Things to Do in Tokyo – Sunday Spotlight

Welcome to this weeks edition of the Sunday Spotlight – Things to do in Tokyo.

The Sunday Spotlight series is a collaboration of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and travelers around the web.

We hope these travel tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit Tokyo. If you have already travelled to Tokyo, please share a Tokyo travel tip in the comments down below!

Your First Visit to Tokyo

8 Things to Do on Your First Trip to Tokyo

It’s huge, it can jangle your nerves and it tends to be expensive, but for an experience that feeds all of your senses and leaves you wanting more, go to Tokyo and go now. Here is what Sheila Scarborough recommends for a first-timer’s trip.

Discovering Tokyo with a Volunteer Tour Guide

Tokyo is an exceptionally vast city, with a culture that is embedded with etiquette and rich in history and experiences. Understanding the real Tokyo is indeed difficult to do on your own, and understanding the nuances peculiar to the Japanese way of life is highly challenging, yet ultimately totally rewarding.

Gordon and Paula write about their experiences with a volunteer tour organisation in Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan
Gordon and Paula in Tokyo – credit PlanetD

Tips for a First Trip to Tokyo

Summer Hull visited Japan for the first time and had very little clue as to what she was doing. This post talks about her experiences and how she managed to enjoy her trip despite the language barrier and misunderstandings..

9 Facts About the Most FASCINATING and BIZARRE City in the World

Sabrina Lovino always thought that Tokyo is like a visit to another planet. In this post, she talks about how Japan was even weirder and more bizarre than she ever expected.

Sleeping in a box - Capsule Hotel - Tokyo, Japan
Sleeping in a box at Capsule Hotel – credit m’sieur rico

Tips for exploring Tokyo

Immersive Travel Guide – Exploring Culture In Tokyo

For many, traveling to a big city makes it hard to find the cultural immersion they’re looking for. In between the modern skyscrapers, 5-star hotels and new age fusion restaurants, however, there are traditional experiences to be had. You just need to know where to find them.

A Quick Guide To Harajuku Tokyo

Geneva Vanderzeil realized that she couldn’t possibly explore the whole sprawling city. This post explores her time ‘around Harajuku, the centre of teen culture in Tokyo, which informally stretches between Harajuku Station and Omotesando.

[Related Post]10 day itinerary for Japan [/ybox]

things to do in Tokyo, Japan
crepe shop -credit apairandaspare

Tokyo Shopping Tips – Where Do Local Girls Shop?

Any Tokyo travel guide can help you find where the shopping malls are, but where do local Japanese girls like to shop in Tokyo for Japanese brands? Mimika asked her Japanese friends who live there where they like to shop, and shared the top 3 places recommended for shopping in Tokyo.

5 Alternative Things to Do in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city of extremes. A city with ultra modern skyscrapers that are next to ancient temples. The politest city dwellers anywhere on the planet that also have a strange kinky side to them and traditional restaurants next door to maid cafes. You will see more weird and wonderful things in a day in Tokyo than you would in many other cities combined.

In this post, Karen and Paul shared some of the eclectic things they found during their stay in Tokyo.

Spending Two Perfect Days In Tokyo

Lost in Translation captures both the enthralling allure and mysteriousness of Tokyo for uninitiated Westerners. English signage is sparse, cab drivers many times don’t know where they are going and true to the film’s title, a lot of exchanges do get lost in translation. But however you manage to get around, there’s much to love about the exciting metropolis. Here’s Forbes guide to spending two days in Tokyo in style.

Saving Money on travel in Tokyo

8 Tips for Eating on a Budget in Tokyo

Eating out in Tokyo is affordable if you follow a few basic budget tips and if you know where to look for your next meal. The great thing about Japanese cuisine is that cheap does not necessarily mean unhealthy. For just a few yen you can feast on delicious ramen, udon soup, fresh sushi, noodles, curry and donbori.

places to eat in Tokyo Japan
credit Viator

Getting Around Tokyo on the Cheap and Easy

Christine Ka’aloa knew that visiting Tokyo would be expensive. Some of her friends recommended a budget of $100 per day. She had thought about avoiding Tokyo altogether…or doing a chicken run of something short, like two days.

She turned it into a challenge. In this post, she talks about how she survived on a budget of $30 per day – including accommodation.

20 Ways To Visit Japan On The Cheap

Many traveler’s assume Japan is so expensive as to be out of reach, but times are changing. Japan can still be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 20 tips to help you economize on your trip. Follow them, and you may well have funds left over for a few splurges.

Brilliant articles on Tokyo

Beth, from Besudesu Abroad, has written several comprehensive posts. We recommend reading:

A Beginner’s Guide to the Neighborhoods of Tokyo and what to see there

Instead of thinking of Tokyo as one giant city, it’s almost better to break Tokyo down by its distinct neighborhoods. This will make it a lot easier, and more cost effective, when planning your trip.

Neighbourhoods in Tokyo to visit - Ueno Tokyo, Japan
Ueno – credit Besudesu Abroad

Guide to Accommodation in Japan

Accommodation will likely be one of your largest expenses and Japan offers a wide variety to choose from, so make sure to explore all your options.

Here’s a look at some of the many types of accommodation in Japan, and the general price range for each.

5 Strange Theme Cafes in Tokyo

In a country where a unique culture with often strange trends blends with food, it’s no surprise that unusual themed restaurants are becoming the next big thing. Whether you want to eat amidst giant Gundams, cats, or cutely dressed maids, Tokyo seems to have something for everyone

Beth also has an series of articles about Tokyo Disney that are incredibly informative and useful for those who are struggling to decide what to do and where to stay:

We also recommend her article Is Japan Really That Expensive?

things to do in Tokyo Disney Japan
credit – Besudesuabroad

Visiting Japan with kids

5 tips for visiting Japan with Kids on a Budget

Nicole Avery took her five kids on a holiday to Japan, staying three nights in Tokyo and three nights in Osaka. They were all very excited to be going, but they had some quiet reservations – would the kids eat the food, would we be able to get around without understanding the language, would everything be super expensive?

Japan Rail Passes

If you are staying for longer than a week in Japan and are going to travel  by train between major cities, a Japan rail pass would definitely be the economical way to go. You must buy them before you get to Japan. Check out this site for more information.

More Resources for a trip to Tokyo

Check out these helpful travel guides:

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Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan

Now it’s your turn

We recently decided to bring back our Sunday Spotlight series but wanted to make it even better. We’ve rejigged the old format so posts are organized by categories. We’d love your feedback, we want to make this series better than ever.

What are your favourite things to do in Tokyo?

57 thoughts on “Things to Do in Tokyo – Sunday Spotlight”

  1. This is too good, I will be in Tokyo in 2 days and you have just fed me every resource I need. Really appreciate it, Cheers. P.S look out for my video to come on Tokyo in about a weeks time, thanks again

  2. This is a great resource and I discovered a couple of new travel blogs that I like. I will probably be returning to Tokyo within the next year or two as a close friend plans on getting married there, so have been keeping an eye out for interesting tokyo articles and travel tips.

    As for a Tokyo travel tip of my own, I recommend going on a day trip somewhere from the centre of Tokyo. It’s so easy to do with the efficient train system that goes everywhere. I especially loved visiting Kamakura where there’s a whole complex of Buddhist temples to explore and the Daibatsu (giant buddha statue).

    1. Kamakura is great indeed.
      The Daibutsu (not Daibatsu) is famous and is one of the biggest buddha statues that is placed outside in Japan.
      Another one can be found on Nokogiriyama, a mountain in Chiba. That’s also a nice day trip from Tokyo. 🙂

  3. I am sure that there is no lack of things to do in Tokyo – this looks like a great guide. I’ve never been to Tokyo but it’s definitely on my “must see” list. Along with almost every other place in the world. I’ve got some work to do, haha!

  4. I’ve been to Tokyo a few times as I live in Japan.
    It’s not my favorite place, but certainly something tourists should experience.
    I recommend trying to get a good mix of everything Tokyo has to offer from the electronic and anime home in Akihabara, to the crazy shopping districts of Harajuku and Shibuya, the beautiful nature and things to do for families in Yoyogi Park or Ueno and visiting old shrines and temples e.g. in Asakusa.

    There are several things you can explore as a day trip from Tokyo, e.g. Kamakura, Hakone, Nikko or even Mt. Fuji. 🙂

    In summer many people leave from Shinjuku in Tokyo to climb Mt. Fuji – all the more since it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year.

    1. Yeah, I’m sure there are many amazing places in Japan. The more I read about it and hear from others the more I want to visit. Tokyo looks insane though, in a good way 🙂

  5. Great collection guys! I am planning a trip to Tokyo in October, so all these awesome links are bookmarked! Can’t wait to read them all and pick the coolest things to do. Just have to wait for a decent priced ticket….

    I want to mention http://tokyocheapo.com. So many great ideas and all for a smaller budget.

    1. Hopefully Craig won’t mind me answering this!

      Honestly, people complain that Japan is incredibly expensive– and it is, when compared to the rest of Asia.

      Otherwise, Tokyo is no more expensive than traveling around London, Paris, New York or any other big-name city.

  6. Thanks for featuring me guys! Japan is absolutely my favorite country, and even though I’ve spent a good deal of time there, I’m excited to hopefully be moving back next year.

    I absolutely love reading about Tokyo, so I’ve been checking out some of these other great articles you’ve posted. All really great resources!

  7. Great round up of Tokyo resources! I absolutely loved Tokyo. One great tip I have to add is to hit the Tsukiji Fish Market– try to catch the 5 a.m. live tuna auction.

    The only problem is that unless you’re lucky enough to be staying right in downtown Tokyo (which is crazy expensive) getting to the market for the early morning auction is tricky– trains don’t start up again for hours and a cab ride (even within Tokyo) might be $200 US.

    So the best thing to do is dump off your bags at your hotel on arrival, then hit downtown Tokyo while the trains are still running and stay out all night (you’ll be jet lagged anyway so you won’t know the difference). After the auction, join the crowds for a 6 a.m. sushi breakfast at the market– it will be the best sushi you’ve ever had (I recommend the tuna belly). I didn’t think we could pull it off but it turned out to be a memorable night and actually a pretty common thing to do (everyone else we met at the market had done the same thing).

      1. Who has time to sleep? : )
        No, I mean keep going as long as possible the next day! I think we did some sightseeing, made it until mid-afternoon then crashed out.

  8. Well, I must admit that Tokyo is not one of my dream destinations, but I guess it’s interesting if explored nicely. Thanks for sharing so many tips and insights.

  9. Awesome post, Craig and thanks for the inclusion. But I wish you put this guide together before I left. ha ha. Lots of wonderful links in here- you’ve easily distracted the start of my morning with reading about Tokyo.

  10. Such a great resource! Tokyo (and Japan in general) is the first destination on my trip starting in October – so much great info and tips for this here!

  11. Craig, thanks for putting together a great collection of articles about Japan. I have recently been doing some research into Japan as a trip option for my family so this collection is very timely.

  12. Going to Tokyo was amazing, it was the time when I really felt so far from home, but in a good way. Totally new culture and I just fell in love with Asia! It made me realise how small the world can be and how achievable those dreams of travel can be! Not to mention the craziness that is Tokyo itself! 🙂

  13. It’s a bizarre World, like not even from this planet… Staggering shocking high prices, though. I was on budget and I could barely move, it was so expensive.
    I think many things have changed since I was there in 1999.
    But Tokyo had me lost in there… from Shibuya to Akihabara I explored as much as I could.

  14. Tokyo is indeed a huge city. There are so many things to do in Tokyo that it is impossible to do it in only one or two weeks.
    Seeing the picture of the capsule hotel reminds me my first trip in Japan. Most of the people I know are pretty afraid to sleep in a 1x1x2m box. But it was actually totally fine. I actually really enjoyed the night in a capsule hotel. Anything needed was there. Capsule was big enough to be comfortable.

    Thank you for the really nice post that reminded me my first time in Tokyo.

  15. I’m off to Japan in November so this is very useful. Will be bookmarking all these pages for use closer to the time. Thank you.

  16. Even though I have been to Japan before there are some useful tips in here.
    I didn’t know about the voluntary tour guides. But that is an awesome thing 🙂 When I was in South Korea I encountered some voluntary tour guides and exploring some of Soeul’s sites with them was a lot of fun and interesting. I should try it again in Japan 🙂
    Btw, for people who are interested in reading about my journey in Japan, feel free to visit my blog! http://beautifultravelhangover.blogspot.nl
    If you have any questions about traveling in Japan, you can always contact me 🙂

  17. Hi Craig! Thank you for sharing these great Tokyo travel tips. I have to agree that eating out in Tokyo need not to be expensive. Local fast food chains like Matsuya beef bowls are cheap (starting at USD4), of very decent quality and are very filling.

    I love the massive public parks in Tokyo especially during the cherry blossom season – Ueno, Shinjuku Gyoen, Yoyogi and the East Gardens of Imperial Palace. These are great places to experience hanami picnics. 🙂

  18. Thanks for the blog. I heard Japan is one of the place to go for a tour. I guess I got some useful information about japan tour.

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