Aside from watching the Olympic Games this Summer in Tokyo, there’s an array of other unique things to see and do in the Japanese capital. Even if you don't want to miss a single sporting event, you'll still have some time to immerse yourself in the culture of Tokyo, experiencing the city and surrounding areas.
Top things to do: in and around Tokyo
Take in the views from Tokyo Skytree
Spend an evening exploring the world’s tallest tower, the 634-metre-high (2,080-foot) Tokyo Skytree. The view from the top is simply spectacular. You can browse the various shops and boutiques as you climb to the observation decks, where you’ll get 360-degree views of the city. On a clear day you can see as far as Mount Fuji, a spot definitely worth visiting.
Real-life Mario kart racing
Seek out your inner child, dress up as one of Super Mario Brothers and take to the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart.
Playing Mario Kart no longer has to be limited to Nintendo video games. The time has come where you can finally experience it in real life! Mario Kart in Tokyo has been around for the last couple of years and even though it’s not officially Mario Kart, it’s not far off. More of a tour than actual racing, you’ll be driving on the streets of Tokyo alongside regular traffic. Be prepared for a fast ride, the maximum speed of the karts is around 40 mph and you’ll be driving on the left side of the road. All you need to enjoy this rather unique experience is a valid driver's licence.
The Robot Restaurant in the Shinjuku neighbourhood is one of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots. You can watch shows with colourful laser lights, striking dancers, and eclectic robots, a truly bizarre, yet interesting dining experience.
Aoyama is one of the wealthiest areas in Tokyo, located in the northwest part of Minato ward. The streets of Aoyama are a sightseeing destination in themselves, with luxury brands lining the streets; they put as much emphasis on the innovative design of their buildings as they do on the design of their products.
In Tokyo’s Gaienmae neighbourhood, we suggest you walk along Icho Namiki Avenue to see the ginkgo trees. Their leaves turn completely yellow at the end of November, but the tree-lined street is beautiful to see at any time of the year.
Aoyama is also dotted with little shrines and temples, as well as Japan’s first municipal cemetery, the Aoyama Cemetery, which is known to be scenic and atmospheric. Also, don't miss Japan’s Olympic Museum based in Shinjuku City. The museum offers a hands-on, interactive learning experience about Olympism, the Olympic Games' long history, and more.
Sensō-ji’s ancient temple
Sensō-ji is home to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Japan. This temple with its classic red lantern will take you right back to the world of old Japan. You will enter through its historic ‘thunder gate’ - the symbol of Tokyo - and you can experience the oldest temple in Japan. Although much of the temple was rebuilt within the last one hundred years, the temple itself dates back to 628 AD.
Enjoy the sunset on Mount Fuji
Located less than 100 kilometres from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city, Mount Fuji is well-worth a visit if you’ve got time to take a day-trip. In terms of reaching the summit - there’s two main options. For the more adventurous, there’s the chance to climb by foot (trail routes are open between July and September) or you can take a cable car 2,300 metres up to the fifth station of Fuji.
Visit the Shibuya district
Shibuya is a truly famous ward in Tokyo, the centre of the young generation, it’s the most energetic district in Tokyo.
One of the most popular photo spots for foreign tourists in Tokyo is the Shibuya Crossing. The crossing has appeared in several famous films, including Lost in Translation and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Shibuya 109 has been the centre of Tokyo’s young fashion culture for a couple of decades. It’s a trendy fashion complex with over 100 boutiques, worth a browse if you’re looking for a bargain.
Instagram worthy food and drinks has become the biggest trend in Japan recently, and Shibuya is the best area to find quirky and delicious food and coffee, with many cafes and restaurants based in this area. Shibuya’s Yoyogi Park is also a nice place to escape and relax in nature.
Eat fresh sushi
Tokyo is famous for its high quality fresh sushi, so you can’t visit the city without giving this delicacy a try. Though the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market relocated to Toyosu in 2018, we’d say Tsukiji is still most definitely worth a visit. It’s a great place to eat, with delicious street food and a huge concentration of small restaurants and cafes, most specialising in seafood.