Destinations · Things to Do · Japan · Asia
June 26, 2023 Words: Katie Altman

Tokyo for Every Taste

Curate your perfect day in Tokyo

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Tokyo is one of the world’s most fascinating cities — and it’s especially beautiful during springtime in peak cherry blossom season when Seabourn Quest will be visiting in 2025. But the city is also enormous and so multifaceted that it may be hard to know where to start. We recommend basing your Tokyo itinerary on your interests and travel style — and be sure to buy a Suica card to get around on the city’s convenient subways, trains and buses. So go ahead, choose your Tokyo adventure!

For the sightseer

Speaking of cherry blossoms, you’ll see these delightful flowers everywhere when you visit in the springtime. For a unique view, be sure to check out the moonlight cherry blossom viewing spots, called yozakura. A stroll along the Meguro River, with thousands of blossoms illuminated by paper lanterns, is as romantic as it gets.

If you love jaw-dropping views — and incredibly tall buildings — you’ll want to go directly to the world-renowned Tokyo Skytree in the eastern part of the city. Hop in the high-speed elevator and ride to the top of the tallest tower in the world and enjoy an unforgettable view of this spectacular city.

The Sensō-ji temple is one of Tokyo’s most popular attractions, so be sure to book ahead. As you walk up to the entrance of this deep red temple, you’ll see patrons fanning themselves with incense burning in a large cauldron — the smoke is said to grant health. As legend has it, the temple was built in 1649 after two fishermen pulled the golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, out of the river. The statue is said to be enshrined in the temple but is not viewable by the public.

There’s nothing like witnessing the Shibuya Crossing, often called the busiest intersection in the world. Watch as thousands of people magically get through this complex intersection of seven roads in a matter of moments – it's an oddly beautiful sight, and especially striking on a weekend night.

If you’re craving a peaceful respite amid the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, a Japanese tea ceremony is just the thing. Top-rated Maikoya is a good place to start. Enter this oasis of calm to experience the traditional tea ceremony — you can wear a kimono, learn about the meaning and history of tea ceremonies, make your own green tea and enjoy Japanese sweets. For another beautiful break, head to the Shinjuki Gyoen National Garden. The world-class gardens span Japanese, French and English styles, and one is more beautiful than the next.

For the foodie

Without question, Tokyo has some of the best sushi on earth, including 22 sushi restaurants that have received Michelin stars. At Sushi Yoshitake, one of those Michelin-starred establishments, you can feast on inventive modern specialties that are a world apart from the average sushi restaurant. Many visitors also put Sukiyabashi Jiro at the top of their agenda because the beloved documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” was filmed there.

Of course, for foodies visiting this city, sushi is just the tip of the iceberg. The upscale neighborhood of Ginza is where you’ll find the city’s top restaurants. Your culinary tour should also include visits to Yanaka Ginza Street, Sunamachi Ginza and Nakamise Street for authentic street foods and specialties. Lastly, no self-respecting foodie would visit Tokyo without experiencing the legendary Tsukiji Outer Fish Market (tip: go early for a Japanese-style breakfast.)

For the art lover

To say that art is popular in Tokyo is an understatement. Be sure to book ahead to visit cultural wonderlands like teamLab Planets, an interactive museum where you can completely immerse yourself in art – literally. The “body immersive” experiences start when you enter the museum barefoot and “walk through water” and start to become one with the art as it responds to you and other visitors.

Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan’s premier artists, was born with a condition that caused her to see spots, everywhere. See her colorful, heavily polka-dotted abstract creations at the Yayoi Kusama Museum, where you’ll feel as if you’re stepping into a magical dream.

For a more traditional art experience, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is a must. With a rotating exhibition schedule, you might see a retrospective of your favorite impressionist painter, traditional woodcut prints or calligraphy by Japanese artists or a survey of the best of Japan’s thriving contemporary art scene. The Tokyo National Museum is also an amazing place to dive into Japanese art, history and culture.

For the pop culture fan

Japan’s kawaii culture centers on all that is cute. If that sounds like you, the colorful, the Yamashiroya Store should be your first stop in Tokyo. At this visual feast of a store, you’ll find toys and games you won’t see anywhere else. It’s a great place to buy gifts for the children in your life.

If you want to dive deeper into the youth culture of Japan, check out the incredibly entertaining Harajuku neighborhood – home to everything trendy, exciting and yes, cute — iconic Takeshika Street is the center of kawaii culture. Hungry? Stop at Le Shiner for their famous rainbow grilled cheese sandwich or slurp some world-class soba noodles at the Michelin-starred Tamawarai.

The Japanese know how to take cuteness to an extreme, and sometimes it’s simply irresistible. The city’s many animal-themed cafes are a case in point. Cat cafes like Temari no Ouchi are just the beginning. You can get up close and personal with adorable hedgehogs in specially decorated dollhouses at Chiku Chiku Café or pet owls at Fukurou. The dizzying array of highly Instagrammable animal cafes truly makes Tokyo a fantasyland for animal lovers.

For the shopper

Ginza just might be one of the best spots in the world for high-end fashion and beauty. (For example: children at the public elementary school wear Armani uniforms.) Here you’ll find glitzy department stores and boutiques that can keep you busy all day long — including the popular Muji flagship store. For cooks, it’s hard to resist the temptation of buying a Japanese knife. Some of the best sources for handcrafted knives are Tsuikiji Masamoto and Kiya. Stationary afficionados will want to hit the exquisite Itoya Stationary Store.

If there is a gaming or Manga fan in your life, seek out Akihabara, a neighborhood that is the epicenter of Otaku, or hobby culture. Asakusa is another unique area for shopping, and is notable for its relaxed, old-school Tokyo atmosphere. Wander around its small streets and alleys to discover traditional crafts, unusual home goods and artisanal gifts.

For a one-stop shopping experience, visit Omotesndo Hills, a mall with uniquely Japanese offerings, including high-end jewelry stores, cosmetics and more. While there, grab a bite at a restaurant focused on seasonal produce, or indulge in a chocolate treat from the renowned John-Paul Hevin shop.

Of course, not everyone falls neatly into one travel style or set of interests. Feel free to pick your favorites from all categories and create your own perfect day in Tokyo.

When you take one of Seabourn Quest’s new ultra-luxury voyages to the endlessly fascinating islands of Japan, your stop in Tokyo will surely be a highlight. We can’t wait to take you on an Asia journey you will never forget.

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Sushi rice bowl with chopsticks
Traditional red torii gates Hei-Jinja Shrine panorama Akasaka Tokyo Japan

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