Top Tokyo Travel Tips
Yōkoso (welcome) to Tokyo! As the host city of the 2020 Summer Olympics, visitors will find a diverse mix of traditional culture and modern innovation in Japan’s bustling capital city.
For first-timers, Tokyo can seem daunting. Here are some basic tips on where to go in Tokyo and how to get around:
Places to Visit
Built in 1935, Tsukiji Market is a fish, vegetable, fruit and flower market. It’s the oldest in the city, but due to an upcoming move to nearby Toyosu, this historic market is scheduled to close November 2, 2016.
The market’s popular tuna auction allows 120 people into the area each day, so get there early (around 4:00 am!) if you want to go. Bring cash, and check the market calendar before going as it is not open daily.
Not an early bird? Skip the tuna auction and go straight for the food stalls. Most stalls close early, so be sure to go before noon.
Some of my favorite dishes in Tsukiji’s market:
- For sushi, go to Daiwa Sushi or Sushi Dai. For kaisen-don (sashimi rice bowl), try Nakaya. If you’re not a fan of long lines, Sushizanmai is open 24 hours/day and just steps away from Tsukiji Market.
- For deep-fried seafood or pork katsu, try Tonkatsu Yachiyo （とんかつ八千代）
- For chicken dishes, check out Torioh （鳥藤）
- Or for a tempura bowl, go to Tenfusa（天房)
Asakusa Senso-ji Temple
Asakusa Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo. While visiting, be sure to try traditional Japanese sweets as you stroll down Nakamise-dori (inner shopping street).
Meiji Jingu / Harajuku
Find tranquility in the busy city at Meiji Jingu, a beautiful Shinto shrine. Follow it up with a stroll to Harajuku, the heart of quirky Japanese teen fashion and culture.
Baseball in Japan is a memorable experience. There are two professional teams in Tokyo (Yakult Swallows and Yomiuri Giants) – check out the incredibly coordinated bleacher cheering and the fun food options.
Getting Around, Starting from the Airport
From Narita and Haneda airports, limousine bus service is available to most hotels. For bus service to/from Narita, keep in mind that it can take 75 to 120 minutes to get to your destination. Both airports are also easily accessible by train.
Getting Around the City
- Hato Bus offers English guided tours for those who want help getting to tourist destinations.
- Traveling by train or metro? Get an IC card! It costs 500-yen (about $4 USD), but you won’t have to buy tickets each time you take the train. Return the IC card before leaving to get your money back, or keep the card as a souvenir.
Where to Stay:
- Hilton Tokyo (Shinjuku): A classic in the heart of Shinjuku.
- Hilton Tokyo Bay (Maihama): The perfect place to stay if visiting Tokyo Disney Resort.
- Conrad Tokyo (Shiodome/Shinbashi): Located on the 28 to 37 floors of a modern skyscraper, this elegant hotel offers generous rooms, fine dining and incredible service.
- Hilton Tokyo Odaiba (Odaiba): Recently opened this October, enjoy amazing views of the skyline and the Rainbow Bridge.
- Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport: A no-brainer for business travelers, but rest assured this is not your typical ‘airport hotel.’ Enjoy spacious guestrooms, the indoor pool and whirlpool, or plan an event among 18 function rooms or lovely chapel.