Tokyo is and always will be much too large to cover completely on foot, but the sheer size of the city should not put you off walking. There are many distinct districts that are ideal for exploring on foot. Tokyo does specialised walking tours well. There is something for all tastes, be it history, nightlife, culture or even just sake.
Here at TravelMag.com we have done the leg work to bring you the best five walking tours in the world’s most populous city (38 million people!). We based our choices on a number of factors including duration, value for money and previous guest reviews.
TOKYO ARCHITECTURE TOUR
FROM: $89/per person
Get a crash course on the rich tradition of Japanese architecture on this scholar-led walking tour. The three-hour trek winds around some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods, including upscale, lively Roppongi and fashionista haven Harajuku. You’ll visit both modern and historic Japanese architectural marvels, including earthquake-resistant skyscrapers, ancient shrines and modern urban developments.
HELLO TOKYO WALKING TOUR
From $75/ per person
This three hour walking tour focusses on three contrasting regions of Tokyo: Meiji Jingu, Senso-ji which are important Shinto and Buddhist sites, and Harajuku which is seen as the focal point of Japan’s youth culture. The local guide will impart knowledge on the religious and cultural curiosities encountered on the tour. This is especially useful when faced with the unusual costumes worn by many in Harajuku. The tour ends at Sensoji Buddhist temple in Asakusa.
JAPANESE GARDEN TOUR AND SAKE TASTING
From $68/ per person
If you are into trees and booze then this could be the perfect tour. Naturally there is more to it than that. Starting in the gorgeous traditional Japanese garden Kyu Shibe-rikyu, the tour ambles towards the Meishu Centre for sake tasting, where it is possible to choose from around 40 varieties of Japan’s national drink. Finally, hoping that one has not imbibed too much, the tour ends with a commanding view over the city from the observatory deck of World Trade Centre Tokyo.
EXPERIENCE OLD AND NOSTALGIC TOKYO: YANAKA TOUR
From $75/ per person
For the history buff there is Yanaka. During Japan’s reclusive Edo period, where the country was all but isolated from the outside world, Yanaka grew as a temple town, many of which survive today. This can be a flexible tour, with the local guide willing to include guest-requests provided they are within the area. Tours last roughly three and a half hours.
TOKYO SMALL GROUP WALKING TOUR
From $53/ per person
If you want a walking tour but hate large groups this could be ideal. Group sizes never exceed 12, which for a city with the population of Tokyo will quickly become a good thing. Based in the Ningyocho and Nihonbashi districts the three hour tour is great for learning more about old-world Tokyo. Of special interest are the old shops that have been selling their wares such as musical instruments and calligraphy materials, or an incense store which has been in operation since 1705. The tour also includes samples of traditional treats like bean paste snacks and fish jerky, which are much more delicious then they sound.