Things To Do in Tokyo


Japan’s capital is really not that expensive as many people might perceive. In fact, there are a lot of exciting things that you can experience in Tokyo if you know where to go and what to do. Here are some great travel suggestions that you should not miss when traveling to Tokyo.

Expect to do a lot of walking

Wear comfortable shoes and socks. Tokyo has an incredible transport network consisting of subways, trains, monorails, buses, and taxis. However, once they get you to a station, the best way to see Tokyo is by foot and marvel at its majestic ancient landmarks and ultra-modern buildings, as well as a lot of interesting people.

Bring tissues in individual packets

Although there are some Western toilets in many of its establishments, most toilets in Japan are the squat variety wherein you literally have to squat to the ground to relieve yourself.

If you think the bathroom does not have a convenient way of cleaning your private areas (although Japan has clean restrooms), the tissue packets will come in handy. Just remember to dispose them at the wastebasket and not in the toilet. If you find a computerized toilet, why not try one?

Keep yourself hydrated

With all the walking that you would do in Tokyo, it is important to replace all the lost fluids in your body. You can buy sodas or green tea available in convenience stores or vending machines that litter the city. If you prefer bottled water, take note that most bottled waters available in Tokyo are either flavored or sweetened.

Eat out in any way possible

Tokyo has more than 60,000 restaurants ranging from traditional noodle houses to sushi bars to American food chains, from the inexpensive convenience stores to the costly restaurants of Ginza district.

Most restaurants have pictures on their menu, or you may opt to try choosing your food through the famous plastic foods displayed on the front window. Remember, pay only in cash (and in Japanese yen), as most restaurants do not accept plastic.

Bring a good camera

Tokyo is a wonderful place to take pictures. The subjects are limitless from its ancient landmarks, the funny "Engrish" (misspelled English) signage, and even its hip young crowd with mind-blowing fashion sense at Harajuku district (only on Sundays).

There are several locations where taking pictures are not recommended, like pachinko arcades (usually backed by criminal syndicates).

Many Japanese people feel offended if you take their pictures without their permission, although the fashionable youngsters would most likely pose for you if you ask to have their pictures taken. However, if you like your shots candid, make it quick and unnoticeable.

Subways are the way to go

Taxis are very expensive in Tokyo (although it is cheaper if you are riding on groups of three), while riding a bus requires more Japanese language skills, not to mention slower. The rail service in Tokyo is fast, safe, and efficient.

Learn basic Japanese

Although there are Japanese who speak basic English (like some policemen and hotel staff), it is best to communicate in Japan by using the Japanese language. Buy a handy phrase book and practice speaking useful phrases like "Hello" and "Which is the way to…"

Bring your own tea bags or coffee

You can either bring tea bags, coffee and sugar packets with you or buy them at the convenience store. Those placed on your self-serve bar cost about US$6.00 each. While you’re at it, you can purchase some sodas and snacks outside and bring them into your room to avoid the hefty hotel price.

Bring a travel iron if needed

We recommend bringing clothing that does not wrinkle much during your travels. But if you need to bring wrinkle-prone garments like cotton shirts, make sure to bring a travel iron with you. Many hotel rooms in Tokyo do not have one, and borrowing one from the front desk would take several minutes.

Check the dates beforehand

Traveling to Tokyo would be more exciting if you book your stay when the city celebrates one of its many festivals. Most of these celebrations are during springtime from March to May.

Stay safe

Tokyo can be considered as one of the safest cities in the world where street crime is extremely rare even late at night. Despite of this, take precautions against pickpockets in crowded areas and trains. Take note that some small, backstreet drinking establishments in the red-light district have been known to charge unreasonably high prices.

If you need help, the police are your best resource, located in one of many "koban" (police boxes) around Tokyo. You could also ask them when you are lost or reporting theft or loss of travel insurance.

Women should stay cautioned

Although theft and violent crimes are remarkably low in Tokyo, sexual harassment of single foreign females on public transport is not uncommon, especially during rush hours.

When in a crowded subway, put your bag or any other item in front or behind your legs. Scream if you feel that someone is touching you inappropriately, giving embarrassment to the harasser. You can also try riding "female-only" cars in some subways.

Be alert on earthquakes

Like the rest of Japan, Tokyo gets some little shakes from time to time. Although most of them are totally harmless, you should be aware of safety procedures. Do not put heavy items in high places especially above your bed.

If an earthquake happens while you are indoors, extinguish gas burners and candles and shelter under a table to protect yourself from falling objects just in case. If you are outdoors, stay away from brick walls, glass panels, and vending machines.

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