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The Best Things to Do in Tokyo

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Tokyo has a dizzying number of things to do. Don't think of that as a problem. Look at a visit to Tokyo--whether your first or your fifth--as an opportunity to go a bit deeper, to peel off layers, to write a list of things you need to visit on your next trip. Ponder that list while at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, where you can take in views of Tokyo from the 54th floor observation decks. Make sure it includes visits to Toyosu Market (formerly part of the Tsukiji fish market) for the tuna auctions, the Ghibli Museum (animation fan or not), and Shibuya Crossing. In season, take in the scent of cherry blossoms before heading to a cat cafe for a cup of tea and a cat cuddle. Or just go do all of those things now and create your own deep cuts list for your next visit.   
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Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya is a center of Japanese fashion, culture, color, noise, and light. Harajuku girls? They're in Shibuya. Manga? Find it in Shibuya. Biggest scramble crossing in the world? Sit at the Starbucks in Shibuya and marvel at the madness below. You...
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2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 163-8001, Japan
View of Tokyo at dusk as seen from the 54th floor observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Nishi-shinjuku. Admission to the observatory is free and well worth it for a fantastic, sweeping view of the Tokyo skyline.
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4丁目-7-35 Shibakōen, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0011, Japan
Zojoji Temple is the main temple of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism, built on its current site in 1598 as the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa’s family temple. Adjacent to the iconic Tokyo Tower, the temple’s main areas consist of the...
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1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tōkyō-to 181-0013, Japan
Hop aboard the Cat Bus express, Ghibli fans! Some may state that the Ghibli Museum is geared toward children, but if you are a Miyazaki fan this museum is a must-see. Splurge a bit and book a tour with your hotel, or purchase tickets at the local...
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Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato City, Akasaka, 9-chōme−7−6 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
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5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan
The Toyosu Market (formerly the inner market at Tsukiji) is the world's largest wholesale seafood market, with more than 2,000 tons of seafood moving through it daily. At its new (and far more modern) location, there's also a separate building for...
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6 Chome-1-23 Yanaka, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0001, Japan
An art gallery in a former public bathhouse, Scai presents rotating exhibits of international and Japanese artists, including Anish Kapoor and Shinko Okuhara. —Marie Doezema Kashiwayu-Ato, 6-1-23 Yanaka, Taito-ku, scaithebathhouse.com/en. This...
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Tokyo, Japan
While visiting Tokyo, I was really happy to attend a traditional Kabuki performance at the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre. I bought my tickets online before my arrival in Japan (at the box office, you must present the credit card that you purchased the...
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6 Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
Just down the street from fashionable Omotesando is the Nezu Museum, with an exquisite Japanese garden. Architect Kengo Kuma's touches include a warm welcome with a bamboo wall at the entrance and rooms with picturesque views of the garden. The...
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11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0014, Japan
The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a gorgeous park that's just a short walk from Shinjuku Station. There are several gardens within the space, including a formal French one, an English landscape garden, and a traditional Japanese design. While...
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1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tōkyō-to 130-0015, Japan
An impressive dichotomy of massive modern architecture on the outside and a subdued, scholarly-yet-approachable atmosphere on the inside, this tribute to the history of Tokyo houses a large number of life-sized dioramas and recreations of what...
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1-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-8557, Japan
The serenity of the Meiji Jingu Shrine is a notable contrast to the crowds of Harajuku hipsters just beyond the giant torii gates. The Shinto shrine complex, which was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken in 1920, is inside a forest that...