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Tokyo was crazy but in the best way. It’s pretty overwhelming and can get fairly confusing navigating the streets and subways stations, which are fairly intimidating feeling like their own small towns, but there are plenty of things to love about it, too.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, Tokyo is worth a visit. It can be seen on the cheap, but don’t forget to splurge a little and have some fun. This guide to Tokyo will help you plan the best trip possible.
People in, well, all of Japan are very helpful. I had to ask for directions (surprise!) to Uobei, a deliciously cheap sushi place, and they didn’t know so they Googled the directions for us. Talk about helpful! We also needed directions (I hope this doesn’t surprise you anymore) to Harajuku from there. I never really felt in danger, but like all places, still, be a little cautious, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Transportation was a confusing and frustrating thing, but it’s also awesome and efficient. First, the subways. The stations are like small towns. They can be confusing, but they have everything, including Wifi. Make sure to pay attention to the signs. One minute you’re on the right track, the next, no more.
Second, taxis. I never took one because they are fairly pricey (and Japan was already going to push my budget, but it was totally worth it and I’m dying to go back), BUT the doors open on their own and the drivers all wear tuxedos. I mean, how is that not awesome? Next time I will take one just because of that.
Third, buses. Curse the bus stops by Tokyo Station. Curse them! They are very confusing, nobody knows which is which, and they’re clustered together, but still far enough apart to be a hassle if you’re at the wrong one. Give yourself lots of time to find the right one, too.
We needed to catch a night bus at 11Pm that cost around $80 US and could not for the life of us find it. We were sent all over and to the same stops multiple times, but none were right. At about 11:15 we tried one last one, AND IT WAS RIGHT! They waited for us! It was the best way to end the night. AND a bonus, the bus was a zillion degrees, no need to wear everything you brought to stay warm! If night buses don’t sound like something you want to do, consider getting a Japan Rail Pass.
Known for the famous people scramble, I was drawn to Shibuya and I’m not really sure why. Of my six days in Tokyo, I was probably there four of them. Yeah, I couldn’t stay away. It’s also the home to the delicious Uobei that I mentioned above. I really enjoyed it at night and it’s just a short(ish) walk to Harajuku from there.
It was really fun to just wander down small side streets. You never know what you can find, and it’s usually where the best places are hidden. I loved seeing all the signs with no idea what they said. The plastic food in the restaurant windows. Vending machines everywhere. The stuffed wolves and weird Spanish dog rat things. My favorite coffee shop was down a bunch of side streets, and it was wonderful! So weird. I love it.
Temples in Japan were of a whole new variety from what I was used to seeing in Taiwan. I loved both, but the ones in Japan seemed much less crowded, that I went to at least, and more peaceful. Looking back I wish I would have gone to more, but hey, there’s always next time, right?
Food. Food. Food. Sushi. Tempura. Japanese beef. Sushi. Need I say more? I will, here are some of the best places to eat in Tokyo.
I may be more biased toward this one because my hostels were here both times, but I loved Asakusa. It has the Seneo Ji Temple. It has the weird gold bean root thing. it has my favorite coffee shop. It has Skytree. It has a whole street that’s painted orange. What’s not to love about Asakusa? I don’t think I ever really knew my way around it, but every day I managed to get back to my hostel in a timely manner. I would definitely stay there again. It’s bustling, but not too bustling if that makes any sense at all. If not, maybe just go there.
Have you been to Tokyo? What did you love about it? Do you want to go?