Tokyo is fast becoming one of the world’s top tourist destinations. With a rich culture, interesting history, and amazing food, it is no wonder that many people come to the country to spend their vacation. However, as in any famous destination, there are tourist traps that we should avoid. These are the overrated attractions that are in most to-visit lists when in Japan but are actually underwhelming.

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Save your yen and spend your time more wisely by skipping these over-hyped places and going to the alternatives instead. You will not only enjoy the views but will most definitely be more relaxed when you skip the tourist traps and make better use of your time and money.

10 Golden Temple, Kyoto

Japan is famous for its temples and Kyoto’s very own Golden Temple is one of the most popular ones that tourists like to visit. It is called such because gold leaf covers its top two floors. However famous this is, it is considered overrated by many because the pavilions are not open to the public and you cannot even see the statues up close.

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You can only view from across the pond. In essence, you are only looking at the façade of the temple. You will be better off visiting its sister temple, Silver Temple. Though not coated in silver, you can visit the tea ceremony room and enjoy roaming the perfectly landscaped grounds.

9 Imperial Palace, Tokyo

One of the top destinations in Japan is the Imperial Palace. Tourists flock to Tokyo in the hopes of seeing what a traditional Japanese palace looks like. However, you will be disappointed because you can only see its façade. The Palace itself is not open to the public. There may be organized tours but you can only roam in the gardens. And if it’s parks and gardens that you will just see, better head to Shinjuku Koen. This botanical garden has spacious grounds, offering a relaxing ambiance amidst the buzz of the city. You will be able to see Japanese, English and French landscape gardens but one of the most popular times to visit this is during the cherry blossom season.

8 Tokyo Sky Tree

It may be one of your to-do lists to view Tokyo from a high place to appreciate its beauty and it may seem that the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest tower in 2018, is the best place to do this. You can get a sweeping view of Tokyo from one of the observation decks of the tower. However, at $19 per adult as an entrance fee, this is a lot. As it is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, there are long lines that will only waste your time. You can instead go to Tokyu Plaza Omotesando where you can view Tokyo from a sky garden. You can even bring your own food and drink while relaxing amidst the green space.

7 Takeshita Dori

One of Tokyo’s busiest and most popular shopping streets is Takeshita. There are many department stores, boutiques, Daiso outlets, and other shops that offer whatever you think you need and much more that you don’t. Since Takeshita Dori has become a tourist spot, prices here have risen and are not worth it anymore. Expect a lot of people and crowding, so you will not have an easy, relaxed shopping experience. You can go instead to Shimikitazawa. The hipster vibe in the neighborhood is augmented by the brewpubs and craft cafes that host live bands and art shows. Enjoy the murals painted along the lanes of the streets where you can shop for vintage clothes or watch new plays in the theaters.

6 Nikko

The mystical place of Nikko is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations because of its temples and shrines. However, it is also one of the most overrated attractions in the country because as spectacular as the view is, it’s crowded. The vast number of people visiting Nikko decreases the tranquility of the place, taking away some of the mystery and charm of the once mystical place of mountain worship.

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You will be better off visiting the seaside city of Kamakura. It is the home of the Great Buddha of Kotoku-in Temple. Shinto shrines and Buddhist zen temples can also be found here. What distinguishes Kamakura is the resort town near the popular surfing post of Yuigahama Beach.

5 New York Grill

On the 52nd floor of the world-renowned Park Hyatt in Tokyo lies a restaurant that offers a panoramic view. New York Grill is a famous destination among tourists. This is the location of the movie Lost in Translation in 2003. However, this may be the best claim to fame for the restaurant. The food is good but a little on the pricey side. If you want good food at an affordable price with a panoramic view of Tokyo, head to Star Road in the Daiba Minato-ku. It is on the 30th floor in the Grand Pacific Le Daiba. It gives a sweeping view of the Skytree, the Tokyo Tower, and the Rainbow Bridge (go at night). You will also see Mount Fuji when you dine at Le Daiba.

4 Golden Gai

Most tourists head to the Golden Gai to experience a Japanese night with drinks. The alley is a collection of mismatched buildings and if at first glance you feel that it is a seedy place, it is because it is a little shabby. The area is unpolished and may give off an unsafe atmosphere. If you want to experience a lively night with good food and good drinks, head to Ebisu Yokocho. It is also located in an alleyway giving an authentic feel of a typical Japanese night but in a much brighter area. There are many eateries that offer local delicacies and drinks from wines to local sake.

3 Sanrio Puroland

If you are a Hello Kitty lover, Sanrio Puroland amusement park is a must-visit place for you when you are in Japan. It is full of Sanrio characters and there is a tour where you can see the home and lifestyle of Hello Kitty. However, it is one of the overrated tourist attractions in Japan as it does not offer much other than Sanrio. If you want to a better experience, head to the Ghibli museum in Mitaka. It showcases the cinematic works of Japanese firm Studio Ghibli. The animation and art museum features film excerpts, a children’s playground, and a rooftop garden. This family-friendly museum also has a souvenir shop where you can get gifts for your friends.

2 Maid Cafes

If someone tries to persuade you to go to any of the maid cafes scattered in Japan, you better think twice about it. Although famous among tourists because of the costumed waitresses, it really does not offer anything aside from the cutesy antics of its staff. Sure, it is a unique experience with the role-play of Japanese girls in French maid uniforms, but the high price of mediocre food is not worth your time. If you want to dine in a themed place, head to Zauo Fishing Restaurant. You can experience a memorable meal as you fish for your own food and eat the freshest sashimi that you can find.

1 Tokyo Disneyland

Japan has its own happiest place on earth in the face of Tokyo Disneyland. It is where families visiting the country troop to, bringing with them children of all ages. There are several themed parks and entertainment centers that you can visit, along with a hotel, restaurants and other dining options you can choose from. However, this is a tourist trap as large crowds gather every day, especially during the holiday season. Head to the Fuji-Q Highlands and enjoy the sights offered by the amusement park located at the base of Mt. Fuji. The rides and themed attractions will be enjoyed by people who look for an adrenaline rush. If you do not have kids with you who are looking for Mickey Mouse, skip Disneyland and head to Fuji-Q instead.

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