INSIDER TOKYO ITINERARY for January 2020

Our Tokyo itinerary is designed to give YOU the absolute best itinerary Tokyo has to offer - no matter your travel style!

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Tokyo has been in the limelight for years, attracting millions of travelers around the world annually!  Honestly, it’s easy to see why everyone enjoys this innovative, dynamic and highly advanced city

Every part of this city is alive with vigor, eye-catching art, ancient culture, knowledge, and memories of a lifetime waiting to be made! In Tokyo you are stepping into a somewhat ‘modern wonderland where giant robots sit beside ancient temples’. There are places in Tokyo that will astound you, enchant you and make you want to return again and again.

We have put together the best Tokyo itinerary, covering all of the must-visit sites, not-to-be-missed activities and day trips that will knock your socks off! Be prepared for the most amazing city slicker adventure of your life! Our travel guide will take the stress off your planning, and help to make sure that you get the most out of your traveling experience of Japan’s most famous city.

 

Best time to visit Tokyo

when to visit tokyo

These are the best times to visit Tokyo!

With a typically hot and tropical climate, Tokyo provides some of the most gorgeous clear skies and welcoming temperatures! You have the chance during spring to watch pink Cherry Blossoms blooming, to enjoy beautiful rainfall and sun during the summer, scenic snowfall during Winter, and clear skies with vibrantly colored leaves during autumn.

All of Tokyo’s seasons are beautiful, but to get the best out of the weather, we suggest you visit during late spring or late autumn when Tokyo is most alive and incredible to see.

 Average TemperaturesChance of RainCrowdsOverall Grade
January6°C/43°FLowCalm🙂
February6°C/43°FLowCalm🙂
March18°C/65°FMediumCalm🙂
April18°C/ 65°FMediumBusy/Cherry Blossoms🙂
May19°C/67°FMediumVery Busy/Golden Week🙁
June24°C/75°FHighCalm🙂
July28°C/83°FHighCalm😐
August28°C/82°FHighMedium/Obon😐
September21°C/ 70°FVery HighCalm😐
October22°C/72°FMediumCalm😀
November14°C/57°FMediumCalm😀
December8°C/47°FLowCalm🙂

 

Where to Stay in Tokyo

where to stay in tokyo

These are the best places to stay in Tokyo!

Tokyo’s neighborhoods are innovative, modernized and yet still cultured. Mixing the old with the new, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding an area that is right for your trip. Knowing where to stay in Tokyo will help make your visit to this awesome city stress-free!

Shibuya is the most popular of Tokyo’s neighborhoods; it is buzzing with life and people going places. You will be forgiven for thinking you’re somehow in New York! Shibuya offers tourists a place to experience the vibrant life of Tokyo’s latest trends and the commercial scene.

Akasaka is one of the major commercial centers of Tokyo and boasts so many fancy and more luxurious hotels, spas, and restaurants. Most of the best tourist attractions are found here, and you will never be bored when visiting this neighborhood!

Ueno is the cultural center of Tokyo, and full of fabulous concert halls, museums, fine arts and the plenty of traditional temples important to Tokyo’s history. One of the best places in this neighborhood is Ueno Park, were a dazzling number of trees of  different varieties, and colors, stand proudly to be admired as you stroll past or sit down for a leisurely picnic.

 

Best Hostel in Tokyo – Wired Hostel Asakusa

Wired Hotel Tokyo

Wired Hotel is our pick for the best hostel in Tokyo

Wired Hostel Asakusa is most definitely one of the coolest hostels in Tokyo, and is perfect for everyone; groups, couples, or single backpackers. There are both penthouse or standard rooms, and even dorm houses that are shared with other enthusiastic travelers, with whom you can exchange memorable stories and enjoy your stay.

Check for Best Price

 

Best Budget Hotel in Tokyo – Ueno Hotel

Ueno Hotel_Tokyo

Ueno Hotel is our pick for the best budget hotel in Tokyo

If you’re wanting to go easy on your bank balance, then look no further than Ueno Hotel for an affordable stay in a comfortable hotel. The service is excellent, and this hotel is within a 10-minute walking distance of The National Museum of Nature, The Science Museum and The Museum of Western Art. 

Check on Booking.com     Check on HotelsCombined

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Tokyo – Royal Park Hotel

Royal Park Hotel_Tokyo

Royal Park Hotel is our pick for best luxury hotel in Tokyo

If 5-star accommodation and amazing views are what tickles your fancy, then the Royal Park Hotel in Akasaka, Roppongi, is the way to go. You will have easy access to the Shiodome Stations as well as simply having the extravagant experience of staying in one of Tokyo’s highest rated luxury hotels. The hotel restaurant is prided on their high-class cuisine, they provide spa facilities, and offer luxury lounges to relax in and mingle with other guests.

Check on Booking.com     Check on HotelsCombined

 

Tokyo itinerary

Tokyo Itinerary

Welcome to our EPIC Tokyo itinerary

There is a lot to see and do in Tokyo.

Tokyo is famous for having the very best and most high-tech subways in the world, so getting around this iconic city will be a wonderfully unique traveling story. The stations are broken into three major categories, the Metro Station subways, JR station trains, and private railways.

The train stations (as well as pretty much everywhere else in Tokyo) can get overwhelmingly busy, so we suggest that you be prepared for the hustle and bustle. Shinjuku Station in Shibuya is the place to go if you want to see for yourself the 3.6 million travelers that use this transit a day, but if you’re seeking a quieter railway then give a private station a try, like the Seibu Railways.

Note – Tokyo’s metro gets busy to the point of comic absurdity during rush hours. If you are claustrophobic, avoid peak times.

Besides the subways, which are the best and fastest way to get around Tokyo, you will also find taxis. Keep in mind that the taxis are expensive, so if you can walk to the place you’re wanting to go, then that’s a much better bet unless of course you’re swimming in cash.

Walking in Tokyo is an exciting and wonderful way to get around, provided you aren’t going to a place too far from your accommodation spot. You will get to take in the day to day street culture, whilst not missing out on the connecting, “inbetween” bits of Tokyo that otherwise go overlooked

 

Day 1 itinerary in Tokyo

Senso-Ji | Ueno Park Gardens | Museum of Nature and Science | Ueno Park Zoo | Warp in Shinjuku

 

Stop 1 – Senso-Ji

  • Why it’s awesome: Sens-Ji is the largest and the most ancient Buddhist temple in the whole of Tokyo.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥500 ($4,50)
  • Food recommendations: Grab a popular Ningyo Yaki from the many street stores selling these delicious sweet cakes filled with equally sweet red bean paste in Nakamise! Nakamise is adjacent to Sens-Ji and is full of a variety of traditionally sugary candies, snacks, and meals.

Senso-Ji attracts locals and international travelers alike and is dedicated to the Bodhisattva of compassion, Guan Yin. There are beautiful shrines for you to admire, such as the Shinto Shrine, the Akasaka Shrine, and even an exquisite 5 story pagoda.

sensoji

Senso-Ji, Tokyo (photo credits: tokyo.nl )

Strolling about this ancient temple will give you goosebumps! This is such a great way to begin your journey into Tokyo because you will have a firsthand experience of one of the most significant spiritual and historical landmarks in the city. 

 

Day 1/Stop 2 – Ueno Park Gardens

  • Why it’s awesome: It is the most popular city park in the whole of Japan.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥620 per adult ($5,54)
  • Food recommendation: Head over to La Cocorico! This laid back yet still upmarket restaurant is famous for its rotisserie chicken, which has the most amazing crunchy crust and well-prepared tender meat.

Situated near the center of Tokyo, Ueno Park is massive! Built on the former grounds of the Keniji Temple, this site used to home the wealthiest and biggest family temple that ruled during the Edo Period.

After being destroyed during battle, the grounds have now become the most stunning western styled park, and a statue of celebrated Samurai Saigo Takamori stands to commemorate the samurai’s that fought in Japans Meiji Restoration of the late 19th century.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park Gardens, Tokyo (photo credits: fastjapan.com)

The park still breathes exquisite grandeur. There are peaceful ponds decorated with lotus flowers bobbing at their surface, temple halls, shrines and rows of the most famous Tokyo Cherry Blossom trees.

Insider Tip: Make sure you don’t strain yourself whilst exploring these huge gardens. Take regular breaks to refresh and relax.

 

Day 1/Stop 3 – National Museum of Nature and Science

  • Why it’s awesome: The National Museum of Nature and Science is one of the oldest Museums in Tokyo.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥620 ($5,54) per person.
  • Food recommendation: The Hotel Okura Garden Terrace is on the first floor of the museum. The food here will delight your palate and should curb your appetite! We suggest going for the pasta of the day.

Despite its age, this world-class museum is completely modern and has some really cool displays! You will be taken on a journey from the beginning of technological advancements in Tokyo (ie the wheel), right up to the very latest in robotics.

National Museum of Nature and Science

National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo (photo credits: kahaku.go.jp )

There are fascinating and fun interactive displays on space development explaining how our understanding of the universe has grown (ie, we no longer think it is been carried on a giant turtle). 

Aside from the futuristic stuff, the Japan Gallery also hosts some impressive prehistoric dinosaur bones and there is a lovely display of ancient, traditional Japanese costume.

All the tech-savvy people will thoroughly enjoy the Global Gallery, where everything from vintage cars to high-tech technology is provided for you to admire.

Insiders Tip: The park is also known as the Ministry of Education Museum, Tokyo Museum, and Tokyo Science Museum.

The Best Travel Backpack?!

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Bag.

Read our full review!

 

Day 1/Stop 4 – Ueno Park Zoo

  • Why it’s awesome: You can enjoy an up-close experience with Japan’s national animal, the giant panda bear.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥600 ($5,36) for adults, ¥300 ($2,68) for senior citizens and ¥200 ($1,79) for children up to age 14.
  • Food recommendation: Have a high-class fusion cuisine meal at Ivory, where every meal is a work of art! We suggest pretty much everything on the menu, but especially the medium rare steaks. This dish is well presented and cooked to perfection!

At the Ueno Zoo, you can admire some of Japan’s most magnificent animals and watch them as they play, laze and freely do their thing.

Ueno Park Zoo

Ueno Park Zoo, Tokyo (photo credits: livingnomads.com)

Ueno zoo has established the Gorilla Woods (filled with Gorilla’s) and Tiger Forest (filled with Tigers). This zoo has become an essential participator in helping to save, rehabilitate and guard some of Tokyo’s most spectacular creatures. Not only that, but the zoo creates a lively environment for people to admire these exotic wild animals and learn more about them.

Insider Tip: It is not a custom to tip in Japan and it can be viewed as an insult because excellent service is to be expected. Don’t be surprised if your waiter chases you down to give you back your money.

 

Day 1/Stop 5 – Warp in Shinjuku

  • Why it’s awesome: Warp is one of Tokyo’s number 1 nightclubs.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥1000 ($8,90)
  • Food Recommendation: Although there are no meals served in this nightclub, the cocktails at the lounge and Metro Bar are fantastic! Tokyo is known to be the ‘cocktail capital’ of the world, and we suggest trying as many as you can in one evening. If you’re keeping yourself on good behavior and only have room to try one, then we suggest going for the very popular drink Matcha Hai, which is made of soda water, shochu, and a green tea mixer.

This is a mega nightclub built to resemble a spaceship. It fills up with locals bopping to an assortment of international and Japanese DJ’s.

Warp in Shinjuku

Warp in Shinjuku, Tokyo (photo credits: iflyer.tv)

There are three main dance floors that are elegantly created to provide fun themes. The Universe Floor is for exclusive and famous guests, the Warp Floor has the Metro Bar, and lastly the Cosmo Room. 

Doors open at 19:00, so you can even go for only an hour or two and enjoy contemporary music with a cocktail to unwind. You can then choose whether to stay until the second half of the night when things start to pick up or go home and rest.

Insider Tip: Tokyo’s clubs are very sophisticated, so remember to dress up and show off some of your most snazzy clothing! Our Japan packing list told you to bring some remember!?!

 

Check Best Price

Wired Hostel Asakusa
Wired Hostel Asakusa is most definitely one of the coolest hostels in Tokyo, and is perfect for everyone; groups, couples, or single backpackers.
  • $$
  • Free WiFi
  • Towels Included

 

 

Day 2 itinerary in Tokyo

Meiji Shrine | Ginza Shopping Haven | Kabukiza Theatre | National Art CentreSkytree | Disneyland

 

 Day 2/Stop 1 – The Meiji Shrine

  • Why it’s awesome: The shrine has become one of Tokyo’s most revered religious shrines, and it has a fascinating history.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥500 ($4,45)
  • Food recommendation: Kakuuntei Teahouse is placed perfectly amongst the beauty of the Meiji Shrine garden, and is weirdly underrated considering the quality of service, surroundings, and of course – amazing food! We suggest giving the spicy teas a try accompanied by any one of the light meals.

The shrine of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shken dates all the way back to 1915. The site is 175-acres of lush, old forest trees, with a dazzling amount of different species that will show you the glory of Japan’s indigenous plant life.

Included in this cluster of trees is the mysterious “wishing tree”, which is said to fulfill your deepest desires! Many tourists and locals write their wishes on a piece of paper and hang it onto the branches. If your wish does not come true then sorry, no refunds.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo (photo credits: old-tokyo.info)

Meiji Shrine is glowing with majesty. Step into the Inner Precinct museum that still has all the original treasures of this royal ruler and his wife. Scenic doesn’t even begin to describe the Shine’s Inner Garden.

This glorious space will make your heart jump for joy as you explore the winding paths of the iris garden and laze at the lily ponds. There is also a wishing well so you can double up on your good luck from the wishing tree – but again, no refunds if your wish doesn’t come true!

 

Day 2/ Stop 2 – Ginza Shopping Haven

  • Why it’s awesome: Ginza is the shopping capital of Tokyo, just like Fifth Avenue is to New York.
  • Cost: Free
  • Food recommendation: Enjoy culinary magnificence at the famous Ukai-Tei Restaurant. The food is prepared Teppanyaki style, a Japanese method of using iron plates and grills to cook steaks, shrimp and assorted meats. The streamed abalone is a must-try dish that is cooked under a copper dome!

This is a shoppers paradise. The area hosts famous brand stores such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Gucci, Armani, Cartier and more! There’s really of an endless amount of high-end fashion shops.

Ginza

Ginza Shopping Haven, Tokyo (photo credits: japan-guide.com)

Along with the big names, there are also plenty of smaller scale stores with traditional attire, cool clobber and more affordable stuff. You can even find yourself an authentic Japanese kimono or treat yourself to some organic charcoal-infused beauty products.

It is not just clothing to be found here and there are over 200 art galleries for you to explore! 

Of course, the Japanese love gadgets so there are tech shops as well.

 

Day 2/ Stop 3 – Kabukiza Theatre

  • Why it’s awesome: Kabukiza is the very biggest and most renowned theatre in Tokyo!
  • Cost: Standard tickets are up to ¥20, 000 ($178,69) and Single Act tickets are between ¥500 ($4,45) – ¥3000 ($26,80)
  • Food recommendation: Book a seat at the Kanazawa Sushi Amore Ginza, a popular sushi lounge and bar, to enjoy some of the finest seafood meals available. The nigiri-zushi (hand-rolled sushi) is fantastic, and the brilliant chefs put on a show whilst creating their mouth-watering dishes!

Some of the very best traditional shows in all of Japan happen at lavish theatre. A show here is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you walking away feeling thrilled!

Kabukiza Theatre

Kabukiza Theatre, Tokyo (photo credits: diversity-finder.net)

Each show is designed to blow your mind with colorful costumes, magical sets, amazing backdrops, vibrant makeup, and incredible performers! The plays capture the essence of Tokyo’s culture in dramatic and humorous ways.

The overall architecture of the building is also breathtaking and has a tremendously exciting atmosphere! Here you can see the best shows in the whole of Tokyo in the most scenic venue.

Note that the vast majority of shows are in Japanese.

Day 2/ Stop 4 – The National Art Centre

  • Why it’s awesome: This museum’s signature feature is it’s unique, curved-glass facade.
  • Cost: Entrance fee is ¥1500 ($13,40)
  • Food recommendation – Grab a traditional and seasonal lunch at the Restaurant and Lounge in the museum. Meals are themed to match the exhibitions going on at the time.

The National Art Centre has gained a huge reputation for being one of the best art museums in Japan. The museum hosts around 600 modern and ancient fine art paintings with a focus on presenting artwork from the 20th century.

There are exhibitions of paintings dating from 538 AD, ancient calligraphy, authentic samurai swords and a bunch of national treasures such as the lacquer work from the old Horyu-Ji temple.

National Art Centre

National Art Centre, Tokyo (photo credits: architecturelab.net)

Showcasing talent, emotion, depth, historical heritage and unique perspective – this is a true masterpiece of a building and a world-class museum.

 

Day 2/ Stop 5 – The Tokyo Skytree

  • Why it’s awesome: The Tokyo Skytree is one of the most raved about tourist attractions in Japan

            you will get the most jaw-dropping panoramic view of Tokyo!

  • Cost: ¥410 ($3,70) – ¥770 ($6,90) per person
  • Food recommendation: The 634 Musashi Restaurant is one of the most excellent in Tokyo, and it provides off the chart views whilst you enjoy fine cuisine. The food is French fusion and incorporates the older Edo age of Tokyo’s traditional style. The menu is constantly changing and upgrading, and the chiefs are world-class!

The huge landmark of Tokyo’s Skytree is a must-see adventure and is best viewed best late at night. The enormous 634-meter observation tower sticks out like a multicolored middle finger after sunset.

You can spot it miles away and might think it to be a rocket ship! But no, it is the city’s tallest structure, as well as the tallest free-standing tower in the world.  Seeing this magnificent tower is something that must be done when traveling in Tokyo.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo

You don’t have to climb all the way to the top as there are viewing spots all the way up. However, if your stomach is steel and you think you can handle looking at Tokyo from high up, then be sure to venture the glass spiral staircase to the 450-meter point! The walls are completely made from glass and the view is epic.

See here for availability.

 

Day 2/ Stop 6 – Tokyo Disneyland After Hours

  • Why it’s awesome: Experiencing Disney after the sun has set, lends a whole new tone to this wonderland of entertainment.
  • Cost: ¥4200 ($37,52) per ticket for adults and children.
  • Food recommendation: The Glove Shaped Chicken Pao is one of the tastiest treats available and is sold at Plazma Ray’s Diner. The buns used are shaped like the well-known classic gloves of Mickey Mouse, and the chicken is fried in a delicious sweet and sour sauce!

This amusement park opens at 18:00 and offers dazzling games, rides & memorabilia – all in the theme of Disney’s most loved films! Tokyo is wild about pop culture and all things funky and fun so Disney is massive here.

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo

Imagine yourself dancing in Cinderella’s Castle all whilst under the clear blue skies of Tokyo! Surprisingly, this magical park isn’t as packed as you might assume, and you shouldn’t find yourself waiting in line for very long.

Choosing to go during the night also makes each ride just that bit more mysterious and adds to the joy! Kiddies rides, such as the Magical Carpet, transform into a true whole new world after hours! The excitement in never-ending and the thrill of this amusement park will be with you long after your 2 days in Tokyo have come to an end!

Tokyo is a big city, save your energy for having fun by grabbing a hassle free shuttle to Disneyland.

Insider Tip: DisneySea is also joined to the Disneyland theme park and is definitely worth checking out during your stop!

Gardens Neighborhood, Cape Town

You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.

GET IT HERE

 

Day 3 and Beyond

National Museum | Virtual Museum | Hanayashiki Amusement Park | Robot Restaurant | Sumo Wrestling | Tsukiji Market

Tokyo has an endless array of fun activities, scenic getaways and magical spaces to offer. Here are some of the must-do and must-see things for you to do during your stay, whether you’re staying for a weekend in Tokyo or more than 3 days in Tokyo!

 

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

  • This museum is a huge attraction to families, so expect flocks of young and intrigued children.
  • All the games and features are made with high-tech technology, making them easy to use, play with and understand.
  • Entrance fee is ¥620 for adults ($5,50) and ¥420 for children ($3,80)

This magnificent museum has 7 floors, so it’s quite huge. Thankfully, each floor is clearly marked, and stairs are easily located. The first floor offers a ‘symbol zone’ where you can view a high-resolution simulation of the globe, showing the geo-cosmos of how things have changed on the planet over the years.

You can see everything from population peaks to temperature dips and what has happened in-between! There is also a Special Exhibition Zone on the first floor, where some of the most fun and revolutionary displays are featured, such as the Pokémon Lab. If you haven’t fainted yet from absolute awe, then we commend you!

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Tokyo (photo credits: tohokuandtokyo.org)

Interactive games and technology are provided on the third floor, all themed around robotics and internet advancements! The educational, yet very fun games make this Museum especially child-friendly.

On the 5th floor, there are themes based on the earth and the universe. Here you can learn about our advancements in understanding and learn about the earth’s natural disasters through high-tech models and displays.

It is exceptional, and if you didn’t like technology before this, then you will afterwards.

For refreshments and a bite to eat, relax at the cafe found on the 6th floor.

Every part of this museum is fantastic and very futuristic!

 

teamLab Borderless Museum

Japan’s first ever digital art museum! The teamLab Borderless Museum pushes against the boundary of traditional museums. Here you are immersed into a whole virtual world of interactive design. Completely stimulate your visual senses throughout the whole experience.

klook teamlab boundless

Virtual experience (photo credits: klook.com)

 

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

  • Although Hanayashiki is well renowned by locals, it is not well established with tourists making it easy for you to enjoy the rides.
  • You can purchase an unlimited ride pass at the gate!
  • Entrance fee is ¥500 ($4,47) for children and ¥1000 ($9) per adult aged 13 and older

This fun-filled park has been around since 1853 and is the oldest amusement park in Japan! It is also packed with modern rides and games that are well designed and will have you entertained for hours.

You get value for money at this modest park, and the rides are classic! The park is highly enjoyed by families with little children, but it is also a fantastic spot for a fun date. The name of “Hanayashiki” translates to “public flower garden”. In the grounds, you will come across a gorgeous small garden with a pond and a Japanese style ornamental bridge going over!

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Tokyo (photo credits: wowsabi.co)

The old-school fair has the oldest working roller coaster in Japan, as well as a vintage Ferris Wheel. If you are into history, then give the “Telepathic Walker” a listen and be guided through the past of this special amusement park.

Hanayashiki’s famous mascot is the “panda car”, found throughout the park so you can get around in a fun childlike way! After giving all the rides a go, the fun doesn’t stop! You can enjoy old fashioned shooting galleries, fortune tellers and even an olden-day arcade.

 

The Robot Restaurant

  • The restaurant is extremely popular, due to its originality and the upbeat vibe of the bar. Be sure to reserve yourself a seat if you plan on enjoying some robotic dancing!
  • The show’s dance routine is prepared for months in advance, featuring pole dancing, singing, robot riding, drumming and blasting pop music.
  • The Robot Show is ¥250 ($2,50) per person

This is a whole new world of entertainment for your dining experience! Sure, human singers and cabaret’s are good, but how can you forget something as strange as a robot playing guitar or dancing? However, the Robot Restaurant does not try to replace humans with robots, so performers in robotically inspired costumes join the entertaining robots on stage!

Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant, Tokyo (photo credits: japan-travel.com)

There are wacky details at every turn, and this ‘restaurant’ becomes more like a theatre. There are three time-slots for shows every day, and they get filled up very quickly.  There is popcorn for sale and a very simple menu with sushi and marinated beef.  The show is the main attraction, so the name ‘robot restaurant’ can be very misleading as this is not a place to come for a big meal.

The whole building is robot themed and brightly lit up, setting an elaborate techno vibe. The music is loud and there are lots of people, so be ready for a crazy night out on the town! This is truly something that can only be done in Tokyo!

Buy your tickets here before you go.

Sumo Wrestling Match at Ryogoku Kokugikan

  • Sumo wrestling is revered as a national sport in Toky and Japan. It is very popular amongst the locals and creates a lot of hype.
  • The atmosphere of the stadium is electric.
  • Cost: ¥4000 ($35,72) – ¥9000 ($80,38)

This is the best and most famous indoor sumo wrestling hall in Tokyo. You are bound to have a good time watching locals getting heated about two large gentlemen banging into each other

These tournaments go on for 15 days, 3 times a year (January, May, and September). Each wrestler is dressed in colorful attire, with their hair tied up in a traditional style at the top of their head (the ‘topknot’ is actually now very fashionable in the west).

Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling, Tokyo (photo credits: thefyslife.com)

The entire match is more like a cultural performance than an actual fight. It is thrilling to watch and very different from the WWE wrestling we know in the West. Also, there is no shortage of beer or snacks at these events so you can feast like a sumo wrestler yourself! It is a perfect way to spend snowy days in Tokyo.

This sport originated as a show for the Shinto Deitie. The matches take place on a dohyo, which is a big elevated ring made of clay then covered in sand. Each contest doesn’t last very long and sometimes they’re over in just a few seconds!

Insider Tip: Preorder a bento box, it is like a Japanese lunch box that is filled with cultural snacks!

 

The Tsukiji Market

  • The Tsukiji Market is the biggest wholesale seafood market in the whole world, so you can expect mass crowds with a lot of bustling and bargaining.
  • Japanese chefs prepare some of the most mouth-watering sushi dishes known to the planet at this magnificently awesome seafood market!
  • Entrance is free to the market

The Tsukiji Market was first founded in 1935, so it has been around for quite some time and continues to captivate all food lovers!

If you enjoy fresh and tasty seafood, sushi and amazing culinary tools, then there is literally nowhere else in the world that could provide you with such an unforgettable and satisfying experience such as the Tsukiji Market.

Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

The market is intoxicating. From he way that the locals interact to  the fresh smells of meat cooking, this is a very beautiful once-in-a-lifetime market! There are also plenty of delicious restaurants that serve fresh food.

There are up to 900 wholesalers at the Tsukiji Market, which is hard to imagine if you haven’t been there and seen it for yourself. Find quality retail stores that sell pans, knives and other kitchen utensils dotted in the sea of licensed fish traders.

This market has appeared on every single online Tokyo bucket list! There is nothing like seeing what can happen when thousands of people from all over the world gather to celebrate their enthusiasm for seafood and cooking.

If you plan your trip to Tokyo, check out our EPIC Tokyo Backpacking Guide!

Don’t forget to pack a good book!

Fodor’s Essential Japan : This is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.

 

Staying Safe in Tokyo

Tokyo is known to be one of the safest metropolis cities that there is and crime is extremely rare. That said, there are certain general safe travel practices to be aware of whenever you leave home. We have also put together some safety tips for Tokyo that will help to keep you extra safe.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Day Trips From New Tokyo

Looking to explore outside of Tokyo? Make sure you have the JR Rail Pass, it’s definitely easier on your wallet for transportation around the country. Since there is so much to see outside of the city, here are 5 of the best day trips from Tokyo.

 

Take A Fun Trip to Mt. Fuji with Kawaguchiko Lake and Gotemba Outlets

Take A Fun Trip to Mt. Fuji with Kawaguchiko Lake and Gotemba Outlets

Mount Fuji is by far one of the most unbelievably pristine and astounding parts of Tokyo! Viewing this precious mountain and the vast surrounding landscapes is one of the most remarkable adventures you can have in a lifetime! As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mount Fuji is an honor to visit and a must-see for backpackers traveling in not only Tokyo but Japan as a whole.

On this tour, you can also venture the Kawaguchi Lake and the Oshink Hakki that are close to this famous mountain. These lakes spread out serenely and are full of peaceful vibes with a variety of indigenous wild plants growing along the banks.

Check Tour Price

 

Go on a Tokyo Temples & Shrines Morning Tour

Tokyo Temples & Shrines Morning Tour

The most acclaimed and famous of Tokyo’s temples are the Meiji Shrine, the Senso-ji Temple and, none other than the Imperial Palace. On this tour you will have a unique chance to lose yourself in each, diving into a new world of ancient history and essence.

Imperial Palace is one of the oldest and most visited attractions in Tokyo and is still home to the Imperial Family. Explore the park, the main palace, the museum and see authentic archives. Afterward, you will be taken on a drive through the popular entertainment center of Akasuka, and have a chance to shop till you drop in Nakamise-Dori street.

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Enjoy a Private Welcome Tour with a Local

It is always a good idea to go on tours with locals, as they can give you the low-down on traditions and share fun insider knowledge with you that you would not know otherwise.

The guides on these tours are clued up, and know ways to easily get around. They know which places have the best food and where to shop! It is an excellent opportunity for you to get comfortable with the ins and outs of Tokyo, which is a huge bonus in such a busy city where there are tidal waves of people everywhere you go. Having somebody to help you with the language barrier is also invaluable.

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Adventure Ghibli Museum and Inokashira Park Walking Tour

Adventure Ghibli Museum

This is a tour of Tokyo’s most famous museum, The Ghibli. The museum showcases Japan’s fine animation skills from the Ghibli Studio. By the way, the whole of Tokyo is chock full of anime-inspired outfits, people and places!

With a tour of Japan’s biggest studio, you will be able to appreciate this art form in a whole new way. The iconic and popular Ghibli Museum is very close to Inokashira Park, so you can easily have a picnic or stroll the gardens before embracing your inner anime geek. Enjoy the placid pond and river that this park offers you, with scenic surroundings of westside Tokyo.

Insider Tip: Book in advance for this experience, as a limited number of people are admitted per day.

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Treat Yourself to A Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Kegon Waterfall Tour

The Nikko Toshogu is an important religious shrine with both Shinto and Buddhist features! This large shrine is a part of what makes up the entire site of The Shrines and Temples of Nikk!

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, not only is this ancient shrine symbolic of the great Japanese deity Tosho Daigongen, but it is also lavish and beautiful, boasting some of the most superb and detailed architecture in Tokyo! Once you have basked in the majesty of this landmark, you will then go on a tour of the legendary Keagan Waterfall.

These falls were created from the river Daiya that got diverted by a lava blast from a nearby volcano. Thank you to that volcano, because now we have one of the most therapeutic and gorgeous waterfalls in Tokyo!

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Universal Travel AdapterOne of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.

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Conclusion

This entertaining and exhilarating city is a massive metropolis! Arriving in Tokyo is something that will leave you awe-inspired, but with our complete travel guide, every day of your trip will be full of adventures.

Tokyo is a pioneer city. Constant growth and change make this city something that drives forward and pushes other places in Japan to do the same. You will return from Tokyo a changed person yourself.

This is sure to be a traveling memory that will be with you forever.

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.


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