Konnichiwa everyone! Heading to Tokyo sometime soon or just looking for reasons to make Tokyo your next holiday destination? Look no further! We’ve got the 13 best attractions for you to check out for your first time in the Land of the Rising Sun!
P.S. Don't forget to buy your Tokyo Subway Ticket on Klook to enjoy unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines!
1. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden @ Shinjuku
One of the most daunting questions I believe first time visitors to Tokyo tend to have would be “Which park/garden should I visit?”. Tokyo has tonnes and tonnes of beautiful gardens for visitors to visit all year round, with the most popular times to visit being the Spring season for hanami (a.k.a cherry blossom viewing) and the Autumn season for the changing autumn colours.
Shinjuku Gyoen should be at the top of your ‘gardens to visit’ list as it comprises of three different types of gardens all in one! From the traditional Japanese garden to the English landscape garden or even the French garden, you will definitely be amazed at the sights that this former Imperial Garden has to offer! Make sure you wear comfortable shoes though, as Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the biggest gardens in Tokyo and you’re sure to be spending a long time there if you’re a fan of nature!
Take note that there is an entrance fee to Shinjuku Gyoen! But the price is very little compared to the sight you’re up for the moment you step through those gates! Get your cameras ready, you’re in for a treat!
Entry Fee: 200 Yen
Opening Hours: 9.00am to 16.30pm (last entry 16.00pm)
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
How To Get There: Shinjuku Gyoen’s ‘Shinjuku Gate’ is a ten minute walk east from JR Shinjuku Station’s ‘New South Exit’.
2. Nezu Jinja Shrine @ Nezu, Bunkyō
When it comes to shrines in Tokyo, the most popular ones that tourists tend to visit are the Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa and the Meiji-Jingu Shrine in Shibuya. Personally speaking, my favourite shrine in Tokyo is instead the underrated Nezu Jinja Shrine, with the contrasting rows of red mini Torii gates lined up amongst the greens of the garden that are reminiscent of the Fushimi Inari Shrine located in Kyoto, Japan.
The best time to visit this shrine would be in April/May during the Bunkyo Azalea Festival (Tsutsuji Matsuri) to see over a hundred varieties of blooming azalea’s (known as tsutsuji; つつじin Japanese) in spectacular colours surrounding the hillside garden.
Take pictures and be entertained by traditional dance and song while you stroll along the garden of blooming azalea’s, and discover the Otome Inari Shrine at the end of the tunnel of torii gates which makes for a pretty picturesque view.
Opening Hours: Always open
Address: 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0013, Japan
How to get there: From Nezu Station, turn left out of Exit 1 and walk straight. Turn left at the 2nd traffic light of the Nezu-Jinja-Iriguchi intersection, walk straight and you will see Nezu Shrine on your right.
3. Studio Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
Hello hello Studio Ghibli fans! This one’s for you! If you’re a fan of Japan, chances are you’ve heard or seen at least one of the infamous works of Studio Ghibli (or some may be more familiar with the name Hayao Miyazaki).
Whether you’re a My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle or Ponyo fan (just to name a few), the possibility of visiting the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo should delight your senses because this is where it’s alllllll at!
Ghibli Museum (officially known as the Forest of Mitaka Ghibli Art Museum) is located in a little suburb named Mitaka. It’s a little bit of a walk from Mitaka Station, however cute signages ala Ghibli can be seen pointing you to the right direction as you make your way through until you are finally greeted at the entrance by a large Totoro statue.
Inside, find yourself surrounded by all sorts of characters from Hayao Miyazaki’s works of art and live out the fantasy of your favourite movies in this beautiful, whimsically designed museum! Just take note that tickets need to be purchased in advance as you can’t purchase them on site and can be bought online or via JTB Group overseas.
Price: JPY1,000 for 19 years and above, JPY700 for those between 13-18, JPY400 for those aged 7-12, JPY100 for children between 4-6 yrs. (Free for children below 4yrs old).
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Closed Tuesdays)
Address: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0013
How to get there: Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Mitaka Station. From the Mitaka South Exit, approx. 15 min. walk along the Tamagawa Josui "Waterworks" to the museum.
4. Shopping at Shibuya
Shibuya is home to the famous Hachiko statue and the infamous Shibuya Crossing that’s often seen in movies all around the world. You can find all sorts of shopping outlets here; from small local stores to large stand alone international brands, and various department stores scattered around. Shibuya is large, crowded (surprised?) and full of life! There’s something there for everybody, but some of the best places for you to do your shopping would be at the often heard of Shibuya 109 (there’s a separate Shibuya 109 Men’s as well) and Tokyu Hands Department Store (for pretty much anything and everything).
If you’re adventurous, just walk along the streets of Shibuya and allow yourself to get lost in the crowd. You might find yourself at a random used kimono store or even a vintage records store- whatever it is, just make sure that you remember how to get back to Shibuya Station! Oh, and snap a picture of yourself at Shibuya Crossing. That intersection get’s crazy the moment the lights turn green ?
How to get there: Get off at Shibuya Station (Hachiko Gate) on the JR Yamanote Line
5. Takeshita Dori, Harajuku
Made popular by the media, Harajuku is well known as the fashion capital of Japan and is a must visit for cosplay fans and fashionista’s worldwide! Takeshita Dori is the focal point of teenage fashion, with small shops and harajuku crepe stores lined up along this usually packed street. Make your way through the crowd over the weekends to catch cosplayers, gothic lolita’s and other extreme fashion-goers around the area. It is a sight you’d definitely not want to miss!
If you have extra time, visit Meiji-Jingu shrine and Yoyogi Park for some time off from shopping. Try to head over to Yoyogi Park on Sunday’s for a fun filled time as this is the day you’ll find cosplayers and all sorts of entertainment happening around the park!
How to get there: Get off at Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line
6. Tokyo Disneyland ?
A must visit for both children and adults! Tokyo Disneyland is known to be one of the best Disney parks in the world- from the cleanliness of the park to the friendliness of the staff, this is one place that’ll definitely put a smile on your face! The inner child in us can’t help but get excited at the thought of seeing Mickey Mouse and all the Disney Princesses and OMG STAR WARS.
Whether you want to ride the many available rides (be wary that the lines will be long, so get yourself a fast pass on those must ride rides!), eat a Mickey shaped waffle, or hunt for the many flavoured popcorns available around the park, you’re sure to spend the whole day (or two or three) here, so allocate as much time as possible if you want the ultimate Disney experience! And stay at the Disney Resort if your trip is going to be solely Disney-related, we promise its worth it!
Credit: EG Santos on Flickr
Price: Prices differ depending on type of tickets purchased. More info here
Opening Hours: 8am to 10pm
How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Keiyo Line/JR Musashino Line to Maihama.
#HHWT Tip: Get your one-day ticket to Disneyland ahead of your visit here so you can skip the queues at the ticket kiosk!
7. Tokyo Disneysea
Just when you thought Disneyland was enough, then comes Tokyo Disneysea to prove that two parks are better than one! If Tokyo Disneyland is considered to cater more towards children, Tokyo Disneysea is instead the more adult counterpart. With entertainment and rides that are bound to thrill both adults and children, try and make it to both parks for an ‘equal balance’ of adult-child fun!
So make the most of your Disney experience and purchase a few days worth of tickets for BOTH Disney Parks. Trust us when we say that a one day pass will not be enough!
Price: Prices differ depending on type of tickets purchased. More info here,
Opening Hours: 8am to 10pm
How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Keiyo Line/JR Musashino Line to Maihama.
We highly recommend getting the two-day pass so you can enjoy both Disneyland and DisneySea fully!
Known as the busiest shopping, dining and entertainment district of Japan, Ginza is home to the most expensive real estate in the whole country- and being able to open a store there is considered the ultimate status. If you’re looking for luxury goods, Ginza would be the place for you. But even if shopping for designer brands aren’t your thing, Ginza is worth a visit as it houses tons of cafes and restaurants, and the neon lights that turn on at night are amazingly photogenic.
Ginza is also home to Kabuki-za, Tokyo’s premier Kabuki theatre that has daily traditional kabuki plays for everyone to watch. If you have the time, make sure you get yourself a ticket or two to watch some of these dramatic performances and experience all that kabuki has to offer!
How to get there: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Station, or take the Hibiya, Marunouchi, or Ginza Subway Line to Ginza Station.
9. Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is a must visit for those who enjoy having delicious bowls of sashimi, fresh sushi and other locally grown produce! It’s always best to come here in the early mornings for the freshest ingredients (and to avoid the crowd) and take your time looking around the many choices of food stalls or restaurants. Be weary though, this is a market so there will be people rushing here and there to buy produce for work and vice versa, so try not to block the paths and keep an eye out if you’re travelling with children!
You can find all sorts of delicacies here; from chirashi dons to uni and ikura dons (my favourite! *slurp!!), various tamagoyaki’s, grilled scallop in shell, freshly made mochi’s, freshly shucked oysters… gah okay i'm gonna stop here, you get the drift! There are even shops that sell lacquerware and Japanese crockery, pickled vegetables and local souvenirs!
If you’re interested in checking out the tuna auction, try and get there before 3am as it goes on a first come first serve basis! But take note that Tsukiji market will be moving to Toyosu district in November 2016, so if you’re able to visit before they move, do so! If not, don’t fret as the new market should be just as good or if not better than the original one! ?
How to get there: From Shinjuku Station, take the Oedo Subway Line to Tsukiji Shijo Station.
10. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is a large park that is known to be another one of the best places to go to during cherry blossom season, and if you’re a museum buff, be sure to check out the National Science Museum or the Tokyo National Museum within the area! You will also stumble upon a couple of shrines and temples like the Kaneiji Temple and Kiyomizu Kannon Temple as you walk around the park!
Ueno Zoo is also within the vicinity of the park, and is a great place to visit if you’re travelling with children (or if you just love animals!) as it is home to over 300 different animals including adorable chinese panda’s!
How to get there: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Ueno Station. Ueno Park is right beside the station.
11. Asakusa Sensoji Temple
Asakusa is a famous tourist spot mainly due to the Sensoji Temple, a large buddhist temple which was built way back during the 7th Century. The atmosphere in Asakusa is reminiscent to olden day Japan, so if you want to get a feel of the past in modern Tokyo, this is a lovely spot experience just that. You can also rent a kimono to walk around the area for a true Japanese experience! ?
Along the way to Sensoji Temple is Nakamise, where tourists may find a variety of traditional souvenirs and snacks all around. However, take note that if you’re planning on eating the street food, you’re going to have to stop and finish your food before continuing your journey! It’s considered rude to walk while you eat here in Japan.
Nakamise is a great place to check out souvenirs, but they could be a tad expensive so make sure to do your homework before you splurge unnecessarily on something you can find at cheaper prices elsewhere! Another way to explore Asakusa will be to take a rickshaw ride, where your guide will take you past the quirky neighbourhoods of what was once the most prosperous town in Tokyo
How to get there: From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station, and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa Station.
12. Gundam Front at Odaiba (Daiba)
Odaiba has this very relaxed atmosphere to it, possibly because of the gentle sea breeze and the sight of blue surrounding the island. The shopping here is pretty spectacular too, with local and international brands available in the many shopping malls around the area- and there’s also a Legoland Discovery Center and a Madam Tussauds Wax Museum at Decks Tokyo Beach mall.
Odaiba is also home to the Fuji TV building and the life sized GUNDAM statue at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza!! It is definitely a sight worth seeing, especially when it lights up and moves in the evenings at around 7.30pm! You can also visit the Gundam Front Café to fuel up and shop for Gundam figures if you’re a fan!
How to get there: Take the Yurikamome (monorail) from the Shimbashi Station on the Yamanote Line and stop at Odaiba (or any of Odaiba’s attractions as they’re all interconnected!)
13. Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara is a district in Tokyo that's known to be an electronic hub due to the many stores that sells all sorts of electronic items - earning it the nickname ‘Electric Town’. Over time, it grew into an area full of large billboard signs covered in anime, with large flashing neon lights, a large Sega Store, a Yodabashi Camera store and shops of all sizes displaying all the anime figurines you could only imagine, turning it into THE anime hub of Japan, and a must visit for otaku’s all around the world.
This is the place to come to if you’re looking to buy electronics (take note that Japanese voltage’s are different than other countries, so do check before buying them!) and anything and everything anime! Did we mention that there are also tons of cute maid cafes (and butler cafes!!! ? ) within the area? ?
Walking along the streets of Akihabara is a real treat, because not only are you surrounded by stores selling all sorts of anime figurines, but you might catch a maid or two hanging around the streets promoting their cafes! If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch a ninja lurking around promoting Ninja Cafes as well!
How to get there: From Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Line to Ochanomizu Staton, then transfer to the JR Sobu Line to Akihabara Station.
So there you have it, some of the best attractions for you to check out when you’re in Tokyo for the first (or second… or third…) time! It’s a lot to take in, but it is worth it! Make sure you wear comfortable shoes the whole time because walking is a given in Tokyo. Other than that, have fun shopping, sight seeing and eating, we hope you’ll love Tokyo as much as we do!