Tokyo is a city like no other. It’s full of life 24/7, full of modern and old architecture and anything your heart desires. Samuel Johnson famously said that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford”, and I feel the same about Tokyo. I have been there twice and every time I have filled my schedule with so many things to see and try and I have yet to be done seeing everything. If you are travelling to Japan, I cannot recommend Tokyo enough.
Visually speaking, Tokyo is extremely Instagrammable – every corner, shrine, street art, skyscraper are absolutely beautiful. If you plan on going there with the purpose of content creation, make sure to properly prepare ahead of time. Tokyo being a big city is an understatement – it’s huge – and while public transport is great, it will still take you a long time to get from one side of the city to the other.
Without further ado, I present you the must visit places in Tokyo!
Tourist places in Tokyo: must see landmarks & sights
These are the places where you want to go if it’s the first time visiting Tokyo or Japan in general. They are one of the most beautiful places in Tokyo and I highly recommend these landmarks and sights. Not only for their instagrammability, but most importantly for their cultural significance.
Meiji Jingu and Sake Jars
The Meiji Shrine is an iconic Shinto shrine surrounded by a park; it is a very important landmark in Tokyo as it was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife. The entire place is very peaceful, and all of this in the middle of a bustling metropolis. As you enter the park and make your way to the shrine, you will see rows of large sake barrels along the way. They are donated every year by sake brewers from all over Japan.
Sensoji Temple and Pagoda
I haven’t seen this iconic temple the first time around. The second time, I visited it a few times, both by day and by night. And it’s breathtaking all the time. It is located in the Asakusa district. Visiting this temple is one the top 10 things to do in Tokyo, so expect it to be packed with tourists. I not only enjoyed the architecture of the temple and the pagoda, but also the way it rests on the background of modern architecture. This is a contrast that I absolutely love.
I learned about the Nezu Shrine from Instagram, where bloggers were promoting it as a smaller and less busy shrine than Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, due to its rows of tori gates. Nezu Shrine is one of the oldest places of worship in Tokyo established in 1705, and it’s a gem for tourists. I visited it on an early rainy morning in late November and I just felt at peace.
Mori Art Museum
The Mori Art Museum is located in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills complex. I highly recommend getting the ticket for both the observation deck and the museum, it’s worth the price. The museum showcases a lot of modern and interactive art pieces and installations on fashion, architecture, and design.
Gotokuji Temple is is a Buddhist temple in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, also known as the birthplace of the maneki-neko. I visited the temple early in the morning, at 9am. Even if it was raining, I still did my best to explore it in the short amount of time I had available. There were no tourists except me and a couple. It was great to just soak the beauty of the place, especially with the fall foliage!
Popular places in Tokyo: capture the daily life
After checking out the most the most photogenic tourist spots, head for the popular ones where you can feel the pulse of the city.
Harajuku, and specifically Takeshita Street, are simply iconic. This area is world famous for its style and vibe. It’s perfect for tourists and there are many photo opportunities. Here you can find lots of unique shops selling fashion apparel and anime merchandise. If you are not in a rush, make sure to visit the cafés offering Instagrammable food and dessert, all in equally Instagrammable settings (check out Cafe RonRon).
At the entrance of the street, across the street from Harajuku station, there is a modern torii gate with a digital display of the people standing in front of it.
The Shibuya Crossing, also known as the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, is a very popular crossing street in Tokyo. This was actually the first spot I visited when I came to Japan the first time. After getting of the train from the airport, we were heading to our airbnb in Shibuya. I have been travelling for hours and hours before that, and I was tired, dragging my luggage. It was later evening, but all I felt was the energy of the bustling city.
I highly recommend admiring it from the Starbucks across the road from Shibuya station. It is a very popular spot, so be armed with lots of patience if you want to catch a spot by the window.
Are you a fan of bright city neon lights? Shinjuku got you! Head there after dark to see how it all lights up! It’s a sight to see and to capture. I am a sucker for big city vibes, and Shinjuku does not fail to deliver.
Akihabara is famously known for its video game and manga shops. Similar to Shinjuku, it’s an area packed with bright lights and perfect for Instagram shots. Take your time to explore the shops and cafés! After visiting the Yodobashi Camera Multimedia Akiba Store I am convinced that if you want a piece of electronic, if you don’t find it there, it just doesn’t exist.
These were some of the best places in Tokyo where you can get you Instagram worthy shots! Keep an eye on this list, as I may expand it. Stay safe and, in the meantime, bookmark this for your future travels.