Marunouchi is a modern-looking district found at the very heart of Tokyo, just a stone’s throw from Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. The name Marunouchi translates as “inside the circle” and originates from its location inside the palace walls of the Edo Castle hundreds of years ago. Originally inhabited by some of the country’s wealthiest lords, the district remains a pristine, wealthy-looking area that is home to some of Japan’s largest banks and impressive modern skyscrapers. Marunouchi is easily accessible from all parts of the city. Tokyo Station is its nearest access point which is a departure point for various bullet trains, local trains, metros and buses. To make the most of your trip to Tokyo, discover the 30 best things to do in the Marunouchi area!
Visiting a chic area should involve some sophisticated activities to perfect the experience. Cotton Club in Marunouchi houses affordable jazz performances which can be appreciated while sipping on a glass of champagne or enjoying a 3-course meal. Does it get much more sophisticated than that?
The renowned Cotton Club originates in New York and brought its stylish vibes to Tokyo in 2005. Jazz lovers are sure to find something to pleasure their ears with a variety of performances taking place on almost every night of the week. Musicians from both Japan and overseas come to play at the venue including some well-known names so tables fill up quickly so be sure to book in advance.
Booking details: Enjoy Jazz Music with Champagne or Healthy Dinner in Tokyo!
Tokyo Imperial Palace was constructed for the first time during the Meiji era in the 19th century and remains one of the capital’s pride and joys to this day. Located within walking distance of Tokyo Station, the palace can be found in beautiful gardens that are a popular sightseeing spot, especially during the cherry blossom season when the grounds overflow with beautiful white and pink blossom.
While the Imperial Palace is a must-visit while you’re in Tokyo, it won’t take a full day to visit so it’s best to combine this trip with other activities around Tokyo. While Japan may be acclaimed for its high speed, efficient trains, the trains and metros around central Tokyo can be difficult to get the hang of and tend to be packed out with the thousands of hurried people. For a simple and relaxed way to travel around Tokyo, a bus tour is your best option. You can appreciate the views from inside the bus while getting a feel of the whole city as you whizz around town. This tour will not only take you to the Imperial Palace but also to Meiji Jingu shrine and Sensoji Temple with many other sights explained along the way.
Booking details: Explore Meiji Jingu shrine and the Imperial Palace in Tokyo!
While cycling is always a recommended way to travel around a city with trains as busy as Tokyo’s, it can sometimes seem like a bit too much hard work. Enter the electric bike! If you’ve never tried one out before, an electric bike looks like a normal bike but with a hidden electric mechanism that gives you a boost to make cycling around effortless.
Finding your way safely around Tokyo on a bike on your own isn’t an easy task but you can join a half-day tour suitable for all ages and fitness levels to keep you safe and on track to see the best sights on offer both in Marunouchi and further afield. This tour not only provides you with an electric bike but also a wearable video camera so that you can record the amazing sights you see on your day out! You’ll be taken to discover the Marunouchi office area and its incredible architecture followed by a trip to Tairano Masakado’s grave who is regarded as the spiritual guardian of Tokyo. While you’re in the area, you will also visit Tokyo Imperial Palace which boasts not only the Japanese Emperor’s living quarters but also beautiful parks.
As travelling around by electric bike is so quick and easy, there’s also time to visit Shinjuku where a traditional Japanese bento box is provided to enjoy in the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen as well as visiting the Olympic site area which is being set up for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Booking details: Cycle around Tokyo with an electric bike and a camera
If you’re keen to visit as much of Tokyo as possible before you head home, a full-day tour is a necessity. This is a hassle-free way of ensuring you don’t miss any of the sights Tokyo has to offer. From the traditional and spiritual to the modern and wacky, there is an infinite list of places to be discovered. Marunouchi’s biggest draw is the nearby Imperial Palace which you can visit in this tour as well as Tokyo Tower from which you can catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Asakusa and all topped off with a cruise down the Sumida River.
This bus tour lasts a full day and includes pick-up and drop-off from your hotel. You are also provided with a scrumptious Japanese lunch, with options of tempura and yakitori, and an English speaking guide so now’s the chance to ask any questions you may have about Tokyo’s history or Japanese culture.
Booking details: Grand Tour of Tokyo Highlights with English Guide, Tokyo!
This beautiful museum, built in 19th-century English architecture style, has various prints and artworks from around the world and various exhibitions that are constantly changing. The museum also has a cafe and a beautiful gift shop where you can browse souvenirs.
— Yuuki.c (@yuukifollowme) November 26, 2017
This relaxing park is a great place to relax after shopping and sightseeing. It’s got views of the Imperial Palace and is home to many lovely flowers and trees. You may see people walking their dogs here as well. Take a break from busy Tokyo and take a breather in this lovely garden area.
Over 2.3 million visitors have witnessed the wonder of this charming and unique art gallery, which features the brick walls of a train station and various genres of exhibitions. Art lovers wouldn’t want to miss this sweet gallery with local and international artists.
Love Japanese ramen? Head down to Tokyo Ramen Street for some seriously satisfying lunch! The street is located in the basement floor of First Avenue Tokyo Station and you can explore different types of this tasty noodle dish. Some varities are unique and only available there. Just buy a ticket from the vending machines, choose your favourite, and chow down!
This 37-storey skyscraper, which was completed in 2002, is something to behold. As well as being able to admire this building from the outside, there are various shops and restaurants located inside where you can dine and grab some souvenirs.
There are various types of cuisines including Japanese, Chinese, French, and Italian, as well as cafes selling sweets and bars for the evening. It’s a great place to have dinner if you’re not in the mood for ramen and a place to explore if you’re caught in the rain.
Another treat for museum lovers is the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, a place of constantly changing exhibitions and collections. There is a collection of Idemitsu works, after whom the museum was named, including classic Japanese art such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints, calligraphy, and East Asian ceramics. If you find yourself caught in the rain or you’re a huge fan of Japanese art, don’t miss this museum in Marunouchi.
— ふくらむちゃん (@fukuramuchan) November 29, 2017
Sweet-toothed travellers won’t be left unsatisfied in Marunouchi! GRANSTA is a large shopping mall located inside Tokyo Station offering delicious sweets, bento lunch boxes, and delicatessen. If you’ve got cravings for some Japanese sweets, head here.
The main street of Marunouchi area, this wide and bustling street is perfect for shoppers. Office buildings, malls, and famous brand shops adorn this street. If you’re in Tokyo for the shopping, don’t give this area a miss.
KITTE is another fantastic place for shopping in Marunouchi. This six-floor building accommodates restaurants and shops and is conveniently located just four minutes from Otemachi Station, three minutes from Tokyo Station, and two minutes from Nijubashimae Station on foot.
This charming tea store is inside the Kokusai Building and is a place where you can browse authentic tea. The original store is in Kyoto, the capital of tea production in Japan, and Ippodo is known for producing high quality green tea. You can find out how these teas are brewed and grab some fantastic souvenirs here.
This convention and arts centre has a range of facilities and halls where there always seems to be something going on, whether it’s a concert, a fashion show, a musical, or an exhibition. There are also cafes, a doughnut shop, restaurants in this exciting building.
This area near Tokyo Station is constructed with red brick and features open areas where you can shop, dine, or relax in a cafe. The architecture may remind you a little of England with its western-style architecture. This is a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon and wander around the quiet hideout of the corresponding park.
Mitsuo Aida was an artist who dabbled in calligraphy and poetry before developing his own style. His book, Ningen Damono, meaning “Because I’m Human” gained him a lot of popularity, and in 1996, five years after his death, a museum dedicated to him and his work was opened in the Marunouchi area.
He expressed himself with original calligraphy works which are known to grip readers with his honest expressions. If you’re interested in Mitsuo Aida’s work or in calligraphy, give this museum a visit.
The elaborate water feature at this pretty park seems to represent Tokyo well: quality, beauty, and style. The fountains at Wadakura Fountain Park look great whether you visit at daytime or at night, and its central location makes it handy to visit between shopping and sightseeing.
This heritage building is a rental office space. The building is an impressive thing to spot during your trip to Marunouchi and is reminiscent of western architecture. Meiji Seimei Kan has been designated a National Important Cultural Property in 1997.
You don’t have to be in Osaka or Hiroshima to enjoy good okonomiyaki! If you’re in the mood for this delicious Japanese savoury pancake, be sure to grab lunch at Kiji, Marunouchi’s well-loved okonomiyaki restaurant.
Every year from November to February, you can spot some gorgeous illumination lights that brighten the cobbled streets. The district gives it a European-style feeling, and is a great place to enjoy a Christmassy feel on a cold evening.
Collectors, children, and fans of manga and anime can’t miss this exciting Character Street! This area features 21 stores with themes of well-known characters such as Rilakkuma, Snoopy, and Hello Kitty, and from Studio Ghibli and Pokémon. It’s a great place to get souvenirs or a treat for yourself if you have a weakness for plushies or figurines.
The area around the Imperial Palace is just lovely on a fine day, with paths, statues, and skyscrapers creating a mixture between the old and new. See what treasures you can find with the Imperial Palace walls on one side and Marunouchi on the other.
“Shin” means “new”, and you’ll spot this building close to the original Marunouchi Building. It was completed in 2007 and features a selection of shops and restaurants as well as pretty views of the surrounding city.
Any fan of chocolate who has been to Japan would known that the Japanese are crazy about Kit Kats! Despite originating in England, this chocolate treat has aned a huge following in Japan and new and unusual flavours are constantly cropping up. In Marunouchi, you won’t see all of the flavours that Japan offers, but you can still grab some unique types such as cream cheese, chili, sakura, green tea, and other seasonal flavours. Due to their high quality, these make great souvenirs.
Stomach rumbling but not in the mood for Japanese food? If you’re in the mood for falafel sandwiches and types of pita with various fillings and condiments. It’s an excellent choice if you’re vegan as well, as no animal products are used at all. This authentic Middle-Eastern treat is a perfect choice for a tasty lunch.
Japan loves its desserts, and cheese is a popular food that is often used in sweets. If you liked creamy cheesecake in Japan, you’ll love these bite size tart treats. Bake Cheese Tart is in GRANSTA their tarts are popular for having a pleasant yet mild taste.
インターメディアテク3階常設展示風景 © インターメディアテク http://www.intermediatheque.jp View of the Intermediatheque 3F permanent exhibition © Intermediatheque http://www.intermediatheque.jp/en #インターメディアテク#intermediatheque #Tokyo #Japan #KITTE#JP #日本郵便 #東京大学#TheUniversityofTokyo #東京大学総合研究博物館#TheUniversityMuseumTheUniversityofTokyo
The second and third floors of the JP Tower make up INTERMEDIATHEQUE, also called IMT. It is a museum stemming from the University of Tokyo, celebrating scientific and cultural achievements. For an interesting mix of science and art, give this museum a visit.
Thinking of spending an evening in Marunouchi or were your plans spoiled by the rain? Karaoke is a popular pastime in Japan; you can rent private rooms, order food and drink, and sing your favourite English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean songs with your friends. Karaoke establishments in Marunouchi include Sing karaoke village Yaesu mouth shop (open after 5:00pm), Big Echo (open after 6:00pm), and Karaoke-kan (open from 2:00pm).
Tokyo is known for its cutting-edge technology, computers, and gadgets. Bic Camera is a fantastic example of a place where you can get everything from musical instruments to beauty products to computer accessories to video games. If you’re enthusiastic about electronics or you’re in need of something new, give the Bic Camera store in the Marunouchi area a visit.
Whether it’s your first time in Tokyo or not, Marunouchi is always worth a visit. There’s something about the impossibly high buildings in contrast with the beautiful red brick Tokyo Station that is a sight that we can never tire of. On top of the many activities, the numerous shops and restaurants in the area mean there is never a shortage of things do after you’ve had a good wander around the area.