10 places techies should visit in Tokyo
We get asked all the time by our techie friends about what to do and see in Tokyo. So, we compiled a list for you all! If you love tech and you’re visiting Tokyo, here are our recommendations for where to visit.
In no particular order…
1. TeamLab Borderless — Odaiba
You may have seen photos from TeamLab Borderless appearing on your Instagram feed lately — and for good reason. This digital art museum, recently unveiled in Odaiba, is gorgeous.
We’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but don’t look at too many! It’s better to experience it there.
In short, if you’re here, visit this. You should book ahead of time — it’s popular so tickets sell out quickly — and admissions cost 3,200 yen for adults. It is English-friendly.
We also recommend checking out the other TeamLab exhibit in Tokyo called Planets. It’s located near Odaiba in Toyosu.
2. Miraikan — Odaiba
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, abbreviated as the “Future (mirai) Museum,” is a must-see in Tokyo.
Located in the tourist heaven of Odaiba, only a 4-minute walk from the Yurikamome line’s Telecom Center station, it is gorgeous in terms of both architecture and interior, and one of Japan’s best museums.
Mixing the cutting-edge of science with the everyday, you’ll be able to see exhibits on everything from advanced robotics (most famously, Honda’s Asimo robot) and earthquake-tracking, to exhibits on recycling and the internet. The museum is more hands-on than many of its counterparts, featuring numerous interactive exhibits and science workshops.
It is English-friendly, and costs only 620 yen for admission — after visiting, you can spend the rest of the day strolling around Odaiba.
3. Meguro Parasitological Museum — Meguro
The Meguro Parasitological Museum is one of Tokyo’s strangest museums, located a 12-minute walk from Meguro station. Part of a research facility that specializes in parasites, the museum features exhibits on over 300 skin-crawling specimens.
Most popular, perhaps, is an 8.8 meter (28 foot) tapeworm extracted from a patient. The museum was opened in 1953, so there is a historical aspect to the exhibits as well, and the presentation is an utterly unique mix of old-school medical horror aesthetics and modern scientific flair.
On that note, some of the exhibits are historical, in that they look at how parasites and their side-effects were depicted in the past. Despite its creepy subject matter, the museum is a beautiful place, and the specimens are lovingly presented and explained.
It is English-friendly — the exhibits have bilingual descriptions — and admission is free. If you have a strong stomach, and any interest at all in the more morbid side of things, this is a Tokyo must-see.
4. Tokyo Radio Department Store — Akihabara
Nowadays, “Electric Town” Akihabara is most famous as an anime pop-culture mecca. But as the name implies, the real charm of this city is its history as a place to find anything and everything electronic.
Located about a 2-minute walk from the station’s South exit, the Tokyo Radio Department Store is a 6-story collection of shops established in 1950, and a living example of what makes Akihabara so unique.
Each floor has small stores crowded together, offering even the most niche components. You’ll get the most out of your shopping experience if you speak Japanese, but even without fluency it is a worthwhile visit.
5. Tech Events — Everywhere!
Tokyo has a fantastic tech community, and even if you’re just passing through it is absolutely worthwhile to visit some of the (many) events happening around town. Best of all, these events tend to be free and English-friendly.
At Code Chrysalis we offer multiple events per month on anything and everything tech-related. Recently we’ve had our “Big MiniConf,” and shortly before that we hosted the Tokyo Mechanical Keyboard Meetup Vol. 5. You can find us near Roppongi Hills.
DevJapan is another fantastic group to check out, and a wonderful community supporting new and experienced developers alike. Tokyo Startup Events is a great place to find meetups that mix tech and entrepreneurship all over the city. Tokyo Hackerspace is located near Itabashi station, and a place for creatives of all types, holding regular events and seminars.
If you want an escape from the city, check out Hacker Farm over in Chiba for a unique and unforgettable experience.
Use meetup.com and Facebook to find cool events.
6. Tsutaya (Designer Stores) — Multiple Locations
The Tsutaya Book Apartments in Shinjuku are a chic and relaxing escape from the busy streets of Tokyo. As the name implies, it is doubles as a bookstore and — if you so choose — a good option for overnight lodgings with showers and small nooks to sleep in. Only a 1-minute stroll from Shinjuku’s South exit, it is absolutely worth a visit.
Daikanyama T-Site — rated one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and a perennial favorite on local lists as well — is another of the chain’s designer locations, located a 5-minute walk from its titular station.
Designed to emulate a “forest of books,” the three-building site is an architectural treat as much as an intellectual one, and a perfect reason to visit the stylish and laid-back neighborhood of Daikanyama. The store has a fantastic selection of books in both Japanese and English, alongside a roster of frequently updated exhibits on everything from design and astronomy to classic cars and natural science.
Both locations are English-friendly and great for relaxation as well as getting some work done.
7. Cosmo Planetarium — Shibuya
The Cosmo Planetarium is a gorgeous place to visit when in Shibuya. Take a break from the crowds and relax with a stunning simulation of the starry skies. Best of all, it’s cheap — 600 yen for adults— and only a 5-minute walk from the station’s West exit.
The narration is entirely in Japanese, but there is an English guide for buying tickets. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, however, it’s still a fantastic experience.
8. FabCafe — Shibuya
Nestled away at the top of Shibuya’s Dogenzaka, a straight 5-minute walk from the station’s Hachiko exit, Fab Cafe is one of the area’s most popular spots to grab a cup of coffee and get to work. As can be expected from a Tokyo establishment it has good food, coffee, and a nice array of seasonal sweets. It also has great wifi, which is still surprisingly rare in the local cafe scene, and is entirely English-friendly.
What makes it stand apart from the crowd are the titular 3D printers available to visitors on a drop-in or reservation basis, as well as the frequent events and exhibitions done in collaboration with Tokyo’s tech community. On any given day you might see interviews with engineers and entrepreneurs projected on the cafe’s various monitors, small robots from one of the city’s new startups, or art exhibits by a local creative.
9. TEPIA — Gaienmae
TEPIA, short for “Association for Technological Excellence Promoting Innovative Advances,” showcases “the advanced technology of the future.” It features an exhibition hall bustling with robots (no, really, they’ve got a lot of them), a hands-on programming area that’s popular with children, and a small theater. Best of all, it’s totally free.
TEPIA is located a 4-minute walk from Gaienmae station — only a brief trip from Shibuya on the Ginza Line — and you can arrange for an English-language tour if you reserve ahead of time. Regardless, they do have information on the exhibits available in English, so it isn’t necessary to do so.
10. Oedo Onsen — Odaiba
If you want to relax in traditional Edo-style, then Oedo Onsen Monogatari is the place for you. So no, this isn’t at all tech- or science-y, but it is pretty great.
Admission runs from about 2,100 yen to 2,700 yen depending on when you visit and includes your yukata and admission to all facilities. It is English-friendly.
Other interesting places:
Right next to Akihabara, this shrine gained international popularity for its clever integration of otaku and IT aesthetics with traditional sensibilities. In fact, if you want a charm to protect your electronic devices, this is probably the only place in the world to find one. For those interested in the historical side of things, this 1,300 year-old shrine is most famous for its connection to Tokugawa Ieyasu.
It’s a restaurant, there are robots, it’s in Shinjuku’s night-life district. Anthony Bourdain summed it up best. Some people recommend it, others don’t. We’ll let you decide.
A good museum in Ueno that is both English-friendly and only 620 yen for admission. It has dinosaurs!
Near Odaiba, it’s not a bad showroom. If you like Nintendo, they’ve got an exhibit you’ll love. All the floors are English-friendly, and with the exception of the third floor, free.
Drop by if you’re in the area, but it’s not really worth a trip alone. Luckily, if you go to some of the other locations we’ve recommended, you’ll be in the neighborhood.
Code Chrysalis is a coding and English school located in the heart of Tokyo. Our programs include a 12-week advanced software engineering bootcamp, a beginner coding course, and an English communication immersive.
See why we are an industry leader in tech education in Japan.