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A Beginner's Guide To Tokyo

A Beginner's Guide To Tokyo

Picture of Laura Walkley
Updated: 10 October 2016
Tokyo can certainly be an overwhelming place to visit, especially as an English speaking tourist. However, there is never a shortage of things to do in the extremely lively capital of Japan, and here are just a few of the best.

People Crossing at Shibuya Crossing © Candida.Performa / Flickr

People Crossing at Shibuya Crossing © Candida.Performa / Flickr

Shibuya Crossing

What has to be one of, if not the busiest intersections in the world, Shibuya Crossing is a crazy experience unlike any other. It may sound strange, visiting a place just to cross the road, but the absolute madness of it will delight even the slickest of city slickers. A warning, though: know which direction you are heading as it is very hard to change your mind once you’re en route!

Visit a Purikura Photobooth

For a westerner, venturing to a Japanese photo booth can be quite a hilarious experience. Japanese love decorating their pictures with cute cartoons, and the editing machines let you manipulate the size of your eyes too! While it may seem like a funny thing to do, it is a 21st-century Japanese cultural experience that surely is not to be missed. Check out Purikura Mecca, right near the Shibuya Crossing.

Visit the Meiji Shrine

Tokyo is a huge city, so while you are in the Shibuya neighborhood be sure to pay Meiji Shrine a visit. The Shrine is located just next to Harajuku Station and is adjacent to Yoyogi Park, complete with lush, spacious grounds offering a bit of an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Shrine is dedicated to the first Emperor of Modern Japan, Emperor Meiji, who ascended to the throne in 1867.

The Meiji Shrine © David Holt / Flickr

The Meiji Shrine © David Holt / Flickr

Omotesando Dori

On your way to the Meiji Shrine, browse along this stretch of high fashion boutiques and admire the beautiful buildings. Ultra modern architecture is at its best and the street is a great place to check out Japanese street wear. You may even catch some Harajuku girls – Japan’s famous background dancers courtesy of Gwen Stefani.

Akihabara Electric City

Japan is at the forefront of the technology industry, so Akihabara Electric City is a must-do when in Tokyo. There are advanced products in this district that are never released in other countries and the whole area lights up at night with neon lights and people dressed as Anime characters after the sun sets. Don’t forget your tech head!

Akihabara Electric City © Andrew & Annemarie / Flickr

Akihabara Electric City © Andrew & Annemarie / Flickr

Ride the Shinkansen

Usually referred to in English as the “Bullet Train”, the Shinkansen is the world’s fastest train that can take you out to Odawarra and give you a glimpse of Mount Fuji on the way. The sensation of being on the Shinkansen is very interesting – it almost feels like you aren’t moving at all.

By Laura Walkley