Chances are you have wanted to go to Japan for a long time, and Covid hasn’t made it any easier. So for you to have the smoothest trip possible, we have some quick tips that can (and hopefully will) make your trip as lovely as possible!
Top Five Tips:
- GeGet the Suica/Pasmo card as soon as possible.
- Forget the Railway Pass unless you are visiting a lot of cities.
- Turn on Focus (or turn off notifications) and enjoy Tokyo
- Get a portable wifi/sim data card. Google/Apple Maps will help a lot when looking for the right train/subway!
- Learn one word: “Sumimasen.”
The card that does anything:
So you might have heard of Suica or Pasmo. These are convenient cards that you can use for just about anything in Japan. They work as a portable wallet, and they will make your life a lot easier! While most tourists use these for riding the subway and railroad in Tokyo, you can also use these cards for buying anything at 7/11 as well as pay for drinks at vending machines. You may even pay for your taxi ride with your Suica/Pasmo card. And best of all, you need one of them, and it doesn’t matter which one you get!
Railway Pass, The hype is real, kind of:
Railway Pass for international tourists in Japan is incredible, that is, if you are traveling between several different cities and don’t mind skipping the metro in the big cities. You will earn it in basically by taking Shinkansen twice. However, when in Tokyo, it’s much cheaper (and more convenient to go for the Suica or Pasmo card).
Getting to the city from the airport:
Flying into Japan, you will most likely end up at one of the two international airports: Narita or Haneda. While most people will tell you the best option is Haneda, you can quickly get to and from the city from Narita as well. It just takes a bit longer from Narita and is a bit more expensive.
For ease of mind, I would recommend taking the Airport Limousine Bus, ¥2,800 (adult) from Narita, ¥840 (adult) from Haneda. No pre-booking is necessary, and you will find the counter at the terminal exits at both airports. If you stay at one of the larger hotel chains, the Airport Limousine Bus will drive you to your hotel. If your hotel is not amongst the stops, the staff will find the nearest hotel, or you could get off at Tokyo Station/Shinjuku Station.
Enjoy the serenity of a megacity:
While being on your phone might be tempting, try and leave your old life behind. Tokyo is a magical city that will seem like a different city each time you visit, based on where you decide to explore. We highly recommend turning notifications off and only using the phone when necessary. However, when getting around Google/Apple Maps will save you a lot of time when traveling. I always recommend you check out at least Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or Yoyogi Park to get some downtime.
Sumimasen, the word that means; excuse me, I’m sorry, can you please help me. No matter the situation The word that means, excuse me, I’m sorry, can you please help me. No matter the situation, this word will save the day. You bump into someone, use it! You want to order something at a restaurant, use it! You want to ask for anything, use it! You need help, use it! And followed by a short Arigatou gozaimasu (thank you), and you are good. That said, always learn at least a couple of phrases when traveling. It makes all the difference!
While we will not cover topics in detail, these few pointers will hopefully give you a good starting point for finding out more about your trip to Tokyo.