Tokyo is overwhelming with sights, sounds, and smells. Welcome to Japan’s quirky capital city.

There sure is a lot to do and see here, from architecture to diving into different sub-cultures, people with interesting stories, and not the forget, sumptuous food.

Tokyo or known officially as Tokyo Metropolis is known to be a mixture of technology and tradition. You can see historical temples next to neon-lit towers.

And did you know that Tokyo was formerly known as Edo? Aside from that, Tokyo also holds the Japanese Emperors seat as well as the Japanese government. The Imperial Palace is located within vast public gardens. While we all know that Tokyo is a city; it is officially governed and regarded as a “metropolitan prefecture” which is something unique to Tokyo since it is a combination of a prefecture and city elements. Cool huh?

Best Time To Visit Tokyo

Depending on your purpose of visiting Tokyo, Japan I would love to introduce you to the best seasons and time of the year to be there.

There are four Tokyo seasons and that would be spring, summer, autumn, and winter which are clearly defined.

Spring Season (March to May)

If you want to see their famous cherry blossoms you should be there by late of March and early of April. Then you will HAVE TO go on a date under the blossoming trees and have a picnic. Talking about being romantic.

Since most of the Japanese go on vacation this time of year, usually held from April 29 to May 5, you will be able to enjoy their Golden Week for a relaxing and quiet time in the city.

Summer Season (June to August)

This is a popular time for vacationers in Japan. Note that there is a high amount of humidity and heat at that time of the year.

To add up to that, it is also seen that there are higher rates in hotels and quite a number of people lining up at monuments and museums.

Autumn Season (September to November)

Aside from the cherry blossoms in Japan, another spectacular view would be their maple leaves during the autumn season. This is when I went to Japan and it was absolutely beautiful!

Their vibrant colors are really breath-taking and will definitely make for some wonderful snaps. This is also a great time to visit since the summer heat already subsided.

travelling to Tokyo
travel to Tokyo
when to travel to tokyo

Winter Season (December to February)

Occasionally, Tokyo is covered in snow and their gardens and beautiful buildings are covered in white frost. There is however not much rainfall compared to its typhoon season usually between August and September.

Well, it’s a great time to visit if you are into a white and cold Christmas but if you are planning to visit during this time, especially New Year, take note that many restaurants are packed and reservations are a must, plus the hotel accommodation will sky-rocket this time of the year.

How Expensive Is Tokyo?

Well, we all heard that Japan is one of the most expensive places to live and visit, especially during holidays, but is this really true?

In comparison with other Asian countries, yes, this is true perhaps but if you will compare the cost of travel in Japan to other popular tourist destinations like New York or London, Tokyo is definitely still affordable. So I am here to break down some typical costs and let you see that you can definitely visit Tokyo, Japan on a tighter budget.

Always make sure you get and compare travel insurance before you leave your home country as getting medical treatment can get expensive quite fast.

Accommodation Cost In Tokyo

If you are planning on staying in Tokyo, you need a place to stay. This is going to be one of your largest expenses while in the city.


This one is for people who do not mind taking a nap in dorms. This is mostly for backpackers and can be found in major tourist spots and will cost you $20+ per night for a dorm bed. Depending on the are and how many people you share the room with.

If you want a little privacy but you can sleep in a crowded place – visit Manga Kissa, the dream hostel for any manga aficionado.

It's actually a comic book “manga” store that has private cubicles behind a wall of comics, where you can sleep. Located in the district of Ikebukuro, the store also has shower rooms for your hygiene needs.

Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels are quite similar to dormitories, it’s just that you will find yourself enclosed in a box-type room rather than an open one. It's most certainly a unique experience to Japan and a night would typically cost about $30 to $35 per night.

These capsule hotels were mainly for men who worked long hours and needed a place to sleep during the week as travelling home would take too long. Now you can also book as room there as a traveller and women are also welcome in most capsule hotels.

However, note that common areas and bathrooms are shared with other guests. Every capsule includes outlets, reading lights, and at times a little TV.

Business Hotels

These types of hotels are commonly used by salarymen in Japan whenever they work late because it’s much convenient rather than going home.

It is usually available in medium and large-sized towns and has practical rates too. The room costs from around $40 to $70 per night and you can get a clean and comfortable room complete with amenities. These hotels sometimes don't even require a reservation or alternatively, you can also book them online.

However, some even have microwaves and water boilers for you to cook simple meals like noodles.


If you are not that tight on your budget, opt for a good night's sleep in a traditional Japanese hotel. A night costs around $130 to $160+ a night. This includes a traditional scrumptious Japanese breakfast and dinner plus onsen, the Japanese hot spring!

Of course, you can also choose to stay in international hotels in Japan where you can definitely expect a price lowest of $100 to around $200 or more a night per room.

Best Places To Stay In Tokyo

If you are wondering where to stay in Tokyo, there is no one answer.

My favourite area to find accommodation is actually around Akasaka and Roppongi, while others prefer the hustle bustle of Shibuya and Shinjuku which I don't favour that much. Ebisu is another up and coming area to watch when looking for a place to stay in Tokyo.

When browsing for accommodation, also look out for travel packages that combine flights and hotels for a better rate.

Hotel Gajoen Tokyo

Extremely unusual for Japanese standards where everything is built in the smallest of spaces, this 5-star luxury hotel will surprise you with super huge and comfortable rooms and delight you with its relaxing sauna and massages.

The location is convenient near a subway stop and it has fast wifi.

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Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Another exceptional 5-star hotel is the Grand Hyatt Tokyo where you’ll get just what you’d expect from the Hyatt Hotels: comfort and luxury.

Located in one of the must-see areas, Roppongi, staying here will give you easy access to the city’s hustle bustle and the great nightlife, plenty of shopping opportunities and yummy restaurants.

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Hotel Unizo Tokyo Ginza-itchome

The decisive point in favour of this hotel is definitely its fantastic location, one of the best-rated ones all over Tokyo.

You’ll find the Ginza Itchome Metro Station only a minute away and several other metro lines like Kyobashi and Takaracho can be reached within a short distance walk. It’s fairly new, it’s clean and it’s an awesome choice to make your Tokyo stay a memorable one.

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The b tokyo akasaka

Free coffee and free Wi-Fi all day round, what else could one wish for? Clean and comfy rooms, decent prices, super helpful and friendly staff who speak your language and a prime location very close to Roppongi area are other selling points for this top pick in Tokyo.

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Imano Tokyo Hostel

Even though Japan’s capital is not among the cheapest of cities, it is still possible to enjoy this bustling metropole and not spend a fortune on accommodation.

The Imano Tokyo Hostel offers dormitories for 6 to 10 people – males and females sleep separately – but also has private rooms in Japanese style for families. Benefit from the amazing locating right in the heart of Shinjuku and spend your money on experiencing the city to the fullest!

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Orientation: Tokyo Areas You Should Know About

If you are now decided to venture around the city, do not forget to visit these amazing places to visit in Tokyo:


This place is known to be Tokyo’s culture and teen fashion district. It is a popular entertainment and shopping area since the place is also booming in population. It is also one of Tokyo’s 23 city wards; most busy and colorful districts filled with restaurants, clubs, and shopping center. You may want to visit some of their famous districts and streets: Koen Dori, Center Gai, Love Hotel Hill, and Spain Slope.

Shinjuku & Golden Gai

Shinjuku is a special Tokyo ward. This is another busy place – entertainment, shopping, and business district. You can enjoy the view from the Metropolitan Government offices’ observation deck or you can visit all the shiny stores or have something to eat around the small alleys of Shomben Yokocho or the entertainment and red-light district Kabuki-Cho.

Here you will also find the Robot Restaurant, an experience you should not miss when coming to Tokyo.

If you want something else to see aside from skyscrapers and busy streets filled with people but you do not want to go far from the city, you may want to drop by Golden Gai. It is a small fragment of the old Tokyo; an architectural legacy. It is like time-traveling to Tokyo’s past.

When you arrive in Golden Gai, you will find six small alleys with dim lights and rickety, narrow buildings – but don’t be afraid since Tokyo is among the safest cities in the world with a low crime rate. If you walk through in the daytime like I did in the first place, don’t be fooled, this place only comes alive at night!

Tokyo areas to visit
areas to visit Tokyo


Well known for its music, culture, and fashion. Harajuku is one colorful place in Tokyo.

You can find here different street arts, cosplay and vintage clothing shops down Takeshita Street, and some other established boutiques along Omotesando Avenue. You can also see some hip cafes and bars; aside from that some cultural spots like the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art that showcases revolutionary brief expositions.


This Minato Ward district of Tokyo is well known for its nightlife.

The various clubs and bars in the center of Tokyo’s night entertainment district are a mecca for tourists and locals alike. During the day people set foot at the skyscraper complex called Roppongi Hills which boasts lovely views of the city from the top. There are also art museums and art galleries to visit filled with international contemporary art.


If you are up for a real shopping experience, visit Ginza! Here you can find Japanese and international shops side-by-side.

Ginza covers a spot from one to eight blocks or widely known as “Chome”. Here you can also find the Kabuki-za Theatre where “Kabuki”, also referred to as the traditional Japanese theatrical art. Aside from that, nearby you will also find the “Japan Bridge”; a district called Nihombashi which is just north of Ginza.

Don’t forget to drop by Sukiyabashi Jiro and have a taste of their Michelin star rated sushi. You might want to check their website before visiting the place since you'll need a reservation.

How To Get Around Tokyo

The best and fastest means of travel in Tokyo is by train or subway.

The subway mainly connects Tokyo’s districts and will let you roam around and visit more places in a faster way and the trains will give you some additional options to go further about. So, below are my ultimate Tokyo travel tips to make it all easier for you.

Subways and Trains in Tokyo

There are different train operators across Tokyo and in general, the more often you switch from one operator to another the more costly your trip could be.

I suggest you purchase a Suica travel card. Suica travel cards can be used on all train and subway lines Japan-wide. You just need to load up the card with some cash. The card can also be used as an electronic wallet at vending machines, convenience stores and restaurants displaying the Suica Card symbol.

guide for travelling to Tokyo
guide for visiting Tokyo
Tokyo sightseeing

Bullet Trains

The Japanese bullet trains are also known as Shinkansen. The main lines of Shinkansen with high-speed trains include Sanyo, Tokyo, Tohoku, Kyushu, Joetsu, and Nagano.

You can also get on these trains to access the main islands of Japan, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Honshu. It is operated by Japan Railways and you can get a Japan Rail Pass as an affordable way of travelling unlimited for a set amount of days. This makes sense if you are really planning to travel around Japan on your visit and is cheaper than buying a number of one-way tickets.

Buses and Taxis

Buses and taxis are another way to travel within Tokyo and probably the best way of transportation for you to reach destinations that the subway does not serve well.

For buses, you can opt to use Suica or Pasmo cards but I suggest that you research first on the bus routes before taking it. For taxis, on the other hand, it is highly recommended if you have no other option since the flag down rate of taxis is 710 yen and prepare your budget once it is past the 710 yen threshold, it will get expensive fast.

Must See & Do Things In Tokyo

You have come to Tokyo to explore the weird and wonderful of this city and here are my top things for you to do!

Walk the Shibuya Crossing

This is the number one thing Shibuya is famous for, their busiest intersection, Shibuya Crossing.

It's a diagonal crossing surrounded by tall neon-lit buildings and you will surely see many tourists stop in the middle trying to snap the craziness of people walking across the street.

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altimate travel guide Tokyo
travel guide to Tokyo

Discover teenage sub-culture in Takeshita Street, Harajuku

Takeshita is well known for its creative and wild street styles. Japan’s unique fashion style seems to be made by teenagers that have sensibly pushed various trends through a combination of modern and vintage style mixed with a dash of colour.

A lot of shops can be found along this street, which is mostly packed with people. Keep an eye out for hold-up signs advertising discounts or special offers.

Relax in Yoyogi Park & wander around Meiji Shrine

As one of Tokyo’s biggest park, this is a great way to free yourself from the city's bright lights and traffic. Upon entering the park you will see a huge torii gate around 20 feet tall which is the starting point of your journey to a different world in Tokyo.

Enjoy your walk and don’t forget to visit the Meiji Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Shop till you drop in posh Ginza

If you are looking for the latest trends and fashion brands, Ginza is definitely the place to be. It is possibly one of the best entertainment and shopping district in all of Japan.

You may want to visit the new high-end shopping center Ginza Six and be in awe of the block-spanning complex that can keep shopaholics busy for days. Along Ginza's main street there is also an endless variety of art galleries, cafes, and restaurants.

Go to Asakusa & marvel at Senso-ji Temple

Visit the Buddhist temple in Asakusa as this is one of the most popular and colorful temples in Tokyo.

It has recently been renovated with completion in October 2017. You can see the Thunder Gate called Kaminarimon, the outer gate of the temple that leads to Hozomon, the second inner gate.

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sightseeing in Tokyo
Tokyo sightseeing

Visit a cat café, owl café, rabbit café or some other crazy animal café

When I mention these animal cafés, I’m not kidding as these are plenty of cafés with live animals.

So if you are an animal lover, better drop by these cafés especially made for you. Some café animals such as the rabbits are usually caged but some others, like the cat café has their animals roaming around freely.

Take in the views from Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills or the Metropolitan Government Building

If you are up for some good views, be sure to drop by one of these stunning observation decks.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is located in Shinjuku and you can go up to the free observation deck and see the view from their 45th floor.

Ropponggi Hills has Mori Tower located at the middle of the Roppongi district. It has 360 view of the city at 238 meters high.

Tokyo Tower on the other hand has two observatories, one at 150 meters and the other is at 250 meters.

Go to Disney Land

Take a train and visit Tokyo Disneyland or maybe try their Tokyo DisneySea Adventure!

As the first Disney theme park outside the United States, I believe it’s worth going due to its wonderful attractions and rides. Just be prepared that it can get jam-packed as the Japanese love their theme parks.

Visit the largest fish market in the world: Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji is the busiest and largest wholesale fish market worldwide. You can enter this market for free and have a wonder around. The best time is the early to mid-morning as the stalls slowly shut down right after lunch.

You might even want to wake up early for their famous Tuna Auction usually happening before sunrise.

Go Mario Karting through the busy streets of Tokyo

Go-kart in style and ride about Akihabara, the otaku center of Tokyo! You can wear costumes as you drive but you'll definitely need to have a valid international driving license to navigate the go-kart between the crazy traffic of Tokyo, all while enjoying cosplay!

Plus: Eat everything!

A must try to eat here in Tokyo is Kaiten-zushi or conveyor belt sushi. There any many forms of sushi served in rotation and this is popular not only in Japan but worldwide.

Another one on the list would be Kizuki Ramen and visiting a traditional Izakaya where authentic ramen and cold beer is usually served! You can go there alone but it's best done with friends – I suggest you go with a friend because the price reduces as the number of people increase.

what to eat in Tokyo
things to eat in Tokyo
food in Tokyo

You also wouldn’t want to miss tasting the countries national drink, Sake, which will let you experience Japans culture through drinking.

Of course, drinking Japanese Rice-Wine is best paired with delicious meals like yakitori, which are grilled chicken skewers (on bamboo, steel, and the like) out of the chicken’s different parts. Another food to pair with sake is sashimi. It is a delicacy in Japan that is made of thinly sliced raw fish or meat.

I hope you enjoyed reading and learning something about the megacity of Tokyo in this travel guide.

You will not regret spending a few days here, visiting the amazing districts that comprise of Tokyo, enjoy the peace and quiet its parks and endless view form the top of its skyscrapers. Not to forget, taste their amazing, traditional food and delicacies.

Most of all, have fun and make some memories! Happy travels to Japan!

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