If you have a trip to Tokyo, Japan, on the horizon, there's no better way to explore the city than through a tour from City Unscripted. Because of Tokyo's diverse culture, many tourist attractions keep you busy for days or weeks. It's not always easy finding the best spots to visit without the help of a local guide.
Joining a Tokyo tour is an excellent way to experience everything Tokyo has to offer. Whether traveling solo, in a pair, or in a small group, joining a tour is a great way to keep your day organized and experience the city from a local's perspective. While there are many Tokyo tours offered throughout the city, here are five of the best tours offered by City Unscripted.
Shopping in Tokyo is full of fun and exciting stores for you to explore while in the city.
Tokyo is home to many unique subcultures and bizarre districts.
At night, Tokyo is lit up by neon lights, which you can tour while enjoying drinks and food at izakaya bars.
Fun Facts About Tokyo
1. Late March to early April is the best time of year for cherry blossom viewing.
2. Tokyo has over 80 museums for you to explore on your trip!
3. Tokyo's public transportation includes bikes, buses, trains, and taxis.
4. Shinjuku Station in Tokyo has over 200 exits, making it one of the most complex train stations in the entire world!
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Is Tokyo a Walkable City?
Tokyo is a large city full of districts and neighborhoods, many of which are walkable. If you want to explore many parts of the city, you must utilize public transportation or catch a cab between areas. Join a walking tour and get to know each area of your choice from a local's perspective. Whether you want to visit the Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Fish Market, or any other attraction, consider going with a local guide to educate you on Japanese history and help you navigate the busy city. For other unwalkable attractions or destinations outside of Tokyo, such as the Unesco World Heritage site, Mount Fuji, you can choose from public transportation options.
Is it Easy to Tour Tokyo on Your Own?
With as many exciting attractions to find throughout Tokyo, you don't necessarily need a tour guide in order to find something to do. But, if you don't speak Japanese or know your way around the city, it's easy to get confused or lost rather quickly. By joining a guided tour, you follow a fun itinerary for each tour, guided by a local. Having a local guide allows you to visit hidden gems that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Each guide allows you to go at your own pace, answering questions along the way.
When is the Nicest Time to Visit Tokyo?
The best time to visit Tokyo depends on your preference for the weather. Spring and autumn offer cooler temperatures, making walking through the city much more enjoyable than at other times of the year. Because of this, both times are usually quite busy tourist-wise. Summer temperatures are hot, on average ranging from 30°C (86°F) or higher, which some people may find uncomfortable. Winter temperatures can be chilly, sometimes dipping below freezing, and may not be the best time for anyone who’s sensitive to cold.
Shopping in Glitzy Ginza
Shopping is abundant in Tokyo. On the Ginza shopping tour, your guide takes you to some of the best department stores, like Wako, in the city. Wako is a luxury goods palace located in Ginza and one of the best places for tourists to shop.
If you're looking for a nice place to eat, your host may also take you to The Grand 47, a fine dining establishment offering modern Japanese cuisine. This is a great way to break up this walking tour in-between shopping sprees.
Kabukiza is another stop your guide may take you, where you'll visit a playhouse showcasing Kabuki theater's ancient art. After that, if you need a quick bite to eat, soft drinks, or a glass of fine french wine, check out Yurakucho Gado-shita, a unique district littered with tiny restaurants under the Yamanote railway line.
The Ginza tour is one of the best tours for anyone looking to shop until their heart's content while traveling to Tokyo. The best time to visit Ginza is on the weekend. During this time, they close off the main road to traffic, making walking and exploring along your tour much easier.
This tour lasts 3 hours and starts at $196.35 for solo travelers and $109.72 per person for pairs.
Take a Day Trip to Kawaguchiko
On the Day Trip Tour to Kawaguchiko lake, you’ll enjoy a relaxing 10-hour experience. Kawaguchiko is a resort town that offers a local hot spring where you can take a dip, relax, and let your troubles melt away.
Afterward, your local guide will take you to the Kubota Art Museum to see ancient fabric dying. You can also choose between the Yamanashi Gem Museum, which has plenty of souvenirs for you to bring back to friends and family.
This tour has plenty of hidden gems, such as the Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine. Here, you'll view this beautiful historical attraction, which is known for being destroyed by volcanic eruptions multiple times throughout the years. After that, your host will take you to one of the most beautiful viewing points of Mount Fuji. The Tanuki Tea Shop atop Mount Tenjo is the perfect place for you and your group to relax, have delicious tea, and bask in the beauty of Mount Fuji.
If traveling to Tokyo from late March to early April, on this day trip to Kawaguchiko, you will enjoy the magnificent cherry blossoms that are blooming and most abundant during this time. There's also an opportunity to eat at a houtou noodle restaurant with your host at some point during your tour.
The Kawaguchiko lake full-day tour lasts up to 10 hours and starts at $711.90 for solo travelers and $395.32 per person for pairs.
Stranger Than Fiction
The Stranger Than Fiction tour is exciting and great for anyone interested in experiencing the strange side of Tokyo. On this tour, your local host takes you to their favorite bizarre attractions, where you'll experience Japanese culture from a brand new lens.
Omoide Yocoho is a bustling alleyway in Shinjuku. The area is famous for having grilled chicken skewers for residents to enjoy, but that’s not what makes it unique. Omoide Yocoho offers you a look back into post World War II era with its vintage aesthetic and old-fashioned eateries.
Animal cafes are popular in Tokyo. Owl cafes, such as Akiba Fukurou and Owl Cafe & Bar Owl Village, are where you can peacefully dine while interacting with friendly owls. There are also cat cafes, such as the Calico Cat Cafe and Temari no Ouchi, where customers and cats co-exist. Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe is another interesting stop for animal lovers to add to their itinerary. Stop by this cute cafe for a bite to eat, drink, and the opportunity to play with prickly hedgehogs.
Another interesting stop on this tour is the Alice in Wonderland shop, where you have the opportunity to buy fun and exciting gifts to bring back to your family and friends. This shop is a must-see if you're a fan of this iconic story.
The Akihabara neighborhood is another great area to add to your itinerary for weirdness, which carries a quirky and offbeat atmosphere where you can find gaming, anime, and manga stores throughout. The Akihabara area is heavily influenced by otaku and cosplayers roaming the area. If you and your guide visit the area, check out a famous maid cafe for a fun experience in one of Tokyo’s sub-culture hotspots.
The Stranger Than Fiction tour lasts up to 4 hours, starting at $284.10 for solo travelers and $163.60 per person for pairs.
Uncover Tokyo's Best-Kept Secrets
One of the best Tokyo tours is Uncover Tokyo's Best-Kept Secrets experience offered by City Unscripted. The best part about having a local guide is that they know the best-kept secrets throughout the city, helping you experience all of Tokyo’s valuable attractions. Yanaka Ginza is one stop you won't want to miss. This shopping district has many unique stores and restaurants for your and your guests to enjoy.
Shibamata Taishakuten is another beautiful secret destination your host takes you to. This temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden and is most pleasing during the warmer months for you to enjoy all of the amazing flowers and vegetation surrounding the temple.
The Tokyo City View allows you to take a panoramic view of the city directly from its observation deck. This is a great stop for group photos. Eko-in Temple is a serene attraction, favored for its beautiful rock garden that tourists enjoy. Throughout this tour, there's ample opportunity for shopping, such as the traditional neighborhood of Kagurazaka, and more picturesque nature observations, like Sumida Park.
Your local guide knows exactly what makes Tokyo great and will take you to all of the must-see stops throughout the city that you may not have otherwise known.
The Uncover Tokyo tour lasts up to 3 hours, starting at $196.35 for solo travelers and $109.72 per person for pairs.
Neon Nightlife in Japan's Quirky Capital
The Neon Nightlife tour is one of the best tours in Tokyo for experiencing the city after hours. On this tour, your guide takes you on a journey through Tokyo's unique bar culture. You enjoy izakaya bars and standing tachinomiya taverns alongside locals for an authentic Japanese experience.
In Japan, the drinking culture is very different from other parts of the world. You’ll enjoy drinking sake and eating small dishes of famous izakaya foods alongside your beverages here. For example, gyoza dumplings and karaage are two popular dishes you'll taste throughout this nightlife tour.
If you enjoy karaoke, your host can take you to a private booth in a modern karaoke bar where you and your guests can sing until your hearts are content.
This tour takes place in Kinza, full of sleek cocktail bars. You can also enjoy a Japanese dance performed at the Kabuki-za theater. Roppongi is another district known for its exciting nightlife culture and 24-hour ramen joints.
There's nothing more beautiful than walking through the lantern-lit alleyways of Shinjuku or the kaleidoscope-like districts of Ebisu, Shibuya, or Ikebukuro, which are full of fun and vibrant LED lights after hours.
The Neon Nightlife tour lasts up to four hours and starts at $308.85 for solo travelers and $177.60 per person for pairs.
Perks of Having a Local Guide
Having a local guide take you on a tour of Tokyo is the best way to experience the city. Not only does this prevent you from getting lost throughout your trip, but it's a great way to network with locals and have any important questions answered that can help you throughout the rest of your trip.
Your guide knows all of the best places to visit and what times of day are best and can help guide you away from attractions that may not be suitable for your preferences or needs.
Ask your guide about certain attractions such as Tokyo Bay, the Tokyo Station, the Meiji Shrine, or Yoyogi park. Even if these stops aren't part of your tour, they can inform you on which ones are best to experience at the time or season of your trip and give you some helpful tips to help you along the way.
Book Your Tour Today!
Now that you've learned 5 of the best tours in Tokyo, which one will you choose? Each tour outlined in this article is unique and offers something special for your trip. If you're unsure which to choose, you may want to experience multiple tours to give you a more well-rounded idea of everything Tokyo offers. Each tour takes you through its own unique experience, showing you one aspect of Tokyo's exciting culture.
If you're interested in more Tokyo tours offered by City Unscripted, check out the rest of their tour offerings here. Whether you're looking for a food-tasting tour or want to sightsee all of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing, City Unscripted has a tour for you!
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