Tokyo is the de facto capital and largest city in Japan, situated on the Pacific Ocean. With over 37 million people, it’s the most populated city in the world, offering some of the finest dining and cultural activities.

With over 1000 neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone in Tokyo. It’s often said that if you don’t like where you are, simply take the subway for five minutes and you’ll be transported to a whole new world.

Tokyo enjoys four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with highs averaging 30C/86F. Many tourists find Tokyo’s summers too hot, so try visiting in spring or fall. Tokyo’s famous cherry blossom season is between March and April. While incredibly busy with tourists, it’s worth the visit. Winters are mild, with average lows around 0C/32F.

Whether you’re visiting the Imperial Palace, exploring the world-class shops of Ginza, or enjoying the luxurious amenities of Shinjuku, there’s endless activities and things to see. Plan at least a week in Tokyo, and really, you could spends years discovering its many wonders and still be left wanting for more.

Popular routes to Tokyo, Japan

There are many direct flights from North America to Tokyo. Japanese airlines like ANA and JAL offer some of the best first class products available.

If you’re visiting from outside North America, there are direct flights from nearly every corner of the world.

Note there are two major airports in Tokyo: Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND). Narita enjoys more service, but is less convenient for travelers visiting central Tokyo.

RouteAirlinePricing
Chicago (ORD)ANA / JAL / UnitedContact us
New York City (JFK/EWR)ANA / JALContact us
Houston (IAH)ANA / UnitedContact us
Los Angeles (LAX)ANA / JAL / American / Delta / United / SingaporeContact us
San Francisco (SFO)ANA / JAL / UnitedContact us
Vancouver (YVR)ANA / JAL / Air CanadaContact us
Toronto (YYZ)Air CanadaContact us
London (LHR)ANA / JAL / British AirwaysContact us
Paris (CDG)ANA / JAL / Air FranceContact us
Sydney (SYD)ANA / JAL / QantasContact us

Lounges at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT)

Being Tokyo’s busiest airport, there are many lounges to visit, including lounges dedicated to First Class and Business Class customers. There are also contract lounges available to members of Priority Pass.

LoungeLocationType
United Airlines United ClubTerminal 1Business/First
ANA Arrival LoungeTerminal 1Business/First
ANA LoungeTerminal 1Business
ANA Suite LoungeTerminal 1First
JAL Sakura LoungeTerminal 2Business
JAL First Class LoungeTerminal 2First
Korean Air KAL LoungeTerminal 1Business/First
Cathay Pacific LoungeTerminal 2Business/First
The Emirates LoungeTerminal 2Business/First
Qantas Airways LoungeTerminal 2Business
IASS Executive LoungeTerminal 1 & 2Contract
Narita TraveLoungeTerminal 1Contract

Lounges at Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND)

Haneda airport is the base for JAL, and has many airline and contract lounges available to premium passengers.

LoungeLocationType
United Airlines United ClubTerminal 1Business/First
ANA Arrival LoungeTerminal 1Business/First
ANA LoungeTerminal 1Business
ANA Suite LoungeTerminal 1First
JAL Sakura LoungeTerminal 2Business
JAL First Class LoungeTerminal 2First
Korean Air KAL LoungeTerminal 1Business/First
Cathay Pacific LoungeTerminal 2Business/First
The Emirates LoungeTerminal 2Business/First
Qantas Airways LoungeTerminal 2Business
IASS Executive LoungeTerminal 1 & 2Contract
Narita TraveLoungeTerminal 1Contract

Brief history of Tokyo

The fishing village of Edo became the center of government in 1509, where it grew into a city of over 1 million in the 18th century. In the later 1800s, Tokugawa Shogun was overthrown, and Emperor Meiji moved from Kyoto and renamed the city of Edo to Tokyo, meaning “Eastern Capital.”

Japan suffered many hardships in the 1900s. In 1923 there was a great earthquake, and much of Tokyo was destroyed in World War II. Once rebuilt, Tokyo became a thriving metropolis, hosting the 1964 Summer Olympics, and with it came massive development and population growth.

In the 1980s, there was a real estate bubble that burst in the 1990s, causing a massive recession. This period is called the “Lost Decade.”

Top 5 things to do in Tokyo

1. Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine

The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto Shrine, built in 1920, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. It’s located in the Shibuya district. It offers a stunning example of traditional Japanese architecture, and is widely considered as one of the single most important sites in Tokyo.

Entrance to the shrine is free, but the stunning Meiji Jingu Gardens and Treasure Hall are 500 yen each, and well worth the visit.

2. Stroll through Ginza

As Tokyo’s “ritzy” neighborhood, strolling through Ginza’s high end shops and restaurants is a must-do activity. Plan at least two days to visit the area. Ideally visit on weekends, as the main street through Ginza is pedestrianized from 12:00PM to 5:00PM.

3. Climb Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower is a 1,092 foot communications and observation tower in Minato, and the second tallest structure in Japan. No visit to Tokyo is complete without going to the top of the tower and soaking the breathtaking views.

You can take an elevator, or the adventurous can climb to the top (and are rewarded with a certificate proving their achievement).

4. Eat at one of the many Michelin Star restaurants

In 2021, the Michelin Guide awarded stars to 212 Tokyo restaurants, marking the city’s phenomenal restaurants. From incredible Japanese sushi joints to fine French restaurants, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

5. Explore the Golden Gai

A small area in Shinjuku, the Golden Gai is the home of the weird and strange. There are bars that embrace a toilet theme, and restaurants that will “inject” their food for you. The Golden Gai is well-worth a day’s visit, and even better, an evening to enjoy its strange libations.