Tokyo Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Tokyo. How to get there and more…
Great to have you here searching for Tokyo travel tips. Let me take you through the capital of Japan and how to get the best out of Tokyo. The city is situated in the Kanto region on the main island of Honshu. Tokyo’s greater metropolitan area has a population of over 35 million, making it one of the largest and most exciting mega cities in the world.
Rocked by earthquakes and scorched by war. This centuries old city has refused to kneel. Just like the sun, Tokyo has continued to rise. Blending the old with the new. And the new with tomorrow. Tokyo is a spectacular matrix of villages, towns and cities. Strong together by a subway and train system that never rests.
Yet despite the neon, noise and sheer volume of people, Tokyo’s soul beats with a heart of zen. Tradition, ritual and respect are the hallmarks of japanese society. This is a place that cherishes its children, takes care of its elderly and treats visitors like honored guests. Tokyo is the city of multiple personalities. Whenever you pop up from the subway, it can feel as if you’ve arrived in an entirely different city.
Tokyo Travel Tips – How To Get To Tokyo From The Airport
Tokyo is served by two international airports: Narita and Haneda. Narita is 43 miles to the northeast of the city. Haneda is much closer, just 8 miles to the south. Both of these airports are world class. Among the best and busiest in the world, serving over a 100 million passengers per year between the two of them.
From Narita to Tokyo
You actually have a few options depending on where in Tokyo you’re trying to get to. The skyliner train runs from the airport to Ueno station near the University of Tokyo. The ride costs 2400 Yen ($21) and takes about 45 minutes to Ueno station. The Narita Express (NEX) serves a variety of greater Tokyo’s stations. Including popular tourist areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya. The NEX costs 2940 Yen ($25) and takes just under an hour to get to Tokyo station.
Train in Tokyo
From Haneda to Tokyo
The easiest way to get from Haneda to Tokyo is the Monorail, which goes directly from the airport to Hamamatsucho station right in the center of town. And from there you can jump on any of Tokyo’s mass transport services. The ride costs 500 Yen ($4.50) and takes 20 minutes.
One alternative from both airports is the limousine bus, this is a dedicated airport bus service which will take you from both Tokyo airports to almost every major hotel in this city. The downside is the amount of time it takes. If the traffic is bad it could take around 90 minutes.
The upside is peace of mind because it will take you directly to your hotel, you don’t have to worry about getting from a subway or bus station to the hotel.
Tokyo Travel Tips – How To Get Around Tokyo
When searching for Tokyo travel tips you will quickly realize that Tokyo is a huge city. It is big beyond comprehension. It’s the largest city in the world by population, 38 million people spread out over five thousand square miles.
As you would’ve assumed, Tokyo has one of the most extensive transit systems in the world. It’s clean, safe, efficient, but it can be kind of confusing. There are several different railway systems operating in Tokyo, the JR East network, the two subway networks and a host of private lines. And to make things a slightly more confusing different systems appear on different route maps, so it does take some practice.
But don’t worry, I’ll try and sort that out for you now.
Train Station In Tokyo
There are two mail subway lines in Tokyo. The Tokyo metro and the Toei Subway. Before these two lines are owned by two different companies, you have to pay and pass through a ticket barrier before transfer. The good news is, if you have a Suica or Pasmo card it’s a pretty straightforward process. More on those in a second.
There’s also the JR East network which is home to the JR Yamanote line and this line will be your friend while you’re in Tokyo because it does a full loop of the city. Look for the green line on the map and the green trains.
Because the Tokyo public transport system can be a little bit confusing, it’s not a bad idea to get a transit App on your phone, Rail Map Lite is pretty good, but it’s hard to beat Google Maps. Both of those of course need a data connection to be of any use.
When leaving the subway, there are yellow signs that show which exit corresponds with which destination above ground. And this is great because some subway stations are massive.
Suica or Pasmo cards are definitely worth getting. Not only can you use it on trains, subways and buses. But also in every major convenience store and vending machines. And it will also automatically take care of your transfer fee when you inevitably switch between one train service and another.
There’s no difference between the Suica or Pasmo card, they’re just owned by different companies. You can buy and recharge them at any of the kiosks in any station where you’d ordinarily buy a ticket. And all the kiosks are in english too, so no worries there. Both cards require a 500 Yen ($4.50) deposit which you’ll get back when you return the card. The minimum charge amount is a 1000 Yen ($8) and it’s cash only so bare that in mind when you pick those up.
Good to know is that between 10pm and 5am the fares increase by 20%. When you’re hailing a taxi, look for the red sign in the window and lit top bar. One neat little thing about Tokyo taxis is that the rear passenger doors open and close by itself so you don’t have to worry about that. One last thing on taxis is, don’t assume that your taxi driver is going to speak english. It’s much better to get your destination printed out on a card or even bring a map with you. Most hotels will be more than happy to provide that for you.
Taxis in Tokyo
Best Places To Stay In Tokyo
As mentioned earlier, it’s hard to imagine when searching for Tokyo travel tips just how big this city is. One of the largest in the world when it comes to population. That’s why it’s extra important to find the right places to stay so that you have a convenient location in the city, rather than having to travel for hours and hours. Here I will list the 4 best areas of Tokyo to stay in.
Shinjuku is the best area to stay in Tokyo, especially the places located on the west side of the subway station. It has all the best hotels with reasonable prices, it’s the biggest transport hub and close to restaurants, convenience stores, bookshops, and plenty of tourist attractions.
Tokyo station / Marunouchi Area is the main transport hub in Tokyo. It’s also a great place to stay with hotels, restaurants, stores, tourist attractions all within walking distance. Choose this one or Shinjuku and you won’t be disappointed.
Shibuya is another place on the west side of the Yamanote line that also has great hotels, good public transport connections, restaurants, hotels and shops. The difference is that it’s a bit more youth oriented and more busy than Shinjuku.
Roppongi is a great place and it’s ranked very high among people living in Tokyo and travellers. The slight downside of not being on the Yamanote line makes it a little bit less convenient to come around, but if you’re not planning on getting around so much this is probably the best place to stay. It’s the coolest and most cosmopolitan part of the city. It’s got great nightlife and plenty of high end restaurants.
What To Eat and Drink In Tokyo
Tokyo has a staggering 26 Michelin starred restaurants and when looking for Tokyo travel tips the city can therefore be ranked as one of the best food cities on the planet. That’s more than London, Paris and New York combined. This is a place to be adventures, a thousand food surprises are waiting for you in the alleyways and restaurants. So relax and go with the flow and you will be absolutely blown away by the food in Tokyo.
Sushi in Tokyo
A couple japanese etiquette tips before we dig into the food. If you’re eating with chopsticks, these three things are considered very rude so avoid them at all times:
Don’t stir your food with a single chopstick
Don’t leave your chopsticks standing up in a bowl rice
Don’t leave your chopsticks crossed on the plate, bowl or table.
Breakfast is not really a big thing in Tokyo, coffeeshops don’t open until 11am and there’s not many breakfast options outside of hotel restaurants. So bare that in mind before you start your day’s adventures.
The most famous japanese dish is of course sushi and Tokyo is the capital of the dish. You’ll find great sushi all over the city and some of the best places to get sushi is Matsuei, Kyubei and Sushi no Midori.
Another staple of japanese food ramen, and you can find some of the best ramen here in Tokyo. Chewy noodles with different spices and ingredients that will rock your boat, get the best ramen at Afuri, Sobahouse and Kagari.
Kobe Beef in Tokyo
Tempura is deep fried japanese food with shrimps, vegetables, sweet potato and you’ll find it all over the city, especially good at Tempura Abe and Tsunahachi.
Yakitori is chicken skewers brushed with sweet soy glaze and grilled over charcoal. There’s other meat options and vegetarian options too and you’ll find some of the best Yakitori at Torikizoku and Torishiki.
These are just a few of the dishes that are most popular and there’s so much great food that people write books about it. Kobe beef is one of those dishes that you just have to try when in Tokyo. When you do some more research you’ll see just how abundant and perfect this food city is.
Tokyo’s is known for its sake, which is a japanese rice wine and to get the full sake experience visit the Meshu center with over 100 different varieties of sake.
Yebisu beer is one of Japan’s oldest beers, brewed since 1890 and it’s arguably the most popular. A must to try out when visiting Tokyo.
Top 7 Experiences You MUST Have In Tokyo
Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest and most famous. It is located in Asakusa in Taito municipality and is a popular tourist destination.
The temple is Buddhist and dedicated to Kannon, but is like many Japanese temples wall to wall with a Shinto shrine, Asakusa jinja. The temple was built sometime in the 600s, with the exact year is unclear. Famous landmarks at the temple are the “Thunder Gate”, Kaminarimon and a five-story high pagoda. Stunning architecture.
Harajuku is the district of the Shibuya, located near the Yamanote Line station of the same name. The district is an important center for youth fashion in Japan and many trends begin in the many designer stores that house there. During the 90s, Harajuku was noticed because of the teenage groups, which on Sundays during the hot part of the year, used to show astonishing and extreme equipment. Nearby is Meiji jingu, a popular excursion destination as well as the Yoyogi Park, which is known for its many outdoor concerts.
Roppongi is a neighborhood in Minato. The area is known as a rich area with many nightclubs and a large presence of foreigners. Roppongi Hills is one of Roppongi’s renowned sites, including Mori Tower. Here you’ll find an abundance of restaurants, shopping, attractions and cafés.
Hamarikyu Park is a public park in Chuo. The park is located at the mouth of the Sumida River and was opened in 1946. The park is a 250,165 square meters of landscaped garden that surrounds the Shioiri Dam. The park itself is surrounded by a moat filled with sea water from the Gulf of Tokyo. It was rebuilt into a public garden park at the site where a house for the samurai clan Tokugawa was located in the 17th century. A beautiful place to have a calm afternoon stroll around.
Park in Tokyo
Tokyo Skytree is a TV tower in Sumida. Japan. The tower is the world’s second tallest and Japan’s tallest building, with a height of 634 meters. Tokyo Skytree was opened in public in 2012. It is primarily built for radio communications that take over the function as the most important point for broadcasts in Tokyo after the 333 m high Tokyo Tower whose height is not enough because the surrounding buildings have grown taller and shadow the signals. Communications companies in Tokyo concluded that a new tower at least 600 m high was needed. Here you can experience an incredible view of Tokyo’s skyline.
Odaiba is a large, artificial island in the Gulf of Tokyo. It forms part of the Minato, Koto and Shinagawa district municipalities. In daily speech, the neighboring island to the east, including the artificial one, is also included in the designation Odaiba. It has in recent decades become a center for parts of the Japanese entertainment industry, and here is the international exhibition area Tokyo Big Sight.
7. The Gulf of Tokyo is a bay in the southern parts of the Kantor region. It is surrounded by
the Boso Peninsula in the east and the Miura Peninsula in the west. In the bay there are a number of artificial islands built during the Meiji and Taisho periods. Actually, only one of the islands in the bay is built on a natural route. A number of ports are also at the bay. Yokosuka’s port has US troops in Japan and Japanese maritime self-defense troops. Make sure to have a look at the magnificent and majestic Rainbow bridge.