First Time in Tokyo: Where to Go and Things to Do

10 things to do in Tokyo for every first time visitor

The capital city and the most touristic city in Japan! The metropolitan Tokyo offers tourists millions of attractions but what are things and places that you shouldn’t really miss as a first time visitor? Here is a list of 10 things and places for first time in Tokyo!

1. Lean the History in Asakusa, Sensoji Temple

Asakusa (浅草) is the historical area in Tokyo and where Tokyo’s oldest temple Sensoji is located. If you want to see the traditional and historical side of the city, Asakusa is the first choice. Stroll down the historic streets, enjoy Japanese street snacks at Nakamise Street, worship at the great temple and get around by the traditional rickshaw! Renting Kimono is also a great idea in Asakusa area where you can take a lot of photos of yourself in Kimono dress with the charming streets of this historic neighbourhood.

More info: Best Things to Do in Asakusa

2. Explore Tokyo’s Food Culture in Tsukiji Market

The biggest wholesale market in the world, Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場) has been relocated to Toyosu now, however the outer market of Tsukiji remains in the same location with vibrant atmosphere with shops, food stalls and restaurants. Visitors can enjoy the authentic and enthusiastic atmosphere of the old market, and taste delicious food including fresh seafood!

More info: Tsukiji Fish Market: Jogai Shijo Outer Market

3. Visit Observatories for Skyscraper Views

Visiting observation decks in Tokyo is recommended for both day and night. You can enjoy totally different city views during the day and at night. Tokyo has several amazing observation decks offering astonishing overlooking view including Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower and Shibuya Sky. You may also capture Mt Fuji if the visibility is good!

More info: Best Observatories in Tokyo

4. Otaku Experience in Akihabara

Otaku (geek) has became one of the most famous and significant cultures from Japan for the past decade, and this is one thing foreign visitors should experience. Akihabara (秋葉原) is known as the Mecca of Otaku culture, and the district is full of unique, funny and weird stuff such as Maid Cafe and Anime/Game shops.  It’s also the best place to shop latest high-tech electric gadgets and gaming goods.

More info: Best Things to Do in Akihabara

5. Be a Photographer at Shibuya Scramble Crossing

One of the most popular spots to photograph in Tokyo, the Shibuya Crossing is the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing surrounded with neon lights. It’s situated right in front of the Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station (渋谷駅). At the peak time of the day, there are approx 3,000 passengers crossing there at once!! Don’t miss to capture the coolest street view in the world!

More info: Best Shibuya Crossing Photo Spots

6. Meet the World of Kawaii in Harajuku

“Kawaii” is the famous words to represent the young and modern culture of Japan nowadays, and the Kawaii pop culture is originated in Harajuku (原宿) area. There are hundreds of shops, cafes and restaurants offering the latest trendy fashion products within this neighbourhood. Even if you are not into the extremely cute fashion, it’s amazing place to explore unique culture of Tokyo. Walk down the Takeshita Street, eat crepes, meet Kawaii girls and shop trendy items!

More info: Best Things to Do in Harajuku

7. Night-out in Shinjuku

When people think of Tokyo, many would come up with the crammed street with flashy neon lights. Shinjuku (新宿) is where that vision is actually presented. “Kabukicho” is the biggest red-light area in the city and known as the district which never sleeps! There are also two significant drink spots in Shinjuku, “Omoide Yokocho”, an old-fashioned Izakaya alley and “Golden Gai”, a small street filled with tiny bars.

More info: Best Things to Do in Shinjuku

8. Shop till You Drop

Tokyo is one of the best cities to shop in the world, and there are all kinds of shops you wish to visit including the latest electric gadgets, traditional crafts, trendy fashion items, make-up and skincare products, food, anime/games and many many more! The best shopping districts in Tokyo are Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya and Akihabara depending on what kind of products you would like to shop. Just make sure to have enough space in your suit case 😉

More info: What to Buy in Japan

9. Dine and be Entertained at Theme Cafe/Restaurants

One of the biggest trends among tourists in Tokyo is unique themed cafes/restaurants such as maid cafe, animal cafes and instagram-worthy restaurants. If you wish to have weird and unique “only in Japan” kind of experiences, you should definitely visit one of these theme cafes/restaurants in Tokyo!

More info:
Best Theme Cafes/Restaurants in Tokyo
Best Animal Cafes in Tokyo
Best Maid Cafes in Tokyo
Best Character Cafes in Tokyo

10. Sushi: Eat the Freshest Seafood Products

Sushi became world’s favourite dish in past decades and of course, Japan does it best. There are thousands of Sushi restaurants in Tokyo and some of them are really affordable (100 yen per plate). But if you wish to try finest Sushi, book one of the top-rated restaurants and have an exclusive Sushi experience!

More info: 5 Top-Rated Sushi Restaurants in Tokyo

Thanks for reading! If you are going to visit Tokyo for the first time, don’t miss these 10 spots/things to do to complete your bucket list!

For more classic travel information in Tokyo, here are some more articles for you to check out 🙂

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈