Tips for visiting Japan – Part IV – Tokyo

Today’s post is the fourth and final installment of our four-part tips-and-tricks bible for travelling to Japan.

This post will outline some general tips for travelling around Tokyo together with short-hand details you might need to know to visit must-see spots.

I’ll also offer a few suggestions for your final day on holiday.

One last time…here we go!

Yamanote train line adverts anti-drug marijuana Tokyo Japan JaPlanning

1.
[Mnq Nlsn Photograffiti]
The Yamanote line says ‘NO!’ to drugs!

Visiting Tokyo

General

  • Make sure to research and sort out your power adapter situation!
  • In our experience hotel check-in was between 3-4pm while check-out was 10am. 
  • If you’re quite lost don’t be afraid to go into a business and ask the employees or owner for help (particularly if you’re trying to find a local landmark or business). You will probably receive very excellent assistance.
  • While smoking inside is still surprisingly common in Japan, if you want to smoke outside you shouldn’t do it while walking. In Tokyo there will be designated areas for smokers – use them.
  • I think this should go without saying anywhere in the world but don’t drop rubbish on the street in Japan – people work hard to keep it pristine.
  • The alcohol and cigarette vending machines require a Japanese ID to serve you so, if you want to use them, you’ll have to find a friendly Japanese person to help you.

Must-see places in Tokyo

The Ghibli Museum

  • Prior ticket bookings from a vendor in your country are essential – you can’t buy tickets directly from the museum.
  • Including booking fees, Ghibli tickets cost around $20-30.
  • You can walk to the museum from either the Mitaka or Kichijoji stations on the JR Chuo line. 
  • At Mitaka station there is a community bus at South Exit, Station Nine that will take you straight there for 200 JPY.
  • Prepare yourself to enter what I believe might be the world’s busiest and grabbiest gift shop!

The Takeshita-dori – Harajuku

  • The shops in the Takeshita-dori in Harajuku are what’s known as ‘antennae stores’ that are used by producers to test the popularity of fashion trends. So if you see something you really like get it now as it literally maybe not be there tomorrow.
  • Learn about the fashions of Harajuku before you arrive so you can appreciate them more.
  • Visit the Takeshita-dori on a Sunday to see the best and most unusual fashions.
  • You can get to the Takeshita-dori from the Harajuku station on the Yamanote line or Meijijingumae station and Omotesando station on the Tokyo Metro line. 

Ueno Zoo

  • If you’re an animal lover I would advise against visiting Ueno Zoo – the facilities are old and the enclosures are, in my opinion, cruel.

Alice in Wonderland Restaurant

  • Visit the Alice in Wonderland restaurant by travelling to Shinjuku station on the Yamanote line or Shinjuku-nishiguchi on the Toei line. 
  • The restaurant is in the basement of the Odakyu HALC building. 
  • Look for the BIC Camera entrance and then go down the stairs.

Odaiba Island

  • Visit Odaiba in the late afternoon so you can be there at night. 
  • Access Odaiba on either the Yurikamome line (transferring at Shimbashi station on the Yamanote line) or the Rinkai line (transferring at Osaki station on the Yamanote line). 
  • Find the following train stations to visit certain landmarks:
  • Funenokagakuken station on the Yurikamome line – The Gundam, Diver City.
  • Odaibakaihinkoen station on the Yurikamome line – ‘Odaiba Cat Store’ – to cuddle kitties.
  • Aomi station on the Yurikamome line or Tokyo Teleport station on the Rinkai line – Daikanransha (1,000 JPY to ride), Palette Town and Venus Fort.
  • Daiba station on the Yurikamome line – Tokyo Decks Beach, LegoLand, Madame Tussauds.

Ueno Park

  • Visit Ueno Park to find the Museum of Science and Nature, The National Museum of Western Art, The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, The Ueno Toshogu Shrine and the Shitamachi Museum. Each of these is a good option for those of you who are running low on cash. 
  • Entrance to the Museum of Science and Nature is 600 JPY.
  • Visit the park by travelling to Ueno Station on the Yamanote line (intersecting with Ginza line, Hibiya line, Utsunomiya Line (Tōhoku Main Line), Takasaki Line, Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Jōban Line and Shinkansen lines).

Shibuya, Hachiko & Club Womb

  • Put Shibuya near the top of your to-visit list – it’s full of gorgeous clothing, food and drink, live music, and nightlife.
  • Pay homage to Faithful Hachiko and visit his statue at Shibuya station – Hachiko exit.
  • Shibuya is one of the few places we found in Tokyo where you can see street art and graffiti. 
  • Visit Club Womb by travelling to either Shibuya station on the Yamanote/Tokyo Metro line or Shinsen station on the Keio Inokashira Line.
  • Club Womb costs around 3,000-5,000 JPY to enter and more for special acts.

Shinjuku – Kabukicho & Robot Restaurant

  • Kabukicho is sort of a Japanese Vegas.
  • Largely controlled and populated by Yakuza – gaijin should be paying a little more attention here.
  • A very seedy nightlife area
  • Visit Robot Restaurant by travelling to Shinjuku station on the Yamanote line and making your way into Kabukicho. 
  • Prior bookings for Robot Restaurant are essential and will cost 5,000 JPY.

Meiji Shrine

  • Located just behind the Harajuku train station on the Yamanote line.
  • Can also access by Yoyogikoen or Meijijingumae stations on the Tokyo Metro line and possibly the Kitasando station on the Tokyo Metro line.
  • An excellent place to visit if the pace of Tokyo is stressing you out a bit.
  • It’s free to enter.
  • As it’s a shrine and not just a large park you should not walk dogs here or eat while walking.
  • It is traditional to show respect entering the Meiji Shrine by bowing to the Torii Gate when entering and again when leaving.

The last day of your holiday

  • Take my advice and reserve some money for your very last day – stash it away in your suitcase, put it on a card so you have to go to special lengths to get it out, leave one travellers cheque unexchanged – anything – but make sure you have a decent amount of money left.
  • Research how you’re getting back to the airport and reserve that amount of money to get there.
  • Use your reserved money to book yourself something to do that’s fun or relaxing. If I could do our trip to Japan again, I would reserve money for a yoga class and some pampering (massage, manicure, facial scrub) for our last day.

And that, as they say, is that – the pièce de résistance!

*mwah!*

Next post: A brief hiatus.

Until next time,

Kally & Mon.

[Image Credit (1): Mnq Nlsn Photograffiti]

What’s your best tip for travelling in Tokyo?

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6 thoughts on “Tips for visiting Japan – Part IV – Tokyo

  1. Excellent stuff ! And good timing too. You happened to post this just in time for my trip 😉 Thanks again for all the helpful information. If you are ever traveling in the States I would love to be your Colorado tour guide 😉

    • You’re very welcome Julieanna. I would absolutely love to visit the States but it’s not in my budget at the moment (wah!) BUT if it ever is and Colorado is on my list, I’ll hit you up 🙂

      I’m going to be looking for some guest posters here on JaPlanning soon too – if you have any stand out experiences on your holiday, I’d love to have you write a post or two on here? You can link back to your own websites and give me an author bio if you like. Up to you! 🙂

      – Kally x

  2. Nice article, we’ll be traveling end of this month for a short trip and we only had less than 2 months to prepare the itinerary, thanks for this very helpful tips.

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      You’re welcome! And only 2 months to prepare? That is a very tight turn-around to plan but I bet the suddenness of it all will make it seem even more exciting. 🙂 Happy travels! I am green with envy ;D

      – Kally x

  3. Pingback: Tips for visiting Japan – Part I – Preparing to Leave | JaPlanning

  4. Pingback: Tips for visiting Japan – Part III – Kyoto | JaPlanning

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