Welcome to Japan — the Land of the Rising Sun! There’s so much to do here, but if you’re taking the time to visit, you absolutely cannot miss these 11 spots in Tokyo.
1. Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
Japan has some of the most beautiful temples in Asia, and Sensoji is one of our favorites in all of Tokyo. You could spend hours at this temple, because there is so much to see.
2. Gotokuji Temple
Love cats? Then this is the temple for you! It was dedicated to cats years ago when it was first built.
3. Memory Lane, Shinzuku
Shinzuku is one of our favorite districts in all of Tokyo, and Memory Lane (also known as Piss Alley) is definitely one of the neighborhood’s highlights. This traditional street is more like a quaint alleyway filled with yakitori shops and other traditional food stalls (including some of the best tempura and soba in Tokyo). It’s also a perfect photo stop!
4. Day trip to Mount Fuji
If you are in Tokyo, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a day trip out to Mount Fuji (a two-hour drive outside the city). You can actually drive all the way to the fifth station on the mountain. If you choose to hike to the top (which we highly recommend), you’ll need to block out an additional three hours each way.
5. Hie Shrine
If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto but want to see a beautiful red gate shrine, you should definitely go here!
6. Shibuya Crossing
No joke, this is the largest street crossing in the world! Over 2,500 people can cross the street at one time — now that’s a big crowd.
7. Harajuku “Rainbow” Street
Harajuku is known as being the center of pop culture in Japan, and it definitely shows in the number of bright colors and cute “Kawaii” things. From giant cotton candy to the smallest zoo in the world (which is actually an ice cream stall!), Harajuku Street is an incredible place.
8. Ueno Park
You would be surprised to find a peaceful green space in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world, but that is exactly what Ueno is. Visit not only to walk through a beautiful park, but also to see some beautiful temples and try some of Tokyo’s most delicious street food.
If you love Anime, this is the place to be. Known as the district with all the electronics shops, Akihabara is a buzzing shopping hub that will let you play any video game imaginable — and even eat at cafes where the servers are dressed up as Anime characters!
10. Tsukiji Market
For all you foodies out there, Tsukiji Market is the place to be. While the famous auction moved to Toyosu Market (just a few blocks away), it is still worth an early morning to visit the auction, walk the outer Tsukiji Market, taste the street food, and dine on sushi for breakfast — yes, for breakfast! You’ll need to plan on a wait of about 30 minutes, even at 7 a.m. in the morning.
11. Moro Digital Art Museum
Tokyo is a city of Contracts, from flashing lights and technology to traditional shrines and temples. All of this comes together in the Mori Digital Art Museum, where you can watch (and walk through) digital art displays that portray symbolic elements from Japanese culture. It is absolutely breathtaking!
If you’re visiting Japan for the first time, this can be a lot to fit into a schedule — especially if you don’t know your way around or don’t have someone showing you the way. To maximize your time, you’ll definitely want some help, because as you can see, there is a lot to do!
If you want the fast track to the highlights, you can join us on our next expedition to Japan! We’ll see you in the Land of the Rising Sun!