Finding fun things to do in the big city
New and featured
Clearly someone with excellent taste has curated the cool merchandise for sale at this stylish little design shop. The eclectic wares are all over the place, with area rugs and clothing, desk lamps and audio equipment, cosmetics and plants all neatly arranged on the shelves and display tables. The shop is particularly strong in tableware, showcasing the work of artisans producing beautiful... [Continue reading]
We were greeted by loud squawks as we entered the building - just a small taste of the exotic-bird adventure ahead. In spite of the name, this current incarnation of Tori no Iru Cafe (Cafe with Birds) isn't technically a cafe but a pet store - a very immersive pet store. Several dozen parrots and other birds fly freely around the main bird room, ready to meet visitors and entertain with their... [Continue reading]
Illustrator Chiharu Sakazaki's beloved penguin mascot, Suica's Penguin, now has an exclusive character goods shop inside JR Ueno Station. Images of the efficient urban penguin, originally designed to promote prepaid Suica cards from private railway JR East, adorn everything from stationery goods to folding umbrellas. There's a surprisingly wide range of penguin-themed clothing as well as... [Continue reading]
An extensive collection of Chinese pottery and porcelain, covering several dynasties, is at the heart of this century-old museum's holdings. The 6500-item collection also includes swords, tea ceremony utensils, Chinese and Japanese paintings, calligraphy, lacquerware and wood carvings. Located in the historic Meiji Seimei Kan building in Marunouchi (itself a Tangible Cultural Asset), the... [Continue reading]
This ambitious design museum/gallery has the unusual mission of showcasing commercial, industrial and product design from all 47 Japanese prefectures. Products cover everything from pottery, lacquerware and kitchen utensils to stationery, fabrics, children's toys and even food and drink. Some exhibitions concentrate on one prefecture, while others focus on a particular style of design or... [Continue reading]
Nakagin Capsule Tower, architect Kisho Kurokawa's Metabolist masterpiece, was demolished in 2022, but two of its component capsules have been preserved in this tiny rental gallery. One of them has been restored to its original 1972 splendor, complete with built-in reel-to-reel tape deck and molded-plastic unit bathroom, while the other has been stripped to its skeleton and is used as an... [Continue reading]
This commercial gallery puts on short-term solo and group shows of contemporary Japanese art, from both established artists and newcomers. It moved to the Hikarie complex's Creative Space 8 in June 2023 from Bunkamura (the arts center run by Tokyu department store), and it will remain there until Bunkamura's renovation is complete sometime in 2027. Creative Space 8 is also home to a few other... [Continue reading]
You'll amaze your friends with your deep knowledge of mayonnaise-related facts after a visit to Tokyo's one and only mayonnaise museum, Mayo Terrace. Best-selling condiment brand Kewpie has set up this attractive facility on the former site of their mayonnaise factory, and they've put together a surprisingly entertaining one-hour tour of the museum. The very interactive tour includes a... [Continue reading]
This traditional tea seller on the edge of Tsukiji is worth a look if you're a fan of architect Kengo Kuma and you're in the neighborhood. Especially if you're in the mood for some green tea. The interior incorporates bamboo umbrellas that extend out onto the sidewalk frontage, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior and welcoming passersby to the cafe inside. The project was... [Continue reading]
Popular with insect fans of all ages (but mostly children), this specialized museum is devoted to the life of French entomologist Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915), who was famous in Japan as the author of the beautifully written Fabre's Book of Insects. Most of the compact two-story facility is devoted to bugs, both living (housed in terrariums and aquariums) and preserved (neatly arranged in... [Continue reading]
This charming hands-on museum is jam-packed with now-obsolete gadgetry that once represented the cutting edge of technology and industrial design. Hand-cranked movie cameras, pre-war film cameras, manual typewriters and early-model laptops are among the highlights of the collection, which covers the decades from the 1930s to 2005. There's also a wide range of "extinct media" including... [Continue reading]
Run by Toppan Printing Company, this medium-size museum explores "printing culture," showing off interesting examples of both printed word and image. You can admire beautifully illustrated books from the 18th and 19th centuries, and see the differences between various artistic techniques such as wood cuts, engravings, etchings, dry point and lithographs. Antique printing presses from various... [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
Rio has a large playroom full of cute puppies, and since the admission charge is incremented in ten-minute intervals, it's easy to just drop in for a quick visit. Maybe because of the cafe's popularity, the pups seem to be...
Conveniently located inside a huge shopping mall close to Okayama's central train station, this branch of the popular cat-cafe chain is bright and airy, looking onto a garden area on the mall's fourth-floor terrace. The...
Small animals like red pandas, prairie dogs, squirrels, wallabies, Humboldt penguins and tropical birds make up most of the residents of this compact city-run zoo, with around thirty animal species in all. Although...
The goal of this second branch of the popular Meguro mini-pig cafe is to create a "Three Little Pigs" picture-book experience, so be prepared. Like their original branch, the shop is set up as a place to play with friendly...
Eating and drinking
The latest food and drink listings from sister sites and Craft Beer Bars Japan.
It's always a pleasure when a famous signature dish lives up to its reputation, and "Eggs Rothko" is worthy of the acclaim. A creation of chef George Weld that was first served at his Brooklyn restaurant Egg, it's part of...
It's one of the great mysteries of modern Tokyo. Why go to a South Indian restaurant and order the naan bread and butter chicken curry, the same combo available in every curry place in town? Alas, it's a typical scene at...
Located near the entrance to the Toyoko line tracks in Yokohama Station, this is a convenient spot to grab a pint or a tasting flight when you're passing through the area. It's part of the food court area on B2F of Cial...
As the chef works his skewers, clouds of aromatic smoke rise from the grill, with sudden bursts of flame when fat hits the hot charcoal below. It's a scene guaranteed to perk up the appetite as you peruse the menu, choosing...
With its flashy dining room, energetic music, wide food menu and diverse drink options, El Caliente is a good venue for festive group gatherings or small get-togethers among friends. In addition to Latin-inspired cocktails...
Creamy Georgian chicken stew, Uzbek-style minced-lamb pies, meat-stuffed Russian blinchiki pancakes - there's a world of exotic flavors to explore at this cozy dining spot near Meguro Station. Beverage options are equally...

Sister sites:
Japan bar and restaurant guide
Animal Cafes
Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Craft Beer Bars Japan
Bars, festivals and breweries
Neighborhood guides and top-five lists from Tokyo experts