With so much to see and do in Tokyo, new expats should prepare for a sensory overload. The visual landscape is animated by flashing billboards, the hum and buzz of a densely packed population, and gleaming buildings that compete for attention. The good news is that no matter how much leisure time they have, expats will never get bored.
Using public transport is an easy way to see the sights. The transport system is excellent, cheap and relatively easy to master, even for the newly arrived expat. If expats don't mind the walk, feeling out Tokyo on foot is highly recommended, although Tokyo's streets are not always named and numbered straightforwardly, so newcomers might initially struggle to navigate.
Recommended sightseeing in Tokyo
There is nowhere better for expats to get a sense of perspective than from atop the soaring Tokyo Tower, rising 1,092 feet (333m) into the sky. This architectural masterpiece was modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Looking for electronics, gadgets and anime and manga merch? Look no further than Akihabara, a renowned electronic wonderland with all the bargains, cutting-edge innovation and expert advice an expat could ever want. An essential attraction even if expats are just window shopping.
An ancient Buddhist temple, Senso-ji was built in 628 CE and has the distinction of being Tokyo's oldest temple. It still attracts many devotees, especially when one of the numerous associated festivals is running. The summer fireworks display held here is widely known.
Tokyo Disney Resort
This is a mega theme park that directly mimics the original version in California. Apart from the usual fun rides and characters, visitors can enjoy Tokyo DisneySea Park as well as the park's several hotels.
Tokyo National Museum
One of the world's largest art museums, this outstanding attraction has exhibits including antique kimonos, paper-thin pottery and classical woodblock prints.
Meiji Jingu is a pleasant and calming shrine close to Harajuku Station and a symbol of the Meiji era, which marked the end of Japan's isolation from the West. Originally built as a tribute to Emperor Meiji and his wife, the shrine is located in a breathtaking evergreen forest environment.
Here, expats in Tokyo can also explore the traditional Japanese Kabuki theatre. The Kabuki-za is the main venue for such performances and is set in a beautiful building.
Are you an expat living in Tokyo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tokyo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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