Creating the Best Tourist Experience in Tokyo

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Tokyo is known as one of the busiest cities in the world. In 2018, Tokyo has ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world (, 2019). However, Tokyo is not just a busy city but there are many places where you can experience and explore Japanese traditional cultures, cuisines and modern cultures as well. I chose my destination as Tokyo because Tokyo is the city I have lived for the longest. For this reason, Tokyo is a city I am most familiar with. In addition, I find Tokyo the best place to visit as a person who has never been to Japan or those who have never experienced Japanese culture. The official name of Tokyo is Tokyo Metropolis. It has been the capital of Japan since 1869. Tokyo was formally called Edo. Although in 1868, the capital of Japan has been changed from Kyoto to Tokyo. This is when they renamed this city to Tokyo (, 2019) Tokyo is located almost in the center of Japan. The Population of Tokyo is 13.49 million. Compared to Japan’s population, almost 11 percent of the people in Japan are living in Tokyo(, 2015).

Tokyo has two major airports. The one that is closest to the city is Haneda International Airport. Which is described as HND in IATA airport codes. And the other one is the Narita International Airport. Which is NRT. For a long time, Narita was the only international airport in Tokyo area. In 2010, Haneda airport started international bounds as well (Japan times, 2010). Haneda International Airport is the base for Japan Airlines (JL), All Nippon Airways (NH), Skymark Airlines (BC), Solaseed Air (6J) and StarFlyer (7G). Narita International Airport is the base for Japan Airlines (JL) and All Nippon Airways (NH). If I were to go to Tokyo from Vancouver, I would Choose Japan Airlines since I have a membership for their mileage service.

The Language spoken in Tokyo is Japanese. Some basic phrases are, kon-nichiwa which means hello, ogenki-desuka how are you, arigatou thank you and sayounara goodbye. Currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen. 100 Yen is about 1.40 Canadian Dollars. If you visit Tokyo you might think most of the things are a little expensive compares to Vancouver. The time zone is Japan Standard Time (JST), UTC plus 9. The time difference from Vancouver is 16 hours ahead. So it is a day ahead from Vancouver. The flight time from Vancouver is approximately 10 hours without connecting flights.The climate in Tokyo is mostly tempered. It has four seasons throughout the year, spring, summer, fall and winter. In winter, the weather is usually mild and sunny. In summer, it is usually humid and rain sometimes. Also, summer is known to be the season when the typhoon hits. Spring and fall are always mild with no surprises. Therefore, the best time of the year to visit is spring. Especially March to April.

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Spring in Japan is the best season to enjoy cherry blossoms. If you visit Tokyo in the best season, you will be able to see the beautiful contrast of the city and the cherry blossom trees all over Tokyo. In Japan, we have a tradition called “hanami” which means looking at the flours in English. At hanami, we have a picnic under or around the cherry blossom tree and enjoy the view of the beautiful sakura blossoms. Time of the year to avoid visiting in summer. This is because summer in Japan is extremely humid. In mid-summer days, the temperature will be around 30 degrees. Furthermore, in some hottest days, it will rise above to 35 degrees. Also, Tokyo is a very crowded city so you will be feeling much hotter than the actual temperature because of the crowd. Moreover, you would not want to experience riding on the packed humid train.

When you visit Tokyo, the food you must try is sushi, with no doubt. Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese cuisines. You may have tried some in Vancouver as well. Yet, sushi in Japan is completely different from what you eat outside of Japan. The best place to try the freshest sushi is the Tsukiji fish market. Tsukiji fish market is a fish wholesale market that used to hold about 400 sellers and restaurants in just a few blocks (, 2019). Unfortunately, the wholesale market in Tsukiji has closed last October. However, their restaurants and shops remained open. So if you visit Tsukiji, you will find the best sushi and seafood dishes there.

In Japan, we do not have any tipping cultures. Therefore, even if you try to tip the waiter, they will refuse to take them and give them back to you. From the airport, train and busses are the common way to get into the city. From Haneda airport, it will take about 50 minutes by train. By bus, it will be 35 to 70 minutes depending on the road situation. From Narita airport, it will take about an hour and a half to get into the city. By bus, it will take about one to two hours. While you are in the city, the train is the best way to get around. Tokyo has a massive train and subway system throughout the entire city. With the train system, there is nowhere you cannot go to Tokyo. The electricity and voltage are a little lower than North American voltage. However, there will be no problem without any appliance or electronic devices. Some major attraction in Tokyo will be Asakusa area and TeamLab Planets Tokyo. At Asakusa, you will be able to experience Japan’s traditional cultures by visiting the temples and exploring the area. Also, there are some places that allow you to rent a kimono for a day to walk around the area. TeamLab is one of the newest attractions in Tokyo. It is a “body immersive” exhibition and an art-science museum (teamLab Planets TOKYO | Toyosu, Tokyo, 2019). At TeamLab, you will experience some of the amazing technologies from Japan.

When it comes to Events in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park is the best place to look for. Yoyogi Park is one of the biggest parks in Tokyo area. Also, Yoyogi Park is located in central Tokyo. There will be some kind of event happening in Yoyogi Park almost every weekend. This month, from May 3rd to 4th there will be a Cambodia Festival. From 3rd to 5th Tokyo Flea Market will be held, 11 to 12 Thai Festival, 18 to 19 Okinawa Matsuri and 25th to 26 The Caribbean Latin American Festival will be held. (Japan Travel Guide -JW Web Magazine, 2019)

There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when you are in Tokyo. Japanese have an interesting way of using escalators. They tend to ride on the right side and open some space to the left side so that you will not be in the way of people who are in a hurry. Therefore, when you ride the escalator, you should ride on the right side so that people who are rushing can climb up using the left side of the escalator.

For souvenirs, personally, I would recommend matcha related sweets. Matcha products in Japan are of high quality compared to those they sell in foreign countries. For shopping, if you are looking for high-end brands, Ginza is the best place. Ginza has been the town of luxury for a long time. In Ginza, you will find many department stores and fashion malls. If you are looking for more affordable fashions, Shibuya and Shinjuku is the place to look for. When it comes to health precautions, if you are visiting in the spring, there is nothing to worry about. Although, if you are planning to visit in the winter, it will be better if you get an influenza shot before you go to Japan. Other than that, everything is mostly safe. Tap waters and food are safe as well.For some travel advice, you should definitely carry some cash with you. There are some places that do not allow credit card payment. For packing advice, if you are visiting in spring, it will be a little warmer than Vancouver although the difference is just 2 to 3 degrees. So you would not be needing anything special. Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in Japan. It is a place where one can experience traditional Japanese culture and modern culture in one city. If you visit in the spring, the temperature will be just right for walking around sightseeing and you will be able to enjoy beautiful views in the city.

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