10 Tourist Traps in Tokyo You Must Avoid

Tourist Traps in Tokyo

Visiting Tokyo can be an exciting adventure, but it’s easy to fall into tourist traps that waste both time and money.

To help you navigate the city like a savvy traveler, I’ve identified 10 spots that might not be worth your yen.

From overpriced attractions to overcrowded areas, my guide will steer you towards more authentic and valuable experiences.

Keep reading to make every moment in Tokyo count! 😊

1. Akihabara Electric Town

Animated buildings of Akihabara
Animated buildings of Akihabara – coward_lion/123RF.com

If you’re an anime lover, Akihabara Electric Town might be something you look forward to visiting.

Many people are drawn to its eye-catching anime posters and loud sounds. However, you can’t expect too much from this shopping hub, especially for die-hard anime fans.

Most of the items on display are mainstream franchises. So, if you’re into less popular anime and manga, the selection might be limited.

Also, the crowd can be challenging during weekends. Renowned stores like Animate, Mandarake, Super Potato, and Yodobashi Camera are filled with people.

Hence, it can get very busy and jam-packed, making your trip less convenient.

2. Tokyo Tower

The soaring height of Tokyo Tower
The soaring height of Tokyo Tower

This iconic structure is a renowned landmark that attracts visitors, especially first-time travelers.

While the famous Tokyo Tower offers scenic city vistas, other spots offer the same views. However, the hefty entrance fee can be a downer.

Plus, their dining options and souvenirs are more than the normal price. So, skip the pricey entrance and try other observation decks in the area.

If you want to see the Tokyo skyline for free, go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. This famous structure in Shinjuku gives you panoramic views without breaking the bank.

3. Toyosu Market

Fresh tuna on display at Toyosu Market
Fresh tuna on display at Toyosu Market – Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう

When it comes to seafood auctions, two popular spots are Toyosu Market and Tsukiji.

Toyoso is quite known for its streamlined display and highly sanitized selection. However, you need to ready yourself with the extremely early call time.

If you want a better viewing spot of the seafood, you need to arrive around 5:00 AM. By 5:30, tuna auctions start, lasting for approximately an hour.

Aside from the early start, you also get a limited assessment of the seafood.

You are only checking the displays through a wide window. Since the actual market floor is limited for vendors, it limits local interaction.

On the contrary, the Tsukiji outer market gives you a more enriching experience. It’s highly accessible with a vibrant atmosphere and even street food options.

4. Asakusa Shrine

The facade of Asakusa Shrine
The facade of Asakusa Shrine

The Asakusa Shrine is one landmark that is often included in must-visit tourist spots.

Its history is something that fascinates visitors. However, the meek beauty of the temple makes it a bit hard to marvel at.

The architectural style isn’t too detailed and the overall atmosphere may be lacking. The lack of intricate decorations adds up to its bare vibe.

But if you prefer a quieter spot with less crowd, this is a nice destination to unwind.

Or better yet, visit other lesser-known shrines like the Meiji Shrine. This shrine offers a more spectacular ambiance. Explore religious spots in the city and bask in a unique spiritual experience.

5. Roppongi

Night scene at Roppongi
Night scene at Roppongi

As soon as the sun sets, Roppongi becomes a favored spot among tourists who love nightlife.

The bustling party scene in this district is quite magnetic. It’s full of bars and nightclubs to excite visitors.

However, the prices are significantly higher than in other areas. The cost of most foods and drinks is tailored for foreign visitors. Since they cater mostly to international tourists, the authentic Japanese flavor might be missing.

Aside from the exorbitant prices, you might find the touts on the streets to be aggressive. These are people who force you to visit their bars. So, instead of exploring the place at peace, you need to consider a lot of things.

If you want a more genuine nightlife experience, Shinjuku and Shibuya are top choices. These two areas offer remarkable night activities and tasty local delights.

6. Yoyogi Park

Some scenic views around Yoyogi Park
Some scenic views around Yoyogi Park

Yogogi Park is renowned for its expansive space.

Although it’s one of the biggest parks in the city, there aren’t a lot of unique views here.

Its popularity peaks during spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and again in fall when the foliage turns vibrant.

Beyond that, the overall landscape is quite empty. If you visit during summer or winter, it’s either too hot or too cold with limited attractions.

The lack of visual appeal makes it not worthwhile, especially with other scenic spots in the city.

Since the charm of Yogogi Park varies depending on the season, it’s best to plan ahead. Make sure to schedule your visit during autumn to see some stunning nature displays.

7. Ryogoku Kokugikan

Jam-packed crowd at Ryogoku Kokugikan
Jam-packed crowd at Ryogoku Kokugikan – rpbmedia/123RF.com

Are you interested in watching live sumo wrestling? Ryogoku Kokugikan is the ultimate destination to see this national sport in action.

However, it’s important to know that the appeal of sumo wrestling comes from the players and the crowd.

That’s why you need to know the tournament schedule beforehand. Major draws are usually held 3 times a year, during January, May, and September.

During these months, you’ll be able to watch the sports in full colors. The energy is more exciting because of the huge crowds.

If you visit beyond the main draw schedules, expect for less vibrant experience.

8. Omotesando Hills

Pathway going to Omotesando Hills
Pathway going to Omotesando Hills

In terms of upscale shopping, Omotesando Hills is popular among shopping enthusiasts.

But if you check the general prices, most of them can be very expensive. It’s because most options here are from designer stores and high-end boutiques.

If you want a stylish shopping destination that’s more affordable, go to Shibuya instead.

Some popular choices include Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Center Gai. These are top-rated spots for budget-conscious tourists.

Here, you can find a wide selection of clothing, accessories, and souvenirs at a good price.

So, for an exciting shopping experience without breaking the bank, don’t fixate yourself with just one option. There are plenty of alternatives in the city.

Read Also: 17 Top Things to Do in Shibuya

9. Imperial Palace

The architectural beauty of the Imperial Palace
The architectural beauty of the Imperial Palace

One cannot deny the historical importance of the Imperial Palace. Unfortunately, the attractions accessible to the public are limited.

Most of the interior sections are restricted, giving you fewer areas to explore. The only things that may entice you are the lovely gardens and breathtaking exteriors.

So, if you’re given two options between the Imperial Palace and Shinjuku Gyoen, the latter is a better choice. It comes with expansive gardens and many gorgeous attractions with no restrictions.

10. Shinjuku Golden Gai

The nostalgic atmosphere surrounding Shinjuku Golden Gai
The nostalgic atmosphere surrounding Shinjuku Golden Gai

The narrow alleys and small bars of Shinjuku Golden Gai fascinate a lot of people.

Many even consider the place as the epitome of Tokyo’s nightlife. Although it’s a good place to explore and sip some local beers, the prices can be disappointing.

Most of the bars here have inflated costs than other local bars. It can be a tourist trap for international travelers who aren’t familiar with the current prices.

Since the prices are outrageously high, it’s best to just explore the place. Wander around and capture the traditional structures.

After your nostalgic escapade, visit other izakayas like Torikizoku, which offers cheaper food and drinks. There are also other places that offer authentic nightlife at a reasonable cost.

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