An Essential Guide To Tokyo

Labelled the city of the future, it’s not hard to understand how Tokyo got that nickname.

Tokyo is a crazy blend of big modern streets and crazy Asian suburbs, international designer brands and local boutiques, insane entertainment right next to traditional temples and very niche specific dining options. Tokyo has something for everyone and it’s always buzzing with life.

Here’s a guide with everything you need to know for your first visit to Japan’s biggest city.

tokyo city

japan stamp graphic

Where is Tokyo?

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan, and falls under the Japan Time Zone UTC+9.

Getting to Tokyo

Tokyo has two major international airports – Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT).

Depending on which airline you choose to fly with you could be arriving or departing from either – so make sure you check your boarding passes and know well in advance where you will be landing, especially if you are organising transfers and pick up services.

It takes approximately 40 minutes into the city of Tokyo from either airport and is an easy ride on the train, either the general lines or the airport express lines.

Check out the best flight deals to Japan

Language in Japan

The primary language of Japan is Japanese.

Many people working in the tourism and travel as well as retail and hospitality industries, including in hotels, restaurants, and shops, are able to speak English or at least understand enough to help you out.

A Guide To Shopping In Tokyo

Climate in Tokyo

Tokyo has an extremely subtropical climate with very humid hot summers and generally mild winters.

The summer time is also monsoon season, with spontaneous but extremely heavy rainfall at different times throughout the day. It’s a good idea to make sure you take an umbrella with you wherever you go, just in case!

The winter months are usually much drier, with much cooler temperatures. If you’re heading anywhere north of Tokyo you can also expect to find some snow in the winter months, with world class skiing found in Japan.

shibuya scramble

Getting Around Tokyo

The subway system in Tokyo is absolutely phenomenal, the only way you will need to get around the city. It is by far the best, fastest and most efficient way to get around the city, with stations near all major attractions. It might also just be the best train system we have come across in the world so far.

You won’t go more than three blocks without passing a station, with multiple station entrances spanning for blocks around the actual station and trains arrive every 2-6 minutes. You’ll never be waiting for long before your train arrives.

How To Navigate The Tokyo Subway

Money in Tokyo

Currency is Japanese Yen ¥.

Tokyo is a huge, super modern city, so you can expect to find ATMs everywhere, giving you easy access to cash wherever you are. Credit and debit cards are also accepted everywhere, with very little need for cash if you staying in the city.

Internet Access in Tokyo

High-speed wifi is available all over the city including  in hotels, restaurants and cafes, shops, main streets, as well as every train station. There aren’t many places in Tokyo where you can’t get a wifi connection quickly and easily.

shinjuku streets

The Main Districts of Tokyo

Each district around Tokyo  has it’s own charm, uniqueness and characteristics. Some of the main districts of Tokyo that you can’t miss include –

Shibuya – known for youth fashion and culture
Ginza – known for high end shopping and dining
Shinjuku – known for the world’s busiest train station
Harajuku – known for teenage culture and crazy fashion
Asakusa – known for Senso-Ji Buddhist Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street
Akibahara – known for technology and electronics

Where To Stay In Tokyo

Best Time To Visit Tokyo

The best times to visit Tokyo are during the spring time between March and April when you can experience the famous beautiful cherry blossoms. Visiting during autumn, between September and November is also a great time to go to avoid the more extreme weather patterns.

Summer time in Tokyo, between June and August, is known to be monsoon season and can be extremely hot and humid when it’s not torrentially raining 

Can’t Miss Experiences in Tokyo

There are so many things in Tokyo you won’t want to miss! Just a few of them include –

+ Experience the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world at the Shibuya Scramble
+ The peace and tranquillity of Yoyogi Park – the home of the Meiji Shrine
+ Visit Japan’s oldest temple Senso-Ji
+ Watch the craziest techno show of all time at the infamous Robot Restaurant
+ Check out the views from the top of the Tokyo Tower
+ Visit Shinjuku and Harajuku for crazy fashions, foods and everything else you can imagine
+ Try and very unique dining experience, like their hedgehog cafe, hello kitty restaurant or maid diner
+ For a quick day trip, also make sure you head out to Mount Fuji, which is beautiful to see all year round.

Explore all the adventures and experiences you can have in Tokyo

Good to know for your visit to Tokyo

Monsoon season is definitely something we didn’t take into consideration when booking flights to Japan.

In Tokyo it rained heavily every day during monsoon season in the summer time, even if it was only for a couple hours . Keep this in mind if you’re booking to visit during the summer time, as sometimes the rain is so heavy it can absolutely hinder your plans for the day.

Also, make sure you keep an eye on flight deals to Japan if you’re thinking of visiting. Jetstar has been known to offer flights to Japan where the return flight is free several times a year, so you can often bag yourself a great deal.

Surviving The Shibuya Scramble

Check out all of our adventures around Tokyo

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom and daughter Macey, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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