Visitors to Tokyo might experience choice paralysis- there is simply so much to see and do in this huge urban jungle. Each trip to Tokyo yields new discoveries: for me, a new restaurant or café I love, a quirky vintage shop, an unexpectedly photogenic back alley. The beauty of the city is in how it is ever-evolving. Nevertheless, we must start somewhere, and these are three of the most popular must-sees to kickstart your itinerary planning for an awesome first Tokyo trip.
Undoubtedly a spectacular piece of architecture, this one is for the travellers who want to capture the view of Tokyo from above. Standing at an impressive 634 metres in height, there are two observation decks in the Tokyo Skytree, one at 350 metres, and the second at 450 metres. The view is especially enchanting at night when the lights are dotted across the city as far as you can see. To take your Tokyo experience to greater heights (pun intended), book a seat at Sky Restaurant 634, located 345 metres up. The restaurant serves exquisite Japanese-French cuisine, and of course, boasts an unbeatable panoramic view as you dine.
For travellers who are interested in learning a little about Japan’s spiritualism and cultural beliefs, Meiji Jingu is a good place to start. This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his Empress consort. Local Japanese people regard this place as an important site for first prayers (Hatsumōde) during the New Year. The site exudes a tranquil calm, and visitors take a peaceful walk through a forested path. Observe how the purification and worship rituals are conducted. Sometimes, traditional Shinto weddings are also conducted here. The video below demonstrates how to pay your respects at the shrine in an appropriate way.
The old Tsujiki fish market is world-famous, but the inner market has been relocated to the new Toyosu fish market. Some people enjoy visiting the fish markets for the excitement of watching the tuna auctions and to do that you must now make a trip to the Toyosu fish market. For the rest of us who visit the fish market mainly for the experience of enjoying some amazingly fresh and delicious seafood, both the new Toyosu and old Tsujiki outer market will do just fine. Why not visit both?
Feast on flame-grilled buttered scallops, the freshest sashimi, succulent crab claws, sea urchin, oysters freshly made Japanese omelettes, and of course, sushi. These are just some of the delicacies on offer at the markets! When I took a friend to the market for the first time, it was her first experience trying many types of Japanese food including mochi and sashimi, and oh did she love all of it! Be sure to visit on an empty stomach because you will definitely want to try a bit of everything. A last tip: markets are definitely morning affairs, so please go early because most of the market closes by the early afternoon.
Surely, you will have fun curating your own Tokyo experience, but I hope that you will find that these three very different experiences and must-sees of Tokyo help to kickstart your itinerary planning for the most wonderful first trip to Tokyo!
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