Tokyo, Japan (CNN) — Navigating a Japanese metropolis as a visitor can be a challenging enough prospect.
The number of city-based tours in Japan has increased over the last few years, coinciding with the rise in visitors.
From tours highlighting the best food to cartoon-centric haunts, these are some of the best tours happening in Japan right now.
The main star of Magical Trip’s food tours is Japanese nightlife.
courtesy Magical Trip
The experiences are primarily focused on food but aim to show visitors what Japanese nightlife is really like, complete with stops at local bars.
Magical Trip’s itineraries focus on specific neighborhoods, including Tokyo’s traditionally minded Asakusa and Osaka’s buzzing Namba district.
Their most popular outing is the Tokyo Bar Hopping course, which actually zeroes in on long-running drinking streets in Shinjuku and Ebisu.
Ideal for anyone looking to feel local and enjoy some libations along the way.
Ninja Food Tours
Offering tours in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, this group tries to highlight lesser known delights.
To that end, they organize tours such as Tokyo Retro Bites (allowing visitors to indulge in throwback street food) and a jaunt through Kyoto’s Arashiyama.
They also offer a cooking class in Tokyo, allowing visitors to get hands-on in creating Japanese cuisine.
The main attraction is right in their title.
The Akihabara Culture Tour matches visitors up with a knowledgeable local who takes them around the Tokyo neighborhood devoted to all things anime, manga and video games.
It’s a whirlwind glance at this corner of Japanese pop culture, topped off by a stop at a maid cafe. Maybe not representative of all the country has to offer, but a great snapshot of a particular subset of it.
Beyond Akihabara, they also guide folks through the fashion and youth-trend capital of Japan, Harajuku.
That tour offers a glance at all things “kawaii” (cute) in Japan, including a stop at a character-themed cafe with dishes that will wow on Instagram.
Chapman has walked and photographed Tokyo for about 20 years, and his tour allows for quite a bit of customization from the participant.
If someone wants to explore a more well-known ‘hood (and snap some photos … though the Photowalk Tour isn’t a camera class), he’s here to help.
Yet his specialty is in guiding people to the alleys and side streets tucked around the capital.
For those wanting to see neighborhoods often overlooked by tourists, his tour is a good option.
Arigato Japan Food Tours
Organizing tours in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, they offer a variety of options including a handful of family-friendly options and even green tea-focused explorations. They also can tailor their tours for those wanting to explore during the day or later at night.
A few highlights include their Hidden Gem Food Tour in Tokyo’s Shimbashi, which helps visitors navigate the labyrinthine backstreets of the capital’s business district, and their tour through Kyoto’s Nishiki Market.
You can learn a lot about a city’s character and history through the buildings dotting it.
The staff working here all have a deep knowledge of Tokyo architectural history, and their trips through Ginza, Omotesando, Ueno Park and more offer deep insight into the buildings in these areas along with their historical context.
One particular highlight is ShowCase Tokyo’s tour of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, one of the most attention-grabbing buildings in the city.
As all of the above hints at, major cities tend to get all the love from walking tours.
Just in time for fall, Walk Japan also has some trips that prioritize seeing the leaves change color, such as their adventure through the Izu Peninsula and the Oita Hot Spring Trail.