Places of Interest in Tokyo

Find inspiration for things to do and places to visit in Tokyo, with information about the main observation towers, temples and shrines...

Japan offers tourists a wealth of character and tradition and has long been a popular tourist destination. Tokyo has two observation towers and several shrines and temples that are popular destinations for tourists.

One of the most popular areas for tourists to visit in Tokyo is the skyscraper district Shinjuku, renowned for its shopping and nightlife. The Ginza neighbourhood is also famous for its shopping, which ranges from famous brand names to small shops selling local crafts.

Observation Towers

Tokyo Sky Tree: This is the world's highest free-standing broadcasting tower at 634m high. It is popular with tourists and locals since it opened in May 2012 and it has two observation decks with scenic city views.

  • Tokyo Sky Tree
    : 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-0045
    Open: Daily from 08:00-22:00

Tokyo Tower: This 333m tower is the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower and offers a view of the city from the observation deck. It is located in Minato-ku, near the Akabanebashi train station. It is open to visitors every day from 09:00-21:30.

Temples and Shrines

Temples and shrines play an important role in the lives of Japanese people especially around holiday periods. The difference between the two is that a temple is for people practicing Buddhism and a shrine is for those practicing the Shinto religion.

Many people also visit to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the greenery surrounding them.

Gokokuji Temple: This temple is located near Ikebukuro station and has a pagoda, Japanese lanterns and a tower. It is here that the Emperor Meiji is buried.

  • At: 5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Hie-Jinja Shrine: The shrine dates back to 830 AD and hosts the Sanno Matsuri festival in mid-June, regarded as one of the three largest festivals in Japan. It also displays several important treasures including some historic swords.

  • At: 2-10-5 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Kanda Myojin Shrine (website in Japanese): This shrine has been very important to the Japanese people for over 1,200 years. The structure is a reproduction, built following the earthquake in 1923, and has ornate decorations and a lacquer and gold interior. Within the grounds there is a statue of one of the seven lucky gods, Daikoku. Visitors arriving early in the morning may see the Shinto priests performing rituals.

  • At: 2-16-2 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Meiji Shrine: The grounds of the shrine contain a large forested area that spreads from Harajuku to Shinjuku. It has a few museums and buildings enclosed within the forest. Many ceremonies are held here throughout the year as well as performances in honour of the deities.

  • At: 1-1 Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Senso-ji Temple: This is the oldest and most sacred temple in Tokyo and is a popular tourist attraction. It is also known as Asakusa Kannon. Some of the main features include the incense burner (joukoro), the Hozomon Gate, which is home to 14th century Chinese sutras, and the five storey pagoda.

  • At: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Togo Shrine: Located in Harajuku, the shrine has a beautiful garden area and pond. It was founded for Admiral Togo, a hero in Japan. Togo was the commander during the Battle of the Sea of Japan (1904-5), which saw the defeat of the Russian fleet in the straits of Tsushima

  • At: 1-5-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple: This temple was built with several interesting architectural features. The stone exterior combines Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic architectural features and the rear of the building has a German made pipe organ. Talks and Buddhist services in English are held regularly.

  • At: 3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo