Essential information for Tokyo
- Daily Emirates flights via Dubai departing daily from London Heathrow. For even more flexibility, call us for options to fly with Singapore Airlines via Singapore.
Do I need a visa?
Ranked as one of the best public transport systems in the world, you certainly won't struggle to get from A to B in Tokyo! Subways and trains are by far the easiest way to get around, a prepaid travel card like Suica or Pasmo can work out to be a conveinient way to pay for your train journeys and are a far cheaper alternative to taxis.
Discover Tokyo: the old and the new
Japan’s capital is a perfect blend of the old and the new; historical landmarks and timeless cultural gems meet towering skyscrapers and neon lights in this truly intoxicating city. We challenge you not to fall in love at first sight with Tokyo.
Before you do, though, holidays to Tokyo can be overwhelming; there’s so much to see, so much to experience and so much to do. Here’s the lowdown on the things you simply can’t miss:
Skyscrapers, department stores, karaoke bars in abundance... you’re not exactly lacking in things to do and see during Tokyo holidays.
Impossible to miss at a whopping 2,000 feet, Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest free-standing broadcast tower, and, arguably, the jewel in the Tokyo skyline crown. Take the elevator up to one of the viewing platforms for incredible views of the city, and have a mooch around the various shops and restaurants at its base.
Only slightly smaller than the Skytree is Tokyo Tower – if you’ve got it in you, climb the 600 steps to the observatory for incredible views across the city (don’t worry, there’s a lift too).
Thought to be the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya crossing has a life of its own. Don’t let the idea of crowds bother you – the Japanese have queuing and order down to a fine art. For a real sense of Tokyo’s energy, you need to pay this crossing a visit.
For shopping, make sure to head to Ginza for department stores and independent shops alike, or head to the busy open-air market street of Ameyoko for 50s-era shopping. The anime and electronics hub is Akihabara — don’t miss this for souvenirs and a taste of Japanese pop culture.
Behind all the bright lights of the city’s skyscrapers is a cultural heartbeat that helps make Tokyo what it is.
Asakusa Sensō-ji, Tokyo’s most visited temple, is a beautiful ancient Buddhist temple just 15 minutes from Tokyo station by train. The temple is a great insight into Tokyo’s history, so it’s worth taking some time to really experience Sensō-ji. Don’t ‘do’ it too quickly; take your time. Wander. Oh, and get there early to beat the crowds (and to get the best photograph).
Film fanatics can’t miss the chance to go to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, designed by the one and only Hayao Miyazaki (of Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke fame). The museum is like a theme park, museum and fairytale come to life all rolled into one so, bonus: the kids will love it even if they’ve never seen the movies. Make sure to book tickets way in advance – they’re hard to get, and you certainly can’t turn up on the day.
All families, Disney fans and general theme park lovers: make sure to leave a day or two for Tokyo Disneyland… no holiday to Tokyo is complete without Disneyland! Meanwhile for those less about Disney and more about culture, there’s The Tokyo Imperial Palace, (primary) home to the Emperor of Japan. The surrounding grounds are wonderful to explore — take a rowing boat tour of the Chidorigafuchi (northwestern moat). If you’re around just before or after Christmas, you might be able to get access to the inner grounds, too.
If you want to make the most of your time and want to see and do as much as possible in Japan, why not combine your holiday with one of our Tokyo tours, discovering the city and beyond? Travel Japan’s Golden Route, from Tokyo to Nara, via Mount Fuji, or take some time to fully immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Tokyo and Kyoto. Whatever you want to do, Tokyo tours are the way to do it.
- Of course, you can’t not sample some of Tokyo’s world famous coffee, and there’s so many specialists to choose from. For cheap, cheerful and very, very good coffee, R.O. Star is a safe bet (the iced coffee is deliciously strong). Otherwise, Koffee Mameya is a local favourite.
- For sushi, it’s worth treating yourself to something a bit special – head to the Ginza District, though the tuna at Irifune in Okusawa is famously good for those on more of a budget.
- Ramen-wise, you can’t go wrong in Takadanobaba. Seriously, pretty much everywhere in this neighbourhood is famously good for ramen. In particular, try Watanabe or Ore no Sora. Check out Ramen Street while you’re at it (‘cause you can never have too much ramen, let’s be honest). Remember: slurping is polite.
- When it comes to nightlife, Roppongi is a go-to for gaijin (foreigners) to feel more at home.
Depending on what time of year you’re visiting, Tokyo often comes alive with various festivals and events, and you might just catch one! Here are just a few dates for the diary:
- Mid-May: one of the most famous festivals in Tokyo and a day-long procession, Kanda Matsuri, starts at the Kanda Myojin Shrine, where a parade makes its way through the town before returning to the shrine in the evening. It’s a beautiful festival, and one of the largest in Japan – if you’re around, don’t miss it!
- March-April Ueno Park is a must-visit while in Tokyo, but especially if you’re around for the annual Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival). The blossoms, already beautiful, are lit up with lanterns as performers entertain the crowds beneath them. It’s truly breathtaking.
Tokyo’s calling you, isn’t it? Good job you can check out our fantastic Tokyo tour packages and book yourself a holiday you’ll never forget.