Japan is one of the best places I’ve ever been to and Tokyo one of the best cities! I knew it would be amazing, overwhelming and incredibly stylish but I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d Iove this fabulous capital city.
One of my favourite things about Tokyo is how each neighbourhood is unique, interesting and full of things to do.
You could spend a month in Tokyo and still have things left to do! I thought I’d put this neighbourhood guide together to help break it all down, plus give you some of my handy hints and favourite things.
12 Tokyo Neighbourhoods To Visit
Famous for its park. And because of this it is very busy, get there early if you don’t want to be amongst the crowds. There is a lovely shrine in the park which was peaceful and calm, a nice break from the crowds.
If you time it right there are lots of things to do in the park. Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Zoo and the Shinabazu pond where you can hire a boat. There is also the Ueno Tosho-gu Shinto Shrine and others to wander around. There are places to get food but take a picnic and spend the day there.
This is a great area, everyone goes here for the Sensō-ji temple, we stayed near here and loved it. Sumida park just over the river from the temple was my favourite for seeing the Cherry blossom, quiet, pretty and with great views.
The Golden Turd (the Asahi Beer Hall) and Sky Tree are also visible from this area and are within walking distance if you fancy a visit. You could walk to either of these via the Art Walk, full of outdoor sculpture.
Gonpachi (not the Kill Bill one) is on the river, with great views and food. One of my favourite meals out.
High end, beautiful buildings and shops. Chuo-dori Street is the shopping street, packed with designer boutiques and well known shops.
Also home to the biggest Muji in the world, that has a fabulous cafe and so much amazing design I wanted to move in.
Ginza (around Tsukiji)
The famous fish market isn’t the only thing to do in Tsukiji , there is lots of other things to do around here once you’ve seen the market. Tsukiji Hongwan-ji is a Buddhist temple a few minutes down the road and more like temples you’d see in south east asia than Japan.
You can also go to the market temple, which if you have watched the Tsukiji documentary, you’ll know how special it is to the workers from the market.
Going to Tsukiji is a great experience, get there at 9, any later and it is starting to close. The tuna auction is apparently a must see but you have to get there at at 5 to get a ticket. The auction is limited to 120 people so it is first come first served. The early start and how far away we were staying from it made the auction a no go for us.
After visiting the thing to do is get sushi at the restaurants surrounding the market. Queues can be upto 2 hrs long for the best places, and I must say I found the choice overwhelming so do your research, pick a place and prepare for a wait.
We chose to go find coffee and found Turret’s coffee shop a few minutes walk away. Great coffee and cool place, I’d definitely recommend this place.
The canal is the draw here, a long stretch of water to walk down, especially beautiful in cherry blossom season. There are lots of cafes and restaurants that line the canal making it a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
Another contender for my favourite neighbourhood. Chic, beautiful architecture and a calm place to wander around.
Dominque Ansel Bakery was an experience. Everyone in there was buying their smores, personally caramelised to order, that could be filmed and uploaded to Insta! A famous bakery that attracts the crowds and is a sugary hit. It is seriously hard to choose in here.
It also leads wonderfully into Harajuku down the backstreets.
Alternative and full of fashion.
Cat and Dog street are what Harajuku is known for. It is also known for vintage clothes shops and for that it is excellent. My favourite was Rag Tag on Cat Street.
Lots of great places to eat and get coffee here too. And I loved the Paul Smith store!
Nearby is Yoyogi park where you will find the Meiji Shrine.
This was one of my favourite neighborhoods. Quirky, young and full of interesting shops and cafes. A place where you can get a rare vinyl, some vintage Levis or a cute puppy.
We had great coffee at Frankie Melbourne Espresso. There were lots of amazing looking places though.
Famous for the crossing, which is a must do – there is a great view of it from the station too.
So many great places to shop here, I loved Tokyo Hands. A traditional style department store with a unique feel, I found great presents in here. My other favourite place was Loft. I spent a few hours in here and seriously could have spent more. Every product felt like it had been carefully curated to tempt me. I LOVED it.
HMV is fabulous for the music lover, Ben bought a lot of vinyl in here.
Spring Valley Brewery brew their own beers, does good food and is a lovely building. The whole area is great actually, lots of great cafes and shops in this little area.
This is the commercial district, full of skyscrapers and shops. Shinjuku and Shibuya feel very similar in as you wander around, high buildings and good shopping. Both are worth a visit though as there are differences worth seeing.
Metropolitan Govenment building is the place to go for a high up view without paying for a drink. On a clear day you can see Mount Fuji Apparently!
Golden Gai is another highlight of Shinjuku. A maze of back streets full of speakeasy type bars, it definitely makes for an interesting night!
Beams Japan is one of the most beautifully curated shops I have ever been in. More like a gallery full of gorgeous items to buy. There is something for everyone in here. Make sure you go to Beams Japan store not just a Beams for the full experience.
Isetan Food Hall is like a delicatessen on speed. Buy lots of delicious food and go to Shinjuku Gyoen for a picnic.
The Peak Bar at Park Hyatt Tokyo was one of the best experiences. High up drinks with a fabulous view of the city. Go at 5 and until 8 you can take advantage of their Twilight package. For 6000 yen, just over £40 you can eat canapes and drink whatever you like. It’s unlimited and the range on offer is high quality. We had such a great time, we went up to the famous Jazz lounge (from Lost in Translation) and carried on the night!
The area surrounding Tokyo station is beautiful, lots of amazing architecture, including the station itself. It’s a short walk to Chiodya park and in the opposite direction, the Tokyo International Forum which has lots of places to get food and often hosts events. We happened upon a great craft market whilst there.
Quirky, high-rise and young. This is where you will find your maid, ninja, robot or owl cafe. Also where you will find places to play computer games and retro arcade games.
Tokyo neighbourhoods are diverse, interesting and full of things to do. They are all worth visiting but my favourites were definitely Omotesando, Asakusa, Shibuya and Shimokitazawa.
Yes, all of these neighborhoods are awesome. Here is one more I would like to add: Nihonbashi especially Ningyocho. And old neighborhood with a very down to earth vibe with old shops selling Japanese sweets and pickles, fish and meat. And the restaurants are just delicious. Especially Taniya my favorite Udon restaurant.
This is so helpful thanks! I am heading to Tokyo in May and really looking forward to checking out these neighbourhoods, I only have 6 day hopefully will get to see at least half of them.
Thank you. We had 6 days in Tokyo and 4 in Kyoto and managed to see a lot. I loved Japan, hope you have an amazing time.
Funny, I’m reading this today. Earlier this morning, my 10-year old was asking me when we’ll finally visit Japan (he’s into anime). After reading this post, I want to go to Japan too!
Oh he’d love it, so much anime to see. The Ghibli museum is supposed to be amazing, book months in advance though as I left it until a month before and it was sold out. We also loved the Snoopy museum, but it’s currently relocating to another site, if you go after Autumn it should be open again. Have a fabulous time when you do go. It really is an amazing place.
Can’t wait to start planning my trip to Japan. Thanks for the guide…your pictures are beautiful!
You are welcome! It is a beautiful place. Have an amazing time when you do go.
Nice post! Being born in Japan, I agree – its one of the best places in the world 😀
You are so lucky to have been to Ueno during the cherry blossom season, it’s always been so hard for me to plan the trip during the main blossom week!
Looks like you had a great time there, thank you for sharing all your insights on various spots around Tokyo!
I loved it so much. Cherry blossom season was incredible. We were so lucky that our trip coincided with the dates, you can plan it to the predictions and get unlucky, so feel very blessed for that.