17 Coolest Places to Visit in Tokyo
Where to Go in Tokyo: List of 17 Best Places
If you think you have seen most of Tokyo after a few visits, you may be wrong! There are so many spots in Tokyo which are hidden or unknown, but really attractive and for sure soon will be crowded by tourists.
Today I have listed 17 best spots and areas in Tokyo which are cool and trendy, and highly recommended to those who want to explore the city deeper! Check out new trendy places to visit in Tokyo this year!
Tokyo is best known for its modern and futuristic side with high-tech and skyscrapers. But exploring the historical side is actually great thing to do as you can enjoy the totally different view of Tokyo.
Yanaka area is a true hidden gem which is located in the central Tokyo, yet has an unspoiled atmosphere and local vibes. Shop and eat like local at Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street and explore the charming neighbourhood!
More info ▶︎ Things to Do in Yanaka
Yanaka’s Old Town Walking Tour by Magical Trip is one of the most popular guided tours in Tokyo! If you want to see the different side of Tokyo rather than the city’s modern culture, this tour is highly recommended! Enjoy walking down the local streets, stop by for street snacks and hit some hidden spots!
2. Nezu Shrine
Not too far from Yanaka area, Nezu Shrine is a shinto shrine located in Bunkyo ward, which is also walking distance from Ueno area. The shrine is best known for its Azalea festival in spring time, but a great spot to visit all year round.
If Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto is your thing, Nezu Shrine also have the gorgeous tunnel made with numerous vermilion torii gates, and it’s 100% photo worthy.
More info ▶︎ Nezu Shrine: Tokyo’s Most Underrated Shrine
If you like trendy spots like Shibuya and Harajuku but expect to see less crowds, Hiroo is a great choice. The area is located near Shibuya and Ebisu, and has much more relaxing and sophisticated atmosphere.
It’s a great area to explore the latest Tokyo food culture as numbers of swanky spots gather in this area, such as cafes and restaurants serving trendy and healthy items.
More info ▶︎ Hiroo: New trendy street food area in Tokyo!
4. Yayoi Kusama Museum
2017 was truly the year of the pop art queen, Yayoi Kusama after the big success of her exhibitions held in Tokyo and Kyoto. Her avant-garde sensation will surely continue, and we can not wait for her upcoming exhibition.
The brand new Yayoi Kusama Museum has just opened in the center of Tokyo in October. The museum has been extremely popular and very hard to get admission tickets, so make sure to book tickets in advance along with a plan of your visit to Tokyo.
More info ▶︎ Yayoi Kusama Museum in Shinjuku, Tokyo
5. Tsukishima Monja Street
What is Monja?? Monja (Monja Yaki) is a traditional local dish in Tokyo, which could be extremely unique and unfamiliar to foreigners. It may look quite skeptical at first sight, but trust me, it tastes hundred times better than it looks.
Tsukishima area is known as the birth place of the dish and numbers of Monja restaurants gathers on the street called “Monja Street”. If you want to explore Japanese food culture deeper, go for Monja!
More info ▶︎ Tsukishima Monja Street: Tokyo’s Hidden Gourmet Gem
6. Sumo Practice Viewing
Sumo grand tournaments are always popular things to watch, which is only held at limited time of the year. But if you visit Sumo wrestlers’ home ground, you have the chance to peek a bit of real lives of wrestlers anytime of the year.
Numbers of Sumo training houses are located in Ryogoku area, Tokyo (Asakusa area and Tokyo Skytree) where wrestlers live and practice. Some of them are open for public and visitors can see their morning training session real close. Not only watching their dynamic and powerful actions but it’s also a place to learn Japanese tradition and disciplines which you may not see often in this modern days.
Related article ▶︎ Review: SUMO Morning Practice Experience in Tokyo
If you are in Japan in the right time of the year, you can go and watch live matches of Sumo grand tournaments which are are held 6 times a year (3 times in Tokyo), and each one lasts for 15 days. Tickets for Sumo tournaments are not very cheap, but if you are a resident of Japan and book Sumo tournament tour through travel agencies, you can currently get a GoTo Travel campaign discount!
7. With Harajuku
The renovation of the long-established wooden Harajuku Station was completed in March, which was transformed into a modern-looking building. After three months of the rebuilding, a new entertainment complex named With Harajuku (ウィズ原宿) opened in front of the cutting-edge Harajuku Station.
It provides dining and shopping options with 14 shops and restaurants and also features a convention hall With Harajuku Hall and a sharing space Lifork on the third floor and With Harajuku Residence in the upper part of the building. The shopping and dining floors include popular brands such as Uniqlo, Ikea, Snow Peak, Dr.Martens, Seiko Boutique and so on. Of course, you can enjoy walking around the popular tourist area Harajuku stopping by trendy food stalls and clothing stores.
More info ▶︎ Best Things to Do in Harajuku
8. Tsukiji Honganji Temple
Tsukiji Fish Market is one of most visited tourist sites in Tokyo, but how many visitors stretch out to the gorgeous temple located right off the street? Tsukiji Honganji Temple is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhism temple with an unique look as the main hall of the temple was constructed with a motif of ancient Indian architecture.
Notably, there is a Japanese style cafe “Tsumugi” inside the temple, serving delicious and trendy Japanese dishes. It’s totally a great hideaway from crowds!
More info ▶︎ Tsukiji Honganji Temple
There are several notable landmarks in Shibuya area such as Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya 109 and Hachiko Statue at Shibuya Station. Although Shibuya has been one of the most popular districts in Tokyo for the past years, it’s now hotter place to visit than ever.
The district has been going under the massive redevelopment projects, and several new buildings and facilities have opened recently including Shibuya Stream, Shibuya Scramble Square and Shibuya PARCO.
More info ▶︎ Best Things to Do in Shibuya
10. Nintendo StoreThe long-awaited first official Nintendo store has finally opened in Tokyo in late 2019. Nintendo TOKYO is situated inside the newly renovated Shibuya PARCO right next to the new Pokemon Store. Nintendo TOKYO offers a wide range of merchandise, games and devices including some limited items exclusively sold at the shop.▶ Nintendo TOKYO: the First Official Nintendo Store in Japan
If you are wondering what kind of products are available at the Nintendo store, here are our picks of the best things to buy at Nintendo TOKYO!
11. Inokashira Park
Tokyo has several great parks in the city center such as Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen, but for more chilled and peaceful atmosphere, Inokashira Onshi Park is a perfect place. Inokashira Onshi Park is located at one of coolest neighbourhoods in Tokyo, Kichijoji area, where a lot of trendy and stylish cafes and shops gather.
The area has great access to Shibuya and Shinjuku. It’s one of the largest parks in Tokyo with a vast space including a pond, zoo, etc, and also a popular spot for cherry blossoms&autumn leaves viewing. The famous Ghibli Museum is located at the tip of the park. If you are a fan of Ghibli films, it’s definitely a place to visit (tickets must be purchased in advanced.)
Related article ▶︎ Inokashira Park Cherry Blossoms
12. Trying New Japanese Food
What’s on your must-try food list for your trip in Japan?? Many people visit Japan to explore its wonderful food culture, so it would be sad not to try authentic Japanese dishes not only typical tourists favourite dishes like Sushi, Tempura and Ramen.
Here are some of the most popular Japanese dishes among Japanese and the list of the restaurants in Tokyo!
Tonkatsu (deep-fried breaded pork cutlet) ▶ Best Tonkatsu Restaurants in Tokyo
Gyoza (pan-fried dumplings) ▶ Best Gyoza Restaurants in Tokyo
Udon (Japanese wheat-flour noodles) ▶ Best Udon Restaurants in Tokyo
Gyudon (rice bowl topped with simmered beef and onion) ▶ Best Gyudon Restaurants in Tokyo
Unagi (freshwater eel) ▶ Best Unagi Restaurants in Tokyo
Other than restaurants specializing in particular dishes, an amazing way to explore the authentic food culture is by visiting Izakaya (Japanese style gastropub) that usually serve delicious food and snacks that go perfectly with drink.
13. teamLab Borderless and teamLab Planets
Wish to experience the modern Japanese culture with cutting-edge technology and digitized attractions?? Then you should definitely hit these digital art museums that opened in Tokyo in recent years.
There are two digital art museums produced by teamLab in Tokyo: teamLab Borderless and teamLab Planets, and both have been the most trending tourist attractions in Tokyo nowadays.
TeamLab Borderless opened as the world’s first interactive digital art museum in Odaiba area in 2018 summer, and instantly became the hottest attraction in the city. Shortly after, teamLab Planets opened at Toyosu area (near Toyosu Fish Market) with a body immersive space comprising virtual experiences and digital art installation.
While teamLab Borderless is a permanent museum, teamLab Planets is open for a limited time until end of 2022.
Both museums are highly popular among both Japanese and foreign visitors, so it’s highly recommended to book the tickets in advance!
14. Nightlife in Shinjuku
You may hesitate to dive deep into Shinjuku’s nightlife, but there are a lot of things to enjoy for tourists, for example, taking night-time photograph with bright neon lights, experiencing the madness of Japan at Robot Restaurant, getting tipsy at authentic and low-key Japanese gastropubs at Omoide Yokocho and watching the coolest Tokyo’s city view at the high-rise skyscrapers’ observatories.
More info ▶ Shinjuku: Best Things to Do
15. Tokyo Mizumachi
At the bottom of the modern Tokyo’s symbol Tokyo Skytree, a large shopping complex Tokyo Solamachi was established in 2012. In June, 2020, a newer commercial facility named Tokyo Mizumachi (東京ミズマチ) opened with its concept “Live to Trip”.
Tokyo Mizumachi is composed of a dozen of trendy restaurants and other facilities including a cool hostel and a bouldering gym. It is a perfect spot for both tourists and long-term stayers in Tokyo, located underneath the elevated railway tracks between Asakusa Station, the center of the traditional town, and Tokyo Skytree Station.
16. Character Cafes
Character cafes have been a huge trend in Japan in recent years as numbers of collaborated cafes offering unique and photo-worthy themed dishes, drinks and limited merchandise.
There are numbers of “temporary” character cafes opening across Japan only for a limited time through the year in order to celebrate the related events such as releasing of new films, games, anniversary and so on. On the other hand, there are also “permanent” character cafes where you can visit anytime you like. From Pokemon Cafe to Sanrion character’s cafe, there are various character cafes available in Tokyo today!
More info ▶ Best Character Cafes in Tokyo
17. VR Spots
Tokyo has numbers of entertainment facilities including amusement parks and immersive attractions. VR is one of most notable things came up in recent years, and became the coolest entertainment tool in the world.
There are already several spots in Tokyo where you can have this latest high-tech experience. The biggest VR entertainment facility is located in Ikebukuro area, where over 10 VR activities can be found including Mario Kart, Evangelion and Dragon Quest.
More info ▶︎ Best Spots for VR Experiences in Tokyo!
▽Check out the best places to visit in other popular areas in Japan!▽
Have you enjoyed my list?? If you have been to most of major tourist sites in Tokyo such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Asakusa, etc, there are more places to explore and listed spots are highly recommended for experienced travellers to Tokyo! For more info about trendy new spots in Japan, please check out these articles, too!