Your Guide to The Wonders of Tokyo



Tokyo is one of the coolest cities in the world and has become an increasingly popular destination spot. It can feel overwhelming knowing how to begin to see the city and navigate a culture that is so different. Not to worry, I lived in Tokyo for six months studying abroad and I am here to give you the full guide to all the best parts of the city. You’d be surprised to learn that Japan is actually one of the easiest cities to get around. The subway system and public transport are communicated in both Japanese and English. You’ll find this commonality around most of the city due to the United States rebuilding Japan after World War Two. Despite the common use of English, Japanese culture is extremely different from Western. For one you will notice that people are extremely quiet in public. Speaking loudly on trains and in shared spaces is considered extremely rude. Another huge culture shock for me was people coming up and asking for photos. Throughout this article, I am going to walk you through all the best neighborhoods, my top picks for food, and give you some hacks that I wish I had known before I went. This is your guide to not being lost in translation. 


Tokyo is a mix of ultra-modern technology and ancient history combined into the same city. There are so many cool art installations and historical experiences that you will definitely want to check out while you’re there. Some attractions can be booked out months in advance or an extremely crowded experience if you don’t go at the right time. Below are my top picks I would consider reserving in advance. 

(Team Labs, my photo) 

Team Labs and Team Planets 

You have definitely seen this on Instagram but let me reassure you it’s beyond worth checking out in real life. TeamLab Planets and TeamLab are cutting-edge art collectives and digital art museums that are really shaking up the traditional art scene. TeamLab Planets in Toyosu is quite the experience – it’s not just about observing the art; you’re part of it. Imagine wading through water and exploring different spaces decked out with ever-changing digital displays. Then there’s TeamLab Borderless in Odaiba, a sprawling, colorful world where art installations seamlessly connect, creating an immersive environment. Tokyo’s TeamLab scene is all about pushing boundaries and redefining how we experience art. I suggest booking in advance because they do sell out. The best times to book are the first session of the day and the very last. This will minimize crowds and make your overall experience much more enjoyable. 

Booking Team Lab Borderless:

Bookings Team Planets:

Kimono Tea Ceremony Maikoya Tokyo 

This tea ceremony was one of my favorite cultural experiences abroad. They have different options for the length and kind of ceremonies you can do. The ceremony essentially takes you through the ritualistic steps to prepping a green tea matcha, the instructors are awesome and it’s delicious! 



Traditional Japanese bath houses (called Onsens) are an amazing way to relax from your travels. They are separated into men and women sections. You will be given a locker to store your things in and wander various pools of different temperatures while bathing nude. Please note that many Onsen’s do not allow entry to guests with tattoos. The reasoning behind this is that tattoos often represent people affiliated with criminal groups in Japan. Below are my favorites in the city & I have included an option if you have tattoos but are still looking to have this experience. 

Maenohara Onsen Sayano Yudokoro:

Somei Onsen Sakura: 

Yamato No Yu: **tattoo friendly 

Bullet train 

When traveling in Japan, make sure to experience the efficiency and speed of the country’s renowned bullet train, known as the Shinkansen. Purchase a Japan Rail Pass for unlimited access to these high-speed trains, and save on individual ticket costs. Be sure to book your Shinkansen tickets in advance during peak travel times

Booking Link: 

Museum of Modern Art 

If you love art this is a must! Plan your visit during weekdays to avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the artwork. Don’t forget to explore the surrounding Kiba Park for a relaxing stroll after your museum visit. 

Booking Link: 

View of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo Tower 

Tokyo Tower offers one of the best views of Mt. Fuji during sunset. It was inspired by the Eiffel tower so you will notice a lot of similarities but the Tokyo tower is actually taller. The area surrounding the tower is also awesome to walk around and explore. 

Booking Link:

Studio Ghibli Museum 

If you are a fan of Spirited Away, Ponyo, or Totoro then definitely check out this unique museum experience. Tickets are highly coveted and can be booked out extremely far in advance. This is not your typical museum and you’ll be surprised what you find when you enter the world of Studio Ghibli filmmaking. 

Bookings Link:

Toyosu Market 5 am Tuna Auction & Restaurants 

This does not require an advance reservation, however, you should plan accordingly. Every morning from 5:30 am to 6:30 am there is a tuna raffle at the Toyosu market where fish can be sold for up to 36 million yen ($ 247,000 USD). Watching the auction is truly a crazy experience but the best part comes afterward when you go to one of the Michelin sushi restaurants in Toyosu market for breakfast. All the fish served has been brought in that morning and is truly out of this world. They do not accept reservations so you will have to wait in line until opening. Sushi Dai was my personal favorite restaurant. 

Link For More Information on Toyosu Market:

(My photo) 

Sushi-making class at Tsijuku market OR Airbnb experience 

Learning how to make sushi in Japan properly is a bucket list experience. You can take a formal class at an institution or find tons of options with locals on Airbnb. I experienced both while I was there and really enjoyed learning from the chefs. Some people spend their whole lives studying sushi in Japan, but one class taught me so much! 

Sushi Class Booking Link:



Shibuya is famous for its insane pedestrian crossing (The Shibuya Crossing) but there is so much more to see here. . Wander down Center Street and Meiji Street for some fantastic shopping – there’s everything from luxury brands to cool Japanese finds. Swing by the Hachiko Statue near the station entrance; it’s a statue of a dog that waited for its owner to return for 10 years outside of the station. If you love a good view, head up to the Shibuya Sky for a bird’s-eye panorama of the whole area. Shibuya is awesome to explore during the day but nighttime is when it really comes to life. Here you will witness the crazy LED light displays Tokyo is known for and some of the best clubbing and bars. This is a bit of a touristy area so prepare yourself to experience crowds, especially in the train station. 


(Via Den Shibuya) 

DEN– $$$ 

 3 Michelin Star Japanese restaurant, Located near the famous intersection, has a seasonal menu to give you the top quality food of Japan. 

35 Steps Izakaya – $$ 

35 steps is an amazing Izakaya with a wonderful selection of traditional small dishes and Japanese beers. This is designed for people on the go and needing a snack. It’s cool to experience the bite-size food locals enjoy in Tokyo. 

Fūunji – $ 

I could go on and on about their ramen! It’s very reasonably priced and the creamy broth they have is seriously divine. 


Located right next to Shibuya, Harajuku is an iconic fashion and foodie destination. The most famous street in the area is Takeshita-Dori Street, which is lined with unimaginable boutique displays, crepes you can smell from a block away, and often young Japanese people cosplaying on the weekends. This is where you will really see the vibrant colorful “kawaii” (Japanese term to describe adorable things) culture of Japan. I honestly loved exploring off the main streets of Harajuku toward the direction of Omotesando for less crowds and really unique stores. This area can be super crowded on weekends so if that’s not for you visit during the week. 

(Takeshita Dori St, photo authorized for use via stock images) 


(Via Micadeco Instagram) 

Micasadeco & Cafe – $$$

This famous hot spot on Harajuku’s Cat Street has the fluffiest ricotta pancakes that jiggle upon arrival on your plate. It can have a bit of a line so I suggest showing up before they open to skip it, or on a weekday. 

Mushroom Tokyo – $$ 

Mushroom Tokyo lives up to its name by crafting dishes that showcase its primary ingredient – mushrooms. The restaurant ensures the use of fresh fungi, delivered daily from Katori in Chiba prefecture.

Gyukatsu Motomura Harajuku – $$

This is a chain restaurant and almost any location you go to will have a line because it’s that good. They do not accept reservations but their Wagyu is well worth the wait! 

Okonomiyaki SakuraTei – $ 

This is a great place to try a range of street foods like Okonomiyaki, Monjayaki, and teppanyaki that are prepared directly on the hotplate. The prices are very fair. 

Harajuku Smile Crepes – $ 

You can’t go to Harajuku and not try their outlandish crepes. Savory or Topped with ice cream you can’t go wrong here! 


Ginza is the ultimate luxury neighborhood in Tokyo. Even if you aren’t into designer brands it’s worth walking just to see the impressive displays and immaculately kept streets. This is also a great neighborhood for foodies to check out, it not only has tons of Michelin-recognized restaurants but a plethora of hole-in-the-wall cozy options as well. I recommend starting off walking the main shopping strip, Chuo Dori, and be sure to wander into the cool side streets like Harumi Dori. This is one of those neighborhoods you want to let yourself get lost in because some of the best unique boutiques and coffee shops are down unsuspecting tiny side streets. The lights in Ginza at night are magical so be sure to stick around after the sun goes down. 


Ginza Shabutsu – $ 

Locally loved Shabu Shabu (hot pot cooking experience) dinner, reasonably priced and amazing quality 

Gyoza Hohei – $ 

I love this dumpling spot, and it’s open late. 

Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven – $$ 

This place has some of the best sushi I experienced in the Ginza neighborhood. They have different priced Omasake parings and the cheaper one is around $70 USD and extremely high quality for the price. 


(Asakusa, my photo) 

Asakusa feels like you are teleporting back into a historical Japanese town. This is one of the best places to get a taste of Japanese culture, quite literally the street food here is so good. Start off at the classic Senso-ji Temple – it’s the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. After the temple, head to the Nakamise-Dori shopping street, where you will find a ton of traditional Japanese crafts that are perfect souvenirs and street food (below I have included some of my street food recommendations). Continue your journey along Kaminarimon Street and you’ll come to the symbolic Thunder Gate which is a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss. Asakusa is also home to the famous Tokyo Sky Tree, which I mentioned has one of the best views of Mt. Fuji. I suggest checking out the area around the Sky Tree too for some fun shopping. 


YoshiKami – $$ 

Known for their slogan, “sorry for being so delicious” , this restaurant has a really cool retro vibe and tons of food options. I highly recommend their beef stew. 

Magurobito Shin-Nakamise Street Branch – $$

Rotating sushi bars are one of the best parts of Tokyo and this spot is a great place to end up in Asakusa and the prices are good too. 

Hyotan – $$ 

This is a casual spot with the best monjayaki (Japanese pancakes). 


Asakusa Unana – $ 

Incredible freshwater eel dining experience. 

Kibi Dango – $ 

Serves the best mini mochi balls on a kebab, they are sweet without being too sugary. 

Toyofuku Curry Bread – $ 

A Type of seasoned bread that is crunchy on the outside and has soft fluffy curry on the inside, you’ll find this at a ton of convenience stores too. 


Shinjuku can feel so overwhelming on first impressions but don’t let that discourage you, this neighborhood has so much to offer. Once you get out of the station (it’s one of the biggest ones in Tokyo) head toward the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to relax and escape the craziness of the city. Take a stroll around Kabukicho, one of the most famous entertainment districts in all of Asia. This area is mainly for adult nightlife but is truly an experience to walk through. If you’re looking for something a bit more lowkey head to Golden Gai, where narrow alleys are  lined with over 200 tiny bars, each with its own distinct theme and atmosphere and only a few seats making for a really cool experience in each one. 

(Shinjuku, my photo) 


Soba House – $$ 

Insane soba noodles and ramen 

Kagurazaka Sushi Academy – $$ 

An affordable all-you-can-eat sushi experience. Also a great place to learn more about fish and see what a sushi school looks like! 

Himawari Sushi Shintoshin – $$ 

Sushi restaurant with great quality fish and very good prices. 


This Neighborhood is nestled in a central part of the city making it a common stopover on train rides. If you find yourself with a free afternoon in Ueno don’t miss out on checking out the absolutely stunning Ueno Park. During Cherry Blossom season this is one of the most beautiful parks in the city, but all year round it has incredible views and a zoo! Toyosu Market in Ueno is also one of the best places to eat sushi and see Japan’s famous fish auctions, but as I mentioned earlier, research and plan your visit there. 

(Ueno Park, my photo) 


Toyosu Market – $$$ 

Must see, typically an early morning experience but so worth it if you are a sushi lover 

Gashue – $$ 

They offer a sake food pairing here that is so cool. 

Sushi Dai – $$ 

You wake up super early to be in line to go to this Michelin Star restaurant and it is one of the best spots in all of Tokyo, located inside Toyosu Fish Market. 

Mr.Farmer – $$$

If you need a break from Japanese food and want a healthy salad. It’s a chain but has awesome veggie options sourced from Japan 


As one of the nicest districts in Tokyo, Roppongi is an amazing neighborhood to spend the day or go out at night. Start off at the Mori Art Museum. The Mori has some of the most interesting displays and an epic view of the city.  Next head to Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, these two multi-purpose developments have endless shopping, food options, and bars. They are about a fifteen-twenty-minute walk apart from each other. If you’re looking for upscale dining experiences, Roppongi has some of the most high-end, and delicious food in the city. This neighborhood is also home to some of the best clubs in Tokyo and is a great place to spend a night out. 

(View from Mori Art Museum, my photo) 


Imakatsu Roppongi – $$ 

Out-of-this-world chicken Katsu.

Ippudo – $$ 

Ramen restaurant famous for its broth 

Lemon – $$

This place is a Shabu Shabu dining experience, where food is prepared in a hot pot of broth. They offer different price ranges for dining experience but have affordable options. 

Teppanyaki – $$$

Highly recommend their weekday lunch course, you can book for full coursed meals or order a la carte. 


You will see these chains all over the city and should absolutely try to stop in them at some point! All of these businesses are frequented by locals and are truly unique experiences to local life in Japan. When in doubt about what to snack on, head to one of these. 

7/11 / Seven & Holdings 

You may think you know what the inside of a 7/11 is like but think again. In Japan 7/11 is not only where you can pay your taxes, but it’s also the most common convenience store you will see on almost every block. They prepare fresh foods daily (which are surprisingly really good) and if you forgot anything for your trip you’ll likely find it here. 

Sushiro Conveyor Belt Sushi 

Imagine being placed at a table and instead of a waiter you have a screen. You select the dishes you want and they arrive via conveyor belt within minutes. The prices are great and if you are looking for quick service it doesn’t get much faster than this. 

IchiRan Ramen

Their ramen is awesome and they are usually open late unlike many other establishments in Tokyo. This chain was a favorite late-night snack amongst friends and I during my time in Tokyo. 

(Train Station during sunset in Shinjuku, my photo) 


The best way to get around Tokyo is to utilize the subway system, which is one of the most clean and well well-designed public transportation systems in the world. Trains generally run from 5 am to midnight, use google maps to plan your journey on the trains because you can sometimes lose service underground. I suggest getting a PASMO IC card during your time in the city. You will swipe this quickly to enter and exit the stations. Remember that etiquette on trains and public transport is to not speak loudly as many people typically ride in silence. 

Rush Hour

When possible try to avoid traveling on public transport during rush hour,  between 7.30 am-9.30 am and 5.30 pm-7.30 pm. During this time as many people as possible squeeze onto the trains, and in some instances it is normal for train attendants to actually push you inside of them. During the morning there is an option for a female-only car if you feel more comfortable not being in such close quarters with the opposite sex. 

Subway Card Information:


  • Wearing shoes inside of someone’s home is unacceptable behavior and you will be asked to remove them at the entrance. This may also apply to some dining experiences. 
  • Bowing upon meeting someone is a very normal thing and a sign of respect. 
  • Making loud noises when eating/slurping food etc. is normal to show you like it. 
  • Do not tip, if there is a service charge it will be included. 
  • Be prepared for “smart toilets” 
  • Despite being ultra-modern, you will need cash to pay for many things

Written By: Tara Katims for the Abroadeez Team

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