There’s no way around it; Tokyo is a world in itself and an absolute must if you love to travel. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and there are endless things that you can do in a city with over nine million residents. From beautiful sight-seeing to delicious eats, this guide is designed to help you maneuver your way through Tokyo, so your head doesn’t spin from all of the choices. Have a safe trip!
Traveling internationally can be scary, so before you continue, make a note of these crucial points when visiting Tokyo.
- Languages: The majority of people in Tokyo speak very broken English. That said, the 2020 Olympics are approaching so more English signs are spotted.
- Internet: Free public WiFi isn’t as standard in Tokyo as it is in America. You should save yourself cash and time by purchasing a Skyroam device to get global WiFi. (https://www.skyroam.com/?rfsn=356986.cddf2b)
- Money: Japanese Yen is the local currency in Tokyo. One USD equals to approximately 111 Yen.
- Sanitation: Surprisingly enough, it’s difficult to find public garbage cans in Tokyo. The majority of the locals carry around a baggie so they can stash their garbage until they’re home. Also, it’s important to carry extra tissues in your bag in case you come across a non-Western toilet.
- Cash and Cards: Most smaller establishments don’t accept cards, so you should have cash. You can find ATMs in all of the 7-Eleven stores, and they dispense a minimum of $100.
Moving Around the City
The easiest way for you to get around Tokyo is by using public transportation, so you should familiarize yourself with it quickly. One of the first things you should do upon arrival is pick up a bilingual transportation map so you can start to plan. Keep in mind that in Tokyo, it’s the law to stay off of your phone and keep it on silent. You also need to vacate your seat to a child, the elderly, a disabled person or a pregnant woman. You can use transport to visit some of these neighborhoods.
- Harajuku: Modern and hip fashion district.
- Ginza: Home to upmarket shops that are popular with tourists.
- Akihabara: District filled with the latest technology to buy.
- Sensoji and Ueno: Sensoji has the largest Buddhist temple along with many cultural sights. Ueno is another treasured cultural center.
- Kabuki and Roppongi: The nightlife districts. When you want to see Tokyo come to life at night, visit those communities. The clubs and bars are always active.
Unfortunately, even when visiting a place as amazing as Tokyo, everyone needs to get some shut-eye. Thankfully, there are plenty of options that are available to you depending on your needs.
- Luxury Accommodation: The Peninsula and Shangri-La Tokyo are both in the Ginza district. They are both five-star hotels and ultra-luxurious. (https://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/The_Peninsula_Hotel_Tokyo.htm, https://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Shangri_La_Hotel_Tokyo.htm)
- Mid-Range Accommodation: Tokyo Stay in the Shinjuku district is a comfortable hotel in the middle of Tokyo’s action. Additionally, Sakura Fleur Aoyama in Shibuya district provide what you need for a Tokyo escape. (https://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Tokyu_Stay_Shinjuku.htm, https://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Sakura_Fleur_Aoyama_Hotel_Tokyo.htm)
- Budget Accommodation: It’s likely that planning a trip to Tokyo is going to cost. You can save a lot of money by staying at a hostel, and there are plenty of top-rated ones available. You can find available hostels at hostelworld.com.
Keeping Yourself Busy in Tokyo
Now that you’ve gotten to Tokyo, you know how to get around the city, and you know where you’re staying, it’s time to look at what you can do. The city is always buzzing, and each district in Tokyo provides you with different adventures and various things to see. Here are some suggestions.
- Karaoke: You might not know it, but Tokyo is the birthplace of Karaoke, and it would be a crime to not practice your singing while there.
- Shibuya Crossing: With a population of over nine million people, it’s no surprise that Tokyo has the busiest intersection in the world. If crowds make you anxious, it might not be a good idea.
- Robot Restaurant: Book well in advance when wanting to visit the Robot Restaurant, and cover your tattoos. Tattoos aren’t as common in Japan as they are in the Western world, and there is a no tattoos sign. You can eat delicious sushi, and get an amazing show of robots, dance, color, sound, and lights at Robot Restaurant. Rumor says it cost nearly $90 million to build.
- Harajuku District: To get the full experience of young Japanese culture, visiting the Harajuku district is an absolute must.
- Golden Gai: It’s the perfect spot to do your very own Tokyo pub crawl.
- The Palace: You wouldn’t go to London without visiting Buckingham Palace, so why visit Tokyo without stopping by the Tokyo Imperial Palace?
With all that traveling around, you’ve undoubtedly worked up an appetite. Tokyo is known for sushi and seafood, but there’s plenty more out there to experience. Try some of these suggestions.
- Kawaii Monster Café: Located in the Harajuku district, the Monster Café is one of the cutest places you can expect to see. The Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, Bar Experiment, and Mel-Tea Room are unique areas in the café. (http://kawaiimonster.jp/day/pc/en/concept/)
- Shibuya: It might be hard to get seats, so your visit should be planned. However, the place is full of foodie hot spots like Ichiran Ramen you don’t want to miss.
- Tsujiki Fish Market: To get the whole experience of the Japanese culture, arrive at the fish market at 6 am for fresh sushi made before you.
- Takashimaya Dept Store: Another place that’s perfect for the foodies out there. The food hall is full of unique treats that you can’t find anywhere else. Also, it’s pretty much Instagram ready for all of your snapshots.
Now you can happily visit Tokyo and use the above guide to help you navigate through the tradition and ultramodern districts. The city is unlike anything you’ve been. Anime, video games, and state-of-the-art technology are only a few things you get to experience in Japan’s largest city. Keep your eyes open and prepare to have your world changed for the better. There’s nothing like the experience you get in Tokyo.