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What to Pack?

Prepare Before Entering Japan!

Pretty big question: well it depends (sorry for the vague answer : ) )

The question really is, what do I intend to bring back from Japan?

Well if you want to bring back plenty of non-perishable food, alcohol, figures, toys, souvenirs, etc. then I suggest you pack VERY LIGHT! If you don’t care for bringing back many things then pack however you see fit.

On my last 2 week trip to Japan, I brought one big suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, and a big duffle bag.  The big suitcase was half empty, and I put my small carry on/duffle bag into the big one. So I hauled one big suitcase at the beginning of the trip. But by the end of it, everything was out and filled completely. I love Japanese snacks and their rare sake/whiskey you can’t get anywhere else. I stuffed my big suitcase with those. My duffle had most of my clothes, electronics, etc. and my carry-on had all my anime figures.

So if you are like me, pack the same way!

What to Actually Bring!

This depends on which season you intend to go!

  • Bring clothes you can re-wear (ex. I re-wore dresses for several days at a time)
  • Dresses and/or skirts for women in the summer
    • Dresses are easy- no need to pack many pants
    • Skirts are easy- bring 1 skirt and bring different shirts to wear with it
    • Maybe one pair of leggings or pants on cold days
  • Re-wearable pants for men
    • My brother brought many shirts but only two pairs of pants
  • I don’t recommend for anyone to re-wear undergarments/socks, so bring plenty of those
  • Shoes- WALKABLE!
    • You will walk A LOT in Japan so bring shoes that you can walk easily and for long periods of time
      • I brought one pair of Vans and flats (I destroyed my vans in Japan and end up leaving my Vans there)
      • Bring warm shoes/boots in case of snow in winter
  • Hat/cap plus sunglasses in the summer is a must!

If for some reason you run out of luggage space, no worries! Go to a Bic Camera store and buy a suitcase to bring home. They offer tax free shopping to foreigners.

Don’t bring expensive clothes! Many Japanese washers and especially dryers can be rough with clothes. So if you don’t want delicates to be ruined, don’t bring them unless you plan on handwashing it.

Medicine?

  • If you cannot handle pollen, bring allergy meds (not over the counter)
  • There is a good chance you can get sick even in the summer in Japan
    • With travel fatigue, extreme heat/humidity outside, and blasting air-con indoors, you might catch a cold or the flu.
    • Vicks Dayquil/Nyquil is illegal to bring into the country (however, I had some in my luggage and brought some anyways …I guess security wasn’t too tight)
      • Japanese cold meds aren’t very strong, but you can get them easily at medicine shops or convenience stores
  • Please check Japanese government travel guidelines for any prescription meds you want to bring in. https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/doctors/importing-medication/
  • Japan is extremely strict about any type of narcotic. They are illegal and you can be imprisoned in Japan if found on you.
  • To keep your immune system up while traveling, take the convenient Vitamin-C drinks, foods, etc. found at almost any convenience store

Always bring your Tourist Visa and/or passport with you! (Please note, that some countries like China require a Japanese tourist visa in order to enter the country. Check online or visit a Japanese embassy to see if you need to do this. US Citizens only need to bring a passport if stay is less than 90 days).

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Deciding Where to Book a Place to Stay!

BEFORE YOU BOOK ANY HOTEL, READ THIS BLOG FULLY!

Deciding which location or which hotel, home, etc. to stay in can be pretty difficult for first time travelers. However, hopefully my tips can help your decision making.

Regardless of which city you decide to stay in, there are many factors that you should consider before booking a place simply because it is cheap. Many cheaper hotels, Airbnbs, hostels, etc. are usually (capsule hotels are often an exception) out of the way of public transport or inner city. This can pose as an extra grievance or problem especially when you have to lug around your baggage/luggage.

Important Factors to consider before booking a place!

No matter which major city you are in, ask yourself:

  1. Is the location near a JR or Metro station, or other means of public transport?
    • This is absolutely something you need to consider!
    • Renting a car can be difficult in Japan- you need to have an international driving permit ahead of time issued from your home country. Otherwise, you can’t rent one.
    • Driving in big cities like Tokyo can also be a pain with limited parking availability, difficulty navigating backroads, and more, so I just suggest using their very convenient and cheap public transportation.
    • Renting a car is more preferable if you plan on being in the rural areas
  2. How far should a JR or Metro station be from my place of choosing?
    • In my opinion, choosing a place that is within 5-10 mins max of walking distance to public transport is preferable
    • One reason why I say this is because many back/smaller roads and sidewalks do not often have nice smooth surfaces. They often have very rocky surfaces and rolling baggage around has shown to be not only difficult, but sometimes breaks the wheels if baggage is super heavy or non-durable. Even nice hotels can be in the area of these rocky surfaces.
    • Use google maps to determine walking time and distance of a station to your place of stay.
Look for these symbols as you zoom in on google maps

2 Other Important Factors

  1. IS THERE A PLACE YOU CAN DO LAUNDRY!!!
    • Please also consider this factor before booking your stay.
    • Hotels:
      • Some have washer/dryer in the room for free, others have coin laundry, and some don’t.
      • Look for a laundromat nearby if yours don’t have a place to do laundry.
    • Airbnbs:
      • Many airbnbs do not have a washer/dryer option, so look for a place with a laundromat nearby (best option).
      • Others have a washer only and then clothes pins to hang/air dry your clothes- this can pose as a problem for heavy duty clothes as they start to smell like mildew if not dried properly.
      • Check in the app or website if there is a washer/dryer option in the room. THEN VERIFY with the owner that the dryer is a separate unit and one that produces heat to dry and not just a washer that wrings the clothes until most of the water is out of the clothes.
        • Some places have a washer that wrings clothes and then a shower/bathroom that closes off where you can also hang clothes to dry and use a function to generate high heat in the room to dry clothes
      • Warning: Even if the room you have has a washer and dryer unit, it is not often like the ones in the West. These units for Airbnb rooms are often cheap. Meaning the washer is small and you have to wait do multiple loads, and the dryer is weak and takes hours to dry your clothes. Laundromats often have better dryers so I recommend doing that instead and do multiple loads at once.
      • To save a little money/time, you can use the washer unit in your room and then go to a laundromat to just dry clothes.
    • Hostels:
      • Most hostels I have seen have coin laundry in the building and instructions in English to help you out.
  2. Timing and amount of luggage
    • Many hotels/hostels will hold your bags until check in time; so there is an advantage to booking these.
    • Airbnbs- you can’t leave your luggage ahead of time unless you had previous arrangements with the owner. In this case, you can go to many of the JR stations that have baggage/luggage lockers you can rent for the day. Otherwise, you can go to one of the bigger JR stations and drop off your bag at a Travel service center for a cheap fee. I will discuss where you can drop off bags at which station in another blog post.

3. JR PASS

  • What is it and are you eligible to get one?
    • This pass allows you to use any JR rail system for free (7, 14, or 21 days) including booking bullet trains for free!
    • Unfortunately if your visa upon entering this country says something other than ‘temporary visitor,’ you cannot get one!
      • This includes work visas, LONG TERM student visas (more than 90 days), Etc.
      • ALSO PAY ATTENTION TO JAPAN’S VISA REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER THE COUNTRY
  • Why you should get one if you are just traveling to multiple cities.
    • The JR pass is perfect for foreign travelers!
    •  It saves more money ONLY if you plan to be moving around to multiple cities
      • A shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kyoto for example can cost about 150 USD ONE WAY
      • So if you are making round trips via shinkansen (bullet train), or using it more than once, it’s best to buy a JR PASS
  • If you plan only to stay in one city during your time in Japan, then I do not recommend getting the pass
    • It’s cheaper to use whatever public transportation available in that city
  • Getting the pass may change where you book your stay and when you want to go from city to city in order to efficiently use the JR PASS

If you decide to buy the pass, visit https://www.jrpass.com/ to learn how to use it and WHEN to buy it.

In all honesty, I only buy/activate the JR pass if I know I will be using the shinkansen more frequently. For example, I bought a 7 day pass once. Activated it on the day I booked a shinkansen going from Tokyo to Kyoto (stayed 3 days), Kyoto to Hiroshima (1 day), and then booked another shinkansen to get to Odawara to get to Hakone (stayed 2 days). Then booked another shinkansen to get to Yokohama (1 day), and then took the regular JR line back to Tokyo. Basically I booked 4 shinkansen trips and that would have totaled to be about 500 USD. The JR pass saved me over 250 dollars to spend elsewhere.

Picking between an Airbnb, Hotel, or Hostel:

  1. Picking a hotel:
    • This has its perks: often easy gps location to navigate to, holding luggage, helpful staff who speak English.
    • There is wifi in the rooms
    • Many hotels are close to stations, however the cheaper hotels are often outside the city so commutes are longer.
    • For cheaper hotel searches: I like to use Expedia or Google booking
      • There are also capsule hotels and hostels that show up on Expedia as well if you are looking for even cheaper options
    • Capsule hotels are pretty cheap as well if you want to experience one
      • They are often segregated by gender and often 1 person per unit
      • Many capsule hotels are near stations and in the inner city if you want to easily explore the night life
  2. Hostels:
    • Hostels are pretty cheap and if you don’t mind bathing and sleeping in the same room with strangers.
    • However, many English speakers book hostels if that increases your level of comfort.
    • Many hostels only have wifi in the lobby and staff are helpful with any problems or concerns
  3. Airbnbs:
    • If you want a mini home for your stay then this is for you.
    • You can find very cheap airbnbs near the inner city and near transportation stations.
    • Just be aware of the factors I mentioned above.
    • The downside: you can’t get help very often or quickly if you have trouble navigating to the place, getting into the place, and reading instructions to things like the washer/dryer, shower, etc.
      • It is important to communicate with the host/owner ahead of time to ensure you have proper directions/instructions to everything!
      • It also doesn’t hurt to ask politely if you can ask your host to label important functions in the house.
    • A small perk to an Airbnb is that past travelers leave things like umbrellas, sauces for cooking, detergent, soap, etc. which you can use at your leisure.

In the next blogs I will dive further into how to use certain appliances and any other extra relevant information when you are in a home/Airbnb.

As many people go to Tokyo, here is a map of where you should be looking for a place to stay in order to have good easy access to the many unique parts of the Tokyo (which I will also later blog about the different areas you can enjoy visiting).

This is pretty much my opinion, but I have made mistakes in the past and wasted a lot of commute time by booking places outside of this circle
Featured

Choosing When to Travel to Japan

First Step:

Choosing when to buy a flight!

So you have a current and/or future plans to visit Japan?

Whether you are a student about to study abroad, on a business trip, or just visiting, knowing when you will be in the country will change what you can experience there.

Japan is very unique in each season and festivals are dependent on the seasons as well.

Let’s break it up in terms of flying on a low or high budget.

Budget Friendly

If you want to travel cheaply from outside of Japan, the best times to go are “off season.” In this case, it means seasons that are not heavy with festivals and major holidays.

Off Season:
• Mid-January to Mid-March
• Mid-May to Mid-June
• Late July to early August
• September to Mid-December
Basically, all of these time frames are the cheapest to go. Many hotels and travel options are open. Also the streets, trains, and shops are less crowded.

Traveling with a Bigger Budget

High Peak Seasons:
• Late December to early January is Holiday and New Year’s celebrations.
• Mid/Late-March to mid-April is Cherry Blossom Season! Many people travel to see cherry blossoms bloom and fall during this time (trees bloom depending on the region).
• Late April to Early May is Golden Week where several major holidays occur. Many companies are on holiday and many Japanese travel.
• Mid-July contains many big summer festivals where people travel frequently. Many major fireworks festivals as an example.
• Mid-August is the Obon Festival. During this time, many people travel ‘home’ to pay respects and honor their ancestors.

Although these peak seasons are more expensive to travel, it is more fun and more to see/experience in Japan during these times. I personally prefer to go during these times. If booked early enough, nice/cheap Airbnbs can be obtained during your stay there.

Other Factors to consider:

Rainy Season: Mid-June to Mid-July

• It doesn’t rain every day but when it does, it rains very hard. Some days can also be short heavy spurts of rain, and others can be full day drizzles. Some days, it rains so hard that the rain will bounce off the ground and soak your legs, socks, and shoes.
• Don’t go during this time if you want nice blue skies and sunshine (especially if you love taking photos in nice weather)
• Many Airbnbs/homes don’t have dryers, but rather hangers/clips to air-dry clothes. With many rainy days, your thick socks/shoes can smell like mildew if you don’t properly dry them or find a laundry place nearby.
• There are also rainy days in May and early June as well, but not as heavy and as frequent. But these days can be cold compared to Mid-June to July.

Seasons:

Winter: It is very busy during Xmas time through New Year’s. Japanese don’t celebrate Xmas as a religious holiday but to rather spread joy and give gifts. Many couples love spending Christmas time go on dates and travel to onsens. New Years has its own fun and interesting traditions as well if you happen to be with a family during this time. If you love holiday lights then this is also the time to go. In my opinion, no other country sets up illuminations like the Japanese, and it is absolutely beautiful. Other than this, winter is pretty calm compared to the other seasons. There are interesting snow related festivals that occur throughout Japan during this time if that interests you. Also if you enjoy snowboarding/skiing, this is the time to go. It does get pretty cold during this time so keep warm.
Spring: This is perhaps one of the most beautiful seasons to go see Japan especially during Cherry Blossom Time. Cherry blossoms come and go pretty quickly, so book well in advance in a city that you know the cherry blossoms are blooming during that time. The blossoms bloom and fall at different times of the month depending on region/winter. It blooms only once a year. If you do go see the cherry blossoms, be sure to check out views during the day and night. It is a different experience for both times of day. Each city has unique cherry blossom views/spots and some are more beautiful than others. Also dress warm during this season and prepare for plenty of pollen in the air!
Summer: SUPER HOT and HUMID. It’s a little gross during this time since you have to constantly use a hand towel to wipe sweat from your face. For those using makeup, your makeup is likely to run off. However, there are many fun summer festivals during time. Despite the heat, I enjoy going to Japan during this season. The fireworks festivals in Japan are out of this world where some continuously fire about an hour long. If you are in the south, beaches are really nice during this season as well.
Fall: A cooler season than summer. Depending if you are in Japan at the beginning of the season or the end of it, it’s hotter or cooler. There are clearer skies, lower humidly, and less rain. It is also beautiful to travel during this season. The leaves changing color is a spectacle in Japan since there is so much greenery. There are many festivals that happen during this time as well. Except for mid-August, this is probably the best time to go in terms of cost and weather reasons.

Unfortunately, there is no exact time to buy plane tickets to get a good offer. What I have found is buying 2-4 months ahead of time have shown to have decent prices. Any earlier has been more expensive. GOOD LUCK!

Osaka Bay Area

What to do in Osaka Bay!

Tempozan Harbor Village

Location: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan

This area of the bay is extremely popular for locals and tourists. There are many things to do here, see the market place, aquarium, culture museum, Legoland, a ferris wheel to see the bay area, or take a tourist boat tour. Near here is also Universal Studios.

©tripadvisor

Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho

Inside the mall area contains a food amusement park. The days you can enter the small park depends on the month or season. So look it up before you go. Inside the amusement park contains 20 or so small restaurants which are representative of food in Osaka. The park is centered around a 1960s Japan theme.

©kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

This place contains different exhibits and offers night visits geared towards couples. Depending on the age, tickets cost anywhere from $0-23.

©kaiyukan

Universal Studios Japan

If you like Universal Studios, try Universal Studios in Japan. It is a bit smaller than the one in LA but it functions the same. There are some difference compared to the ones in the US though like Super Nintendo World inside the park.

©usj.co.jp

Dotonburi

What to do in Dotonburi!

I will also include surrounding areas with this location as well like Shinsaibashi! Namba is also nearby if you want to combine itineraries.

Ebisu Bridge

Location: 4, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan

You can’t go to Osaka and skip Dotonburi and the famous Ebisu Bridge! Pose near the Glico Man sign or Massive crab sign. This whole area lights up at night as well so visit it then! Around this area is shopping and a lot of food, so explore, explore, explore. You can find great seafood like crab hotpot and okonomiyaki.

©tripadvisor

Tonbori River Cruise

At Ebisu river, you can also do a rive cruise. It is pretty popular with foreigners and out of city travelers. It’s about 9 dollars for adults and you circle around major landmarks of Osaka. The loading area is near the ferris wheel Don Quixote!

©ipponmatsu.co

Kukuru Konamon-Museum

Location: 1 Chome-6-12 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan

Osaka is famous for its takoyaki and what better way to get it than at the Kukuru takoyaki place near Ebisu bridge in Dotonburi. It’s wonderful and I highly recommend. As a suggestion, if you do not like slimy or gooey textures, I do not recommend takoyaki, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

©dontonburi.or.jp

Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street

Location: 2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan

Near Dotonburi is Shinsaibashi. I personally recommend going to this shopping street. A lot of shops are tax free so enjoy and shop cheaply! If you are interested in fashion, this area is for you.

© jnto.go.jp

Amerikamura

Location: 1 Chome-2-4 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0086, Japan

Amerikamura is America Village. This is area is popular for youth hangouts and shopping. The clothing styles and people there take on a more American Hipster vibe. You can find takoyaki, cafes, and bars here too– oh yeah, and a mini statue of liberty.

©amerikamura.jp

Shinsekai

What to do in Shinsekai!

Is it dangerous? Compared to the city back-alley in America or Europe, No! But you may have some creepy encounters if you go at night (last I went, there were some homeless people trying to pick-pocket). I do not recommend for you to go at night alone especially if you are a women who has no self defense skills! So I recommend just walking through certain areas in the afternoon to early evening (before the sun sets). Or if you want to go at night, go as a pair or group.

Tsutenkaku

Location: 1 Chome-18-6 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan

Head towards Tsutenkaku tower. Along the way, you can grap some street food! At night (preferably with a pair or group), this area lights up giving a older Japan feel. Inside the tower there are different levels to different things like Wakuwaku land, current exhibitions, garden, the observation floor, and more.

©osaka-info

Kushikatsu

Throughout the alley of Shinsekai towards the tower, try osaka style deep fried food skewers!! REMEMBER, NO DOUBLE DIPPING. If you need to get more sauce, put the sauce on a piece of lettuce or tray if none then continue.

©Aiko99ann – wikipedia

Spa World

Location: 3 Chome-4-24 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan

Experience onsen/spas from around the world! There are a bunch of saunas as well. Please know that some spas are biological gender seperated. On even months, women will experience asian spas while men will experience european spas. On odd months, it is reversed. Women will experience european spas and men will experience asian spas. There are some communal all gender areas on other floors. Also, in the gender specific pools, you will be completely naked until you go to a communal area which require bathing suits. So if you are uncomfortable with that, then bring a towel with you to cover up. That’s how spas work in Japan 🙂

©tripadvisor

Important reminder for those who have tattoos, you will not be able to enter spa world if you have a visible tattoo.

Nipponbashi

What to do in Nipponbashi!

Nipponbashi is famous for Den Den town, which is Osaka’s version of Akihabara.

Den Den Town

Location: 4 Chome-12 Nipponbashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0005, Japan

Head out of Nipponbashi station and follow signs to Den Den town. There are less shops compared to Akihabara, but the vibe is the same! However, some shops you can find great deals on figures and otaku goods. This area is near Namba Parks if you want to do both areas in one day.

©Inoue-hiro

Ota Road

This road is parallel to the main road for den den town. You can find maid cafes and other shops on this road. Sometimes you can find cosplayers!

©jnto.go.jp

Gee store Osaka

Location: 7-7 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan

This store is a boutique for anime and manga fans. You can get costumes, apparel, and accessories.

©geestore

Joshin Super Kids Land

Location: 4 Chome-12-4 Nipponbashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0005, Japan

This is the biggest store for selling models, figures, toys, and other unique hobby models, supplies, and materials.

©shop.joshin.co.jp

Similar to Akihabara, look around! You may find some nice souvenirs!

Namba

What to do in Namba!

If you are going to Osaka for the first time, I recommend you head to Namba district!

Namba Yasaka Shrine

Location: 2 Chome-9-19 Motomachi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0016, Japan

This shrine is famous for its grand lion head. It is near Namba park and if you go on the right day, you can see festivals and rituals done at this shrine!

©Florentyna Leow

Namba Parks

Location: 2 Chome-10-70 Nanbanaka, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0011, Japan

Namba Parks is a beautifully constructed mall with its own garden. It’s filled with shops ranging from clothes to furniture to cosmetics. There are many restaurants as well.

©nambaparks

Namba Grand Kagetsu

Location: 11-6 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan

If you have any interest in Osaka comedy, then head to this theater! Osaka comedy is pretty different from ones you see in Tokyo, so if you know some Japanese, sit down for a show. If you don’t know any Japanese, I think the actions and movements are enough to understand what is happening.


Kuromon Market

Location: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan

This market street has many shops full of street food and other restaurants. If you are in a room with a kitchen, there is a bunch of seafood here too if you want to buy some crab or fish. Also there are shops with some great snacks!

all images: ©kuromon

Yokohama

What to do in Yokohama!

I understand that Yokohama is not in Tokyo but I figured that a day trip to Yokohama is an option if you plan on staying in the Tokyo area!

Yokohama Chinatown

Location: Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan

Take a stroll through Japan’s biggest Chinatown! There are plenty of small and big shops and food stalls around. There are places where you can get fish pedicures. Also, there are lots of restaurants as well!


Kanteibyo Shrine

Location: 140 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0023, Kanagawa Prefecture

Near Chinatown is a chinese shrine, Kanteibyo. You can learn or offer prayers in the proper Chinese way.


Yokohama Cosmoworld

Location: 2 Chome-8-1 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan

If you have some free time, head over to a theme park near Yokohama’s piers! There are VR experiences, rides, and more! Sometimes you can catch a festival or live show nearby.

©Tripadvisor

Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum

Location: 2 Chome-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kohoku Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 222-0033, Japan

If you want to try ramen from multiple places around the world all in one place, you have to go here! There are two floors set in a 1950s japanese decor. It is a little expensive: there is an entrance fee and you have pay for every ramen bowl you get. Lines get pretty long during peak hours but you can get a stamp to return once more without paying an entrance fee. (hint: buy the smallest bowls each time if you want to try more than one shop)

©wikipedia

Cup Noodles Museum

Location: 2 Chome-3-4 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan

Now, if you like cup noodles more than authentic bowl, then head to this museum instead! you can customize your own cup noodle and eat it there!

©cupnoodles-museum

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Location: Japan, 〒231-0064 Kanagawa, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Nogecho, 1 Chome−45

This is an 80s style bar where there are drinks and cocktails from almost anywhere. All drinks are about 5 bucks and great thing is that there is no table charge!

©gimmegimmegimme

Odaiba

What to do in Odaiba!

DiverCity

Location: 1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan

If you want to shop for cheap, head to DiverCity mall in Odaiba. Take a photo with the large Gundam statue while you’re at it!

©unicorn-gundam-statue

Miraikan-National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

Location: 2 Chome-3-3-6 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan

Miraikan is probably one of the coolest tech museums Tokyo has. If you have kiddos or are simply interested, head here. There are exhibitions to interact with robots as well. Check out more on their website!

©miraikan

Palette Town

Location: 1 Chome-3-15 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan

There is plenty to do in Palette Town as a couple or family. There is a shopping mall, giant ferris wheel, arcade, and more! To ride the 16 minute ferris wheel only costs about 5-10 dollars per person.

© Florentyna Leow

Tokyo Joypolis

Location: Japan, 〒135-0091 Tokyo, Minato City, Daiba, 1 Chome−6−1 3F~5F DECKS Tokyo Beach

Tokyo’s indoor amusement center! Definitely take your kids or gamers here! There are virtual rides and games in VR that no where outside of Japan has!

©tokyo-joypolis

Trick Art Museum

Location: Japan, 〒135-0091 Tokyo, Minato City, Daiba, 1 Chome−6−1 デックス東京ビーチシーサイドモール 4F

Just a fun little museum if you have nothing else to do. It’s pretty fun to take photos here and definitely a place for kids to remember!

©tokyo-joypolis

Please know that you CANNOT swim or dip into the beaches nearby. You may walk on the beaches, but you’re not allowed to be in the waters.

Akihabara

IF you are an anime, cartoon, manga lover, gamer, or otaku, then visit Japan’s Electric Town!!!

What to do in Akihabara!

Gaming

Location: 1-chōme-11 Akihabara, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 110-0006, Japan

If you head outside the Akihabara electric town exit, you should see a Sega and a Taito building. Head inside and go up or down floors. There are crane games, arcade games, and more! Please know that people often smoke in arcades.

©Sega

Electric Stores

Location: 1-chōme-11 Akihabara, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 110-0006, Japan

If you pass the Sega building and walk down the open pathway, you will see many electric shops, stalls, and big stores. They have discounted parts for computers and other goods. If you want a Gameboy to play Japanese games or other retro games, then you will find stuff around this area or further out.There are other cheap old consoles you can find here as well. Just explore!

©wikipedia

Anime Shops

Location: 1-chōme-11 Akihabara, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 110-0006, Japan

There are many anime shops to buy figures, toys, books, and more. I DO NOT buy things at the FIRST store you see and enter. It is very tempting but if you have ample time, look around this area. There are many buildings with the same stuff that are cheaper. Take pictures and make notes if you can’t find what you’re looking for at another place so you can go back. Animate, Mandarake, and other street stalls are popular places to hit first.

©flickr

Electric Town

Location: 1-chōme-11 Akihabara, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 110-0006, Japan

Akihabara has great food located at nearby malls, on the street, and popular chain restaurants around. No worries if you don’t want food right away. Just walk around. Also there are many places to shop and enjoy. There are clubs, maid cafes, and bars that are easy access for foreigners. So don’t be SHY!

©wired

Sorry, I’m not giving exact locations of places in this current blog post. I love Akihabara, and I truly believe it is better for you to explore and experience this unique town yourself.

Suidobashi

What to do in Suidobashi!

Tokyo Dome City

Location: 1 Chome-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

If you are interested in a small amusement park, head here! There is also a bunch of different types of food and cafes around if you are sick of typical Japanese food. Near by is also anime and baseball related shops!


LaQua

Location: LaQua, ラクーアビル 5-9F 1 Chome-1-1 Kasuga, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0003, Japan

Nearby the amusement park is a shopping center with over 50 shops and restaurants for you to enjoy! Cheaper too!

©laqua

Tokyo Dome

Location: 1 Chome-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

Catch a Baseball Game! Japan is really into baseball, so if you have time, check out a game!

©tokyo-dome

Koishikawa Korakuen

Location: Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, 1 Chome-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004, Japan

If you want a free nice stroll through a garden, head to one of Tokyo’s oldest and prettiest gardens!

Ikebukuro

There are many different types of shopping opportunities here!

What to do in Ikebukuro!

Animate

Location: 1 Chome-20-7 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

If you are into Otome or genres similar. Then visit the 9 story building Animate!

©Tokyocreative

Sunshine Aquarium

Location: 3 Chome-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

Nearby Animate is Sunshine City (shopping), where an aquarium is located within the complex. See sea lions, penguins, and more!

©sunshinecity

Sunshine City

Location: 3 Chome-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

Inside Sunshine city complex is also a bunch of shopping you can do, visit J-world, go into the Pokemon Center, and more! You may be able to catch a J-Pop group perform.


Kurand Sake Market

Location: Japan, 〒171-0021 Tokyo, Toshima City, Nishiikebukuro, 3 Chome−27−3 s&kビル 4F

Pay a fee and enter into a Sake market where you get unlimited access to different types of SAKE!

©kurand

Konica Minolta Planetarium

Location: 3 Chome-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

Luxuriously chill at a planetarium also located in Sunshine City! The Planetarium hosts a different screening at different times. Check on their website to reserve or look up the schedule (Japanese only).

©konicaminolta

Penguin Bar

Location: Japan, 〒170-0014 Tokyo, Toshima City, Ikebukuro, 2 Chome−38−2 COSMY1

Drink and eat with Penguins! Book online on their website (English available)!

©penginbar

Shopping

Shopping in Ikebukuro is pretty cheap too. There are a bunch of department stores the moment you exit the JR Station. Take a look around!

©biccamera

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