Finding fun things to do in the big city
New and featured
Seijiro Matsuoka was an art collector with many and varied interests, and these are reflected in the museum that houses his collection. The three main permanent galleries are devoted to ancient Egyptian art and artifacts, ancient Buddha statues from Gandhara, and large-scale bronze sculptures by Henri Moore and Emile Antoine... [Continue reading]
Completed in 1982, this was the first museum building designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, who was also responsible for the Nakagin Capsule Tower and the National Art Center, Tokyo. A lattice-like structure frames the outer perimeter of the entrance area, playing off the curvilinear lines of the actual building facade. The... [Continue reading]
Occupying the venerated site of the once and future Sony Building, Sony Park will be here until late 2020 or so, and will undoubtedly be the venue for various Sony-related activities, promotions and random amusements for the duration. Soon after opening, some of the attractions were: a roller-skating rink; exotic tropical... [Continue reading]
A three-minute "Steam Locomotive Show," with spinning wheels and loud whistling, is held four times a day and is one of the main attractions at this local train museum. Another draw is the 13-minute "Panorama Show," held five times a day on a large HO-scale layout. This show represents a day in the life of Tobu Railways,... [Continue reading]
Established by Toto, the manufacturer of bathroom appliances, Gallery Ma is a small two-story gallery located above a Nogizaka showroom. They specialize in modern architecture and contemporary design, with frequent exhibitions devoted to international architects. There are three separate gallery areas, including an outdoor... [Continue reading]
Tokyo's largest botanical garden, Jindai is planted with 120,000 trees and bushes representing 4,500 different species. The 750 cherry trees in the cherry grove turn this into a major destination during hanami season, and the plum and rose gardens are also very popular. The map you receive when you enter the gardens includes... [Continue reading]
Designed by architect Kenzo Tange and completed in 1996, the Fuji TV building has become a landmark of the Odaiba area thanks to its unusual silhouette, featuring a giant floating sphere and a skeletal central section of pedestrian bridges and columns. The silver-titanium sphere is set at a height of around 100 meters, and... [Continue reading]
Run by the Lixil corporation, a global conglomerate that manufactures kitchen and bathroom fixtures and building materials, this in-house museum focuses on the history of the company and the building industry in general. The biggest attraction though seems to be the large, multi-room library of books, magazines and journals... [Continue reading]
It's an entire museum devoted to old cellphones! The history and culture of mobile communication is the theme here, and visitors with an interest in Japanese industrial design can trace the evolution of mobile-phone fashions through the years. Exhibits span the decades from massive shoulder-mounted models (introduced in... [Continue reading]
Fans of Ajinomoto's MSG seasoning can learn all about the world of umami flavors and get a glimpse into the operations of a 21st-century food factory with Ajinomoto's very comprehensive factory tour. The ninety-minute adventure includes a taste-testing (miso shiru soup with and without Ajinomoto) and a simulated factory... [Continue reading]
With multiple small showrooms spread out over two rather compact floors, Makii Masuru is a bit more spacious than most of the galleries in the area, and hosts some interesting group shows of international artists. They're located just north of the main Bakurocho gallery area, but worth a small detour to check out. As... [Continue reading]
Special Interests
Notable buildings by contemporary architects like Kenzo Tange, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban
Galleries, museums and artsy bookstores
Graphic-art and product-design galleries and design shops
Anime and manga, toys and more popular culture
Artisanal crafts, Japanese gardens, and history-themed museums
Aquariums and zoos, bird-watching parks and horseback-riding stables
Food markets, ramen museums, brewery tours, professional knife stores and regional food shops
Science and tech museums, planetariums, botanical gardens,
Parks, gardens and other places to enjoy the fresh air
Batting cages, bowling alleys and other sporty spots
Observation decks, skyscraper bars and more viewing spots
Explore Tokyo's rivers and Tokyo Bay
The best jazz kissa (coffee shops) for vinyl fans, and clubs for live jazz
Amusement parks, train museums, Legoland, and other diversions for younger Tokyoites
Our popular guide to cat, bird and rabbit cafes - now expanded to a site of its own at Animal
Venue categories
Explorer Kit
Animal sightings
New and featured listings from our sister site Animal
A sister shop of the popular Temari no Ouchi cat cafe (located just around the corner), this second branch sports a similarly fanciful Ghibli-esque decor, and is a relaxing spot to spend some time with cats. Unlike most cat...
One of a chain of multi-species animal cafes, this branch of Moff is the smallest, and the only one without a cat room. It's also probably the least interesting in terms of animal interactions - the parakeets in the...
It isn't every day that we get invited to a cat's birthday party, so when the staff told us that one of the residents was having a celebration, we knew we had to check it out. It was a surprisingly elaborate affair, with...
This is the first Tokyo branch of an Osaka-based group of rescue-dog cafes, located a few minutes north of Nishi-Hachioji Station on the JR line. The second-floor cafe area is a very lively place, with happy dogs in...
Eating and drinking
The latest food and drink listings from sister sites and Craft Beer Bars Japan.
Located midway between Shibuya, Daikanyama and Ebisu, Buy Me Stand serves excellent grilled-cheese sandwiches along with soups and salads. In the mornings (before 11am) it's breakfast time, with Toad in the Hole, chili...
Tokyo's only purveyor of real New York-style pizza has finally opened a shop in central Tokyo, a second branch of their legendary store in far-off Oji. Large-size pizzas in ten varieties are sold by the pie or by the slice,...
If you're looking for a quiet coffee-break spot after an afternoon of museum-going, Le Landaulet is worth checking out. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a good view looking out over Ueno Park's famous lotus pond. The big...
This futuristic sake retailer stocks more than 150 kinds of sake, including nine that are exclusive to this shop. Much of the stock seems aimed at novice sake drinkers, with a much higher proportion of strikingly designed...
With its sprawling, 200-seat outdoor terrace, "ocean-style restaurant" Ride takes full advantage of its location next to a picturesque canal. The food is modern international cuisine, with charcoal-grilled meats and...
Run by the excellent Isekadoya craft-beer brewery, this lively izakaya serves thirteen of the brewery's beers on tap along with several kinds of sake from Mie Prefecture. The kitchen turns out regional Mie cuisine built...

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Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Craft Beer Bars Japan
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