How to Tackle Tokyo as a First Timer
Tokyo is an undeniably exciting city, but it’s so big and sprawling that visitors often get overwhelmed. From sampling street food to watching sumo wrestlers, here’s how to make the most of your first visit to the Japanese capital.
Have a Foodie Experience
Japanese food is extremely varied, from fried and skewered street food to delicatekaiseki ryori haute cuisine. Take a cooking class, explore a market or two, or join a food-themed walking tour.
Stroll Around the Imperial Palace
The inner grounds of the Imperial Palace are open only a couple days a year, but a walk around the spacious gardens and along the moat is a good way to get your bearings in central Tokyo. Rent a pedal boat and admire the cherry blossoms in spring.
Asakusa is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in the city. Visit the Senso-ji temple, and shop for food and souvenirs in the surrounding markets. A rickshaw tour is a fun and easy way to discover the area.
Watch Sumo Wrestling in Ryogoku
Sumo wrestling is Japan’s traditional national sport—if you’re an enthusiast, go to the Ryogoku neighborhood. Catch a tournament, tour the stables where the wrestlers live, and feast onchanko nabe hot pot.
Shop (or Window-Shop) in Ginza
One of Tokyo’s chicest areas, Ginza’s wide boulevards are lined with multilevel stores selling luxury fashion items. Window-shop, or part with some cash on a customized shopping tour.
Get Up High for a City View
To see just how vast Tokyo is, head to one of the city’s observation platforms. Visit the red and white Tokyo Tower, get a free view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, or enjoy some art with your view at the Mori Tower.