Tokyo Takeover in 4 Days
Visa (U.S.): No
109 JPY = $1
Visit Again? Yes
The final stop during my second trip to Asia was Tokyo, Japan. I arrived here from Bali so there was a slight climate change from hot to cool. I was there during late October and all that was needed was a light jacket. We spent a total of 4 days here. I have been looking forward to finally making it here since I was a child. Tokyo is huge and 4 days was not enough, but just the right amount of time to get a taste if this city is for you. Tokyo is home to renowned fashion, art, cuisine, tech and more. It is hard to not find something that you would love here. I absolutely loved my time here and will share my some tips and things to do.
Know your airports
There are two airports in Tokyo, Haneda airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT). Haneda is only 30 mins to city central, while Narita is an hour and a half by train. It will save you time and money flying into Haneda. I flew into Narita on a direct flight from Bali. The flights that were flying into Haneda all had a stop and were also cheaper. I was pressed for time so I couldn’t take the flight with the stop but if you have ample time you can even utilize your stop as a trip itself.
transportation-get a map
Anytime I am using public transportation I always get a city and transit map to help be understand and have a visual representation. Trains are the most efficient form of transportation in Tokyo. Tokyo may be a 24-hour city but the trains aren’t. It runs from 5 am to 1 am daily. Be aware of these times so that you wont miss any train. I was out partying until 3 am and had to take a $40 cab for a 15 minute ride. So if you happen to be partying just stay out until 5 am when the trains start running again lol. Google maps on my T-mobile network worked fairly well, but I would look up places and screenshot directions while I’m under wifi. Google maps was useful because it included different routes and the amount the trip would cost.
The best recommendation if you are spending a few days is to get a Suica and/or Pasmo rechargeable train card. With these cards you can pay a $5 deposit (that you get back when leaving) for the card and load it up with money for the duration of your stay so that you can just tap and go and not waste time at the machines. You can even have your name printed on your Suica and phone number embedded, just in case you misplace it. This also makes for a great souvenir for you. These passes are available exclusively for tourists online, at the airport and train stations.
it is expensive- Tipping is frowned Upon
You may have heard people say that Tokyo is expensive, well they weren’t lying. As far as food I found that the prices were like NY prices in a touristic district, which are $10 up (after yen to usd conversion), if a bed in a hostel started at $30 then you can imagine hotel prices. Like I stated before avoid taking a cab and stick to public transportation. However, with all of these expenses the sun still shines because tipping is actually an insult if you’re from the U.S. you will save a lot. Japanese hospitality called omotenashi meaning quality service is a way a life and they are not looking for something in exchange. If you leave money do not be surprised if you are chased down to return it which actually happened to me at Kawaii Monster cafe when I didn’t collect my change of 100 yen. Some restaurant and even bars may include a service or cover charge on the check.
English is prominent as it is with other cities. Most places I visited the English was very limited. I recommend know some basic Japanese or having a translation app so that you can express yourself. I was asking the restaurant employee for the bathroom I had to hold my pants and squat a little, yea don’t be like me. Prepare in advance lol.
rent portable Wifi from the airport
As I stated before my carrier data worked okay and not the best. I can rent a portable wifi router for $10 a day at the airport. You can get it for less if you shop around online and reserve in advance. Be sure to remember to return it when leaving.
Like shopping in Europe and Thailand (places I’ve received tax back from) you are allowed to splurge and save. Places require you to have tour passport handy because they staple the form in your book. The tax refund is usually about 8%.
Sensoji Asakusa - Ancient Buddhist temple
Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple and one of the most significant. It’s mind blowing because it is right in the middle of the city, a few steps away from the hustle and bustle.
The world’s most famous intersection, allegedly the most busiest. Ehh, not busy enough for a girl like me who is from New York.
An omelet over rice. A Tokyo staple dish. I’ve made this dish before when there was nothing to eat in the house and I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. Who knew it was actually a “thing”.
Raved as one of the “best”. This quirky hole in the wall would definitely have you feeling like a kid again watching action cartoons. Read my review here
Bar Zingaro (food)
Artsy cafe owned by Takashi Murakami. Veggie sandwich was blah but it was cool just being there, Read my review here
At least tourists get to shop tax free. Why not pick up a few items.
^Totti Candy Factory(snack) $8
A huge blob of cotton candy
^Harajuku Denki Shokai (soda)
I thought the light bulb was cute, however $7 like 8 ounces of soda, whay was I thinking? lol
I found a Neoprint store, complete with a slew of photo booths to choose from to make you look like a Japanese caricature.
^Kawaii Monster Cafe(dinner) $5-$20
Adore this quirky cafe with the food and entertainment being eye catching alike. Read my review here.
Price: $5 to enter
dishes ranging from $5-$25
Moshi Moshi Box(clock)
A tourist information center during the day, displaying different clocks around the world.
Mori Digital Art Museum
Arrived here and the tickets were sold out for the day and we were leaving the next day. Would’ve been cool to attend and get a pic for IG (Instagram). I am still salty!
Tokyo’s digital district you can find tons of electronics and gaming arcades.
An urban fun nightclub in Shibuya, not too far from the infamous crosswalk. You can find all the urban cool kids and all of the dope american music playing. It is so amazing how black culture is influenced globally.
Waking up to our final day in Tokyo from a quiet capsule. Capsule hotels are perfect for people who just want a place to sleep, especially in you are staying solo, and also don’t plan on getting laid. I stayed at 24 hours Asakusa. They provide you wit PJ’s, tooth brush and toothpaste kit, and toiletries. Every morning you must be up and out by 10 am so that they can clean the area even if you booked multiple nights, so there’s no sleeping in here. Women and men were on separate floors in this capsule.
Price: $40 per night
Those famous red pillars that scream “I WENT TO JAPAN!!”
Places I had in mind but didn’t make it to. Check them out if you like what you see.
Curry Up (food) $10-$20 - A Happy Pancake - Hedgehog cafe
Yayoi Kusama (Art) - Disney World/DisneySea -Tokyo Tower - Harajuku Bridge
Le Shiner (snack) $10-$20 - Harajuku St. Valentine - Tokyu Plaza Omotesando -
AnyWhere Door (snack) - Metropolitan Gov. Bldg
Imperial Palace and Imperial Palace Gardens
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