What to do in Tokyo – Final Information!!

Welcome to the RecipeTin Eats final Tokyo journey information! What to do in Tokyo, the place to remain, what to eat, getting round!

Born in Japan, raised in Australia, Sydney is our hometown, however Tokyo is our playground. This journey information is a end result of a lifetime of travelling to Tokyo, condensed into one place!

Ultimate Tokyo Travel Guide - What to do in Tokyo, what to eat, where to stay

This Tokyo Journey Information is a collaborative effort by the entire RecipeTin Household. After years – many years(!) – of emailing journey info to pals, we’ve lastly documented it correctly!

How you can use this Tokyo Journey Information

  1. Begin on this web page for an outline and to information you thru planning and helpful sources on your Tokyo journey contained on this Tokyo Journey Information
  2. Get impressed by studying Why we love Tokyo – and why you’ll too!
  3. Tokyo Area Guides – fast hyperlinks to particular person space guides equivalent to Shinjuku, Asakusa and so on. You’ll discover our suggestions for what to do, what to eat and the place to eat it, together with maps
  4. FOODIES! Go straight to our Top 10 Tokyo Foods put up, plus you’ll discover high meals and restaurant suggestions in every of the Tokyo areas we cowl
  5. What to Do in Tokyo – our Prime 12 suggestions (we tried for 10, however simply couldn’t do it…)

Questions on travelling to Tokyo? Go away them within the feedback beneath or any of the opposite Tokyo Journey Information posts, and both myself or another person in my household will do our greatest to assist!

Shinjuku Bar Alley

Tokyo Journey Information – Contents


What to do in Tokyo – particular person Space Guides

Fast hyperlinks to separate pages for particular person Space Guides for the predominant areas of curiosity for guests to Tokyo. Every of those incorporates: what to do, our advisable highlights, learn how to get there, map, what to eat and the place to eat it!

Asakusa  /  Shinjuku  /  Shibuya  /  Harajuku  / Tokyo Station  / Imperial Palace / Ginza  / Ueno / Akihabara


About this Tokyo Journey Information

This isn’t a 500 web page information ebook that can take you days to trawl by way of. It’s not aimless waffle from a one-time-Tokyo customer.

This can be a condensed, to-the-point journey information containing must-know info and insider suggestions for the very best locations to go and EAT in Tokyo!!

My household moved from Tokyo to Sydney in 1980, however we’ve been visiting Tokyo virtually yearly. So we all know Tokyo very, VERY effectively…. Primarily, this information is a structured type of emails we have now despatched to dozens of pals through the years asking for journey suggestions and recommendation!

I hope you discover it helpful!

– Nagi x

Ueno Park (Ueno Koen) during cherry blossom season

Why we love Tokyo

We’re completely biased, however listed here are the highest 10 the explanation why we love Tokyo- and why you’ll adore it too!

  1. Robust respect for custom, but amazingly artistic and leading edge with stuff occurring in every single place you look;
  2. Equivalent to a large metropolis you might discover it eternally discovering one thing new each day….
  3. ….but there are distinct neighbourhoods with their very own character or well-known for one thing;
  4. The Japanese quirkiness … arduous to elucidate and makes you chuckle or OMG;
  5. Foodie paradise – so many eating places, unimaginable high quality throughout the board, nice meals in every single place and by no means distant;
  6. We love you can eat in a three Michelin restaurant and eat $1 yakitori in a grubby shack and each experiences are wonderful and memorable in their very own manner;
  7. Crime is nearly non-existent. Tokyo is THE safest city in the world;
  8. Practice system is greatest on the earth with insane to-the-second punctuality;
  9. Love how clear and environment friendly every part is;
  10. Regardless of big metropolis with so many individuals, everyone is well mannered, respects each other and follows guidelines.

Sushi Kyubey

What to do in Tokyo

It’s not about discovering stuff to do, it’s determining WHAT to do – as a result of there’s so many choices! Right here’s our Prime 12 for first time guests to Tokyo (in no specific order!):

  1. GRUNGE DINING with locals in alleys – Tokyo boasts virtually as many Michelin stars as London, Paris and New York mixed, however a few of the greatest and most authentically Tokyo consuming experiences are down on the low finish of city – slender alley methods in tiny, scruffy eating places, sitting aspect by aspect with unpretentious locals, chewing on yakitori, bowls of stew and washing all of it down with low cost beer. Our picks: Yakitori Alley in Shinjuku and Gādo-shita in Ginza. Additionally, simply usually gorge your self on as a lot Japanese meals as you’ll be able to – right here’s our Top 10 Tokyo Food List!
  2. TEMPLE – Go to no less than one main temple, to see and perceive how deep Japanese respect for custom runs regardless of all of the flashy trappings of recent Tokyo. Meiji Shrine in Shibuya is our high decide.
  3. ASAKUSA – Go to Asakusa for old-world Tokyo allure to walk down Nakamise procuring road with its vibrant stalls resulting in the well-known Sensoji temple;
  4. SHIBUYA CROSSING in Shibuya – A microcosm of Tokyo life, watching this big intersection surrounded by large procuring centres actually drills house what an intensely shopper society Tokyo is, how many individuals stay right here, and the way amazingly effectively they handle to co-exist in such a civilised method;
  5. TSUKIJI fish market – Whereas the wholesale market has moved away from the unique location, the unique Outer Market retail space stays and retains a lot of its authentic character. Information coming tomorrow!
  6. AKIHABARAWhereas it’s misplaced its edge as electronics vanguard wonderland, the booming anime and J-Pop geek scene has greater than made for it and it’s nonetheless one of the distinctive locations in Tokyo to get a dose of Japanese popular culture obsession.
  7. SHINJUKU – A metropolis inside a metropolis, the sheer scale of the place must be seen to be believed. You’ll get Misplaced In Shinjuku earlier than you ever get Misplaced In Translation 😂 .
  8. HARAJUKU – the strange of Tokyo popular culture! Loopy outfits, wild vogue!
  9. JAPANESE SPORT – Watch a Japanese sporting event: Sumo is our high decide, the traditions and sheer obscurity of the game an attraction in itself. Baseball and soccer are different common sports activities, and Japanese followers have a novel manner of barracking for his or her favorite workforce!
  10. CHERRY BLOSSOMS – Go to in cherry blossom season, should you can. The climate is warming, cherry blossom bushes bloom all around the metropolis, town’s temper is cheerful and it’s all spherical spectacular! Verify this website for the 2020 Cherry Blossom timing forecast in January 2020, the blooming time modifications every year and it solely goes for two weeks! 
  11. PANORAMIC TOKYO – Whether or not you select Tokyo Skytree or the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, you’ll by no means actually get the sense of the vastness of this metropolis till you see it a from a signficant top.
  12. HIGH END DINING – We’re restricted specialists on this space however have been to sufficient high finish Japanese eating places to know that the cash you drop is value it. The pursuit of perfection is a Japanese very best that manifests itself in virtually each facet of Japanese tradition and eating isn’t any exception. Go no less than as soon as to a spot that will damage your pockets for a short time however will go away you with reminiscences of an unimaginable meal for a lifetime. Right here’s a list of the Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo.

Asakusa Temple - Senso-ji Buddhist temple

Tokyo Space Guides

Right here’s a listing of the Space Guides we’ve created, protecting the preferred vacationer areas in Tokyo. These guides cowl: what to do and our favorite locations to eat, together with maps!

  • Asakusa – a contact of conventional with a big shrine and a road full of vibrant stalls
  • Shinjuku – it’s a mini Tokyo… it’s acquired every part! 
  • Shibuya – that is the place the younger and hip of Tokyo play. Implausible locations to eat and drink, terrific vibe!
  • Harajuku – whenever you suppose Japan and loopy vogue, you’re pondering of Harajuku. Gotta see it to imagine it!
  • Tokyo Station Area & Imperial Palace – stunning park, huge underground maze of outlets & eating places to get misplaced in, together with the well-known underground Ramen Avenue
  • Ginza – the glitz and glamour of ritzy Tokyo procuring, with a aspect of rustic izakayas we love!
  • Ueno – a transport hub, character crammed streets and a vibrant market, additionally house to a big park that is without doubt one of the hottest Cherry Blossom viewing spots!
  • Akihabara – Electrical City!
  • Tsukiji Fish Markets – coming quickly

Asakusa Shopping - Nakamise shopping street

Finest Meals in Tokyo

We’ve put collectively our Ultimate Top 10 MUST TRY Foods in Tokyo. That is the one hardest put up I’ve ever labored on since I began this web site – selecting simply 10 was close to unimaginable, however after a lot bickering and squabbling amongst RecipeTin Members of the family, we lastly settled on a listing.

Whilst you is perhaps acquainted with many of the dishes, there is perhaps some that shock you – so see the complete Top 10 Tokyo Food post for extra in regards to the meals, why it made out Prime 10 and most significantly, the very best restaurant to go to strive them!

  1. Sushi
  2. Ramen
  3. Japanese Curry
  4. Yakitori
  5. Wagyu Beef
  6. Tonkatsu
  7. Soba
  8. Tempura
  9. Unagi
  10. Yoshoku


Every Space Information (see above) additionally incorporates a listing of the very best meals to strive in that space, together with particulars of outlets to strive them at.

TIPS for locating (and ordering) nice meals in Tokyo:

  • It’s truly arduous to search out unhealthy meals in Tokyo!
  • For those who see traces, that’s all the time a superb signal……
  • No English on the menus? Order off the plastic shows out the entrance of the shop. Simply level!
  • Determined for one thing to eat? Head straight to a 7-Eleven. Seize one thing prepared comprised of the fridge, or one thing sizzling from the counter. We child you not. It’s low cost – and loopy tasty.

Overhead photo of Ramen in Tokyo Japan

The place to Keep in Tokyo

That is the simple to elucidate recommendation I give my pals about selecting the place to remain in Tokyo:

  • Nice all rounder locations to remain – Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, Ueno (marked * beneath) are good all-rounder locations to remain, in that there’s a fantastic road vibe, loads of locations to eat, drink and store with a number of individuals out and about. I’d fortunately keep in any of these locations!
  • Night time life – Keep in Shinjuku or Shibuya if you wish to get out and expertise the evening lifetime of Tokyo;
  • Tradition, somewhat extra old-school Tokyo character – Asakusa or Ueno;
  • 1 evening in Tokyo – Ueno is our location of alternative if we’re simply staying for 1 evening, enroute to some other place (it’s a transport hub, however value visiting anyway!); and
  • Luxurious procuring – Ginza (our pockets aren’t deep sufficient so this isn’t for us 😂)

Selecting an space to remain

Broadly talking, the principle areas you’ll want to go to are situated as follows:

When you’ve got particular stuff you wish to spend extra time at, or scheduled occasions, then keep close to these areas.

For those who don’t have particular locations you need or should be, my recommendation is to not get too hung up about the place to remain! Keep in mind, it’s very easy to get round Tokyo by prepare. To offer issues a little bit of context, Shinjuku and Asakusa are the 2 factors farthest aside, and it takes 40 minutes by prepare.  so don’t get too hung about the place to remain!

Discovering a Lodge

By way of precisely which resort to remain at, we aren’t loyal to any resort. We use or, we go by worth and ranking (all the time in search of reductions!), and scan the evaluations. Tokyo is such a dense metropolis, and particularly the suburbs coated on this journey information, any resort you keep at goes to have loads of issues to do, see and eat inside strolling distance.

It’s additionally the explanation we’ve particularly excluded some suburbs (like Tokyo Station, Maranouchi) from our advisable locations to remain – as a result of it requires a bit extra analysis and judgement for selecting a resort to make sure you don’t find yourself staying in (for instance) a enterprise district which lacks character.

Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo Kyobashi

Getting Round Tokyo

  • Finest manner – by prepare. An in depth community and the service is the greatest on the earth. Punctual, clear, and you will get wherever that you must go!
  • Buses and taxis are additionally an choice, however site visitors is heavy and language barrier barely tougher
  • Taxis are clear, the service is meticulous and comparatively good worth (cheaper than Sydney, that’s for certain!). Talk by displaying the motive force the tackle of the place you wish to go.

Simplest way to make use of Tokyo Trains & Subways

The 2 main prepare / subway traces in Tokyo are:

Although these maps are helpful to get a lay of the land, the easiest way to determine which trains to catch in Tokyo is to make use of Google Maps.

It’s because the Tokyo prepare and subway networks are owned by a number of operators, which suggests there is no such thing as a single supply by way of which you’ll see which trains to take to get from A to B.

As of the date of writing, we aren’t conscious of any app or related (together with from official Japanese tourism and transport organisations) that offers clear, easy and correct outcomes as Google Maps.

Belief us. Google maps is the best and most correct!

How you can use Google Maps to determine what Tokyo Trains to catch

  • Open Google Maps in your laptop or cell phone
  • Sort in your beginning tackle and the place you wish to get to
  • Hit enter, then when the outcomes come up, choose the prepare icon and it’ll show what traces to catch


I typed in “Asakusa to Shinjuku”, clicked on the prepare icon and it tells me precisely the place I have to stroll and what traces to catch (indicated with color coding).

Google Maps Tokyo Train example

Tokyo Japan Travel Information - header

Travelling to Tokyo: The sensible stuff

I do know journey practicalities isn’t as thrilling as issues to do and EAT in Tokyo, however I get a number of questions on these items so I although it will be helpful to share a few of the key info!

How you can get to Tokyo from the airport

You’ll fly into certainly one of two worldwide airports – Narita (1 hr from Tokyo by prepare) or Haneda airport (30 minutes to Tokyo).

Catch the prepare/monorail into Tokyo – simply comply with the indicators (it’s straightforward). Extra info for getting from the airport into Tokyo: here for Haneda and here for Narita.

Language / English

The first language in Japan is Japanese. Some store assistants and waitresses in vacationer areas might converse some English, however don’t assume they may.

Nevertheless, it’s very straightforward to journey round the principle vacationer areas of Tokyo, with indicators in each Japanese and English on transport (airport, trains, buses), in lots of shops and on menus. Belief me, you’ll be high quality! (PS I can’t learn or write Japanese….and am not that good at talking it😔, and I get round simply high quality)

Tokyo in Autumn
Tokyo in Autumn – beautiful crimson and yellow in every single place!

Finest time to go to Tokyo

Tokyo is nice to go to in Spring, Autumn and Winter, for various causes:

  • Spring (Mar – Might) – for cherry blossom season. Benefit from the festivities and the gentle climate (not too cool, not too heat!)
  • Autumn (Sep – Nov) – the spectacular crimson and orange colors of Tokyo in autumn is a sight to see! Once more, gentle climate.
  • Winter (Dec – Feb) – for New Years’ festivities (a very powerful vacation of the 12 months) and to take pleasure in close by ski fields for powder snow! It’s chilly, nevertheless it hardly ever snows in Tokyo.

We select to keep away from summer season just because it’s so sizzling and humid! Tokyo is a concrete jungle and even lengthy after the solar units, the warmth from the buildings makes it really feel such as you’re baking in an oven!!

Cell phones

In earlier years, it was not potential to make use of worldwide cellphones in Japan as a consequence of differing applied sciences. These days, it’s potential and cell phone service suppliers supply Worldwide roaming companies (ie use your cell phone in Japan with out altering your SIM card).

I’m in Australia on the Vodafone community and for an additional $5 per day, I can use the plan I’m on right here in Japan – this consists of calls, texts and web information. For comfort, I exploit this.

Different choices embrace renting a cellular and/or getting a Japanese SIM card – see here for extra info


As famous above, my world roaming plan permits me to make use of information in Japan which suggests I can use the web on my telephone in Japan, similar to I do in Australia.

Nevertheless, should you favor to not use information (which may be costly if on a pay-as-you-use foundation!), most cafes, eating places and public areas (eg airport, monorail from Haneda airport to Tokyo) have free wifi.

An alternate is to hire a cellular private wifi (pocket wifi) to which you’ll join your telephone wirelessly. That is what we used to do till moderately priced world roaming plans turned accessible in Australia. See here for extra details about renting pocket wifis.

Security – Is Japan protected?

Tokyo has been rated because the safest city in the world for the 3rd year in a row. For a metropolis of this measurement to have nearly no crime is astonishing!

It’s so protected in Tokyo, you’ll be able to stroll round wherever even at evening, by your self. We truthfully can’t consider any no-go zones, although clearly we suggest you train affordable warning and keep away from issues like strolling in darkish parks by your self at 2 am within the morning!

Japanese yen

Japanese foreign money

The Japanese foreign money is YEN. Right here is the present alternate fee for some currencies:


How you can get money in Tokyo

Most ATM machines in Tokyo don’t enable overseas issued playing cards to withdraw money. However you can get money out at:

  • ATM machines in most 7-Eleven comfort shops which are actually in every single place throughout Tokyo
  • ATM machines in Publish places of work

Bank cards are accepted in giant shops however smaller shops and markets favor or require money.

Is Japan Costly?

I really like this query – I get requested it quite a bit! My reply is that this:

Tokyo lodging is costly however meals is reasonable!

Price of Lodging in Tokyo

Lodging in the principle touristy areas in good places is sort of dear, similar to different main cities of the world like New York, London and Paris. Very (very!) small resort rooms beginning at round $130 per evening.

For a good measurement resort room in a four star resort in a superb location (eg close to Tokyo Station), count on to pay round $300 – $350 per evening.

You can get significantly better worth lodging for round $100 per evening, nevertheless it received’t be proper close to the station for one of many predominant vacationer areas. However that doesn’t matter! As a result of trains are SO GOOD in Tokyo!

Meals is CHEAP!!

Positive there’s the highest finish high quality eating in Tokyo, however you can even get actually CHEAP meals. You might eat three actually scrumptious, properJapanese meals and have a few beers for $20 a day.

For those who knew had been to go, you possibly can in all probability get away with round $12 a day…. Curious to know what you’d get for that? 🙂

Electrical energy and energy plugs

The voltage in Japan is 100 volts which is completely different to most nations on the earth. Nevertheless trendy electrical units you’ll be travelling with are designed to deal with a spread of voltages so you shouldn’t have any concern. Nevertheless it’s greatest to all the time verify your gadget or energy pack.

The Japanese plug and energy sockets sort is identical as the USA, ie. two flat prongs. Guests from the US can use their plugs as-is in Japanese sockets.

In case your nation doesn’t use this model of plug, you will have an adapter. For those who overlook to select one up earlier than you allow house, you should buy one simply in Tokyo. Strive one the bigger electronics retailers equivalent to Yodobashi Digicam, Yamada Denki or Bic Digicam, who’ve branches across the metropolis.


Residents of any of the 50 countries listed here don’t want a visa to enter Japan as a vacationer for brief stays (normally as much as 90 days). This consists of: Australia, NZ, US, Canada, UK.

For those who do want a visa, contact the Embassy or Consulate Basic of Japan in your nation to search out out the visa necessities.

Phew! That’s it for now.

Little question I’ve forgotten some issues – so should you’ve acquired any questions, go away them beneath and we will preserve constructing on this information primarily based on what you wish to know!

For these of you fortunate sufficient to be planning a visit to Japan, I hope you take pleasure in your time there and adore it as a lot as we do!

And should you aren’t – don’t fear! You’ll be able to nonetheless convey the style of Japan into your individual house utilizing my mom’s genuine Japanese house cooking recipes on her web site, RecipeTin Japan. Have a browse of her Popular Recipes collection which is full of all of your favourites, from Teriyaki Chicken to Tonkatsu and Ramen!

– Nagi x

Questions on travelling to Tokyo? 

Go away them within the feedback part beneath, and both myself or somebody within the RecipeTin Household will strive that will help you out!

Lifetime of Dozer

It may not be a recipe in the present day, however that’s no excuse to go away Dozer out!

Right here he’s in somewhat outfit I introduced again from Japan final 12 months…👘 I feel all that polyester is making him HOT!!! 😂

Dozer kimono from Japan Tokyo Harajuku - cute dog outfit


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