What to do in Tokyo (Day One)

I traveled clear across the planet to experience Japan. As per usual, I had no idea what to do in Tokyo when I arrived, and a very limited knowledge of the country.

I woke up in my Tokyo Airbnb on day one, a little disoriented, but ready to explore the city…. this is what I found!

What to do in Tokyo (Day One):

Hatonomorihachiman Shrine

Directly across from my Airbnb in the Sendagaya neighborhood of Tokyo, is the very interesting, yet hard to pronounce Hatonomorihachiman Shrine.

This is one of the thousands of Shinto shrines and Buddhist Temples across Tokyo. It’s an outdoor place of worship, and a really interesting mix of park and church.

This one in particular is set up with the purpose of worshiping Mt. Fuji  for those that can’t make the pilgrimage to the sacred mountain. It is said to have been founded in the early 8th century.

If you’re day doesn’t start in Sendagaya, there are a ton of other shrines and temples around the city to see.


I walked from Sendagaya to the famous neighborhood of Harajuku. When you’re wondering what to do in Tokyo – this should be your first stop. Harajuku is the place to see and be seen for young, hip Japanese.

Just watching the stylish masses pass by is worth the trip unto itself.

Harajuku is the most popular shopping district in Tokyo and close by is the crazy Takeshita Street. A crowded and touristy shopping spectacle that is as overwhelming as it is awesomely weird.

Ramen Restaurant in Harajuku

It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to order at the vending machine. Like many Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo, you order your food first from a machine and then present your receipt to the counter. My mistake was trying to make a selection before I actually put money in, lesson learned.

But once the ramen came, it was well worth the embarrassment.


In the afternoon I met my high school, Chris, at the Shinjuku station – Tokyo’s busiest metro station.

We passed through Shinjuku and through the popular Memory Lane (aka Piss Alley). This area is home to many popular little restaurants that serve up meat on sticks called Yakatori.

Just aimlessly wondering around the side streets and gaining perspective from my friend Chris, who’s been living in Tokyo for almost three years, is such a great way to begin my trip and start seeing things on a deeper level.

And then he took me to perhaps the most touristy spot in the whole city…

Shibuya Crossing

Chaos. Shibuya Crossing is said to be the busiest intersection in the world, and it sure seemed like it. Bright lights, shoppers, tourists, and salary men all converge onto the black and white striped streets to get to and from the Shibuya Metro.


I couldn’t wait another minute to try the Sushi in Tokyo. Luckily, Chris knew of a good sushi restaurant in Shibuya!

As you can see from the My First Day in Tokyo video, I was in heaven.

Day one in Tokyo was an amazing start to my “Travel Deeper Japan” adventure!

For more information about what to do in Tokyo, check out my YouTube Channel for new Japan videos every Friday!

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

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