From paper lanterns to neon lights and tea ceremonies to robot cabaret shows, centuries-old customs and ultramodernity coexist comfortably in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. A visit to the buzzing metropolis can easily overwhelm, but guided tours help travelers make sense of its eclectic nature. Visitors hit classic sights such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Meiji-Jingu Shrine, and Asakusa Temple (or Senso-ji) during the day, then step into modern Japan at night with dinner at a robot cabaret and a tour of the Kabukicho entertainment district. Food and market tours show off the best of the city’s cuisine, and Tokyo is also home base for day trips to Lake Ashi, Mt. Fuji, and Kyoto.
Asakusa Temple, located amid the old-world alleyways of the atmospheric Asakusa district, is one of Tokyo’s most visited sights. Erected in 645 AD, the temple complex is dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and noted for the striking red gate marking its entrance. Full- and half-day tours that include the temple on a larger itinerary allow visitors to maximize their time.
This top-selling tour is an efficient way to cover Tokyo’s main attractions, including Asakusa Temple, Meiji Shrine, and the Imperial Palace East Garden, in a single day.
Perfect for clients with less time, this fast-paced tour consists of quick stops at Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, and the Imperial Palace, as well as a drive through Akihabara (“electric town”).
While it doesn’t visit the temple itself, this guided rickshaw ride is the perfect accompaniment to a temple tour for clients interested in getting to know old-time Tokyo.
Read more about Asakusa Temple tour options here.
With its flashing neon lights, multistory department stores, colorfully dressed denizens, and world-famous scramble crossing, the southwestern district of Shibuya is a defining image of Tokyo. Guided tours allow travelers to experience the area as part of a larger city tour, or to focus on a single theme such as the local food scene.
This tour—which takes place after dark when the neon is aglow—guides travelers off the beaten track, away from the tourist traps, to try traditional Japanese dishes at local eateries.
Perfect for clients looking for a totally unique Tokyo experience, this go-cart tour takes participants (dressed in costumes) onto Shibuya Crossing, over Rainbow Bridge, and past Tokyo Tower.
This private, customizable tour allows your clients to spend more of their time in places that are of the most interest.
Read more about Shibuya tour options here.
In Shinjuku’s Kabukicho area (the entertainment and red-light district), the Robot Restaurant is an experience like no other. It consistently sells out so it’s best to book your clients’ tickets early. Options include all-you-can-eat sushi, kaiseki (a multicourse meal), or dinner inside an enormous temari (toy ball) while watching robots and performers dance against a backdrop of high-octane music and flashing lights.
Booking this ticket guarantees your clients’ seats at an early evening matinee show, making it a perfect choice for families.
More suited for those having a night out, this package (one of the most popular) includes guaranteed entrance to an evening show, as well as a complimentary drink.
Guests can make a full night of it with this package, which includes admission to the Robot Restaurant followed by an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Read more about Robot Restaurant tour options here.
Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station
Although it makes for a long day of travel, many travelers visit Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station on a day trip from Tokyo. At 7,546 feet (2,300 meters), it affords sweeping views over Fuji Five Lakes and Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and a visit can be easily combined with other attractions in the park. Clients can opt to get there by Shinkansen (“bullet train”), coach, or private chartered vehicle.
This top seller stops at three of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park’s most popular attractions—Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, and Mt. Komagatake Ropeway—and includes a ride on a bullet train.
Ideal for those traveling in a group, this private vehicle charter allows clients to set their own Mt. Fuji sightseeing itinerary, with the option to visit independently or go with a guide.
This bus tour includes a visit to Oshino Ninja Village, making it a great option for clients looking for an alternative Mt. Fuji experience, as well as those traveling with kids.
Read more about Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station tour options here.
Things to Know
When to Visit
Spring is the best time to visit, especially for those who want to witness the sakura (“cherry blossoms”). Summer brings fun festivals and fireworks displays, but temperatures can get uncomfortably high and humid.
Tokyo has an excellent Metro system, which transports travelers around the city quickly and–outside of rush hour–comfortably. Note, though, that most trains stop running around 12am and don’t start again until 5am.
When entering a person’s home or a temple, it is customary to remove shoes. Travelers should look for a shoe rack or slippers in the foyer when in doubt.
Things to Bring
Suggest clients visiting Mt. Fuji bring a sweater or coat—it can get chilly, even in summer. Packing light or bringing an extra bag makes it possible to stock up on only-in-Japan supermarket finds.
What the Locals Know
If traveling from Tokyo to Osaka on the bullet train, sit on the right-hand side for excellent views of Mt. Fuji (weather permitting).