Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is a futuristic place that still holds onto ancient traditions. Here you’ll find the second-largest building in the world next to Dubai’s Burj Kalifa, the Tokyo Sky Tree, from the top of which you can see all the way to legendary Mount Fuji. In complete contrast, there’s the ancient Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shinto Shrine.
Whatever your interests are, whether you’re going on holiday to experience the food, the art, architecture, sports, fashion, modernity or nightlife, Tokyo is waiting with open arms. Come to enjoy its traditional side, and stay to experience a city with some of the world’s best restaurants, shops, fashion and technology.
Why visit Tokyo?
- To experience its strong sense of culture and history.
- To enjoy leading technology and high fashion at its best.
- To discover the wide range of activities available in this exciting city.
- It’s home to a number of unique museums worth visiting including a kite museum.
- Its transport system is unsurpassed and must be experienced.
- Six of the world Sumo wrestling championships are held in Tokyo.
- It’s Japan’s most culturally diverse city.
- Tokyo is the most on-trend city in the world. This is where trends originate.
- The food is an experience in its own right, including street and restaurant fare.
- Tokyo’s bars are excellent.
Tokyo is the epicentre of Japanese cuisine, fashion and late-night partying. This vibrant metropolis is an exciting place to visit, an experience in its own right for an unforgettable adventure. It’s also the base from which to explore Japan. Book a holiday package to this fascinating city with Thompsons Holidays.
Things to do in Tokyo
With its charming old wooden buildings sitting shoulder to shoulder with modern skyscrapers, Tokyo’s skyline is a picturesque one, hinting at all the exciting things you can do and places you can visit in this intoxicating city. View the city from the top of the Tokyo Skytree, watch traditional theatre and dancing at Kabuki-za and experience the mayhem at famous Shibuya Crossing, the busiest in the world.
Be sure to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish market in the world and one of the most exciting places to be, whether you visit before dawn for the tuna auctions, or later in the morning to enjoy a sushi breakfast. Travel to Tokyo to take the kids to Disneyland, experience Sumo wrestling, and explore the Imperial Palace to learn all about a tradition that has stood the test of time. And for even more history, culture and tradition, head for the Edo-Tokyo Museum which houses a reconstructed kabuki theatre and Tokyo’s National Museum, home to a stunning display of classical Japanese art.
Things to do in Tokyo
- Visit Akihabara, whose shops and department stores sell everything high tech.
- Experience Kabuki theatre.
- In the springtime, see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
- Discover brightly painted temples and shrines.
- Visit the floating island of Odaiba with its restaurants and varied entertainment.
- Experience the Ghibli Museum which showcases the work of the Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli.
- Visit the sacred Senso-Ji Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa.
- Experience offbeat fashion in trendy Harajuku, Aoyama and Omotesando districts.
- Explore the old-fashioned Yanaka Ginza shopping district.
- Spend the day at leafy Ueno Park, home to the Tokyo National Museum.
So much excitement and adventure await on a trip to Tokyo. Explore this fascinating city when you book a hassle-free Tokyo holiday package with Thompsons Holidays.
Know before you go...
- March and April, and October and November are the best times to visit Tokyo as the weather is mild. Sightseeing, outdoor activities, parks, and gardens are also at their best during these months.
- Visit during the springtime (March and April) if you want to see the cherry blossoms in bloom.
- Flying time from Johannesburg, South Africa to Tokyo, Japan: 17 hours.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Tokyo.
- South African passport holders require a visa to enter Japan – apply through the Japanese Embassy for a 90-day visa.
- Passports must be valid for the entire time you are visiting Japan.
- Time zone: Tokyo is 7 hours ahead of South Africa.
- Japan’s official currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). It is the world’s third most traded currency, after the US dollar and the Euro.
- Credit cards are accepted in many hotels, shops and restaurants, but in Japan, cash remains the most favoured currency.
- It’s best to arrive in Japan with yen.
- ATMs are available, but make sure they accept international cards. Mizuho Bank’s ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard and Maestro.
- Tipping is not widely accepted in Japan – it is considered rude to tip at restaurants, in taxis and for many hotel services.
- Most restaurants prefer if you pay at the till.
- Shinto and Buddhism are the 2 most common religions practised in Japan.
- Dress conservatively when visiting religious sites – no shorts. See ‘What to Pack’.
- You will have to remove your shoes before entering religious sites.
- Japanese customs differ widely from the West. For instance, showing anger or aggression is considered losing face in Japan. Being on time is paramount. Find out info regarding Japanese customs before travelling.
- You can drink tap water in Tokyo. Japan is one of the few countries in the world offering good quality water.
- No vaccinations are required when travelling to Tokyo, however, you may want to be vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis or Measles. Check with your doctor before you travel.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer. The winters can get pretty icy, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing if you're visiting Tokyo in the colder months.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites. Legs & shoulders must be covered. In some cases, heads must be covered too.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Tokyo’s excellent transport system includes trains and the subway. There are taxis, but they can be expensive.
- Purchase a pre-paid travel card. In Tokyo, there are two travel card options: the Suica and Pasmo card.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!