Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Nerd Nomad: What To Do In Tokyo


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Loraine Michaelson



Welcome to Tokyo, the vibrant and bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends centuries-old traditions with the cutting-edge innovations of the modern world. As the capital city of Japan, Tokyo is a captivating blend of history, culture, and technological advancements, making it an ideal destination for travelers from around the globe.


With its iconic skyline, vibrant neighborhoods, and rich cultural heritage, Tokyo offers a fascinating array of experiences for visitors. From exploring the traditional temples and shrines to indulging in world-class cuisine, shopping in high-end boutiques to unwinding in serene parks, there is something for everyone in this dynamic city.


One of the first things that strikes visitors to Tokyo is its incredible efficiency and advanced transportation system. Getting around the city is a breeze, thanks to the extensive network of trains, subways, and buses. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning for another adventure, Tokyo offers a multitude of exciting experiences that will leave you captivated and yearning for more.


In this guide, we will take you on a virtual tour of Tokyo, highlighting the must-visit attractions, the best ways to navigate the city, and the unique experiences that await you. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a tech geek, a food lover, or simply someone seeking to immerse yourself in a different culture, Tokyo has it all.


So, pack your bags, ready your cameras, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the dynamic streets of Tokyo. From the ancient temples to the futuristic skyscrapers, this melting pot of old and new is sure to leave you awe-inspired and wanting to dive deeper into the heart and soul of Japan.


Getting Around Tokyo

When it comes to navigating the bustling streets of Tokyo, there are several convenient options available to travelers. The city boasts an extensive and reliable public transportation system that makes getting around a breeze.


The backbone of Tokyo’s transportation network is the train system, which consists of both the Japan Railways (JR) lines and private lines. The JR Yamanote Line is particularly useful for tourists as it connects many popular destinations such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, and Tokyo Station. With its frequent service and English signage, navigating the Yamanote Line is relatively easy even for first-time visitors.


In addition to the train system, Tokyo also has an extensive subway system that crisscrosses the city. The Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines cover most areas of the city, making it convenient to reach various attractions and neighborhoods. The Tokyo Subway Ticket, available for unlimited travel within a specified number of days, is a cost-effective option for tourists.


If you prefer above-ground transportation, buses in Tokyo are also a viable option. While the bus network can be slightly more complex to navigate due to the Japanese signage, they offer a chance to see the city from a different perspective. Furthermore, some buses have multilingual announcements and displays to assist foreign travelers.


For those who prefer a more personalized experience, taxis are readily available throughout the city. While they can be more expensive than public transportation, they offer the convenience of door-to-door service, especially for late-night travels or when carrying heavy luggage.


Another popular way to explore Tokyo is by bicycle. With an increasing number of dedicated bike lanes and a bike-sharing system, cycling provides a unique way to navigate the city and discover hidden gems at your own pace. Just keep in mind that Tokyo can be busy and crowded, so it’s essential to follow traffic rules and exercise caution while riding.


Lastly, walking is a fantastic way to soak in the atmosphere of Tokyo. Many areas of the city, such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ginza, are best explored on foot, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant street scenes and stumble upon charming shops and local eateries.


Overall, Tokyo’s comprehensive transportation system ensures that getting around the city is convenient and efficient. Whether you prefer the speed and efficiency of the train, the flexibility of buses, the convenience of taxis, the freedom of cycling, or simply enjoy exploring on foot, Tokyo has you covered.


Exploring the Traditional Side

While Tokyo is known for its bustling modernity, the city also holds a rich history and is home to numerous traditional attractions that offer a glimpse into Japan’s cultural heritage.


One of the must-visit destinations in Tokyo is the historic neighborhood of Asakusa. Here, you can explore the iconic Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Take a stroll down Nakamise Shopping Street, lined with traditional shops selling souvenirs, snacks, and local crafts. Don’t forget to experience a traditional tea ceremony at one of the tea houses, where you can savor matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets.


To further delve into Tokyo’s past, visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku. The museum showcases the history and culture of Tokyo during the Edo period, offering a fascinating insight into the city’s transformation over the centuries. You can also explore the nearby sumo district, where you may have the opportunity to witness a sumo training session or catch a sumo tournament.


Another highlight of Tokyo’s traditional side is the Imperial Palace and its tranquil East Gardens. The palace grounds are steeped in history and provide a calm oasis amid the bustling city. Take a leisurely walk around the gardens, admiring the beautiful scenery and historical buildings.


If you’re interested in traditional arts, consider attending a Kabuki performance at the Kabukiza Theatre in Ginza. Kabuki is a traditional Japanese form of theater characterized by its elaborate costumes, stylized movements, and dramatic storytelling. Witnessing a live performance is a unique cultural experience that should not be missed.


For a taste of old Tokyo, visit the neighborhood of Yanaka. Known for its preserved Edo-era atmosphere, Yanaka is a labyrinth of narrow streets, traditional wooden houses, and quaint shops. Stroll through the Yanaka Cemetery, visit local temples, and enjoy the serene ambiance of this hidden gem.


To experience a slice of traditional Japanese craftsmanship, head to the district of Asakusabashi, known for its abundance of artisan workshops. Here, you can witness the creation of traditional crafts such as pottery, paper lanterns, and more. Some workshops even offer hands-on experiences, allowing you to create your own unique piece to bring home as a souvenir.


Exploring Tokyo’s traditional side provides a deeper understanding of Japan’s culture and history. From ancient temples and museums to traditional performances and artisan workshops, these experiences offer a beautiful contrast to the city’s modern facade and provide a glimpse into the country’s rich heritage.


Embracing Technology and Modernity

While Tokyo is steeped in tradition, it is also renowned for its cutting-edge technology and futuristic landscapes. From towering skyscrapers to advanced robotics, Tokyo showcases the epitome of modernity and innovation.


A visit to the district of Odaiba is a must for tech enthusiasts. This man-made island is home to several iconic architectural marvels, including the futuristic Fuji TV Building, which resembles a floating spaceship. Explore the Odaiba Seaside Park and take in panoramic views of the Tokyo skyline. Don’t miss the teamLab Borderless digital art museum, where you can immerse yourself in breathtaking interactive light installations.


For a taste of the future, visit the Miraikan, also known as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. This museum offers a fascinating exploration of cutting-edge technology, including robots, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Engage in hands-on exhibits and presentations that showcase the latest scientific advancements.


No visit to Tokyo would be complete without experiencing the city’s vibrant gaming and anime culture. Akihabara, known as the Electric Town, is a paradise for gamers, anime lovers, and technology enthusiasts. Explore multi-level gaming arcades, shop for manga and anime merchandise, and visit themed cafes dedicated to popular games and characters.


To witness Tokyo’s skyline in all its glory, head to the observation decks of the city’s tallest buildings. The Tokyo Skytree offers breathtaking views from its towering height, while the Tokyo Tower provides a classic view of the city with a touch of retro charm. Take in the panoramic vistas and capture stunning photos of the sprawling metropolis below.


Another technological wonder in Tokyo is the high-speed Shinkansen, or bullet train. Experience the thrill of riding this sleek and efficient mode of transportation, which can reach speeds up to 320 kilometers per hour. Take a day trip from Tokyo and explore other cities such as Kyoto or Osaka, immersing yourself in the seamless efficiency of Japan’s transportation system.


If you’re interested in the latest gadgets and electronic devices, visit the district of Akihabara or Shinjuku’s electronics stores. Here, you’ll find an abundance of shops selling everything from state-of-the-art cameras to the newest gaming consoles. Get lost in the world of tech and see the latest advancements before they hit the global market.


Tokyo’s embrace of technology and modernity is evident throughout the city. From futuristic architecture and interactive museums to gaming culture and high-speed trains, Tokyo is a testament to the forward-thinking nature of Japanese innovation. Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge world of technology and marvel at the ways in which Tokyo seamlessly blends tradition with the wonders of the digital age.


Indulging in Tokyo’s Culinary Delights

Tokyo is a paradise for food lovers, boasting a diverse and vibrant culinary scene that ranges from traditional Japanese cuisine to international delights. From fine dining establishments with Michelin stars to humble street food stalls, Tokyo offers a plethora of gastronomic experiences to satisfy every palate.


For a quintessential Japanese dining experience, venture into the world of sushi. Tokyo is renowned for its sushi bars, where you can savor the freshest cuts of raw fish and delicate flavors. Head to the famed Tsukiji Fish Market, or visit the exclusive sushi restaurants in the upscale neighborhoods of Ginza and Roppongi for an unforgettable sushi feast.


Another must-try dish in Tokyo is ramen. This comforting bowl of noodles in a savory broth has gained worldwide popularity, and Tokyo offers a wide variety of ramen styles to suit every preference. From rich and creamy tonkotsu ramen to tangy and spicy miso ramen, you’ll find countless ramen shops scattered throughout the city.


For those looking to explore the local street food scene, head to Nakamise Shopping Street in Asakusa, where you can sample traditional snacks such as takoyaki (octopus balls) or taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries filled with sweet red bean paste). The vibrant street food stalls in Shibuya’s Takeshita Street and Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho also offer a wide range of delectable treats to tantalize your taste buds.


To experience the height of culinary excellence, Tokyo is home to numerous high-end restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars. From exquisite kaiseki (traditional multi-course) meals to innovative French cuisine, these dining establishments push the boundaries of creativity and flavor. Make reservations in advance to secure a table at one of these esteemed establishments.


If you’re feeling adventurous, delve into Tokyo’s izakaya culture. Izakayas are cozy pubs where you can enjoy a wide range of small plates and drinks. Sample an assortment of yakitori (grilled skewered meat), tempura, sushi rolls, and more while indulging in the lively atmosphere and sharing laughter with friends.


No culinary exploration of Tokyo would be complete without discovering the world of wagashi. These traditional Japanese sweets, often served with tea, are not only delicious but also beautifully crafted. Visit specialty shops in districts like Yanaka and Asakusa to sample an array of seasonal wagashi made with ingredients like sweet bean paste and matcha.


For those seeking international flavors, Tokyo offers a vibrant food scene with restaurants specializing in cuisine from around the world. Experience authentic Italian pasta, French pastries, Indian curries, and much more in the diverse neighborhoods of Tokyo.


From traditional Japanese delicacies to international fare, Tokyo’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses. Immerse yourself in the flavors, aromas, and textures of Tokyo’s extraordinary food culture, and embark on a culinary journey that will leave you craving for more.


Shopping in Tokyo

Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise, offering endless opportunities to explore a wide range of shopping districts and indulge in retail therapy. From high-end luxury boutiques and department stores to trendy fashion districts and quirky vintage shops, Tokyo caters to every style and budget.


Ginza is Tokyo’s premier luxury shopping district, known for its upscale boutiques and high-end department stores. Here, you’ll find renowned designer brands, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, showcasing their latest collections. Stroll along the elegant streets of Ginza and immerse yourself in the world of luxury fashion and exquisite craftsmanship.


For the fashion-conscious, Harajuku is a must-visit destination. This vibrant neighborhood is renowned for its unique street fashion and trendy boutiques. Takeshita Street is lined with quirky shops selling the latest fashion trends, colorful accessories, and alternative styles. Make sure to explore the boutique shops in Omotesando as well, where you can find avant-garde fashion and cutting-edge designs.


Shibuya is another fashion hub, home to the iconic Shibuya Crossing and a variety of department stores and multi-level shopping complexes. Discover the latest fashion trends, cosmetics, and accessories at Shibuya 109, a renowned fashion mecca for young women. Shibuya also offers a wealth of specialized stores catering to specific interests, such as anime, music, and streetwear.


For a different shopping experience, head to Ameya-Yokocho in Ueno. This bustling market street offers a vibrant atmosphere and incredible bargains. From clothing and accessories to fresh produce and seafood, you can find a wide variety of items at affordable prices. Explore the narrow streets and haggle with vendors to score the best deals.


Those interested in traditional crafts and souvenirs should visit Asakusa’s Nakamise Shopping Street. This centuries-old shopping street is lined with stores selling traditional Japanese items, including yukata (summer kimono), handmade fans, ceramics, and more. It’s the perfect place to find unique souvenirs and gifts.


Akihabara is a haven for electronics and otaku culture. This district is known for its vast array of electronics shops, selling the latest gadgets, gaming consoles, and computer components. Otaku enthusiasts will find an abundance of anime, manga, and cosplay-related merchandise in the numerous specialty stores and multi-floor complexes.


If you’re a lover of second-hand fashion and hidden treasures, head to Shimokitazawa. This bohemian neighborhood is packed with vintage clothing shops, record stores, and independent boutiques. Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets and uncover unique vintage finds and one-of-a-kind pieces.


These are just a few of the many shopping destinations in Tokyo. With its eclectic mix of fashion districts, luxury shopping centers, traditional markets, and unique boutiques, Tokyo truly offers a shopping experience unlike any other. Whether you’re a fashionista, a tech enthusiast, or someone seeking unique souvenirs, Tokyo’s diverse shopping scene is sure to leave you satisfied.


Unwinding in Tokyo’s Parks and Gardens

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, there are several tranquil oases where you can unwind and reconnect with nature. The city is dotted with beautifully manicured parks and gardens, providing a serene escape from the fast-paced urban environment.


One of Tokyo’s most famous green spaces is Ueno Park. This expansive park is home to lush greenery, peaceful ponds, and historic landmarks. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined paths, visit the Ueno Zoo to see pandas and other exotic animals, or explore the various museums and art galleries located within the park.


If you’re looking for a spectacular view of Tokyo’s skyline, head to Tokyo Tower’s surrounding area. At Shiba Park, you can relax amidst cherry blossom trees and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Take a walk to nearby Zojoji Temple, a tranquil Buddhist temple where you can immerse yourself in its serene atmosphere.


For a more traditional Japanese garden experience, visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. This expansive garden features a harmonious blend of Japanese, English, and French garden styles. Take a peaceful stroll through the meticulously landscaped gardens, visit the traditional tea house, and admire the stunning display of cherry blossoms in spring.


If you’re visiting during cherry blossom season, make sure to visit the Chidorigafuchi Park. Located near the moat of the Imperial Palace, this park is renowned for its picturesque cherry blossom-lined paths and stunning reflections in the water. Rent a rowboat and take a leisurely cruise along the moat, surrounded by the ethereal beauty of the cherry blossoms.


Situated in the heart of Tokyo is the tranquil Hibiya Park. This serene oasis offers a peaceful retreat from the nearby bustling streets of Ginza. Relax on the lush lawns, enjoy a picnic under the shade of the trees, and take a leisurely walk around the park’s serene ponds and gardens.


For a unique park experience, visit Yoyogi Park, located near Harajuku. This expansive park is a popular spot for picnics, outdoor activities, and cultural events. On weekends, you may encounter various performances, including live music, street performances, and even cosplay gatherings. Take a stroll through the spacious park, soak up the lively atmosphere, and embrace the vibrant energy of Tokyo.


These are just a few examples of the many parks and gardens Tokyo has to offer. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, a scenic view, or a vibrant cultural experience, Tokyo’s green spaces provide the perfect opportunity to escape the city’s fast-paced lifestyle and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.


Experiencing Tokyo’s Nightlife

When the sun sets, Tokyo comes alive with a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene that offers something for everyone. From bustling nightlife districts filled with bars and clubs to relaxed izakayas and sophisticated cocktail bars, Tokyo is a city that never sleeps.


One of the most famous nightlife districts in Tokyo is Shinjuku’s Kabukicho. This area is known for its bright neon lights, bustling streets, and plethora of bars and clubs. Explore the vibrant alleys and discover hidden gems, cozy pubs, and lively karaoke bars. Experience the excitement of Tokyo’s nightlife as you hop from one spot to another.


If you’re looking for a more sophisticated atmosphere, head to the upscale neighborhood of Roppongi. Here, you’ll find a variety of trendy bars, lounges, and upscale clubs. Enjoy craft cocktails at rooftop bars, dance the night away in stylish nightclubs, and indulge in exquisite cuisine at high-end restaurants.


Ginza, known for its luxury shopping during the day, also offers a vibrant nightlife experience. This district is home to elegant cocktail bars and exclusive clubs that cater to a more refined crowd. Enjoy meticulously crafted cocktails, live jazz performances, and the glamorous ambiance that Ginza exudes after dark.


For a taste of traditional Tokyo nightlife, step into an izakaya. These cozy Japanese pubs offer a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a wide array of small plates and drinks. Savor traditional dishes like yakitori (grilled skewered meat), tempura, and sashimi, while enjoying the lively atmosphere and socializing with locals and fellow travelers.


If live music is your passion, Tokyo has a thriving music scene. Shimokitazawa is known as the indie music capital, offering a plethora of live music venues showcasing a variety of genres. Jazz enthusiasts should head to the vibrant district of Shimokitazawa, where they can immerse themselves in the soulful melodies and atmospheric jazz clubs.


For a unique and immersive experience, visit the Golden Gai area in Shinjuku. This small network of narrow alleys is filled with tiny bars and restaurants, each with its own distinct character and theme. Discover hidden gems, strike up conversations with locals and fellow travelers, and dive into Tokyo’s eclectic and quirky bar scene.


No visit to Tokyo’s nightlife would be complete without mentioning the late-night food options. Visit the 24-hour ramen shops or yakitori stands that offer delicious sustenance after a night of exploring the city. Whether you’re craving a bowl of piping hot noodles or some savory grilled chicken skewers, Tokyo’s culinary offerings will satisfy your late-night cravings.


Tokyo’s nightlife scene is bustling and diverse, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking the energetic thrill of nightclubs, the laid-back ambiance of izakayas, the sophistication of cocktail bars, or the eclectic charm of Golden Gai, Tokyo’s nightlife will leave you with unforgettable memories of the city that truly never sleeps.


Day Trips from Tokyo

While Tokyo has an abundance of attractions to keep visitors entertained, it’s also an excellent base for exploring nearby destinations on day trips. Within a short distance from the city, you’ll find a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural wonders waiting to be discovered.


One popular day trip from Tokyo is a visit to the historic city of Nikko. Located in the mountains north of Tokyo, Nikko is renowned for its stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites. Explore the Toshogu Shrine, an intricately decorated mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Take a peaceful walk through the surrounding cedar forests and visit the beautiful Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.


If you’re looking for a change of pace from the city, head to the tranquil town of Kamakura. Famous for its giant bronze statue of Buddha, Kamakura is filled with historical temples, serene gardens, and charming streets. Visit the iconic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, wander through the serene Hokoku-ji Temple and its beautiful bamboo grove, and explore the bustling Komachi-dori street lined with shops and eateries.


For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, a visit to Mount Fuji is a must. Located just a couple of hours away from Tokyo, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and a symbol of the country. Take a guided tour to the Fuji Five Lakes region, where you can enjoy stunning views of the mountain, hike the trails, or take a scenic boat ride on Lake Kawaguchi.


If you’re interested in Japanese history, a day trip to the city of Kamakura is highly recommended. This ancient capital holds numerous historical treasures, including the Hase-dera Temple with its beautiful gardens and the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kotoku-in. Explore the narrow streets of Hachimangu Shrine and visit the quaint shops and cafes in this charming coastal town.


To experience traditional Japanese architecture and an authentic hot spring experience, take a day trip to the town of Hakone. Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone offers breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, scenic hiking trails, and relaxing hot spring resorts. Take a cruise on Lake Ashi, hop on the Hakone Ropeway for panoramic views, and unwind in one of the many natural hot spring baths.


These are just a few examples of the many day trip options from Tokyo. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or cultural exploration, Tokyo’s proximity to these incredible destinations allows you to broaden your travel experience and discover the diverse offerings of Japan within a day’s journey.



Tokyo truly is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. From its bustling streets and towering skyscrapers to its serene parks and historic temples, the city offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re a food lover, a history enthusiast, a tech geek, or an avid shopper, Tokyo has something to suit your interests.


Exploring Tokyo’s neighborhoods reveals a tapestry of diverse cultures and vibrant atmospheres. From the trendy fashion districts of Harajuku and Shibuya to the luxury boutiques of Ginza and the historic charm of Asakusa, each area offers its own unique character and attractions. And when night falls, Tokyo’s nightlife comes alive, with bars, clubs, and entertainment options catering to all tastes.


But Tokyo also serves as a gateway to further adventures. The city’s excellent transportation network allows for easy day trips to surrounding destinations. Whether you choose to visit the ancient shrines of Nikko, the tranquil towns of Kamakura and Hakone, or bask in the natural beauty of Mount Fuji, these day trips provide a perfect complement to your Tokyo experience.


As you immerse yourself in the sensory delights of Tokyo – indulging in its culinary delights, navigating its bustling streets, and uncovering hidden gems – you’ll come to appreciate the harmonious coexistence of tradition and innovation. Tokyo’s ability to embrace its rich cultural heritage while pushing the boundaries of technology and design is truly remarkable.


So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler returning to Tokyo, this vibrant city will continue to dazzle and captivate. From the ancient temples and traditional gardens to the neon-lit streets and futuristic skyscrapers, Tokyo offers a unique blend of experiences that will leave you with lifelong memories.


So, pack your bags, embark on this magnificent journey, and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Tokyo. Discover the hidden gems, savor the culinary delights, experience the rich history, soak in the modernity, and feel the energy that makes Tokyo one of the world’s most fascinating cities.