What to do During Your First Visit to Tokyo

Cars passing by a very busy street in Shibuya located in Tokyo
Cars passing by a very busy street in Shibuya located in Tokyo (Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash)

Tokyo is well-known for being the biggest mega-city on the planet. It’s a citadel of skyscrapers, green architecture, and traditional Shinto shrines and temples. Before the global pandemic, the city would attract millions of people around the world for its innovative tourist attractions. Along with attracting history buffs who love exploring the Meiji period buildings found within Tokyo, like the Imperial Palace.

Now that travel is beginning to open up and Japan is easing border restrictions. The possibility to visit Tokyo is on the horizon. This post will explore all of the entertaining, the best things to do within Tokyo Japan.

Visiting the Tokyo Tower

The iconic Tokyo Tower, located in the Minato district is known for its famous red & white pattern, along with looking like France’s Eiffel Tower. The design was actually directly inspired by the Eiffel tower during its construction in the late 1950s. Unlike the design of the structure, the building’s color was chosen to stand out amongst planes near the tower’s airspace.

View of the Tokyo Tower in the sky overlooking the city.
View of the Tokyo Tower in the sky overlooking the city (Photo by Louie Martinez on Unsplash)

The observation deck is available from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM in Japan standard time (JST). There is a small fee, but paying for the tickets online will save you around 200 Yen ($1.73 USD), versus if you purchased in-person. The Tokyo Rower is family-friendly and is also surrounded by restaurants so this makes for the perfect tourist attraction to fit within your extravagant day.

Eat at an Izakaya

Want to get an almost literal taste of Tokyo? Then head on down to your local izakaya restaurant! An izakaya is a casual Japanese bar that serves beer, cocktails, and lots of scrumptious Japanese food. Most izakayas allow smoking inside so it’s a surreal experience for travellers who are from countries with tough cigarette restrictions.

A mug of beer beside a bowl of fried lotus root that's being picked up by a chopstick; Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/gVlENSMpR4g

Some izakayas serve all you can eat and even all you can drink! This is all dependent on the restaurant or franchise. There’s lots of variety in the food served so vegetarians can feel included eating out with their friends. Due to the cigarettes, the drinking, and the very casual bar atmosphere. I would consider izakayas strictly an adult-appropriate tourist attraction.

Take a Stroll Through Shinjuku Gardens

One of the most beautiful parks in the city of Tokyo is home to vibrant plant life and beautifully designed landscaping. Shinjuku gardens are located near other tourist attractions making it very easy to fit taking a walk through the gardens with other plans for the day. It’s not only family-friendly but also completely wheelchair accessible throughout the park.

Vibrant green trees, bushes, and a large pond in Shinjuku gardens.
Photo by Thor Alvis on Unsplash

You can find ponds filled with koi fish, traditional architecture from Edo period Tokyo, and wildlife that’s native to Japan. You can use Shinjuku gardens as a shortcut to reach your destination within the city so take advantage of this gorgeous area, even if it’s just for a glimpse.

Try International Cuisine

Because Tokyo has an enormous population and attracts millions of businesspeople around the world. There is a surprising amount of multiculturalism found in a nation that used to be so isolated from the rest of the world. You can find delicious dishes from chefs all around the world. Some of the most popular international cuisine you can find around the city is Hawaiian food, Indian food, and Italian food.

Freshly baked naan bread beside some Indian sauces
Source: Our own images

Chefs prepare the most robust meals due to fresh ingredients farmed both on land and off the coast. the exception to this rule is Italian food. Despite being incredibly popular, most cheese is imported in Japan so pizza, and other dishes that require lots of cheese can be pricy. However, both Japanese food and international cuisine within Tokyo are absolutely sublime. There’s no wrong choice you can make when dining in Tokyo.

See a Sumo Match or Sumo Dojo

Almost every tourist wants to see a sumo wrestling match when they fly into Tokyo. It’s one of the most sensationalized forms of Japanese entertainment that the western world has been exposed to. It’s even gained popularity in Estonia and has seen foreign sumo wrestlers become famous within Japan. So what’s the one challenge that every tourist faces because they didn’t do any research? It’s that sumo is a seasonal sport.

That’s right, sumo wrestling only takes place in Tokyo in January, May, and September. If seeing a sumo match is on your bucket list, then make sure to plan your trip around the Tokyo sumo season. Missing the season isn’t a problem because you still can see sumo wrestlers during the off-season. For $90 USD you can have the privilege of viewing sumo wrestlers doing their morning practice routine at their dojo. It’s a really cool experience and you can take your picture afterward with them too!

Visit a Pokemon Center

Any fan of video games will immediately be able to tell you all the different childhood experiences associated with Pokemon. But what if you could actually visit a real-life Pokemon Center! The most easily accessible Pokemon Center is located in Toshima. You can find plushies, trading cards, and so much merchandise that will make your inner child go nuts.

Colorful Pokemon statutes located in the Pokemon Center in Tokyo
Source: Our own images

If you’re feeling hungry, lots of Pokemon Centers have Pokemon Cafes that serve mouthwatering food. The dishes served are even shaped like adorable pokemon! I highly recommend taking some time during your vacation to visit. You can never go wrong with bringing home your friends and family their favorite pokemon straight from Japan.


There’s no wrong answer when planning out which tourist hot spots to visit first & last on your Tokyo trip. There’s something for everyone to do from visiting sumo wrestling matches to observing the magnificent mega-city from the Tokyo Tower observatory. No matter if you’re a family with young kids or a group of College students travelling.

Despite being a very faraway destination for most people looking to vacation. Tokyo is worth every penny that the flight and hotel costs. It’s a city full of wanderlust, entertainment, and stories that you’ll bring back home and cherish for a lifetime.