How can one even start to talk about Tokyo? Perhaps, it’s by describing the duality of the city – from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. In a day, you’ll be able to experience both.
Tokyo is an experience. Every minute of your every day is jam-packed with fresh discoveries. Every moment is filled with utter delight. Surely, anyone who has been there can share a similar experience.
But if you haven’t been there yet, or you want a more immersive experience the next time you visit, here are some tips for your Tokyo trip:
1. Google Maps saves the day!
Prior to your flight, make sure you have your apps ready. Aside from Google Maps, you can download Navitime as well. These apps are useful since they show the fastest and cheapest way to get from one place to another. In fact, we noticed some locals using the Navitime app, too.
2. What is life without Wi-Fi?
It is pretty hard to go around Tokyo without Wi-Fi. Although there are a lot of free Wi-Fi spots, it is difficult to navigate in transit without a stable Wi-Fi. We got ours when we arrived at Narita Airport. For Y5200, we had portable Wi-Fi for 4 days. Our group members each pitched in to make the cost more affordable.
It is totally worth it to get your own Wi-Fi device as their Wi-Fi speed is incredibly fast!
3. Don’t be shy to ask.
The Japanese are extremely hospitable! They go out of their way to be polite. This notion has proven true in our experience. On our third day, we decided to go to Mt. Fuji – Kawaguchiko via bus in Shibuya Mark City station. Our ride was scheduled to leave exactly at 10:45 AM.
Unfortunately, we found ourselves lost in the streets of Shibuya. However, our problem did not last long. We asked a Japanese couple directions and they ended up assisting us to the bus station. This was on the fifth floor of a mall. We’re sure that we would not have been able to make it to Fuji if not for their help.
4. Beyoncé was right - To the left, to the left.
Japanese usually stick to the left. You would be considered a deviant if you walk on the right side when walking through their underpass or sidewalk. So as Beyoncé’s song Irreplaceable goes “Oh to the left, to the left.”
5. Mind your own business.
Do not be surprised when while taking a photo at Shibuya Crossing, someone might bump your shoulder and just walk away. No apologies.
People working in Japan are very busy. From Monday to Fridays, you will see them in corporate attire, going about their business. This hustle and bustle can be seen in pedestrian crossings, streets, and trains.
6. Prepare your tummy.
Itadakimasu! Food in Japan is the best especially if you are a fan of sushi, sashimi, and ramen. Prepare your tummy. If you could compartmentalize it, why not? To say that the food is so good is simply an understatement.
Do not forget to try these:
· For Sushi, Tsukiji Fish Market will be your best friend. There’s a restaurant in the said market named Sushi Dai, make sure you try it. They serve the best sushi I have ever tasted. Make sure to be early as the line is really long and waiting time is around 2 hours. It is super worth the wait! If you are just around Shibuya, try their version of Genki Sushi.
· Make sure to grab a steak from Ikinari Steak. It is a must when in Tokyo.
· Ichiran and Fuunji’s Ramen are to-die-for, also! Make sure to pay a visit when in Tokyo!
7. Best transportation
Trains hands down. Japan trains may be intimidating, but they are still the best mode of transportation. It is fast and efficient.
Transferring from one station to another can be a bit confusing, but there are signs present. If you're still experiencing issues, don’t be shy to ask!
You can also take a cab but it is quite expensive. Also, there are streets that a taxi cannot reach.
8. Ready your legs for the long walk.
From the train station, you NEE to walk. A lot. One theory we had as to why tourists have to walk a lot is maybe because Japanese themselves like walking. They rarely drive cars and it would seem that they prefer walking and using public transportation. In our experience, we got tired from all the walking and exploring. However, it is all worth it.
9. Immerse yourself in the Japanese culture!
In Tokyo alone, the Japanese culture is very prevalent. You should explore the temples and skyscrapers to fully immerse yourself in their way of life.
On our part, we went and enjoyed the Senso-Ji Temple and Hie Shrine. We threw yen coins in the widely opened grills. You can also check out the Tokyo Sky Tower for a more modern experience!
10. Have fun!
A visit to Japan is not complete without having fun! Our group had some night life on our last day. It was at Roponggi and it was fun seeing Japanese people loosen up after their busy week at work.
In case you are the nature-lover type, you can travel a bit outside of Tokyo and visit the Shibazakura Festival.
We will very much miss Japan. It was one hell of an experience. It was beyond beautiful and extraordinary. We are sure that you too will fall in love with Japan.
Thank you, Asia Select, Inc. for allowing our team to travel to Japan.