As 2024 approaches, you might be planning all the different places you want to see in the new year. What better destination to plan than a trip to the ever-popular and historical Japan? In a trip to Tokyo, Japan, there is so much to see and do. This Asian country gets many visitors annually for several reasons. Read on to learn more about finding the most fun in a trip to Tokyo, Japan.
Take the Shinkansen
Have you ever traveled by train in the United States? If you’ve ever taken a train ride instead of a flight, you understand how scenic and fun it can be. Why not enjoy that same experience in a trip to Japan? One of the best ways to travel to and away from Tokyo is by taking the Shinkansen, or bullet train. If you’re worried that traveling by train across Japan will be slower than taking a flight, you couldn’t be more wrong, especially since the Shinkansen is a bullet train which is high speed.
Just because the main focus is Tokyo, that doesn’t mean it should be the only place in Japan that you visit. You can make your cross-country exploration of Japan easier by taking advantage of its popular trans system. After all, its rail system easily connects all the major cities across this beautiful country. Regardless of the season, you have an easy way to enjoy the scenic views, whether it’s the cherry blossoms, mountains, or houses. Relax in spacious seats, and order food and drinks from the courteous staffing services.
Japan has a reputation for being a punctual country where everything is clean and runs on time. Luckily, the Shinkansen train system lives up to that reputation as well. Therefore, if you’re worried about delays or cancelations, have no fear when you take this train. The Shinkansen is also very reliable and punctual, so you don’t have to worry about trip delays.
Walk on Shibuya Crossing
It’s no secret that Tokyo is a city that’s constantly on the move. To experience the hustle and bustle of the locals, don’t miss walking on the Shibuya crossing. This famous intersection is one of the busiest in the world, with thousands of people crossing it every minute. You may be distracted when crossing the street at night when all of the city lights are in full glory. All eyes are on all the neon lights and billboards that sprinkle across the Tokyo skyline. Regardless of what side of the crossing you’re on, you can easily find restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and shops to keep yourself entertained and spend as much Japanese yen as possible.
Book a Quality Hotel
Unless you’re visiting close friends and family in Tokyo, you’ll need a quality place to stay. You want somewhere that’s comfortable and clean, especially if you’ll be in the city for a while. Unfortunately, Japan’s reputation for being expensive is true, so do your due diligence to find an adequate space that can fit your budget and comfort needs.
When exploring your accommodation options, pay attention to the air quality of the hotel. After all, whether in your main home or the temporary space of a hotel or Airbnb, you don’t want your health to be at risk due to poor air conditioning, carbon monoxide exposure, pollution, or mold. Poor indoor air quality can cause health problems such as allergies, asthma, headaches, and fatigue. You should look for hotels that have good ventilation systems, air filters, humidifiers, and plants that can improve the air quality.
When searching for accommodations on Booking.com, VRBO, Airbnb, Expedia, or other hotel sites, pay attention to the reviews customers make. If there are any air quality or smell issues, that’s something to look out for and ensure you don’t book a place that has those problems. When you’re looking on certain sites, the listing will often note if their accommodation has central air or a carbon monoxide alarm.
See the Cherry Blossoms in Ueno Park
Have you had a chance to see the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC? If not, you could see the real deal where they originated from in your trip to Japan. One of the most beautiful sights in Tokyo is the cherry blossoms or sakura. These delicate pink flowers bloom only for a few weeks in spring, and they attract millions of visitors who want to admire their beauty. If you’re trying to find the right time to visit Japan, you may want to book a trip in the spring.
One of the best places to see the cherry blossoms is Ueno Park, which has over 1000 trees along its pathways and ponds. You can also enjoy a picnic under the trees, visit the museums and temples in the park, or rent a boat on the lake. If you want to plan a beautiful wedding ceremony in Japan, see if you could use this park as a wedding venue that you’ll always remember.
Observe Local Laws
Japan is a peaceful country that is very orderly. To maintain safety, the country takes its rules and regulations seriously. When you are in a trip to Tokyo, you should respect the local laws and customs. If you’re not sure what the laws are, do your due diligence and look up those laws before you get on the plane. When you end up breaking the law, simply saying that you weren’t aware of the law is usually not a good enough excuse. You should also be aware of what may happen after an arrest.
Remember, every country does not have the same regulations when it comes to jail and bond like in the United States. Unlike in some other countries, Japan doesn’t have a bail bond system that allows suspects to be released from jail before trial by paying a fee. In Japan, a suspect may be detained until trial or released on their own recognizance. Play it safe and register with the American Embassy upon arrival. If you’re in any legal trouble during your trip to Japan, contact your embassy or consulate immediately.
Pay Attention to Recycling Rules
One of the things you’ll notice upon your arrival in Tokyo, or just about any other place in Japan, is how clean it is. One of the reasons why the country is so tidy is because of how it handles recycling. The country is extremely strict about its overall waste management, whether it’s trash or recycling items. Therefore, follow and pay attention to any guidelines that they have. Whatever you do, don’t litter or throw in recyclables with your regular trash.
You should separate your trash into different categories such as burnable, non-burnable, plastic bottles, cans, paper, etc. Look out for designated bins and bags that have specific categories like scrap metal recycling. You may also have to dispose of them on specific days and times. If you’re confused about the recycling rules that you have to follow, don’t sweat. There are often plenty of signs and flyers that state rules and regulations regarding recycling and trash management.
Take Advantage of Nomihoudai
When you’re in Tokyo, you likely will want to have a good time. What better way to do so than throwing back some Saki shots or their famous Asahi beer? After all, such alcohol is a perfect accompaniment to their sushi. For a good buzz, you might want to take advantage of nomihoudai in a trip to Tokyo.
Nomihoudai means ‘all-you-can-drink’ and it is a common offer in many bars and restaurants in Japan. For a limited time, usually a couple of hours, you and your friends can take advantage of as much alcohol as you can drink. Just don’t put yourself in a situation where you may have to hire a DUI lawyer. As long as you know your limit, you can have a great time with your friends or family when you’re out on the town. Play it safe and make sure you’re able to get back to your accommodation without having to drive.
Enjoy the Beauty of Nikko
Tokyo is an amazing, vibrant, eye-catching city. However, if you plan to have an extensive time there, you may get worn down by the overwhelming lights and crowds that can come with such a massive metropolis. But don’t worry, Japan is a small country that has a vast amount of countryside for any nature lover or someone who needs a break from the city to enjoy. As much as you may enjoy city time in a trip to Tokyo, you may want to escape to one of the most popular locales like Nikko.
It only takes two hours by bus or train to get to this beautiful nature haven from Tokyo. There’s a lot to see in this small town. Immerse yourself in its historical and cultural heritage. There are many shrines and temples, and you can enjoy the beautiful hardscaping that has gone into these structures. Many of these spots are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures that can create great photo opportunities. Enjoy peace and exercise as you hike along the many waterfalls and trails of Nikko National Park. If you want to lower your blood pressure and relax your muscles, take advantage of soaking in the area’s hot springs.
Visit the Sumo Wrestling Museum
Are you interested in the Japanese national sport known as sumo wrestling? In addition to catching a match, you may want to visit the National Sumo Wrestling Museum. This museum is located inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, which is where most of the sumo tournaments are held. Enjoy all of the memorabilia and photos related to the history of sumo wrestling. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll learn from a few hours at this museum.
You’ll be amazed by the dynamic costumes and portraits of famous sumo wrestlers. You may end up spending most of your time getting drawn into videos of past sumo matches. There are many rules and techniques related to this sport that you’ll learn about for the first time and can later brag about to your friends when your trip is over. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat from the museum caterer before you leave.
Appreciate the Imperial Palace
Are you interested in seeing palaces around the world? What better way to indulge your interest than in a trip to the imperial palace while in Tokyo? Take it a step closer to royalty and have an amazing spot to take some photos. In a trip to the Imperial Palace, you’ll get a first-hand view of where the Emperor of Japan lives and works. You won’t just be enthralled by the palace structure itself, as it’s also surrounded by a large park and moat.
Luckily, the Eastern gardens of the palace are open to the public. Even if you’re not into royalty, you can take in the beautiful flowers, lawns, and ponds as a nature lover. Don’t forget about the Nijubashi Bridge, which is the main entrance to the palace and is known for its roofing design. It’s worth taking a guided tour of the palace grounds to learn about its history. Just remember to make reservations for everyone in your party.
Having fun in a trip to Japan is easy. If you’ve been longing to go to this island nation, there’s no better time than now to start planning your trip. From booking your accommodation to deciding how much time you’ll spend in Tokyo versus the countryside, make it a priority to start research before the year ends or as the new one begins. There are so many things to do and see that you will never get bored. Whether you are looking for culture, nature, entertainment, or food, you will find it in Tokyo. Just remember to plan, respect the local rules, and enjoy yourself. Use this article as a starting point to ensure you, your family, and your friends have the trip to Tokyo you’ll remember for a lifetime. Maybe it may start several more trips back to the country!