Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo is a world unto itself, and it’s an absolute must-see for any travel lover. Soak in the traditional Japanese culture, learn about modern life in the city, and people watch until your head spins.

There’s no place like Tokyo… so here’s my ultimate Tokyo travel guide!

What to Expect in Tokyo

What to Expect in Tokyo

  • Language: Most people in Tokyo speak limited English, but with the 2020 Olympics coming up, more English signs will be popping up around the city.
  • Internet Access: Free public Wi-Fi isn’t common in Tokyo. Save yourself some time and cash by getting a Skyroam device before you go.
  • Currency: Tokyo uses the Japanese Yen. There are around 111 yen per 1 US dollar.
  • Cash and Cards: Many smaller spots don’t accept cards, so it’s good to have cash on you. 7-Eleven is always a sure spot to find an ATM. Most ATMs dispense a minimum of $100 so you won’t need to make too many trips to get cash.
  • Sanitation: Public garbage cans are incredibly rare. Japanese women stash a baggie in their handbag to hold onto garbage until they get home. Be sure to keep a few extra tissues in your bag too for non-Western-style toilets.
  • Good to Know: Download a QR code reader before you go. Many shops use them to access free Wi-Fi, and they are generally a very popular way to get info.

Getting Around Tokyo

Getting Around Tokyo

You’ll most likely want to use public transportation to get around, so your first step to getting settled into Tokyo should be familiarizing yourself with the transport map. Grab a bilingual one and start planning your adventures!

Helpful Tip: When you are on public transport, stay off your phone and keep it on silent. If you see a young child, pregnant woman, elderly person, or someone disabled, give up your seat to him or her (it’s the law!).

Subway Ticket

Neighborhoods

  • Harajuku is an ultrahip fashion district while Ginza is home to upmarket shops. Meanwhile, techies will love shopping in Akihabara.
  • Kabukicho and Roppongi are the districts to see at night when the city comes alive at the clubs and bars. These districts have got everything you need for a fun night out.
  • Sensoji has Tokyo’s largest Buddhist temple and is home to several cultural treasures. Ueno is another cultural center well worth exploring.
  • For a view of modern life, check out Tokyo’s most expensive neighborhood, Ebisu, and then see the breathtaking skyscrapers of Yebisu.

 

Read More: A Quick Guide to Tokyo’s Major Districts

Best Place to Stay in Tokyo

Where to Stay in Tokyo

Check out my quick guide to Tokyo’s major districts and neighborhoods before you book your hotel!

Rent an Airbnb

Getting a place on Airbnb is a great way to see local life. Check out the options in the Shibuya or Harajuku district.

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Luxury Accommodation in Tokyo

  • The PeninsulaThe Peninsula Tokyo is another ultraluxe pick in the Ginza district; you’ll fall in love at first sight.
  • Shangri-La TokyoIn the Ginza district, you’ll find the fab Shangri-La Tokyo. If you want five-star comfort, look no further.

Mid-Range Accommodation in Tokyo

  • Tokyu StayIn the Shinjuku district, the Tokyu Stay Shinjuku is a chic and comfortable spot in the middle of the action.
  • Sakura Fleur AoyamaIn the Shibuya district, Sakura Fleur Aoyama has all of the bells and whistles for a perfect Tokyo escape.

Budget Accommodation in Tokyo

Tokyo has some cool hostels, and they are a perfect way to meet other travelers. I’d highly recommend the Kaisu Hostel and The Prime Pod Ginza Tokyo. For a cozy, ladies-only pick, go for the Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya.

What to Do in Tokyo

What to Do in Tokyo

Tokyo is a buzzing city, and so much to see and do throughout the different districts. Here are some of the highlights from my recent trip!

  • Karaoke: You’ve got to belt out at least a few tunes while you are in Japan. It is the birthplace of karaoke after all!
  • Visit Shibuya Crossing: No trip to Tokyo is complete without joining the sea of people in the busiest intersection in the world.
  • Nighttime at Shibuya Crossing

  • Robot Restaurant: Make a reservation before you go and come prepared for the greatest show on the planet. Check out my experience here!
  • Explore the Harajuku district: Another must-see, Harajuku is the perfect spot for people watching and taking in modern, young Japanese culture. Get your nails done at Jill & Lovers and wander around Takeshita street.
  • Bars in Golden Gai: This is the perfect spot for bar hopping, and you’ve got to check out the view from Albatross.
  • Alleyway in Golden Gai

  • Goof off in Don Quixote: Easily one of the most fun shopping experiences you’ll ever have, Don Quixote is the perfect spot to find all things quirky and crazy.
  • Visit the Palace: Home to the Emperor of Japan, the Tokyo Imperial Palace is incredible.
  • Day trip to Kyoto: Get a bullet train to Kyoto and check out Arashiyama and Inari Shrine.

Where to Eat in Tokyo

Where to Eat in Tokyo

Obviously Tokyo is known for its sushi and seafood cuisines, and I would HIGHLY recommend them, but there’s also so much more food to experience!

  • Kawaii Monster Cafe: Get ready for an explosion of color and the cutest spaghetti ever. Check out my experience here!
  • Anywhere in Shibuya: It’s hard to get a seat, so plan your visit. There is an absolutely dizzying array of foodie hot spots.
  • Ichiran Ramen: This is my fave spot in Shibuya. Be sure to try the tonkotsu ramen.
  • Ramen in Tokyo

  • Takashimaya Dept Store: Its food hall is Instagram ready and full of tasty treats.
  • Tsujiki Fish Market: Arrive at six in the morning for the freshest sushi on the planet.
  • Stall at Tsujiki Fish Market

  • Sushi: Pretty much anywhere in Tokyo has mouthwatering sushi. Check out the Standing Sushi Bar locations.
  • Omoide Yokocho: Wander around this hip spot to find a top selection of adorable restaurants.

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Don’t miss my favorite Tokyo-inspired styles!

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READ NEXT: 10 Tips for Your First Trip to Tokyo

 

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.