Tokyo is one of my favourite cities to date. If you’re looking for the best things to see and do in Tokyo, this is the post for you! Something about the hustle and bustle which contrasts the peaceful attitudes and green spaces, combined with the pull of Japanese culture, amazing food and, of course, endless cups of matcha, left me wanting so much more the last time I visited. And I promise you, when you go, you’ll want to return again too.
It’s an adventure playground for every kind of traveller. Festivals, nature, day trips, architecture, culinary delights… Tokyo has it all within arm’s reach. If you want to visit this incredible city but have no idea where to start, I’ve put together a bucket list of highlights, including both things I did on my last trip, and things I want to do when I next go.
Cherry blossom season only lasts a couple of weeks at the end of March-beginning of April, but it’s absolutely stunning and worth booking a trip to see the sea of pink flowers across the city. However the season is unpredictable (these dates are averages) so it’s often luck as to whether your trip coincides with the season or not. Chidori-ga-fuchi (the Imperial Palace Area), Sumida-gawa River and Ueno Park are great places to see the cherry trees in full bloom.
Ultra music festival has taken the world by storm! Now taking place in over 20 countries, this electronic music festival has three stages and takes place over three days. One of the most ‘instagrammable’ corners of Tokyo lies on Takeshita Street and the surrounding streets of Harajuku. You’ll spot the colours, the candy floss and the shops a mile off. I loved Harajuku, it’s exactly as I imagined and just full of life. There are rainbow coloured offerings in abundance, be it clothing, candy floss, crepes, ice creams or ramen. I challenge you to not get a snap for the ‘gram.
Tokyo has a stunning skyline, particularly at night when it is lit up. You can see the cityscape for free from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, near Shinjuku Station. Take a day trip to Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko). The lakes are incredible, providing not only a break from the city crowds but also giving you the best views of Mt Fuji itself! If you fancied climbing Mt Fuji, climbing season is June to September. It’s recommended to reach the summit across two days, and then another one or two to climb back down.
Escape the concrete jungle in one of Tokyo’s parks or traditional gardens. Tokyo is an amazing city, but when it gets too much, the green spaces are the perfect place to take a step back. If you’re able to, visiting in every season means that you get to see the parks and gardens in all their glory. Cherry blossom season is very different to autumn leaves season; winter is different to spring. But, all the seasons are equally stunning.
Spend a night in a traditional ryokan. Soak up the classic Japanese cuisine, cultures and traditions in this eastern ‘inn’. They’ve been around for centuries, and Tokyo is home to quite a few! Ito Ryokan is one of the more traditional ones in the city centre, but there are also some ryokan that marry Japanese traditions with luxury and western amenities, if you prefer something more modern. Marvel at Tokyo’s countless temples. Senso-ji temple is one of the most well-known temples in the city, but you’ll run into Buddhist temples and shrines all over Tokyo.
Explore a world or artwork without boundaries at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum by art collective teamLab Borderless. TeamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. Artworks move out of rooms, communicate with other works, influence, and sometimes intermingle with each other with no boundaries. Immerse your body in borderless art in this vast, complex, three-dimensional 10,000 square meter world. Wander, explore with intention, discover, and create a new world with others.