A round-up of Tokyo’s best new openings of 2023, from the Harry Potter Studio Tour to entertainment complexes, bars, restaurants and art installations.
Japan is a destination favoured by Australians. The country’s unique blend of history, culture and cutting-edge technology – combined with a thriving food, music and pop-culture scene – makes Japan one of the most diverse and intriguing places in the world. While many travellers will have iconic sights and locations on their must-see list, such as Shibuya Crossing and Tokyo Skytree, there are new things to do in Tokyo constantly popping up throughout the year. We’ve rounded up some of the coolest new things to do in Tokyo in 2023. Plus, a quick beginner’s guide to Tokyo’s iconic sights.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo: The Making of Harry Potter
It’s no surprise to see the Warner Bros. Studio Tour take the top spot in our list of new things to do in Tokyo. The long-awaited Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo: The Making of Harry Potter has finally opened and is modelled on the original in London. The 30,000-square-metre exhibition includes replica sets from the main films, including Hogwarts’ Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the 9 and 3/4 line. Guests can expect to find traditional English dishes on the menu, and the world’s largest Butterbeer bar. Located in Nerima, northwest of Shinjuku, various Tokyo train stations will be getting a Wizarding World-themed makeover to resemble the Hogsmeade train station featured in the Harry Potter books.
Read the full story: The making of Harry Potter arrives in Tokyo
La Terrazza Dom Pérignon Lounge
Located on the open-air rooftop of Bulgari Ginza Tower, La Terrazza Dom Pérignon Lounge boasts contemporary interior design, Italianate gardens and panoramic views of Tokyo. Guests can sample the exclusive Dom Pérignon Blanc and other rare vintages in a luxe yet relaxed atmosphere.
Ginza Hachigo is the newest member of the exclusive Michelin-starred ramen club. Their beautifully complex soup is clear, flavourful, and made by boiling Nagoya Cochin chicken, duck, scallops, dried tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms, konbu (seaweed), heirloom onions from Kyoto and cured ham. It’s a must-top lunch or dinner spot.
Gold Bar at Tokyo EDITION
Defining itself as a ‘social playground’ that brings another dimension to Tokyo’s bar scene, Gold Bar at Tokyo EDITION serves up delicious cocktails and dignified libations within elegant interiors. The black aesthetic is inspired by Japanese ‘Yakisugi’ (charred timber cladding), while lavish gold decorations, including gold leaf art, lampshades, unique antiques and candles, provide high-contrast accents.
E Vino Spaghetti pasta robot
One of the more unusual things to do in Tokyo right now is visit the world’s first automated pasta robot, which prepares a meal in 45 seconds at E Vino Spaghetti. Recently opened in Tokyo Station, the robot uses AI-based image recognition technology to understand the status of pasta ingredients and cooks dishes in a specially developed frying pan that uses high-powered induction. The robot makes up to 90 meals per hour and even washes pans on its own.
A list of new things to do in Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the world’s largest anime store complex, Animate Ikebukuro Main Store. Now open in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro, an area known as a hub for anime stores, this 10-level mega store is a true otaku paradise with retail shops, event spaces, themed cafes and even its own theatre. Visit Gratte Café on the ground floor, which dishes up anime-themed food and drinks, including cookies.
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Tokyo Midtown Yaesu
Located right across the street from Tokyo Station, this shopping and dining complex is easily recognisable due to the striking 45-storey Yaesu Central Tower, Japan’s 10th-tallest building and home to the country’s first Bulgari Hotel. However, this Tokyo Midtown Yaesu isn’t the ho-hum food courts and outlet centres of mundane suburbia. Visitors can expect to find imaginative and elevated dining experiences, up-market shopping and two massive public art installations, the 10m-tall ‘Star’ by Tokujin Yoshioka, and ‘Mountain Range’ by Takashi Kuribayashi.
Tokyu Kabukicho Tower
Located in Shinjuku, Tokyo Kabukicho Tower is one of the newest things to do in Tokyo, and Japan’s largest entertainment complex to date. Crammed full of bars, restaurants, hotels, an arcade, a club, a cinema, live concert venue, a scattering of artworks from 26 creatives, and much more, it’s certainly worthwhile checking out. The food hall even offers a unique indoor restaurant-hopping experience with 10 restaurants all within metres of one another.
After closing in August 2022, teamLab Borderless is set to return in the new Toranomon Azabudai development in the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, its new light show attraction set to be ever more Borderless than ever. However, if you’re visiting Tokyo before the autumn opening, fear not, as teamLab PLANETS TOKYO in Tokyo’s Toyosu runs until the end of 2023.
Perched 230 metres high upon the roof of a new highrise complex, Shibuya Scramble Square, Shibuya Sky is a 360° open-air observation deck and well-deserving of a spot on your things to do in Tokyo list. The attraction has three zone: Sky Stage, a rooftop observation space with outdoor hammocks; Sky Gallery, an indoor observation corridor on the 46th floor, and Sky Gate, a transition space from the 14th to the 45th floor.
Japan is no stranger to weird and wonderful ideas, but this new attraction is a particularly interesting thing to do in Tokyo. A museum-aquarium hybrid, Art Aquarium fuses space, light, Japanese culture and aquatic creatures into an unreal immersive environment. Purpose-built aquariums and lighting illuminate the fish on display, and guests can expect a new experience each visit, as the installations change with the seasons.
The name of this attraction is a little misleading, as there are actually two towers that make up the Otemachi One complex. The Otemachi One Gardens are expected to open in 2023, a 6000-square-feet open-air plaza with seven zones: Imperial Forest, Succession Forest, Flower Garden, Shade Garden, Imperial Green, Gateway Plaza and Engawa Terrace.
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Iconic things to do in Tokyo
If you’re currently researching the best things to do in Tokyo, we’ve created a list of some of the most iconic sights and landmarks that shouldn’t be missed by first-time visitors.
- Ghibli Museum: a new museum showcasing the work of the Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli.
- Tokyo Skytree: the tallest structure in the entire prefecture.
- Golden Gai: a collection of narrow streets and alleys known for small bars and eateries.
- Shibuya Crossing: the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.
- Imperial Palace: the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family, and the Emperor of Japan.
- Meiji Shrine: one of the city’s most popular Shinto shrines.
- Tokyo National Museum: learn about the culture and history of Japan.
- Ryogoku Sumo Hall: a sports hall hosting traditional sumo tournaments.
- Takeshita Dori: an iconic shopping area in Harajuku.
- Senso-ji: one of Tokyo’s most visited temples.
- Tokyo Tower: a popular lookout point built in 1958.
- Ginza: a luxury shopping, dining and lifestyle precinct.
- Tokyo Disneyland: one of the only places in the world you can visit DisneySea.
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