The Tokyo Guide

1

Figure out the stuff you really don’t want to miss

Click through these categories for a quick look at my favorite places & things to do. Pick three or four attractions (or two neighborhoods) for each day you plan to spend in Tokyo.

2

Check out the special festivals & events that will be happening while you’re in town

Don’t forget that there are lots more flower seasons that are as amazing as the cherry blossoms. Here’s a guide to when they bloom and where:

3

If you don’t build in a little shopping time, you’ll have REGRETS

Now that you’ve got your list of stuff to do, head over to Travel Hacks for help figuring out the best way to put together an excellent trip, where to eat & stay, how to get around, and where to take the kind of photos that will turn your friends pink, purple and green with envy.

And if you’d prefer to browse everything, here’s the A-Z of all the places I think are worth a look

CURRENCY MUSEUM

MIRAIKAN

And of course, you’ll need some airplane reading, right? How about a novel set in Tokyo…? (The first in the series is Nightshade)

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead with a pair of strangers in a car at the local shrine. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her best friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more

Alphabetical listing – click for quick descriptions of all destinations & links to more info

DIRECT LINKS, A-Z

SHRINES & TEMPLES

Daibutsu (the giant Buddha in Kamakura)

Fukugawa Fudo (the fire ceremony temple)

Gotokuji Temple (hundreds of cat figures)

Hasedera (in Kamakura)

Hokokuji (the bamboo temple in Kamakura)

Ikegami Honmonji (red pagoda and 10,000 lanterns festival)

Imado Shrine (lucky cat matchmaking shrine)

Kanda Myojin (the anime & manga artist shrine)

Meiji Shrine (most famous shrine in Tokyo)

Nanzo-in (the tied-up saint)

Nezu Shrine (azaleas & red torii gate tunnel)

Nishiarai-Daishi (peony garden temple)

Sasuke Inari Shrine (the fox shrine in Kamakura)

Sengakuji (47 ronin temple)

Senso-ji (big red temple in Asakusa)

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (big shrine in Kamakura)

Yasukuni Shrine (most controversial)

Yushima Shrine (plum  and chrysantemum festivals)

Zeniarai Benten (the money-washing shrine in Kamakura)

Zojoji (hundreds of Jizo figures with pinwheels)

 

GARDENS

Arisugawa Park MAP

Denpo-in (secret garden at Senso-ji temple)

Hama-Rikyu Teien

Jindai Botanical Garden

Kiyosumi Teien

Koshikawa Koraku-en

Kyu Shiba-rikyu Teien MAP

Mukojima Hyakka-en MAP

Nai-en Garden (at the Meiji Shrine)

Ni-no-maru Imperial Gardens MAP

Nishiarai Daishi Peony Garden

Okurayama Plum Garden

Rikugi-en Garden

Sankei-en Garden (in Yokohama)

Shinjuku Gyo-en Garden

Showa Kinen Park

Yoyogi Park

MUSEUMS

Amuse Museum

Borderless (TeamLab Digital Museum)

Ebisu Beer Museum

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Explorascience Museum

Fukagawa-Edo Museum

History Garage MAP

Miraikan MAP (National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation)

Mori Art Museum MAP

Nezu Museum MAP

Nihon Minka-en (historical park with thatch-roofed farmhouses)

Sengakuji Temple Museum (47 ronin museum)

Trick Art Museum

ONLY-IN-JAPAN EXPERIENCES

Performance Experiences

See a Kabuki Performance

Watch a Fire Ceremony

Go Inside the Giant Buddha

Visit the Monkey Park at Mt. Takao

Visit the World’s Smallest Live Jazz Bar

Sundays in Yoyogi Park

Participation Experiences

Make Your Own Plastic Food

Tokyo Dome City amusement park

Be a Lolita for a Day

The Hot Spring Theme Park

Therapy Fish Pedicure

Go Inside the Giant Buddha

Visit the Monkey Park at Mt. Takao

Double Your Money at the Money-Washing Shrine

Borderless (TeamLab Digital Museum)

Trick Art Museum

Smile Fight at the Explorascience Museum

Learn the Secrets Hidden in Woodblock Prints

Go inside 23 thatch-roofed farmhouses

Calico Cat Cafe

Hedgehog Cafe

Eating Experiences

Lunch at a Maid Cafe

The Robot Restaurant

The Ninja Restaurant

The Goth Restaurant

Eat Weird Flavors of Ice Cream

Catch Your Own Noodles

Shopping Experiences

Aki-Oka Artisan Co-op

Japan Traditional Craft Center

The Origami Center

NEIGHBORHOOD WALKS

Akihabara

Aoyama-Itchome

Asakusa

Asakusa-bashi

Ebisu

Ginza

Harajuku

Ikebukuro

Inari-cho

Kamakura (day trip)

Kamiya-cho

Kappabashi

Kiyosumi-Shirakawa

Komagome

Korakuen

Koshinzuka

Kudanshita

Monzen Naka-cho

Mt. Takao

Nakano

Nezu

Nihon-bashi

Odaiba

Roppongi

Ryogoku

Shibuya

Shimokitazawa

Shinjuku

Ueno

Yokohama (day trip)

Read a novel set in Tokyo

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something
A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car at the local shrine, and the more Yumi Hata learns about her best friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more