WHY WE LOVE TOKYO
1. INCREDIBLE EATS:
Tokyo is the foodies' capital. Convenience store food is even decent.
2. GREEN HAVENS:
Friendly parks and pristine gardens give a nice break in urban life.
3. TIME-TRAVELING SIGHTS:
Senso-ji and Meiji Jing are awesome. There are many other temples too!
4. BEST ELECTRONICS EVER:
Go to Akihabara. You'll know what I'm talking about.
Who hates Japanese politeness.
Best Time to Visit
Probably most locals will tell you to come during SPRING or FALL when the temperatures are just... PERFECT. You will enjoy not only the weather, but also cherry blossom season and autumn foliage season. If you don't mind hot and humid weather, I also recommend to go in summer because they have many music festivals and fireworks from the end of June to the mid August. Winter is not bad either, if you are into snowboarding or ski, we have good snow mountains.
The hottest month is AUGUST - 75°F(24℃) - 87.8°F(31℃)
The coldest is JANUARY - 35°F(2℃) - 50°F(10℃)
Looking at the temperature, you may think the summer in Japan is not too hot. You are wrong! It is extremely humid. Humidity here sometime goes up to 70 something percent. Be ready to sweat like when you are at the gym.
Also, Japan is stretched from north to south, so the temperature varies whether you are in Hokkaido or Okinawa.
Currency and Exchange:
Japanese Yen (JPY/¥). Currency exchanged can be carried out at most banks and large hotels.
Major credit cards - VISA, Amex, Diners Club are accepted at hotels, airports, shops in urban ares but to be honest, VISA is the safe way to go. You will be asked to enter a pin code or signature to complete the transaction. But please remember, Japan is still a cash based society, especially in rural areas. Credit cards are not accepted at small retailers, small restaurants and bars, restaurants during lunch hours and food stands. Be prepared and have some cash at all time.
I never had a trouble finding ATMs in Tokyo since there are Seven Eleven with ATMs EVERYWHERE. If your credit cards have PLUS/Cirrus mark, you can withdraw from Seven Eleven, Post office and Prestia ATMs. Post office ATM could be a little bit hard to find, but Seven Eleven ATM can be found at most of Seven Eleven convenience stores, the airport, and some department stores.
If you're a foreign visitor temporarily staying in Japan for less than 6 months, you can do tax-free shopping! Consumption tax in Japan is 8%, so if you've got enough time to wait in a line at the tax-free counter, it's worth it. You can usually get discounts at department stores, discounted stores, electronic stores, and even convenience stores! You can find out more on tax-free shop website.
To enter Japan, you usually need a return ticket along with a passport. Check out more info about your nationals before you prepare the trip.
Nationals who doesn't need Visa:
USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, Britain, other EU, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Korea, Taiwan, HonKong, Macau, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Surinam, Uruguay, Israel, Turkey, Lesotho, Mauritius, Tunisia,
Nationals who needs Visa:
China, Russia, CIS, Georgi, Philippines, and others
**This information was written in December 2016. It is updated regularly so please check the embassy.
Transportation system in Tokyo is wonderful. You can get almost anywhere by train/subway or bus (subway ticket starts at ¥140.) Taxi is very pricy so I wouldn't take it if it takes more than 15 minutes. (The first meter is ¥730.) It might be a bit confusing at first, but as long as you have google map or subway line maps. To be honest, none of my local friends don't even remember the subway lines because they use NAVITIME and other apps to get a direction. If you already got a plain ticket, check out AIRPORT and find out how to get to Tokyo from the airport you are landing.
As you might already know, Tokyo is extremely expensive place. However, there are many ways not to break the bank.
Get a JR Pass
If you're planning to visit outside of Tokyo, you should definitely get this. Bullet trains are ridiculously expensive, for example, one round trip from Tokyo to Osaka is about 27,000JPY (about 300USD). This pass will allow you to ride unlimited with a reserved seats. They have different plans to choose from as below. You can purchase at Japanrailpass.net. JR also provides different types of passes for foreign visitors other than this one.
Eat Japanese Fast Food
Don't think of hamburgers. We're are talking about UDON, SOBA, RAMEN, DONBURI, or CURRY here. Udon and soba are the cheapest food. It's usually around 230-500JPY. Donburi like Katsudon and Gyudon, and curry are around 500-800JPY. Ramen can be a bit more expensive compare to others, but it's around 800 - 1200JPY.
Don't Take Taxi
I know taxi is the easiest way to get around when you get lost or even when you have lots of shopping bags. I'm not saying that you should not take taxi at all but may want to avoid if you are trying to keep the cost low because it is expensive. Let's say from Roppongi to Shibuya, Taxi will charge you about 2800 JPY where train is 300 JPY and bus is 200 JPY.
Shop at ¥100 Stores (HYAKKIN)
The biggest chain ¥100 stores are Daiso, Seria, and Cando. There're numerous of different ¥100 stores, especially in rural area, so ask your hotel staff or people on the street.
Buy Alcohols at Convenience Stores
I'm a big time beer person. I have to do this because it is double to triple the price in restaurants. You might see only young local people or foreigners do this, but who cares. It's cheaper.
Go Fancy for Lunch
Everyone likes a nice fancy dinner at a famous hotels or 5 stars places, right? But don't wanna pay up the wazoo? I have a solution for you. Try lunch hours. They usually have affordable lunch courses from 1800 - 3500 JPY.
For some reasons, people assume that Tokyo has a good free wifi in the middle of the city. Even if you find a wifi spot in a cafe, it is often quite slow and will frustrate you. If you are a type of person who need to be connected to the internet all day (like me), I truly recommend to get a pocket wifi at the airport or rent it for free at Tourist Information Center. Be aware that only a few tourist Tourist Information Centers have free wifi rentals.