10 Things To Do In Tokyo

OT Staff


The most populous city in the world is also one of its most-visited as millions of tourists flock to take in its modern architecture, rich cultural heritage, state-of-the-art transport system, vibrant pop culture scene and delicious cuisine. Here’s what you should do on your visit.

Tokyo Tower | Shutterstock

Find Your Calm At Sensō-ji

The Asakusa Kannon Temple is dedicated to Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion. Enter through the Kaminarimon Gate decked with a chōchin lantern and statues of the Shinto gods Fūjin and Raijin. The temple complex includes the main hall and a five-storey pagoda.

The Kaminarimon Gate | Shutterstock

Watch Sumo At The Ryōgoku Kokugikan

Built in 1985, this huge stadium can accommodate over 10,000 visitors to watch Japan’s national sport. Besides the national sumo tournaments which are held in January, May and September, you can also watch roller skating, professional boxing and professional wrestling events here.

The Ryōgoku Kokugikan | Shutterstock

Shop At Harajaku

This is the centre of Japan's teenage culture and fashion scene. Takeshita Dori and its side streets are lined by trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crêpes stands and fast food outlets. Don’t miss out on the ukiyo-e paintings exhibited at the Ota Memorial Museum of Art.

Takeshita Dori | Shutterstock

Eat Washoku

Japan’s traditional cuisine is called “washoku” and is listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. One of its key characteristics is respect for the intrinsic taste of ingredients. Visit Udon Shin, Sometarō (for okonomiyaki), Rokurinsha (for ramen) and Sumibi Yakiniku Nakahara (for wagyu).

Washoku | Shutterstock

Attend A Live Performance At Liquidroom

Liquidroom has won international acclaim as one of the best places to catch a gig in Tokyo. A long, rectangular room with a few seats in the back, it has a roster of artists every month. Check out its website or pick up the paper schedule from Tower Records in Shibuya, one of the biggest CD retailers in the world.

A performance at Liquidroom | liquidroom.ebisu/Facebook

Browse Daikanyama T-Site

Based on the concept of “a library in the woods,” Daikanyama T-Site Tsutaya stocks Japanese and Western titles on cuisine, travel, cars and motorcycles, architecture and design, art, and humanities and literature. It also has a stationery store where you can get customised monograms.

Daikanyama T-Site Tsutaya | Shutterstock

Learn How To Dye Clothes

“Aizome” is the practice of traditional indigo dyeing in Japan. Learn the processes and intricacies of the craft with a guided workshop at Wanariya, a studio where it will take you roughly 75 minutes to complete the indigo dying process on a handkerchief and washcloth.

Indigo dyeing at Wanariya | 和なり屋/Facebook

Catch Kabuki At The Kabuki-za Theatre

Kabuki is a classical form of Japanese theatre which is known for its stylised performances, glamorous costumes and elaborate kumadori make-up. The Kabuki-za Theatre is a Meiji-era building which has undergone several reconstructions. Catch a performance here and buy Kabuki goods to take home with you.

The Kabuki-za Theatre | Shutterstock

Visit The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

This museum showcases well-preserved and reconstructed buildings from the 17th to the 20th centuries, offering a unique insight into Tokyo's past. The area’s three zones feature buildings ranging from teahouses and bathhouses to the private residential homes of famous people from bygone eras.

A building at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum | Shutterstock

Sing Karaoke At Karaoke Kan

Karaoke Kan is a popular chain with branches in the main entertainment districts of Tokyo. From basic packages to VIP rooms, you can choose the set-up you want and belt out your feelings through the microphone. Prices vary from day to night, weekday to weekend and branch to branch.

Karaoke Kan branch in Shinjuku | Shutterstock

From Anime To Artefacts, 10 Unique Museums In Tokyo

One Piece Museum | Shutterstock