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I remember the sensory overload and information paralysis I experienced when visiting Tokyo for the first time. With over 38 million residents, Tokyo teems with people, colours, smells, and sounds jam-packed into labyrinth-like wards and districts connected by the world’s busiest train system.
Neon lights flashing from every corner, crowds of people crossing the famous Shibuya intersection, endless places to see and activities to try – it was exhilarating yet also overwhelming.
Where do you even begin to start making sense of this giant metropolis? As a Japan enthusiast, I’ve created this guide to the 25 best things to do in Tokyo for first timers based on my own travel experiences.
The goal is to help cut through the confusion and provide a curated list of must-see attractions and experiences that give you a quintessential taste of Japan’s colourful capital city.
I still vividly recall my first visit to Tokyo’s serene Imperial Palace gardens – a quiet haven amid the surrounding skyscrapers. My first dinner at a tiny 10-seat sushi counter in Tsukiji Market left me awestruck at the finesse of the sushi chef masters.
Best Things to Do in Tokyo Japan for First-Time Visitors
Through this blog, I wish to guide first-time visitors to Tokyo on how best to spend your limited time to create lasting travel memories. Whether you seek spiritual calm, futuristic technology, rich heritage, pop culture madness, or scrumptious cuisine, Tokyo has it all!
See the Views from Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree (Tōkyō Sukaitsurī) is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. At 634 meters high, it’s the tallest tower in the world and offers incredible 360-degree views over Tokyo.
On clear days, you can even see Mt. Fuji in the distance. The Skytree has two observation decks – at 350m and 450m up. Both offer amazing bird’s eye views over the vast urban landscape.
For the best experience, try to time your visit for sunset or at night to see the city lights sparkling below you. You won’t regret making the trip up to the top things to do in Tokyo Japan.
Located on the east bank of Sumida River, in the Sumida ward of Tokyo, Skytree is an iconic tourist destination that one must visit while in Tokyo. The name ‘Sky Tree’ comes from the Japanese word ‘Soratobu,’ which translates as “tall tree soaring into the sky.”
Futuristic and steeped in Japanese tradition, Skytree comprises of several features that make it a unique attraction.
The tower combines nature’s basic elements – earth, water, fire, wind and the sky in its design represented by the blue glass facade and earth-tone triangle patterns on the exterior. The tower’s shape resembles a gigantic tree trunk supporting the sky. At night, it turns into a colour-shifting tower with dynamic illumination system, making it one of the best things to do in Tokyo at night.
One can also see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Inside the tower are restaurants, cafes and a futuristic museum. Don’t miss the kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant on the fourth floor offering sushi with a view.
Cross the famous Shibuya Crossing
The famous Shibuya crossing is one of the must visit places in Tokyo Japan. When it comes to the world’s busiest pedestrian crossings, the Shibuya Crossing reigns supreme. Located across from Shibuya Station, it’s like a giant beating heart, pumping people in all directions with every light change.
Join the pulsing crowd and cross eight streets spread out in five directions to experience the organized chaos. The Intersection comes alive as vehicles spilling out from all sides wait patiently for multitudes of people to stream through the junction at the green signal.
Then the lights turn red as another sea of pedestrians ready for their turn to confluence at the crossing from all the exit gates of the subway and trains stations nearby. The sheer energy and constantly moving crowds, sort of like shaped liquid in motion, is mesmerizing to watch and be a part of.
Brace yourself because if getting caught in a fast-moving current of people doesn’t excite you enough, the giant screens with neon billboards and contemporary architecture rising all around might just swallow you into Tokyo’s vibrant cityscape, making visiting Shibuya Crossing one of the best things to do in Tokyo Japan.
Go Mario Karting on Real City Streets
If you are looking for unusual things to do in Tokyo Japan, then this is it. What do you get when you blend Japan’s fascination for Nintendo’s Mario Kart with its unique ability to manifest even the wildest fantasies into real life? Mario Kart on real roads in a real go-kart.
This wacky experience is offered by Tokyo MariCAR Tours through Tokyo’s streets near the famous Rainbow Bridge.
Their custom karts have loud SFX like the original game. Choose between popular characters like Mario, Luigi or Yoshi as you put on driving gear.
Then off you go drifting around corners, picking up coins (points) and tossing banana peels. You can even wear costumes to complete the surreal experience. Just don’t throw any turtle shells at pedestrians!
Explore the Grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is the residence of Japan’s imperial family and surrounded by picturesque moats and impressive stone walls is one of the top places to visit in Tokyo. Located in the heart of Tokyo, the palace grounds are full of beautiful gardens, including the East Gardens, which are open to the public.
Here, you can stroll through traditional Japanese landscaping with fishponds, arched bridges, and manicured trees. Visit the ruins of the original Edo Castle to learn about history, admire sakura trees (cherry blossom) in bloom during spring, or simply relax in nature right in the middle of the city. Entrance to the East Gardens is free, making this an essential Tokyo highlight.
With over 115 acres of meticulously manicured lawns, gardens and remnants of the old Edo Castle’s fortifications and moats, it is an oasis of tranquillity in the middle of the bustling megapolis of Tokyo.
The palace amongst the top places to go in Tokyo with grounds are partitioned into various sections open to public on different days. The Higashi-gyōen or East Garden remains accessible for most part of the year except on Mondays and Fridays.
Highlights here are the ruins of Honmaru (main keep) and Ninomaru (secondary keep) with their moats and fortified walls, symbolizing the castle’s military past.
The interiors of castle buildings have been converted into museums displaying Japanese art, swords, armour and treasures related to the Imperial family. The East Garden brims with cultural significance.
It’s much favoured by locals and tourists to view cherry blossoms during hanami, or flower viewing festivals in early spring, making it one of the best things to do in Tokyo in spring.
The fall foliage transforming fiery red and bright yellow attracts crowds later in the year.
Visitors must bring their passports for entry. Guided tours are available in Japanese and English for a small fee. For history buffs and culture vultures, Kokyo’s sprawling sanctuary offers delightful glimpses into Japan’s imperial heritage amidst natural beauty.
Dine and Dance at a Robot Restaurant Show
Looking for a quintessential-only-in-Japan spectacle combining neon lights, loud music, dancing girls, battling robots, ninja warriors and taiko drum performances? Head to Tokyo’s buzzing entertainment and nightlife district Shinjuku where the cacophonous action plays out at the Robot Restaurant four times a night.
Tucked away in the blazing neon district of Kabukichō, Shinjuku lies the flamboyant multisensory Robot Restaurant spectacle. This 90-minute fair housing enormous weapon-wielding robots along with cycle gangs, dancers and monster-like beasts drives audiences wild into a fantasy techno music reverie accentuated by flashing stage lights, pulsating music, buzzing decor and outlandish costumes.
Housed in a flashy building, audiences are first led down a stairway dripping with gaudy embellishments into a big hall for the carnival-like theatrical experience combining singing, dancing and some out-of-this-world stage wizardry like giant robots on hydraulic lifts fighting with monster-like creatures under dazzling laser lights and loud rock music. Whether you watch mesmerized or laugh hysterically, this wacky yet wildly entertaining show makes for an unforgettable Tokyo night out.
Food and drinks can be ordered separately to munch on while witnessing the electrifying action. Defining surreal entertainment only found in Japan, this loud and lurid sci-fi inspired musical show makes for an eye-popping Tokyo night to remember!
Experience Cutting-Edge Technology at Miraikan Museum
Japan is renowned globally for its technological innovations. And the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Odaiba showcases the best of it across diverse fields – from robots to vehicles to bioengineering, making it one of the cool places in Tokyo.
Highlights include demonstrations of humanoid robot ASIMO, virtual reality control of Japan’s Kirobo robot in outer space, and a lifelike android newscaster created using 3D modelling.
See geothermal, solar and biomass energy systems. Walk through the global landscapes tunnel. And don’t miss the super popular demonstration of a human-sized burial shape memory alloy preventing earthquakes destructiveness.
Located in Tokyo Bay area, its unique architecture mimics a Mobius loop representing the perpetuity and seamlessness of time and space.
Explore the Retro Streets of Asakusa
One of the best places to visit in Tokyo is Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s most historic neighbourhoods. Its main attraction is Sensoji temple (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple), an ancient Buddhist temple dedicated to the goddess Kannon with a huge red lantern hanging at the entrance gate.
The main approach via Nakamise shopping street leads to the Asakusa Kannon Temple whose original hall once stood as the centre of Edo culture. Today the temple surrounds gardens adorned with bright red Japanese lanterns.
Nearby Sensoji Temple stays abuzz with worshippers, monks and tourists admiring intricate Buddhist architecture, statutes, and Shinto shrines.
Beyond Sensoji lies a warren of old-world alleys packed with traditional shops selling local crafts and foods.
Walk down Nakamise-dori with its colourful stalls of snacks, souvenirs and traditional eats like hoppodo (pancake with sweet bean filling) evoke nostalgia of an quaint, old-world Tokyo. Visit small shops specializing in Japanese sweets, handmade hair accessories and indigo-dyed goods.
Sample freshly made senbei rice crackers as you watch them being grilled over charcoal. Try your hand at kendama, a classic Japanese skill toy. Soak up the nostalgic atmosphere of “old Tokyo” in these lanes barely changed since centuries ago.
Take a Day Trip to Mount Fuji From Tokyo
Even though the iconic cone-shaped Mount Fuji is some 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, it can be seen from the city on clear days acting as an unmistakable marker to Japan’s tallest peak, making it top things to see in Tokyo japan. You can take a bus tour to Mount Fuji’s 5th Station between April and November when the mountain trail is open.
Alternatively, ride the trains on the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park tour taking in scenic views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding lakes and hot springs while learning about the geology and cultural heritage of the region.
This makes for one of the most recommended day trips from Tokyo to admire Japan’s majestic symbol up close.
Majestic Mount Fuji’s perfectly symmetrical cone rising 3,776 meters needs no introduction. Japan’s highest and most iconic mountain stands tall 60 miles SW of Tokyo in Shizuoka Prefecture.
This active volcano straddling Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures finds cultural roots as a sacred symbol in Japanese art and literature since ancient times.
The official climbing season spanning from early July to September witnesses’ legions of mountain lovers and hikers climbing up to reach the summit to watch the spectacular sunrise. Off season, one can ride the buses to stop at the 5th station located halfway up the snow-capped peak.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park leads guided tours along the protected areas in Mt. Fuji’s vicinity combining scenic countryside vistas and hot spring resorts known as ‘onsen,’ along with stops to learn about local history and culture. This makes for Tokyo’s most scenic and fun-filled day trip opportunity.
Shop ‘Til You Drop in Ginza
Ginza is to Tokyo what Fifth Avenue is to New York or Oxford Street to London – a shopper’s paradise boasting the crème de la crème of global luxury labels and local retail brands. Walk along Chuo-dori, Ginza’s main boulevard lined by department stores like Mitsukoshi, boutiques and art galleries.
Visiting Ginza is one of the unique things to do in Tokyo Japan. Visit on weekends when the street is pedestrian-only and adorned with illuminated sculptures.
Go window shopping even if you can’t afford the stratospheric price tags! Stop at one of Ginza’s iconic cafes behind picture windows to watch the world go by over a cup of matcha and slice of cake. It’s an upscale urban stroll par excellence.
And if it all gets too overwhelming, make your way to the charming Hibiya Park nearby for some breathing space amid nature within the city.
See City Views from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Want sprawling views of Tokyo’s immense skyline without spending a single yen? Head up to the observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku.
This 48-storey twin-towered city hall offers stunning 360° panoramas from 202 meters high. This is great if you are looking from for free things to do in Tokyo Japan.
On clear days, you can see as far as Mount Fuji in the distance. The North Tower has a slightly better view.
Come during sunset or at night to see Tokyo Tower and the glittering buildings lit up against the night sky – it’s gorgeous. Don’t forget your camera.
Pay Your Respects at Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine
In the heart of Tokyo’s high-rise metropolis lies a peaceful, sacred forest spanning 70 lush hectares – the Meiji Jingu grounds – with over 120,000 trees donated from across Japan. At the centre is the Meiji shrine dedicated to the divine spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken, making it a must see in Tokyo Japan.
Visiting this important Shinto site lets you observe worship rituals like temizuya water purification and offerings at the main hall and inner garden.
Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine is amongst the best places to see in Tokyo. But mostly, people come here to soak up the powerfully serene ambience and admire traditional Japanese architecture while walking along the paths under the dense tree canopy. It’s like a mini escape from the city without leaving it.
Tour Historic Sites and Gardens of Koishikawa Korakuen
Visiting these gardens are one of the best things to do around Tokyo. Established in 1629, Koishikawa Korakuen is one of Tokyo’s oldest and most scenic Japanese landscape gardens.
Spread across nearly 10 hectares are lawns, ponds, hills, trees and flowers – like a microcosm of Japan’s diverse natural beauty on display.
Historic sites within the gardens include the Engetsu-kyo or Full Moon Bridge reflecting off the water, stone lanterns from Edo Castle, Tsutenkyo “Heavenly Bridge”, the Basho memorial where famed haiku poet Matsuo Basho composed verses in 1681, and a 700-year-old Chinese juniper tree.
Visit during spring or autumn when the plum, weeping cherry and maple trees burst into blossoms. Attend a traditional tea ceremony at the Sazareishi tea house. The garden’s elegance and rich heritage make it a treasured green oasis amid Tokyo’s urban landscape.
Watch a Sumo Tournament or Practice at Ryogoku Kokugikan
Sumo – Japan’s national sport with over 2,000 years of history – is deeply rooted in Shinto rituals. The best way to experience it is watching a hon-basho (tournament) at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s dedicated sumo arena.
Catch intense stares and forceful clashes as rikishi (wrestlers) push and grapple each other out of the ring onto the clay dohyo.
Follow the referee’s sensu hand gestures and learn the wrestler rankings from yokozuna (grand champion) down. Cheer for your favourites along with the audience by clapping your hands in approval.
If you miss the tournament timings, come anytime to watch a practice session, and glimpse these powerful athletes’ training regime up close. It’s a quintessential only-in-Japan experience.
Stroll the Hip Backstreets of Shimo-Kitazawa
Far from Tokyo’s busy city centres lies the laidback neighbourhood of Shimo-Kitazawa, dubbed Shimokita for short.
With its narrow cobblestoned lanes dotted by independent boutiques, cozy cafes, used book/record stores and tiny bars, it has a charming artsy vibe reminiscent of Europe.
Spend an afternoon café-hopping and browsing unique curios. Catch an improv comedy show at Shimo-Kitazawa Theatre.
People-watch locals dressed in creative vintage outfits. Visit on Sunday when vehicles are prohibited, and the village-like atmosphere really comes alive. Shimokita lets you discover youth subcultures beyond the tourist norm.
Ride the Rollercoasters at Tokyo Dome City Attractions
The centrepiece of Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex is the Thunder Dolphin – Japan’s longest steel rollercoaster twisting through the cityscape and is most the most epic activities to do in Tokyo.
Next to it whizzes the spinning ride Wonder Drop with stunning views of Tokyo Tower from 130 feet up.
Little kids can enjoy rides like Merry-Go-Round and Princeland as well as meeting costumed characters from Tinkerbell to Ultraman.
When your adrenaline levels eventually plateau, check out LaQua – an onsen spa with 13 types of baths and beauty treatments. Top it off with a free panoramic view from the roof.
Sing Your Heart out at Shibuya Karaoke
Karaoke is practically Japan’s national pastime, adopted with signature perfectionism resulting in dedicated venues boasting high-end equipment plus song libraries spanning every genre imaginable.
Nowhere embodies this karaoke culture more than Shibuya – Tokyo’s hub of youth culture and nightlife.
Budget options include karaoke chains like Shibuya Shidax with hourly packages in soundproof rooms decked out with mood lighting, leather couches and disco balls.
More upscale venues like Karaoke-Kan offer premium services like drinks, costume rentals and applause meters, making one of the best things to do at night in Tokyo.
With so many places open until dawn, come get your J-Pop idol fantasies out via communal singing.
Marvel at Contemporary Art at Mori Art Museum
Soar up to the Mori Art Museum on the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills to view an impressive collection of modern art from Japan and around the globe.
The sky-high galleries host around 4 exhibitions annually focusing on diverse themes – from African textiles to Chinese calligraphy – within stunning floor-to-ceiling window landscapes, is a must see in Tokyo.
Don’t miss the iconic ‘Floating Forest’ installation sculpture of 100,000 suspended glass beads glittering in the light.
Sign up for a guided tour to enjoy the artworks at a deeper level. And linger at the chic Cafe Mori on the 53rd floor terrace to soak up one-of-a-kind views over Tokyo City while sipping coffee or tea elegantly.
Walk Through Digital Art Illusions at teamLab Borderless
The hugely popular permanent digital exhibition teamLab Borderless at Odaiba lets you step right into cutting-edge multimedia artworks for an immersive experience like no other, making it best things to see in Tokyo Japan.
Wander through magical galleries filled with blooming flowers, kinetic light sculptures, 3D projections and interactive landscapes with simulated flora/fauna reacting to your presence.
One of the highlights is the breath-taking Crystal World cave glittering with giant azalea flowers.
As you walk through slowly, they keep bursting into colourful fragments with orchestral music playing before resetting again. Equally stunning is the Borderless World with planes of water rippling as you wade through leaving ripple shadows on the walls. It’s digital meets magical.
Day Trip to Nikko National Park’s Shrines and Nature Sites
Just 2 hours from Tokyo by bullet train and regular rail is Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture – a majestic mountain town graced with UNESCO World Heritage sites within beautiful natural landscapes.
The lavishly ornate Toshugu shrine displays some of Japan’s finest classical architecture and intricate wood carvings from the Edo period. Next door is Rinnoji temple with giant Sanbutsudo hall housing a nearly 8-meter-tall gold leaf-covered Buddha.
There are also scenic walking trails like Kanmangafuchi Abyss lined with 70 bright red torii gates framing a calm river with the Kegon Falls in the distance.
Walk across Shinkyo Bridge’s vermillion arches to enter Nikko’s sacred sites. Or admire the changing colours of maples and larches surrounding azure Chuzenji and Yumoto Onsen lakes.
Meet Hachiko, Japan’s Most Loyal Dog at Shibuya Crossing Statue
At the world’s busiest pedestrian scramble crossing near Shibuya Station stands an unassuming bronze statue of Hachiko – Japan’s most famous dog.
What drew millions of people to him decades after his death in 1935 was how this affectionate Akita dog turned up daily outside Shibuya Station hoping to reunite with his master – not knowing he had already passed away at work.
Hachiko kept vigil at the same spot every evening for 10 years until the very end, portraying remarkable loyalty and patience.
Locals were touched by his unwavering spirit, and he became a national icon for model moral character. Just feeling Hachiko’s fur is said to invite good fortune…and moving tears for the poignant tale behind Japan’s noblest furry friend, making it one of the best non touristy things to do in Tokyo Japan.
See Giant Gundam Anime Robot Statue in Odaiba
No trip to Tokyo is complete without seeing the full-scale RX-78F00 Gundam statue on Odaiba’s waterfront – featuring rotating light shows at night for extra impact!
This 18-meter-tall recreation of anime’s beloved robot is an impressive engineering feat with intricate detail matching the original design. Its kneeling stance as though descending from the heavens adds to its mystique. Gundam fans can purchase related souvenirs at the attached Gundam Cafe.
Don’t just admire this Japanese cultural icon from the outside – you can actually step inside its cockpit for an immersive experience. Purchase a boarding pass to control the robot in a virtual reality simulator. Feel the rush of guiding Gundam into battle while surround sound intensifies the realism.
Relax Over Green Tea at Hamarikyu Gardens’ Nakajima Teahouse
In stark contrast to Tokyo’s bustling city vibe, the beautiful seaside garden oasis of Hamarikyu offers peaceful serenity.
Originally a feudal lord’s villa during the Edo period, it now has meticulously maintained gardens in classic Japanese landscaping style around central ponds filled with seawater from Tokyo Bay.
Walk over the iconic Shio-no-Michi bridge and admire the pine groves, peony flowers and cosmos meadow.
For the quintessential Japanese cultural experience, head to Nakajima Teahouse on a tiny islet in the pond. Requiring access only by boat, this small wooden hut lets you relax over a bowl of frothy green matcha tea and traditional sweets while gazing at the tranquil scenery all around.
It’s no less than a portal into old world Japan amid one of the world’s most modern metropolises.
Unwind at Onsen Hot Springs Theme Park
Edo Onsen Monogatari located inside Tokyo Dome City entertainment district offers the quintessential hot spring experience or onsen without having to travel outside city limits to access natural hot water spas.
Spread over several floors styled like a traditional Japanese festival village are multiple indoor and rooftop onsen baths segregated by gender that visitors can access after changing into light yukatas or summer kimonos provided on entry.
Apart from soaking in rejuvenating mineral rich tubs fed by natural hot springs, visitors can refresh with ice-cream at old fashioned candy stores, chow down at food stalls nibbling monjayaki pancakes or experience cultural activities like pottery making, calligraphy, origami lessons within ornately designed tatami flooring rooms.
Kids enjoy activities like catching goldfish or playing old school tunes on traditional bamboo flutes making this theme park a fun family outing.
Treat your tastebuds at Tsukiji Outer Market
Even after Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji wholesale seafood market shifted from its original 1935 spot, the lively outer market area still retains thriving pockets brimming with fresh catches, stalls whipping out steaming bowls of ramen along with restaurant patrons slurping noodles under bright signboards.
Visitors can feast on ridiculously fresh sashimi bowls or hand rolled sushi, watch street food drama with fish cakes grilled on skewers or hotate / scallops barbecued live from wrappers to tantaliSing plates of tamagoyaki sweetened rolled omelettes waiting to be devoured.
With over 400 vendors peddling gourmet bites, street eats and staple grocery items, Tsukiji Outer Market makes for Tokyo’s ultimate food lovers’ rendezvous from daybreak well past dusk.
Admire contemporary architecture at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery
In the shadow of Tokyo Tower and Mori Art Center lies an award-winning architectural creation jointly envisioned by design icon Issey Miyake along with Pritzker Prize laureates Tadao Ando and graphic designer Taku Satoh.
The geometric concrete and steel structure with a signature courtyard punctuated by trees pays homage to light while exploring perceptions of reality through intriguing exhibitions and expert talks focused on design and spatial awareness.
Past shows have covered illustrious topics as diverse as revisiting Bauhaus movement, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius’s embellished vases and retrospectives of influential figures like Alexander McQueen.
Schedule your visit to witness innovative concepts married with functional solutions in the realm of lifestyle design spanning everything from textiles, technology products to photography and sustainable architecture.
Get Creative at a Calligraphy Workshop
Instead of simply admiring Japanese calligraphy inscribed on paper scrolls as art in museums or etched onto shiny pottery as décor in restaurants, why not learn the basics yourself? Tokyo has many calligraphy schools where English-speaking visitors can experience creating characters with stereotypical brush strokes using black sumi ink on parchment.
Sit on tatami mats and discover that perfecting just one single kanji (Chinese character) involves strict discipline with emphasis on unique strokes, angles and pressure applied using special brushes.
But it can be a beautiful meditative process as you dip brushes into jet black ink and pivot them to draw slender lines evolving into sublime strands of art reflecting your inner world unto paper scrolls.
Typically, two-hour sessions end with souvenir gift items like letter/name etched onto a card or your favourite kanji framed as memento.
First-time travellers to Tokyo in a Q&A
Q: When is the best time to visit Tokyo?
Tokyo offers great experiences year-round, but the most pleasant seasons are spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November). Spring has beautiful cherry blossoms while autumn showcases vivid fall foliage. Summer can get very hot and humid while winter is cold but festive.
Q: How many days do I need for Tokyo?
Most first timers spend at least 5-7 days to cover the main neighbourhoods and attractions. With under 3 days, you’ll barely scratch the surface. Plan longer if you want to take day trips to places like Nikko, Hakone and Kamakura.
Q: Where should I stay in Tokyo?
Central areas like Ginza, Marunouchi and Shinjuku offer easy access to transit hubs. Asakusa, Shibuya and Shimo-Kitazawa have more youthful vibe. Odaiba is great for families. Compare locations to your itinerary when choosing.
Q: Is Tokyo expensive to visit?
In general, yes – Tokyo is pricier than most global cities. But you can find ways to save through metro passes, budget food options, free attractions and travel cards offering discounts. Avoid July-September when hotel rates spike 30-50% higher.
Q: Is Tokyo a safe city for tourists?
A: Tokyo is known for its safety. However, like in any major city, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure.
Q: How do I handle money transactions in Tokyo?
A: While credit cards are widely accepted, it’s advisable to carry some cash as smaller shops may not accept cards. Currency exchange can be done at airports, banks, and convenience stores.
Q: Are there any cultural taboos I should be aware of?
A: Avoid speaking loudly in public places, don’t tip at restaurants, and be respectful when visiting shrines or temples. Remember, tattoos are often associated with taboo in Japan and might not be allowed in public baths or onsens.
Q: Are there any cultural taboos I should be aware of?
A: Avoid speaking loudly in public places, don’t tip at restaurants, and be respectful when visiting shrines or temples. Remember, tattoos are often associated with taboo in Japan and might not be allowed in public baths or onsens.
Q: Can I easily find Wi-Fi in Tokyo?
A: Tokyo offers many free Wi-Fi spots, especially in cafes, train stations, and tourist spots. However, renting a pocket Wi-Fi is recommended for uninterrupted connectivity.
Q: How do I navigate the language barrier?
A: Most signage in Tokyo includes English. Using translation apps and carrying a phrasebook can be helpful. Many Japanese people understand basic English, especially in tourist areas.
Q: What’s a unique souvenir to bring back from Tokyo?
A: Consider traditional items like yukata (casual summer kimono), Japanese tea, or beautifully crafted chopsticks. For pop culture fans, anime or manga-related items are great.
Q: Are there any etiquette tips for visiting temples and shrines?
A: At Shinto shrines, cleanse your hands and mouth at the purification fountain before entering. At Buddhist temples, it’s customary to throw a coin into the offering box and bow slightly.
Q: What should I do in case of an emergency?
A: In emergencies, dial 110 for police or 119 for ambulance and fire. It’s also wise to keep the address of your country’s embassy handy.
Travel Tips for First Timers To Tokyo Japan
- Get a Suica or Pasmo rechargeable IC transit card to make using Tokyo’s intricate train and subway system incredibly smooth through touch-and-go entry and exit at stations.
- Pack light to better navigate Tokyo’s train stations involving lots of stairs. Essentials are comfortable shoes, umbrella/light jacket, power bank/adaptor, and small crossbody bag for carrying wallet, phone, etc.
- Budget extra 30-60 minutes when traveling between sights accounting for transit time or getting lost. Stations have multiple exits so use Google Maps to navigate.
- Book tickets online beforehand for places like Tokyo Skytree, Robot Restaurant, teamLab Borderless exhibits etc. to skip long queues.
- Always carry business cards of your hotel/accommodation to help get around the language barrier and denote places to cab drivers. Download offline Google Translate and maps.