#01 Sumo

Witness the titanic clashes of wrestling giants at the National Sumo Stadium in Ryōgoku. Come in January, May or September for a sumo tournament.

#01 Sumo

#02 Asakusa

Home to old craft shops, traditional inns, and the bustling Sensō-ji temple. There are several bookable activities to help you immerse yourself in Asakusa culture, such as a kimono experience.

#02 Asakusa

#03 National Art Center

Set aside a chunk of time to explore the enormous National Art Centre, a highlight of the so-called Roppongi Art Triangle.

Things to do: Exterior of National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan.© Sira Anamwong/Shutterstock

#04 Kamakura

Japan’s ancient seaside capital offers great walks between temples and shrines, plus a giant bronze Buddha that you can clamber inside.

#04 Kamakura

#05 Traditional performing arts

Enjoy kabuki, nō and bunraku puppetry at the National Theatre, Kabukiza Theatre or Shimbashi Embujō.

Things to do: Kabuki, Japan.© Eramiya/Shutterstock

#06 Sushi

There are innumerable places in which to scoff delectable raw fish – don’t leave without giving it a try.

Things to do: sushi, restaurant.© progressman/Shutterstock 

#07 Rikugi-en

A quintessential Japanese-style garden designed to reflect scenes from ancient Japanese poetry.

#07 Rikugi-en

#08 Contemporary art galleries

Discover fresh talent at Design Festa Gallery and 3331 Arts Chiyoda, as well as commercial spaces such as the Agata Takezawa building. The National Museum of Modern art has an excellent collection, too, while teamLab Borderless is a digital art gallery featuring a series of unforgettable immersive exhibits.

#08 Contemporary art galleries

#09 Nikkō

The dazzling Tōshō-gū shrine is the star turn of this quiet mountain town, surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the land. Nikkō is a great day-trip destination, and you'll also find dazzling Edo Wonderland here, an Edo era-themed park.

Things to do: Nikko Toshogu Shrine temple, Nikko, Japan.© Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

#10 Golden Gai

It’s amazing how many bars are squeezed into this corner of neon-soaked Kabukichō – getting to and from your seat can resemble a game of Twister.

Traditional back street bars in Shinjuku Golden Gai, TokyoTraditional back street bars in Shinjuku Golden Gai, Tokyo © Jorge Rodriguez Veiga/Shutterstock

#11 Hanami parties

Pack a picnic and make for the falling blossoms in Ueno Park, around the Imperial Palace moat or along the Meguro-gawa.

#11 Hanami parties

#12 Onsen bath

Soak in an old neighbourhood bathhouse such as the Jakotsu-yu or at the resort-like spa complex of Ōedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba.

Things to do: Onsen series: Asian woman relaxing in wooden bathtub.© Bhakpong/Shutterstock 

#13 Meiji-jingū

Enjoy one of the many annual festivals or regular wedding ceremonies held at Tokyo’s most venerable Shinto shrine.

Things to do in Tokyo: Meiji Jingu Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo- Japan.© Nattee Chalermtiragool/Shutterstock

#14 Harajuku

Trawl the boutiques of Cat Street, dive into crowded Takeshita-dōri, or take tea in a treehouse café.

Things to do: Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.© Sean Pavone/Shutterstock 

#15 Ghibli museum

Most visitors will have seen at least one Studio Ghibli anime – get behind the scenes at the imaginative Ghibli museum.

#15 Ghibli museum

#16 Nezu Museum

Housed in one of Tokyo’s most impressive pieces of modern architecture, this repository of Asian arts also has a magnificent garden.

Things to do: Metal Buddha, Nezu Museum garden, Tokyo.© Ming Fa/Shutterstock 

#17 Water buses

Cruise down the Sumida-gawa or across Tokyo Bay on one of the city’s ferry services, including the manga-inspired Himiko sightseeing boat. In Sumida City itself, you'll find the Tokyo Skytree, which you can climb for epic views.

himiko water bus tokyo© KPG_Payless/Shutterstock

This page contains affiliate links; all recommendations are editorially independent. 

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