Blog, Life, Travel

My Tokyo top tips

January 9, 2013

Now that I’m nearing the end of my stay in Tokyo, I’m going to list out the top five things you’re going to need to know when visiting Tokyo under 90 days. If this is your first time it might be useful. I hope this helps you or someone you know.

Right after you leave the airport you’re in for a rush of busy activity. Tokyo is a big city with small corners and bright lights. I seems like every one is in some sort of rush to go somewhere. If your Japanese language skills aren’t up to par the idea of getting around the city can be quite intimidating. Don’t worry! Most places have integrated english into their signage. This includes Trains, Maps, Menus and others. Some Japanese around town know a small bit of english so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2. Buy a Suica card at the Airport
A Sucia card is a like a charge card for for the JR trains & Subway system of Tokyo. You can even use the Suica to buy any items at connivence stores like 711, Family Mart and Lawsons. It’s a good item to have if you don’t understand the subway system. All you have to do is swipe over the over the entry gate and go!  The scanner at the gate is so strong you can even swipe through your wallet, like most Japanese.
3. Do your research
Every country has different holidays, weather patterns and special occasions. These instances can change your experience dramatically. For instance if you’re traveling to Japan around New Years time. During New years most Japanese will be on holiday, therefore students are out of school, people are off work and lines maybe longer at your popular attractions (Disneyland, Concerts, etc).

4. Look to purchase everything before you enter Japan if you can
There are a bunch of sweet deals you can get while you’re outside Japan that can’t get while inside. Like for instance the JR pass. The JR pass is a ticket that will allow you ride the Shinkansen (bullet train) and all JR trains as many times as you want for a select amount of days. This item is important if you want to travel to other major cities like Kobe, Kyoto or Osaka. Once your inside you cannot purchase this ticket and it will cost you each way around $150. Yikes! 

5. No free wifi
Most places in the US and in Canada have options for free wifi. In Japan this is not true. Free wifi is almost impossible to find. If you do find it it super slow or really hard to connect to your favorite social media apps. I would set up to rent a internet dongle at the airport. This way you can use your personal device at your connivence. If you must search around for free wifi here are a few options I’ve found.  Other than that you’re on your own.

7eleven / look for “7spot” 
Some malls and subway / look for “wifine”
The Apple store
Tokyo station and major stations / look for “JR East wifi”
Other than that you’re on your own. Have fun!

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