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Must-Visit Attractions for First Time Visitors in Tokyo

Tokyo is a vibrant, diverse and impressive city with all kinds of incredible attractions to experience around every corner. While the city is widely known for being a vast urban metropolis, there’s much more to enjoy here than gadgets and great games, and beneath the surface, you’ll find a city and community rich in culture and heritage.

Read on to find out some of the best things to do when visiting Tokyo for the first time.

Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market

A visit to a fish market might not seem like a typical attraction when heading to one of the most exciting cities in the world, but if you love Japanese food, especially sushi, then you’ll certainly want to pay a visit to this special place.

The Tsukiji Market was originally the location of the world famous tuna auctions in the city, where many restaurants would bid eye-watering prices for some of the biggest and best fish around. While the actual market has now moved to Toyusu, you can still visit a traditional Japanese restaurant in the area, and enjoy a delicious meal made with supremely fresh fish. It’s the perfect way to start a culinary adventure in this incredible city, and whet your appetite for more food-related adventures to come.

Explore Asakusa and Senso-ji Temple

Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s most historic and beautiful districts, and gives you a glimpse into a surprising and elegant aspect of the city. You’ll be able to eat at a traditional Japanese restaurant, explore the winding pathways, and see colourful rooftops and busy buildings throughout the area.

One of Asakusa’s most famous cultural attractions is the stunning Sensi-ji Temple. As Tokyo’s oldest temple, it is an important site of Buddhist worship, and a magnificent example of traditional architecture. You’ll see the beautiful red and gold pagoda as it towers five storeys high, as well as a captivating and peaceful shrine.

You’ll also find numerous other shrines and smaller temples around the area, as well as elsewhere in Tokyo, but as one of the city’s most venerated, this is a special place to visit, particularly during festive periods.

Shop in Harajuku and Omotesando

In stark contrast to the calm and peaceful nature of the traditional shrines and temples in the city, you’ll also find plenty of evidence of the fast pace of modern life in Tokyo. One of the best places to head to when you first come to Tokyo is the colourful and quirky district of Harajuku, where you’ll see plenty of great examples of the colourful street style that has made the area so well known across the globe. You’ll also find some of the world’s top designers in stylish boutiques here, as well as more unusual brands catering to the cutting edge trends of fashion lovers in Tokyo.

Shopping in Tokyo

As well as plenty of fun and amazing places to shop, there are also ample eateries across the area, from fast food outlets to delicious dessert bars. While you’ll also find a traditional Japanese restaurant or two, it’s the perfect place to indulge in something a little more whimsical.

While you’re shopping in the busy commercial part of Tokyo, be sure to make a bee line to the famous crossing at Shibuya. As an intersection between major roads, it’s been known to see a huge number of pedestrians crossing, with up to 2,500 people at a time. Pictures of the busy crossing packed with walkers have often made the headlines, and while Shibuya is not always so busy on a typical day, it’s still a great place to tick off your list.

Robot Restaurant

Tokyo is often associated with the strange, quirky and colourful side of technology, and the famous Robot Restaurant captures all of these qualities perfectly. The restaurant is as far from a traditional Japanese restaurant as you could ever hope to experience, but you will come away with a mesmerising and unforgettable encounter.

The Robot Restaurant is well known for both its colourful interior and robot-themed displays, and the unique live performance that accompanies meal sessions. Once inside, you’ll see a dazzling mix of lights, mirrors and sounds, while the show itself features a variety of performers, including musicians, dancers and robots, as they sing, play traditional drums and show off some amazing costumes. While the show is child-friendly, it can get a little noisy so may not be best suited for anyone extremely sensitive to stimulation.

Ueno Park

While Tokyo has a fast paced life overall, there are plenty of pockets of calm and tranquillity to be found across the city, and Ueno Park is one of its best. Make sure you schedule some down time during your visit to the city in the park, especially if you happen to be visiting during spring or early summer months, where the cherry blossom and other trees are in bloom. It’s a wonderful spot for a gentle stroll or a relaxing picnic beneath the trees.

While visiting Ueno Park, you can also explore the magical Toshogu Shrine and nearby temples. Follow through the small, understated pathway to discover a hidden world, filled with market stalls selling delicious treats that you’d often find in a traditional Japanese restaurant, music, incense and more, for an unforgettable and atmospheric encounter.

Meguro River

While this destination is best visited during cherry blossom season, if you time your visit to Tokyo well, it is a truly a sight worth seeing. The Meguro River runs through the city, but the most special feature here is not the river itself, but the many cherry trees that stand alongside its banks. During early spring, the trees burst into clouds of pink blossoms for a brief few weeks, and you’ll find the city embracing the joyful spirit of cherry blossom season wherever you go.

Look out for street vendors selling tasty snacks and find a comfortable seat, where you can soak up the unique Japanese phenomenon of cherry blossom viewing in style.


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