Winter can be a great time to visit Tokyo. Sure, you won’t be seeing the cherry blossom or the boisterous summer festivals. But winter in Tokyo gives you amazing illumination, a uniquely Japanese Christmas and new year, and fewer crowds.
Here are the Tokyo Top Guide’s Best Things to Do In Tokyo in Winter.
Visit Meiji Shrine at Midnight
There is nothing like Tokyo City during Japanese festivals. Mystical night praying, spiritual spring cleaning, portable shrines, Magical illuminations, Romantic gifts and Traditional Kimonos. See all Tokyo Festival and Japanese Holidays during Winter
Have Sushi for Breakfast At The Outer Fish Market
The legendary Tsukiji fish market no longer has an inner section where its world-famous tuna auctions were once held loved by those able to wake up early enough.
But you can still visit the outer market and experience that market vibe. As the early morning auctions no longer run you can arrive at a less ungodly time and enjoy a delicious seafood breakfast.
What better way to start a winter’s day in Tokyo.
Visit Shibuya Crossing: The The Busiest In The World
Shibuya area is also known as Tokyo’s times square – the huge crosswalk surrounded by glittering neon signs is a striking scene. During rush hours it’s an incredible sight to see thousands of pedestrians cross the street all at once.
When cold or raining, it’s best to watch this organized chaos from the second-floor window of Starbucks, overlooking the crossing. This is definitely one of the most amazing things to do in Tokyo in winter. Not to be missed!
See More: Shibuya, Tokyo’s Times Square
Visit The The Imperial Palace Gardens
If weather permits, go visit the massive imperial palace gardens that are surrounded by moats and stone walls. You can enter the garden for free and book a tour of the grounds.
You are allowed to enter the palace itself on 2 dates which occur in the winter: December 23, which is the emperor’s birthday, and January 2 for a New Year’s Greeting, so if your visit times are right you might get to meet the royal family.
See More: Imperial Palace Tokyo
Imperial Palace Gardens
When crossing Rainbow Bridge over to the Odaiba area in Tokyo, the first thing you’ll notice is the Fuji TV headquarters building. It has a giant metal ball on top of it, which serves as an observatory deck.
It’s a great place to hide on a cold and rainy day. Get off at Daiba station for this attraction. See More: Fuji TV headquarters in Odaiba
Winter Shopping In Tokyo
If you love to shop, then you’re going to be in your element in Tokyo. Shopping In Japan is paradise, but some of the best Tokyo City shopping is a hidden secret and cannot be found in tour books.
Huge department stores, up-scale designer boutiques, flagship stores of almost every international brand, tiny traditional shops, and second-hand stores selling Gucci handbags for half the price. Each shopping area in Tokyo has indoor shopping options for rainy days. See More: Shopping In Japan
See The Endless Tokyo Skyline
Seeing the city from the top of the world is an amazing experience.
Take a trip to Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Sky Tree or Tokyo Tower for the Best city Skyline observatories.
Enjoy Architecture, Art, And A View At Roppongi Hills
This is by far the most architecturally arresting vision in all of Tokyo. A sleek complex that includes more than 200 high-end shops, restaurants, Toho Cinema, Mori Art Museum, the Tokyo City Skyline Observatory, and a fantastic open space that is especially beautiful at night.
Don’t miss nighttime illuminations, and the sight of Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills at night – Strikingly beautiful! See More: Roppongi Hills
Try Your Luck At Pachinko
Pachinko parlors are uniquely Japanese. They have a kitsch interior with flashing lights and constant noise from the metal balls, music, and announcements. Most of the balls fall down the machine and disappear, but a few find their way into special holes. This activates a kind of a slot machine, and the player wins if the same three pictures appear. This is a very hypnotizing activity, perhaps relaxing, but has no target or challenge to the player. A good way to spend a rainy day.
Japanese Warriors And Village Life – The Edo Tokyo Museum
No list of Things to Do In Tokyo during Winter is complete without visiting the Edo Tokyo Museum. The museum is easily one of the top things to do in Tokyo in winter.
It really captures life in the Japanese culture in different Eras: real size Traditional Japanese houses you can walk into, a full-size Kabuki theater, and miniature Japanese warriors reconstructing war scenes. Unlike other Museums in Tokyo, this one is geared towards international visitors.
There are plenty of English signs, English-speaking guides, and earphones. See More: Tokyo museums