Tokyo is a metropolitan wonder that blends old and new – all within the same city block. Japan’s rich culture and history stands alongside towering skyscrapers and the latest innovations in technology. Through this unique blend of tradition and forward thinking, Tokyo has become a global destination unlike any other.
Known for efficient public transportation and some of the most hospitable and polite people, Japan welcomes you with open arms. The world-renowned crosswalk at Shibuya is a favorite for social media, though few visitors know that serene Shinto temples and some of the world’s most refined sushi restaurants are just a few minutes away. Tokyo’s culinary scene is legendary – you’ll join an elite group of foodies if you visit the Tsukiji Fish Market or Netflix-famous Sukiyabashi Jiro. Memory Lane, with its rowdy yakitori stalls, is another favorite, and no trip would be complete without ramen. Some of the best is underneath Tokyo Station.
Cherry blossom season is a breathtaking time to visit Tokyo’s temples and parks, but the city experiences every season, including winter snow and summer heat. Tokyo Disneyland and its sister park Tokyo DisneySea are great for families, but for a taste of true Japanese culture, visit the Ghibli Museum or take in dinner and a show with battling robots. Tokyo Tower, also known as Japan's Eiffel Tower, is one place to get a bird’s eye view of the city and Tokyo Skytree’s unmistakable silhouette is fast becoming a Japanese icon.
Be sure to stop by Jiro Ono’s Sukiyabashi Jiro, garnering three Michelin stars and inspiring the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." For a more casual experience, stop by the Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s largest seafood market.
The spring and fall months create the perfect opportunity to visit Tokyo, with beautiful foliage flourishing as well as a comfortable climate. Avoid visiting in the summer months, with the highest amount of tourists, causing crowded destinations at every turn.
Travelers can save on fine-dining experiences during the lunch service, which presents main courses at a fraction of the price of dinner. This way, visitors can experience the delicacies of Tokyo without breaking the bank.
For an authentic Japanese musical experience, spend an evening at Oiwake, one of the city’s premier traditional music venues. Take a seat upon tatami mats and enjoy Tsugaru shamisen music from northern Japan. It was here that many of Japan’s notable traditional groups launched their careers.
If you’re looking for an insider’s view of Tokyo, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) features a Volunteer Guide program, allowing you to travel around the city with the guidance of a local volunteer. Travelers merely create their itinerary with their guide and foot the bill for any travel costs, admission fees, and meals shared, allowing for a great cultural experience while exploring the city with a Tokyo native.