Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the largest city in the country, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. It is the seat of the Emperor of Japan as well as the national government. There are many Tokyo tours that are the perfect way to see the best of the city and surrounding area and here are some of my favourites.
Tokyo’s history dates back to the 12th century when it was a fishing village named Edo. It didn’t become the capital of Japan until the 1860s and there are many buildings, shrines and museums that date from throughout this history. Tokyo is also a very modern city with great shopping and restaurants to explore.
Tokyo Private Welcome Tour with a Local
One of the best ways to see a place is with a local and this Tokyo tour lets you see the best of the city with an English speaking local guide. Learn about the area you are staying in, where to eat and what to see as well as how to get around the city, the best tips for public transport and where to visit. You can even include an optional extra of a private car for the tour.
Tokyo Tours – Spectacular 90-Minute Robot Show at Robot Restaurant
Japan is famous for its many technological advancements and this fun robot show is a great example. During the performance you will see robots, samurai and ninjas going through a special performance with neon lights and sounds, all in a special robot-themed restaurant that cost over 10 billion Yen to create!
Tokyo Tours – Ghibli Museum and Hayao Miyazaki Movies Tour
This tour is a great way to see the work of famous animator Hayao Miyazaki with a trip around the Ghibli Museum in Inokashira Park. See some of his most famous characters including the Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky. The tour includes a buffet lunch at Hotel Gajoen before having 2.5 hours around the museum. Watch a short film on the history then visit the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum with its unusual and intriguing buildings – just like something from a Ghibli film.
Tokyo: Meet Owls at the Owl Café in Akihabara
Owls are often glimpsed in the wild or in bird sanctuaries, but this Tokyo tour offers a chance to get up close with them in a special location known as the Owl Café. You will have a pre-booked one hour slot where you will get to be close to the owls and even touch them as well as learning about them and the work done to conserve them in the wild. Take some photos and then visit the shop for souvenirs.
Tokyo Tours: Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Kegon Waterfall Tour
This tour starts with a trip to the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the final place of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled the country for over 250 years until the 1860s. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can tour it with a guide to best understand its history and importance. After this, visit Iroha Slope with its 48 sharp turns, then the Kegon Waterfall. At almost 100 metres tall, it is the best known of the many waterfalls in the area and ranked in the top three in Japan.
For the final part of the tour, you can either choose to walk along Lake Chuzenji or visit the Nikko hot springs before returning to your drop off point in the city centre.
Around Tokyo – Day Trips from Tokyo
There is such a lot to see in Tokyo that you will easily fill in your time but if you are visiting for a little longer, then the city is also a great base to explore the wider area.
Mt Fuji Day Tour with Kawaguchiko Lake and Gotemba Outlets
This tour starts with a visit to the iconic Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi which is an amazing spot to take photos if the weather plays along! You can also walk around the lake, enjoy the views and visit the souvenir shop.
After this, depending on the time of the year, you may either go to the 5th Station halfway up the mountain and visit the Japanese temple there. Or you may visit the Arakura Sengen Shrine near the mountain. You will then visit the Oshino Hakkai, the ‘eight lakes’ near Mount Fuji. Finally, you can fit in some shopping at the Gotemba premium outlet.
Hakone Fuji Day Tour: Cruise, Cable Car, and Volcano
With this tour from Tokyo, you start with a cruise on a decorated pirate boat and catch some amazing views of Mount Fuji from Lake Ashinoko. You will land and go on the Hakone Ropeway on Mount Hakone where you can view the other mountains. Then see the Ohwakudani, the ‘great boiling valley’ which is another famous volcano in the area – if you try the local Black Boiled Egg, legend says your life is extended by seven years!
In the afternoon, do some shopping at the Gotemba premium outlet, one of the largest in the country or you can visit one of the hot springs around Mount Fuji for a relaxing spa session.
From Tokyo: Full-Day Tour to Kamakura
Kamakura is an ancient capital of Japan and known as the home of the samurai. This full-day tour starts with the Kotoku-in Buddhist temple with its 13 metres tall bronze Buddha which is almost 800 years old – one of the most iconic monuments in the country. Then you will visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shinto shrine, over 1000 years old.
Read more about the temples and shrines of Japan.
Next, see Komachi Dori Street with its restaurants and souvenir shops and stop for some lunch. You will then be taken to see the natural beauty of Enoshima Island where you have two hours to visit the shrine and caves there.
From Tokyo: Nikko World Heritage Full-Day Tour
The Nikko World Heritage tour is a chance to get away from the bustle of the city and see one of the magnificent and cultural important spots in Japan. The tour starts with the Toshogu Shrine, created by the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled from the 1600s until the mid-1800s. It took two years, 15,000 craftsmen and 2.5 million sheets of gold leaf to create and is different from many of the minimalize Shinto shrines.
Then you will get to see the three sacred mountain of Nikko – Mount Nantai, Mount Nyoho and Mount Taro from the Futarasan Shrine before returning to the city.
Booking your Flight
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
if you liked this post, you might also be interested in The Best Day Trips from Kyoto according to Top Travel Bloggers and Exploring the Temples and Shrines of Japan.