Tokyo is an exhilarating metropolis that brilliantly fuses ancient traditions with cutting-edge innovation. As the world’s largest city, Tokyo offers endless things to do, see, eat and explore. This comprehensive Tokyo city guide provides everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip.

Tokyo is a vibrant mega-city that has something for everyone. From tranquil temples and lush gardens to neon-lit nightlife districts and towering skyscrapers, Tokyo overwhelms the senses with its immense size and energy.

Behind the ultramodern facade, Tokyo is still steeped in ancient traditions and culture. Sensō-ji Temple has welcomed pilgrims for over 1,400 years while Meiji Shrine provides a peaceful, spiritual escape in the heart of the city. But Tokyo also offers all the amenities of a 21st century metropolis, with world-class shopping, dining, arts and entertainment.

This Tokyo city guide will provide the essential information on Tokyo attractions, transportation, accommodations and tips for an amazing experience in one of the world’s most exciting cities. Let’s explore all that Tokyo has to offer!

Tokyo Attractions

With its unique blend of old and new, Tokyo offers countless attractions to fill your itinerary. Here are some of the top things to do in Tokyo:

Sensō-ji Temple

The ancient Sensō-ji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest and most significant Buddhist temple. Founded in 628 AD, Sensō-ji remains the most visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million annual visitors. The temple grounds hold a five-story pagoda, sacred statue of the goddess Kannon and historic Nakamise shopping street leading to the main hall.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine is a majestic Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. The shrine was built in 1920 in a serene evergreen forest and exemplifies traditional Japanese architecture. Meiji Shrine provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city with walking paths, spiritual rituals and traditional weddings.

Tokyo Skytree

The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world at 2,080 feet high. Two observation decks offer 360 degree panoramic views across Tokyo and on clear days, Mt. Fuji can be seen. The tower has a unique triangular design based on traditional Japanese aesthetics. The Skytree also has an aquarium, planetarium, shops and restaurants.

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is the main residence of Japan’s Imperial Family and current Emperor Naruhito. The palace is located in central Tokyo on the former site of Edo Castle. Visitors can tour the East Gardens with its Japanese design, watch the daily changing of the guards and view the Nijūbashi bridges over the moat.


Ginza is Tokyo’s most exclusive upscale shopping and dining district. The elegant area is home to department stores, art galleries, high-end restaurants and luxury brand flagship stores. Ginza is also known for its nightlife entertainment and Kabuki theater performances. The neighborhood exemplifies modern architecture, neon lights and urban sophistication.

Tokyo Transportation

Tokyo has one of the world’s most efficient and complex public transportation systems. Here are the main options for getting around Tokyo:

Tokyo Metro

The Tokyo Metro is the backbone of Tokyo’s rail transportation with its 13 subway lines and 290 stations. The Metro reaches every major district and attraction in Tokyo with trains departing every few minutes. The system is very safe, clean, reliable and easy to navigate.

JR Yamanote Line

The JR Yamanote Line is a key rail loop around central Tokyo making it very convenient for tourists. The line connects major hubs like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo and Ikebukuro with 29 stations. Trains run every 2-3 minutes and the line circles all of Tokyo’s major sightseeing spots.

Tokyo Monorail

The Tokyo Monorail provides quick transportation between central Tokyo and Haneda Airport in as little as 24 minutes. The trains depart every 5-10 minutes making it the fastest option for airport access. The Monorail connects to Hamamatsucho Station on the Yamanote Line.


Taxis are readily available at all hours across Tokyo. While affordable for shorter trips, fares can become expensive over longer distances. Taxis are best used for quick point-to-point trips and late night transportation when trains stop running.


Tokyo has an extensive municipal bus system but it is not commonly used by tourists. Buses can be difficult to navigate without Japanese language skills. For travelers, buses best serve as an occasional alternative to trains.

Tokyo Accommodations

Tokyo offers diverse lodging options across various neighborhoods. Some top areas to stay include:


Shinjuku is a popular district for tourists with its proximity to major train stations. The area offers budget hotels, luxurious high-rise properties, and everything in between. Shinjuku has a lively nightlife scene with restaurants and entertainment.


Just south of Shinjuku, Shibuya is another major Tokyo hub with plenty of accommodations. Business hotels, capsule hotels and hostels cater to various budgets. Shibuya is also home to upscale hotels and the lively nightlife around Shibuya Crossing.


Ginza has some of Tokyo’s most luxurious hotels given its prestige as an upscale shopping and dining district. Five-star properties offer premium amenities, fine dining and attentive service befitting Ginza’s elegance.


For a more traditional Japanese experience, Asakusa has ryokans, the classic Japanese inns. Ryokans offer tatami mat rooms, communal baths, Japanese gardens and traditional cuisine. Asakusa is also home to budget friendly hostels and apartments.

Tokyo Travel Tips

Use these essential travel tips for a smooth trip to Tokyo:

  • Learn basic Japanese phrases. Knowing some language basics helps with interactions.
  • Get a Japan Rail Pass for discounted train travel if visiting multiple cities.
  • Bring cash. Japan is still largely a cash-based society and many vendors do not accept cards.
  • Buy a prepaid IC travel card to easily ride trains and subways.
  • Be prepared for crowds. Tokyo is extremely crowded so expect queues and packed trains.
  • Avoid rush hour when possible. Leave extra time to get around during busy commuting periods.
  • Stay hydrated. Vending machines with water and drinks are everywhere.
  • Eat at food halls. Department store basements have amazing food halls with endless dining options.
  • Stay open-minded. Don’t be afraid to try new things and immerse yourself in Tokyo’s unique culture.


From the tranquil temples to the bustling nightlife, Tokyo offers endless possibilities. Use this Tokyo city guide to help plan your perfect trip. Tokyo seamlessly blends its illustrious past with a soaring modern vision of the future. Let Tokyo’s energy, culture and unparalleled experiences inspire you in this one-of-a-kind city. Have an amazing trip!