Back in 2010 I was so lucky to travel to Tokyo, a place I'd never thought I'd get to visit. My husband was working over there and so I flew over too and spent most of the time wandering around with my camera and guidebook trying to see as much of Tokyo as possible. Its an incredible place. We travelled there in August which was a very warm and humid time to visit. I would love to go back one day during Cherry Blossom season (March/April) which looks truly incredible. I wanted to share my favourite things to do in Tokyo on the blog. Even though my snaps are from 2010, all the info in the post is up to date for 2017.
Tokyo is packed with such diverse experiences and places; from the bright neon lights of Shibuya crossing to the peace and quiet of the many shrines and temples you'll find all over the city. I sought out some of the smaller lesser known shrines and I'd definitely recommend this, but included in my top 10 are the larger well know ones. These are larger and more impressive, but of course this means they are busier. I've also included some of the very touristy places to visit like Disneyland and Tokyo Tower as they are well worth a visit.
So here's my Ten Things to Do in Tokyo
Things to do in Tokyo - ONE
Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing is most definitely one of Tokyo's most iconic places. This multi intersection crossing just outside Shibuya station is a real sight when all lights turn red and the crossing floods with people. You can get a brilliant view of the crossing above from inside Starbucks if you fancy a coffee and a view. You'll also find a huge range of shops and food places in Shibuya. Shibuya is a massive shopping destination as well as a popular nightlife area so definitely worth a wander at night too.
Things to do in Tokyo -TWO
Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya Tokyo
Also in Shibuya is the Shinto Shrine Meiji Jingu. As you enter you'll see the impressive Torii (gates) and this leads to the shrine buildings. Sights to watch out for are the Prayer walls covered in handwritten prayers left by visitors and the brightly coloured barrel wall which features rows of sake barrels donated to the shrine.
The shrine is nestled in a huge forest area and really is so peaceful and tranquil.
Things to do in Tokyo - Three
Hamarikyu Gardens, Imperial Palace Garden Tokyo and fountains
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Tokyo. We visited the Hamarikyu Gardens which had the most beautiful orange flowers in sharp contrast to the glass skyscrapers behind. Completely free to wander you'll find a tea room in the middle of the pond. Another garden to visit is the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Located in Chiyoda ward once again its completely free to wander and you'll be able to spot lots of palace architecture as well as plenty of grass to sit out on if the day is sunny.
Also keep your eyes out for Tokyo's fountains and water features. I stumbled upon the amazing Wadakura Fountain Park on my wanderings one day and I'm so glad I did. It was not only impressive but the sound of water was so soothing that lots of people were just sat relaxing to the sound. Very tranquil.
Things to do in Tokyo - Four
SENSO JI temple, Asakusa TOKYO
Another incredible place to visit is Senso-ji. Located in Asakusa it is the oldest temple in Tokyo.
The first entrance gate of the temple features a huge paper lantern. Its called the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate and beyond the Kaminarimon is the Hōzōmon or "Treasure House Gate" which also houses a huge lantern as well as the incredible black and gold lanterns either side. This place attracts a huge amount of visitors and around the temple you'll find traditional shops and food places. Nakamise-Dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling souvenirs too.
Things to do in Tokyo - Five
Tokyo Disneyland has been in Tokyo since 1983 and has the third largest Cinderella's castle from all the Disneyland Parks around the world. At the park you'll find seven lands; World Bazaar, Tomorrowland, Toontown, Fantasyland, Crittercountry, Westernland and Aventureland. You'll find the classic rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. Of course being in Japan you'll find all the songs etc are in Japanese but this just added to the charm of the park for, especially hearing Its A Small World in Japanese!! We saw some incredible parades including the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade which was so cool and if you love Disney I would definitely add this on to your list of things to do in Tokyo.
Things to do in Tokyo - Six
Aqua Park Aquarium, Shinagawa Tokyo
When I visited Tokyo we stayed in a hotel in the Shinagawa Ward and down the road was the Aqua Park Aquarium so I headed there one day to occupy myself. Such an impressive aquarium with the most gorgeous walk through glass tunnel surrounded by fish, rays and turtles. The aquarium has had some huge changes since I visited in 2010 and now has a jellyfish area, restaurant, plus more complex shows using light and projection technology.
Things to do in Tokyo - Seven
National Museum Of Modern Art, Tokyo
I really enjoyed visiting the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. I was lucky enough to see my favourite artist Antony Gormley's sculpture Reflection which was a highlight for me but its definitely worth a visit if you like something a bit different to simple paintings. You'll find art inside as well as outside and everything from sculpture to ceramics. Entrance fee is 430 yen (£3 2017)
Things to do in Tokyo - Eight
Tokyo Tower, Minato Tokyo
If you fancy a really good view of Tokyo then try heading up Tokyo Tower. It is a communications tower that also offers two observation decks; the main observatory and the special observatory. It costs around 900 yen (£6.30) and we ventured up to the main observatory and got stunning views across Tokyo.
Things to do in Tokyo - Nine
Zojo-ji Temple, Minato Tokyo
Not far from Tokyo Tower you'll find the Zojo-ji Temple a Buddhist temple in the Shiba neighborhood. The temple itself is similar to others found in Tokyo but the most beautiful and poignant feature is the Unborn children garden. Here you'll find rows of stone statues which represent unborn children, including miscarried or stillborn children. Parents can choose a statue in the garden and decorate it with small clothing and toys. The statues are accompanied by a small gift for Jizō, the guardian of unborn children, to ensure that they are brought to the afterlife. This was such a beautiful but heartbreaking sight and I'm so glad we got to see it.
Things to do in Tokyo - Ten
Tokyo at Night
Tokyo is beautiful in the daytime but it really is a spectacle at night. From bright neon signs to illuminated lanterns we loved wandering Tokyo at night. Head to Shibuya or Shinjunku for vibrant nightlife or to the Tokyo International Forum where you'll find an incredible illuminated floor as well as the incredible Forum building itself.
Hope you've enjoyed my Ten things to do in Tokyo. I'm also going to be writing a Tokyo tips post so let me know if you have any questions or tips you'd like to know?