beautiful view of Shibuya in Tokyo at night when sky is dark and the city is lit up with lights from Shibuya Sky observation decks

The Best 7 Places to Go in Tokyo, Japan for First-time Visitors

Looking to explore the vibrant city of Tokyo, Japan and feeling overwhelmed at the mountain of info out there? Look no further, as I have curated a list of the top 10 things to do in this mesmerizing metropolis for you.

Tokyo is a city that seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, offering a unique cultural experience like no other – we are talking ancient temples, bustling streets, mouthwatering street food, futuristic architecture, tranquil gardens, and more.

Whether you are a history buff, a food enthusiast, or an adventurous soul, Tokyo has you covered. So, join me in checking out the 7 best of Tokyo’s attractions and experiences below, and get ideas for your epic Japan vacation.

The Best Time of Year to Visit Tokyo, Japan

But first, let’s discuss the best time of year to visit Tokyo. This captivating city experiences four distinct seasons, each offering its unique charm and beauty.

Let’s take a closer look at what each season has in store, and whether a specific time of year is the most appealing to you :

Spring (March to May) : Cherry Blossoms and Festivals

During springtime, Tokyo transforms into a whimsical wonderland, with cherry blossoms painting the city in delicate shades of pink and white, casting an enchanting spell on the city, locals, and visitors alike.

japan in hanami spring season white and pink cherry blossoms background with man on bicycle

The highly anticipated cherry blossom season, lovingly referred to as “hanami”, holds a very special place in Japanese culture. As nature awakens, parks and gardens burst into blooms, providing the perfect picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls and delightful picnics.

But the magic doesn’t stop there! Tokyo also plays host to various festivals during this time, celebrating everything from traditional arts to modern pop culture.

Summer (June to August) : Festivals and Fireworks

Tokyo’s summer is a whirlwind of excitement, filled with lively festivals, bustling street funs, and jaw-dropping fireworks shows.

The city comes alive and pulses with an electric energy as both locals and visitors join in the time-honored traditional events such as the Tanabata Festival and the Sumida River Fireworks Festival, enjoy street performances, or dance the night away in dance festivals.

It’s a perfect time to indulge in refreshing summer treats like kakigori (fluffy shaved ice) and partake in outdoor adventures.

Autumn (September to November) : Foliage and Cultural Delights

Autumn in Tokyo paints the city gardens and parks in a canvas of warm hues. The autumn foliage takes on gorgeous shades of red, orange, and gold, creating breathtaking landscapes in parks and gardens.

autumn season fall season fall foliage red hue view at local shrine gate in Japan

This is a great time to go leaf peeping, or experiencing the age-old art of “momijigari”, where people admire and celebrate the beauty of autumn leaves.

Tokyo also hosts various autumn festivals and traditional and cultural events during this time, showcasing traditional music, dance, and art.

Winter (December to February) : Festive Winter Illuminations

Winter transforms Tokyo into a place of festive cheer and sparkling lights. The city wholeheartedly embraces the holiday spirit, bedecking its streets, buildings, and parks with dazzling illuminations.

Enchanting illumination displays at iconic spots such as Shibuya Blue Cave, Roppongi Hills, and Tokyo Midtown evoke a magical ambiance, ideal for romantic strolls and capturing unforgettable snapshots.

Additionally, there is no better time to savor delectable hot pot dishes, explore traditional markets and Christmas shops, and immerse oneself in the distinctive allure of Tokyo during the holiday season.

Now that we’ve discussed the best time to visit Tokyo, let’s dive into the top 10 Tokyo spots that should be on every traveler’s itinerary.

The Best 10 Spots in Tokyo, Japan for First-time Visitors

1 . Sensō-ji Temple: Ancient Serenity Amidst Modern Chaos

No visit to Tokyo would be complete without a trip to Sensō-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most popular Buddhist temple.

As you step foot into this sacred haven through the iconic Thunder Gate (“Kaminarimon”), an extraordinary sight awaits you – Nakamise, a bustling marketplace brimming with life.

visitors to ancient red senso-ji temple

This vibrant street teems with an assortment of delicious traditional snacks, street food, souvenirs, and local crafts. Navigate through the energetic throng of people, and lose yourself in the tranquil ambiance that envelops the temple grounds and garden.

Take a moment to marvel at the impressive main hall, and extend a heartfelt prayer or toss a coin into the collection box for good fortune.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Senso-ji Location : 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Official Website :
  • Operating Hours :
    • From April to September : 6:30 AM to 5 PM every day
    • From October to March : 6 AM to 5 PM every day
  • Telephone : 03-3842-0181 (from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, excluding Sundays and holidays)
  • How to Get There by Train or Subway : Get to Asakusa Station by Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Subway Asakusa Line, Tsukuba Express Line, or Tobu Skytree Line. Then walk 5 minutes to Senso-ji.

2 . Tsukiji Outer Fish Market : A Seafood Lover’s Paradise

If you’re a seafood lover and adventurer, then the Tsukiji Outer Market is a must-visit destination in Tokyo. Located near Tsukiji Station, and adjacent to the former Tsukiji “Inner” Market (where the tuna auction used to be held before 2018), this bustling area is a fun place to check out.

As you navigate through narrow alleys filled with an array of stalls, shops, and local eateries, explore a variety of fresh produce, traditional ingredients, and mouthwatering street food and seafood.

Watch as skilled vendors efficiently and swiftly prepare and serve their culinary creations, ranging from sushi and sashimi to ramen noodle, tempura, grilled chicken or seafood skewers.

One of the highlights of the Tsukiji Outer Market is freshly caught seafood. some examples are uni (sea urchin), maguro (tuna), hotate (scallop), and amaebi (sweet shrimp).

Apart from seafood, the market offers a wide range of traditional Japanese snacks. Sample the famous tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), bursting with savory goodness. Treat yourself to freshly made onigiri (rice balls) with various fillings, such as grilled eel or pickled plum.

You might even discover some hidden gems as you venture off the beaten path and explore lesser-known shops and stalls. So, come with an empty stomach and an adventurous spirit.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Tsukiji Outer Market Location : 4 Chome-13 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Official Website :
  • Store and food vendor directory : Search by store type or by map guide (in English)
  • Operating Hours :
    • Monday to Saturday : 8 AM to 2 PM
    • Sunday and national holidays : 10 AM to 2 PM
    • New Year’s Eve and Lunar New Year holidays : Closed
  • How to Get There by Train or Subway : Get to Higashi-ginza Station by Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line or Toei Asakusa Line, then walk 3 minutes to Tsukiji Outer Market. Or get to Tsukiji Station by Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, then walk 1 minute to the market.

3 . Shibuya Crossing : Where Chaos Meets Cool

Get ready to be swept off your feet by the sheer vitality and brilliantly orchestrated pandemonium of Shibuya Crossing. This legendary intersection, affectionately known as “The Scramble,” epitomizes Tokyo’s young, modern, and fast-paced way of life.

When the traffic lights turn crimson in every direction, a swarm of pedestrians floods the crossing from all corners, creating an utterly mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you spellbound.

Shibuya Crossing in Shibuya Tokyo at Night with large crowds of people crossing the streets

Join the throngs of people and experience the exhilaration of crossing this renowned junction, an activity that has become a quintessential experience for all Tokyo visitors.

Don’t forget to capture the moment on your camera and soak in the sights that surround you, from the dazzling neon lights to the towering high-rises and bustling shops that make Shibuya the epicenter of cool and cutting-edge culture.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Location : in front of the Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Operating Hours : 24 hours, every day
  • How to Get There by Train or Subway : Get to Shibuya Crossing by using Google Maps, or take the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit

4 . Meiji Shrine : Tranquility in the Heart of the City

Escape the bustling streets of Tokyo and step into a world of tranquility at the serene Meiji Shrine, or “Meiji Jingu” in Japanese. Nestled within a lush forest in the heart of the city, this Shinto shrine offers a peaceful retreat from modern distractions, and a glimpse into Japan’s rich spiritual heritage.

As you approach the entrance of Meiji Shrine, you’ll pass through towering torii gates, which mark the transition from the secular world to the sacred realm. Feel a sense of calm wash over you as you enter the forested pathway leading to the shrine.

The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who played a pivotal role in Japan’s transition from feudalism to modernization, and his beloved Empress Shōken.

Meiji Shrine is not just a place of worship; it also offers a profound connection to nature. The sprawling forest surrounding the shrine spans over 170 acres and is home to over 120,000 various trees donated from all parts of Japan.

peaceful Meiji Jingu shrine with greens and old sacred tree in courtyard in Shibuya Tokyo

It’s a serene sanctuary where you can escape the urban chaos and get lost in the beauty of nature. Take a leisurely stroll along the forested paths, listen to the rustling leaves, and breathe in the crisp, refreshing air.

As you wander through the spacious grounds, take a moment to admire the grandeur of the main hall, a magnificent structure built in the traditional nagare-zukuri style (with mainly Japanese cypress and copper at the time).

Here, visitors can experience traditional Shinto rituals by writing their wishes or prayers on small wooden plaques called “ema and hang them near the hall for divine blessings.

You can also witness traditional wedding ceremonies, as Meiji Shrine is a popular venue for couples seeking a traditional and auspicious start to their married life.

If you are lucky (or carefully planning), your visit might coincide with one of the shrine’s special events or festivals. From traditional music and dances to vibrant processions and ceremonies, the festivals at Meiji Shrine showcase the beauty and vitality of Japanese culture.

Before leaving Meiji Shrine, don’t forget to explore the inner garden, located near the entrance. This beautifully manicured garden features a picturesque pond, teahouses, and a collection of seasonal flowers and plants. It’s a serene oasis where you can unwind and reflect on your own.

Whether you seek spiritual solace, a peaceful respite from the city, or a glimpse into traditional rituals, Meiji Shrine offers an enchanting experience that will leave you with a profound sense of serenity and appreciation for Japanese traditions.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Meiji Jingu Location : 1-1, Yoyogi Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Official Website :
  • Operating Hours :
    • From March to October : 5 AM to 6 PM every day
    • From November to February : 6 AM to 4 PM every day
  • Telephone : 03-3379-5511
  • How to Get There by Train or Subway :
    • Get to Harajuku or Meiji-jingumae Station by JR Yamanote Line or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, then walk 1 minute
    • Or get to Kita-sando Station by Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line, then walk 5 minutes
    • Or get to Yoyogi Station by JR Yamanote Line, JR Chuo Sobu Line, or Toei Oedo Line, then walk 5 minutes
    • Or get to Sangubashi Station by Odakyu Line, then walk 3 minutes

5 . Harajuku : A Fashion Wonderland

Step into a fascinating realm where fashion has no limits – Harajuku. This vibrant neighborhood is a hub of innovative trends, individual styles, and self-expression, offering everything from cutting-edge fashion to adorable kawaii culture.

Begin your adventure on Takeshita Street, a lively pedestrian-only street teeming with quirky shops, trendy boutiques, and mouth-watering street food stalls.

Crowded Takeshita-dori Takeshita Shopping Street on weekends crowded with local Japanese and visitors street food and clothing shops exciting fashion

Be prepared to embrace your inner fashionista as you browse through a dazzling array of clothing, accessories, and novelty items.

Additionally, Harajuku is renowned for its themed cafes, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee amidst the company of cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, pigs, or even your beloved anime characters. Fascinating, right? I know!

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Takeshita-dori Location : 1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0001
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Official Website :
  • Takeshita Shopping Street Directory : including all shop names, addresses, and visitor info
  • Operating Hours : Depending on each shops, mostly from 9 AM to 6 PM daily
  • Telephone : 81-3-3403-2525 , or email
  • How to Get There by Train or Subway : Get to Takeshita Shopping Street by using Google Maps, or take JR Yamanote Line (to Harajuku Station, Takeshita Exit), or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin lines (to Meiji-jingumae Station, Exit 3)

6 . Tokyo Disneyland : Where Magic Comes to Life

Prepare to let your inner child run wild as you enter the magical realm of Tokyo Disneyland, where dreams come true and childhood memories are made.

Located in Urayasu, in Chiba Prefecture, just outside of Tokyo, this world-renowned theme park are filled with wonder, excitement, and unforgettable adventures.

Considered one of the best amusement parks in the world, Tokyo Disneyland is not to be missed if you have kids. Heck, it is awesome even for grown adults who enjoy fun theme park experiences.

Step into a world where your beloved Disney characters come to life, enchanting parades and performers weave through the park’s streets, and dazzling stage shows bring Disney stories to life.

Experience the exhilaration of the Space Mountain ride, or join Captain Jack Sparrow on Pirates of the Caribbean for a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. Or hop aboard the Haunted Mansion carriage ride, where happy haunts await to give you a frightfully fun time.

Be sure to check the schedule for the nighttime spectacular, where fireworks light up the sky, choreographed to beloved Disney music, and bring a fairy-tale ending to your day of adventure.

Tokyo Disneyland also hosts a variety of seasonal events and celebrations throughout the year. From the vibrant springtime celebration of Easter to the spooky delights of Halloween and the enchantment of Christmas, these events add an extra layer of magic and excitement to your visit.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Location : 1 Chome-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
  • Operating Hours : Daily from 9 AM to 9 PM
  • Admission Fee : by purchasing tickets online or at the gate
  • Official Website :
  • Shop Directory : Search by shop type or see entire list (in English) here
  • Attractions and Ride List : See the entire attraction and ride list here
  • Parade and Shows Schedule : See the most updated parade and show time here
  • Restaurant Directory : Search by name or from the entire list here
  • Information Center Telephone : 0570-00-8632 (10 AM to 3 PM everyday)
  • How to Get There by Train, Bus, Car, or other means : See Tokyo Disneyland’s official access guide here.

7 . Akihabara : The Ultimate Haven for Geeks

Calling all tech enthusiasts, anime aficionados, and gaming geeks—Welcome to Akihabara, the beating heart of geek culture in Tokyo.

Known as “the electric town” and the ultimate hub for all things otaku, this vibrant district is a haven where technology, manga (comic books), anime, and pop culture collide in a mesmerizing blend.

Towering electronic stores offer an unparalleled assortment of gadgets, computer parts, and cutting-edge technology : from the hottest smartphones and gaming consoles to elusive retro games and computer add-ons.

Anime and manga enthusiasts will feel like they’ve found their own slice of heaven as they delve into specialty stores with shelves stacked with manga volumes, collectibles spanning various genres and fandoms, intricate figurines, cosplay costumes, and more.

Digimon anime video game small sized action figures on displays at one of the anime and video game stores at Akihabara in Tokyo

Akihabara also offers the best chance for hunting down one-of-a-kind items related to your favorite anime series, be it keychains, plush toys, or rare collector’s items.

But it is not all about shopping—it’s the perfect place to experience the unique subculture of otaku firsthand. Step into one of the many maid cafes, where waitresses dressed in maid costumes provide a whimsical and interactive dining experience. Enjoy delicious themed food and drinks, while being entertained with songs, dances, and games.

Don’t forget to check out the arcades and gaming centers that dot Akihabara’s streets. Test your skills on the latest arcade machines, compete against fellow gamers in multiplayer battles, or try your luck at classic pachinko or claw machines.

Hours and Visitor Information
  • Location : 1 Chome-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
  • Admission Fee : FREE
  • Official Website :
  • Shop Directory : Search by store type or by town map guide (in English) here
  • Operating Hours : Daily from 8 AM to 11 PM, varied by stores
  • Telephone : 03-3257-0568
  • How to Get There by Train : Get to Akihabara Station (Electric Town Exit) by JR Yamanote Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Ginza Line, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line or Ginza Line, or Tsukuba Express, then walk 5 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any questions or just want to share your own travel stories, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to reach out to me at, and let’s chat. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, and happy travels in Japan!

Post You Might be Interested In

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