Tokyo – Off the Beaten Path

For anyone planning to go to Tokyo, here are some helpful tips I’ve accumulated from my trips to the big city.

FOOD:

I recommend you try to find smaller restaurants on the side/smaller streets. They’re usually tastier, feel more homey, and are less expensive.

  • The prices we had were: starting from 150 YEN per dish in Conveyer Belt sushi restaurants AND 600 YEN per bowl for Ramen restaurants
  • Department stores have discounted (sometimes 50% off) (Sushi and more) at 6-7 PM (closing time) located in the Basement Levels
  • Onigiri: local convenient stores have what’s called “Onigiri” (rice balls wrapped in seaweed) that are a good cheap option for meals such as breakfast/lunch.

SHOPPING:

  • Thrift (second hand) stores are a budget friendly (and clean) way to buy clothing in Japan. For example, my family once made the spur of the moment decision to go skiing. And for $100 we were able to find two ski outfits in good condition.

SIGHTS:

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government building – it has free entry, and you can see the skyline of Tokyo from here
  • A lot of Temples in Tokyo to visit (simply Google the one nearest you)
  • Bathhouses: In Japan, there are public bathhouses called Sento. The bathing areas are separated by gender, and require you to shower before you go in. The prices are reasonable, and it’s a nice way to relax at the end of a long day. Bathing in Japan also has it’s own etiquette, so make sure you’re aware of them. A quick search on google should do the trick.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • The “Common One-day Metro Ticket” is a good option if you’re planning on going to many places in the city (1000 YEN per person)
  • There are 2 sets of Metro lines: the “Tokyo metro line”, and the “Toei Line”. This ticket will allow you to travel on all the lines in Tokyo. They can be bought at all subway station machines. Including the airport.
  • http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/1day/index.html
  • Pasmo Card: this is a convenient card that you put money in, and can use to buy things at convenience stores, and pay for the METRO and BUS as well. Plus some other locations.
  • Not all places take credit cards, so when you use the PASMO card, you won’t have you carry cash on you.
  • Also, try not to ride taxis as they are more expensive.

ACCOMMODATION:

  • Hostels and home stays: they are good options if you want to explore Tokyo on a more cultural level.
  • Booking.com is a good site for booking hotels, hostels, home stays, etc. You can find some really good rates on there.
  • Hotels usually charge by person; the second and third person may have a higher rate
  • It’s also a better idea to stay towards the center of Tokyo in a smaller home stay, hostel or capsule hotel. This way you’ll be closer to the restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc.
  • Some hostels have a kitchen, so you can buy local food and cook a meal or two with any new friends you make!

LANGUAGE

  • It’s a good idea to learn some basic Japanese phrases. Simple words such as “Arigato” (pronounced a-re-ga-to) meaning “thanks” and “toire” (pronounced toy-re(d) without the d) meaning “toilet” will go a long way. You can learn how to say these phrases with a quick google search as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Sayonara for now!

– April 2016

Advertisements

44 thoughts on “Tokyo – Off the Beaten Path

  1. It always helps to know how to ask for the bathroom ;P

    If you ever get the chance, by all means! Even transferring at the Tokyo airport is a giddy experience.

    Like

      1. I don’t know what advertisement you saw, but if you were introducing yourself, you’d use “Watashi wa (insert name) desu.*” [watashi wa = I; desu = am]

        *I forgot to include this earlier. “Desu” is a conjugation of the verb “to be.” So “desu” translates to the “am” part.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think Japanese is interesting, thank you so much for correcting me.
        I’ll be looking forward for more new words and once again thank you. I hope I’ll learn it fast. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Tokyo has a lot of foreigners either living or visiting there. Japan is also putting a big effort in attracting more tourists, so more people can get interested in Japan and it’s culture. Generally, I’ve only encountered friendly locals there, who will do their best to help you. For example, one time this lady with one kid on her chest and one kid on her hand, personally walked 50 meters down the street to point us in the right direction. She did this because there was a language barrier, and walking us there was the only way (thankfully it was nearby.)

      As with any culture, not everyone will be friendly. But generally, I’ve had a good time in Tokyo when ever I visited.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tokyo is an extremely big city. So big that they have different “wards” or areas that have different attractions specific to that area – e.g. electronics or cultural museums. So it wasn’t hard to choose where I wanted to go each day, since everything was “up for grabs” per say. Some days would be planned, and some days would be, as I said, “bus-hopped,” or as you mentioned, “train-hopped.”

        Like

      1. It depends. About a week in most cases. Last year, I took a 3 month sabbatical, traveling mostly in SE Asia and East Pacific. My Trans-siberian railroad trip was a month (with all stops), and so was my trip to Peru. But I can only do a 3+ week trip once the year; the rest are a week or less.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s