Welcome to this weeks edition of the Sunday Spotlight – Things to do in Tokyo.
The Sunday Spotlight series is a collaboration of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and travelers around the web.
We hope these travel tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit Tokyo. If you have already travelled to Tokyo, please share a Tokyo travel tip in the comments down below!
Your First Visit to Tokyo
It’s huge, it can jangle your nerves and it tends to be expensive, but for an experience that feeds all of your senses and leaves you wanting more, go to Tokyo and go now. Here is what Sheila Scarborough recommends for a first-timer’s trip.
Tokyo is an exceptionally vast city, with a culture that is embedded with etiquette and rich in history and experiences. Understanding the real Tokyo is indeed difficult to do on your own, and understanding the nuances peculiar to the Japanese way of life is highly challenging, yet ultimately totally rewarding.
Gordon and Paula write about their experiences with a volunteer tour organisation in Tokyo.
Summer Hull visited Japan for the first time and had very little clue as to what she was doing. This post talks about her experiences and how she managed to enjoy her trip despite the language barrier and misunderstandings..
Sabrina Lovino always thought that Tokyo is like a visit to another planet. In this post, she talks about how Japan was even weirder and more bizarre than she ever expected.
Tips for exploring Tokyo
For many, traveling to a big city makes it hard to find the cultural immersion they’re looking for. In between the modern skyscrapers, 5-star hotels and new age fusion restaurants, however, there are traditional experiences to be had. You just need to know where to find them.
Geneva Vanderzeil realized that she couldn’t possibly explore the whole sprawling city. This post explores her time ‘around Harajuku, the centre of teen culture in Tokyo, which informally stretches between Harajuku Station and Omotesando.
In this post, Karen and Paul shared some of the eclectic things they found during their stay in Tokyo.
Lost in Translation captures both the enthralling allure and mysteriousness of Tokyo for uninitiated Westerners. English signage is sparse, cab drivers many times don’t know where they are going and true to the film’s title, a lot of exchanges do get lost in translation. But however you manage to get around, there’s much to love about the exciting metropolis. Here’s Forbes guide to spending two days in Tokyo in style.
Saving Money on travel in Tokyo
Eating out in Tokyo is affordable if you follow a few basic budget tips and if you know where to look for your next meal. The great thing about Japanese cuisine is that cheap does not necessarily mean unhealthy. For just a few yen you can feast on delicious ramen, udon soup, fresh sushi, noodles, curry and donbori.
Christine Ka’aloa knew that visiting Tokyo would be expensive. Some of her friends recommended a budget of $100 per day. She had thought about avoiding Tokyo altogether…or doing a chicken run of something short, like two days.
She turned it into a challenge. In this post, she talks about how she survived on a budget of $30 per day – including accommodation.
Many traveler’s assume Japan is so expensive as to be out of reach, but times are changing. Japan can still be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 20 tips to help you economize on your trip. Follow them, and you may well have funds left over for a few splurges.
Brilliant articles on Tokyo travel by Beth Williams
Beth, from Besudesu Abroad, has written several comprehensive posts. We recommend reading:
Instead of thinking of Tokyo as one giant city, it’s almost better to break Tokyo down by its distinct neighborhoods. This will make it a lot easier, and more cost effective, when planning your trip.
Accommodation will likely be one of your largest expenses and Japan offers a wide variety to choose from, so make sure to explore all your options.
Here’s a look at some of the many types of accommodation in Japan, and the general price range for each.
In a country where a unique culture with often strange trends blends with food, it’s no surprise that unusual themed restaurants are becoming the next big thing. Whether you want to eat amidst giant Gundams, cats, or cutely dressed maids, Tokyo seems to have something for everyone
Beth also has an series of articles about Tokyo Disney that are incredibly informative and useful for those who are struggling to decide what to do and where to stay:
- Tokyo Disney Resort: An Overview
- For families: Which Tokyo Disney Resort is Better?
- Tokyo Disney Resort: Choosing the Right Hotel
We also recommend her article Is Japan Really That Expensive?
Visiting Japan with kids
Nicole Avery took her five kids on a holiday to Japan, staying three nights in Tokyo and three nights in Osaka. They were all very excited to be going, but they had some quiet reservations – would the kids eat the food, would we be able to get around without understanding the language, would everything be super expensive?
Japan Rail Passes
If you are staying for longer than a week in Japan and are going to travel by train between major cities, a Japan rail pass would definitely be the economical way to go. You must buy them before you get to Japan. Check out this site for more information.
More Resources for a trip to Tokyo
Check out these helpful travel guides:
- Lonely Planet Tokyo (City Guide)
- Fodor’s Tokyo (Full-color Travel Guide)
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Tokyo
- Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
- For places to stay in Tokyo check our affiliate partners, Booking.com
Now it’s your turn
We recently decided to bring back our Sunday Spotlight series but wanted to make it even better. We’ve rejigged the old format so posts are organized by categories. We’d love your feedback, we want to make this series better than ever.
What are your favourite things to do in Tokyo?