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Nowhere in the world quite compares to the energy and excitement of Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo mixes modern with traditional and is full of some of the world’s best culture, food, and shopping. There is so much to see in Tokyo, and the city is the perfect jump-off point for visiting the rest of Japan.
Several airlines have flights to Japan from Sydney, and some even offer nonstop services, so you can be soaking up the excitement of Japan in no time. Qantas, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines have flights that will take you direct from Sydney to Tokyo in just over 9 hours without stops. Other airlines with Sydney to Tokyo flights include Jetstar, Scoot, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines among others.
With more than 800 Sydney to Tokyo flights each week, Webjet will have you on your way to Japan in no time. Are you ready to experience the buzz of Tokyo? Webjet has your ultimate guide to planning your trip from Sydney to Japan.
Things to do in Tokyo
There’s no city in the world quite like Tokyo. It has an amazing energy to it and perfectly blends the modern with the traditional. It has something to offer everyone—interesting history, great fashions, an exciting nightlife, and incredible restaurants. It actually has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in the world! It would be impossible to run out of things to do in Tokyo, no matter how long your visit.
The Imperial Palace
Located right in the heart of Tokyo is a surprisingly peaceful park called Chiyoda. Located within the park, you’ll find the Imperial Palace, which is home to the Emperor of Japan. While the palace itself is only open to the public twice a year, guided tours of the grounds take place on Tuesday to Saturday. The grounds are gorgeous and full of some fascinating history. It’s also one of the best spots to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo if you are visiting during cherry blossom season in March and April.
Sumo Wrestling and Kabuki Shows
Another must for your time in Tokyo is to watch something authentically Japanese. If you are a fan of sports, you can’t miss seeing a sumo wrestling match. If you love musical theatre, book a ticket to one of Tokyo’s many Kabuki shows. Kabuki actors wear elaborate clothing and makeup very different to what you’ll see in Australia. The theatre can even provide you with English audio through headphones so you’ll understand everything that is happening in the show.
Asakusa District - Old Tokyo
For a taste of old Tokyo, pay a visit to the Asakusa district. Here you’ll find some of Tokyo’s beautiful temples and traditional architecture. The most popular temple to visit is Senso-ji. It dates all the way back to the year 628 AD and is the perfect representation of Japanese style during that time. The temple is made up of a large red gate, a pagoda with five tiers, and several smaller buildings all built in the same style.
Shibuya is one of the business hubs of Tokyo. The neighbourhood is full of great shops, restaurants, and nightlife and is especially popular with young people. Within Shibuya, you can visit the Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park, but what the district is most known for is the Shibuya Crossing. This crossing is rumoured to be the busiest in the world with thousands of people crossing the busy intersection at once in all directions.
Shinjuku is considered to be the entertainment centre of Tokyo. In particular, Shinjuku is known for its exciting nightlife. Within the neighbourhood is the Golden Gai—a series of narrow laneways lined with over 200 bars. The bars are tiny and some only have seating for a few customers at a time, but it’s a Tokyo experience you can’t miss! Once you’ve visited a couple bars, the neighbourhood is full of great late-night food options as well.
This neighbourhood is considered the fashion capital of Tokyo and has some of the city’s best shopping. The area is also great for people watching, particularly “Harajuku girls” who wear creative styles in bright colours.
Yes, Tokyo has its own Disneyland! It’s located south of the city centre and is easily accessible on Tokyo’s metro system. Disneyland is home to some Disney favourites, including Cinderella’s Castle, Splash Mountain, “It’s a Small World”, and of course lots of Disney characters that you can meet.
For the best view over Tokyo, head up to the top of the Tokyo Skytree. The building is the second largest structure in the world and offers incredible views over the city with the mountains in the background. For an extra special experience, visit the Skytree for sunrise or sunset.
One of the most well-known spots to visit on a trip to Tokyo is actually located outside the city itself. Mount Fuji is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707. Mount Fuji has some great hikes and national parks surrounding it, and if you visit in winter, there are some great ski resorts. Mount Fuji is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season when the whole region blooms in shades of pink.
While visiting Tokyo, be sure to experience as much authentic Japanese food as you can. Tokyo has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city, some of which are very affordable. Theme cafes are also a big trend in Tokyo, with themes such as Hello Kitty, monsters, robots, and even hedgehogs. Some must-try foods during your time in Tokyo are ramen, sushi, tonkatsu, and the freshest fish you’ll ever taste.
Best time to visit Tokyo
What is the best time of year to visit Japan?
By far, the best time to travel from Sydney to Tokyo is during the famous cherry blossom season between March and April. The city and surrounding areas come to life with vibrant pink blooms to signal the end of the cold Japanese winter. Tokyo is busy during this time, but it’s worth braving the crowds to see the gorgeous cherry blossoms. Autumn is another perfect time of year in Tokyo between September and November. Travelling from Sydney to Japan at this time, you’ll see vibrant foliage all throughout the city.
The Japanese summer is high season in Tokyo. There are lots of tourists in the city at this time, and the weather is hot and humid. Winter in Tokyo is cold, but not unbearable. While some of the parks around Tokyo are closed in winter, it’s still a nice time of year to visit if you are a skier or snowboarder. Mount Fuji—a volcanic mountain located near Tokyo—has some great ski resorts.
Departing from Sydney
Sydney Airport is located just 7 km south of the CBD, making it super easy and convenient to get to. With more than 100 Sydney to Tokyo flights every day, you’ll be soaking up the Japanese culture and history in no time. A variety of airlines fly in and out of Sydney Airport each day. Many have routes from Sydney to Tokyo, including Qantas, Jetstar, Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. Some even offer nonstop services between the two cities, which get you into Japan in just over 9 hours.
Getting to Sydney Airport (SYD)
There are a couple of options to get to Sydney Airport (also called Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport). The most affordable option is to catch the Airport Link train, which departs from many different train stations around Sydney. It has stops at Central Station, Wynyard, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbour, and even some outer suburbs, such as Wollongong. Trains from the CBD get to the airport in about 15 minutes, and Bondi trains arrive in about 45 minutes. You can purchase tickets or pay using your Opal Card. Tickets from the CBD are $18.70, and tickets from Bondi are $19.70.
Another way to get to the airport is by taxi or Uber. With the airport located conveniently close to both the CBD and Bondi, you’ll be able to get to the airport in no time. A taxi from the CBD costs about $45-$60 for a 20 minute drive. The ride from Bondi takes just under a half hour and has a similar fare between $45-$65.
Parking at Sydney Airport
For travellers looking to park for more than a few days, the Blu Emu car park is a budget-friendly option. A 24 hour free shuttle connects you to the Domestic Terminal in 15 minutes. From the Domestic Terminal, catch the free train to the International Terminal between 5AM and midnight. Book your spot at Blu Emu in advance for the best rate. You can park for $30 a day, and for longer visits to Tokyo, you can even park for as low as $114 per week.
For a quick visit to Tokyo, the P7 car park has the quickest access to the International Terminal. P7 is just a 5 minute walk away and offers shaded parking spots. This car park costs about $55 a day when you book in advance through the Sydney Airport website.
Arriving in Tokyo
Tokyo is home to two international airports, Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. Located 60 km east of Tokyo’s city centre, Narita Airport handles about half of all international flights entering and leaving the country. Haneda Airport is much closer to central Tokyo, making it a great option for getting into the city in the shortest amount of time. Haneda Airport handles mostly domestic flights throughout Japan, but there are international flights that land here as well. Whichever airport you fly into, you’ll have no trouble getting into the city and to your hotel.
Getting to Central Tokyo from Narita Airport (NRT)
Tokyo is very efficient when it comes to public transport, and there are many options to get you into central Tokyo from Narita Airport.
JR Narita Express
The Narita Express is a fast and comfortable way to get from Narita Airport into Tokyo. The train has plenty of luggage space and airplane-style seats. The train stops at many major stations around central Tokyo, including Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station, Shinjuku Station, and Ikebukuro Station. Tickets into Tokyo Station cost ¥3,020 (about $36.75) for standard class and ¥4,560 for first class. Tickets to other central Tokyo stations cost ¥3,190 for standard class and ¥4,730 for first class. Trains depart Narita Airport heading into Tokyo every half hour.
JR Narita Line Rapid Train
This train also gets you to Tokyo Station, but takes a bit longer than the Narita Express. The journey is an hour and a half, however tickets are more affordable. Tickets to Tokyo Station are ¥1,320. The Narita Line Rapid Train departs Narita Airport once every hour.
Keisei Electric Railway Skyliner
If you’re staying in the eastern neighbourhoods of Tokyo, the Keisei Electric Railway Skyliner is your best option. The train makes stops at Nippori and Ueno stations in eastern Tokyo. This is one of the fastest trains in Tokyo and almost reaches the speed of Japan’s famous bullet trains. The train journey only takes between 40-45 minutes, and tickets cost ¥2,470.
With the airport located quite a distance from the city centre, a taxi from Narita Airport to central Tokyo is pricey. In perfect conditions, the journey from Narita Airport to central Tokyo takes about an hour. However, as one of the largest cities in the world, Tokyo often has heavy traffic. If you do decide to go with a taxi, visit taxi stands 15, 29, 30, or 31A for taxis offering fixed rates into the city. Fixed rates are based on which zone of Tokyo you are travelling to. Much of central Tokyo falls into Zones C and D. A taxi to Zone C costs ¥20,000, and a taxi to Zone D costs ¥22,000.
Getting to Central Tokyo from Haneda Airport (HND)
Haneda Airport is only located 14 km from Tokyo Station, so there are several affordable options to get you into the Japanese capital quickly.
The Keikyu Line
From Haneda Airport, follow the signs to the Keikyu Line train. From there, catch a train going to Shinagawa Station, which is only 15 minutes away. From there, you will need to transfer to the JR Yamanote Line, which will take you to the central areas of Tokyo in 10-20 minutes, including Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, and Shibuya Station. Trains to these stations cost between ¥580 and ¥610.
The Tokyo Monorail will get you into the city centre in a similar amount of time, but offers nice city views during your ride as well. Take the 15 minute journey on the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station where you can transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. The ride from there is only 6 minutes to Tokyo Station and 25 minutes to Shinjuku Station. Tickets are between ¥650 and ¥690 from Haneda Airport to the stations around central Tokyo. However, if you book your ticket in advance you can pay just ¥500.
Being located so close to the city centre, a taxi is a practical option when you fly into Haneda Airport. The journey into the centre is just about a half hour without traffic. Taxis travelling from Haneda Airport into Tokyo offer fixed rates to 19 different areas of the city. A taxi to Shinjuku costs ¥7,100, a taxi to Shibuya costs ¥6,600, and a taxi to Chiyoda (where Tokyo Station is located) costs ¥5,900. If you are travelling from the airport between 10PM-5AM, your taxi may add a surcharge of about ¥1,200 on top of the original cost.