23 Best & Most Famous Streets In Tokyo (Must Visit!)

Known as one of the world’s most populous metropolises, Tokyo is a city that expertly intertwines the old with the new, the traditional with the futuristic, and the serene with the bustling.

Its best places encapsulate a cityscape that has cultivated an environment rich in culture, history, fashion, and delicious food. The streets are akin to the arteries of this heart-stopping city, pulsating with the authentic essence of Japanese life, each offering a unique snapshot of Tokyo’s multifaceted character.

The famous streets of Central Tokyo are the veins through which the city’s lifeblood flows, invigorating every nook and cranny with infectious energy. We’ve traversed the sprawling metropolis from end to end, curating the definitive list of streets that encapsulate the spirit of this phenomenal city.

Whether you’re a foodie hunting for the perfect sushi, a fashionista scouting for the latest trends, or a history buff on a quest to understand Japan’s past, there’s a street waiting to capture your imagination.

1. Kabukichō, Shinjuku

The ward of Shinjuku is home to some of the best streets in all of Tokyo, including my personal favourite Kabukichō.

Having travelled from Haneda Airport to Shinjuku Station, Kabukichō was one of the first places we saw upon first arriving in Japan. Despite the jetlag and having our luggage in tow, I still stopped to take photos here and was in awe of the incredible lights.

Don’t pose in front of the arch, or under it, for that matter. Instead, take a few steps forward to capture the whole gate and the vibrant backdrop behind it.

When you’re done taking photos here be sure to walk through the gate and into the entertainment district. Here you’ll find the eight-story Humax Pavilion complex with the Shinjuku Face event hall on the seventh floor, in case you’d like to go up and attend a pro-wrestling match.

2. Godzilla Road, Shinjuku

As much as this name satisfies the inner child within us (and probably yours, too), that’s not actually the street’s official name. On Google Maps, you’ll find it listed as Central Road, Shinjuku City.

Nevertheless, Central Road is where Godzilla’s famous head is, peeking from the eighth floor of the Toho Shinjuku building in Kabukichō. It’s supposedly “life-sized,” which happens to be a whopping 12 meters high!

Interestingly, this massive fibreglass replica isn’t just a hit with tourists. It was dubbed the “pride of Japan” by the mayor and was granted honorary residency in 2015!

If you time your walk down the street right, you might even hear the “roar” from the replica. Of course, you can always stay in the Hotel Gracey and book a room in the same building as the Godzilla head. This way, you won’t miss the show.

3. Omoide Yokocho, Shinjuku

If there’s one place to eat and drink in the Shinjuku district, it’d be the Omoide Yokocho alleyway (sometimes called Memory Lane) by the west exit of the ward’s train station.

Colloquially, the street is known as the “piss alley,” which sounds weird but shouldn’t put you off from visiting. After all, the nickname goes back to the period after the Second World War when the street was an open-air black market and a spot for people to grab a cheap drink.

Today, though, it’s a landmark alley bustling with 80 premises, many of which are restaurants. It has a bit of old charm, but it’s definitely tourist-friendly. There’s a guide on the alleyway’s official site for first-time visitors, too.

Give it a look to know what to expect when you arrive, like that most shops and restaurants in Omoide Yokocho only accept cash or that smoking in the street is a major faux pas. The last point probably has something to do with the 1999 fire. We’d recommend visiting at night to see the crowded alley illuminated. So, maybe this could be your last stop in Shinjuku if you’re only here for a day trip.

4. Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya

Shibuya Crossing isn’t technically a street but rather a pedestrian scramble intersection. However, as one of the world’s busiest scrambles, it still deserves a place on the list. Having seen this incredible crossing numerous times on TV shows and in films, this was the first stop on our seven day Tokyo itinerary.

Shibuya Crossing is easy to find once you cross the Shibuya Station exit no. 8, with Hachikō Statue. Every time the lights turn red, thousands of people make their way across the intersection. It’s hypnotizing, especially if you watch the whole scene from a height.

While you’re here consider visiting the nearby Meiji Shrine which is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Many of the restaurants in the area offer a decent view, but Mag’s Park over the department store takes the cake. With plexiglass and an excellent rooftop observation deck, you can capture some of the best photos of the area. That said, the Starbucks branch (across the station) is also a great spot to watch pedestrians go.

Keep in mind that the restaurants and cafes are usually crowded. You wouldn’t want to visit during a “quiet” time, either. Ideally, you’ll want to be there around dusk to catch good lighting and one of the scramble’s peaks.

5. Sakura-Dori, Shibuya

If you’re looking for an accessible yet breathtaking view of Tokyo’s iconic cherry blossoms, Sakura-dori is the way to go. The famous street is a short walk (3–5 minutes) from the Shibuya station. Just make sure you leave through the south exit and cross the pedestrian bridge.

Although Sakura-dori isn’t particularly long or wide, it’s still worth a detour if you’re in Shibuya. After all, the street has its own flare, being on a slope and slightly s-shaped.

Additionally, the best time of day is the early morning. That’s when you’ll get a decent shot at walking down the street and taking pictures without heavy traffic getting in the way.

6. Center-Gai, Shibuya

If you stopped to see the buzzing Shibuya Crossing, we’d recommend joining the pedestrians and crossing the intersection towards the narrow street of Center-gai next.

Center-gai offers a blend of fast-fashion stores, authentic eateries, fast-food chains, and clubs. So the energy there is hectic all day long, but the flashy neon lights and music make a nighttime visit all the more spectacular.

On the flip side, it’s quite crowded. On an average weekday, around 50,000 visitors (mostly young people) hit the street. That number goes up to 70,000 on weekends—imagine what the crowds are like at special events!

One of those special events is a Matsuri called the Tanabata Yukata Festival, which adds even more colour to the already lively Center-Gai. The festival is usually held around August, but you need to double-check the calendar beforehand.

7. Omotesando, Shibuya

The kilometre-long Omotesando Avenue is an upscale shopping hot spot lined with zelkova trees. From the charming atmosphere to the sidewalk cafes, the avenue has a Champs-Elysee-like vibe.

Walking down Omotesando, you’ll find outlets from leading brands and fast fashion retailers. However, the designer boutiques, like Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen, give this avenue its luxurious feel.

The Tokyu Plaza pictures often look better with wide-angle lenses.

For those who prefer shopping in department stores, we’d recommend the trendy Lafore Harajuku. The selections there tend to border on eccentric, which makes it a popular pick among teenagers. Still, we’d say that the avenue, overall, is better suited for older clientele.

Before leaving Omotesando Avenue, don’t forget to head to the Tokyu Plaza—not necessarily for more shopping but to take an Instagram-worthy picture of the iconic wall-of-mirror entrance.

8. Cat Street, Shibuya

Connecting Shibuya and Harajuku is the half-mile stretch of Tokyo’s Cat Street. There are a couple of origin stories behind the name. The obvious one is that the street used to house a lot of stray cats. Another plausible theory is that it refers to “a cat’s forehead.” That’s an idiom used to express how narrow/tiny something is.

Some people even believe the name has something to do with the strip being the birthplace of a band called Black Cats. Regardless of the theories, this strip is a must-visit after you’re done strolling down Omotesando. It runs perpendicular to the avenue but is more cosy and hipster-like. It’s still known for its fashion culture, though.

For one, you have RagTag, which is a fantastic place to grab second-hand and vintage clothes and accessories. The selection in the store is quite diverse, too. The first two floors carry fancy collections and streetwear, respectively. Meanwhile, the last floor is where you’ll find the designer bags.

If you want a break from the shopping spree, hop into one of Cat Street’s many cafes. The Roastery in front of Delsey Lab Tokyo’s Shibuya branch is a popular one and is said to serve excellent doughnuts.

9. Takeshita Street, Harajuku

Harajuku is one of many reasons that more than 30 million tourists annually find Japan worth visiting, and no street encompasses the vibe of Harajuku quite like Takeshita Street.

Takeshita is a shopping hot spot with an entirely different atmosphere than Omotesanda and Cat Street. Instead, the stores here are dedicated to whacky, colourful clothes and accessories –subsequently, Takeshita Street is one of the best places to see the world-famous Harajuku girls.

The street isn’t as long as Omotesando, either. In fact, Takeshita is around half the distance of the Champs-Elysee-like avenue. Plus, the street’s main clientele is younger and more into over-the-top items and entertainment than high fashion.

Check W C’s pastel-coloured apparel collections or head to Boutique Takenoko if you’re looking for gothic and lolita styles. Of course, there’s a Daiso branch, too. Takeshita also happens to be a great place to buy gachapon (vending machine capsule toys). For instance, there’s the C-Pla store, with its jaw-dropping assortments of gachapon machines.

To wrap up the visit, don’t just take a selfie in the street. Instead, find one of the many “Purikura” photo booths and hop in. You’ll get to edit your photos, add Kawaii filters, and print them on a sticker.

10. Nakamise-Dori, Asakusa

If you’re visiting the Sensoji Temple in the historic district of Asakusa, make sure to take your time walking through the 250-meter stretch of Nakamise.

Lined with nearly 90 shops and food stalls, Nakamise is the perfect spot to try tabearuki (walking and eating). While tabearuki is frowned upon in many areas in Japan, it’s not unusual in this case. One of the top street food options to try is kaminari-okoshi, which is a sweet toasted rice cracker.

The nearest station to Nakamise Street is Asakusa, but you can also get there from Tawaramachi station. It’s an easy 10-minute walk.

However, the fun-shaped ningyo yaki is a strong contender, thanks to its taste and serving experience. You’ll see the vendors make the bean-paste-filled sweet cake right in the stall. Keep in mind that the method is still the same as it was 100 years ago!

11. Denboin-Dori, Asakusa

Walking down Nakamise and towards the temple, you’ll come across the intersection with Denboin-dori. Hop into that street for a quiet 200-meter stroll. Denboin-dori has seen some restoration projects, so it’s not 100% authentic. Now, it reflects the style and atmosphere of the Edo Period. Expect to see lots of black and brown earthy tones used for the buildings.

While it’s not as “touristy” as Nakamise, visitors can enjoy shopping for a quirky yukata (summer kimono), figurines, Edo-Kirko-style glassware, or a traditional fan. There are food vendors, too. However, if you’re coming from Nakamise, you might not be in the mood for more snacks.

One thing that’ll probably pique your interest while strolling Denboin-dori is the garden behind the gates. That would be the private Denboin Garden, spanning over 12,000 square meters.

Getting to walk in this circuit-style garden is a chance to slip back in time to the 17th century, but there’s one hiccup. The premise is closed for a good chunk of the year and only opens for a limited time frame.

Usually, this window aligns with the cherry blossom season somewhere around March and May, but the dates and admission fees are still in the temple’s description. After all, the garden is the private property of the Sensoji Temple’s abbot.

12. Kappabashi-Dogu-Gai, Asakusa & Ueno 

Kappabashsi-dogu-gai is one of the longer options on the list, as it stretches for 800 meters from Asakusa-Dori Avenue and up north to Kototoi-dori.

The street has a reputation for being the shopping district to hit for all things catering-related. Think tableware, pots, baking supplies, lanterns, staff uniforms, and even fake food replicas used for window displays.

One must-see landmark in the street is the Kappa Kawataro Statue of the River Child (a mythical creature). It’s right around the Kappabashi intersection, golden, has a beak for a mouth, and flaunts webbed feet—you can’t miss it.

The street is accessible, but there’s one note. While Kappabashi is halfway between Asakusa and Ueno, the nearest station is the Tawaramachi on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. However, you can still make it from Asakusa station, and it’ll only be a short walk in under five minutes.

13. Ameya Yokocho, Ueno

Ameya Yokocho (or Ameyoko for short) is known as one of Tokyo’s bustling open-air markets, but it’s not an open-air market per se. Instead, it’s just lined with hundreds of regular stores, and some store owners set up tables outside the premises.

Either way, it’s still a fantastic and highly accessible shopping street—it literally runs side by side with the JR Yamanote Line (the green loop line) between Okachimachi Station and Ueno Station.

Back in the day, Ameyoko was a marketplace for candies. Others believe it was full to the brim with surplus from the Second World War and that the “Ame” part of the name actually refers to American products.

Today, you can find nearly everything in Ameyoko, from fresh fish to cosmetics. Most of the stuff is reasonably priced, and some are even a bargain. That said, haggling the vendors isn’t an ideal move.

As a lesbian couple visiting Japan, we experienced no discrimination, even when staying in capsule hotels. However, when travelling, we’re always relatively low-key and don’t show any public signs of affection.

14. Yanaka Ginza, Yanaka

Yanaka Ginza Shotengai matches the old-town “shitamachi” character of the Yanaka district. Still, by comparison, it’s pretty much the neighbourhood’s most lively spot. After all, the 175-meter winding alleyway is Yanaka’s number one shopping destination.

For the most part, you’ll find small and locally owned shops that have passed generation after the other, but there’s no speciality. So expect to see vendors selling clothes, groceries, or trinkets.

Nippori station is only five minutes from Yanaka Ginza, and the route takes you through the staircase first.

If you’re looking for handmade crafts, check out Midoriya’s bamboo products at the street’s entrance. The store has been in business since 1908. Next, you’ll come across cafes and food stalls if you’d like to rest for a bit. We found that Menchi-katsu is one of the most popular snacks among visitors and locals alike.

Another neat trick we found is that if the day rolls over while you’re still at Yanaka Ginza, you can make your way north to the famous Yuyake Dandan staircase. From there, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the sunset. Alternatively, you could start the night at Yuyake Dandan, snap photos of the entrance, and then tour the shopping street.

15. Kokusai-Dori, Kuramae

Kuramae is a hub of all things crafty, and walking down Kokusai-Dori is a great way to get immersed in the artisan lifestyle. For instance, you have souvenir shops like Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten with a selection of taiko drums and festival equipment.

Side Note: One of the best things about Kuramae is that it’s small, so don’t shy away from exploring the alleys and roads branching from Kokusai-dori.

M+, a leather products studio, and retailer, is also worth a visit. However, it’s not directly on the avenue. To find the store, you’ll need to walk into the side street from the Hotel Kukame intersection.

There you can pick up some of the most beautiful handcrafted wallets, purses, and pencil cases you’ve ever seen. It’s worth noting that the artist’s products are available in other branches, but what makes this one special is that it features exhibits on the leather-ageing process.

16. Chazawa-Dori, Sangenjaya

Shinjuku’s Godzilla isn’t the only giant monster you’ll see in Tokyo—the Sangenjaya neighbourhood has its own gorilla dangling from a Family Mart building on Chazawa-Dori up north from the station.

Chazawa-dori is a pedestrian-only street during the weekend, and this would make taking full-view pictures of the gorilla so much easier.

While this one doesn’t roar every top of the hour, light up, or blow smoke, it’s holding a little girl in its hand. No one knows for sure where this famous landmark came from or how it ended up on top of a convenience store, though. To us, this only adds to its intrigue and charm.

To keep the fun spirit alive, walk north on the street towards Shimo-Kitazawa until you find the Space Orbit venue and see if they have any music events for the day. On your way there, stop at Guuutara Coffee for a mouthwatering treat. Their speciality is cream soda floats, but they also make a mean latte.

17. Meguro Ginza Shotengai, Nakameguro

During spring, tourists flock out of Nakameguro Station towards the river to see cherry blossom events. However, that’s not the only thing to do in the area.

If you head southwest from the station and keep going for a couple of minutes, you’ll find the Meguro Ginza Shotengai shopping street across from the 7-eleven Nakameguro Atlas Tower.

Start by checking out the ceramic ornaments at Migratory. Then make your way down the street for more interesting stores and cafes.Note that Nakameguro is a residential area, and there’s a viewing etiquette to keep in mind.

18. Togoshi Ginza Shotengai, Shinagawa

Togoshi Ginza is the longest shopping street in Tokyo at 1.3km and stretches from Nakahara-kaido Avenue in the west all the way to Mitsugi Street featuring more than 400 stores.

That said, Togoshi Ginza isn’t the place to visit for high fashion. It’s much more homely. So, most shops there offer essential services and products for the residents in the area. Still, it’s a good place for visitors to spend an afternoon absorbing the architecture.

Plus, you don’t need gourmet food to have fun in a shotengai; you can just eat croquette on a bench and watch the pedestrians go in and out of the traditional shops.

Thankfully, the street is conveniently adjacent to the Togoshi Ginza Station on the Ikegami Line.

19. Ginza-Dori, Ginza

Ginza’s main street (also called the Ginza-dori or the Ginza Chuo-dori) is chock-full of luxury brands and flagship stores that it’s a shopaholic’s dream come true.

For one, you have the world’s largest UNIQLO store. However, shopping for apparel won’t be the only highlight of your visit to the street. You also have Itoya, one of the most popular speciality stationary stores in the entire country.

You can reach the avenue from Ginza Station exits A1–14, but to get to UNIQLO, exit A2 works best. Meanwhile, A3 is closer to Itoya.

Itoya has a long history in Ginza, where it began as a small-scale store in 1904. Fast forward to today, and it’s a massive 12-story building with a theme for every floor.

So, while you’re there, grab a postcard from the first floor to send back home or refresh your travel gear on the sixth floor. As you walk out of the front door, remember to check the Origin of Ginza Monument in front of the nearby Tiffany’s (there was a silver mint in this spot back in the day).

20. Jizo Dori Shopping Street, Sugamo

The 800-meter Jizo Dori street adds a twist to the traditional shopping streets—it doesn’t cater to youth all that much.

Instead, it’s sometimes called the “Old Woman’s Harajuku” or “Grandma’s Harajuku.” Think Takeshita Street but with more old-fashioned hospitality and fewer neon lights.

While there are over 200 stores in this shitamachi-style street, many people don’t even come for the shopping experience. The main highlight is actually the Buddhist Koganji Temple, particularly the Arai Kannon statue.

People, especially the elderly, flock to Jizo Dori to get to this temple because the statue is thought to help relieve pain. The street gets even busier during the 4th, 14th, and 24th as those days align with the temple’s monthly festivities.

21. Kichijoji Sunroad, Musashino

The Kichijoji Sunroad arcade helps you take your shopping spree outside Tokyo’s special wards and into the small city of Musashino. It’s still within the Tokyo Metropolis, though.

The arcade runs between the north exit of the Kichijoji Station and Itsukaichi Kaido Avenue. Along this stretch, there’s free Wi-Fi coverage, and the area is covered with glass roof panels.

Plus, you can view a full list of the shops, restaurants, and services available. This way, you can prepare your Tokyo itinerary beforehand. While it’s not as famous as other streets, there are occasional events and festivals, so keep an eye out on the official calendar before visiting. You might catch the Kichijoji Autumn Festival.

22. Chuo-Dori, Akihabara

The main street of Akihabara Electric Town is lined with tech retailers, catering to everything from junk and spare parts to the newest releases in computers, cameras, and smartphones. Interestingly, electronics aren’t the only niche in the area.

Anime and otaku cultures are getting more popular in Akihabara. So you can stroll into the Maidreamin Cafe, where the staff members are dressed as anime characters.

Alternatively, visitors can opt to browse seven floors of manga, comic books, figurines, and anime song CDs, at Animate. The cherry on top is that this heaven of anime and tech is only a few minutes from the JR Akihabara Station. 

Anime is a huge part of Japanese culture and therefore it’s no surprise that there are several anime theme parks in Japan for you to visit.

23. Koenji Junjo Shotengai, Suginami

As you step out of the north exit of the Koenji Station, you’ll spot the entrance gate of the most popular shopping street in the area. That would be the Koenji Junjo Shotengai, with its 200+ stores. The street is a nice introduction to Koenji’s music culture—the neighbourhood is thought of as the birthplace of Japanese punk music.

Fun Fact: The street was originally called the Koenji Ginza Shotengai, but the name was adjusted after Shoichi Nejime published an award-winning novel called “Koenji Junjo Shotengai.”

On a typical day, visitors get to experience this underground music scene in one of the cafes or eateries. Checking out the instruments at AV Garage is also a fun activity, even if you don’t know how to play.

However, if you’re lucky enough to visit during late August, you could catch the Koenji Awa Odori dance festival as the parade, with all its exuberance, makes its way across the shotengai.

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