Tsukiji Fish Market

If you’re fighting jet leg and are awake at 4 a.m., take a cab to fabled Tsukiji, the greatest fish market in the world. If you’re there early, you’ll see the giant tuna being auctioned off and the place is a beehive of activity. Make sure you’re alert or you may get run over by one of the fork lift trucks who like to take aim at tourists. There are restrictions on public access on certain days so make sure you check the market’s website before you go. Afterwards, head over to the small restaurants opposite the market for some early morning sushi – the freshest in the world. We like the Diwa sushi restaurant the best! There’e been an attempt to move the market to a new location so venues for the Tokyo Olympics can be built but there is a lot of opposition to this move. Stay tuned!


Yakitori Alley

If you want to do something really unique in Tokyo, head to the Hibiya district which borders the world famous Ginza and enjoy some affordable local restaurants in what’s known as Yakitori Alley – a series of restaurants tucked under the high-speed Shinkansen (bullet train) tracks. The food here is very good and very cheap and it’s where Japanese office workers hang out after work. Our favourite restaurant in this area is Midori Sushi, where people line up for hours before it opens.


If you’re in Tokyo during the sumo wrestling season – January, May and September – you can watch the oversized giants battle it out at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo's National Sumo Hall. Try to be inside the arena at the start of a new round, when the rikishi parade into the arena wearing ceremonial aprons over their loincloths, and sometimes a former champion demonstrates some classic moves.


Meiji Shrine

Dedicated to the late 19th-century emperor who opened Japan to the West, Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine is wonderfully serene and austere, not colourful or flashy like other Asian places of worship, and is less of a tourist trap than Senso-ji, the big Buddhist temple across town in Asakusa. Stop at the cleansing station where you can dip into a communal water tank and purify your hands and mouth before offering up a prayer.


Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

This is the most beautiful garden in the city, especially during cherry blossom season. There many wonderful gardens here to enjoy: English Landscape, French Formal, Japanese Traditional (with teahouse) and the Mother and Child Forest (Haha to Ko no Mori). There's also a lovely Taiwan Pavilion.



This is the national sport in Japan and there’s literally hundreds of karaoke lounges in Tokyo where locals and tourists like to belt out tunes. In Japan, karaoke usually happens in a private room with your friends or colleagues, with a waiter delivering drinks. But at Smash Hits, located at the west end of the Hiroo shotengai (neighbourhood shopping street), you perform on stage before a random, rowdy audience. Smash Hits is open Tuesday through Saturday nights, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; the $40 (U.S.) cover charge includes two drinks.


Tokyo Tower

Tokyo’s version of the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest building in Japan and its observation tower is a great place to see the entire city. Built in 1958, the tower's main sources of revenue are tourism and antenna leasing. Over 150 million people have visited the tower since its opening.


Imperial Palace

This is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and such is one of the most revered places in the country. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and contains several buildings including the main palace, the private residences of the imperial family, an archive, museum and administrative offices. It is built on the site of the old Edo Castle. The total area including the gardens is 3.41 square kilometres.


This is the most popular upscale shopping area of Tokyo, with numerous internationally renowned department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses located in its vicinity. Ginza is recognized by many as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world, attracting visitors and regulars alike from across the globe.


Roppongi Hills

Constructed by building tycoon Minoru Mori, the mega-complex incorporates office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés, movie theatres, a museum, a hotel, a major TV studio, an outdoor amphitheater, and a few parks. The centerpiece is the 54-story Mori Tower. Mori's stated vision was to build an integrated development where high-rise inner-urban communities allow people to live, work, play, and shop in proximity to eliminate commuting time. The complex opened to the public on April 25, 2003.