Asia,  Japan,  Travel

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit

Debating about where to go in Tokyo during your first visit? If you are trying to plan a trip here, check out my 1-day itinerary plans! Tokyo is huge, and this can definitely overwhelm first time travelers. I have lived in Tokyo for almost 2 years, and there are still so many places that I actually haven’t visited before! Get a Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, or 72 Hours) if you want to travel conveniently around Tokyo through Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines for 1-3 days. If you plan to being in Japan for a while, and plan to go to other cities, buy the JR pass that allows you to enjoy unlimited travel across JR lines, including local buses, Miyajima Ferry, and more for 7, 14 or 21 days. If you want a completely unique experience, explore downtown Tokyo in a go-kart!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit:
26 Locations

Shibuya

The Shibuya area should be one of the first places that you visit during your time in Tokyo. Conveniently, The Narita Express goes directly to Shibuya as well. Shibuya is a lively entertainment area popular with young people with many café, restaurants, bars and many places to shop. Shibuya is a fun place to explore since there’s always so much to do and see!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Shibuya
Shibuya

Shibuya Crossing

Cross the Shibuya Crossing, the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world with as many as 2,500 pedestrians crossing every time the signal changes. The crossing has many screens playing videos and advertisements so its really fun to look around while walking. Be sure to stop by and say hi to the statue of Hachiko, an Akita dog remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. It is also a very popular meeting spot for locals.

Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Parco

Shibuya Parco is about a five minute walk from the Shibuya station and is a 11 story shopping complex focusing on youth fashion, art, culture, entertainment and food. It has a total of around 190 shops with many different shopping opportunities for all kinds of people. My favorite floor is the 6th floor, The Cyberspace Shibuya floor which houses the Nintendo store, Pokémon store, Capcom Store Tokyo and the Jump Shop. If you get hungry, go to the basement floor, Chaos Kitchen, and throughout the floor, you can find many restaurants and shops. There is also a rooftop garden where you can relax and take in the free views of Shibuya.

Shibuya Parco view of Mt. Fuji
Shibuya Parco view of Mt. Fuji

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Sky is the newly built 360° open-air observation deck 230m above Shibuya, at the highest point in the district of Shibuya. The 47th floor view of Tokyo is the perfect height to look at the other building below you in detail, compared to other tall observation deck like Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower. The building itself is also very modern and has a huge indoor mall with shops and restaurants.

Admission for adults is ¥2,000 at the door and ¥1,800 online. Students’ and children’s admission are much lower. You can purchase tickets in advance through the Shibuya Scramble Square website, or through Klook at the same price.

Tip: You can get a free panorama views of Shibuya from the Hikarie’s Sky Lobby is located on their 11th floor. The Sky Lobby also has a resting area, which makes it the perfect place to go when you want to take a break from your sightseeing activities.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit
Shibuya Sky

Miyashita Park

Miyashita park is a new hip and trending area for young people in Shibuya. The park is located above 3 floors full of stores and restaurants. Miyashita Park has so many variety of food and shops that you will never run out of things to do! To see their full updated food and shop directory, check here. When the weather is nice, I enjoy sitting at the lawn and people watching while eating food that I bought downstairs. There is even a skateboard park and sports facility area at the top floor as well. Check out my blog post, 5 Delicious Miyashita Park Foods.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Miyashita Park
Miyashita Park

Shinjuku

Shinjuku is known for its lively nightlife with streets filled with neon lights. Popular nightlife area includes areas like Kabukicho, Golden Gai and Omoide Yokocho. Shinjuku also houses Shinjuku Station, the world’s busiest railway station, with more than two million passengers every day!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Shinjuku
Shinjuku

Shinjuku Gyeon

Shinjuku Gyeon Park is a popular park in the middle of the busy city of Shinjuku, and is most known for their beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. Even though it is surrounded by skyscrapers, you can fully relax and enjoy nature. It fuses together three types of traditional garden, Japanese traditional, English Landscape, and French Formal. It’s the perfect getaway for along day of walking. Hours change depending on season, so be sure to check out The National Gardens Association to see what the hours are.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Shinjuku gyeon
Shinjuku gyeon

Shinjuku metropolitan government building

Take in the free panoramic view of Tokyo on the 44th floor of the Shinjuku Metropolitan Government building. You can even see Mount Fuji when the visibility is good!

Shinjuku metropolitan government building
Shinjuku metropolitan government building

Harajuku – Takeshita dori

Harajuku is known as the center of Japanese kawaii culture. Takeshita Dori is the most well-known street in this area, with cute clothes, accessories, and cafes all lined up, making it very popular with young Japanese students. Be sure to get classic Harajuku foods like crepes, cotton candy, and ice cream. Here, you can go to animal cafes like Shiba cafes and Pig Cafes. Book a 1 hour Micro Pig Cafe Experience in Harajuku through Klook!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Takeshita dori
Takeshita dori

Meiji jingu

Meiji Jingu is surrounded with thousands of trees and instantly transports you from the young vibes of Harajuku to a tranquil area. Meiji Jingu is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. The construction began in 1915, and completed in 1926. The walk from Harajuku to the main area of Meiji Jingu is a long, but peaceful walk. Buy yourself a Omamori, a Japanese amulet commonly sold at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples for good luck, or get yourself a Goshuin-cho!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Meiji jingu
Meiji jingu

Yoyogi park

Located right next to Meiji Jingu, is Yoyogi Park, a popular park for locals to hang out. There are many picnic areas, bike paths, cycle rentals, public sport courts, and a dog run within the park. During the summer, at the Yoyogi Park Events Square, there are many festivals like Brazilian Day Japan and Sri Lanka Festival, where you can watch performances and try many food! The Yoyogi area is home to my favorite All you can Eat BBQ, Guts Soul!

Yoyogi park
Yoyogi park

Omotesando

Walk and shop around the high end brands in Omotesando while checking out art galleries and cafes. Check out the stores at Cat street, the vibrant street full young trendsetters. Be sure to check out the MoMA Design Store Omotesando, and all the cute toys at Kiddy land.

Omotesando
Omotesando

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit:
Sensoji

Sensoji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo with a history going back 1,400 years, and also one of its most colorful and popular temples. The main attraction here is the five-storied pagoda that is 53.32 meters, about the height of an 18-story building. Be sure to do an Omikuji, a fortune slip that will tell you what kind of fortune you have. The temple can be accessed 24/7, but the main temple and shops have operating times.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Sensoji
Sensoji

Nakamise shopping street

Nakamise Shopping street starts from Kaminarimon, an iconic Asakusa landmark to the main Sensoji temple. The path is 250 meters long with about 90 stalls selling souvenirs, traditional goods and street food. It is easy to spend a whole day here exploring the different shops. They have many kinds of street food from rice crackers, daifuku, mochi, and dangos. Check out my post on the 8 Best foods in Asakusa! If you are looking for the strongest matcha ice cream in the world, go to Suzukien Asakusa! If you are in the mood for something more heavy, try Asakusa Gyukatsu!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Nakamise shopping street
Nakamise shopping street

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit:
Tokyo Skytree and Solamachi

Tokyo Skytree is Japan’s tallest structure, as well as the world’s tallest freestanding tower. It offers amazing panoramic views from its observation decks, as well as the restaurants that are inside. The observation deck provide a 360-degree view that looks out and down at the same time due to the curved glass windows. The first deck height is 350 meters and the second deck is 450 meters. You can choose if you want to only visit the first deck, or add on the second deck when buying tickets for Tokyo Skytree.

Solamachi is located inside of Tokyo skytree, and is perfect for shopping or window shopping with 300+ stores and restaurants. Visit stores like rilakkuma store, Hello kitty Japan, Pokemon center, Gashapon Bandai Official Shop, jump shop, and marvel shop. Get Tokyo Skytree + Sumida Aquarium Combo Ticket on Klook!

Tip: You can enjoy free views from the resting areas of the top floors of solamachi.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is a very recognizable and one of the most iconic structures in Tokyo. It was Japan’s tallest structure from 1958 until 2012, when it was surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree. Even though it doesn’t have as many amenities as Skytree, it hold a special place in a lot of locals as it has been a powerful symbol of the city, and its postwar resurgence. Get tickets to Tokyo Tower on Klook!

Be sure to visit Shiba park, one of my favorite parks in Tokyo, it has a large lawn with the perfect view of Tokyo Tower. It is built around the temple of Zōjō-ji. Make sure to bring a blanket and relax and take in the view either during the day or night. Check out my post, 6 Best Parks in Tokyo to Relax in to see other great parks to relax at!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Station

You will probably end up in Tokyo Station since it is a major gateway for visitors arriving by bullet train or from Narita Airport. The building it’s self is an impressive 3-story tall and 335 meter long steel framed brick station building. This major station is a dining and shopping paradise, and can take a while to explore every shop and restaurant. Inside of Tokyo station, you can find areas like Tokyo Ramen Street, Japan Gourmet street, Tokyo Station’s Kitchen Street and Tokyo Character Street, which has shops where you can buy merchandise from brands like Rillakkuma, Pokemon, Hello Kitty and Ghibli

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station

Imperial Palace

A short walk from Tokyo Station, is the Tokyo Imperial Palace, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and is located on the former site of Edo Castle. It’s really cool to see such a huge area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo. Tours for the emperor palace are available but pre registration is required, so be sure to plan ahead.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace

Ueno Park

Ueno park is Tokyo’s largest green space and has many attractions to explore within the park. Visit Japan’s oldest zoo, Ueno zoo to meet some animals like gorillas, tigers, elephants, polar bears, and their most popular, pandas! Right now, they have twin pandas that was born June of 2021! The park has many temples and museums to explore like Kaneiji temple, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo’s most popular art museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and many other museums to museum hop.

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Ueno Park
Ueno Park

Ameyoko

Shorten for Ameya Yokocho which is literally translated as candy store alley since candies were traditionally sold there. It is now a busy and colorful market to try street food from Japan, China and Korea! The food here is inexpensive as well!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit
Ameyoko Street

Akihabara

Akihabara is the must go location for all the anime, manga and idol lovers. Electric Town is the main area in which they specializes in all this Japanese pop culture. Even if you aren’t familiar with this subculture, it is fun to walk around in feel as if you are in another world. There are many places to play arcade games, and buy old videos games as well. This is also where they house the infamous maid cafes. They also have Owl cafes as well! Maid Cafe Experience at Maidreamin Akihabara Honten

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Akihabara
Akihabara

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit:
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Sky Deck

I honestly think that this is the best observation deck in Tokyo. It is a 270 meters tall, 360 panoramic view open-air sky deck located in Roppongi Hills Mori Tower which also houses the Mori art Museum, a contemporary art museum featuring exhibitions that change periodically. From this Sky Deck, you are in the center of the city, and you can see everything from Tokyo Tower to Mount Fuji. The best time to go is during sunset where you can see Tokyo light up as the sun goes down. At night, you can enjoy the breeze, and the stars can be seen. Tickets

Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Sky Deck
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Sky Deck

Tokyo Dome City

Want some thrill while in Tokyo? Head over to Tokyo Dome City, where you can get on rides like Thunder Dolphin Roller Coaster, that goes 130 km/h and goes through a building. If you don’t want as much thrills, get on the Big O Ferris Wheel where you can see Tokyo from a height of around 200 feet above ground. Tokyo Dome City gets it’s name from Tokyo Dome, a stadium made for baseball, but also hosts many concerts and events. Tokyo Dome City has a wide range of shopping options from baseball collectibles to souvenirs, fashion goods and supermarkets at more than 50 stores, as well as over 70 Restaurants, cafés and bars. They have one of my favorite themed cafe, the Moomin Cafe! Also, don’t forget to stop by their Onryou Zashiki haunted house to be spooked! After all of this, relax and refresh at a world-class spa at LaQua. Enjoy and recharge in natural spring water that rises up from 1,700m underground.

Tokyo Dome
Tokyo Dome

Odaiba

Odaiba is a futuristic high-tech entertainment hub. Shop till you drop in the many malls in Odaiba. The three big shopping malls are Aqua City, Decks and DiverCity. Take a ride on the colorful ferris wheel, take a look at Odaiba’s Statue of Liberty, or enjoy some beach time while watching the illuminated Rainbow Bridge with the the skyline of Tokyo with in the background at night. Make sure to ride the Yurikamome line from Shimbashi in order to get beautiful scenery of the ocean and Odaiba. Say hello to the unicorn Gundam statue at DiverCity shopping mall or buy a Tokyo Joypolis Passport to enjoy the rides in Japan’s largest indoor theme park!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Gundam statue at DiverCity
Gundam statue at DiverCity

Team lab Toyosu

Go on an exciting, immersive art adventure during your trip to Tokyo as you explore teamLab Planets Toyosu. Team lab is an art facility that utilizes digital technology and feels as you transport into another world. Team Lab Toyosu is set to close at the end of 2023, so make sure to go before it is gone!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Team lab Toyosu
Team lab Toyosu

Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea

Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, is only 20 minutes from Tokyo Station. Buy Tokyo Disney Resort Park tickets: 1-Day passport on Klook to enjoy all that Disney has to offer! Go on fun rides and attractions, and try all the unique Disney food, like Little Green Men Mochi Dumplings, Mike’s Melon Bread, and Sea Salt Ice Cream Monaka. While you are there, you will notice that everyone wears matching outfits, so why not join in the fun and match with your friends as well! Tokyo Disneyland is the first Disney park to open outside of the United States. Be sure to visit Tokyo Disneysea, the only Disney park themed to the myths and legends of the sea!

Where to go in Tokyo during your first visit Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland

Did you figure out where to go in Tokyo during your first visit?

Tokyo is so huge and its impossible to visit every single place on your first time here. Other places I recommend are Ginza, Hamarikyu Gardens, kichijoji, koenji, ikebukuro, nezu shrine, Hie shrine, nakano, tokyo dome, jiyugaoka, daikanyama, and Tokyo Dome. Be sure to stop by these places if you have the extra time!


Email me at pennylesstravels@gmail.com for consultations to plan your trip to Japan!


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Some Useful Sources when traveling to Japan:

My Japan posts: Pennyless Travels Japan posts
My Youtube Channel: Just Coneys Corner
Instagram: @coneystravel @coneychiiwa
General Tourism information: Japan Travel Website
Best E-sim for travel in Japan: Airalo
Airport pickup pocket wifi: 4G WiFi pocket wifi
Need reliable travel insurance? Safety Wing

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