Traveling Tokyo: Go//Sleep//Eat Guide

From above, Tokyo is a city of silence. The buildings fade into a hazy blue distance. It never ends.

It’s almost peaceful; watching this city as if to pretend there isn’t utter, weird chaos happening in the streets below. I took my camera, and let my surroundings tell the story.

Third Time is a Charm

Since my older brother moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2007, this is the third time I have landed in this amazing country.

While each adventure to the land of the rising sun is different, I have learned to love a couple things especially. Mostly vending machines, the politeness of the locals, the cuteness in signage, and the green tea.

Vending Machines

Can’t live without them, and life is worse without them elsewhere. I’m not talking about the vending machines that have chips and pretzels, I mean the ones that serve you hot or cold coffee, tea, sodas, and even women’s used underwear (okay, I can definitely live without that last weird one). And vending machines are everywhere and lined up like toy soldiers in the most random places (top of Mt. Fuji, anyone?)

Download Tokyo Subway app

You’re welcome. Literally, 👏 you’re 👏 WEL 👏 COME. If you have seen the Tokyo subway map, it looks like a three-year old stole a box of crayons and just drew lines and circles. But we had a very easy time deciding how to get from here to there, because this god-send of an app works offline. You can input where you are and where you want to go, and it will just calculate everything out for you.

It’s called Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists, and is available for iPhone and Android (if you’re using Windows Phone, just stop).

Where to Stay

Tokyo is a mess when trying to figure out what are the ‘coolest’ and most convenient places to lay your head. Plus it is stupid expensive! So you will just have to deal with that. My needs for accommodation for this trip were:

  • Good transit distance to all the hot spots in Tokyo
  • Free Wifi
  • Below $170 per night

We chose a couple places at first, but eventually went with staying in Ginza, which had access to 3 metro lines within a 2 minute walk (Ginza, Ginza-Itchome, and Asakusa line).

This room might have been taken with a fish eye lens…

Hotel Tokyo Ginza Itchome

We really liked this hotel’s location. It is literally in the center of everything, and believe me when I say “all roads lead to Ginza in Tokyo.” So when I say book your stay, trust me that it will be a relief to get it out of the way. I ended up costing us $633 for 4 nights stay.

Some of the things that did bother me was that the room was small…but welcome to Tokyo. Here are some other great options to take a look at.



Booking.com

Have a street or a train beer

Since you can have open alcohol containers in the streets, people (or at least the locals I was with) nickname their beers to cater to where they are standing or about to do. For example, let’s get street beers for walking around the street or let’s get train beers for when we get on the train. This signifies going into the nearest Family Mart of 7-11 and buying a couple of Ashai and Chūhai (my ultimate favorite) for the road.

 

What to see if you have 3-5 days

If you have limited time in Tokyo, getting to the hot spots isn’t difficult, it’s just deciding what to do and see. Because there is endless amounts of discovery in a city like this. Here are some photos of my favorite places.

Meiji Temple, Harajuku
Meiji Temple, Harajuku
Sensō-ji Temple, Asakusa
Sensō-ji Temple, Asakusa
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda
Asakusa Markets
Asakusa Markets

 

Ushiku Daibutsu, Ushiku
Ushiku Daibutsu, Ushiku

Let’s get Weird

You can go to Tokyo and visit the normal things like Yoyogi Park (great for cherry blossom season), Ueno Zoo, Meiji Shrine, Senso-Ji Temple, meet at Hachiko in Shibuya and watch the largest crossing in the world!

But why just do normal things when you are in the on of the most eccentric places on earth? Here are some “off the beaten path” things to do while in Tokyo

  • Robot Restaurant
  • Ghibli Museum (book your tickets 1-month in advance!)
  • Cat Cafe
  • Clone Factory
  • Sanrio Puroland
  • The Lock-up Restaurant
  • Real-life Mario Kart Racing in onesies
  • Yuuri Bar (ghost cafe)

Have cool recommendations? Write them in the comments!

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