When to travel?

Tokyo in summertime could probably reach up to 35-40 degrees and it is very humid.  Winter is warmer than in the northern region, rarely with 2-3 days of snow every year.

Best season: Mar-Nov (Jun is monsoon, Jul-Sep could be hot, Sep is typhoon)
Cherry blossoms: end of Mar-early Apr
Foliage: Nov

Events / Festivals

May: Kanda festival (神田祭), Chiyoda 千代田区
May: Sanja festival (三社祭), Taito 台東区
June: Torigoe shrine festival (鳥越神社大祭), Taito 台東区
Jul: Bunkyo Morning glory and Chinese lantern market (文京朝顔・ほおずき市) Bunkyo 文京区
Oct-Nov: Momiji foliage festival (高尾山紅葉祭), Mt. Takao 高尾山
Nov: Hagoita market (羽子板市), Taito 台東区

Touristic spots

Within Tokyo Metropolitan:

Capital city: Shinjuku (新宿区)

Unlike other prefecture, it is difficult to determine which is the capital of Tokyo, but when we consider the location of governmental office, then it is Shinjuku.

Shinjuku is usually full of offices.

Tokyo Governmental Office (東京都庁), free observatory available, you can have a look at the city at the height of 200 meters.  Mt. Fuji can be seen if the weather permits.

Minato (港区)

The city full of night life.  The price is a bit higher than other places as the location is very convenient.  There are also some nice restaurants, too.

Roppongi (六本木)

A city never sleeps.  A lot of people are coming to this city to enjoy drinking and clubbing.  You may meet a lot of foreigners living in Japan here.  However, please be careful not to follow someone who talks to you to take to their shop or club, it could be a fraud.

Tokyo tower (東京タワー)

Tokyo tower is a symbol of Tokyo.  The tower is red in color with a beautifully designed shape, which was inspired by Eiffel tower in Paris.  Although the tallest tower has been now replaced by Tokyo Sky tree, the tower is still attracting so many tourists.

You can go up to the observatory floor by lift or stairs.

Chiyoda (千代田区)

While Shinjuku is a business city, Chiyoda has Tokyo station and the Imperial Palace, which also could be considered as the center of Japan.

Tokyo station was built in 1914.
Imperial Palace, you can take a walk around the park.

Taito (台東区)

The most touristic spot for foreigners, with an ambiance of traditional and old Japanese culture.

Asakusa (浅草)

The most famous and visited temple in Tokyo.  You may try Kimono and walk towards the temple, trying some of the traditional rice cake sweets as well as finding some souvenirs.  Just walking around the area will satisfy you.

If you are a lucky person to visit in the time of Sanja festival in May or Morning glory and Chinese Lantern, a kind of plant, market in July, the ambiance will be even better.

Entrance of the temple.
Chinese lantern market, they sell wind bell with a plant.
Ueno (上野)

Ueno has vibrant ambiance.  Ueno zoo (上野動物園) has Giant Pandas from China, which can be seen in only few selected zoos in Japan.  Ameyoko (アメ横), a shorter way to say American side street, is the name of the street with all the souvenirs and items sold.

Pandas can be seen in only few zoos in Japan.
Ameyoko, a street that sells everything.

Sumida (墨田区)

Sumida is an area of tradition and culture, because there is Sumo stadium.  With the completion of Tokyo Sky tree in 2012, the city has got a new landmark.

Ryokoku (両国)
Sumo flags
Oshiage (押上)
Tokyo Sky tree, the height is 634 meters.  Aquarium is also popular which is located nearby.

Bunkyo (文京区)

This area is getting more and more popular among foreign tourists, because the area is attractive with their old and traditional streets.  People are trying to refurbish the area to make it more attractive, so that there are a lot of nice cafes and restaurants, while restoring the ambiance.

The area is called Yanesen (谷根千) , whose name was created using capital letters of 3 retro areas; Yanaka (谷中), Nezu (根津) and Sendagi (千駄木).
Old snack shop.

Shibuya (渋谷区)

Shibuya is a place where young people come for shopping and drinking.  Harajuku (原宿) is also a place of youth.

Scramble crossing (渋谷センター街)

This is the most famous crossing street with more than 3000 people pass, all at the same time, and it is expected that over half a million of people pass this crossing in a day!  The crossroad is located just right in front of Shibuya station, Hachiko exit, and the pedestrians can pass to any directions.  It is unbelievable to see this much people pass the street without bumping into each other, just within a short period of time.  You may find some tourists trying to capture the scene, too.

Hachiko (ハチ公) statue

Another touristic spot of Shibuya.  Hachi is the name of a dog who was waiting for his dead owner for years, in front of Shibuya station.  People in Tokyo was feeding and taking care of him until he died.  Now we can see the statue of the dog.

Koto (江東区)

The new Toyosu fish market (豊洲市場) is relocated to this area from Tsukiji.  The town is now being developed with many newest tall apartments built.

Toyosu fish market (豊洲市場)

Unfortunately, Tuna auction, which was the most popular activity of the old fish market, is no longer available.  However, a visit to the fish market is open to tourists.

Monzen Nakamachi (門前仲町)

It is a street close to traditional temples, with small canteens.  It would be interesting to just walk along the street, as the street is full of nostalgic ambiance.

Katsushika (葛飾区)

It is a downtown of Tokyo.  If you are into Japanese Anime or movie, you might have seen this area to be friendly, warm and rough place from Anime called Kochi Kame.

Kameari (亀有)
Kameari (亀有) shopping street.  The city is famous for Kochi Kame, Tokyo Beat Cops.
Katsushika Shibamata Taishakuten (葛飾柴又帝釈天)

This is a very famous temple, with the ambiance of old and good ambiance of Tokyo.  It is also the place where famous Japanese movie was filmed, too.

Niten gate (二天門)
Japanese garden of Shibamata Taishakuten.
Mizumoto park (水元公園)

It is the biggest city park in Tokyo, with a lot of nature.  The park is facing to Saitama prefecture and has a lot of ponds.  In spring, there are cherry blossom trees, and in autumn, people can relax in the forest of colored metasequoia trees.

Mizumoto park in springtime, along with birds living close to the pond.
Tall, colored metasequoias.

Outskirt area:

Mt. Takao (高尾山)

This mountain was awarded 3stars by Michelin Travel Guide and since then the popularity is very high.  The mountain is so close that it takes only about 50 minutes from Shinjuku station.  The height is about 600 meters, so it usually takes less than 1 hour to get to the top, or you can simply take a cable car.  From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a view of whole Tokyo city, or even Mt. Fuji.

The mountain has a long history of more than 1300 years, and is considered as the sacred place for Buddhists.  On top of the mountain, there are Yakunoin temple (薬王院), beer garden and restaurants.

Mountain is also known for a legend of Tengu (天狗), a kind of god or monster with a very big nose and flushed face, you may see his statue on the way to the temple.

Tengu and the temple.
From the top of mountain, Mt. Fuji can be seen.

Okutama (奥多摩)

People will never imagine that Tokyo still has a deep forest.  The area is called Okutama (奥多摩) area has a different feature from metropolitan.  Riding on the train for nearly 1.5 hours and you will finally get to the real nature side.  It is also considered as the entrance of Chichibu Tama Kai national Park (秩父多摩海国立公園).

Many hikers visit the mountain, especially on weekends.
Nippara limestone cave (日原鍾乳洞)

One of the biggest lime stone caves in Kanto, with the size of 1270 meters long.  The cave has been worshiped as a sacred place, and people visit the cave together with Okutama mountains.

The height is maximum of 134 meters.