Japan Travel Guide

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Tokyo (Toukyou; 東京) is the capital of Japan and the most populated city in the world. Tokyo is also a "prefecture" (like a State in America) and has multiple massive cities. There are also some islands far south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean (Izu and Ogasawara Islands) that are strangely enough, also a part of Tokyo Prefecture.

Shinjuku in Tokyo Japan

Until 1886 the city of Tokyo was called Edo. Edo was a relatively small fishing/castle town until Tokugawa Ieyasu established his newly formed government there in 1603 and thus ensued the Edo Period (1603-1876). With the new government, large swaths of flat areas to grow rice in the delta region and a bay full of fish, Edo quickly grew into a large thriving city. In 1868 the then Meiji Emperor of Japan moved the capitol of Japan from Kyoto to Edo and the city's name of Edo was changed to Tokyo (many Japanese are very nostalgic about Tokyo's old name of Edo). Tokyo has had a couple major blows to it's survival, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the Air Raids in 1945 during WW2 but it has come back and thrived to become one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

Area near Roppongi in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo. We've all heard of it and we all have an "image" of what Tokyo is like. Depending on who you talk to Tokyo can be an "absolutely fascinating place" or "a crowded concrete jungle". One thing is for sure, Tokyo will excite all your senses and give you an experience like you have never had before. What started off as a small little fishing village hundreds of years ago and quickly became one of the top largest capitol cities in the world, Tokyo is a place with incredibly deep culture, history, food and people.

Yurakucho at night near Tokyo Station

Where to stay in Tokyo

Yes, Tokyo is absolutely HUGE! However, the train system in Tokyo (well, all of Japan) is beyond amazing. It doesn't really matter if you stay in Shinjuku, Tokyo Station, Shinagawa or wherever... just jump on a close by train and within fifteen minutes to an hour you can get to all the spots around Tokyo. Although Tokyo is very "old" (the few non-destroyed areas after the war), the reconstruction and rail system layout makes Tokyo and incredibly travel friendly city. Think of Tokyo as a "circle", around that circle on the edges are major cities... on that edge a train line called the Yamanote Line loops around stopping at all the major cities, very convenient!

More than "Where", "What kind of place" do you want to stay may be more important. Although most folk immediately consider staying at a Western Hotel, you may want to consider a "Japanese Style" hotel/Inn as these types of places will only enhance your trip even more. Here is a list of Hotels, Japanese Inns, Business Hotels and other lodging in Tokyo.

Ameyoko in Ueno Tokyo Japan

What to do in Tokyo

Where to start!? You could possibly live in Tokyo your whole life and never experience all it has to offer and even if you did manage to hit every cool spot, by the time you got done most everything behind you has changed. However, as a visitor/tourist, you want to take in some of the best of the best! Be sure to check our list of attractions in Tokyo and view the "Tokyo What to do" links on this page (either in the right sidebar or below this if on a mobile device). Since food happens to be one of our favorite past-times, definitely hit some of the great Japanese restaurants in Tokyo. After you have experienced some of the best food in the world you probably want to experience some Japanese Culture, temples, gardens and festivals. The nightlife can't be missed! If your single, a couple or even a family (the kids will be fine), head on out to Shibuya, Shinjuku or Roppongi at night for some wild times. Sleep well at night because your days will be filled with sightseeing, eating and experiencing all the excitement Tokyo has to offer!



How to get to Tokyo Japan

The graphic above is a simplified "Quick Glance" at transportation options. Due to fluctuating schedules & pricing, Times & Costs are subject to change.

from Narita Intl. Airport (Terminal 2)

  • by Train
    • NEX - around 3,020 yen and takes about 56 min.
      The NEX is the fastest and easiest way to get directly to Tokyo Station. It also goes directly to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Yokohama and other various stations. You can also activate your JR Pass at the airport and ride the NEX using the pass which makes it very economical. Please visit the NEX site for information, schedules and pricing.
    • Skyliner - around 2,470 yen and takes about 41 min.
      If you don't have a JR Pass and will be staying at a place near Ueno or Asakusa, the Skyliner is your best option. It's actually cheaper and faster than the NEX but the final destination is Kesei-Ueno (near Ueno Station). Please visit the Skyliner site for information, schedules and pricing.
    • JR Express Train - around 1,320 yen and takes about 1 hour 30 min.
      If you don't have a JR Pass and want the cheapest method to get to Tokyo, Shinagawa or Yokohama, you can jump on a regular JR Express train from the airport. Since the airport station is the "starting" station, you will also be able to get a seat. Note however that the seating is normal "bench against the wall" type seating and you will have to hold your luggage between your legs. The train can also get quite full if not packed on it's way to Tokyo. The JR Pass will also work on this train... but, might as well ride the NEX if you have a JR Pass.
  • by Highway Bus
    • Airport Limousine - around 3,100 yen and takes about 1 hour 30 min.
      The Highway Bus is another great option because if you stay at one of the hotels it stops at, it is very convenient. With all the train options you will be pushing and pulling luggage through major train stations and then walking to the hotel but with the bus, you'll get dropped off right in front of your hotel. The only real problem with the bus is "time". "In General" the bus takes 1.5 - 2 hours to get to it's destinations (about twice as long as express trains) BUT, if there is traffic... 3... maybe even 4 hours. If you arrive at Narita and leave Narita during the morning or later night and a bus will drop you right at your hotel, the Limousine Bus is a good choice. Please visit the Airport Limousine site for information, schedules and pricing.

from Shin-Osaka

  • by Train
    • JR Shinkansen - around 14,450 yen and takes about 2 hours 30 min.
      Shin-Osaka is the Shinkansen Station in Osaka. If you have a JR Pass, jump on any "Hikari Shinkansen" and you'll be in Tokyo in about 2 and a half hours. If you don't have a JR Pass take any train you like and fits your budget.

Find a train route and times by Hyperdia & Jorudan

Departure or Arrival time






Hotels & Lodging


View all Hotels and Lodging in & nearby Tokyo


Area Map

The map below gives a great "over-view" of the "main" areas (cities) in Tokyo.

Tokyo areas map



Here is a list of some of the top Attractions in & nearby Tokyo.  View all Attractions in Tokyo.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Asakusa


The most popular attraction in Tokyo is Asakusa and the temple at Asakusa.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Shibuya


World famous Shibuya is seen in many Hollywood films and is famous for fashion.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

The most visited and probably most famous shrine in Japan, Meiji Shrine.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Edo-Tokyo Museum

Edo-Tokyo Museum

An extremely interesting museum that displays a variety of historical items about Tokyo.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree

One of the highest buildings in the world with observation decks to view all Tokyo.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

The most beautiful and romantic towers in Japan, world famous in the Tokyo Skyline.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Market is the Mecca of sushi! See how it all works at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Akihabara


Electronic jungle, Anime and Game heaven. Akihabara's sights and sounds will blow you away.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Koishikawa Korakuen

Koishikawa Korakuen

In the heart of the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, find peace and beauty at Koishikawa Korakuen

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Japan's largest and oldest museum in the country.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - shinjuku


Tokyo's largest city with high rise buildings, shopping and restaurants galore.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - harajuku


Teen culture and fashion well known internationally for it's "Harajuku Girls".

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Odaiba


Odaiba is a popular shopping, entertainment and lodging area on a man made island in Tokyo Bay.

Top Thing to do Tokyo - Roppongi


Best known for it's nightlife and Roppongi Hills shopping and entertainment complex.

View all attractions in & nearby Tokyo

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