Planning a trip to Japan can be daunting. You need to decide when to go, what attractions you want to go to, where to stay, and how to get to and between those locations. Even with an unlimited budget, your stay in Japan is only for a limited time, so decisions must be made. In this article, I will help you deal with all of these factors and other factors you never thought about in order to plan the ultimate trip to Tokyo!
Did you know tourists in Japan can walk over 50 miles in 7 days? This may shock you, but once you visit you will understand. Exploring the many back-alleys and bubbly and bustling avenues of Japan is an insatiable addiction, but before you know it your feet will go numb and there is nowhere to sit! To avoid this, why not incorporate a visit to a garden every day?
Japan is home to thousands of world-class gardens and parks which serve as oases to the bustling city life. Many gardens are former residences of samurai with awe-inspiring landscapes carefully sculpted to provide a contemplative experience. Entry fees are either low or free, and there are plenty of benches to relax your feet for an hour or so. It may be difficult to slow down for a bit, but your mind and feet will thank you.
There are so many exciting things to do in Japan, but you may spend more time in transit than at your destinations if you don’t pay attention to where your destinations are! A good rule of thumb is to visit the furthest destination from your accomodation first, and then visit locations that are on your way back. If you don’t, you may skip out on further destinations when you and your party are tired at the end of a busy day.
A great example of this would be the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum, an incredible but somewhat neglected tourist location that is over an hour’s train ride from city center. You may think this is too far, but the trip is well worth it as the legendary Ghibli Museum and famous Nakano Broadway are on your way back.
Why make redundant train rides when other destinations are around the corner? By visiting multiple attractions in the same area, you save time and pack more into your trip. Each center of Tokyo has multiple tourist attractions that you may have forgotten was there. When you find somewhere you definitely want to go, look for other nearby attractions and you may be pleasantly surprised.
The megalopolises of Japan have cities within cities, so why not change hotels once or twice? Switching hotels gives you logistical proximity to new areas that may have been a longer train ride away from your previous hotel. This may be too difficult if you came with too much luggage or are coming with a large party. However, if you are traveling solo or in a small group, you should definitely consider implementing this tip into you trip to Japan!
There is nothing worse than being near the end of your trip to Japan and not having enough time to revisit a cool attraction. You may think you know exactly what your favorite attractions will be, but you may be surprised that an afterthought visit can become your greatest memory. By planning free time, you can revisit earlier attractions or any that didn’t fit into your schedule earlier in the trip.
Popular Japanese attractions such as the Ghibli Museum, concerts, and 3-star Michelin restaurants require reservations far in advance. But did you know that there are affordable Michelin-star restaurants that require no reservations, live music for which you can pay at the door, and a Ghibli store that has the same coveted souvenirs you can buy at the Ghibli Museum? Know your options so you can plan your trip effectively.
Did you know you can often find cool electronics and clothes at a cheaper price than at home? This is because of Japan’s tax exemption program which allows tourists to shop tax free at many major and local stores. Often, items are cheaper in Japan than at home, but with the tax-exemption everything is a bargain. Make sure to bring your passport to the register to get your discount!
By packing light, you can bring more items back – it really is that simple! But more than that, packing light enables you to navigate the trains and subways with less hassle. There are many times in which you may need to carry your suitcases up or down the train, especially if you take the slow but scenic Keisei Main Line. You can avoid this situation by taking the JR East Narita Express or the Keisei Skyliner.
Packing light not only avoids inconveniencing you, but it avoids inconveniencing others. A family with each person carrying 2 packed suitcases plus carry-ons will inevitably prevent others from sitting on the train, so it is best to pack as light as you can. Bringing an empty carryon suitcase which you can stack on top of your main suitcase will be appreciated by others, allow you plenty of space to bring back gifts, and give you the mobility you need to have the best trip to Japan!