The Top Places to Visit When You Are In Tokyo

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Tokyo stands as a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, making it a captivating destination for travelers around the globe. From serene temples and vibrant markets to futuristic skyscrapers and quirky neighborhoods, the city offers a myriad of experiences. 

If you’re planning to visit Tokyo, we give you a full itinerary list of the best places to go and activities to do so you can make the most out of your trip.

1. Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa

Begin your Tokyo journey with a visit to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple located in the historic district of Asakusa. The legend of this temple dates back to the year 628, when two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River. Even though they would put the statue back in the river, it was always returned to them. With this, Sensoji was built near the river for the goddess Kannon. Today, the temple is a place where visitors can admire and look back on Japan’s age-old history.

When you arrive at Senso-ji Temple, you will pass through the iconic Thunder Gate and wander down Nakamise Street, lined with traditional stalls selling snacks and souvenirs. The temple’s main hall, Hondo, is a sight to behold, and the adjacent Asakusa Shrine adds to the spiritual ambiance. Throughout your exploration, you will capture the essence of old Tokyo as you explore the surrounding alleys filled with traditional crafts and street performances.

2. Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko Statue

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the embodiment of Tokyo’s modernity, with tall buildings that have huge screens mounted on them with flashing lights that never cease. Visitors marvel at the synchronized chaos as a sea of people navigates the crossing from all directions. While any country may have its own wide intersections crowded with people who are constantly on the go, there’s nothing quite like the scene that you see in Shibuya. The scene is especially fascinating from a cafe or restaurant in one of the high-rises near the crossing, where you observe everyone going in different directions.

Aside from this busy, famous intersection, you can visit the famous statue of Hachiko just outside Shibuya station. Hachiko is known as the adopted dog of Professor Eizaburo Ueno of Tokyo University. The faithful dog would come back to the station each afternoon at 3 PM for the return of his owner. But when the professor unfortunately passed away in 1925, the pup would continue to visit until his own death 10 years later. Hachiko’s touching story has become a symbol of unwavering devotion and is a must-see for any tourist.

3. Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

If you want to escape the urban hustle of Tokyo, then Meiji Shrine is a great place to visit. Nestled in the heart of Shibuya and surrounded by a lush forest, this Shinto shrine offers a serene retreat, with its towering torii gate marking the entrance. Meiji Shrine holds historical significance as it was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, who played pivotal roles in Japan’s transition to modernity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, the shrine is known for its daily ceremonies, phenomenal architecture, and stunning scenic grounds that invigorate visitors.

The shrine’s expansive grounds cover 170 acres of land, where you can find a sanctuary from the bustling city and enjoy the tranquility of nature. The shrine’s main path is lined with towering cedar trees, creating a majestic avenue that leads to the main hall. Other than the relaxing strolls you can take around the shrine, you can also partake in other Shinto rituals, such as writing wishes on ema (wooden prayer plaques) or participating in seasonal ceremonies that reflect Japan’s rich spiritual heritage.

4. Tsukiji Outer Market

For foodies visiting Tokyo, the Tsukiji Outer Market is a gastronomic haven that promises an unforgettable culinary journey. Despite the relocation of the inner wholesale market to Toyosu, the Tsukiji Outer Market has retained its charm and allure, continuing to draw food enthusiasts with its diverse array of fresh and delectable offerings. 

The market’s highlight is undoubtedly its seafood, boasting the freshest catches from the nearby Toyosu Fish Market. Sushi aficionados can indulge in an unparalleled dining experience as skilled chefs prepare mouthwatering sushi and sashimi right before their eyes. From melt-in-your-mouth toro (fatty tuna) to succulent ebi (shrimp), the variety of seafood available is a testament to Japan’s dedication to culinary excellence. 

Beyond seafood, this market in Tokyo offers a diverse range of Japanese delicacies, including tamago-yaki (Japanese omelet), tempura, and grilled skewers known as yakitori. Regional specialties like unagi-don (grilled eel over rice) or tamago-sando (sweet egg sandwich) are also available, both of which showcase the culinary diversity found within Japan. 

In essence, the Tsukiji Outer Market isn’t just a destination for food; it’s a celebration of Japan’s culinary prowess, a place where tradition meets innovation and where the spirit of Japanese gastronomy comes to life.

Tsukiji Outer Market

5. Tokyo Tower

For panoramic views of the city, Tokyo Tower is a landmark you should definitely visit. Constructed in 1958, inspired by Paris’s Eiffel Tower, the structure served as a broadcasting tower and a testament to Japan’s rapid economic growth. 

Today, visitors can take in the breathtaking vistas of Tokyo by ascending to the observation decks. The Main Deck, at 150 meters, provides an impressive view of the cityscape, while the Top Deck, at 250 meters, offers a more elevated and encompassing perspective. From the Top Dect, you can see other iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Skytree and, on clear days, Mount Fuji. In the evening, the tower illuminates and adds a touch of magic to Tokyo’s nightscape.

Additional Attractions That Must Be Explored

  1. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – A large park with beautiful gardens that showcase traditional Japanese, English, and French landscape designs.
  2. Akihabara Electric Town – A paradise for tech enthusiasts and anime fans, featuring countless shops selling electronics, manga, and collectibles.
  3. Tokyo Skytree – The tallest structure in Japan, with an observation tower that provides breathtaking views over Tokyo.
  4. Ginza District – Tokyo’s upscale area known for its luxury shopping, fine dining, and entertainment.
  5. Ueno Park and Zoo – A spacious public park that includes museums, a zoo, and cherry blossom views in spring.
  6. Odaiba – A futuristic waterfront area on Tokyo Bay, known for its shopping, entertainment, and large-scale attractions like the TeamLab Borderless digital art museum.
  7. Imperial Palace – The primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, surrounded by gardens and moats, with parts open to the public.
  8. Harajuku – Known for its colorful street fashion, trendy shops, and the serene Meiji Shrine nearby.
  9. Roppongi Hills – A modern development known for its nightlife, Mori Art Museum, and observation deck.
  10. Yanaka Ginza – A charming district known for its nostalgic atmosphere, traditional snacks, and quaint shops.
  11. Sumo Museum and Ryogoku Kokugikan – Experience the world of sumo wrestling and visit the museum dedicated to this ancient sport.
  12. Edo-Tokyo Museum – Learn about Tokyo’s historical transformation from Edo to modern Tokyo through interactive exhibits.
  13. Shimokitazawa – A trendy neighborhood known for its vintage clothing stores, music venues, and cafes.
  14. Ikebukuro – A commercial and entertainment district famous for its two large department stores, anime-related shops, and the Sunshine City complex.
  15. TeamLab Planets TOKYO – A museum that offers immersive, interactive digital art installations, blending art with cutting-edge technology.

Advice for Exploring Tokyo

Advice for Exploring Tokyo

When you’re planning your trip to Tokyo, Japan, it can be overwhelming to choose which places to visit and what activities to do. With this, we recommend narrowing down your choices to places that best align with your interests and purpose. For example, if you want to go on a food trip, it’s best that you prioritize places that are popular for food, like the Tsukiji Outer Market. If you want to explore more of Japan’s history, then places like the Meiji Shrine and Senso-ji Temple are the best places to go. 

However, in the unpredictable nature of travel, it’s crucial to inject flexibility into your schedule. Unexpected discoveries and serendipitous moments often define the most memorable experiences. Maintaining internet access is essential to enhance your adaptability. We recommend opting for a Tokyo eSIM over traditional Data Roaming to ensure continuous connectivity without breaking the bank. With a Tokyo eSIM, you can effortlessly navigate through the city, access real-time information, and make on-the-go adjustments to your itinerary, providing you with the freedom to explore Tokyo at your own pace.

Embrace the diversity, savor the cuisine, and immerse yourself in the unique charm that Tokyo brings during your trip.

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