Tokyo Tourism Guide
Type A – 100-240V
Japanese Yen (¥)
Cost of a beer
Cost of a Meal
¥6,000 (avg for two)
Average Room Rate
¥8000–20,000 (3* hotel)
SG$1 = 79.42¥ (Exchange rates can vary)
Tokyo is Japan’s astonishingly advanced capital, offering a beautiful blend of the ultramodern and the staunchly traditional. Its iconic skyline is packed with dazzling sights, from imposing, neon coloured skyscrapers to opulent and ancient temples.
Alongside its immersive culture, this incredible city also boasts a rich and fascinating history, which can be explored in its many museums and galleries, as well as its captivating art, distinctly Eastern flavours and flourishes of native flora. This, coupled with its sheer mind-boggling array of shopping districts, welcoming hotels and energetic nightlife spots, makes Tokyo an indisputable favourite amongst eastern holiday destinations.
Tokyo Tower is arguably the most iconic image of Japan’s capital city. Formally the largest building in the world until 2012, it stands at an incredible 333 metres: just nudging past the Eiffel Tower. Not only is Tokyo Tower itself impressive, it offers the most breath-taking views in Tokyo.
It’s such a vital piece of Tokyo’s, and indeed Japanese history in general, that it wouldn’t feel like a complete trip to the capital without a visit to the world famous Imperial Palace. The building and its surroundings more than live up to its lofty expectations, with a past as large and impressive as its stone walls. The building fell after World War II but was later rebuilt to match its old majesty as best as could be recreated. If you see it for yourself, we think you’ll agree they did an incredible job. The history of the imperial family and the palace itself might not always be a pleasant one, but this building has an importance in understanding how Japan came to be what it is today.
Part of the beauty of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is that it feels like a place of tranquillity within the frantic pace of Tokyo. Don’t get us wrong, that’s part of the reason so many love this city: that pulsating energy that seems completely unique. However, it can get a touch exhausting, particularly if you’re not used to it, which is why this garden is more than just a beautiful place to visit. It feels like Shinkjuku Gyoen gives the city a sense of balance and lightness. It’s the best way to end any particularly hectic day.
Things to do in Tokyo
English speakers are not as common in Tokyo as other large cities. So bring a business card with your hotel address and telephone on it when you go out exploring, because if you get lost, you will need it. At the Edo Tokyo museum, learn about the lives of Shoguns and how the city survived World War II.
By Max, Go Nomad
The Japanese equivalent to the fames Times Square in New York City, this is a scramble crossing, named as such because of the mass of people walking in all directions. A mesmerising cultural phenomenon, Shibuya Crossing perfectly encapsulates the energetic pulse of the hustle and bustle of this incredible city. In fact, it’s so famous that it’s featured in several movies, such as The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Retribution and perhaps most famously, in the award winning Lost in Translation. Much like Times Square, it’s surrounded by awe-inspiring advertisements, including a gigantic video screen that has become one of the most recognisable sights in the city. Other highlights of this attractions are the statue Hachiko, a bronze dog that has become one of the most common meet up spots in the city. There’s also another statue on the southwest side, known as ‘Moyai’: a statue that was given to Shibuya as a gift by the people of Niijima Island in 1980. It was also famous for its use in the closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics, in preparation for the 2020 Olympics that are hosted in the city.
Address: Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Sports fans should make time to check out a game during baseball season. Tokyo is home to the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Don’t just watch the game though – keep an eye on the stands because each team’s supporters has their own unique celebratory tradition when someone hits a home run!“
By Jaclynn, The Occasional Traveller
Tokyo National Museum
Both the largest and oldest museum in the city, the Tokyo National Museum features an incredible collection of art and archaeological artefacts, including an astonishing 110,000 items. So it’s fair to say, there’s plenty to see here. In fact, due to the incredible amount of objects featured here, they can’t fit everything in the viewing areas of the museum at one time. This is even more impressive when you consider the size of the place. This means that, depending on when you go, there will be around 4,000 items available at once. There’s also temporary exhibitions held here at regular intervals, so if you visit the Tokyo National Museum more than once, you’ll almost certainly get to see something new. This is actually a building complex, holding six different smaller buildings: each with their own theme. This includes everything from Japanese art collections to Hyokeikan, the eldest building built in celebration of the 1909 wedding of Taisho Emperor. It’s a wonderful way to experience the uniquely mesmerising art and culture of Japan.
Address: 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712, Japan
Price: Adult – ¥620, Student – ¥410, Child / Senior – Free
Image source: Gonzalo Pineda Zuniga
The oldest temple in Tokyo is also one of the most interesting, both in terms of its history and its architecture. According to legend, Sensō-ji was built in 628 by a pair of brothers who were fishing for a statue of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy). When the brothers put the statue back in the river, it returned to them. No matter how many times it was buried, it always came back. In response to this, the brother decided to build a temple in tribute to the goddess, with it finally being completed in 645. The temple is visited by thousands of people every year, who also enjoy the surrounding shopping area, which is within the towering Thunder Gate, called Nakamise-dori. Here you can enjoy everything from local foods to folding fans and yukata. Both are wonderful places to visit and display a vibrant slice of Japanese culture.
Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tokyo
Image source: Sho Ito
A true book lover’s heaven, this is the largest second hand bookshop that can be found anywhere in Japan. This has everything a literary fan could possibly want, selling the rarest of books to internationally loved titles across its 180 stores. This is an ocean of books but don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese because there are several stores specialising in foreign translations. It’s mainly focused on English titles, but other translations can be found here too. Historically, Jinbocho burned down in 1913 following a giant fire, which destroyed the Imperial Palace, including tearing down the entire pine forest on its grounds as well as 4,000 different buildings. Following this tragedy, a publishing company known as Iwanami Shoten opened its doors, with many other publishing houses following suit to transform the area into one frequented by artists and writers. The area also features a ton of sports shops and cafés, so you can tuck into great food and drinks while flipping through your most recent purchase.
Address: Kanda-Jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Price: Free to visit
Image source: knhiraoka
Recently reconstructed, the world renowned Kabuki-za Theatre is the main theatre for traditional kabuki performances. Kabuki is a type of dance-drama that is well known for the flamboyance of its makeup, costumes and the bizarre, artful theatrics. The theatre was opened by Fukuchi Gen’ichiro, a Meiji era journalist in the early twentieth century. It was built first as a wooden structure, but has a storied history of being rebuilt and transforming with the city. First it was demolished during the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923. It was rebuilt the following year only to be destroyed again during World War II by allied bombing, restored in 1950, then demolished again in 2010. The latter time however, it was on purpose so the building could be reconstructed to truly reflect the majesty of its art. Despite modernisation, the building retains the distinctive Japanese revivalist style that it has maintained ever since its inception.
Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Price: Full show – ¥4000-20,000, Single-act ticket – ¥800-2000
Image source: Kim Ahlström
Known for creating some of the most incredible films in Japanese history, such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Pom Poko, My Neighbour Totoro and more, Studio Ghibli are one of the greatest animation studios in the world. Often referred to as the eastern Pixar, they’ve only been around for just over thirty years but have already solidified their reputation as one of the best in the business. In that time, they’ve knocked out masterpiece after masterpiece on the silver screen. Much like Pixar, they have a record of excellence that very few, if any, can match. The Ghibli Museum showcases their amazing work, as well as a technology museum, a fine arts museum and a children’s museum. This is truly one of the best collections of art anywhere in Tokyo. It also includes a replica of the much loved Catbus from the classic My Neighbour Totoro, as well as a bookshop, café and most importantly of all, a theatre that showcases short films made by the legendary studio.
Address: 1-1-83 Shimo-Renjaku Mitaka-shi
Price: Adult- ¥1000, Child – ¥100-700
This is a structure that isn’t shy about taking influence from the world famous Eiffel Tower. Although not as famous as its European counterpart, the Tokyo Tower is no less impressive. In fact, it actually stands taller than the original, measuring 13 metres taller and coming in at an incredible 332.9 metres overall. In fact, it’s the second tallest building in Japan. However, it doesn’t simply copy the Eiffel Tower: it has a very distinctive sense of style that differs to its predecessor. It’s painted a bright orange and aside from being a fetching modern look, it’s actually built this way to comply with air safety regulations, which really should give you an idea of just how awe-inspiringly huge this structure really is. The real reason to come here of course is the view. The main observatory of the tower reaches 150 metres and, despite not taking full advantage of Tokyo Tower’s height, it still manages to offer some stunning views across the surrounding area.
Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Price: Main observation deck only – ¥900, Both observation decks – ¥1600
Image source: David Hsu
One of the most well-known landmarks in Japan and the most recognisable of the country’s famed ‘Three Holy Mountains’, alongside Mount Haku and Mount Tate, Mount Fuji is an icon of the east. This is in no small part thanks to its stunning looks and imposing presence, measuring an eye-watering 12,389.2 feet (3,776 metres). Despite being the highest peak in Japan, that’s not enough to put off the more adventurous visitor from wanting to scale this epic stratovolcano. If that sounds like you then you’re not alone: foreign visitors, not professional explorers, actually make up a whole third of the crowds of people who flock here to challenge themselves with a truly unique holiday experience every year. The climbing season runs between July and September, when the trails are generally free of snow and the weather isn’t too harsh. There are a few trails to choose from, each suited to various abilities. However, it goes without saying that this is a physically demanding activity but it’s a once in a lifetime experience well worth the effort.
Address: Mount Fuji, Kitayama, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture 418-0112, Japan
Price: 1-day Mt Fuji & Hakone Tour – Approx. ¥14,00 per person
Edo Tokyo Museum
Image source: hirotomo
The modern, near futuristic good looks of Edo Tokyo Museum might be very pretty, but it’s true beauties not only lay in a different place but also a different time. This is a journey through the incredible history of Tokyo, way back from when it was known as Edo until it was changed in the mid-nineteenth century. Through the Edo period section of the museum, you’ll be transported to a very different Japan. This is a museum that goes beyond simply looking at old items with some information on: this is an interactive and exciting learning experience making this a more accessible and fun way to learn about the past for visitors of all ages. We highly recommend you get a guide to really appreciate this museum and get the most out of the experience. Excellent tour guides are available in multiple languages between 10 am and 3 pm every day.
Address: 1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida, Tokyo 130-0015, Japan
Price: Permanent Exhibition General – ¥600, Permanent Exhibition Over 65 years – ¥300, Special Exhibitions vary in price
The National Art Centre
Image source: IQRemix
Note that the National Art Centre isn’t referred to as a museum. This is because it has no collections. Don’t worry though, you won’t be paying to walk into an empty room! This is a living, breathing, ever moving platform for artists, with different exhibitions being put on throughout the year. What’s great about this is that for regular visitors to Japan, you can be sure to get a brand new experience every time you go. In a way, the National Art Centre is a symbol for the city itself: constantly innovating and never resting on its laurels. This experiment began in 2007 and has been a massive success. 69 exhibitions were organised in its first year and today it stands as one of the most visited art destinations in the world, ranking second overall.
Address: 7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-8558, Japan
Price: Varies depending on exhibition
Shopping in Tokyo
There’s so much to see and do here that a great shopping experience is more than expected from one of the cultural hubs of the world. Well, Tokyo doesn’t disappoint with an incredible selection of malls and shopping districts to fulfil your retail therapy needs.
Tokyo is a shopper’s mecca. Head to Ginza for luxury brands like Chanel, Kors, Dior and LV, and more affordable chains like Zara and Abercrombie. The ritzy district houses a 12-storey Uniqlo, the world’s largest! Spot and shop the latest fashion trends in Shibuya 109 with 10 floors of clothing and beauty shops. A tremendous experience even for window shoppers!
By Veron Ang, Sparklette Travel Blog
Image Source: Peter Van den Bossche
Harajuku District is a wonderful mixture of everything from the past and present that makes Tokyo, and indeed Japan, such a culturally fascinating place to visit. Here you’ll find a wide variety to explore, with historical buildings and great upmarket shopping options for adults standing side by side with some of the trendiest side streets for teenage fashion and culture anywhere in the city. Even its eateries seem custom built to be too cool for school, with many great fast food brands offering excellent dishes in trendy outlets. Young, old or anywhere in between, Harajuku District offers one of the best shopping experiences around.
Address: Harajuku, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Opening hours: Daily 11.00 – 20.00
Tokyo is a dazzling vibrant city that will continuously surprise you. From eating in their many unique culinary food experiences, shopping in the trendy Harajuku district to experiencing the vibrant Shinjuku nightlife, Tokyo has a little bit of everything for everyone. Gaze on the beautiful Mt. Fuji, go to a robot cabaret show, and relish in everything this city has to offer!
By Tom, Adventure In You
This is one of Japan’s most famous up-market shopping experience, featuring the very best in international brands. This does however mean that you’ll need to spend in order to enjoy the area. It’s not a place where you’ll find lots of bargains. In fact, the area is famous for its $10 cups of coffee. However, there’s no doubt that if you’re looking for high end, then you can’t find any better. All the major luxury brand names are here and they’ll need to be recognisable to stand out, as a single square metre of the land in Ginza costs a staggering ¥10 million yen. So they can be forgiven for jacking up the price a little.
Address: Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Opening hours: Daily, 10.00 – 20.00
Image source: Karl Baron
It may not be the largest mall in the world but Shibuya 109 has nonetheless become a haven for trendy youngsters looking for the peak of Japanese fashion. There’s two buildings to browse: one for men and one for women, so you can enjoy a shopping marathon catered to you. While the mall is mainly focused on fashion, there’s also stores selling beauty products and other bric-a-brac, including some great food options.
Address: 2-29-1 Dōgenzaka , Shibuya-ku
Opening hours: Daily, 10.00 – 21.00
Many of the Tokyo’s most popular attractions lie next to each other, something you might want to consider when building your itinerary. The peaceful Meiji Shrine is just across crazy Harajuku, which is just next to vibrant Shibuya. If you don’t mind a bit of walking, you’ll be delighted that quirky Akihabara is also just minutes away from Ueno Park.
By Yoshke, The Poor Traveler
Famous for being among the most popular clubbing destinations in Japan, Roppongi is also known as one of the top spots for bars, restaurants and shopping. There’s a ton of retail outlets here, although much like Ginza, the focus here is very much on the higher end of the spectrum. However, it’s a little more varied, with a good selection of independent stores in the less expensive areas. It’s also famous as a cultural hotbed, featuring the wonderful National Arts Centre, the Suntory Museum of Art and The National Art Centre.
Address: Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Opening hours: Daily, 11.00 – 21.00
Fun Facts About Tokyo
- You’re never alone in Tokyo: There are more than 35 million residents in Tokyo making it the busiest metropolitan area in the world.
- It’s a very safe city: Tokyo has one of the lowest crime rates per capita of any major city in the world, with Japan continually ranking high on the Global Peace Index.
- You won’t go far in Tokya without refreshments: In fact, every 12 meters, vending machines are available offering everything from the standard sweets, soft drinks and ice creams, to burgers and clothes.
- You might have to pack your sunglasses: Tokyo is the best lit city in the world with more neon signs than any other capital on Earth.
Food In Tokyo
With food as modern and sophisticated as the city it’s in, the restaurants in Tokyo never fail to impress with their stunning use of innovation and precision to make up some of the greatest dishes anywhere in the east.
Tapas Molecular Bar
Image source: Chris Chen 陳依勤
Some Michelin-starred magic, Tapas Molecular Bar is an exquisite taste sensation featuring some of the best luxury Japanese cuisine served anywhere in the world. It’s a contender for the best restaurant in Tokyo and one that believes in quality, not quantity. It’s famously small dishes offer a giant flavour. Luckily though, for those of you concerned about not getting your money’s worth, there’s a ton of courses. Serving up an intriguing fusion of classic Japanese cooking with a modern twist, Tapas Molecular Bar proves that size doesn’t matter.
Address: 2-1-1 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo, Tokyo 103-8328, Japan
Opening only a few years ago, Cedros has nonetheless managed to gain itself an incredible following and reputation in a very short space of time. Opened by brothers Yui and Lui, this is a different experience from many of the restaurants in the city. While there’s western cuisine elsewhere, pretty much no one does it as well as Cedros. The décor is stunning, with classic American chic reflective of their menu. They’re known for their high food standards and terrifically fresh seafood.
Address: 1-32-3-D Tradgard Daikanyama, Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku Tokyo
Image source: Fabian Reus
Is this the best ramen in the world? Plenty of people would say yes, including the restaurant itself. It has more than enough reasons to be confident. This is a specialist restaurant that is focused primarily on perfecting that very dish. It’s fair to say that it very well may be mission accomplished, based on its incredible reputation. It’s also an innovative restaurant, where customers order their food through a vending machine instead of using waiters.
Address: Iwamoto Building B1F 1-22-7 Jinnan Sibuya-ku Tokyo-to 150-0041
Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai
This is a beautiful restaurant set in a private Japanese garden, featuring several scattered private dining rooms. Much like Ichiran, which keeps its attention firmly on ramen, Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai focuses almost solely on tofu. Instead of having a dozen different mediocre cuisines, this is a restaurant that puts its efforts into mastering this one type of food and they pull it off with staggering precision. Its dishes are just as carefully and as delicately prepared as their dining areas.
Address: 4-4-13 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nightlife in Tokyo
Befitting of a city with such a vibrantly captivating skyline, Tokyo is home to a colourful nightlife scene. From sophisticated and swanky bars to high-octane clubs that are bustling into the early hours of the morning, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable evening here.
Image source: Nick Turner
Considered by many to be the top show in Shinkuku, this off the wall production showcases just how futuristic and out there Tokyo can be. The robotic rollercoaster ride really must be seen to be believed, with a visual style like no other live show on the planet. But there’s substance beneath all that style. This is a mind-bogglingly impressive, charming and unique performance that only requires an open mind to be enjoyed. The show is split into three acts, with some great snacks and drinks available in between. Those breaks are much appreciated: with a show this strange, you’ll need a moment to let what you just saw really sink in, and maybe a moment or two to check you’re not dreaming, in the best possible sense.
Address: 1-7-1 Kabukicho | B2F, Shinjuku 160-0021, Tokyo Prefecture
Entry fees: Entrance fee – ¥8,000 per person, Meal fee – ¥1,000 per person
Star Bar – Ginza
Considered by many to be one of the world’s best bars and appearing on top lists from publications around the world, Star Bar might not quite hit the number one spot just yet, but it’s very possibly the coolest bar in all of Tokyo. Far from the futuristic riff raff you see in other bars, this has a purely classical style with deep wooden tones, rich leather chairs and a dark, inviting bar. If you think all that sounds good, just wait until you try their cocktails.
Address: 1-5-13 Ginza,Chuo-ku,Tokyo 104-0061 Japan
Entry fees: Cover charge of ¥1,000 per person
Genius is a club for the refined ladies and gentlemen. Make sure that you dress smart if you want to get in, as they have a fairly strict dress code. That said, the Genius club does qualify this with an air of refined sophistication, or as much refinement as you can manage while dancing the night away. While not staying open too late (closing around midnight), this is still a great venue for those that aren’t looking for anything too hedonistic but still want a great evening out on the town.
Address: 6-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Entry fees: Male – Prices range from ¥3000 – ¥5000 (6/8 tickets), Female – Prices range from ¥1000 – ¥2000 (4/6 tickets)
- Tipping in Japan is not customary: Tipping is not expected and may even be refused if offered. However, respect and politeness is expected at all times.
- WiFi is free: No need to worry about not keeping in touch with loved ones back home, Wi-Fi is free all over Tokyo.
- Walk on the left: Tokyo is a very densely populated place, and as such crowds must be orderly. As a rule, visitors should walk on the left of the pavement.
- Obey local laws: There are some local laws to watch out for in Tokyo. For example, it is illegal to use mobile phones on subway trains.
Hotels in Osaka
Luxury Hotels in Tokyo
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kiocho is a hotel that can be found high up in the clouds and right in the heart of Tokyo’s bustling centre. This huge building offers some of the most stunning views in all the city, particularly on the higher floors. There’s nothing quite like looking out of your hotel bedroom window at night across the stunning Tokyo skyline lit up like a parade of diamonds off into the distance. The hotel is just as stunning, with effortlessly on trend décor that’s borderline futuristic. In many instances, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in a luxurious part of a science fiction novel, with its clean, sleek interiors managing to be stylish without ever feeling mechanical, which is a trap other ultra-modern hotels can sometimes fall into. There’s always something spell-binding about swimming in their beautiful indoor pool and being able to see the caps of skyscrapers as you come up for breath. There’s also a restaurant, a bar, massage and spa facilities, a fitness centre, a sauna and a breakfast service, which is served right in the comfort of your room.
A hotel truly fit for a king, The Royal Hotel is a mere 10 minutes away from Japan’s Imperial Palace. You see can that it has taken that aristocratic influence to heart with a dazzling style that’s a cut above the rest. There’s a certain maturity to the décor here that’s often hard to find. Everything, from its crisp, curved exterior to its sensually lit interior, benefits from a stunning mix of modern and classic design features. There’s also a swimming pool, complete with views of the city, which is especially dazzling at night, as well as a fitness gym and an Evian spa. You’ll probably be looking to burn off some calories in these fully equipped facilities, seeing as this hotel boasts an astounding seven world class restaurants. You won’t need to go far for dinner recommendations here. Best of all though are its ultra-smooth, open plan rooms, which really go out of their way to deliver a regal experience to each and every guest.
The Shangri-La Hotel brand is known for one thing and that’s being among the best hotels in the world. Some would consider them the best, but we’ll let you decide. Of course, never to slip from their impossibly high standards, their Japanese incarnation more than surpasses its lofty expectations. What’s most amazing about the Shangri-La Hotel is how, despite being a chain, they do everything they can do distinguish themselves from their international counterparts. No one is the same. The only thing they all have in common is a name and an exceptional quality of service, décor, rooms and facilities. Each one of their hotels does everything it can to embody the city and here, they get the spirit of Tokyo absolutely dead on. It’s a heady mix of the newest, most cutting edge style with a few tasteful throwbacks to their past. Placed in a prime location, facing the Imperial Palace and next to JR Tokyo station, this is a hotel that defies its own momentous reputation.
To live in the lap of luxury during your stay in London, you will need to be spending approximately 15,000 rupees per night’s stay (on average). These prices are influenced significantly by the length of time you stay, the size of your group and when you choose to visit London.
Mid-Range Hotels in Tokyo
If you’re looking for huge guest rooms, then we’re afraid that the Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyada Premier Tokyo Shinjuku Station may not be for you. This is a hotel with rooms not quite as big as its name but ones that still pack a lot of personality. This is one of Japan’s famous capsule hotels, which are perfect if all you’re looking for is a little space to relax, get some shut eye and maybe watch a little TV. Oh of course, there’s a TV: it’s not quite that compact. It is however, astonishingly comfortable. It’s like being wrapped up in a little cocoon away from the rest of the world. Many guests claim they get a better night’s sleep here than in far more expensive hotels, due to the effectiveness of the concept. There’s also a surprising number of facilities here, including laundry services, a pop up restaurant and a sauna. Due to the size of the rooms, some facilities are shared but are all to a very high standard.
A great mid-way point between the famous capsule hotel and a regular mid-range room, MyCUBE by MYSTAYS Asakusa Kuramae features the less well known cube room. It’s similar in concept to a capsule but the cube rooms are tall, while the capsules are wide. It might not seem like much of a difference but for those that might get a little claustrophobic due to low ceilings, Tokyo MyCUBE is the perfect solution to allow them to experience the simple and contemporary accommodation. The have a shutter to your side for privacy, a bed and a TV on the opposite wall to where you lay. You probably get a little bit more room out of the capsules but for many, the cubes are a far more comfortable way of watching TV. They’re both a great choice: it’s really a matter of preference for the compact traveller. They’re nicely decorated with a cool wooden wall and bedspread to match. It’s super convenient too: all you need to do is pop your suitcase beneath your cube, like an upside down airplane. Speaking of convenience, did we mention it’s a mere two minutes away from Kuramae Station? With rates costing around SG$265 a night, this is the ultimate minimalist hotel experience.
If you prefer to stick to more traditional and spacious guest rooms, then the charming Hotel Monterey Ginza makes an excellent choice. Situated just five blocks away from the famous Ginza Crossing and nearby to the Kabuki-za Theatre, this accommodation’s handsome white exterior won’t go amiss. Inside, the attractive style continues with dark wooden flooring, neutral colour schemes and modest furniture. The onsite French restaurant takes things down a slightly different route though, with extravagant walling, a decadent private room and a white marble bar. Other amenities here include a daily breakfast buffet, PC and cellular phone rentals, as well as thoughtful touches in your room, such as cotton pyjamas, tea makers and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Experience Tokyo’s stripped-back contemporary design aesthetics in the Villa Fontaine Shiodome. This hotel is set in a sleek, high-rise building with 497 straightforward, no-fuss rooms costing around the SG $300 mark per night. That doesn’t mean they compromise on the modern comforts though. Guests here can enjoy everything from free Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs to refrigerators, coffeemakers and in-room massages, all presented alongside the calm, sophisticated décor and plush, inviting bedding. You’ll also be treated to a free breakfast, as well as an elegant onsite bar, fully equipped gym and dry cleaning services. And if you venture outside of the big glass doors, you’ll find yourself just a short walk away from many of Tokyo’s biggest attractions, including the landmark Tokyo Tower, as well as the Toei Shiodome train station.
Budget Hotels in Tokyo
For the budget traveller, the YMCA will likely be a familiar name. However, the YMCA Asia Youth Centre in Chiyoda near the Tokyo Imperial Palace does things a little differently to its fellow hostels. For around SG $124 a night, you’ll receive a hospitable experience more akin to Tokyo’s mid-range hotels, offering 55 well laid out rooms, en suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and complimentary toiletries. With laundry facilities, a computer station, free newspapers and a tour/ticket service to boot, it’s no wonder this internationally recognised brand has found a lot of fans in the Japanese capital.
Shopaholics will be more than satisfied with the location of the Ryokan Katsutaro hotel, which resides in the Yanaka area of Tokyo and close to the Ginza shopping street. Double rooms here cost as little as SG $125 a night, meaning you can save your pennies and put them towards some serious shopping. The rooms here may be back to basics, but you’ll still get a comfortable night’s sleep and warm welcome in return, along with free newspapers, Wi-Fi, LED TVs and complimentary toiletries. Ryokan Katsutaro also offers guests a cheap bicycle rental service, allowing you to leisurely explore the streets of one of Tokyo’s friendliest neighbourhoods and all the intriguing galleries and museums that call it home.
Often tourists will find that they have to fork out large sums of money for the privilege of staying close to the city centre. At Sakura Hotel Jimbocho, that’s not the case. For astonishingly cheap rates of around SG $120 for a double room, you’ll find yourself close to all the action in the Jimbocho district, with the Imperial Palace Garden, Tokyo Dome and Akihabara Electric Town just a short stroll away. Rooms are quite limited in size but with cosy beds, free Wi-Fi, TVs and even a bar and 24-hour café, this serves as a fantastic base for eager travellers looking for nothing more than a base to sleep and socialise. What you sacrifice in space, you more than make up for in convenience and affordability at this quaint riverfront hotel.
For more hotels in Tokyo, explore the Expedia Singapore website and find the best accommodation for your stay
Getting Around in Tokyo
As you’d expect from a major, technological advanced capital, there’s plenty of great and simple ways to get around the city. We’ll be going through some of the best travel options to help you get from A to B in Tokyo.
Trains in Tokyo
Tokyo has a dense and complex selection of train lines, along with other forms of public transportation. This is a great way to get around, particularly if you’re travelling around central Tokyo. These include the Yamanote Line, the Sobu Line, the Chuo Line, the Kelhin-Tohoku Line, Shinkansen and the Saikyo Line. Together these trains connect up most of the city including rural areas. There are also some private railway companies: these generally start at the Yamanote Line.
Subway in Tokyo
Much like the train system, the subway system is also very extensive. There’s 13 subway lines overall, with four being run by Toei Subways and 9 being run by Tokyo Metro. They do however, cross lines at points, making it easier to find your way around.
Acquiring a ticket for both the subway and train services work essentially the same way. The best way of getting around on these services is by using a prepaid IC card. These are not heavily discounted but they are convenient, allowing you to ride anywhere in Greater Tokyo (and further depending on the card) by simply swiping it like a contactless debit card. Speaking of which, they are also used in several shops.
Here’s a list of the cards you can purchase:
- Tokyo Free Kippu: Unlimited use of JR Trains and Subway Lines for 1 day
- Tokyo Subway Ticket: 24-hour use on all subway lines
- Thei and Tokyo Metro One Day Economy Pass: Unlimited use of both services for 24 hours
- Tokyo Metro 24 Hour Ticket: Unlimited use of all Tokyo Metro Subway Lines
- Toei One Day Economy Pass: 24-hour use of all Toei subway lines
- Tukunai Pass: 24-hour use of JR Trains in central Tokyo
Busses in Tokyo
Although not as popular as the train or subway services, the bus service in Tokyo is nonetheless excellent, although they can be harder for tourists to work out routes. Still, if you wish to use them, bus maps are available online.
Taxis in Tokyo
Image source: Héctor García
The other main way to get around the city is by using taxis, which are very easy to find and convenient, although they can be pricey. Taxis can be located outside bus or train stations, but they are easy enough to find around the city as well. Alternatively, they can also be pre-booked using certain apps. The rates are a standard fare of around ¥730 for the first 2km (with shorter journeys usually being rounded up to the set rate). After that, it raises by ¥90 for every 280 metres (plus waiting times).
Best Time to Visit Tokyo
Image source: Yoshikazu TAKADA
When planning any holiday, it’s important to do your research on the different climates that your destination experiences. While Japan isn’t subject to extreme weather conditions, it is heavily influenced by different seasons, meaning the landscapes, activities and cuisine may vary depending on the time of your visit.
Tokyo experiences hot and humid summers, with the mercury hitting as high as 31°C. This is also peak holiday seasons, so tourist destinations will be very crowded and hotel rates can become more expensive. Winter is quieter but January is known for hitting lows of 2.5°C and the greenery and flora will be experiencing a seasonal decline, so you will miss seeing them in their full glory.
The best time to visit Tokyo is in the spring time, which falls between March and May. The daytimes are pleasantly cool, the streets are less busy and you’ll be treated to the famous spectacle of the pink cherry blossoms. Similarly, Autumn, which occurs between September to November, delivers comfortable climates and stunning colourful foliage.
Flights to Tokyo
There are two different airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area. These include Tokyo International Airport, which is commonly known as Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport. Both of the airports accommodate Singapore Airlines flights, with Haneda being located in Ota Tokyo, 8.7 miles south of Tokyo Station, and Narita being found in Chiba, around 37 miles to the east of central Tokyo.
Direct flights are frequently available to both of the Tokyo airports from Singapore Changi Airport. The journey to Haneda typically takes around 6 hours 35 minutes, with Narita flights only taking a few minutes longer at 6 hours 45 minutes.
Visit the Expedia website to find the best prices for flights to Tokyo.