We’re finally making it to the tail end of 2022 and you know what that means – apart from everyone’s favourite season coming up (yay, Christmas!)… It’s also time for most of us to pack our luggage and fly outta Singapore and straight into some of our favourite travel destinations such as Tokyo, Taipei, Bangkok, Bali, and the list goes on!
Especially since we’ve missed out on at least two years worth of travelling thanks to the pandemic, it’s a good time to embark on our ‘revenge travel’ to make up for the missed adventures of the past two years.
With exciting new attractions popping up recently in Japan, it’s little wonder that Japan still remains one of our favourite travel hotspots. There’s always plenty to do, see, shop, eat and enjoy here. And if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo specifically, then you probably won’t want to miss out on these 31 things to do in Tokyo – including a whimsical fairytale village based on cats, Pokémon Café, Sanrio Puroland, animal cafes, onsens and more!
1. Tokyo Gashapon Street and Gachapon Ikebukuro
Have you ever seen a mini shaved ice machine? One fun thing to look out for in Japan, are the variety of miniature toys you can find at gachapon (or gashapon) machines. We’ve even seen a working mini shaved ice machine from a gachapon ball that can transform a cube of ice into shaved ice for a tiny bowl of shaved ice dessert! Head over to Tokyo Gashapon Street or Gachapon Ikebukuro and feel free to go wild collecting all sorts of funky little toys and figurines from Pokémon and Gundam to realistic food replicas, reusable tote bags and more.
📍 Tokyo Gashapon Street – 1 Chome-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
🕒 10am – 8.30pm (Mon to Sun)
📍 Gachapon Ikenbukuro – Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima City, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−1−3 サンシャインシティ ワールドインポートマートビル 3F
🕒 10am – 10pm (Mon to Sun)
2. Konica Minolta Planeteria Tokyo
While this isn’t the famous Hayden Planetarium in New York, here’s where you can still get lost in the stars (almost literally) at Konica Minolta Planeteria Tokyo. Step into this full-dome theatre complex and enjoy the combination of a musical, live music and starry night talk. At this bar-style planetarium, you can also take in the gorgeous starry sky while sipping on delicious beverages. The attraction boasts two dome theatres, a VR attraction, a cafe and a shop, so you can easily spend a couple of hours getting starry-eyed here.
3. Snoopy Museum
Fan of the Peanuts gang? Head to Snoopy Museum and explore multi-dimensional exhibitions filled with original and reproduced comic strips, vintage goods and more. There’s also the Brown’s Store where you’ll be able to find original Peanuts merchandise exclusively made for the museum, as well as the Peanuts Cafe where you can dine and relax after exploring the museum. And if you’re keen, participate in the workshops available where you’ll learn how to make your own Snoopy plushies too!
4. Sanrio Puroland
Know anyone in your life (or maybe it’s you yourself) who finds Hello Kitty or any other Sanrio characters simply adooorable? Get ready to lose your marbles at Sanrio Puroland, an indoor theme park where you’ll be able to meet and greet Hello Kitty and the rest of the famous Sanrio friends! You’ll also find a ton of exclusive Sanrio merch here featuring Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamoroll and more – along with musical shows and kawaii Sanrio-themed food.
5. Aoyama Flower Market and Teahouse
A hidden oasis in the city, welcome to Aoyama Flower Market, a beautiful flower market filled to the brim with colourful blooms. Take your photos amidst the IG-worthy settings and definitely stop to smell the flowers – but better yet, duck into the teahouse and enjoy a cup of aromatic tea and floral-themed desserts! Mains are also available on the menu if you’re feeling in need of something more substantial. And while you’re tucking in, enjoy the surroundings with the glasshouse vibes and flowers and greenery decorating every corner of the space.
6. Kichijouji Petit Mura
Opened in 2018, enter The City of Cats, also known as Kichijouji Petit Mura, a whimsical fairytale-like ‘village’ dedicated to cats. Featuring seven stores oozing a magical fairytale ambience, enjoy the fantastical buildings that look like they came straight out of a storybook.
Relax in a “quirky castle built by fickle cats” at CatCafe Tamari no Oshiro (Temari’s castle) as you hang out with the resident cats and indulge in some snacks and desserts available on the menu. Then head to the princess-themed shop – Toko-toko Zakka Store – and pick up some fun souvenirs. There’s also the quaint TEA HOUSE Happa where you can chill with your tea, pick up jewellery at Toko-toko Housekiten, and more!
📍 2 Chome-33-2 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0004, Japan
🕒 11am – 8pm (Mon to Fri), 10am – 8pm (Sat to Sun)
At Japan’s largest indoor theme park, you can expect to spend a day at Joypolis getting up to all sorts of fun with plenty of rides and attractions available spanning three floors. On the first floor, enjoy rides such as Gekion Live Coaster, Halfpipe Tokyo, Pirate’s Plunder and Spicy Taxi. On the second floor, you’ll find House of the Dead ~ Scarlet Dawn ~ The Attraction and Transformers Human-Alliance Special. And on the third floor, spend some time at Fortune Forest, Mystic Mansion, Murder Lodge and more!
8. Decks Tokyo Beach
Looking to visit a place that gives you more than just one thing to do? Over at Decks Tokyo Beach, here’s where you’ll be able to shop up a storm, dine with sweeping views of Tokyo Bay, and even visit theme parks! From Joypolis to Legoland, Madame Tussauds Tokyo and Tokyo Trick Eye Museum, as well as the Odaiba Takoyaki Museum, and the popular night view spot featuring the Odaiba Illumination ’YAKEI’ – your time will be well spent here indeed.
9. Tsukiji Outer Market
Also known as “the world’s greatest fish market”, Tsukiji Outer Market is a famous fish market not to be missed especially if you love your seafood or sushi. Originally a wholesale market selling fresh seafood to chefs and restaurants, now you can also enjoy fresh sushi and seafood meals here too.
10. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Museum
Available from now till 30 December 2022, make your way to the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Museum at Roppongi Museum if you’d love a good dose of fantasy, art and nostalgia. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first Sailor Moon manga by Naoko Takeuchi, check out the immersive multimedia theatre featuring a video of the Sailor Guardians and displays of their magical wands.
From original artwork to an astounding collection of more than 600 Sailor Moon figurines, game consoles and even costumes from Sailor Moon musicals, as well as a Sailor Moon cafe and exclusive Sailor Moon merchandise to purchase… This is almost heaven on earth for all Sailor Moon fans, or for those who enjoy a little bit of fantasy.
📍 Roppongi Museum – 5-6-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
🕒 10am – 6pm (Mon to Fri), 10am – 8pm (Sat to Sun)
11. Pokémon Cafe
If you haven’t noticed by now, the Pokémon craze seems to be back lately in Singapore with Mcdonald’s, 7-Eleven and more hopping on the Pokémon bandwagon over the past few months in 2022 – along with the silent craze over the Pokémon Ga-Ole machines where people get to collect and battle Pokémon.
Now you can head to the land where Pokémon originated from and dine at the first-ever official Pokémon Cafe in Tokyo featuring an original menu filled with IG-worthy Pokémon-themed food. Of course, the cafe itself feels like it could be one of the (battle) cafes you’d find in a Pokémon game (hello, Pokémon Sword).
Last but not least, don’t forget to pick up exclusive merch such as the cutest Snorlax Plate, and Pokéball Bowl with Lid – perfect for your ramen.
12. Gyukatsu Motomura
Tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) is pretty common here, but have you tried gyukatsu (fried beef cutlet)? Beef is difficult as is to cook perfectly, and deep-frying it while still trying to preserve the tenderness and juiciness is even tougher — but Gyukatsu Motomura does it perfectly. Paired with some house-made wasabi, this is bound to be a meal that you’re going to remember for days in Tokyo.
13. Moomin Valley Park
For a break away from Tokyo’s bustling city centre, visit Moomin Valley Park in the Greater Tokyo area. While it’s not technically in Tokyo, it’s still pretty accessible (approximately a 19-minute drive) – and has adorable Moomin-themed attractions like cafes, parks and exhibitions all housed within the Nordic-inspired entertainment park for an idyllic afternoon.
14. Small Worlds Tokyo
Accordingly the world’s largest indoor miniature amusement park, Small Worlds Tokyo houses many incredible minuscule displays recreated at 1/80 of the actual size that will blow your mind with the attention to detail and intricate storytelling via the exhibitions.
There are six areas in total – Space Center (check out a replica of an actual space centre complete with a rocket), Global Village (five imaginary countries inspired by Asia and Europe featuring fantastical creatures), Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (with gorgeous miniature scenes straight out of the manga), Kansai International Airport (see the landing field come to life), Evangelion Cage, and Evangelion Tokyo III!
15. Tokyo Tower
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Tokyo Tower is the second tallest tower in Japan. At its main observation deck, you’ll be able to get the perfect view of the city’s skyline. There are also several F&B and retail establishments as well as museums like the Guinness World Records Museum Tokyo inside the tower, so it’s a must-visit for those who want a true blue Tokyo tourist experience.
Especially if you’re into video games, anime, manga and more, make your way down to Akihabara, the centre of modern Japanese pop culture where you’ll be able to find all sorts of goodies to feed your video games, anime and manga obsessions.
📍 Akihabara, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0006 Japan
🕒 10am – 8pm (Mon to Sun)
Lauded as Tokyo’s most popular shopping district, Ginza is filled with high-end boutiques, department stores, restaurants, nightclubs and all things fancy. While it is one of the more expensive areas of the city, it’s still one of the most visited places among tourists and for good reason too — the uptown vibes are immaculate!
📍 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan
🕒 10am – 8pm (Mon to Sun)
18. Hamarikyu Gardens
A beautiful garden that encompasses both the rustic beauty from the Edo period and Tokyo’s metropolitan skyline, Hamarikyu Gardens is perfect for a leisurely stroll and sightseeing. There‘s also a ‘floating’ tea house here where you can enjoy a nice afternoon tea session with matcha, tea and various sweet treats.
📍 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0046, Japan
🕒 9am – 5pm (Mon to Sun)
19. Take pictures at Shibuya Crossing
We definitely can’t skip giving a mention to the famous Shibuya Crossing when writing about all the best things to do in Tokyo. It’s something like the New York Times Square of Tokyo, and here’s where you can take those iconic photos at this crossing – another IG-worthy shot for your social feeds!
📍 1 Chome-23-10 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan
🕒 10am – 9pm (Mon to Sun)
20. Imperial Palace
Take a walking tour at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace — the majestic home of Japan’s Imperial Family (similar to the Buckingham Palace in London or the Istana that we have in Singapore). While the inside of the palace is off-limits most of the time, many tourists and Japanese people alike enjoy walking and jogging around the outside while taking in the scenic waterfront views and infrastructure.
21. Tokyo SkyTree
Standing as the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters high, the Tokyo SkyTree is one of the best places to view Tokyo’s cityscape. Other than the observation decks (similar to the Tokyo Tower), there’s also a large shopping mall for you to get your retail therapy in as well as F&B outlets and even entertainment centres like an aquarium and planetarium here.
22. Takeshita Street
Perhaps the most popular shopping street in Harajuku, Takeshita Street houses an array of indie shops and businesses with different styles — so there’s definitely something for everyone. Other than retail stores, there are also many cafes and restaurants here as well as street food like the famous crepe stands and many more.
📍 1 Chome Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
🕒 10am – 8pm (Mon to Sun)
23. Tokyo Character Street (Tokyo Station)
If there’s one thing that Japan is famous for, apart from its rich history, kimonos, tea culture and much more – its the variety of popular Japanese characters widely beloved from Hello Kitty to Rilakkuma, Kerokeropi and more. Whether you already know and love some of these well-known Japanese characters, or if you’re in the mood to simply explore and check out this interesting spot – head to Tokyo Character Street at Tokyo Station!
📍 Japan, 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 東京駅一番街 B1
🕒 10am – 8.30pm (Mon to Sun)
24. Nakano Broadway
This famous four-level shopping complex houses many stores selling everything from manga and anime-related collectables to idol merchandise, game consoles, video games and little souvenirs. If you’re keener on hunting down new pieces to add to your wardrobe, explore the ground floor of Nakano Broadway with its selection of clothes, shoes, and vintage goods, while the other levels are where you will find anime and idol-related shops with collectors’ items and more.
25. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo
Located in Toshimaen, Tokyo, you won’t want to miss this if you’re a fan of Harry Potter, or simply love anything new or magical to explore. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo is finally opening soon in 2023. You can expect to spend at least half a day here with the indoor studio tour spanning 30,000 square meters filled with plenty of iconic film sets and scenes from Harry Potter.
Enjoy a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films with costumes and props, as well as special features showcasing how the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films were made. It’ll be plenty of fun to experience your favourite Harry Potter scenes first-hand – imagine possibly stepping into The Burrow, the family home of the Weasley family, strolling through Diagon Alley and more!
📍 Toshimaen, Tokyo
Animal Cafes in Tokyo
26. Harajuku Kawaii Zoo Land
Get transported into a whimsical wonderland at Harajuku Kawaii Zoo Land as you play and cuddle with some of the cutest animals you’ll see — like a capybara and fennec fox on top of other lovable friends like hamsters, otters and more at this animal cafe. Plus, they’re also pretty uncommon to see in a cafe or city setting in general, so it’s definitely going to be an unforgettable experience.
27. Moff Animal Cafe
Housing a wide variety of animals from domesticated pets like cats and bunnies to more exotic ones like owls, meerkats, prairie dogs and more, this is the place to visit if you absolutely love interacting with and getting to know animals. To commemorate your visit, there are also plenty of animal plushies for sale in the store so you can bring home a little friend.
28. HARRY Harajuku Terrace
This one’s gonna make you squeal in delight — a petting zoo and cafe with adorable sea otters, hedgehogs, chinchillas, gophers and more furry little creatures that you can interact with. The animals’ well-being is also a top priority here, so they’re all housed in comfortable environments and extremely well taken care of — which only makes them so much happier and the experience so much more enjoyable.
Onsens in Tokyo
29. Maenohara Onsen Sayuno Yudokoro
For a quiet getaway, head on over to Maenohara Onsen Sayuno Yudokoro — a small but well-equipped open-air onsen with everything that you’ll need for an afternoon of relaxation. There are more than 10 types of baths here as well as hot stone therapy to help you destress. There’s also a beautiful garden filled with lush greenery and zen Japanese vibes to really put you in a really tranquil mood.
📍 3 Chome-41-1 Maenocho, Itabashi City, Tokyo 174-0063, Japan
🕒 9am – 12am (Mon to Sun)
30. Mamashita Onsen
Mamashita Onsen might just be the pinnacle of relaxation with its gorgeous waterfront location. Here, you can lose yourself soaking in the warmth of an open-air onsen with ethereal views of the ocean or detox your mind and body with the unique volcanic sand baths.
📍 Setoyama, Niijima, Tokyo 100-0400, Japan
🕒 1pm – 8.30pm (Mon to Sun)
31. Spadium Japon
Consider Spadium Japon a one-stop shop for all your Japanese bath and sauna needs during your trip — seasonal baths, medicinal baths, milk baths, even an uber vibey rooftop bath if you prefer outdoor baths. You name it, they probably have it (as well as a variety of other spa facilities like different kinds of saunas and even bedrock baths).
In between soaks, you can even head on to the top floor and choose from thousands of mangas that are available for free as you rest on the cosy sofas in the lounge space. There’s also a food court on site serving traditional Japanese cuisine as well as international options for when you start feeling peckish after a good bath.
PS: In case you missed the news, the long-awaited Ghibli Park is finally opening in November 2022 at Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Aichi Prefecture! Great news for fans of Studio Ghibli, especially if you loved all the films from Spirited Away and Ponyo to Howl’s Moving Castle and Totoro. Here’s where you’ll be able to immerse yourself into the world of Studio Ghibli and feel like you’re in one of these movies. Step into Howl’s bedroom, meet Totoro, and more!
There you have it, the ultimate guide to 31 things to do in Tokyo from the lesser-known hidden gems to popular must-visit attractions. Brb, booking myself a flight right now!
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