The Top 7 Things to Do in Tokyo

From kabuki to sumo wrestling, there’s no shortage of things to do in the global hotspot that is Tokyo. Here’s our pick of the top seven Tokyo tourist attractions.

1. Street food and plastic food in Asakusa district

The Asakusa district combines the best of old and new Tokyo, with the tastiest street food. Here you’ll find the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) leading to the city’s oldest Buddhist temple – Sensō-ji. Locals and tourists alike congregate in this ancient area to eat fresh rice cakes and Okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) cooked on hot plates at the street stalls.

You can purchase traditional souvenirs such as pottery and ornaments here, or head to Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya to pick up something more modern. Only in Tokyo could you find this shop, which sells every kind of plastic food souvenir. Join in the fun and learn how to make your own fake mango waffle.

2. Tsukiji Shijo – the biggest fish market in the world

The biggest fish market in the world, Tsukiji Shijo is a mecca for seafood connoisseurs. Tokyo’s top chefs buy their seafood here each morning, when tourists also gather for the excitement of the 5am tuna auction. Whether you come for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s no finer sushi in Japan.

3. Shopping and dining in Ginza

Flex your 28 Degrees card at this luxury shopping district full of huge, high-end department stores. The top levels boast more three-Michelin-star restaurants than the whole of London. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, however, make your way to the basement levels where you’ll find tasty traditional snacks and delis.

While you’re in Ginza, visit Ito-ya – a nine-level stationery store. Or, take a break from shopping and drop in to any of the numerous art galleries dotted throughout the streets. And be sure to visit Tokyo’s most popular Kabuki theatre – Kabukiza.

4. Tokyo sky tree – the tallest tower in the world

This 634-metre broadcasting tower is the tallest tower in the world, so the views are exceptional. On a clear morning, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji. Down on the ground floor, there are 310 shops and restaurants to explore.

5. Ueno Park for cherry blossoms

Ueno is one of Japan’s oldest public parks. A wonderful destination in cherry blossom season (late March to early April), the 530,000m2 park also contains a number of cultural destinations. There are major art galleries and museums galore. Japan’s oldest zoo is also located here. Its pandas and super-cheap 600Y entry fee (approximately AU$7–8) are also big drawcards.

6. Traditional bathing at Oedo Onsen Monogatari

Travel back in time in the most relaxing style at Odaiba, an Onsen and Edo-period theme park. Soak in the hot springs or the open-air communal baths and veg out in the sauna. Then, dress up in period costume and join in the carnival games at the Edo Town festival mall, where the “street” is lined with traditional eateries.

7. Sumo wrestling at Ryogoku Kokugikan

This is the place to see sumos in action. Ryogoku Kokugikan holds two-week-long, bi-monthly sumo wrestling tournaments. The first tournament each year is in January, but make sure you buy your tickets a month in advance. Check out the history of sumo wrestling at the museum while you’re there. Arrive early in the afternoon to catch the pageantry when the biggest and best sumos arrive in a grand entrance ceremony.