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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Tokyo

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Things to see in Tokyo

Attractions

Tokyo SkyTree

Tokyo's SkyTree is the second tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It stands at 634m (2,080ft) and opened its doors in 2012. The two observation decks (Tembo Deck and Tembo Galleria) are the main draws. Reach the top and be blown away by the sheer scale of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the largest city in the world.

Address: Sumida, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0800-2200.

Website: http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

For an impressive blend of Japanese, English, and French gardens, head to Shinjuku Gyoen. Once part of a feudal lord's home during the Edo period (1603-1867) and then owned by the royal family, it opened to the public in 1949. Today, it is a popular place for families to have a picnic on a sunny day. It is one of the best places in Tokyo to catch a glimpse of cherry blossom in the spring. There is a small admission fee.

Address: Shinjuku-ku, 11 Naito-cho, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3350 0151
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 0900-1600 (October to mid-March)
Tues-Sun 0900-1730 (Mid-March to June)
Tues-Sun 0900-1830 (July to August)
Tues-Sun 0900-1730 (August to September)

Website: http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ueno Koen

Ueno Koen, Japan's first public park, is a hotbed for nature and culture. There are six museums located within the park, namely the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, National Museum of Western Art, Ueno Royal Museum and the Shitamachi Museum. There is also a boating lake and a zoo.

Address: Taito-ku, 5-20 Ueno-koen , Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Various, depending on the seasons.

Website: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No (yes for the museums)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Sensō-ji Temple

This is Tokyo's oldest and most revered Buddhist temple. Giant lanterns watch over smoking incense, swirling crowds and teeming shops. Originally founded in AD628 to enshrine a statuette of the Kannon Bodhisattva (the Goddess of Mercy), damage from bombing raids mean that today you'll find a magnificent, five-storey reconstruction. Smoke from the huge incense burner in front of the temple is said to have healing powers.

Address: Taito, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours (grounds), 0600-1700 (hall).

Website: http://www.senso-ji.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Shibuya Crossing

Over 1,000 pedestrians cross the multi-cornered intersection at a time when the crosswalk lights turn green, with huge screens and neon signs on the buildings along the roads flashing advertisements at all hours. Most visitors like to cross it a few times, though it is equally satisfying to observe the mayhem from a distance.

Address: Shibuya, Dogenzaka, Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Meiji Jingu

The atmospheric Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) is tucked away in a dense forest between Shinjuku and Shibuya, two of Tokyo's busiest districts. To pay respect at Meiji Jingu, you bow before entering the wooden torii gate, then proceed to the washbasin (temizuya) to rinse your hands and mouth (but do not touch the dipper with your lips). At the shrine, you bow twice, clap your hands twice, make a wish if you would like to, then bow again.

Address: Kamizono-cho, 1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Various. See the website for detail.

Website: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english
Admission Fees:

No (but charge for the Gyoen Inner Garden)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Edo-Tokyo Hakubutsukan

Housed in what looks like a colossal white spaceship, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is a wonderful place for visitors to get a feel for Tokyo's history and culture before the city became Tokyo in 1869. Highlights include a replica of Nihombashi 'Bridge of Japan' and models of homes and businesses, including a bookstore and how publications in woodblocks were made.

Address: Sumida-ku, 1-4-1 Yokoami, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3626 9974.
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 0930-1730, Sat 0930-1930, Sun 0930-1730.

Website: http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort is a faithful replica of the Californian original, complete with Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, as well as shows, parades and firework displays. The unique DisneySea Park, set against the backdrop of Tokyo Bay, offers several themed areas and is proving popular with children and adults.

Address: Urayasu-shi, 1-1 Maihama, Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0900-2200

Website: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/en/index.html
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Yasukuni-jinja

Perhaps the most controversial of all Tokyo's sites, this shrine houses the souls of those killed in various Japanese wars. The controversy arises because of more than two million souls honoured here, over a thousand of them were convicted war criminals. There is an on-site museum displaying historical materials.

Address: Chiyoda-ku, 3-1-1 Kudankita, Tokyo,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700 (museum 0600-1800).

Website: http://www.yasukuni.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No (charge for the museum)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Tokyo Tourist Information Center (TIC)

Address: Shinjuku-ku, 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 5321 3077
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1830.

Website: https://www.gotokyo.org/en/plan/tourist-info-center/index.html

The Japanese National Tourist Organisation (JNTO) runs Tourist Information Centres (TIC) in Shinjuku (Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal), Keisei Ueno Station, Tachikawa, and at Haneda Airport. English-speaking staff are a fantastic source of local knowledge.

Tourist passes

There are no sightseeing passes as such in Tokyo.

Featured Hotels

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Claska Hotel

Modern minimalist design and classic Japanese aesthetics brush shoulders in this hip hotel, just outside of the city centre. There’s the chance to choose between a western–style room or traditional tatami space. Each option comes with plenty of home comforts, including beautiful toiletries and access to a huge CD and DVD collection. There’s even an in–house gallery, plus a French/Japanese fusion restaurant.

Hoshinoya Tokyo

Opened in the summer of 2016, Hoshinoya is a unique urban offering for Tokyo, a hotel with a contemporary take on Japan’s legendary omotenashi hospitality, set right at the heart of the city's Otemachi district. Leave your shoes at the door and unwind into spacious quarters, designed with a tasteful nod to the traditional Japenese aesthetic. The 19-floor hotel with stylish lattice exterior forms a bijou enclave in this bustling business district, just a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station. You won't want to leave your ochanoma lounge area, allocated exclusively to guests staying on each floor and decked in traditional tatami mats, it has a library, sofas and kitchen space. But if you do the rooftop onsen spa is a truly unique Tokyo experience. The hot spring waters are the perfect cure for urban fatigue and will help you revitalise your body and mind, all the while staring up at the open Tokyo skies above.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Set only a few minutes' walk from Shinjuku train station and in easy walking distance of a dizzying array of shops and restaurants, Gracery Shinjuku is something of a landmark - it's set in a modern high rise building that's 30 stories high, and there's a giant replica godzilla head peering out the side. If you're willing to pay extra, you can stay in a godzilla-themed room too. Though the rooms are compact, the bathrooms are larger than the norm and the higher rooms have scenic city views; there's also a convenient Italian restaurant on-site and a cinema on the ground floor.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

The Park Hyatt Tokyo's role as muse and backdrop to Coppola's Lost in Translation pushed it onto the world stage in 2003. Towering over fashionable Shinjuku, guests enter on the 41st floor and gaze across the neon-lit Tokyo sky. Art blends with sleek architecture and spacious rooms, and even the spa combines tradition and modernisation with impressive success. Plus, there's something to be said for working out in the gym that tormented Bill Murray.

Hotel Asia Center of Japan

Quite possibly offering the cheapest double rooms in central Tokyo, this hotel is ideal as as a central base for a short visit. Within walking distance of the ex-pat haven of Roppongi, and the restaurants and bars of Aoyama Itchome, guests are well placed for sightseeing.

Imperial Hotel

This 5-star luxury hotel in Vilnius and is set in a historic 16th-century building. Its great Old Town location, super helpful staff and 55 spotless rooms combine to make this a deservedly popular choice with business and leisure travellers alike.