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Tokyo Travel Guide | All tips, things to do, transport & budget

Tokyo is a crazy, hectic and amazing city in Japan† Here you can visit the Imperial Palace, experience the morning fish market, see the beautiful cherry blossoms, party in Tokyo's trendy nightlife area, sing karaoke and eat lots of fantastically delicious things (it's Japan after all). So it's high time for a complete Tokyo Travel Guide!

Plan your holiday to Asia here

Why Tokyo?

I love Tokyo. It's one of my favorite cities in the world and I can't visit it enough! I like the fast paced modern city that still embraces its traditional roots. I like the orderly hustle and bustle when you expect chaos. Tokyo is a city like no other. Where else can you be in a city of ten million people without hearing a pin drop? It's rare for someone to come here and not have a good time.

Also read: Japan Travel Guide | Complete guide with travel tips, budget, transportation and more

This Tokyo travel guide can help you navigate the city on a budget to get the most out of your visit (and hopefully fall in love with it too!).

Tokyo Travel Guide
Tokyo Travel Guide
Tokyo Travel Guide
Tokyo Travel Guide

Top 5 | Must-Sees in Tokyo

1. Admiral Sensoji Temple

We start the must-sees in the Tokyo travel guide with the Admiral Sensoji Temple† The original temple was built in the 7th century. Beautifully painted, the resurrected temple is located in a scenic spot near a five-storey pagoda and the famous Kaminari Gate. In the main hall is a huge statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The site is open 24/7. The temple itself is open daily from 06.00am-17.00pm.

2. Tokyo Tower

De Tokyo TowerBuilt in 1957 and resembling the Eiffel Tower, it is made entirely of steel. You can go all the way to the top floor for a fee to enjoy the view, although the main observation deck offers a view that is just as breathtaking. Admission is JPY 900 for the main deck or JPY 1.600 for the top.

Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

3. Tsukiji / Toyosu Fish Market

In 2018, the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu and is now twice as large. The daily fish here powers much of the world's sushi supply. A must see full of amazingly tasty fish. On the old outdoor market you will still find many street food stalls to eat and shops.

4. Imperial Palace

The imperial palace is the home of the Emperor of Japan. The palace used to be the castle of Edo and was built in the 15th century. When the emperor moved the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, he adopted Edo Castle for his new palace. Although you can't enter, the palace and grounds are a peaceful place to wander.

5.Ueno Park

Ueno Park is also a must-see in the Tokyo travel guide. The park is covered with cherry blossom trees, so the best time to come is when the trees bloom in April. The Tokyo National Museum is also located here and houses one of the world's largest collections of art and artifacts from Asia. The Tosho-gu Shrine, which dates back to the 17th century, can be found in the park, as well as Japan's oldest zoo.

Ueno Park | Tokyo
Ueno Park | Tokyo

Other Things to See and Do in Tokyo

1. Watch a sumo match

A Tokyo travel guide insider tip: Kokugikan, Japan's most famous sumo wrestling arena, hosts tournaments three times a year. The sumo wrestling we see today dates back to the 17th century, although its origins go back even further. Even to this day, it is still one of the most popular traditions in the country. If you're in town at the right time, this is a must. Tickets sell out quickly, so book early. Visit one of the sumo stables (called “heya”) to learn more about the sport. Here you get to see where the wrestlers train and live (visits should be arranged well in advance). Ticket prices vary, but expect to pay around JPY 2.200 for a sumo match.

2. View of Mount Fuji from Hakone

Hakone is a picturesque place to enjoy the view of Mount Fuji. Located just over an hour from Tokyo, Hakone is one of the best places to get away from the city, relax for a few days and enjoy the view of Fuji-san, one of Japan's three sacred mountains . There are numerous guesthouses in the area, many with their own onsen (hot springs). It's a great place for a romantic getaway if you're traveling as a couple. For a unique view of the region, take a seat on the Hakone Ropeway (tickets cost JPY 400).

Tip:: Another fun activity is to go Cycling at Mount Fuji† The link will take you to our colleague from FlitterFever, where you can read all about Mount Fuji and other great tips for the environment of this beautiful volcano.

Mount Fuji from Hakone
Mount Fuji from Hakone

3.Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Built in 1933, this small museum used to be the official residence of the Prince and Princess Asaka. The prince had studied in Paris and wanted to bring the art deco style to Japan, which explains the style and decorations of the building. In 1983 the residence became a museum and is now home to a rotating series of modern art exhibitions. Admission is JPY 200.

4. See the Hachiko Statue

The Hachiko statue is a life-size statue of a dog from 1925. When the dog's owner died, Hachiko still went to the train station to wait for him to return from work. And he did that for over 10 years. The dog is a national hero in Japan and its story is known for highlighting traits of loyalty and devotion (which the Japanese value highly). Because the standard is so important for Japanese, it cannot be missed from the Tokyo travel guide. The statue is in front of the Shibuya Station.

Hachiko statue
Hachiko statue

5. Get on a suijo bus

Tokyo has been centralized around its rivers for centuries. One of the traditional ways of getting around the city has always been via the water bus. This is a nice alternative to the metro and offers a different perspective on the bustling city. There are even floating restaurants known as yakata-bune, and there are also lunch and dinner cruises you can book. Expect to pay a minimum of 6000 JPY for a cruise with a meal, while the regular ferry costs only 600 JPY.

6. Shop in Akihabara Electric Town

This is the Tsukiji market of the electronics world. You can find pretty much everything you've ever imagined, as well as all the things you've never dreamed of. A lot of emerging electronics are tested here. The area has a very futuristic feel to it, with tons of bright lights and huge billboards. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. There are also many local artists who sell their music here. Not a typical place you just end up with, but a place that I think should not be missed in the Tokyo travel guide.

Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara Electric Town

7. Visit the Big Buddha

Take a day trip to the small town of Kamakura to see a 13-meter high bronze Buddha statue. Built in 1252, the statue was initially built in a temple, but the temple was washed away by storms several times, so the statue now stands in the open air. You can even enter the statue (there's nothing really to see inside, but it's neat to be able to step inside an ancient work of art). The journey to Kamakura takes about an hour and is free with a Japan Rail Pass. The entrance to the Buddha is 200 JPY.

8. Hike Roppongi Hills

There are several buildings to see, all designed by prominent architects, as well as several public art exhibitions. A visit here is free – so a nice extra tip in the Tokyo travel guide. You'll find the Mori Tower here, one of the tallest buildings in the city, as well as the Tokyo City View, which offers one of the best views of the city. Admission to the viewpoint is JPY 1.800.

9. Drink in Golden Gaic

This small backstreet alley is a lively place for evening drinking. There's not much going on here during the day, but by sunset these zigzagging corridors and closet-sized beer rooms are filled with interesting people and cheap drinks. It has a bit of a red light district look to it, as it lacks the shine of the rest of the city. But it's not to be missed.

Golden Gai | Tokyo
Golden Gai | Tokyo

10. Watch a sento

Nice extra in the Tokyo travel guide: A sento is a traditional Japanese public bathhouse. Although they were originally built for those who did not have such facilities in their homes, they are now a great place to seek some peace and relaxation. They are usually separated by gender. The Japanese are not shy in these places, so you should be comfortable with nudity! A budget-friendly sento costs just under JPY 1.000. If you have tattoos, you may not be allowed in (or may have to cover them up), so keep that in mind.

11. Eat with Ninjas

For a unique dining experience, head to Ninja Akasaka. It is a ninja themed restaurant designed like an Edo era building from medieval Japan. The wait staff is dressed in stereotypical all-black “ninja” clothing and trained in all sorts of tricks and simple illusions. You order your meal from ancient scrolls while being entertained by your server's skillful tricks. It's super fun and unlike any other restaurant I've ever been to!

12. Mario Karting in Tokyo

Must do of the Tokyo travel guide! Want to race through the bustling streets of Tokyo in a go-kart while wearing a suit? Of course you do! MariCar (a play on Mario Kart) is a real Mario Bros kart company that lets you dress up and race around town in karts. As long as you have an international driver's license, you can participate. The tour lasts 1-2 hours and costs JPY 9.000 per person. There are also multiple locations in the city.

Mario Karting in Tokyo
Mario Karting in Tokyo

13. Visit a quirky cafe

Unsurprisingly, Tokyo has all kinds of great, weird and wonderful cafes. Monster cafes, owl cafes, cat cafes, vampire cafes, dog cafes, religious themed cafes and much more! If you're looking for something unusual to do, check out the weird and quirky cafes near you (they're all over the city, so you'll never have to go far to find one!). Some of the better cafes include Kawaii Monster Café, Vampire Café (vampire/gothic themed cafe), Christon Café (Christian themed cafe), Dog Heart (dog cafe) and Cat Café Calico (cat cafe).

14. Eat at the Robot Restaurant

This restaurant is an absolute sensory overload. Lasers, robots, monsters, singing, dancing – it has it all! It may be a tourist trap (aka it's not cheap), but it's epic and unlike anything you've ever seen. It's incredibly lively and boisterous and well worth the price if you want to do something really special. There are three performances every day from 16.45pm, with afternoon matinees on weekends.

Travel costs Tokyo

Tokyo Hostel Prices


Most hostels in Tokyo charge about JPY 3.000 per night for a bed in an 8-bed dorm. Free Wi-Fi is standard, as are lockers and self-catering facilities if you want to prepare your own meals. Only a few hostels in town offer free breakfast, so if that's a priority, make sure you book your hostel in advance.

For a private room in a hostel with a double or twin bed, expect to pay between 8.500-10.000 JPY per night.

Tokyo Budget Hotels

If you're looking for a budget hotel, expect to pay a minimum of JPY 6.500 for a double bed in a two-star hotel. For a mid-range three-star hotel, prices start at JPY 8.400 per night, while capsule hotels start at JPY 3.000 for a tiny pod that is essentially just a bed. It's not fancy, but it's a unique (and very Japanese) experience.

Hotel Gracery | Tokyo
Hotel Gracery | Tokyo

Airbnb in Tokyo

On Airbnb, prices usually start around JPY 5.000 per night, although it is more common to find them for JPY 7.000. For a single room you pay a minimum of 3.000 JPY per night.

Food in Tokyo

There are many inexpensive eateries in Tokyo, most of which offer ramen or soba noodles. These staple food options range from JPY 300-1,250 for one dish. Mid-range restaurants (think three-course meals) cost about JPY 2.500 per person. Sushi trains cost between 100-700 JPY each. Fast food in Tokyo (think McDonald's or KFC) costs about 700 JPY for a simple meal.

Also read: Eat safe street food during your World Trip | 11 Tips

If you're on a budget, you can also find plenty of cheap meals and prepackaged items at 7-Eleven – and even the locals eat them! Noodles, rice balls, tofu, and prepackaged sushi are all available for just a few hundred yen. If you're on a tight budget, 7-Eleven is your favorite 'restaurant'.

Buying groceries costs 4.000-5.500 JPY per week for basic commodities such as rice, vegetables and fish. Make sure you wash all your products well. Japan uses a lot of chemicals for their products as there is not much farmland in the country and farming practices rely on peak productivity (hence pesticides).

Transportation in Tokyo


Buses are everywhere in Tokyo, although you won't travel on them very often because the metro and train system in the city is so extensive and good. If you have to take the bus, the fares are about JPY 210 for adults and JPY 110 for children. Toei is the main bus company that provides service here. You can get a day bus pass for Toei lines for 500 JPY (you can get it from the driver). Buses usually run from 6.00am to 22.00pm.

If you plan to use the buses often, you can get a discount by using a prepaid Pasmo card or Suica card, which reduces the fare to 206 JPY and saves you having to fumble for your change every time you drive .

Metro / train

The subway and train system in Tokyo is one of the most incredible in the world. It carries nearly 9 million passengers across the city every day and is known for being on time to the second. The metro system consists of 13 different lines with tickets starting from 170 JPY (165 JPY with a Pasmo or Suica prepaid card). If we can give one real tip in this Tokyo travel guide, it is to use the metro. do it!

You can get a 24-hour pass for JPY 800, a 48-hour pass for JPY 1.200 and a 72-hour pass for JPY 1.500. It works on all Tokyo Metro and Toei lines (not JR lines though).

Trains are available from 05.00 a.m. to noon and there are also women-only carriages for added safety. It gets busy during rush hour so try to avoid it if you can. It is on weekdays from 12.00:7.30 AM to 9.30:17.30 AM and from 19.30:XNUMX PM to XNUMX:XNUMX PM. There are also many JR trains in the city, so if you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can travel around Tokyo for free.


Taxis in Tokyo are not cheap so I would avoid them if you can. Rates start at JPY 475 and increase by JPY 415 per kilometer. Avoid them if you can!

Ridesharing in Tokyo isn't cheaper, so don't expect any savings here. DiDi is the go-to app for ride-sharing here, and prices are generally comparable (or higher) than the JapanTaxi app. Skip rides and taxis unless you have no choice.

Car Rental

Unless you have a specific reason for renting a car, I would avoid it. Traffic here, while organized, is stop and go at the best of times. The city is really designed for public transport and is usually faster. That said, if you want to rent a car, prices start at JPY 4.700 per day for a small two-door car.


Tokyo travel guide tip: Low budget, but a great way to explore the city. Tokyo is a relatively safe city to cycle in as there are many bike paths and a lot of local cyclists who commute by bike. For a full day rental expect to pay between 1.000 and 1.200 JPY. Hourly rentals can also usually be found for JPY 200-300 if you only need a short term rental.

Biking in Tokyo
Biking in Tokyo

Recommended budget Tokyo

Tokyo can be an expensive city to visit, even if you are a backpacker. To help you plan your trip, here are some suggested budgets and what you can afford on any budget.

Low budget

A Tokyo travel guide is not complete without a low budget estimate of the costs. If you are backpacking in Tokyo, budget between 7.600-8.200 JPY (70-75 euros) per day. This is a recommended budget assuming you stay in a hostel dorm, cook some of your meals, eat in the cheap 100 yen shops or go to donburi shops, visit museums and temples for free, and use local transportation. If you use Couchsurf, you can probably lower this to around 6.000 JPY (55 euros) per day.

Average budget

With an average budget of 12.000-17.000 JPY (110-155 euros) per day, you can stay in budget hotels or private rooms, eat out at budget restaurants, enjoy more drinks, visit more attractions, rent a bicycle, and just have some fun. more space during your travels to do fun things.

High budget

For 30.000 JPY (280 euros) per day you can stay in traditional Japanese accommodations or hotels, eat every day in nice restaurants, spend on some luxury accommodations, enjoy drinks as often as you want, take paid tours and generally just have a comfortable trip If you are staying in international hotels in the city I would add another 50-100 euros per day to your budget.

Tokyo Travel Guide
Tokyo Travel Guide

Tips to save money

Even though Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, there are still plenty of ways to save money while you're here. To keep your budget intact, here are some quick tips to help you save money on your trip:

  • Skip the taxis – Since taxis can be expensive (they have a starting fare of JPY 475), you can use public transport to save money. It goes everywhere and well into the night!
  • Shop the 100 Yen Stores – There are many 100 Yen shops in Japan where you can buy set meals, groceries, water, toiletries and household items. Here you will want to buy everything you need so that you can eat and shop on a budget. Just ask your hostel/hotel where the nearest “Hyaku En” store is.
  • Eat at 7-Eleven – The 7-Eleven, Family Mart and other convenience stores have many preset meals for JPY 120-370 that make for an inexpensive lunch option. In addition, supermarkets also have many set meals at comparable prices. You can also find many cheap meals at the major bus/train stations (such as curry, ramen, and donburi). Even the locals eat here.
  • Buy a transport pass: Chances are you use a lot of public transportation to get around the city. If so, make sure you get a day pass. All-day use of JR trains and subways costs JPY 1.600.
  • couchsurf – By using sites like Couchsurfing that allow you to stay with the locals, you not only get a free place to stay, but you can also interact and learn about local life. Make sure to apply early: the response rate in Japan isn't great. Ask expats, because they are generally more active on the platform.
  • Work for your room – In hostels in Japan you can work for your room. You will be cleaning for a few hours in the morning and you will get free accommodation for as long as you want. The Khao San Hostel chain usually has spots available.
  • Sleep in an internet/manga cafe – These 24-hour cafes play host to night gamers, party goers and business people who didn't come home after a night out. They rent by the hour, so if you just need to kill some time but don't want to spend money on a hostel/hotel, consider a cafe. Some offer beds, but most only have comfortable seats. Food and snacks are generally included in the price. Rates can be as low as JPY 1.500 per night.
  • Buy food in the evening – After 20.00 pm supermarkets give a discount on their fresh food because they have to get rid of it. If you buy your food after 20.00pm, you can save up to 50% on almost anything fresh.
  • Stay in a capsule hotel – if you have a limited budget. stay in a capsule hotel. They are a bit cheaper than hostels and budget to manage while you are here. Just don't expect anything special!

Best Time to Visit Tokyo

The most popular time to visit Tokyo is in the summer, but it can get quite hot during this time. The temperatures in June-August are around 32 degrees and it is very humid. Even September is also quite warm. You will also have a bigger crowds as Tokyo is the most visited city in the country. Expect busy public transport (more than usual) during this time. If you're visiting in the summer, make sure you get up early to beat the crowds and have your accommodation booked in advance.

The early and late seasons are probably the best time to visit Tokyo. April-May and October-November experience cooler temperatures and only a little bit of rain. Keep in mind that late March to early April is cherry blossom season, so expect huge crowds in the city's green spaces and parks during that time.

Although winter in Tokyo is cold, it is hardly unbearable. Temperatures are usually around 10 C (50 F) during the day and drop to about 2 C (36 F) at night. The city is also much quieter during this time. Snow is not common and when it falls it usually melts within a day or two. In winter, expect more rain than snow.

In addition, please note that the typhoon season occurs from May to October. Japan is well equipped to handle all types of typhoons, but make sure you get good travel insurance in advance!

Security in Tokyo

We mention safety in every travel guide, including the Tokyo Travel Guide. Japan is a notoriously safe country. Even in Tokyo, a huge city of 10 million people, there is virtually no chance of being robbed, scammed or injured. No. You will be super duper safe here. In fact, Tokyo is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the world (it was rated as the safest city in the world in 2019).

Your only real risk here is from Mother Nature. Earthquakes and typhoons are relatively common, so always make sure you know where your exits are when you arrive at your accommodation. Also download offline maps to your phone in case you need to navigate the city in an emergency.

Also read: Japan tour | A bit weird but nice

Many train lines in the city now have 'women only' carriages during rush hour – you'll see pink signs indicating where women should get on. If you need help, the Japanese emergency number is 110. For non-emergency help, you can call the Japanese helpline on 0570-000-911 if you need help.

Always trust your instincts. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the taxi and get out. If your hotel is dirtier than you thought, get out of there. You have every right to help yourself out of the situation. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary to your loved ones so they know where you are.

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