Things to do in Tokyo and event guide for 2021

Experience the never-ending excitement of this vibrant, stylish and entertaining capital.

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Tokyo is a delight of conservative old-world culture fitting perfectly into a modern, futuristic metropolis. Serene gardens coexist with lively sumo tournaments, while Mt Fuji creates a stunning backdrop for exploring the city.

In one day, you can start the morning off with sushi for breakfast at the largest fish market in the world and finish it with a food tour with a local guide. Here are the top things to see and do when you're in Tokyo.

Top things to do in Tokyo

1. Explore the cherry blossom spots

Marking the beginning of spring, the sukura, or cherry blossoms, are often what you first think of when you're planning a visit to Japan. "Hamani" is the ancient and popular practice of having a picnic under a blooming cherry blossom tree and it's a great Japanese custom to try out. Take a tour to visit the cherry blossoms in prime locations and learn about cherry blossom season with your guide.

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2. See Mt Fuji up close

Standing at 3,776 metres, you can actually view Japan's highest mountain from Tokyo on a clear day. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed site can be visited in one day with a bus tour. This fun day trip can include stops at iconic spots including Arakurayama Sengen Park, Kawaguchi Lake and Oishi Park.

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3. Enjoy a magical adventure at Disneyland Tokyo

Meet all of your favourite Disney characters at Disneyland and DisneySea Tokyo. The world-famous theme park offers a wide variety of entertainment ranging from rides like Space Mountain and shows, to the parade and fireworks at the end of the night.

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Fun things to do in Tokyo

4. See all the action at Tsukiji Fish Market

The busiest and largest fish market in the world can seem like a strange destination for a tourist. Add in a 4:30am wake-up and you've got the opposite of a relaxing day. You'll change your tune when you arrive and experience the lively tuna auction first-hand.

Once all of the action has died down, stop by the restaurant section for a sushi breakfast with the freshest fish you'll ever have. If you'd rather have a sleep-in and time to explore with a local guide, try out a tour that includes lunch instead.

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5. Visit the tallest building in Tokyo

Head to Tokyo Skytree to witness views of Tokyo Metropolitan, Tokyo Bay and Mt Fuji. The building has a neo-futuristic design, with 360-degree views. You can choose to see the views from the 250-metre observation deck or the 450-metre Tembo Gallery, which is the world's largest skywalk with a sloping spiral ramp.

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6. Get up close to sumo wrestlers

There are a few different varieties of wrestling all around the world, but sumo wrestling is definitely up there as one of the most unique forms. You can experience sumo a few ways while in Tokyo, but if you get the chance, attending an official tournament is a true highlight.

Take in the electric atmosphere at Ryogkoku, the prime area for sumo wrestling, for the Grand Sumo Tournament. For a more immersive experience, embark on a one-of-a-kind walking tour through the streets of the city with a veteran sumo wrestler, where you'll get a glimpse into the life, hardships and training that sumo wrestlers go through. Throughout the tour, you'll also be taken to historical landmarks including Senso-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo.

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Unusual things to do in Tokyo

7. Visit the Robot Restaurant

Explore a new world of entertainment by experiencing the Robot Restaurant show. As the name suggests, you'll witness a show of glittering robots and flash dancers among bright multi-coloured lights and a high-tech laser display. It's an experience you're unlikely to forget, with exhilarating dances and music unlike anything you've seen before.

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8. Experience life as a geisha

A geisha is a Japanese entertainer who acts as a hostess for events. When in Tokyo, you can learn the secrets of life as a geisha by watching a traditional performance and even have one accompany you for dinner. This is a great cultural experience that allows visitors to Tokyo to understand the hard work that goes into the unique profession.

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9. Explore anime and manga culture

Head to Tokyo's centre of anime and manga, where your guide will give you insight about the popular culture in Japan and take you to a cosplay maid cafe.

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Things to do in Tokyo with kids

10. Embrace the world of Hello Kitty

Meet all of your favourite Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, at Sanrio Puroland. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the wide range of rides, shows, unique gift shops and photo opportunities with the characters at the indoor theme park. Explore Hello Kitty's house, which features portraits of her family and displays her purses and jewellery.

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11. Let your imagination run wild at Legoland

Imagine having a massive playground filled with Lego right before your eyes. Both kids and adults will have an absolute stellar day putting together building blocks and taking a turn on Legoland's three amusement rides. Test out your Lego building skills by putting together your own city in the Lego City Builder, be fascinated by the world's capitals displayed in miniature form in Miniland and take a tour of the factory.

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12. Enjoy a day of non-stop thrill at Fuji-Q Highland

Get access to all of the rides and entertainment at Fuji-Q Highland, which is home to roller-coasters that will get your heart racing, with views of Mt Fuji in the background. There are rides ranging from child-friendly to thrilling adventures, so the whole family will find something they enjoy. You have the convenience of booking a half-day or full-day pass to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

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Things to do in Tokyo at night

13. Discover installations at teamLab Planets

Stimulate all five senses at the teamLab Planets immersive art exhibition. The space covers over 10,000 square metres and you'll find installations with an array of lights, sound and materials.

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14. See the sights at night from on board a cruise

Hop on board a relaxing night cruise that will take you around Tokyo Bay. You'll be able to spot attractions like the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Rainbow Bridge. Enjoy drinks, dancing and performances as you mingle among your group, or take the opportunity to meet other travellers.

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15. Eat your way through Tokyo

Taste iconic Japanese cuisine in the places it originated with a night food tour. A guide will take you to the best spots so you can delve into the city's food scene, as your tour guide explains the history behind the food you're digging into. Stroll through Ginza and taste the local confectionery before concluding the end of the tour with your guide giving you the best restaurant and cafe recommendations.

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Free things to do in Tokyo

16. Relax in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Spanning over 57 hectares, this urban oasis is a relaxing spot for a stroll or picnic. There are three distinct landscaping styles to explore, including the Japanese Traditional Garden, French Formal Garden and English Landscape Garden. You can spend hours taking in the gardens, having lunch in the restaurant or sipping on a matcha latte in the tea house. The beauty of the gardens is an impressive contrast to the modern buildings of Tokyo in the background.

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17. Learn all about Tokyo’s history through the ages

Tokyo is filled with interesting and quirky museums, but a visit to Tokyo National Museum is the perfect way to start off your trip in the city. Housing an extensive collection of artworks from Japan and around Asia, the museum is well worth at least half a day.

During a visit, you can really start to understand the evolution of art and culture in Japan. Special exhibits touch on different aspects of the Japanese experience, including Japanese architecture, archaeology and national treasures.

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Seasonal events in Tokyo

Things to do in Tokyo in summer

  • Tanabata (Star Festival)
  • Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Display)
  • Hozuki Ichi (Ground Cherry Pod Fair)

Things to do in Tokyo in winter

  • Winter Solstice Festival
  • Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)
  • Dezomeshiki (New Year's Parade of Firemen)

Things to do in Tokyo in autumn

  • Ultra Japan
  • Tokyo Game Show
  • Fashion's Night Out
  • Autumn Rose Festival

Things to do in Tokyo in spring

  • Ultra Japan
  • Tokyo Game Show
  • Fashion's Night Out
  • Autumn Rose Festival

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