Tokyo is a futuristic city where you can sleep in a spaceship, eat seafood delicacies off the street and watch robots battle all in one go.

If you’re planning a visit, be sure to add these things to your plans. You won’t be disappointed!

1. Stay in a Capsule Hotel

No matter what you do in Tokyo, you absolutely must spend AT LEAST one night in a capsule hotel.

I recommend Oakhostel Cabin for about 2800 JPY ($25USD)/night for a bed in the dorm. As you walk in you’ll trade your shoes for slippers, which the hostel provides, along with a shoe locker near the entrance. You’ll then get a key to your floor and locker to store your luggage. Your spaceship..I mean capsule, will be patiently waiting and comes complete with bedding, an American plug outlet, a light, a few hangers, a mirror and a pull-down shade for privacy. Basically, it comes with all the essentials to make the most out of your galactic experience.

Getting There

You can take the Narita-Airport Limousine Bus from the Narita International Airport to Tokyo City Air Terminal. It will cost about 2800 JPY ($25 USD) and takes about an hour with a 7-minute walk to the hostel from the bus station. You can also take the Narita Sky Access train to the Asakusu Line for about 1330 JPY ($12 USD).

 

2. Eat at Robot Restaurant

If you want a unique experience and can handle the likes of bright lights and chaos that are notorious in places like NYC’s Times Square, then this is the activity for you! Reminiscent of Chuck- E- Cheese’s or an acid trip at Tomorrowland at Disneyland, this 2-hour performance will have you repeatedly saying “WTF!?” By the time dancers dressed in black with flashing tube lights start breakdancing, you won’t be able to look away. Try booking through a tour agency rather than on the spot at the restaurant to save a little bit of money.

3.  Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market

Whether you like seafood or not, this is a must-see section of Tokyo. Winding up and down the aisles of the world’s largest wholesale seafood market is an intriguing sensory experience you will thank yourself for. The most difficult part will be trying to make more space in your stomach for all the delicious fresh seafood snacks you’ll come across in the endless stalls of eel, oyster, and everything in between.

Other random things to know about Tokyo, Japan…

The Toilets

Have you ever wished your toilet could do more? Well in Japan they can. The whole bathroom experience is as if they took a national survey to find out what people want from a toilet, and then implemented the top 5 ideas. They are intuitive, exciting, and come with many buttons that are connected to various features such as: seat warmers, cleaning options for hard-to-reach areas, nature sounds to cover up any awkward noises, and so much more. What I’m trying to say is, Japan is on top of their toilet game and the bathrooms are very innovative and an experience simply unto themselves.


 

 

The Subway

Tokyo has figured out what most cities have not…the simplicity of numerical order when it comes to public transit. Each train station has a number that lets people know if they are going in the right direction or if you are standing on the right platform, and how many stops you have until your destination.

HyperDia is a great resource for plotting out your subway routes when you have wifi. The cons to the Tokyo Subway are that many of the lines (e.g. JR) are operated by different companies and require different tickets, making transfers expensive and not very seamless. The ticket machines only take cash so make sure you are stocked with Japanese Yen before going underground. You pay different prices by distance and for different lines, but the average one-way ticket is about 180 JPY ($1.60 USD). You can also purchase a 24-hour unlimited ticket for several of the lines.

Here is an English version of the Tokyo Metro Map. The Station Numbers Guide will also give you a nice breakdown of how to read station signs and the map.

Local Customs

The Japanese culture is extremely clean, orderly, and dignified. This manifests in many forms like taking off shoes when entering your accommodation, obeying traffic/crosswalk signs and actually using crosswalks, and respecting lines and personal space in subways.

It also means that showing off large tattoos is taboo, and in some instances forbidden in places like hostels or bathhouses.

Overall, I found the overwhelming majority of locals on the street and those in hospitality to be extremely helpful. Even if they didn’t speak English, people went out of their way to attempt to understand or google my sometimes obnoxious requests and questions (mostly about gluten free food thanks to my Celiac disease).

So the bottom line is: even if you don’t have time in your life for a whole tour of Japan, you should definitely make time for Tokyo!!!

Logistical Tips for Booking Your Trip
Booking Flights
I typically use Skyscanner to book my flights because it allows you to search through websites and airlines worldwide all in one convenient search engine. You can also get price alerts for flights you’re interested in.
Booking Accommodation
I always book my hostels through Hostelworld. If I’m not staying in a hostel, then I often book an AirBnB.
Using a VPN for Online Bookings
I also use a VPN (a powerful virtual tool that provides you with a private, anonymous, and secure internet connection) when searching for flights, accommodation, and rental cars. Since websites track your online activity and location, then use these factors to make the rates you are given dramatically higher than their true value, a VPN ensures that you get the best rates, by eliminating artificially high prices based on your country and internet search history. I recommend an affordable VPN like Surfshark to make sure you are getting the best travel deals online!
Global Wifi Hotspot
I personally have the Skyroam Solis Lite, which is a power bank and wifi hotspot for up to 10 devices. It is basically a virtual sim that can be used to connect to 4G LTE in over 130 countries, and it automatically finds the best network for you! It allows you to stay powered-on all day long with 18+ hours of WiFi battery life and keeps your data secure by avoiding risky public WiFi. It’s also compact, lightweight and hassle free. The best part is there are no contracts. You can get unlimited WiFi by the day or month, or buy data by the GB.
Travel Insurance
I always travel with insurance, because I know all too well how many things can go wrong while traveling (and sometimes even beforehand). Travel insurance protects you against certain cancellations, theft, medical emergencies, and more. I have been using World Nomads for the last seven years, and they haven’t disappointed me yet.
Other Travel Resources
Check out my Travel Resources Page to see the best companies, apps, jobs and other resources I use when traveling on a tight budget.

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About Author

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, her coffee black, and watching Friends re-runs. These days you can catch her in her natural habitats wandering through forest roads in her van, hiking to a waterfall or glacial lake, and learning about off-grid living the hard way. You can also find her on YouTube as Anna French.

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