Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo travel guide

Since my most recent travel was to Tokyo, I would fill this page with all the essential information and beautiful photos during my stay there. Before that, I would also like to mention that Tokyo was the capital of Japan. It could be known as a prefecture or a city. Hopefully, you will enjoy my travel guide about Tokyo.

Tokyo Travel Guide Contents

  1. Who Am I?
  2. Duration of Ideal Stay and Visiting Season
  3. How To Get To The City From Airport?
  4. Where To Accommodate?
  5. In City Transportation
  6. Suggested Budget
  7. Things To See and Do
  8. What To Eat/Drink At Where?
  9. Warnings, Tips and Tricks

1.   Who Am I?

This is Darryl and I am from Malaysia, located in South East Asia. I was born a passionate traveler as I am highly enthusiastic to visit different cities and places all around the world. Personally, I will describe myself as a backpacker and a food hunter.

At the beginning of 2020, I had traveled and stayed in Tokyo, Japan, for 2 months. It was one of my favorite cities as it was fulfilled with interesting cultures, amazing sceneries, stunning seasons, and polite people!

If you would like to know more, do follow my Instagram account which I had prepared all the fascinating highlights at my profile.

Now, let’s keep on with our Tokyo Travel Guide!

Tokyo Travel Guide - Tokyo Tower, Japan
Tokyo Tower, Japan

2. Duration of Ideal Stay and Visiting Season

Tokyo is a busy city with numerous entertainment and sceneries to explore. In my opinion, I will recommend a trip of 7-8 days.

As you arrive you Tokyo, you have to visit Mt. Fuji and Hakone. There are a few reasons behind this. First, they are located nearer to Tokyo so travelers can access them in a more convenient manner. Second, a road trip, where you can enjoy the beautiful views, will take one whole day to visit these places. However, you have plenty of allowance in terms of time if you rent a car.

For the remaining number of days, you can visit Yokohama too. It is also a city that is easily accessed from Tokyo. It has an enormous and stunning harbor and many interesting museums, such as the Cup Noodles Museum and the Ramen Museum that you will have to visit!

Tokyo travel guide - Cup Noodles Museum Osaka
Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda is a museum dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles.

Deducting 2 days from your total trip, you have the remaining 5-6 days. From here, you may enjoy all of them in Tokyo itself. There are numerous cities in the prefecture to explore. For example, Akihabra, Ginza, Shinjuku, Tsukiji, and many more!

In short, if you want a more relaxing trip, consider it 8 days, otherwise, 7 days are also sufficient to tick off your checklist, but in a slightly packed journey.

3. How To Get To The City From Airport?

There are a variety of options to depart from the airport, no matter Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. For example, limousine, metro trains, buses, or taxis.

However, the most feasible alternative is to use the bus. There are many destinations that this method covers, such as the 23 wards of Tokyo. The price is ranged from 2000 JYP to 3500 JPY, and the trip will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on whether you are departing from Narita airport or Haneda airport.

Friendly Airport Limousine
Friendly Airport Limousine

Comparing it to taxi and limousine, the bus is almost 5-8 times cheaper, and they all take approximately the same amount of time. In addition, you do not have to worry about your luggage as they have a cabin for that.

Speaking of storage, the metro trains and electric trains do not provide sufficiently in this aspect. However, the price is similar to that of the bus. Unfortunately, you will have to carry your luggage while doing the transiting. In my opinion, it is exhausting and time-consuming.

So why pay more when you can get the same outcome? I highly recommend the bus!

4. Where To Accommodate?

There are a bunch of options for you to stay in Tokyo, such as a hostel, hotel, couch surfing, or Airbnb. During my exchange program in Tokyo, I chose to rent at a private apartment, where there were 3 bedrooms and one living room. It was priced around 70000 JYP per room, so you can estimate the overall unit.

If you are a luxury traveler, I will recommend the hotel, of course. Rooms in Hilton on a weekday can cost up to 30000 JPY per night before tax. But, you will have all the benefits you expect, such as the accessibility to public transport and shopping malls, extremely comfortable beds, and sufficient space around the room.

Tokyo travel guide - Retro Capsule Hotel in Tokyo
Retro Capsule Hotel in Tokyo

However, if you are on a tightly budget trip, choose the capsule hotel, which costs around 3000 JPY per night that is around 10 times lesser than the hotel. But, you have to prepare for some inconveniences, such as walking further to a train station and limited space for sleeping and storage.

You get the idea from the comparison of the most expensive and least expensive options. So, plan your budget then decide what kind of accommodation you actually prefer.

5. In City Transportation

Public transport in Tokyo is extremely convenient to a certain extent that it is almost unnecessary to use any private transport. For example, you can spend around 600-1000 JPY on a trip back to the nearest station to your accommodation, then take a walk that is less than 15 minutes.

On the other side, if you choose to use a taxi from your current location back to your accommodation, it may cost around 5000-10000 JPY, which is around 10 times more expensive. However, you can replace your 15 minutes’ walk with a taxi and it will cost only 800 JPY because any distance less than 2km is worth private transportation.

Assume that you visit Japan for 7-8 days, it is recommended to buy the Japan Railway (JR) Pass, which costs around 45000 JPY. In other words, you can access all JR lines with the pass and it will save you a lot of troubles and money!

For more info, you can visit: japanrailpass.net

Basically, almost all popular and common destinations in Tokyo is accessible by JR trains. In addition, you can choose to utilize the metro trains that are different from JR lines. Metro alternatives are slightly cheaper but they take a longer time.

Tokyo travel guide - JR trains
Japanese Trains

I will suggest visitors to buy a 7-days JR pass, then only take the metro lines as secondary choices in order to reach your destination. Furthermore, you should download an app called “Japan Transit Planner”, which is available on Google Play Store or IOS App Store. It will help you to get to your destination once you enter your departure point and arrival point.

6. Suggested Budget

Generally in a day, you might need around 15000 JPY per person for overall expenses. However, this depends on the type of traveler you are too. Say if you are a luxury traveler, chances are, you are participating in a travel tour and the company will settle most of the things. So you just have to pay and have zero worries. However, it may cost you around 40000 JPY per person for a day, as most of the expenses come from your accommodation.

On the other hand, if you are a backpacker, 20000 JPY is a nice budget for you to enjoy the day. Assume you are having 3 meals per day, each meal will cost you around 1000 JPY, so altogether you will spend 3000 JPY on the meal. Transport, in addition, will cost around 6000 JPY. Deducting from these aspects, you still remaining at 10000 JPY, which will be allocated to your shopping, entertainment, and others.

Japan is a country that is highly dependent on cash, although there are other payment alternatives. Hence, it is important to have some cash on yourself while you travel! Worry less because you can change your money almost everywhere with your credit cards and debit cards, however, there should a surcharge applied. If you are from Malaysia or Singapore, it is recommended to use BigPay because it provides the best currency exchange! Feel free to hit me up at drrlchin07@gmail.com if you will like to know more about BigPay.

Moreover, if you do not want to use cards, you can always change your money at shopping malls. Basically, there are foreign exchange shops that are easily accessible.

7. Things To See and Do

Now we get to the most important part of this travel guide for Tokyo!

Starbucks Reserve Tokyo
Starbucks Reserve Tokyo

It is known to be one of the largest Starbucks in the world. It has four floors and each of them serves a different purpose.

The first floor provides you with coffee, the second sells tea and it has a name called “Teavana”, the third floor has its cocktail specialty that you should try and the bar is called “Ariviamo”. Lastly, the fourth floor is the private lounge. If you will like to catch an idea about the budget dining here, a cappuccino will cost around 600 JPY and a slice of cake is priced around 700 JPY.

It will be nice to sit outside where you can enjoy the cool weather during winter, while tasting your favorite coffee and pastries with your friends and family. If you are a tea lover, remember to grab some souvenirs from Teavana as they are unique and fragrant.

For more info, please visit starbucks.co. A special reminder is that you will have to queue for your number before entering the reserve because it is crowded with people!

Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple located in Tokyo, and Nakamise-dori connecting the Kaminarimon entrance to the main hall, are constantly crowded with sightseers on a yearly basis. Since the area has always had a large number of temples since the Edo Period, it has been called Teramachi, which translates to ‘City of Temples’.

This famous temple is located in Asakusa, which is known to be a popular tourist spot. In front of Sensoji temple, there are a variety of souvenirs, food, and interesting items to look out for!

There is an enormous bell at the Kaminarion gate and it is known as an excellent Instagram spot! However, do take note that there are going to be extremely crowded and it is not easy to take a good picture. MY advice will be to pick a weekday and arrive early.

Around 800m from Sensoji Temple, there is an incredible and unique shop that is specialized in matcha, which is called “Suzukien”. The shop sells 7 levels of matcha, from the mildest to the most concentrated. In my opinion, if you are a great matcha fan, you should visit the shop and try out the 7th level matcha, which is around 1000 JPY, I promise it will blow your mind.

Odaiba Ōedo-onsen-monogatari

Before we get into this, you should know a little about Odaiba. It is a city that has a higher standard of living and tourists love to come here too! It is a quieter place compared to other cities. What is so special about Odaiba is the famous onsen (hot spring) that every tourist has to come!

Odaiba Ōedo-onsen-monogatari Hot Spring

Inside the onsen, there are a variety of fun activities you can carry out with your friends or family. Before that, they will provide you with a pair of comfortable traditional Japanese costumes that you shoot yourself from different angles and corners in the onsen. I will recommend you to start with soaking your legs into the onsen, while at it, you can enjoy the evening scenery and have a good chitchat with your friends or family. After that, it is best to lay on the volcanic stones to relax yourself. Before you proceed to your lunch or dinner, do soak your whole body into the onsen for around 20 minutes or less.

Tourists have to take note that they have to remove all their clothes and their bodies should not have big, obvious tattoos. By this time, you have completely relaxed your body and you will feel extremely refreshed, so it is a good time to grab a beer and dinner! The entrance fee for each adult is around 2000 JPY, in my opinion, it is very worthwhile and highly recommended to visit this place.

Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Gotemba Premium Outlet
Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Gotemba Premium Outlet

These three locations are located near the west of Tokyo and I highly recommend that you visit these beautiful places on the same day. It may sound a little packed, which it is, but it is also the most feasible method if time is your constraint.

Hakone

Hakone is famous for its hot springs as tourists have the opportunity to experience the rural life in Japan with the traditional style “onsen”. Besides that, you will enjoy the stunning mountains scenery in “Owakudani”. Tourists will experience a less pleasant odor that comes from the sulfurous vapors. However, this does not take away your enjoyment at this beautiful spot as there are other activities to carry out too. In Hakone, you will realize black is the spirit color. For example, a convenient store, named Lawson, has a black signboard to symbolize this unique location and the locals sell black eggs and black ramen in their stores. Feel free to try them out as they are scrumptious as always!

Mt. Fuji

In addition, Mt. Fuji is one of the well-known locations in Japan and it is easiest accessible from Tokyo. The Japanese say that the mountain looks different on every season, thus, enjoy the uniqueness of it. There are a lot of spots to take interesting pictures of a village. Besides that, you can buy some souvenirs and delicious food too! Do try out the Fuji apple as the sweet flesh will leave you an unforgettable memory.

Mount Fiji
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.
Gotemba Premium Outlet

Last but not least, Gotemba Premium Outlet is a nice place for shopping if you love buying new clothes and accessories. There are a variety of choices to choose from and most of the items are below market price. If you are not a shopping fan, you can always treat yourself with luxury foods such as chocolates.

I will also suggest that tourists rent a car, or a van if you have a bigger group of people, to visit all of them. Renting a van costs around 80000 JPY per day during my visit. However, you can always look it up on the internet for good car rentals.

Akihabara
Akihabara, Tokyo Travel Guide
Akihabara is a buzzing shopping hub famed for its electronics retailers, ranging from tiny stalls to vast department stores.

This district is famous for its electronic and otaku goods. Otaku refers to people who love watching anime and reading manga. There are a lot of fun activities you can carry out in this district.

First, you should visit the maid café in Akihabara. There are a variety of maid cafes in this area so you can choose the one you fancy and experience being a “master” that will be served by a “maid”. In my experience, it was kind of awkward and interesting at the same time.

Second, there are also a lot of duty-free shops around here. Tourists can grab this opportunity to buy some Japanese medicine, chocolates, sweets, and local foods.

Third, I will suggest you to visit the Gundam Café if you are a big fan of Gundam. The store sells Gundam themed cappuccino, which is unique and worthy of an Instagram shot!

Last but not least, tourists also have the chance to experience the adult world in Akihabara. You are accessible to adult electronic toys, films, and tools, which costs around 600 JPY to 3000 JPY. Even if you will not buy any of these, it will also be a great chance to at least visit these adult shops!

I will recommend spending half a day in this district. However, if you are an extreme anime fan, a whole day is even insufficient for you.

Shibuya
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Shibuya is one of the most special wards in Tokyo that you have to visit. Also, this district consists of endless entertainment, nice food and you can continue your shopping spree here.

Shibuya Crossing

First, you get the chance to see the Shibuya crossing, where thousands of people will cross the road every green light. Tourists should record this magical moment as this spot is known to be the busiest crossing in the world! Furthermore, a little tip for you is that the best way to capture this scenery is by going to a Starbucks, which is located on the 2nd floor of Tsutaya. From there, you can grab a cup of hot cappuccino and enjoy the crossing of thousands of people.

Muji Store

Second, you can visit Muji in Shibuya Seibu. What is so special about this Muji store is that it is considered one of the largest Muji chain stores worldwide. There are 6 floors for you to shop around and there is even a café where you can grab some cakes and coffee.

Third, speaking of shopping, there are plenty of high ended shopping malls throughout Shibuya, such as Uniqlo Shibuya Dogenzaka, Shibuya 109, Shibuya Scramble Square, Adidas Shibuya, and so on.

Shibuya Sky

Fourth, Shibuya Sky is a must-visit when you visit Tokyo. It is 230 m high up in the building of Shibuya Scramble Square. Although it is not the highest tower in Tokyo, however, this should be your first choice if you want to love skyscrapers and stunning sceneries. Why do I say so? This is because it gives you the opportunity to experience the cold wind breezing through your skin as it is open air. In addition, the area exposed is relatively larger than the Tokyo Skytree and the Tokyo Tower. If you book an adult ticket in advance online, it costs 1800 JPY only.

Shibuya is one of my favorite wards in Tokyo and I wish the people who visit here will experience the uniqueness of this ward.

8. What To Eat/Drink At Where?

A. List of Restaurants and Cafes

Budget Restaurants

The restaurant being listed here are all belong to the budget range. As they are franchises, you can find them almost everywhere in Tokyo.

Matsuya Tonkatsu

As the name tonkatsu, it means deep-fried breaded pork sides with Japanese white rice and salad. Tonkatsu is a common dish among the Japanese and in my opinion, it is one of the favorite dishes in Tokyo. Moreover, there are also other dishes to choose from, such as fried chicken, fried fish, and fried beef. The amount of spending for one person is around 550 JPY, which is considerably cheap.

Matsuya
Gyu-don - beef bowl
Gyūdon, literally “beef bowl”, is a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of rice topped with beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet sauce flavored with dashi, soy sauce and mirin.

This shop is specialized in beef bowl. A beef bowl is called “Gyu-don” in Japanese that is a bowl filled with Japanese white rice and topped with shredded beef on top. It is best to eat with soy sauce and some pepper. They also do sell other dishes that are worth trying are curry beef stew and “hamburg”. A hamburg, which is like a beef patty, is usually eaten together with Japanese white rice. Dining here for a person will cost around 600 JPY.

Sukiya

Sukiya has a similar concept as Matsuya, which they both sell similar food. In addition, the price range is also about the same that of Matsuya, except some of the food is slightly expensive.

Higher Budget Restaurants

Next, I am going to introduce a higher budget range restaurants.

Oreryu Shio-Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen, Tokyo Travel Guide
Tonkotsu Ramen

This shop is located at Shibuya, which takes around 15 minutes’ walk from Shibuya station. There is another chain store in Ebisu, Tokyo. They are specialized in “tonkotsu” ramen that is also known as pork bone-based soup ramen. The broth is usually yellow or light brown in color and it brings a strong aroma of meaty flavor. However, it may seem a little salty to some. Do try out their famous tonkotsu ramen and if you will like to order some side dishes, always choose the “gyoza” that is called Chinese dumplings. A typical ramen costs 1000 JPY in this shop. In my opinion, it is worth every penny.

Ichiran
Ramen in Ichiran
Ramen in Ichiran

This shop is also specialized in ramen, similar to Oreryu-Shio Ramen. However, it has lesser options and the price is also slightly higher. A basic bowl of “tonkotsu” ramen costs somewhere 950 JPY. However, I will recommend tourists to try out the more complete option, which costs around 1500 JPY. You can customize your toppings, broth thickness, the hardness of noodles, and the level of spiciness. Furthermore, you will have more “chashu” that is known as braised pork. Hence, it is a more worthy option for a tourist. You can find Ichiran in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ginza.

B. List of Foods and Drinks

Let’s move on to the most delicious part of my Tokyo travel guide. Now, we are going to discuss breakfast. For your information, the Japanese rarely have breakfast outside. On the opposite, they will eat something at home before going to work. Hence, I will recommend tourists and travelers to buy something from the convenient stores, such as Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven. Basically, convenient stores or also called “konbini” in Japanese are almost everywhere around in the corner.

Travelers can always buy bread and coffee from these stores. Family Mart is famous for its sandwiches and fried chicken. On the other hand, 7-Eleven has more variety of foods and drinks. Normally, having breakfast form a “konbini” for a person will cost around 600 JPY to 800 JPY.

In addition, there are also some fancy and special items that can be found in convenience stores. For example, crab sticks, jelly beancurd, mashed potatoes, “natto” with white rice and soy sauce, and mocha. Feel free to try them out!

Natto is a fermented food made by fermenting soybeans using bacteria called "Bacillus subtilis".
Natto is a fermented food made by fermenting soybeans using bacteria called “Bacillus subtilis”.

9. Warnings, Tips and Tricks

In Japan, there are a few restrictions that you have to beware about.

First, you cannot use phone calls in certain public places. For example, the restaurant, inside the metro trains and electric trains. This is because it will cause disturbance to the others.

Second, you do not easily accessible to the rubbish bins in the public. There are limited spots for you to dispose of your waste, hence, travelers are encouraged to carry their plastic for waste disposal with them. Furthermore, if you find rubbish bins in the public, you are to strictly dispose of your waste according to their respective categories. For example, you can only dispose of your plastic bottle in the bins specifically for plastic bottles.

Third, you are encouraged to learn some simple Japanese words before you visit Tokyo. This is because the majority of the Japanese are not fluent in English or Chinese. For example, you can learn the word “Good afternoon”, which is called “Konnichiwa”. Moreover, it is safe to learn some words like “eki” that is known as “station” and “toire” which means “toilet”.

These are a few notes that you will take down.


Hopefully, you liked my Tokyo Travel Guide. Please don’t forget to leave your comments and thoughts! Also, you can check more travel guides from here!

Darryl Chin
About Darryl Chin 1 Article
I'm a passionate traveler and I wish to travel the world!

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