Tokyo Where Modern Meets Tradition
Tokyo is the frantic busy capital of Japan, mixing the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. Japan has seen a steep increase in tourism in the past few years. More than 30 million people visited this amazing capital in the year 2018. It’s a home to centuries old rich history, culture, a world renowned food scene, and a diverse collection of prefectures to discover.
The city of modern blends and ancient times, Tokyo, is a huge tourist attraction. The Opulent Shinto Shrine is known for its massive gates and surrounding woods. Tokyo is an ideal destination for couples to explore with many museums and romantic palaces. We will discuss the many aspects of a Japan Holiday from the incredible food to its unique culture and some adventurous activities and beautiful spots to explore.
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Go to Japan
The best time to visit Tokyo is in spring during the famous Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry trees typically come back to life after the cold winter in all their glory with full tree blossoms in March and April.
Many people speak English in the Tokyo city center, but outside of the Tokyo business district people speak only Japanese.
The Japanese Yen. Exchange rates can vary, but at the time of writing this article the exchange rate is 119 Yen = 1 USD. Recommend checking Google to find the most current exchange rate.
Tokyo has one of the most advanced transportation systems of any city in the world. Tokyo has an extensive subway system connected with regional trains that can take you anywhere.
While many businesses accept credit cards, you will also find that many businesses in Tokyo take cash only. Understand there will be times where you will need cash. Consider taking cash with you to avoid hefty ATM fees and poor exchange rates.
Things To Do in Tokyo
Simply wandering around the beautiful city won’t give you the history of the arcades of Akihabara, and the bright lights of Shinjuku or lead you to the excellent shopping in Harajuku. A Guide will help you see the best tourist attractions telling you the story behind the points of interest and help you communicate with the locals. There is so much to see and so much history to bring alive as you tour the shrines, prefectures and famous spots. Hiring a certified tour guide will be one of the best moves to help make your trip even more enjoyable as you explore the bustling city of Tokyo.
Buddhist Temples & Shrines
You can visit many beautiful Buddhist temples and shrines right in the city. Senso-Ji is Tokyo’s most iconic temple, old back to the seventh century, which is now located amid the city hustle and bustle. This ancient temple offers a combination of old and new Tokyo. The Meiji Shrine provides a peaceful environment adjacent to beautiful Yoyogi park.
Shopping in Tokyo
To get the best quality things, you need to head to Takeshita Street in Harajuku, where you will find all the high-end fashion clothing. You will find the designer’s stores and high-quality boutiques where prices are low to buy with little bargaining required. You can shop for electronics in Akihabara too. Here in Tokyo, the national sport is a Sumo match, which could be your best experience. You can also watch practice sessions if you didn’t follow the right time to discover this bustling city. By booking a group tour, you will be able to get the right time to enjoy this match because most of the group tours happen with the help of expert tourists and local communities.
Baseball in Japan
image: Wikipedia KeroroTW
Baseball is one of the most famous sports in Japan. You can get tickets for a baseball game to cheer on the home team. The Tigers at the Tokyo-Done in the neighborhood of Bunko. You will note the cheering people in an organized way to motivate the players. Viewing a Baseball game in Japan is a different experience than in the US. To enjoy all these activities and things, you need to be in Tokyo for at least 48 hours. If you had already planned to explore the neighborhoods of this capital, then you might need more days to discover.
What to Eat and Drink
Tokyo is considered as the world’s top dining destination. If you are a Travel Foodie, you must try sushi, ramen, and other famous Japanese dishes at a quality restaurant. Sushi chefs train themselves for almost ten years to make the best sushi, which is quite an effort to put. You will notice the amazing presentation of the food at restaurants. Japanese pancakes are also famous for their exceptional taste. The dense, thick, and flapjacks you have likely seen on social media at least one time you will have sugar coma after trying these delicious pancakes.
Mealtime for Travel Foodies
When the time comes to enjoy a good meal in Tokyo, it is always a great experience with Japan’s delicious food. If you find Japanese cuisine mouth watering good, you might consider taking a sushi-making class at the Tokyo sushi academy. Visit the famous Tuna auction at Toyosu Market on Odaiba Island. You will need to apply in advance to able to attend the classes.
If you are a tea lover, you will be spoiled in Tokyo. You will visit the places and often find the tea available everywhere. For something a little stronger, Japan is well known to partake in spirits. You will find the world-famous Yamazaki, which has been continually producing Japanese Whisky since 1923. While visiting the restaurants, you will find the ground floor filled with people, but make sure to look at the second, third or fourth floor because of the gigantic restaurants and their structure. There are usually signs on the ground level that will be directing you to the options above.
Hotels and Accommodations
Tokyo has some incredible luxury hotels for the well off, and some really nice and clean 3-Star hotels for tourists. Shinjuku is best known for its nightlife and the nearby areas like memory lane and Kabuki-Cho. It’s very convenient and closes by to go for a quick visit to the places in Tokyo. Shinjuku Station is enormous, offers service to several subway lines and trains, and also has numerous malls, restaurants, and shops.
The Ginza Tokyo District
Ginza is another neighborhood that is quite large with various high-end stores, famous department stores, and the country’s largest Uniqlo. Close to Tokyo station, this place is perfect to stay as it provides the major transit hub, offers an Imperial Palace, which is worth to visit. Harajuku and Ueno are also the best areas to stay where you can have cultural surroundings and parks to enjoy. There are several museums in Ueno, including the Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Museum of Western Art. In Harajuku, there are various shops and cosplay shops which are quite exciting and jam-packed with people and visitors. Visit the Own Café and the Meiji Shrine to get a cultural influence.
Narita International Airport is a little far but accessible by train, and it is the entry and exit point for international visitors. Haneda Airport offers fewer long-haul international flights than Narita. Here at this airport, the number of carriers has increased in the past few years. It’s worth taking a tour of the airport operations as it is one of the most technologically advanced airports in the world.
Japanese Culture and Values
When you meet someone in Japan, it is customary to bow at the waist, bending your head down slightly as a show of respect. People in Tokyo are very friendly and approachable. If you don’t speak Japanese, don’t let the language barrier slow you down, make sure you have the Google Translate app on your phone. Translation is a must if you travel outside of downtown Tokyo as most people only speak Japanese in the countryside. If you decide to rent a car in Japan, you will need to be able to read the street signs, but you can get the translation of signs and menus from a guide book if you do not avail a local tour guide.
When you land at Narita or Haneda Airport, you can purchase a discounted transit ticked combo which will be good for your ride from the airport to the city center. You can check the Narita website for the combo discounted tickets. If you purchase the JR (means Japan Rail Pass), to discover the country, that pass will be valid on various subways across the country. There is also a tax free shopping advantage for the tourists by showing their passports and tourist can get items tax free. You can get the receipt which you can show at the airport for the things you have purchased.