Tokyo is a vibrant and energetic city packed with places to eat, shop, and sight see. I visited Tokyo a few months ago and was automatically drawn to the culture, the fashion and the people. I was able to travel as both a local and a tourist during my time here and it’s a place I look forward to visiting again. If you thrive in high-energy cities, love to shop, or love food I think Tokyo is a good place to start when visiting Japan. Here are a few of my tips and tricks that I’ve learned during my time there.
LEARN THE CULTURE
There are certain ways of doing things in the Japanese culture and it doesn’t hurt to learn and take part in them while you’re there. It shows respect for the people, the country and their culture.
- When purchasing anything put your money on the tray they provide. The Japanese do not like to touch money as it carries a lot of dirt and germs.
- Bow as a sign of respect when greeting anyone.
- Be quiet when in a train or bus and sometimes even in restaurants.
- Do not poor your own drink when in the company of friends and family.
TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
There is a subway line that can take you to all the main areas in Tokyo and the best part about it is that it runs in a circle. If you get lost, get back on the same line and try again! If you plan to go further, they have one of the fastest, if not the fastest, bullet trains in the world.
Most people have heard of the infamous shopping areas like Ginza, Harajuku, etc. but here is a list of my favorite places to shop and why.
- Shibuya is a one-top shop. You can find a myriad of places to shop including smaller boutique shops and department stores.
- Vintage shopping in Tokyo is amazing. There’s small street past Harajuku where you’ll find all the best boutiques for more fashionable and unique products.
- Harajuku is best for souvenir shopping
Location is everything so when choosing a place to stay in Tokyo think first about what you will be doing and then choose somewhere that is central to your activities alongside public transportation. I ended up staying somewhere far from the stations and had to take a taxi every time I wanted to go to the hotel. If you are staying somewhere that is not walking distance from a station, ask the concierge if there is a shuttle to and from your hotel to the station.
I LOVE food and I always say you can really experience another person’s culture through food. In Tokyo there are plenty of places to try Japanese cuisine from yakitori spots to ramen joints. The best places to eat at are the small, hole in the wall restaurants in the subway stations or near it. You can get anything and everything you need near the subway. I also wrote about the different types of food in this blog post here.
If there are any other questions you have about traveling to Tokyo or Japan comment below and I’ll answer them!