From the moment you land in Tokyo, it is immediately apparent how completely different it is compared to any other city you may have previously visited. From language to landscape, these differences are exactly why people keep coming back to this vibrant city.
ScrubySnacks has put together a few tips for anyone planning a trip to Tokyo. They also provide a little introduction into common Japanese customs and etiquette, which will be prove useful as you explore this fabulous Asian destination.
ScrubySnacks’ Tokyo Trip Top Tips:
- Whether you arrive at Narita or Haneda Airport in Tokyo, consider taking the Airport Limousine coach service to your destination. This is a super-efficient form of transportation, offering great value and extremely comfortable reclining chairs, perfect for a quick snooze on the way to your Tokyo abode.
- Purchase and top up an IC travel card to conveniently and seamlessly pay for public transport. You can even use these handy little cards to make cashless purchases at vending machines and convenience stores.
- Take out some Japanese currency before your trip so you don’t have to search for the nearest ATM as soon as you arrive. When using ATMs in Tokyo, it’s wise to withdraw enough to last you the whole day and evening, as many machines do not operate 24 hours.
- Many retailers offer tax free purchases plus additional offers for overseas visitors on presentation of a foreign passport, so don’t forget to take yours with you. For more helpful Tokyo Shopping Tips, check out the blog.
- When making a payment at a cashier’s desk, make sure you place your money or credit card into the small metallic tray provided and not directly into the cashier’s hands. This is common Japanese etiquette.
- Note that in Japan, no tipping is required. The Japanese pride themselves in offering the very best service and if a tip is offered, they may actually take this as an insult. ScrubySnacks learnt this one very quickly!
- Avoid excessive data roaming costs by purchasing a Japan Travel SIM. For under 3000 YEN, you’ll receive 1GB of data, valid for up to 30 days. This is particularly handy for those quick translations you may require or for showing your taxi driver your precise destination – in Japanese of course.
- It is customary to remove outdoor shoes when entering a person’s house in Japan. Further to this, you may be asked to remove your shoes when trying on clothes in fitting rooms and some restaurants will provide you with complimentary slippers to wear once you enter.
- Always use two hands to receive or hand out business cards or gifts. You’ll soon get used to doing this, and you might even start to accompany it will a small bow.
- Don’t be alarmed if you see lots of locals wearing surgical masks over their faces. In Japan, people wear these if they are feeling unwell to prevent the passing of germs to others around them. How very considerate!
- Definitely do use the public restrooms. Tokyo’s public facilities are exceptionally clean and some super high-tech! Just make sure you have a go at using all the buttons on those heated seats. They really do put the rest of the world’s public conveniences to shame!
- If you are staying at a hotel, make sure you ask the concierge to write down the name and address of your hotel in Japanese for you to show to your taxi driver. Many hotels provide little cards with a map and address printed on it for your convenience.
- Try and learn a few key Japanese words before your trip. For example, hello (konnichiwa), thank you (arigato), excuse me (sumimasen) and goodbye (sayonara).
- Tokyo is a foodie’s paradise. Japanese delights such as sashimi, sushi, wagyu, ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, teppanyaki and soba (washed down with lashings of sake) are a must, but you may be surprised by how fantastically they do foreign cuisine too. Impressively, Tokyo is home to over 225 Michelin-starred restaurants, whilst its closest rival Paris has less than 100. If that isn’t a reason to indulge, then what is?
Other useful ScrubySnacks posts: