Tokyo Walking Tours: 8 Great Options for a Small Group

by Akane - Japan Local Guide

Going on a Tokyo walking tour in English is an excellent way to get to know the city a little more intimately. And doing this in a small group so that everybody can easily interact with the guide is the best way to do this. That way you can get answers to all of your questions, even the most trivial ones. You can try to see the most famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo in one day, in which case you should leave the tour itinerary up to your guide.

But you can also concentrate your tour to one specific area that you have the most interest in. This way even if you’ve already been to Tokyo once, it could be a wonderful opportunity to learn something new about Tokyo. I’ve listed 8 areas and tours below that you may want to check out. Read about what’s in the tour itineraries and decide which one is the best walking tour of Tokyo for you.

 

8 Best Walking Tours in Tokyo

1. Ueno

Ueno is famous for Ueno Park. It’s not just a park, but also has many museums like the Tokyo National Museum where you can see traditional Japanese art pieces and samurai armor. And there is even a zoo inside the park. If you or your children like animals like the Giant Panda, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself there. There are also temples and shrines to learn about Japanese history and culture from.

On the other side of the station, you’ll find Ameyoko market. It’s a busy and lively shopping street, especially on the weekends. Food and goods are sold there at a cheap price, and there are food stands selling all kinds of Japanese food and sweets. You may find something to buy there as a souvenir. The Ueno area is close to other sightseeing spots like the Asakusa area or the Akihabara area, so you may want to visit these areas as well.

Best Walking tour of Ueno by Local Guides.

 

2. Fukagawa

Fukagawa is an old area of Tokyo existing since the early 1600s. But it actually burned to the ground twice. Once in 1923 because of the Great Kanto Earthquake and again in 1945 because of the air raids during World War II. Rebuilt after the war, it’s a town where you’ll be able to feel the atmosphere of the good old days of Japan, rather than the modern atmosphere of skyscrapers and neon signs. It is definitely an off the beaten path type of area where you’ll need someone to guide you.

You can visit the famous and beautiful Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine. It’s the largest Hachimangu Shrine in Tokyo and it’s a popular shrine to visit especially on the 1st, 15th, and 28th of every month. There is also Fukagawa Fudou Temple.  This temple is actually the Tokyo branch of the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple near Narita airport. After it burned down in 1945, one of the buildings from Ryufukuji Temple in Chiba Prefecture was moved here to become the main hall. It is now the oldest wooden structure in the area. Kiyosumi Garden is another highlight. It is a wonderful traditional Japanese garden.

Best Walking tour of Fukagawa by Local Guides.

 

3. Asakusa

Asakusa must be one of the busiest sightseeing spots. You’ll find crowds of tourists there whenever you go. But, there’s a good reason for it. Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is a famous and popular temple, even to the local Japanese people. Thousands of people come to pray for good fortune in the first days of the New Year. And it is a bright red color, making it one of the most picturesque temples in Tokyo, as well as the oldest.

When you visit Sensoji Temple, the first thing you will see is the Kaminarimon Gate. Also a bright red, the gate has a humongous lantern hanging in the middle. The sight of this gate represents Sensoji Temple. After you pass the gate, you’ll enter Nakamise Street. It is a street that is over 200 meters long, lined with shops of souvenirs and Japanese snacks. You can buy Japanese fans, “yukata” (a summer kimono), and all kinds of other knick knacks. As for Japanese snacks, there are “senbei” (rice crackers), “manju” (a bun with a sweet bean paste inside), “ningyo yaki” (small sponge cakes filled with sweet bean paste), etc. You should try some of these snacks because they are delicious. Finally, at the end of the street, you’ll find Sensoji Temple.

Best Walking tour of Asakusa by Local Guides.

 

4. Shinjuku/Harajuku

Shinjuku and Harajuku are the very modern areas of Tokyo. Shinjuku is full of skyscrapers, department stores, restaurants, and countless stores selling everything from clothes to electronics. It is a sophisticated area, more geared toward adults. This is the place to do your shopping in Japan, ladies.

On the other hand, Harajuku is the center of young pop culture. You’ll find that this area is always crowded with the youth of Tokyo, even on the weekdays. And it is also the origin of the “kawaii” or cute culture in Japan. Takeshita Street is full of cute clothes, cute stuff, and cute things to eat. If you have children or teenagers with you, they may enjoy walking around this area.

Best Walking tour of Shinjuku and Harajuku by Local Guides.

 

5. Gardens

For those of you who are interested in gardening and botany, visiting the wonderful gardens in Tokyo should be enjoyable. Contrary to the image of a modern concrete jungle, Tokyo actually has many gardens to boast.

Rikugien Garden is a traditional Japanese garden. You can stroll around the path surrounding the pond and enjoy the scenery that is very different from western gardens. Many traditional Japanese gardens are designed so that visitors follow a designated route to see it and not just wander off around the garden in no particular order.

And Kyu-Furukawatei Gardens is a unique garden that is a mix of traditional Japanese and western styles. A British national designed both the western style house and garden in the Taisho Era. And a traditional Japanese garden was also built. The house and gardens can be said to represent the westernization of Japan.

Best Walking tour of two gardens by Local Guides.

 

6. Katsushika

Tokyo Walking Tours: 8 Great Options for a Small Group

The Katsushika area is in the top right hand corner of Tokyo. It is a bit far from the center of the city, but this old downtown area is a place you won’t get to see on a normal tour of Tokyo. It’s a place only mostly local Japanese people visit and a place you’ll be able to feel the old atmosphere of Tokyo from over 50 years ago.

Taishakuten Temple (pictured above) is a grand Buddhist temple established in 1629. It, fortunately, escaped the bombings during World War II and is the heart of the Shibamata area. The walls of the prayer hall have delicate wooden carvings on them depicting Buddhist stories. And there is a small Japanese garden in the back, complete with a pond containing turtles and carp. You may also enjoy the shopping street leading up to the temple with stores selling Japanese sweets.

Best Walking tour of Katsushika by Local Guides

 

7. Tsukiji Outer Fish Market

As many of you may already know, the main Tsukiji Fish Market has moved and has become the new Toyosu Market. However, The Tsukiji Outer Market, an area of retail shops and restaurants outside the former Tsukiji wholesale market, is still open for business. It has actually become more popular than ever because Japanese people and foreigners alike prefer the lively atmosphere of this old outdoor market rather than the new indoor market with its glassed in viewing areas.

Going to this market in the early morning and trying all the Japanese dishes is great fun for foodies. You can also enjoy the freshest sushi you can get in Tokyo. It’s crowded but part of the fun is to navigate the market looking for delicious things to eat while being jostled by the crowd. In this walking tour, you can even try your hand at making your own sushi. That’s an experience you won’t be able to have just anywhere.

Best Walking tour of Tsukiji Outer Fish Market by Local Guides

 

8. Tokyo Bay Area

The Bay Area of Tokyo is an area that you’ll probably only visit if you have time left over from seeing the more famous sightseeing spots. But it’s really a great area to visit. In Odaiba, there are many shopping malls, one with a gigantic robot in front of it, and another with a theme park inside it. And the view of the Rainbow Bridge and the city center beyond it is amazing.

There’s a boat cruise you can take that takes you from Odaiba up the Sumida River to Asakusa. You can stop off at Hamarikyu Garden to stroll around the traditional Japanese garden and try some matcha tea and sweets in the teahouse situated in the middle of the pond. Tokyo Tower, the symbol of Tokyo, is nearby as well as Zojoji Temple

Best Walking tour of Tokyo Bay area by Local Guides.

 

Blogs About Tokyo

5 Best Day Trip from Tokyo: All you need to know

9 Best and Most popular Tokyo Tours

15 Best Things to do in Tokyo

To find out more Blogs with Tips about Tokyo and Japan click here.

 

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