Sign Up
Cruisetrend helps you connect and share with the people in your life.
  • Port Detail
  • Photo & Video
  • Ports Review
When foreigners go to Japan, Tokyo tops their list of places to see. This makes it easy for visitors to check the top spots off their must-see lists without leaving Tokyo, a sprawling city encompassing nearly every important aspect of Japanese life (except nature; “man-made” is the buzzword here). To get to the other spots on the top-10 list, a quick shinkansen (bullet train) ride is all that’s required, and that’s an experience itself, as the trains run at speeds of about 200 miles per hour. Tokyo is both the largest and most expensive city in the world.
Whether you choose to stay inside Tokyo’s city limits or leave them, however, the complete tourism experience in Japan involves an equal mix of modern and traditional–easy to accomplish in the city and beyond. Wherever you go, you can expect the locals to be friendly due to a government tourism-promotion campaign,
The No. 1 place tourists visit is Shinjuku, a massive, crowded skyscraper district within Tokyo. Built beginning in the ’70s, Shinjuku keeps adding new and bigger towers, and its commuter rail station is the transit system’s busiest, with nearly 2 million passengers a day.
Shinjuku has three main components: offices, shopping and nightlife. The shopping consists of a flotilla of chic department stores, mainly branches of the stores you’ll find in Ginza or elsewhere. At night, many tourists head for Shinjuku’s Park Hyatt, the hotel made famous in the film Lost in Translation, to have a drink at the penthouse New York Bar and take in the city-wide views. The Kabukicho district is also a popular hangout, thanks to its many bars and lounges.

Tokyo, the capital city of the parliamentary democratic monarchy of Japan, is also home to the Emperor's Palace and the seat of Government and Parliament. In East-Central Honshu, the largest of Japan's main islands, this heavily populated city is well worth exploring. One of the world's most modern cities in terms of its infrastructure and design - due largely to the 1923 earthquake and the devastation of WWII - Tokyo also holds the title of the world's most expensive city in which to live (it's also one of the easiest to get around thanks to its superb rail and subway networks). The cultural side of Tokyo is famous for its numerous museums; theaters; festivals; internationally noted cuisine; and professional sports clubs, including baseball, football (or soccer), along with traditional Japanese pursuits like Sumo Wrestling. It's also a city rich in music and theater, with numerous venues featuring everything from Japanese to modern dramas, symphony orchestras, and pop and rock concerts.
Where You're Docked
Small and medium cruise ships that can fit under the Rainbow Bridge dock at Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal on Harumi Island. The nearest metro station is Kachidoki Station on the Toei Oedo Subway Line (20 mins on foot, 5 mins by bus or taxi). Alternatively, you can take Toei bus 5 (¥210, Mar 2015) to Ginza station. The bus terminus, Harumi Futo, is outside the terminal. The fare acceptor provides change for ¥1000 bills. There is also a water bus stop nearby. Harumi Terminal website here http://www.tptc.co.jp/en/tabid/798/en/tabid/853/Default.aspx
Large ships destined for Tokyo (not Yokohama) dock at Oi Marine Products Wharf well south of the main waterfront area. Shuttle buses should be provided to Shinagawa JR train station. A new terminal capable of handling larger ships is scheduled to be built by 2019 in Koto Ward, just south of the eastern end of the Rainbow Bridge. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/26/national/tokyo-to-build-new-wharf-for-big-liners/
Larger ships usually dock at Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama approximately 15 miles southwest of Tokyo and easily accessible by train. Information here http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3208.html and http://www.osanbashi.com/en/tourist/
To get from the cruise terminal in Yokohoma to Tokyo, you can walk to the nearby Nihon Odori station of the Minato Mirai Line. From there, you can ride all the way to Shibuya station (40 minutes) or you can transfer at Yokohama station (4th stop from Nihon Odori) onto a JR Tokaido Line train that takes you to Tokyo station (25 minutes).
Local Transportation
The metro system in Tokyo is very extensive, color coded and stations are given a letter and number to make it easier to find on a map. Fares depend on distance traveled and tickets can be purchased from ticket machines. There are two main metro systems (Tokyo Metro and Toei) plus the JR rail network. A one day pass on the Tokyo metro is ¥600 and a single fare starts at ¥170 for one stop. A combined ticket for both metro systems is available for ¥1000 (best option). A combo ticket valid on all three rail systems and buses is ¥1590. Since the stations are large, find an exit map to locate your exit and to orient yourself when you come to the surface.

If staying for a couple of days, consider getting a prepaid card Suica or Pasmo (¥1000 minimum, includes ¥500 deposit). Though issued by different operators (JR for Suica and Tokyo Metro for Pasmo), both are valid on bus, JR Rail and both subway systems. Cards are also accepted at many vending machines, convenience stores and taxis. The deposit and remaining balance is refundable at any service center less a ¥220 processing fee.
If flying into Narita, foreigners can get a discounted combined Narita Express N'EX Tokyo round trip ticket for ¥4000.
If traveling with luggage, consider having it delivered separately. This service is available at both the airport and cruise terminals. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html
Hanging Around
Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal, Tokyo: The Tokyo port is in an isolated part of the city, about a 30-minute walk from the nearest train station. Your best bet is to take the 05 bus from the train station straight to the cruise terminal. Inside the terminal, you'll find vending machines with drinks and snacks; free Wi-Fi also is available.
Osanbashi Pier, Yokohama: The Yokohama pier is about a 40-minute train ride from central Tokyo, therefore some passengers choose to spend the night before the cruise in Yokohama. For those who do and have time to see a bit of Yokohama before embarking, there are a few attractions near the port. The closest is the Silk Museum, which displays the silk manufacturing process, as well as a variety of silk products. A little farther away, though still within walking distance, is the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History. It features exhibits on the lives of the Japanese people from ancient times to the present, as well as explores the relations between Japan and other countries. On sunny days, take a stroll at the nearby Yamashita Park, one of Japan's oldest seaside parks.
Within a five- to 10-minute walk of the port, you'll find a few shops and convenience stores.
Getting Around
By Rail: The best way to get around Tokyo, and surrounding suburbs like Yokohama, is the mass transit rail system, one of the most comprehensive in the world. It can be confusing, though, because there are several distinct rail companies operating within Tokyo.
The main three services: the color-coded JR East network and the Metro and Toei subway systems. There also are numerous private networks.
For tourists, the most important rail line is the JR Yamanote Line, which runs in a loop around central Tokyo. Many of the city's major sites are within this loop, and almost every other rail line, regardless of operator, intersects with a station along this route. Within the loop, in what is considered central Tokyo, the nine Metro lines and four Toei lines are your best bet for getting around. All signs (and announcements in touristy areas) are in Japanese and English.
Rail tickets must be purchased from automated vending machines, all of which offer English instructions. Fares are based on the distance you travel; one way to make traveling the rails a bit easier is to estimate how much money you think you'll be spending on the train and then purchase a prepaid fare card so you don't have to pay each time you get on the train. Try not to overload your card; you can't get back any unused money.
By Taxi: Taxis are not your least expensive option for getting around Tokyo; fares are high and congestion can be a problem. But there are some 50,000 taxis in Tokyo, which can be picked up at taxi stations at most train stations or flagged down by raising your hand when you see a vacant car (look for the lighted lamp on the top of the car). Not all taxis accept credit cards.
The Imperial Palace
The chief attraction of Tokyo's Marunouchi district is the Imperial Palace with its beautiful 17th-century parks surrounded by walls and moats. Still in use by the Imperial family, the Imperial Palace stands on the site where, in 1457, the Feudal Lord Ota Dokan built the first fortress, the focal point from which the city of Tokyo (or Edo, as it was then) gradually spread. As famous as the palace is the Nijubashi Bridge leading to its interior, a structure that takes its name ("double bridge") from its reflection in the water. Other notable features include the two-meter-thick wall surrounding the palace and its gates, one of which leads to the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden, one of the few areas open to the public (the main Palace Gardens are only open twice a year, on January 2nd and April 29th, when crowds flock here to catch sight of the Emperor). One fortress that can be visited is Edo Castle (Chiyoda Castle), built in 1457 and located in Tokyo's Chiyoda district.
Asakusa and the Senso-ji Temple
In the Asakusa district of Tokyo, the exquisite Senso-ji Temple - the city's most famous shrine - stands at the end of a long street of shops where masks, carvings, combs made of ebony and wood, toys, kimonos, fabrics, and precious paper goods are on sale. Dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, the temple was established in AD 645 and retains its original appearance despite having been rebuilt numerous times. Highlights include the Kaminari-mon Gate with its 3.3-meter-high red paper lantern bearing the inscription "Thunder Gate;" the famous and much-loved Incense Vat, reputed to drive away ailments (you'll see people cupping their hands around the smoke and applying it to the part of their body needing healing); and the fascinating temple doves, said to be Kannon's sacred messengers (they also tell fortunes by pulling cards from a deck). Afterwards, be sure to explore the rest of the 50-acre temple precinct with its warren of lanes. Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032 -- Official site: www.senso-ji.jp/about/index_e.html

National Museum of Nature and Science
In Tokyo's Ueno Park, the superb National Museum of Nature and Science (Kokuritsu Kagaku Hakubutsukan) opened in 1871 and is one of the country's oldest museums. Completely renovated and modernized, the museum houses a vast collection of materials related to natural history and science, including many fascinating interactive displays on space development, nuclear energy, and transportation, allowing visitors a unique insight into the latest scientific and technological advances. Highlights of the Japan Gallery (Nihonkan) include numerous exhibits of prehistoric creatures and the Japanese people, including traditional customs and outfits, while the Global Gallery (Chikyukan) features many excellent scientific and technology displays, including robotics and vintage vehicles.
Address: 7-20 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo 110-8718 -- Official site: www.kahaku.go.jp/english/

Ueno Park and Zoo
A paradise-like oasis of green in the heart of busy Tokyo, Ueno Park is the city's largest green space and one of its most popular tourist attractions. In addition to its lovely grounds, the park also boasts a zoo, aquarium, and numerous temples and museums to explore. Criss-crossed by pleasant gravel paths, this 212-acre park includes highlights such as a trip on a small boat on the reed-fringed Shinobazu pond, around a little island with its Bentendo Temple; visiting the 17th-century Toshogu Shrine with its 256 bronze and stone lanterns; or strolling around Ueno Park Zoo. Opened in 1882, it is Japan's oldest zoo, famous for the pandas presented by the People's Republic of China. The Aqua-Zoo, one of the largest aquariums in Asia, is also worth a visit, especially if traveling with kids. Address: 9-83, Ueno Park, Tokyo, Kanto 110-8711

Tokyo National Museum
The National Museum of Tokyo houses more than 100,000 important works of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian art, including more than 100 national treasures. Opened in 1938, the museum includes highlights such as numerous Buddhist sculptures from Japan and China dating from the 6th century to the present; a collection of old textiles, historical weapons, and military equipment; historical Japanese clothing; as well as Asian ceramics and pottery. Important artwork includes Japanese paintings from the 7th to the 14th centuries; exquisite Japanese and Chinese masterpieces of lacquer-work of various centuries, including examples of lacquer-carving, gold lacquer, and lacquer with mother of pearl; and many fine examples of calligraphy. Also worth a visit is the museum's traditional Japanese landscape garden with its three pavilions, including the 17th-century Tein Teahouse (Rokuso-an), and the nearby Museum for East Asiatic Art with its 15 exhibition galleries.
Address: 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712 -- Official site: www.tnm.jp/?lang=en

National Museum of Western Art
In Ueno Park, just three minutes' walk from Ueno Station, the National Museum of Western Art (Kokuritsu Seiyo Bijutsukan) was built in 1959 to plans by famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The exhibits, largely made up of works by important French artists, come mainly from the collections of Japanese businessman and art collector Kojiro Matsukata, bought during visits to Europe early in the 20th century. In the courtyard are works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin, while highlights inside are canvases by Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, and Edgar Degas. Hot Tip: The museum boasts an excellent restaurant with great views over the courtyard.
Address: 7-7 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo 110-0007 -- Official site: www.nmwa.go.jp/en/index.html
The Meiji Shrine
Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, construction of the splendid Meiji Shrine began in 1915 and was completed in 1926. Although the original structure was destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt in 1958 and remains one of Tokyo's most important religious sites. Surrounded by a 175-acre evergreen forest that is home to some 120,000 trees representing species found across Japan, the shrine's highlights include its Inner Precinct (Naien) with its museum containing royal treasures, and the Outer Precinct (Gaien), home to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery with its superb collection of murals relating to the lives of the emperor and empress. Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-8557 -- Official site: www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/

The Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums
One of Tokyo's newest museums, the impressive National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Nippon Kagaku Mirai-kan) - usually simply referred to as the Miraikan - offers a fascinating insight into Japan's leading role in the field of technology. Created by Japan's Science and Technology Agency, this ultra-modern, purpose-built facility includes many hands-on interactive exhibits dealing with everything from earthquakes to weather, as well as renewable energy and robotics, and displays relating to modern transportation that include a superb model of a Maglev train. Also worth visiting is the Edo-Tokyo Museum, completed in 1993 and dealing with the region's rich past, present, and future. Of particular interest is a replica bridge leading into a mock-up of dwellings in the original old city of Edo.
Address: 2-3-6 Aomi, Koto, Tokyo 135-0064 -- Official site: www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/

The Tokyo Skytree
 It's hard to miss the Tokyo Skytree (Tokyo Sukaitsuri), a 634-meter-tall communications and observation tower that rises out of the city's Sumida district of Minato like a huge rocket ship. The country's tallest structure (and the world's tallest freestanding tower), the Tokyo Skytree opened in 2012 and has quickly become one of the city's most visited tourist attractions thanks to the incredible panoramic views from its restaurant and observation decks. With a base designed in the form of a massive tripod, the tower includes a number of cylindrical observation levels, including one at the 350-meter mark, and another at the 450-meter point, which includes a unique glass spiral walkway to an even higher viewpoint that also boasts glass floors for those with strong stomachs.
Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045 -- Official site: www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/
The National Art Center
Another of Tokyo's world-class museums is the excellent National Art Center (Kokuritsu Shin-Bijutsukan). Housed in a remarkable curved glass building in the city's Roppongi district, this superb facility only opened in 2007 and has since earned a well-deserved reputation for its fine permanent collection of more than 600 paintings, most from the 20th century, including many important pieces of modern art, as well as regular visiting exhibitions (the facility also boasts a shop and a restaurant). Also worth checking out is the Mori Art Museum (Mori Bijutsukan) on the top floors of the neighboring Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and notable for its regular exhibits of contemporary artwork from around the globe.
Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi Minato-ku Tokyo 106-8558 -- Official site: www.nact.jp/english/index.html

The Kabuki-za Theatre
Tokyo is home to a number of excellent theaters, none as well known as the historic Kabuki-za Theatre in the city's busy Ginza district, home to famous traditional Kabuki performances. Based upon a medieval, highly skilled, and often burlesque theatrical form including song and dance, the theater's performances are as popular among tourists as they are Japanese-speaking people. The drama and comedy are relatively easy to follow thanks to rich visuals and theatricality. The theater's interior, usually full to capacity with some 2,500 guests, is always intimate and seems more akin to an enormous family get-together than a stage show due to the fact that spectators bring their own food or purchase treats from the various restaurants spread around the auditorium. Performances can last for hours, and spectators stay as long as they wish (or as long as they can bear), and no one seems to take offence at people's comings and goings, nor their loud cheering or jeering.
Other Sights
Tsukiji Fish Market - The world's largest fish market. Most of the action takes place in the early morning and since this is a wholesale market, try not to get in the way of workers trying to conduct business. Signs by the main gate on the north side inform you of the rules. There are retail shops and restaurants in the north east corner of the area but less expensive dining options can be found on the street outside of the main gate. Chuuka Soba Inoue is a small but popular ramen shop here. Good info here http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3021.html Tsukiji-seijo station E18

Shibuya G01- This busy shopping area is what most people picture when they think of Tokyo with its famous zebra crossing by the Hachiko exit. Be sure to see the statue of the dog and Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu shrine nearby.

Tokyo Tower - The tower can be accessed from Onarimo J06 or Akabanebashi E21. ¥900 entry for main level (Mar 2015). Shiba Park and Zojoji Temple are nearby if you're not templed out. There is a small food court and stalls selling souvenirs at the base of the tower. http://www.tokyotower.co.jp/

Sensoji Temple - Tokyo's oldest temple and a busy tourist attraction. Nakamise Street is a shopping arcade on your way to the temple. This area is an interesting area to explore and spend some time in. Kappabashi street to the west is Tokyo's wholesale restaurant supply street where you can get plastic food. Asakusa Station G19.

Tokyo National Museum - If you're into museums, this is considered the best museum in Japan and located in the museum district of Ueno. Entry ¥620 (Mar 2015). 15 minute walk from Ueno Station G16. http://www.tnm.jp/
Eating Out
Like any other major metropolitan city, Tokyo offers a vast assortment of restaurants and cuisines. With that said, when in Tokyo, do as the Japanese do and indulge in sushi, dumplings and noodles at least once. In the Mood for Sushi: The tiny Sushiryori Inose isn't the easiest restaurant to find, but it's got some of the best sushi in Tokyo. The elderly couple who runs the place is very friendly, though their English is limited. Be sure to make a reservation because it fills up quickly. (2-20-2 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa)
Uniquely Japanese: A distinctively Tokyo experience is a visit to a maid cafe, most of which are located almost exclusively in Akihabara, where young women in poufy French maid uniforms serve customers with silly deference. MaidCafe is a chain with several locations in the district. Keep in mind, they charge $20 a person just to enter the restaurant, then overcharge for basic diner food, and they don't allow you to take any pictures unless you pay extra.
Aged Elegance: The two Michelin-starred restaurant Hamadaya offers traditional Japanese cuisine served by kimono-clad waitresses embodying the grace and poise of a geisha. Eating there is like stepping back into Japan's bygone days. Diners are invited into private tatami rooms, where the decor highlights Japanese culture and excellent meals are served by attentive geisha. (3-13-5 Ningyo-cho Nihonbashi Chuo-ku; open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday)
Vegetarian Delight: Whether you're vegetarian or not, the noodles (all dishes are actually vegan) at T's TanTan Tokyostation inside Tokyo Station are worth every yen you pay -- and you don't pay that much! Be careful going during prime lunch hours or you could be waiting for up to an hour. (1-9-1 Marunouchi, Keiyo Street, Chiyoda; open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Sunday)
Street Scene in Ginza District
Ginza is Tokyo's busiest shopping area and is as iconic as Times Square in New York, and much older: it's been the commercial center of the country for centuries, and is where five ancient roads connecting Japan's major cities all met. Lined by exclusive shops and imposing palatial stores, the Ginza district is also fun to simply wander around or, better still, sit in one of its many tea and coffee shops or restaurants while watching the world rush past. At weekends, when everything is open, it's a shopper's paradise as traffic is barred, making it one of the world's largest pedestrian zones; come nightfall, gigantic advertising panels on its many buildings bathe Ginza in bright neon light. It's also where you'll find the famous Kabuki-za Theatre, home to traditional Kabuki performances, as well as the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre in which Azuma-odori dances and Bunraku performances are staged.
Best Buys -- Tokyo is the country's showcase for everything from the latest in camera, computer, or music equipment to original woodblock prints and designer fashions. Traditional Japanese crafts and souvenirs that make good buys include toys (both traditional and the latest in technical wizardry), kites, Japanese dolls, carp banners, swords, lacquerware, bamboo baskets, ikebana (flower arranging) accessories, ceramics, pottery, iron teakettles, chopsticks, fans, masks, knives, scissors, sake, incense, and silk and cotton kimono. And you don't have to spend a fortune: You can pick up handmade Japanese paper (washi) products, such as umbrellas, lanterns, boxes, stationery, and other souvenirs, for a fraction of what they would cost in import shops in the United States. In Harajuku, it's possible to buy a fully lined dress of the latest fashion craze for ¥8,000 or less, and I can't even count the number of pairs of fun, casual shoes I've bought in Tokyo for a mere ¥4,000. Used camera equipment can be picked up for a song, reproductions of famous woodblock prints make great inexpensive gifts, and many items -- from pearls to electronic video and audio equipment -- can be bought tax-free.
Great Shopping Areas -- Another enjoyable aspect of shopping in Tokyo is that specific areas are often devoted to certain goods, sold wholesale but also available to the individual shopper. Kappabashi-dougugai Dori (station: Tawaramachi), for example, is where you'll find shops specializing in kitchenware, while Kanda (station: Jimbocho) is known for its bookstores. Akihabara (station: Akihabara) is packed with stores selling the latest in electronics, as well as anime-related items. Ginza (station: Ginza) is the chic address for high-end international designer brands as well as art galleries. Aoyama (station: Omotesando) boasts the city's largest concentration of Japanese designer-clothing stores and an ever-increasing number of international names, while nearby Harajuku (stations: Harajuku, Meiji-Jingu-mae, or Omotesando) and Shibuya (station: Shibuya) are the places to go for youthful, fun, and inexpensive fashions.
Sales -- Department stores have sales throughout the year, during which you can pick up bargains on everything from electronic goods and men's suits to golf clubs, toys, kitchenware, food, and lingerie; there are even sales for used wedding kimono. The most popular sales are for designer clothing, usually held twice a year, in July and December or January. Here you can pick up fantastic clothing at cut-rate prices -- but be prepared for the crowds. Sales are generally held on one of the top floors of the department store in what's usually labeled the "Exhibition Hall" or "Promotion Hall" in the store's English-language brochure. Stop by the department store's information desk, usually located near the main entrance, for the brochure as well as fliers listing current sales promotions.
Taxes -- A 5% consumption tax is included in the price of marked goods, but all major department stores in Tokyo will refund the tax to foreign visitors if total purchases amount to more than ¥10,001 on that day. Exemptions include food, beverages, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, film, and batteries. When you've completed your shopping, take the purchased goods and receipts to the tax refund counter in the store. There are forms to fill out (you will need your passport). Upon completion, a record of your purchase is placed on the visa page of your passport, and you are given the tax refund on the spot. When you leave Japan, make sure you have your purchases with you (pack them in your carry-on); you may be asked by Customs to show them.
Shipping It Home -- Many first-class hotels in Tokyo provide a packing and shipping service. In addition, most large department stores, tourist shops, such as the Oriental Bazaar, and antiques shops, will ship your purchases overseas, including antique furniture.
If you wish to ship packages yourself, the easiest method is to go to a post office and purchase an easy-to-assemble cardboard box, available in several sizes (along with the necessary tape). Keep in mind that packages mailed abroad cannot weigh more than 20kg (about 44 lb.), and that only the larger international post offices accept packages to be mailed overseas (ask your hotel concierge for the closest one). Remember, too, that mailing packages from Japan is expensive.
Buyer Beware
Ivory is popular in Japan, but it's banned for import into the United States. Beware, therefore, when shopping for antiques, hair ornaments, figurines, or other items that may contain ivory. You should also think twice before buying anything made with tortoise shell, crafted primarily from the shell of the endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Captcha Challenge
Reload Image
Type in the verification code above