Tokyo Tower
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Things to do in Tokyo today

The day's best things to do in Tokyo, all in one place

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Note: Due to Covid-19, events in the city are limitedStay informed with the latest updates here

Not sure what to do this evening? Well, you're in the right place now: Tokyo always has plenty of stuff going on, from festivals and art shows to outdoor activities and more. Even though Covid-19 has put many events on hold, there are still tons of spots around the city that are open and events happening with safety precautions in place. Enjoy Tokyo, but do it safely.

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  • Art

A festival dedicated to all things – you guessed it – beautiful and artistic, Designart Tokyo is back for its fifth edition this year. It's set to take over central Tokyo, across 84 venues in major neighbourhoods like Shibuya, Roppongi and Ginza.  The brainchild of creative director Akio Aoki, artist Shun Kawakami and architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, Designart Tokyo will see shops, galleries, cafés, restaurants and other venues host work by artists from Japan and around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the past year has been one full of uncertainty and worry. However, Designart organisers are unflinching in their belief that unprecedented times also present extraordinary opportunities for gaining better insight, developing new ideas and unleashing artistic potential. Despite the roadblocks that emerged over the course of the pandemic, roughly 300 artists and designers have come together to showcase their works, all revolving around the festival theme ‘Emotions’, and proving that art really does transcend all borders. The list of participating creators includes the likes of Kohei Nawa and Tetsuo Suzuki, while event highlights include the Kuradashi project, where collectors can procure art prototypes from the early stages of the creative process, which normally aren't for sale. For the full list of exhibitions, check out the event's official website.

  • Things to do
  • Oshiage

Demon Slayer is taking over Tokyo Skytree this autumn. At the Tembo Deck, about 350m in the air, screens on the windows will be playing six-minute clips from the anime series throughout the day, so you can watch while marvelling at the cityscape. Head up to the Tembo Galleria where you’ll be greeted by a light-up monument of the characters, and illustrations from the anime wrapped around the 110m-long spiral corridor – there are even scenes from the blockbuster movie ‘Demon Slayer: Mugen Train’. At the halfway point, you’ll spot a wooden box that looks just like the one our hero Tanjiro uses to protect his sister Nezuko from sunlight, which makes a great photo-op for fans. There will also be a designated photo spot where you can take a picture overlooking the city with your favourite of the 13 major characters. You can get one photo for ¥1,900 or two for ¥3,000, which come inside a special Demon Slayer frame. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop while you’re here. You can shop for Demon Slayer merchandise that’s exclusive to this event including keychains, cookies, T-shirts, mugs and more. If you go up to the Sorakara Point, the highest accessible point of Skytree just over 450m in the air, you’ll find a Demon Slayer shrine where you write your wishes on a ribbon and tie it to the shrine. The ribbons come in six different designs which you can purchase via a capsule machine for ¥300 each.  And make sure to visit the Skytree Cafe to fill up on Demon-Slayer-themed foods like b

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  • Things to do
  • Oshiage

Throughout October, Sumida Aquarium’s kaleidoscope-like jellyfish tunnel transforms into a spooky Halloween spectacle. The 50m-long space features about 5,000 mirrors attached to walls and the ceiling, complete with eight aquariums embedded into the walls.  Each tank will be outfitted with background panels, showing motifs of bats, witches and pumpkins, while ghost-like jellyfish float in front of them. Lighting and background music match the Halloween theme, while a projection mapping display on the walls adds to the creepy atmosphere, with images of jellyfish turning into ghosts and jack-o-lanterns.  Kids can also participate in a workshop where they can learn about the different shapes of jellyfish and create cute mobiles. We recommend booking your ticket to the aquarium in advance (in Japanese only).

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Odaiba

The poo museum in Tokyo is celebrating Halloween this year, transforming its famous turd-spitting poop volcano into a massive poo-shaped jack-o-lantern. There will be spooky music playing in the background to go with the theme, and you might even spot the museum’s mascot Unberto making an appearance in a Halloween costume, too. If you’re looking to take home some souvenirs, come in costume or show proof that you follow the museum’s Instagram page to get a special set of poop stickers.

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  • Art
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  • Ginza

Suspended in the atrium of Ginza Six is the department store’s latest public art installation by Kyoto-based artist Kohei Nawa. The installation features a sculpture of a deer floating above clouds, a creature that has appeared at the centre of many of Nawa’s coveted works for its symbolic ties to Shintoism and ancient Japanese history.  There is more to the installation than meets the eye, with a corresponding app you can download to see the work come to life through your smartphone. In addition to the ‘Metamorphosis Garden’ installation, a handful of other works by Nawa will be available to experience through the use of AR technology. This includes the artist’s 2013 project ‘Foam’, which was presented at Aichi Triennale 2013 as well as his 2016 collaborative performance art piece with Belgium choreographer Damien Jalet, ‘Vessel’.

  • Things to do
  • Enoshima

It's not difficult to guess how Enoshima's landmark tower got its name. With its white facade and cylindrical structure, the Sea Candle observation tower is a fantastic place to catch a 360-degree view of Enoshima's coast and surrounding seaside towns. This autumn, however, the towering torch won't be the island's only candle. Until November 7, roughly 10,000 wax candles will be placed along Enoshima Sunset Terrace and burned to illuminate the promenade leading to the tower with warm, flickering lights. Weather permitting, the candles will be lit every evening from 5pm to 8pm, though an announcement will be posted at around 12noon on the event website if the illumination has to be cancelled.

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  • Art
  • Roppongi

Currently on show at Tokyo City View in Roppongi, the largest exhibition in Sanrio's history explores the 60-year history of more than 400 characters. It also examines the roots of Sanrio as a symbol of Japan's kawaii culture through more than 800 exhibits. The showcase starts with 'Unforgettable Tower’, a 6-meter-tall symbolic art piece by Sebastian Masuda. Through original drawings and rough sketches, you’ll learn about the birth of Sanrio’s iconic characters including Hello Kitty, My Melody and Pompompurin. Then, delve into Sanrio’s mission and what it wanted to convey to its fanbase by examining the company’s own publication, Ichigo Shimbun (Strawberry Newspaper). Over at the on-site café and restaurant – Sun & Moon – you can order a Sanrio-themed afternoon tea and cocktails featuring the faces of your favourite characters.

  • Things to do
  • Mejirodai

In the morning hours during spring and autumn, Japan’s more mountainous regions are renowned for their beautiful cloud formations. Thanks to Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, you don’t need to leave the capital to enjoy those spectacular misty views. You can experience the ‘Sea of Clouds’ several times a day at the hotel’s large, traditional Japanese garden, with the first show taking place from 11.10am. The evening slots even include a stunning light up event, with 1,000 LEDs illuminating the garden, the waterfall and the 600-year-old three-storey pagoda. The event takes place all year round, but is most picturesque in autumn when the foliage really sets off your photos. Between September 21 and November 11, the hotel teams up with French cosmetic brand L'Occitane en Provence, and each cloud spectacle features the fragrance of osmanthus. Note that you'll need to visit one of the hotel's restaurants or stay for a night to be able to attend this event (it's free for diners and hotel guests).

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  • Things to do
  • Nishi-Shinjuku

The Halloween buffet at Hilton Tokyo is themed on a wizarding school, and features over 20 desserts made by the hotel’s executive patissier. The lineup includes a brioche cake drizzled with orange water and lemon peel syrup, speculoos cookie mousse made to look like a potted plant, pumpkin caneles, a fig tart and more. There are also ten different savoury dishes to cleanse your palate between the sweet treats, including honey glazed ham with apple whisky sauce, Scottish meat pie, black pasta and deep fried fish with soy and ginger tomato sauce. Plus, there’s a wide selection of Ronnefeldt tea from Germany, as well as soft drinks and coffee.  For a more magical experience, use the event’s own Instagram AR filter that  shows spells and special effects happening on your plate. You can enjoy this buffet on weekdays for ¥5,300 or on weekends for ¥6,000.

  • Things to do
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  • Ginza

Want to know what it takes to become a Paralympian? At this hands-on exhibition at Ginza’s Tokyu Plaza, you can learn about the different disciplines in the competition and even try a few for yourself through digital simulations that are free for everyone to experience.  Through digital minigames like wheelchair basketball, you’ll be challenged to test your abilities by only using one or two limbs at once. At the end of the virtual tournaments, you’ll be given a diagnostic of your greatest strengths – you might even find you have a hidden talent that you didn’t know about.  One floor above the interactive game area, you’ll find a display of medals won by active Paralympians and read about the athletes they belong to as well as their stories. Because this exhibition is sponsored by Mitsubishi – an official partner of the Games – a section will also be dedicated to the innovative ways the company is working to build a more barrier-free world. 

Free things to do in Tokyo today

  • Art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Ginza

Suspended in the atrium of Ginza Six is the department store’s latest public art installation by Kyoto-based artist Kohei Nawa. The installation features a sculpture of a deer floating above clouds, a creature that has appeared at the centre of many of Nawa’s coveted works for its symbolic ties to Shintoism and ancient Japanese history.  There is more to the installation than meets the eye, with a corresponding app you can download to see the work come to life through your smartphone. In addition to the ‘Metamorphosis Garden’ installation, a handful of other works by Nawa will be available to experience through the use of AR technology. This includes the artist’s 2013 project ‘Foam’, which was presented at Aichi Triennale 2013 as well as his 2016 collaborative performance art piece with Belgium choreographer Damien Jalet, ‘Vessel’.

  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Ginza

Want to know what it takes to become a Paralympian? At this hands-on exhibition at Ginza’s Tokyu Plaza, you can learn about the different disciplines in the competition and even try a few for yourself through digital simulations that are free for everyone to experience.  Through digital minigames like wheelchair basketball, you’ll be challenged to test your abilities by only using one or two limbs at once. At the end of the virtual tournaments, you’ll be given a diagnostic of your greatest strengths – you might even find you have a hidden talent that you didn’t know about.  One floor above the interactive game area, you’ll find a display of medals won by active Paralympians and read about the athletes they belong to as well as their stories. Because this exhibition is sponsored by Mitsubishi – an official partner of the Games – a section will also be dedicated to the innovative ways the company is working to build a more barrier-free world. 

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  • Art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Roppongi

Grand Hyatt Tokyo has transformed a corner of its lobby into an art space in collaboration with creative agency One Avenue, with sustainable wooden panels put together by traditional Japanese craftsmen. This pop-up gallery is part of the hotel’s Hyatt Loves Local initiative, which seeks to collaborate with local businesses and inject some vibrancy back into the local community.  For its maiden project, the art space is exhibiting works by New York City-based Spanish-American contemporary artist Domingo Zapata. Due to the pandemic, the gallery which used to exhibit his art went out of business – this showcase marks his return to the Tokyo scene since his last exhibition in 2019. Known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings as well as sculptures, Zapata’s work often explores themes of sexuality, opulence and vitality, where he layers fantasy onto reality, fact onto fiction to create art that exposes his poetic imagination. He draws inspiration from his native Spanish culture, his experience as a songwriter, American pop culture as well as current practices in contemporary art. His most recent claim to fame was a jaw-dropping 15-storey vinyl mural on the One Times Square skyscraper, making it the largest vinyl mural in New York City to date. All artworks on display are available for purchase through One Avenue’s website.

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