Tokyo is more than a city. Japan’s sprawling capital bursts at the seams with a population of 37 million to form the largest metro area on the planet. With the neon nightscapes of Shinjuku and Shibuya in the west, the ancient temples and wooden houses of Ueno and Asakusa in the east, and palpable energy coursing throughout, Tokyo packs a strong sensory punch.
Here are the best things to do in Tokyo:
Simply crossing the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection will leave you gobsmacked by Tokyo’s formidable pulse.
Ground zero for Japan’s colorful youth fashion scene, this neighborhood is full of hip boutiques clustered around the busy thoroughfare of Omotesandō and tucked down a dense tangle of pedestrian-friendly backstreets.
Surrounded by forest, this majestic Shinto shrine provides an oasis of calm just beyond the fashionable throngs of Harajuku.
Tokyo City View and Sky Deck
Tokyo City View offers one of the most thrilling ways to get the lay of the land. Ascend to the Sky Deck on the building’s roof for windowless views in all directions.
This fantastical museum dedicated to Japan’s most beloved anime studio, Studio Ghibli, sits within Inokashira-kōen, one of Tokyo’s most appealing parks.
Tokyo’s most famous temple houses a golden image of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
Tokyo National Museum
If you only have time for one museum in your Tokyo itinerary, make it this one—it holds the world’s largest collection of Japanese art.
Dining with locals in a culinary alley
Take a seat beside locals at a hole-in-the-wall eatery in one of Tokyo’s numerous yokochō (culinary alleys) for a meal and an experience you won’t forget.
Nightlife in Shinjuku
Tokyo’s most eclectic nightlife zone offers experiences from robot battles to pub crawls through the tumbledown bars of Golden Gai.