters and witness the art of traditional Japanese theater. Marvel at the elaborate costumes, dramatic storytelling, and unique makeup styles that make Kabuki performances so captivating.


5. Zen Gardens and Temples: Explore the tranquil beauty of Tokyo’s zen gardens and temples. Visit the iconic Zen Buddhist temples such as Ryoanji Temple or Ginkakuji Temple, where meticulously maintained gardens inspire serenity and contemplation.


6. Traditional Crafts Workshops: Engage in hands-on experiences with traditional Japanese crafts. Learn the art of origami, pottery, or calligraphy through workshops conducted by skilled artisans who pass down these ancient techniques.


7. Traditional Music Performances: Attend a traditional Japanese music performance, such as a koto (stringed instrument) concert or a taiko (drum) demonstration. Let the melodies and rhythms transport you to a different era.


8. Imperial Palace: Visit the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo and explore the beautiful gardens surrounding the residence of the Emperor of Japan. Learn about the history of the Japanese imperial family and admire the architectural grandeur of the palace buildings.


By engaging in these cultural experiences, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the traditions and customs that have shaped Tokyo. It’s a chance to connect with the essence of Japan and create lasting memories of your visit to this incredible city.


Shopping and Dining

Tokyo is a shopaholic’s paradise and a food lover’s dream come true. The city offers an endless array of shopping options, from high-end luxury brands to quirky fashion boutiques, and a culinary scene that is second to none. Here are some of the top shopping and dining experiences you shouldn’t miss in Tokyo:


1. Shopping in Ginza: Known as Tokyo’s upscale shopping district, Ginza is home to luxury flagship stores, high-end department stores, and designer boutiques. Explore the glamorous fashion houses and indulge in some retail therapy along these prestigious streets.


2. Harajuku Fashion: Discover the unique and eccentric fashion scene in Harajuku. Takeshita Street is a haven for trendy, fast-fashion boutiques, and quirky accessory shops. You’ll find an array of colorful and playful clothing that embodies Tokyo’s youthful and vibrant energy.


3. Electronics in Akihabara: If you’re a tech enthusiast, Akihabara is the ultimate destination. Explore the multistory electronics stores that offer everything from the latest gadgets to vintage video games and anime merchandise. It’s a geek’s paradise!


4. Tsukiji Fish Market: Experience the bustling energy of Tsukiji Fish Market, one of the world’s largest fish markets. Explore the stalls to see a wide variety of fresh seafood and sample some of the best sushi in Tokyo. Don’t forget to try the famous tuna auction if you’re an early riser!


5. Ameya-Yokocho Market: This vibrant street market, also known as “Ameyoko,” is located near Ueno Station. It offers a diverse range of products, from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and street food. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and grab some unique bargains.


6. Depachika Food Halls: Visit the basement floors of department stores, known as “depachika,” to discover a treasure trove of food options. These gourmet wonderlands feature a wide variety of mouthwatering cuisines, sweets, and regional specialties – perfect for indulging in some edible souvenirs.


7. Ramen and Izakayas: Tokyo is a food lover’s paradise, offering a myriad of dining options. Indulge in a steaming bowl of traditional ramen noodles, savor yakitori skewers and small plates at lively izakayas, or try authentic sushi at a local sushiya. The possibilities are endless!


8. One-of-a-kind Souvenirs: For unique and traditional Japanese souvenirs, visit shops specializing in handmade crafts. From beautiful ceramics and lacquerware to traditional textiles and paper goods, you’ll find something special to take home.


Remember, Tokyo is a city that caters to diverse tastes and budgets, so whether you’re looking for luxury items or affordable street fashion, Michelin-starred restaurants or hidden local gems, Tokyo has it all. So shop to your heart’s content and savor the delectable flavors of Tokyo’s culinary delights.


Outdoor Activities

While Tokyo is known for its bustling cityscape, there are plenty of outdoor activities and green spaces to explore. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a breath of fresh air, Tokyo offers a range of outdoor experiences that will leave you rejuvenated. Here are some outdoor activities to consider during your time in Tokyo:


1. Explore Meiji Shrine: Take a stroll through the serene surroundings of Meiji Shrine, located in the heart of the bustling city. As you wander through the tranquil forested area, you’ll feel a sense of peace and spirituality amidst the towering trees and traditional torii gates.


2. Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms: If you visit Tokyo during springtime, don’t miss the opportunity to experience hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and Sumida Park are famous spots for enjoying the beautiful pink blooms, and you can join locals for picnics beneath the sakura trees.


3. Cruise on the Sumida River: Take a relaxing boat cruise along the Sumida River, which winds through Tokyo. Marvel at the city’s skyline while gliding past famous landmarks such as Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa, and Hamarikyu Gardens. This scenic journey offers a unique perspective of the city.


4. Escape to Mount Takao: Just outside of Tokyo, Mount Takao is a popular hiking destination that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Choose from various trails based on your fitness level and enjoy the climb to the summit, where you’ll find a temple and a panoramic vista of the city.


5. Jog or Cycle along the Imperial Palace: The Imperial Palace East Gardens provide a picturesque setting for outdoor activities. Run or cycle along the scenic paths encircling the palace grounds, surrounded by moats, gardens, and historic stone walls. It’s a refreshing escape from the urban hustle and bustle.


6. TeamLab Borderless: Immerse yourself in a world of digital art at the TeamLab Borderless exhibition. Located in Odaiba, this interactive art museum features a collection of stunning light installations and immersive artworks that blend technology and creativity for a unique outdoor experience.


7. Sunset at Odaiba Beach: Odaiba offers not only fascinating attractions but also a sandy beach with views of the Tokyo skyline. Take a leisurely walk along the shore, enjoy the sunset, and soak in the relaxing ambiance of the waterfront.


8. Visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea: For a day of fun and excitement, head to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. These world-class theme parks offer a variety of rides, shows, and entertainment options for visitors of all ages.


From serene gardens and hiking trails to vibrant waterfront areas and thrilling amusement parks, Tokyo offers a diverse range of outdoor activities. So lace up your walking shoes, pack a picnic, and get ready to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor adventures that Tokyo has to offer.


Nearby Attractions

While Tokyo has plenty to offer within its city limits, there are also captivating attractions just a short distance away. If you have some extra time during your stopover, consider exploring these nearby destinations for a well-rounded Japanese experience:


1. Nikko: Located approximately two hours north of Tokyo, Nikko is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its stunning shrines and natural beauty. Visit Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, and the beautiful Kegon Falls for a glimpse into Japan’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes.


2. Hakone: Situated just a short train ride from Tokyo, Hakone is a popular hot spring resort town and a gateway to Mt. Fuji. Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Ashinoko, soak in a traditional onsen (hot spring), and enjoy panoramic views of the iconic Mount Fuji on a clear day.


3. Kamakura: Known for its historical significance and picturesque scenery, Kamakura is an ancient coastal town located south of Tokyo. Explore the iconic Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple, visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and relax at the tranquil beach of Yuigahama.


4. Yokohama: Just a short train ride from Tokyo, Yokohama offers a mix of modern attractions and historical charm. Visit the vibrant waterfront area of Minato Mirai, explore the famous Yokohama Chinatown, and enjoy stunning city views from the observation deck of Yokohama Landmark Tower.


5. Kawagoe: Known as “Little Edo,” Kawagoe is a charming town located northwest of Tokyo. It offers well-preserved historical buildings, traditional crafts, and delicious street food. Stroll through the nostalgic streets of Kurazukuri Zone and visit Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.


6. Mount Fuji: For those seeking adventure and natural beauty, a day trip to Mount Fuji is highly recommended. Experience the thrill of climbing Japan’s highest peak during the climbing season (July and August), or enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic mountain from observation spots like the Fuji Five Lakes region.


7. Izu Peninsula: Escape the city and relax in the scenic Izu Peninsula. Explore beautiful coastlines, soak in hot springs, and enjoy fresh seafood. Don’t miss the chance to visit the stunning Jogasaki Coast and the charming town of Shimoda.


8. Chichibu: Located in Saitama Prefecture, Chichibu is a serene area known for its natural beauty and religious sites. Enjoy hiking trails, visit Chichibu Shrine, and witness the annual Chichibu Night Festival, one of Japan’s most vibrant and traditional festivals.


These nearby attractions offer a glimpse into different facets of Japanese culture, history, and natural wonders. With their accessibility from Tokyo, you can easily embark on a day trip or plan an overnight stay to enrich your stopover with diverse experiences.



As your stopover in Tokyo comes to an end, you’ll be left with cherished memories of this captivating city. From the bustling streets of Shibuya to the tranquil gardens of Meiji Shrine, Tokyo offers a unique blend of tradition, modernity, and endless exploration. Whether you’ve immersed yourself in Japanese culture, indulged in delectable cuisine, or embarked on outdoor adventures, Tokyo has undoubtedly left a lasting impression.


The city’s efficient transportation system makes it easy to navigate and explore its diverse neighborhoods, each with its own charm and attractions. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, a fashion enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tokyo caters to all interests and passions.


From shopping in trendy districts like Harajuku and Ginza to dining on exquisite sushi and experiencing a traditional tea ceremony, Tokyo showcases the best of Japan’s offerings. The city is also surrounded by nearby attractions, such as Nikko, Hakone, and Kamakura, which provide a deeper understanding of the country’s rich history and natural beauty.


As you bid farewell to this dynamic city, you’ll carry with you the vibrant energy, fascinating cultural experiences, and the warm hospitality of the Japanese people. Tokyo is not just a stopover destination; it’s an adventure that leaves an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


So whether you return to Tokyo for a longer visit in the future or continue your journey to other destinations, may your memories of this bustling metropolis always be filled with wonder, excitement, and the desire to experience the magic of Tokyo all over again.