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Where to go in Tokyo

From old to new, Tokyo is packed full of traditional and modern delights.

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Japan's capital is a beacon for travellers from all around the world seeking natural beauty, traditional practices, high-energy nightlife and modern design. And let's not forget it's also the birthplace of karaoke.

Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of entertainment, shopping, culture and dining options to its visitors, spread across one of the greatest metropolises in the world.

Understandably, deciding where to visit is going to be one your toughest decisions, though our guide to Tokyo can help you make the most of your time in the city.

Best places to visit in Tokyo

1. Ginza

Boasting some of the world's best luxury shopping, Ginza is a trendy hotspot and cultural downtown area, with shops that have existed for over a hundred years.

It's a long-established tradition to shop and stroll when the road is closed to traffic on weekend afternoons, and an impressive collection of glitzy clubs make this area perfect if you’re looking for a fun night out.

  • Best for: The culture seeker
  • How to get there: Ginza is one stop away from Tokyo Station, where you can catch buses or trains all around Tokyo and Japan.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Tsukiji Market, Tokyo Central Railway Station, Imperial Palace, Bank of Japan Currency Museum, Kabukiza Theatre.
  • How long do I need? Full day.
  • Recommended tour: Tsukiji Fish Market Visit with Sushi Making Experience – Visit this famous fish market with an introductory course in sushi-making by a sushi master.

2. Shibuya

Shibuya attracts a younger crowd where you’re more likely to see school uniforms and bizarre outfits.

By day you can explore Shibuya’s trendy boutiques and cool izakayas, a casual Japanese-style pub. By night the sidewalks swell with excited youth and the sounds of DJs playing in glass booths suspended over the streets.

A visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Harajuku Takeshita-dori, a popular street known for wacky shops selling colourful clothes and accessories, and for its fluffy, sweet crepes.

  • Best for: Young travellers or families with teenagers.
  • How to get there: Shibuya Station is a major transportation hub so it is easy to connect to airports or anywhere within Tokyo.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Shibuya Scramble Crossing, Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Omotesando.
  • How long do I need? Half day.
  • Recommended tour: Harajuku – Shibuya Private Walking Tour – See the famous Shibuya crossing and explore the latest shopping spots, cute cafes and some very high-tech sushi.

3. Shinjuku

Shinjuku is the embodiment of everything Tokyo is known for. Expect neon lights, bustling streets, skyscraping entertainment centres, beautiful parks, vending-machine restaurants and mammoth shopping malls.

At night, Shinjuku pulses with the sounds of club music and clinking drinks as restaurants and shops close very late at night. There really is something for everyone with wacky robot cabaret shows, red-light districts and hidden restaurants just waiting to be found.

  • Best for: The thrillseeker.
  • How to get there: Shinjuku is located on top of Tokyo's busiest train station so all roads lead to here.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Free Observatory, Samurai Museum, Shinjuku Golden Gai, Omoide Yokocho.
  • How long do I need? Full day.
  • Recommended tour: Shinjuku and Kabukicho Evening Walking Tour – Wander the neon-lit laneways of Shinjuku and Kabukicho after dark on this two-hour nocturnal adventure. Sample hole-in-the-wall restaurants, take in the quirky bars of the Golden Gai and explore Kabukicho, the famous red-light district.

4. Asakusa

You’ll find lots more locals than foreigners in Asakusa for a taste of traditional Tokyo. If you imagine your time in Tokyo to be filled with Japanese rickshaws and temples, this is the place to be.

In one of the oldest neighborhoods, you’ll find Tokyo’s oldest temple, a maze of little streets, lots of small shops and eateries and the perfect place to soak up Japanese culture.

  • Best for: The off-the-beaten-path traveller.
  • How to get there: Asakusa is a 10-minute ride from Ginza via the metro Ginza line and accessible from the airport by train or bus.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Shopping Street, Tokyo Skytree, Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum.
  • How long do I need? Full day.
  • Recommended tour: Tokyo Asakusa Rickshaw Tour – An informative, customisable rickshaw ride through the Asakusa district including a stop at Sensoji Temple.

5. Odaiba

Odaiba is an entertainment hotspot where you’ll find a giant ferris wheel, amusement arcades, concert halls, heaps of shopping and a larger-than-life robot.

Known mostly for the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica, Odaiba is also chock-full of family-friendly museums, theme parks and fun activities on the bay.

  • Best for: Families or the young at heart.
  • How to get there: An airport transfer or shuttle is your best bet to get here and public transport can be used to get around.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Rainbow Bridge, Fuji TV Building, Gundam Front Tokyo, Legoland Discovery Centre, Toyota Megaweb.
  • How long do I need? Full day.
  • Recommended tour: Explore Odaiba on a Walking Food Tour – Enjoy a day of eating and strolling through Odaiba. Have a relaxing lunch, followed by snacks and desserts while learning about one of the most beautiful places in Tokyo.

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