Many people and cultures from around the world have taken root in Tokyo, Japan's capital. We have compiled a list of some of the top spots known for being Japan's “number 1” or “the first” of something in Tokyo. Go and check them out yourself if you have the chance!
1. Meiji Jingu Shrine
Despite being in the heart of Tokyo, Meiji Jingu has a calm, sacred atmosphere. In Japan, there is a custom to visit shrines to greet the New Year called “hatsumode”. Most people visit during the first 3 days of the New Year. Meiji Jingu has the largest number of hatsumode visitors in all of Japan. Its best feature is its wide grounds and huge, magnificent torii gate. Torii gates designate the line between the world in which humans live and the world in which the gods reside. Once you step inside the torii gate, you will be able to feel for yourself the sacred air surrounding you. It’s a revitalizing place to go for anyone tired from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Shinjuku Station
Shinjuku is known as one of Tokyo's main terminal stations. Many train lines run through Shinjuku and it has the largest number of daily passengers in all of Japan. Since Japan dominates world train rankings, Shinjuku is not only the busiest station in Japan, but in the world! It’s even registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s busiest train station. The busiest time of day is the morning-commute rush. Being pushed by station attendants into packed trains is one side of Japan to experience. If you have the stamina and willpower, check out the station swarming with people and try riding a packed train for yourself!
3. Shibuya Scramble Crossing
The Shibuya scramble crossing outside of Shibuya Station is known as the busiest intersection in Japan. It's been featured in many music videos and movies made by both domestic and international creators and as such is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo. The best part of the view is seeing people walking in all directions the second the light turns green. Over 3,000 people cross at the same time when the streets are busy. You'll truly feel the atmosphere of being in Japan's internationally renowned capital, Tokyo, when you put yourself in the midst of all those people. There are lots of neon lights and advertisements surrounding the crossing so we also recommend visiting at night to check out its dazzling night view.
3. Shibuya Scramble Crossing
4. Tokyo Skytree®
The Tokyo Skytree broadcast tower looms over the banks of the Sumida River. It's the tallest freestanding broadcast tower in Japan (and also the tallest tower in the world), and it sends out radio and television signals to the millions of people living in Tokyo. Since it has to have its signal reach throughout a city with so many skyscrapers, Skytree stands at 634m tall. It lights up at night, changing colors for special events and holidays. Near the top is the “Tembo Galleria” observation deck where you can get a 360-degree view of Tokyo. Come as a couple or with family and enjoy the beautiful night view of Tokyo!
5. Tsukiji Market
Taking on the role as “Tokyo’s kitchen”, Tsukiji Market has the most financial transactions in Japan and is the number one wholesale market in the world. In the early morning when the freshly caught seafood is auctioned off and the lively market is filled with loud voices of the auctioneers - that's the ideal time to visit. There are also many restaurants and shops around the market area where you can eat fresh fish and buy packaged foods to bring back as souvenirs. It is one of the most well-known tourist spots in Tokyo. Anyone that wants to eat fresh Japanese fish should come and visit!
*It is necessary to register beforehand to see the tuna auctions. Please be sure to check the rules and manners of visiting beforehand.
6. Tokyo Mitsukoshi Flagship Store
Sitting in the center of the former heart of Tokyo, Nihonbashi, the Mitsukoshi flagship store was the first department store in Japan. It was established in 1904 and has been in business for over a century. Since it is the flagship main store, it has an amazing selection and is very popular with visitors to Japan. Most of its brands are geared toward middle aged and older customers and its main feature is its stately, magnificent storefront. It sells not only clothes but food products as well. If you want to experience Japanese department stores, try going to the first and best!
7. Tokyo Dome
Tokyo Dome, the headquarters of Tokyo’s professional baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, is the first indoor baseball stadium in Japan. Besides baseball games during baseball season, it also holds large concerts and events. The surrounding Tokyo Dome City has many popular attractions including an amusement park, spa, restaurants, and even a hotel. It can be enjoyed by anyone of any age, so it’s great for anyone looking for a place to enjoy with family.
These were some of the top spots in Tokyo known for being "first" or "number one" for something in Japan. All of them are great places to visit, so try and put as many as you can in your itinerary.