Tokyo Districts

Best Tokyo districts that you should visit

Spread the love

Choosing the best Tokyo districts is not an easy task. 

The Japanese capital is huge with over 8 million people just within the city boundaries. 

Navigating this gigantic metropolis might seem overwhelming, let alone deciding where to stay or what to do because the options are literally endless. 

Since Tokyo has a superb public transportation that connects major parts of the city, staying around a metro station will save you a ton of time and help to get around quickly. 

My guide to best Tokyo districts (also called Tokyo wards) will show you the best spots in the Japanese capital. I hope you enjoy the brief tour!

Tokyo Districts

How many districts are in Tokyo?

The Japanese capital is a hyper-modern metropolis and the largest city in the country that is home to nearly 38 million people populating 23 Tokyo wards.

Each of Tokyo wards is made up of of smaller districts that have their unique identity. For example, the west side of Tokyo is more modern, while the east side is known for the city’s remaining historic sites. Ginza, Shinjuku, and Shibuya are the areas on the west side of Tokyo and are more popular with tourists thanks to a good variety of accommodations, shopping malls and restaurants.  Meanwhile, Ueno and Asakusa are not as busy, however, they offer a good taste of what Old Tokyo looked like before it was bombed during World War II.

Tokyo Station and Marunouchi

Many Tokyo visitors arrive to the city via Tokyo Station, so depending on your travel plans it might be the first place you will get to see in the Japanese capital. 

The neighborhood around Tokyo Station is fairly easy to navigate and the nearby area Marunouchi is home to big Japanese companies and banks. You can find many good restaurants and stores in Marunouchi. 

One of the biggest landmarks in the area is Tokyo’s Imperial Palace that sits in the heart of the busy financial district. Although many parts of the palace are off-limits to the general public, you can still book a tour through the Imperial Household Agency’s website

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara

Akihabara is an area surrounding Akihabara Station in the Tokyo ward called Chiyoda. Mostly known as a geek hub with a big game and arcade scene, Akihabara boasts tons of claw machines with the cutest stuffed animals, manga and anime-themed cafes and shops and stores selling all sorts of electronics.  Walking through Akihabara makes you feel like you are in a futuristic cyber-city full of pop-up ads and funky cartoon characters peering at you from huge screens. It’s one of the most bizarre and unique experiences that you can have in Tokyo.  Akihabara is weird, fun and unlike anything else you’ve ever seen in your life! I definitely recommend it as a must experience in Tokyo.  

PRO TIP: If you are visiting this city for the first time, and need help navigating Tokyo wards and districts, take a look at my guide to the top places in the Japanese Capital

Akihabara Tokyo
Akihabara Tokyo

PRO TIP: One of the best things about Akihabara is its assortment of electronics. If you want a new gadget, there’s a chance you can find it here. A good place to score a bargain on electronics is the Akihabara Radio Center that has two floors of electronic goods. 

Shibuya crossing

Shibuya

One of the most popular districts in Tokyo, Shibuya is a center of action famous for its neon lights, towering skyscrapers, and Shibuya crossing. This area is abuzz 24/7 and you will always find exciting things to do in Shibuya! It’s a place that caters to the younger crowd with its organic and vegan restaurants and youth-oriented fashion stores.

Shibuya Crossing

A popular meet-up spot in Shibuya is the Hachiko Plaza, named after the beloved Japanese dog Hachiko, who followed its owner to the train station every day and waited for his return for years even after his death. 

Hachiko’s loyalty brought him a world-wide fame and now the bronze statue of the dog graces the entrance of the Shibuya Train Station.

Where to stay in Shibuya

Shibuya is one of the most popular Tokyo wards with tourists. However, accommodation options here are not cheap! If you travel on a budget, try one of Tokyo’s famous capsule hotels in Shibuya. 

You can find plenty of them on Agoda, a budget accommodation website that I often use!

728*90

PRO TIP: If you want to get a panoramic view of this sprawling city, head to the observation deck located on the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. The admission is free!

How to spend 3 days in Tokyo

Shinjuku

A major commercial hub, Shinjuku is one of the busiest Tokyo wards . 

Shinjuku has a high concentration of shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels of all kinds. Shinjuku station is the busiest railway station in the world and it sits at the heart of the district. From here, you can catch the Narita Express train to the airport or take a day trip to Hakone or Mount Fuji, some of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. 

Omoide Yakocho, Shinjuku
Omoide Yakocho, Shibuya

Shinjuku is one of the best Tokyo districts for shopping. 

Among some of the most popular shopping malls in Shinjuku are the huge Takashimaya Times Square with several stores of boutiques and restaurants; MyLord that is geared toward a younger crowd and Don Quijote where you can find great deals on accessories, electronics and some fashion brands. Another place to check out is Lumine that is connected directly to the south end of the Shinjuku Train Station. 

And if you have extra time, stop at NEWoMan, a relatively new mall also located near Shinjuku Train Station.

How to spend 3 days in Tokyo

Harajuku

Located in the Shibuya district, Harajuku is an area between Shinjuku and Shibuya along the Yamanote Lane. Harajuku’s most prominent area is the colorful Takeshita-Dori Street, popularly known as home of teenage subcultures and extreme fashion styles. 

Taking a stroll along this pedestrian area is somewhat of a surreal experience. Here you can find stores with bizarre fashion and bright wigs, cafes and restaurants that sell colorful candy cane, pancakes with whipped cream and other sugary treats. 

My favorite place in Takeshita Dori was Totti Candy Factory where you can get tasty cotton candy.

Here you might finally figure out the meaning of Kawaii – a Japanese word for cute and adorable things. Takeshita Street is one of the most popular Tokyo area and it gets especially crowded during weekends, so try to plan your visit to this special place on a weekday. 

Takeshita-Dori Street in Harajuku, Tokyo
Takeshita-Dori Street in Harajuku, Tokyo

Don’t forget to make a stop at Meiji-Jingu located nearby. It is Tokyo’s biggest shrine that is dedicated to Emperor Meiji who lead the country through the modernization period in the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Here you can catch a break from the bustling Tokyo where you can learn about the Japanese spirituality and unwind after days of walking around this crazy city. 

Senso Ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa

If you want to get a glimpse into the Old Tokyo, there’s no better place than Asakusa located in Taito Ward. Whether you want to walk around on your own or take a guided tour, Asakusa is the best place to do it because here you can experience the traditional Japanese culture, buy cool souvenirs and learn more about the country’s past.

Senso Ji Temple in Asakusa
Senso Ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

The main highlight of Asakusa is the Buddhist Senso-Ji Temple and the nearby Nakamise shopping district. 

Although Asakusa lacks the action and the chaotic atmosphere of Shinjuku and Shibuya, it boasts some incredible old-time landmarks and a more tranquil atmosphere.

Unfortunately, many parts of Asakusa were destroyed during World War II and while the district has been rebuilt, certain aspects of the city such as movie theaters and old-style bars have never made a come-back. 

Ginza Tokyo

Ginza

The upscale Ginza district is a mecca for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Here you can find a lot of high-end restaurants with English-speaking staff and luxury boutiques that sell Luis Vuitton, Channel, and other world-famous brands.  During weekends traffic is closed and Ginza’s main street, Chuo Dori, becomes a pedestrian zone. Overall, Ginza is quieter and caters to a more mature crowd than youth-oriented Shinjuku and Shibuya. Hotels in Ginza tend to be more expensive, so be prepared to spend if you want to stay in this area.
How to spend 3 days in Tokyo
Tokyo Tower

Roppongi

A popular area in the Minato ward, Roppongi is one of the most international districts in Tokyo in the Minato ward that has many night clubs and other entertainment venues that are popular with foreigners.

Roppongi also has many foreign embassies that line its streets. Among the most famous museums in Roppongi are Mori Art Museum, the National Art Center and Suntory Museum of Art. The famous Tokyo Tower is about 10-15 minutes away from Roppongi.  Roppongi Hills is considered one of the main hot spots in the area. This huge complex includes stores, hotels, apartments, movie theaters, museums, and even a hotel.
How to spend 3 days in Tokyo

Odaiba

One of the city’s newest districts, Obidaba is a man-made island located in the middle of Tokyo Bay. It is home to the TeamLab Borderless, a huge ferris wheel, and several exhibition halls. A trip to Obidaba might not be the shortest one, but it’s still worth it because TeamLab Borderless has some of the most amazing digital graphics.  One of the most prominent features of Odaiba is the waterfront with an awesome view of the Rainbow Bridge that lights up in colors at night. 

Ueno

Much cheaper than other districts in Tokyo, Ueno is a low-key Tokyo district located in Taito Ward that is a perfect for budget travelers. While it might not offer the glitzy shopping malls and vibrant nightlife, Ueno district is home to Ueno Park, one of the largest green spaces in Tokyo. It also boasts the Tokyo National Museum and the Ueno Zoo, the oldest zoo in Tokyo.  If you want to learn the history of Japan, there’s no better place than Tokyo National Museum. It has a large collection of Japanese art dating to different historic periods and artifacts such as kimonos, swords and a lot more.  

Have fun exploring Tokyo!

I hope you enjoy your stay in the Japanese capital and will have enough time to discover everything that it has to offer. If you need help organizing your trip, consider reading my post about top things to do in Tokyo!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *