An Insider’s guide to Tokyo
Tokyo offers a world of fun, intrigue and excitement for any visitor. It’s a city that’s bright and charming, busy and historical and bursting at the seams with amazing activities, food and fun waiting to be discovered. Without a doubt, it is one of the most unique places in Asia. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, whether it’s your first or fifth time, here’s some essential inside information on how to make the most of your time.
The best place to stay
When you first look at a map of Tokyo, it can be utterly overwhelming and make it very hard to choose where to stay. You want to base yourself somewhere central, with easy access to all the major train lines so you can get around easily and make the most of your time. My tip for the best to stay is in Shibuya, as close to Shinjuku Station as possible. I stayed at Hotel Century Southern Tower and absolutely loved the location and views! It was so easy to get to everything, either by train or on foot.
Weird and wonderful things to do
Tokyo is home to some of the most unique, intriguing and hilarious things I’ve ever experienced while travelling. More than that, it’s just a place that’s a whole lot of fun. To really experience Tokyo, you have to immerse yourself in these amazing activities! Here are some of the best things to do in Tokyo.
- Go shopping at Don Quijote, an insane variety store, supermarket and clothing shop that’s open 24 hours and sells some of the craziest things I have ever seen in my life.
- Ditch sushi train and visit the only shute-sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Uobei, that delivers your sushi to you on a small automatic trolley.
- Laugh until your sides split at the ridiculously fun Robot Restaurant! Pre-book your tickets and avoid the food, but make sure you go.
- Try hot tub karaoke at LoveNet. Seriously, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
- Be sure to take a trip to Yoyogi Park on a Sunday. It comes alive with Tokyo locals having fun by dancing, playing games, dressing up in costumes and making music.
- Hire bikes and ride around Ginza, the Tsukiji Fish Market and the surrounding area. It’s a great way to see the city from a different angle and get out of the heart of Tokyo.
- Be sure to eat at least one thing that’s Matcha flavoured. Matcha is, essentially, green tea powder and the Japanese love it!
- Take a trip to Golden Gai in Shinjuku. Wander the tiny alleys, home to 200 bars, find one and get stuck up into some beers while you experience one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite spots!
- For the very best, free views of Tokyo and beyond, take a trip to the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building.
Essential tips to know before you go
Whether it’s your first time or you’re on your way back for more, there are a few essential tips you need to know before you go to Tokyo.
- It goes a long way to learn a few key phrases before you go. If you have dietary requirements, I’d recommend finding the words in Japanese and having them printed out in Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana symbols so you can show them when needed.
- You’ll notice a lot of people wearing masks in public. It turns out, this is a very respectful practice where those who are sick quarantine themselves to stop the spread!
- You should be sure to pack shoes you can slip on and off easily, as you’ll need to take your shoes on and off repeatedly throughout the day as you visit different places.
- It can be tricky getting money from an ATM in Tokyo as some just won’t accept your card. You may want to think about taking out larger amounts while you can and stashing money in your hotel safe.
- It’s very important to be polite and respectful everywhere you go in Tokyo and Japan in general. So, be a good tourist and respect the local traditions and culture.