Saturday, September 16, 2023
HomePersonal StylistTOKYO CITY GUIDE


I believe most of by now that Japan is certainly one of my favorite locations on the earth. I’ve executed earlier metropolis guides (my final Tokyo one linked right here, excuse the outdated formatting – it was 10 years in the past!) however this can be a new, up to date one with all over the place we went this journey. Kyoto shall be subsequent!


We booked our flights with Finnair, it labored out less expensive than BA and had direct flights to Tokyo Haneda, it companions with Japan Airways (whom our flight was with) and I can’t advocate sufficient. We bought a taxi to our Resort from the airport after an extended flight however I’ve caught the practice earlier than and it’s fairly straightforward.


July is such a good time to journey round Japan! There have been many causes for this: firstly, we travelled in July for our honeymoon and beloved it – the Gion competition (Arts competition) was on in Kyoto, it was very HOT which made it laborious in some methods but additionally meant there have been much less vacationers than, say, September (when numerous excursions are on) or April (thought of the perfect time to go to for cherry blossom season). It’s round 30 levels in Tokyo however all over the place had air-con, even the metro stations, plus the tall buildings means there may be loads of shade so it felt extra nice than travelling round London in comparable climate. It was very humid and it’s wet season, though we solely had one quick downpour this whole journey (final time we had just a few days of rain) . We selected faculty holidays because it meant our youngsters went on their very own vacation with grandparents on the similar time. If we return, it will undoubtedly be with the youngsters (possibly in 5 years time), as soon as they will actually get entangled and address jetlag a bit simpler, we noticed tons extra households with older children this time round.


We walked or took the metro all over the place, taxis are fairly costly and it’s really easy to navigate the town utilizing public transport. We used a Shinkansen (bullet practice) cross to get from Tokyo to Kyoto and one thing we didn’t realise final time is that you simply additionally get free journey on all of the JR traces in Tokyo and Kyoto together with your bullet practice cross. Usually, you will get to the place you want on these traces alone (or stroll a bit additional to make it work) which saved us fairly a bit of cash. However the bullet practice may not be essentially the most price efficient choice for those who’re not travelling round that a lot. You may get extra native trains or buses between Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo which could work out higher worth in your journey.

For different metro journeys we simply topped up a card with money and used it like an oyster, it was actually inexpensive to get round this manner (these playing cards/passes work in Kyoto too). All the time be sure to faucet out at stations – I by accident didn’t faucet out in Tokyo after which my card didn’t work in Kyoto and I needed to wait till I bought again to Tokyo to kind it! For Kyoto I simply paid per journey.

In case you are travelling round, there is a superb baggage forwarding service (Takkyubin) which your lodge may also help you with. We used it as soon as (though has gone up in value since final time – it’s now roughly £15-£20 a suitcase) this journey, we despatched our suitcase forward to Kyoto and took a holdall into Mount Koya for one night time and our case was ready for us in Kyoto. They provide subsequent day supply normally however I in all probability wouldn’t danger it the day you fly house! Most stations even have baggage storage if you want to depart circumstances for a day.

Ginza at night time


We stayed on the Muji Resort in Ginza. I’ve solely stayed in Ginza as soon as round 15 years in the past once I was travelling by myself – it’s the procuring district with tons of luxurious outlets so figured it was a protected place to remain as a younger girl by myself. Funnily sufficient we didn’t even go to Ginza final journey as we thought it was boring – however we LOVED staying there this time! The outlets shut within the night after which it’s so quiet, it feels fairly villagey, native and protected (particularly because it so effectively lit from all of the indicators). Right here’s why we beloved Ginza:

The Muji lodge – I used to be so excited to remain right here and it didn’t disappoint. Small however completely shaped rooms, it was minimal but useful, calm and comfy. It’s above their flagship retailer and as you check-in they current you with an inventory of things you may take house with you (together with slippers and stationery!). Breakfast was the right introduction to easy Japanese residing: udon noodles, fish and curry but additionally eggs and bacon if you want. Our tip is to not go right down to breakfast on the hour (as that’s what everybody does!) – strive 10 to or 10 previous the hour.

Nightlife – Ginza isn’t buzzing like different Tokyo districts at night time however it has a stunning ambiance and we found so many superb eating places in our neighbourhood. We beloved heading out on the metro within the day after which simply strolling to and from dinner within the night. There have been a great deal of karaoke locations close by too.

Location – Ginza is basically near most locations, you may stroll to Shimbashi, it’s close to Tsukiji Fish Market and our lodge was additionally proper by the Metro (Ginza-Itchome) which is a central cease for getting across the metropolis.

The procuring – this journey I needed to benefit from the outlets extra and Ginza has all of them – Daiso (the 100 yen retailer, all the pieces underneath £1), Itoya (100 12 months outdated stationery retailer), and Loft in addition to the fancier shops like Louis Vuitton and Gucci (which we didn’t frequent!).


This time we needed to spend time in Tokyo like locals, we did all the massive sights final time (the Sensō-ji Temple, Yoyogi Park, Harajuku) and this time we needed to only eat and calm down. However first: Studio Ghibli Museum (which was shut final time we had been right here – it’s closed on Tuesdays!). It’s actually laborious to resolve whether or not or to not go to this museum, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside so there’s not a lot to analysis on-line and it’s a forty five minute journey outdoors the town however we determined to take a punt on it, in spite of everything we had been in Tokyo and Chris is a big fan.

It was beautiful, the world of Mitaka itself was suburban, leafy and a pleasure to stroll round, attempt to get there on time because the queues begin for the gallery as quickly because it opens. There are limitations on guests on a regular basis (Oomi Japan organised our ticket for this, aparently they’re fairly laborious to pay money for prematurely!) which implies it’s busy however not overly so. There have been a whole lot of households and youngsters (had been we the one grown-ups on our personal? Maybe, however we didn’t really feel bizarre) and there’s a lot to see: authentic illustrations, stills from movies, numerous interactive parts and also you get to see a novel quick movie solely accessible to guests (in Japanese, however it’s fairly a easy plot so we adopted!). It was a morning effectively spent, it nonetheless felt very native and never too touristy, you can also’t spent various hours there which was a pleasant shock and meant we had been again to the centre of Tokyo by lunchtime.

My favorite store in Tokyo is Loft and there’s a 5/6 story one in Ginza which I spent a whole lot of time in. It’s like strolling across the backside flooring of a division retailer like Selfridges: teas, chcoclates, gifting, stationery – however far more inexpensive. The alternate fee to GBP was actually good, so even within the 100yen retailer Daiso (my different favorite retailer), every merchandise was round 65p every. We primarily purchased presents for the youngsters or stationery we will’t get simply within the UK (see my reel on what I purchased right here). Lawson, 7 Eleven and any Pharmacies are additionally price visiting, the place yow will discover quirky presents, meals, snacks and Japanese magnificence merchandise cheaply.

Akihabara was one other place on our checklist as we solely briefly visited final time, it’s ‘Electrical City’ and a bigger than life a part of the town stuffed with anime and manga outlets, gaming shops and 5 story buildings stuffed with ‘Claw Machines’ that didn’t appear to be rigged – we each gained on our first go! It’s a tween/teen heaven but additionally enjoyable for adults, we loved spending just a few hours right here and introduced again photobooth stickers of us as anime characters (after utilizing the wonder stations arrange subsequent to the cubicles, after all).

A spotlight was karaoke, there are many locations to do it – Huge Echo is a well-liked one, we did Karaoke Kan which was proper by our lodge and had nice views out to Tokyo (it was roughly £25 for an hour which included 2 beers).

After which we spent the remainder of our time consuming!


We primarily ate noodles in Japan, it’s a lot simpler to come back throughout and a less expensive, on a regular basis meal. You may’t actually go unsuitable with ramen right here and even the most cost effective meals you order from a merchandising machine is scrumptious! Our first night time we arrived late so requested the workers at Muji for his or her suggestions (I might at all times advocate this) and we ended up in a cute, fashionable ramen place close by referred to as Menya Yukou – 2 beers, 2 ramen dishes and a aspect of gyozas got here to £20. There’s no tipping tradition in Japan so it made a giant distinction to how a lot we spent.

We love the simplicity of Coco Ichibanya for katsu curry. Kaitensushi (conveyor belt sushi) is an inexpensive strategy to eat however they’re not as widespread as you’d assume, loads are in shops or practice stations – we did see Sushi-go-round which regarded good. One of the best locations for us are the small, unassuming locations that don’t look fancy, they typically have the perfect ambiance, too. In Ginza most eating places are at floor degree, so many locations in Tokyo you must get a carry to the doorway and it’s very laborious to again out for those who’re unsure on the vibe! Right here you may peek in and see if it’s busy or the meals appears good.

We did a ‘Ramen Tour’ while in Tokyo with Frank, a ramen fanatic (his website 5am ramen ought to develop into your go-to if visiting) who taught us the several types of ramen, from my favorite: tsukemen (dipping noodles) to all of the completely different sorts of broths and toppings. He gave us a low-down on his prime 5 ramen eating places in Ginza (they had been all inside 5 minutes stroll!), gave us their historical past and backstory (every one had a distinct segment: feminine owned, household run for 50 years, well-known for his or her spicy broth and so forth) and we picked our favorite to go to.

We ended up in Hashigo – it was a easy bar, no tables and so busy that as quickly as you could have completed, you permit, to let these within the queue behind you begin. It was the perfect ramen I’ve ever tasted and it was a small unassuming place we’d handed by just a few instances with out noticing (in all probability as a result of there have been no English indicators – however that they had an English menu as soon as seated). These had been Frank’s different ramen suggestions (in/round Ginza):

A small phrase of warning: for those who purchase snacks or a takeaway iced espresso, there aren’t any bins. Actually. Not one on the streets. We spent hours strolling round with a plastic container and couldn’t discover any. We realised after some time that nobody was consuming ‘on the go’ and there are even indicators in cafes asking for those who take away, you’re taking your garbage house with you. I’m nonetheless incredulous that the streets are so clear with none bins! However that’s one other one of many superb issues about Japan.


We took primarily money, which appears loopy in such a contemporary metropolis however it helped us monitor our spending plus we had learn just a few articles saying that abroad playing cards don’t at all times work and the few instances we tried our card they had been temperamental! In every single place we went accepted money no drawback, and within the countryside it’s most popular (the Temple we stayed in Kyosan insisted on money, and apparently it’s fairly laborious to withdraw as solely sure cashpoints inside 7 Elevens work with abroad playing cards). One thing to keep in mind.

Knowledge roaming was costly for us, so we used wi-fi from the lodge. Most tube stations and procuring malls (and Starbucks) have wi-fi readly accessible and in locations like Kyoto that they had their very own ‘metropolis wifi’.

Plugs and voltage are the identical because the US, in different phrases your straighteners may not work. Fortunately I had a pair of $5 Goal mini straighteners which served me effectively!

Google translate is useful for menus however we discovered no drawback with language and had been at all times understood in a roundabout way!

We booked our flights then used Oomi Journey for lots of our itinerary (beforehand Distinctive Japan Excursions – whom we booked our honeymoon with!). We paid for our journey and knew roughly the place we needed to go however Darina helped guide all the pieces and all of the extras we wouldn’t have imagined – our itinerary was fairly easy this time and was mainly Tokyo – Koyasan – Kyoto – Tokyo – London (our final journey was extra intricate and you’ll personalise your itinerary as a lot as you want). Oomi advisable the Muji Resort, the journey to Koyasan, booked all our bullet trains and transport, in Koyasan we had a personal tour information and stayed in a single day in a Buddhist Temple run by Monks, in Tokyo we additionally did a sushi making course run by essentially the most superb Japanese ladies. It’s completely attainable to guide Japan by your self however for the additional journeys (particularly Koyasan, or the unbelievable island of Amami the place we visited on our honeymoon, a whole lot of these accommodations haven’t any English web sites), Oomi helped make it additional particular (and saved us time while working full-time with two children!). This isn’t a paid promotion however needed to provide a shout out, as I’ve advisable them to anybody we all know going to Japan!



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