Here is my first Tokyo Ultimate Guide! As I grew up in Japan I visited Tokyo many times, but I fall in love with it more and more each time I visit. If you want to know more about Tokyo, check out my guide here and here.
Tokyo is Japan’s capital city and the world’s most popular metropolis. What I love about Tokyo is that the city offers both modern and ancient neighborhoods. In Tokyo, you will have an unlimited choice of shopping, dining, entertainment, and culture.
Since more than 13.8 million people live in Tokyo, it gets a bit overwhelming for visitors… But don’t worry, this Tokyo Ultimate Guide should help you with what to see, where to eat, and where to stay!
Tokyo Tower is the second tallest structure in Japan and it is the iconic tower of Tokyo. If you want to enjoy the perfect view of Tokyo Tower, I definitely recommend you visit the Seaside Top Observatory. They offer super reasonable prices, compared to other observatories. The entry fee is 620yen while others, such as Tokyo City View, charges you 1,800yen. In addition to the bargain, this place is not very crowded and there is a large area on top that you can sit down to relax while enjoying the gorgeous view. A 360 degree view of Tokyo definitely helps you better understand the layout of Tokyo as well. My personal recommendation is to get here about an hour before sunset, so you can pick out the best spot to get a great shot of Tokyo Tower. It is magical to see as the sunlight slowly disappears leaving a beautiful silhouette of Tokyo Tower.
Shibuya is a popular district for young Japanese people, and it is known as one of the most popular fashion centers of Japan. There are many things to do in Shibuya, such as shopping, dining, and going to nightclubs, but I want to list 2 things you cannot miss while you are there.
The first place is Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Shibuya Scramble Crossing is Tokyo’s iconic intersection. Walking against the surging waves of people is quite an experience in itself. I have countless friends and relatives who have all been impacted by the sight as there is nowhere quite like it. You can also take a picture of the iconic crossing from one of the surrounding cafes.
The second place is Shibuya Hikarie. If you want to take an amazing photo of Shibuya, go to the 11th floor of Shibuya Hikarie. It offers an excellent view of the scramble crossing and of the neighborhood. It is also accessible free of charge (YAY).
Meiji Shrine is located just beside the busy Harajuku Station, however it makes you feel like you are far away from the hustle and bussle of stereotypical Tokyo. Since the area is covered by an evergreen forest, the atmosphere is very fresh and inspiring. It is a nice place to spend some time relaxing while you enjoy the peacefulness of the surrounding nature. Meiji Shrine is open sunrise to sunset, and the admission is free. Some people also use Meiji Shrine for traditional wedding ceremonies. If you are interested, try visiting there on Sunday mornings. It is a great photo opportunity for sure.
Harajuku is definitely a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. If you are looking for kawaii and to experience the fashion capital, this place is for you! What I like about Harajuku is that there are many independent boutiques and stylish cafes. You will definitely find an interesting place to shop or dine, but one of the places you cannot miss in Harajuku is Tokyu Plaza. There are plenty of shops and places to eat, and it is famous for the impressive entrance… It is such a photogenic spot! It also has a great roof-top garden, so it is a nice place to relax and take a break from a long day of shopping.
This is where the heart of Tokyo comes alive. You will find yourself surrounded by karaoke, an assortment of clubs, and restaurants that are open until 2-4 in the morning. If you want to enjoy the nightlife of Tokyo, Shinjuku is the place for you. One of my favorite areas in Shinjuku is Omoide Yokocho. It is a narrow street filled with small shops offering a variety of Japanese food and drinks. There are many different restaurants to choose from, and the menus you find here are unique and authentic at the same time. Even if you choose not to eat, it is worth a visit to experience real local culture and immerse yourself in a part of Tokyo’s history.
If you want to know more about Tokyo’s nightlife, read my article about 7 things to do in Tokyo at night.
If you’re planning on having afternoon tea in Tokyo, this is the place!!! The atmosphere is amazing, and the food is always fresh and delicious. The interior is nicely decorated with seasonal flowers as if you’re sitting in a beautiful garden. We ate the warm salad, and it was amazing!(Trust me!) It perfectly matched with the beautiful floral theme, too. I am usually a coffee person, but I highly recommend foregoing your coffee fix for a day and trying Aoyama Flower Market’s tea! Just keep in mind that you may have to be in line for up to 90 mins, depending on how crowded it is. Lunch is served between 11am and 3pm, and the price you should expect to spend is between 2,000yen and 3,000yen.
Address: 5-1-2 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo
It was cold and snowing when I went to Luke’s Lobster, but their lobster rolls made my day better! It is a bit overpriced in my opinion, but the amount of lobster meat is generous. The bun itself is pretty delicious with a warm, crispy outer layer. Although it was not very crowded when I visited, my friend told me that you have to be in line for more than an hour sometimes… So be prepared to wait in line or avoid the lunch time or weekend. The price is approximately 950yen to 2,000yen.
Address: 6-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
There are about 234 Michelin Stars restaurants in Tokyo, and Craftale is one of them. However, what differentiates this restaurant is their creativity and cost performance. Each dish was beautifully plated and contained a surprising combinations of flavors. Every plate was phenomenal, but my absolute favorite was the steak! They cooked the beef perfectly. Also, the atmosphere is very relaxing and comfortable… you can even see beautiful cherry blossoms from the window in the spring. Just keep in mind that they serve lunch only on the weekend. Since it is a pretty popular restaurant, reservations are recommended. The price you’ll possibly spend there is between 7,000yen and 15,000yen.
Address: 1-16-11 2F, Aobadai,Meguro, Tokyo
If you come to this place, you must try their 3D latte art! You need to pay extra for the 3D latte art (I had a cup of cappuccino (650yen) + 3D latte art (additional 500yen)), but it was definitely worth it. If you want customized latte art, be prepared to show a picture to the server. They will make your latte, based on the picture you have! You can also have lunch there as well. Their food was good but the portion was a bit small. Just keep in mind that they accept CASH ONLY. People usually spend around 1,000yen to 2,000yen in Reissure.
Address: 3-25-7 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Motsuyaki Uchan is located on the street Omoide Yokocho. The street gives you a glimpse of old Tokyo culture that’s a bit raw and off the tourist track. The restaurant serves mostly yakitori and other grilled items along with local beer and drinks. The food is excellent and the ambiance is quite attractive. All yakitori is freshly grilled right in front of you, and they are some of the BEST yakitori I have ever had! Even if you don’t plan to eat here, check it out for the aesthetics. It is very photogenic. Just keep in mind that most of the restaurants accept CASH ONLY.
Address: Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
This iconic, 5-star luxury lifestyle hotel is located between Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace. From their 52 story skyscraper, they offer such an amazing view overlooking Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Bay. They also offer easy access to key locations, such as Ginza shopping district, Tokyo Station, and multiple temples.
Our favorite part of our stay was the amazing customer service – the staff are very friendly and go out of their way to offer recommendations and directions to various points of interest. I have stayed in luxury hotels all over Japan, and I can honestly say that Andaz Tokyo is one of the most luxurious and beautiful properties I have ever stayed at. If you are looking for the best place to stay in Tokyo, you should definitely pay them a visit!
If you want to check out my full review of Andaz Tokyo, click here.
Average rates for a standard room: $451 – $1,303
Address: 1 Chome-23-4 Toranomon, Tokyo
Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo is conveniently located in the center of Ginza, which allowed us to walk anywhere from countless department stores and restaurants to the famed Tsukiji Market. It’s a very classic, modern, and super trendy hotel from the moment you step through the doors.
Besides the location, the most attractive aspect about this hotel is their artistic interior. The lobby is very welcoming with natural light and high ceilings. I fell in love with how they incorporated natural elements with such an artistic atmosphere. If you have plans to come to Tokyo anytime soon, I highly recommend staying at Hyatt Centric Ginza and spend time shopping around the area!
If you want to check out my full review of Hyatt Centric Ginza, click here.
Average rates for a standard room: $353 – $841
6 Chome-6-7 Ginza, Tokyo
I listed all the places to go, but this Tokyo Ultimate Guide is all based on my personal review and experience. If you are in Tokyo, it is a great way to soak in all kinds of traditional Japanese culture, learn about modern life in the city, and just enjoy exploring. You will find many kawaii cafes, stylish boutiques, and vibrant buildings. There’s seriously no place like Tokyo! I hope this article will help you to organize an unforgettable time in Tokyo 🙂
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