Between the wet tsuyu season and big typhoons, Japan can be an exceptionally rainy place sometimes. And for those in the Tokyo area, it can be difficult to find a fun rainy day activity that doesn’t require much time getting soaked outside and bumping umbrellas on the crowded sidewalks. But your rainy day in Tokyo doesn’t have to go to waste!
What to Do on a Rainy Day in Tokyo
When the weather gets stormy, it’s time to take advantage of Tokyo’s vast variety of indoor options. Whether you’re into gaming, traditional Japanese culture, or feasting on Japanese comfort food, there are many ways to enjoy a rainy day without staying stuck at home. When the forecast calls for showers, here are 10 ideas to try:
1. Get Competitive
Tokyo is a gamer’s dream, with multi-floored game centers scattered across the city. Here, you can try your hand at classic games like basketball and air hockey, as well as online options like fighting and racing games. A visit to one of these game centers isn’t complete without at least one, if not a dozen, attempts at a UFO crane game.
For an elevated gaming experience, you may also want to visit a VR center to try out virtual reality games. There, you can feel like you’ve been transported to another world while battling your friends in racing, defeating zombies, and more.
2. Take a Bath, Without the Showers
Hide away from the rain at one of Tokyo’s super sentos. At these mega sentos, you can experience traditional bathhouse culture, but with a fun and often more luxurious twist. Visit Odaiba’s Oedo-Onsen Monogatari or Spa LaQua in Tokyo Dome City to try out different types of baths, each with their own beneficial properties. You can also warm up in the hot saunas, get a massage, and (most importantly) relax and forget your worries.
3. Take In Traditional Culture
Whether you’re passing through Japan on a trip or you’ve lived in Japan for years, there’s still always more to learn about Japanese culture and history. Why not spend a rainy day getting familiar with traditional Japanese culture? Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum to learn about Tokyo’s rich history, or book tickets to watch a sumo tournament in Ryogoku or a kabuki show in Ginza (at the theater pictured above).
4. Visit an Interactive Museum
Museums are the classic rainy day go-to, and interactive options can be especially fun and memorable. Visiting a Teamlab exhibition is one popular way to immerse yourself in art with interactive lighting, colorful props, and unexpected mediums such as water pools that visitors must wade through. Experience this one-of-a-kind exhibition, and get some impressive Instagram-worthy photos too.
5. Try a Quirky Themed Cafe
Japan is known for its countless themed cafes, including maid cafes, character cafes, and many more. Spend a few hours in one of these cafes during a stormy day in Tokyo, trying the unique menu items and enjoying the themed interior design. Choose one that suits your interests, and remember that some themed cafes (such as cafes for a popular anime or some character-themed cafes) are only temporary pop-up cafes, so be sure to visit them while they’re available!
6. Go Izakaya Hopping
If themed cafes aren’t for you, you may enjoy a laid-back day of eating Japanese comfort food and sipping beers at an izakaya, or a Japanese-style pub. You can even hop from izakaya to izakaya, trying out different types of cuisine and drink options. Great neighborhoods to go izakaya hopping in are Shibuya, Asakusa, Shimokitazawa, and Shinjuku.
7. Hang With the Animals
Watch the penguins waddle around, or get cozy with mini pigs! Animal lovers in Tokyo can visit local zoos and aquariums like the Sumida Aquarium to get a glimpse of exotic wildlife. If you want to get closer to the animals, an animal cafe may be a better choice. You can find animal cafes around Tokyo with dogs, cats, owls, otters, pigs, and more.
Keep in mind, while most of these facilities are safe and comfortable for the animals living in them, you may want to do your research beforehand to learn more about the reputation and conditions of each individual zoo, aquarium, or animal cafe that interests you.
8. Sing the Day Away
Going to karaoke is a loved pastime in Japan, regardless of the weather. But a rainy day is the perfect time to tuck yourself away in a private karaoke box with friends and sing until your throat hurts. You can find karaoke locations across the city, and in nightlife-friendly neighborhoods like Shibuya and Shinjuku in particular.
9. Cruise Tokyo Bay
You may not think to hop on a boat on a rainy day, but many of Tokyo Bay’s cruises are open even when the weather isn’t ideal. From these boats, you can get great views of Rainbow Bridge, Skytree, and more. Some also offer full meals and dinner courses, making them a unique date option too. Learn more about cruises in Tokyo here.
10. Go Shopping
The last item on the list is perhaps the most common choice: spending the day browsing and partaking in some “retail therapy” in one of Tokyo’s many shopping centers. Even on the rainiest of days, it’s easy to find a department store to duck into and spend the next several hours in. And though shopping may be part of the plan, visiting a department store or shopping mall also allows you to pass the time flipping through books and magazines at a bookstore, eating at one of the restaurants located inside the building (often ranging from casual options on lower floors to high-end restaurants with spectacular views on upper floors), checking out unique souvenirs and gadgets, and more.
Planning Your Next Rainy Day in Tokyo
Don’t let the rainy forecast leave you high and dry at home. Get out and explore Tokyo with some of these indoor options. For those looking for adventure, visit a gaming center or hop on a cruise boat. For those looking for a relaxing day, visit a sento in the city or ease into an izakaya. Regardless of what you’re looking for or what part of the city you’re in, there’s something fun to do while hiding from the rain.