Tokyo

Christmas Markets in Tokyo 2020

Japan has some odd ways to celebrate Christmas. 

Christmas in Japan is a couple’s day, it’s not a day off, and it’s common to celebrate by eating KFC. 

Yes. Not just any fried chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

However, one (normal) tradition that has made it’s way to the Far East is Christmas Markets!

This 600 year old German tradition is celebrated in various parts of Japan and some of the best ones are right here in Tokyo!

So in this article, we’ll be introducing some of the best Christmas Markets you can find in Tokyo in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Roppongi hills

The Roppongi Hills Christmas Market will be celebrating its 14th Christmas in 2020. This event is sponsored by Volkswagen, a German car company, so you know that this Christmas market is legitimate!

This event features a total of 7 shops, 3 for authentic German cuisines and 4 for German Christmas goods. Also, the Keyakizaka Street illuminations are close-by, so you can enjoy incredible illuminations on the way to the market. 

It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!

Info

Date & Time: 11/28/2020 – 12/25/2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Roppongi Hills O-Yane Plaza 

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/sp/christmas/2020/illumination-event/market.html

Yokohama red brick warehouse

We visited the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Markets last year and it was nothing short of amazing. There were about 20 small vendors, set up in front of the brick houses to form an alley. 

At the end of the alley is a 10m tall Christmas tree shining brighter than any Christmas tree in Japan. 

Perfect spot for any date.

Info

Date & Time: Dec 4th 2020 – Dec 25th 2020 11:00 – 21:00

Access: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse #2

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.yokohama-akarenga.jp/christmas/

Tokyo christmas market

The Tokyo Christmas Market opens again this year in 2 locations: Hibiya Park and Shinjuku Odakyu Park. This Christmas Market is easily recognizable by the Christmas Pyramid standing tall in the middle. 

Info

Date & Time: Dec 10 – Dec 25 11:00 – 22:00

Access: Hibiya Park

Admission: Free

Website: https://tokyochristmas.net/

Tokyo tower

Celebrate Christmas right under the iconic Tokyo Tower at the Ennichi Terrace Christmas Market! This Christmas Market is set up right at the base of Tokyo Tower and you can enjoy both Japanese and foreign foods!

Info

Date & Time: Oct 30 – Jan 11 

Weekdays 16:00 – 21:30 / Weekends & Holidays 11:00 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo Tower 1st Floor Entrance

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyotower.co.jp/event/attraction-event/christmas-market2020/index.html

Conclusion

Unfortunately, some Christmas Markets, such as the Ebisu Garden Place Marche de Noël, are not being held this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, it’s also great to see that coronavirus countermeasures, such as requiring a mask and taking temperatures, are taken at the ones that are taking places this year. 

Whichever one you decide to go to, you’re bound to have a great Christmas time! Let’s be safe and have a Merry Merry Christmas!

Which Christmas Market will you be attending this year?

Illuminations in Tokyo

As winter begins, the days are becoming shorter in Japan. While this means that your daytime is limited, it’s finally the season for Christmas decorations!

One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Japan is to watch illuminations, and this is especially true in Tokyo. Different parts of the city light up with incredible light decorations, competing to attract the crowds. 

If you’ll be enjoying Christmas in Tokyo this year, here is a list of different places to check out the winter Christmas illuminations in 2020!

Warning: because of coronavirus, some places may restrict entrance or even cancel to event itself so do further research before you go!

Illuminations in Tokyo

marunouchi

Info

Date & Time: Nov 5 – Feb 4 15:00 – 23:00 (24:00 in December)

Access: Marunouchi Naka Dori, Around Tokyo Station, Otemachi Naka Dori

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.marunouchi.com/event/detail/25828/

Tokyo midtown

Info

Date & Time: 11/19/2020 – 2/28/2021

Access: Tokyo Midtown (Roppongi) 

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/event/wintermoments/

Ebisu garden place

Info

Date & Time: 11/14/2020 – 1/11/2021 11:00 – 24:00

Access: Ebisu Garden Place Plaza

Admission: Free

Website: https://gardenplace.jp/special/2020baccarat/

Omotesando

Info

Date & Time: 12/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 22:00

Access: Harajuku Station to Omotesando Station

Admission: Free

Website: http://omotesando.or.jp/illumi/

Tokyu plaza rooftop

Info

Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyu Plaza 6th Floor

Admission: Free

Website: https://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/news/news.html?_id=1214

Tokyo dome city

Info

Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 24:00

Access: Tokyo Dome City

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/en/tourists/illumination/

Keyakizaka street illumination

Info

Date & Time: 11/13/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Roppongi Keyakizaka Street

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/sp/christmas/2020/illumination-event/keyakizaka.html

Yomiuri land

Info

Date & Time: 10/22/2020 – 4/4/2021 16:00 – 20:30

Access: Yomiuri Land

Admission: 1,500 yen for adults

Website: https://www.yomiuriland.com/jewellumination/guidance/

tokyo city keiba

Info

Date & Time: 11/7/2020 – 1/11/2021 16:30 – 21:30

Access: Tokyo City Keiba

Admission: 1000 yen

Website: https://tokyomegaillumi.jp/

tokyo midtown hibiya "Magic time illumination"

Info

Date & Time: 11/17/2020 – 12/25/2020 17:00 – 23:00

Access: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Admission: Free

Website: https://www.hibiya.tokyo-midtown.com/xmas/

Honorable mention

Tokyo has some amazing Christmas illuminations, but there are places in other parts of Japan that are just as incredible, if not more. Here are some noteworthy places to take a visit to!

nabana no sato (Mie)

Info

Date & Time: 10/24/2020 – 5/31/2021 

10:00 – 21:00 (22:00 on weekends, holidays, except January and February)

Access: Nabana no Sato

Admission: 2,300 yen

Website: https://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/index.html

huis ten bosch (nagasaki)

Info

Date & Time: 11/1/2020 – 12/25/2020 

Access: Huis Ten Bosch

Admission: 7,000 yen

Website: https://www.huistenbosch.co.jp/event/hikari/

Conclusion

While there are many places to see the Christmas illuminations on this list, it’s nowhere close to being a complete list. There are many smaller places and random streets around Tokyo that have fantastic illuminations as well!

What is your favorite place to watch Christmas illuminations?

Things to do in Tokyo

Tokyo, the urban capital of Japan and a very popular tourist destination. In fact, it’s one of the most populated metropolitan area in the world, with more than 38 million people. Being a city so popular, Tokyo definitely has a lot to offer.  

We’ve gathered some of the best things to do in Tokyo and organized it into easy to understand groups. Every district in Tokyo has its own features, so we’ve also included some insight into these different districts. If it’s going to be your first time Tokyo, we highly recommend checking out the full guide to Tokyo for tips on how to prepare a trip to Tokyo. 

Classic Spots

Shibuya Crossing, the Busiest Crossing in the World

Just like visiting the Times Square in New York, the Shibuya Crossing will make you realize that you are finally in Tokyo. At the crossing, up to over 3,000 people cross the intersection per light, from all directions. Once you’ve experienced the crossing first hand, step away and watch from a distance to really feel the magic!

Sensoji Temple, the Oldest Temple in Japan

Built in the mid 7th century, Sensoji temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan. It was built to honor the god of mercy, Kannon. The temple is located in Asakusa, where there are lots of shops and traditional Japanese buildings still remaining. Once you pass the iconic Kaminarimon gates, there is a long row of food stands and souvenir shops before reaching the temple itself.

Tokyo Skytree, the Tallest Building in Tokyo

Located right across the Sumida river from Sensoji Temple is Tokyo Skytree, the tallest building in Japan. Standing at 634m tall, you can get the highest view of Tokyo from the observation deck. There’s also a shopping mall on the bottom floors full of various restaurants and shops.

Tokyo Tower, the Tallest Steel Structure in the World

Despite being shorter than the Skytree, Tokyo Tower is actually the tallest standing steel structure in the world. Both have an observation deck and are radio towers, but they’re quite different in many ways. 

Tokyo Tower is located on the opposite side of Tokyo, in the Hamamatsu-cho area. Near the tower is the Hamarikyu gardens and the entertainment district, Roppongi. 

Tokyo Metropolitan Building, the Cheapest Viewpoint of Tokyo

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Tokyo, Japan

Most viewpoints in Tokyo require money to access the observation deck, but there’s a free one near Shinjuku Station. On a good day, you can see all of Tokyo’s famous landmarks, as well as Mt. Fuji in the distance. The observation deck itself is free to access and there are souvenir shops at the top, to help finance the deck. 

Ueno Zoo, the Oldest Zoo in Japan

Entrance to Ueno Zoo (9409818400)

If you love animals, you should check out Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Japan. This zoo is home to over 400 different species and even has a monorail to connect the two parts. The zoo is most famous for its pandas, which is the reason for the panda statues all over Ueno station. 

Attractions

Tokyo Disneyland Theme Park

Whether you’re a Disney fan or not, the Disneyland Theme Park is worth a visit! There are two parks: Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea. While Tokyo Disney is also great, Disney Sea is a unique experience and we highly recommend checking it out first if you’re short on time. 

Buy Tokyo Disney 1-Day Passport here

Ghibli Museum

If you love classic Ghibli films such as Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro, you’d definitely want to check out the Ghibli museum in Mitaka. There are various exhibitions centered around each classic movie and you can tell that each part of the interior design has been carefully thought out, just like the films. Photography is not allowed inside and tickets are quite hard to come by so make sure to secure them months before your visit!

Buy Ghibli Museum tickets here.

teamLab Borderless Exhibition

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM EPSON teamLab Borderless

The teamLab Borderless exhibition in Odaiba is one of the most popular art exhibitions in Japan. The teamLab group of artists are known for creating visually aesthetic artwork that seem to extend beyond the walls and defy any concept of space. This exhibition is highly recommended for anyone visiting Tokyo.

Buy teamlab Borderless tickets here

Sunshine Sky Circus

The top floor of Sunshine City started off as an observation deck, but has evolved into so much more. There is now a VR theme park, planetarium, and various other interactive displays. There are also restaurants, smaller amusement parks, and many anime themed shops on the bottom floors of Sunshine City and this place is highly recommended for families and anime-lovers!

Buy Sunshine Sky Circus and Observatory tickets here.

Tokyo Dome City

LaQua(Tokyo Dome City )

Tokyo Dome City is a city within a city. Not just an amusement park, the area also has a hotel, sports stadium, restaurants, shopping mall, spa, and an event hall. Start your day off at the amusement park, explore the shopping mall area throughout the day, and finish it off by relaxing at the spa. 

Buy Tokyo Dome City Attractions and Space Museum tickets here

Unique Experiences

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji is home to one of the world’s most famous fish auctions and is one of the most distinct experiences in Tokyo. Here, you can try fresh seafood, experience the fish market culture, and buy authentic Japanese ingredients for souvenirs. To get the full experience, take a tour with a local guide that’s familiar with the Tsukiji culture and history.

Reserve a Tsukiji Fish Market Food Tour here.

Oedo Onsen

Oedo Onsen Monogatari

For a complete onsen (hot spring) experience, head over to Tokyo’s most famous Oedo Onsen Monogatari. Located in Odaiba, Oedo Onsen has various types of baths including open air, steam, and foot. After washing up, you can change into a Yugata and enter the mix-gender amusement area, decorated as a mini Edo town, where you can eat, relax, and participate in various Japanese activities. 

Buy Oedo Onsen Monogatari tickets here

Watch the Sumo Morning Practice

Sumo tournaments are hard to come by and can be really expensive. A better way to experience the 2000 year old Japanese sport is to watch their practice in the morning. In Tokyo, there are several sumo practice spots where sumo wrestlers practice in the morning. Once you’re at the sumo dojo, they have several rules in place so it doesn’t disturb the athletes’ training. 

Watching the sumo practice itself is free, but if you’d like re-arrangements for practice schedule changes or would like assistance with the language barrier, there are several tours available that can arrange everything for you.

Book a Sumo Practice tour now

Drink at an Izakaya

One of the best ways to experience the local culture in Tokyo is to step inside an izakaya. It’s the gathering spot for many people from college kids to full-time salarymen. An izakaya is the halfway point between a restaurant and a bar where drinks are served with small dishes meant to complement the alcohol. There are many different izakaya ranging from chains like Torikizoku and Kuranokuniya to hidden local spots, some even without a name! 

Purchase a Local Bar Hopping tour here

Robot Restaurant

The Robot Restaurant can either feel like a unique experience or a tourist trap. Inside, there are stadium-style seats in a dark room. Once the show starts, robot floats and exotic costumes parade through the stadium with neon lights and dances. The show lasts about 90 minutes and whether you walk away satisfied or weirded out, you’re definitely in for a surprise!

Buy Robot Restaurant tickets here

Maid Cafe

If you’re open to new experiences, check out a maid cafe. These are themed cafes where the “maid” staff treat the customers as if they are princes and princesses. You can order cute menu items and there are traditions set for when you call for the maid. The maids also perform shows and you’re given a souvenir to take back home. 

Purchase the Maid Cafe Experience here

Kawaii Monster Cafe

The Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku is another unique cafe experience. The whole interior is decorated with colorful yet spooky creatures and the staff are dressed up in exotic costumes. There are different zones of seating and the food also comes in a colorful yet spooky theme.

Michelin Star Restaurants

For the foodie travelers who want to taste the best, check out some of the Michelin Star restaurants in Tokyo. Tokyo has a full list of Michelin Star restaurants and they range anywhere from a small ramen shop to high-end luxury restaurants.

Gardens & Nature

Shinjuku Gyoen Park

Shinjuku Gyoen Park is one of the biggest parks in Tokyo. The park is divided into three different types of garden and also has a greenhouse. This is also one of the most popular spots to see the cherry blossom and you can see many locals and travelers gather around to take pictures and enjoy a picnic.

Ueno Park

Ueno Park is another popular park in Tokyo, located right next to Ueno station. Ueno is one of the first Western style parks in Tokyo and was built in 1873. The park has a pond, where you can ride boats, and there are various art museums within the park as well. 

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine is one of the biggest shrines in Tokyo. What’s cool about this shrine is that there are Japanese weddings held often and you can watch the traditional ceremonies happen from a distance. Despite being in the urban area of Harajuku, the entrance to Meiji Shrine is surrounded by tall trees, and can be a nice, calm place to take a breather from your busy travels.  

Mt. Takao

If you really want to immerse yourself in nature while in Tokyo, Mt. Takao is the perfect place. Mt. Takao is located at the western end of the Chuo line and is a relatively small mountain. It takes about 1-2 hours to hike to the top but there’s also a cable car that you can take halfway. At the foot of the mountain, there’s a nice, relaxing onsen which we recommend stepping into after your hike. 

Hamarikyu Garden

Jardines Hama Rikyu

The Hamarikyu Garden is a great place to catch a breather in the middle of the day. Hamarikyu Garden is located in the Tokyo bay and is surrounded by a seawater moat. The garden was designed in a traditional Japanese style and you can see that every small detail has been thought out, as it used to be a private garden for the shogunate. The scenery of a peaceful garden with skyscrapers in the background makes this garden quite unique.

Main Districts of Tokyo

Shinjuku

Shinjuku is the world’s busiest station. There are over 12 train lines that are used by over 3.5 million people per day. You can also find all kinds of shopping malls from low to high end. Shinjuku is home to the famous Golden Gai, the Tokyo Metropolitan building, and the notorious Kabukicho district. 

Shibuya

Shibuya is the city that never sleeps. There are lots of entertainments here from karaoke to clubs and bars. It’s also the home to Japan’s Time Square, the Shibuya Crossing, and the famous Hachiko statue. Shibuya is continuously growing with more and more skyscrapers appearing in the skyline every year and will soon be the corporate hub of Tokyo.

Harajuku

Harajuku is the station just before Shibuya and it’s the fashion central of Tokyo. It’s most famous for Takeshita Street, filled with lots of colorful fashion and street food. The main street that runs parallel to Takeshita is Omotesando, where it’s lined up with all the high-end fashion. 

Akihabara

Akihabara is famously known as the electronics, anime, and manga town. You can find all of Japan’s biggest electronics retailers competing to give you the lowest price and there are also rare figurines and anime goods that you can only find in Akihabara. Other than shopping, you can find lots of arcades and themed cafes. 

Asakusa

Asakusa is the city of Tokyo’s past. You can see lots of older style buildings and restaurants serving Japanese style. In the streets, you can see people riding the Jinrikisha, a man powered cart used as a cheap form of transportation in the late 19th century. Asakusa is also home to the famous Sensoji Temple and the Tokyo Skytree. 

Odaiba

If Asakusa is the city of Tokyo’s past, Odaiba is the city of Tokyo’s future. Odaiba is a big shopping and entertainment district built on man-made land. It’s easily recognizable by the Gundam statue and the Statue of Liberty replica. It’s also home to the popular teamLab Borderless exhibition and the Oedo Onsen Monogatari.

Tokyo/Marunouchi

The Marunouchi area is bordered by three big stations: Tokyo station, Otemachi station, and Yurakucho station. This is known as the business area and it’s filled with skyscrapers. You can find lots of good quality restaurants and izakaya around the station. This area is also a main transportation hub with Otemachi station serving the metro lines and Tokyo station serving the JR lines, along with the Shinkansen

Ginza

Ginza is Tokyo’s luxury district. The area is packed with brand name shops and high end dining. There is also a thriving nightlife in Ginza and you can also find some of the most exquisite lounges and nightclubs. Regardless of whether you’re into the luxury life or not, window-shopping is always free!

Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka preserves the elegance of traditional Japan. The sloped street between Iidabashi and Kagurazaka station is lined up with lots of unique restaurants and izakaya and you don’t see too many chain restaurants here. The area used to be famous for being the geisha district during the Edo period and is now home to a considerable French community. If you branch off into the side streets, you can find traditional walkways and restaurants mixed in with some French restaurants as well. 

Trendy Areas

Daikanyama

Daikanyama is a small, decorative neighborhood near Shibuya. There are various high-end individual brand shops everywhere, each standing with their own unique architecture. In the heart of Daikanyama is the Daikanyama T-site, one of the most popular book stores in Japan. Daikanyama is also known to have some of the best brunch spots in Tokyo, as well has lots of hip cafes and craft beer breweries. 

Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa is one of the most popular places for the younger crowd. The streets are decorated with murals and the area is known for having lots of thrift and vintage shops. You can also find home decor stores, live houses, and trendy cafes in this area as well. 

Kichijoji

At Kichijoji, you can get the local experience of one of the most popular residential areas in Tokyo. Kichijoji was named the most desired place to live in Kanto for several consecutive years and it’s not hard to see why. Kichijoji is quite separated from central Tokyo, yet very well connected, having easy transportation to Shibuya and Shinjuku. Right next to the station is Inokashira Park, where you can fully experience nature in the middle of the city. There are also a considerable amount of stylish cafes, thrift shops, and local izakaya. 

Things to do in Kagurazaka

If you want to experience real, traditional Japan, then we recommend that you take a visit to Kagurazaka. Located just outside of the Imperial Palace, Kagurazaka used to be the geisha district in the Taisho Period in the early 20th century. While maintaining the traditional Japanese vibes, Kagurazaka has also developed a French community, with various French restaurants and supermarkets as well. Unlike most parts of Tokyo, Kagurazaka still maintains its traditional appearance, similar to that of places like Kyoto.

Where is Kagurazaka?

Kagurazaka is located in the central area of Tokyo, near Tokyo Dome and stretches out between Iidabashi Station and Kagurazaka station.

To get to Kagurazaka from Shinjuku Station, you can take the Chuo line down to Iidabashi Station. From Tokyo Station, you can walk to Otemachi Station and take the Tozai line to Kagurazaka Station. 

Things to do

Spend the Whole Day at Tokyo Dome City

Tokyo Dome City LaQua

Tokyo Dome is a venue for many huge sporting events and right outside of the stadium is Tokyo Dome City. Here, there’s all kinds of things from an amusement park to hotels, many restaurants, a space museum, a hot spring, and so much more. You can easily spend a whole day within Tokyo Dome City and it’s kid-friendly as well!

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 1 Chome-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-5800-9999

Take a Stroll Through Kagurazaka Street

The main street of Kagurazaka runs from Iidabashi Station all the way down to Kagurazaka Station. We recommend starting from Kagurazaka station and walking all the way down to Iidabashi Station and take a look at all the shops in between. You can also take a detour around the narrow, stone-paved back alleys where you’ll find shops and restaurants in surprisingly narrow spaces. 

Address: 神楽坂 Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825 Japan

Morning Walk in Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

JP-13 Bunkyo-ward Koishikawa-Korakuen-garden

Koishikawa Korauen Garden was built in the 17th century and it’s one of the best gardens to visit in Tokyo. Located right behind Tokyo Dome, this garden feels like the hidden nature getaway in the middle of a busy city.

This garden is also one of the best places to go for sakura or fall foliage season so make sure to add that to your bucket list!

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 1 Chome-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

Cost: 300 yen

Phone Number: +81 3-3811-3015

Akagi Shrine

When you exit Kagurazaka Station, you may notice a bright red shrine gate when you come up exit 1. Akagi shrine is small compared to other famous shrines like Meiji, but it’s one of the cleanest, most modern shrines around. The whole shrine was redesigned in 2010 with a modern look and the whole place gives off an upscale atmosphere, which is quite uncommon for a shrine!

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address: 1-10 Akagi Motomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0817, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3260-5071

Tokyo Daijingu Shrine

Shrine, Tokyo Daijingu - Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan - DSC04748

If you come to Kagurazaka, it’s worth visiting one of Tokyo’s 5 major shrines. The Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is close to the main Kagurazaka street and many people come to this shrine because it’s the shrine for marriage, love, and relationships (which is a big part of many people’s lives!).

Hours: 8:00am – 7:00pm

Address: 2 Chome-4-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0071, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3262-3566

Zenkokuji Temple

When walking through Kagurazaka street, it’s hard to notice the big building with the red gate. Zenkokuji Temple is one of the most popular temples in the area and was built to worship one of the 7 lucky gods. There are two tiger statues guarding the front and it’s also a good place to bring your kids and pray to the luck gods!

Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm

Address: Japan, 〒162-0825 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kagurazaka, 5 Chome−36

Cost: Free

Phone Number: +81 3-3269-0641

Yayoi Kusama Museum

Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Louisiana Museum, Denmark

Yayoi Kusama is a world famous Japanese artist. Yayoi had a rough childhood and had hallucinations since she was little, which became the inspiration for her work. Her museum showcases some of her best work, including the famous polka dot designs. There’s no same day admission and you’re required to buy the tickets ahead of time. Here’s a link to the museum’s website.

Hours: 11:00am – 5:30pm

Address: 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0851, Japan

Cost: 1100 yen

Phone Number: 

Museum of Science at Tokyo University of Science

If you’re looking for something free, you can check out the Science Museum at Tokyo University of Science. There’s various exhibitions that displays a lot of the technologies used during Japan’s industrial age. It’s a good place for a rainy travel day or somewhere to take your kids!

Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm, Closed Sundays, Mondays

Address: Japan, 〒162-0825 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kagurazaka, 1丁目3

Cost: Free

The Hidden Alleyways of Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka Streetscape - 43

Kagurazaka is known for its stone paved back alleys from the Edo Period. While walking on the main street, turn into one of the back alleys and you’ll find lots of hidden restaurants and izakaya rooted in these areas. In the daytime, these back alleys make for a great photo shoot location as well!

Bring Home Some Traditional Japanese Souvenirs

If you want traditional, authentic Japanese souvenirs, then Kagurazaka is the best place to buy it. Here are some great places to shop at in Kagurazaka.

Gallery & Cafe Mikado

Local ceramics shop.

Hours: 11:30am – 6:00pm

Address: 2F 6 Chome-34, Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3235-3222

La Kagu

Hipster household goods shop.

Hours: 11:00am – 8:30pm

Address: 67 Yaraicho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0805, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-5946-8241

Noren Kagurazaka

Traditional Japanese items store.

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: Japan, 〒162-0825 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kagurazaka, 1 Chome, 12番地

Phone Number: +81 3-5579-2975

Ramla Shopping Mall

Shopping mall for everything else.

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: Japan, 〒162-0823 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, 新宿区Kaguragashi, 1−1 セントラルプラザ

Phone Number: +81 3-3235-0181

Geisha Performance Dinner

Maiko In Gion Kyoto Geisha District (135266873)

Kagurazaka is one of the few places left in Tokyo where you can meet an actual geisha. You can make reservations for a dinner geisha performance where a top level geisha performs on stage. This is an awesome way to experience the luxury lifestyle of Edo Japan.

Male Geisha Taikomochi Show

Many people are aware of female geisha, but did you know that there are male geisha as well? They’re called Taikomochi and they’re similar to a joker during the Medieval Times (not the one in batman). Similar to their female counterpart, the Taikomochi also sings and dances on stage, but with a more energetic twist.

Relax at Atami-Yu

Atamiyu is quite different from other hot springs in Tokyo in many ways. When it first opened in 1954, it used to be a bathing ground for geisha and still uses its firewood boiler. Inside, there’s a huge mural of Mt Fuji which definitely creates a relaxing experience!

Hours: 3:00pm – 1:00am, closed Saturdays

Address: 3 Chome-6 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Cost: 470 yen

Phone Number: +81 3-3260-1053

Kagurazaka Events

Kagurazaka Summer Festival

There are not too many events in Kagurazaka, but the Kagurazaka Summer Festival has always been the biggest.

The festival is to celebrate Obon, a Japanese holiday, and lasts for about a week in late July. During the summer festival, decorations are put up on the main Kagurazaka street and there are parades of various traditional Japanese dances. There are also lots of food stalls selling festival foods near the Zenkokuji Temple area. Best of all, it’s absolutely free, so we recommend checking it out if you’re in the area!

Places to Eat

Canal Cafe

Canal Cafe - Tokyo, Japan - DSC04913

Italian food an desserts right in the middle of the river. 

Hours: 11:30am – 11:00pm

Address: 1-9 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3260-8068

Kagurazaka Sushi Academy

Sushi buffet run and managed by a sushi chef training school. 

Hours: Weekdays 11:30am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, 

            Weekends 11:30am – 10:00pm,

             closed Wednesdays

Address: 3 Chome-6-3 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Phone Number: +81 50-5266-0379

Oreryu Shio Ramen Kagurazaka

Small chain ramen shop

Hours: 10:00am – 6:00am

Address: 2 Chome-11 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3266-1050

Kagurazaka Saryo Honten

Japanese set menu and desserts

Hours: 11:30am – 11:00pm

Address: 5 Chome-9 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0825, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3266-0880

Kyourakutei

Soba shop

Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:00pm – 8:30pm, closed Monday, Sunday

Address: Japan, 〒162-0825 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kagurazaka, 3 Chome−6 神楽坂館1階

Phone Number: +81 3-3269-3233

Kagurazaka Kado

Very traditional Japanese restaurant. 

Hours: Weekdays 4:00pm – 10:30pm,

             Weekends 2:00pm – 10:30pm,

             Closed Mondays

Address: 1-32 Akagi Motomachi, 新宿区 Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0817, Japan

Phone Number: +81 3-3268-2410

Where to Stay Near Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka is a great place to stay in Tokyo and there are lots of affordable options near Iidabashi station. It’s also very convenient being positioned in the middle and having transportation options to many popular places in Tokyo. If you plan on exploring Tokyo from Kagurazaka station, we highly recommend getting a Metro Pass since many of these lines operate here. 

Budget Option:

Mid-Range Option:

Things to do in Shibuya

The Times Square of Japan. 

Home to the famous Shibuya Crossing, countless skyscrapers, and a vibrant night life, Shibuya is one of the busiest places in Tokyo and the city that never sleeps. It’s known as the center of pop culture in Japan and there’s an endless selection of entertainment, restaurant, and izakaya. During the day, there’s also lots to see including unique shops and cultural sites. We hope that this guide can show you the best that Shibuya has to offer. 

Things to do

Experience the Shibuya Crossing

Locals tend to try to avoid the Shibuya Crossing, but to everybody else, it’s quite a sight. On a busy night, up to 2,500 people cross the intersection at once and it’s considered one of the busiest crossings in the world. 

After you experience it first-hand, take a step back and watch the crossing from a distance to see it’s real magic. These are some recommended places to get a good view of the crossing:

  • Starbucks in the Tsutaya building
  • L’occitane cafe
  • Mag’s Park in Magnet
  • Roof of Shibuya Scramble Square

Address: 2 Chome-2-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

Take a Picture with Hachiko

The Hachiko statue was built in memory of a truly loyal dog named Hachiko. 

Hachiko was a dog who had a special bond with it’s owner. The dog was very loyal and always showed up to Shibuya station in the afternoon to greet his owner after work. Unfortunately, it’s owner died while at work in 1925, but the dog continued to come back to Shibuya station at the same time, every single day. Hachiko kept this up for 10 years past his owner’s death, and only stopped because Hachiko had passed away as well. In honor of the dog’s loyalty, its body was cremated and was placed next to his owner’s ashes.

Address: 1 Chome-2 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

Konno Hachimangu Shrine

Konno-Hachiman-Shrine-01

If you’re curious about the history of the Shibuya area, then you should definitely check out Konno Hachimangu Shrine. This 900 year old shrine is the site of the Shibuya family, the family from which Shibuya was named after. Despite being in one of the busiest places in Japan, it’s one of the less popular shrines in Tokyo, so it may be a quieter experience than shrines like Asakusa. 

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 3 Chome-5-12 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Cost: Free

Phone Number: 03-3407-1811

Check out Tower Records

Tower Records Shibuya

Another interesting thing to do in Shibuya is to check out the flagship store of the famous Tower Records in Shibuya. Out of all the 85+ stores they have across Japan, the one in Shibuya is the biggest, and there are 8 stories filled with various genres of music from the latest hits to old school classics. This is also one of the few places in Tokyo where they still sell CDs and vinyls which may interest some collectors. There’s also a cafe inside with a nice atmosphere where you can grab a light snack!

Hours: 10:00am – 11:00pm

Address: 1 Chome-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan

Phone Number: 03-3496-3661

Shop at 6 Floors of Muji Store

Over the last few years, Muji has gotten popular outside of Japan, and if you’re a fan as well, then you need to check out the 6 story Muji store in Shibuya! Muji is known for its simple yet high quality products and this Muji store has all kinds of selections and even a cafe!

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 21−1 モヴィーダ館B1~5F Parking Building, B1F 渋谷西武

Phone Number: 03-3770-1636

Visit the Very First Tokyu Hands Store

TOKYU HANDS Shibuya

Tokyu Hands is a department store in Japan and it’s also one of the best place to go to for DIY materials. The store in Shibuya is the first Tokyu Hands store ever and may be worth checking out to get a unique Japanese souvenir!

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

Phone Number: 03-5489-5111

Splurge at Mega Don Quijote

The biggest Don Quijote in Japan is located in Shibuya and it is HUGE. The Mega Don Quijote is a massive 7 story building that’s open for 24 hours and has everything from souvenirs to imports and shampoos to today’s lunch. Best of all, it’s tax free for tourists so take advantage while you’re here!

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 28-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 154-0042, Japan

Phone Number: 03-5428-4086

Take in Some Art at the Parco Building

Towards the end of 2019, the new Parco Building opened up in Shibuya and this place is almost like an art museum. There are various manga inspired figures and artwork displayed throughout the building. There’s also a Pokemon store, free rooftop garden access, and is home to Japan’s first official Nintendo store.

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-8377, Japan

Phone Number: 03-3464-5111

Shibuya Scramble Square

2019 Shibuya Scramble Square 1

The Shibuya Scramble Square opened towards the end of 2019 and became the tallest skyscraper in Shibuya. This 47 story skyscraper has to offer various traditional and western restaurants, office buildings, shopping malls, and the tallest view of Shibuya with the rooftop observation deck.

Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 2 Chome-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Phone Number: 03-4221-4280

Shibuya Stream

Once you’re done exploring rooftops, you can come to the southern end of Shibuya and take a stroll through Shibuya Stream. On the inside, there’s office buildings, shopping malls, and restaurants, similar to the Shibuya Scramble Square building. On the outside, there’s an LED lit stairs and a river bank with aesthetic illuminations running along it which is the perfect spot to take your date after a nice dinner!

Hours: Weekdays 11:00am – 1:00am, 

             Saturdays 11:00am – 10:00pm,

              Sundays 11:00am – 9:00pm

Address: 3 Chome-21-3 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Phone Number: +81 570-050-428

The Shibuya Night Life

Nonbei Yokocho

Nonbei Yokocho is Shibuya’s version of Golden Gai. Right next to the Shibuya crossing, there’s two alleyways with old architecture houses that are packed with bars and izakaya that can seat up to 5-6 people at a time.

Address: 1 Chome-25 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Center Gai

Shibuya Center Gai

Right across the Shibuya crossing is the entrance to Center Gai. During the day, this area is filled with tourists looking through various shops. At night, this place becomes the gathering place for Tokyo’s youth. From Center Gai, you can have easy access to bars, clubs, or any other way to spend the night.

Hours: 24 hours

Address: 12-3 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

Phone Number: 03-3461-3314

Party at the Club Central of Tokyo

If you’re into clubbing then Shibuya is your place. With over 15 different clubs, ranging from EDM to Hip Hop, Shibuya is the center hub for all kinds of night life. Here are some clubs and their websites for more info. 

Stay Out ALL Night

If you miss the last train, no worries because you’re in Shibuya! There’s lots of places that run 24 hours or at least until the morning train. There’s 24 hour karaoke, ping pong, bowling, billiards, and so much more. If you’re feeling a bit exhausted, you can go relax at a manga/internet cafe nearby and if you’re feeling hungry, McDonalds, Ichiran, and many other chains are open 24 hours as well. 

Activities
  • Karaoke
  • Ping pong
  • Bowling
  • Billiard
  • Darts
Place to Rest
  • Internet/Manga cafe
  • Cheap Love Hotels
Food
  • McDonalds
  • Ichiran
  • Matsuya

Restaurants to Try

There are millions of restaurants in Shibuya and with the construction of new buildings, the numbers are only increasing. While we think that there are no bad choices in any restaurant in Shibuya, here are some unique places we’ve discovered that we recommend trying out. 

  • Sushi Uobei/Genki Sushi: Bullet train sushi restaurant
  • Wired Cafe: Awesome cafe in a book store
  • Streamer: Japanese coffee chain.
  • Sincere Shibuya: Michelin star French restaurant
  • Kobe Beef Teppanyaki: Luxury wagyu beef restaurant
  • Afuri ramen: Healthy ramen with yuzu
  • Pizza Slice: Authentic NY Pizza

Accommodations

Shibuya is one of the best places to stay in Japan when it comes to convenience. Not only is everything open til late at night, Shibuya also connects to various places with 10 different lines running through this one station. Here’s are some places that you can easily access from Shibuya:

  • Shimokitazawa
  • Yokohama
  • Kichijoji
  • Kawasaki
  • Kawagoe

Hostel

Budget 

Mid-Range

Luxury

  • Shibuya Stream Excel – Luxury style hotel at a moderate price
  • Hotel Koe – Minimal yet luxury hotel with a restaurant, store, and occasional events. 
  • Trunk Hotel – Hotel with stylish interior and modern architecture.