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Lonely Planet Tokyo

Lonely Planet Tokyo

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Lonely Planet Tokyo

оценки:
2/5 (1 оценка)
Длина:
683 pages
4 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 1, 2019
ISBN:
9781788685849
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Tokyo is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Spend all-night in a karaoke parlour in Shinjuku, walk the forest path to Tokyo's largest Shinto shrine, Meiji-jingu, or sample the delights of Mitsukoshi's food hall -all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Tokyo and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Tokyo Travel Guide:

  • Colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, pop culture, performing arts, visual arts, tea ceremonies, cinema, literature, architecture, onsen, festivals, cuisine
  • Covers Marunouchi, Nihombashi, Tsukiji, Ginza, Roppongi, Ebisu, Meguro, Shibuya, Harajuku, Aoyama, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Ueno, Asakusa, Odaiba, Shimo-Kitazawa, Korakuen, Yanaka, Nikko, Hakone, Hamakura, Mt Fuji and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Tokyo, our most comprehensive guide to Tokyo, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. The world awaits!

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves, it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalise your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

Important Notice: The digital edition of this book may not contain all of the images found in the physical edition.

Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 1, 2019
ISBN:
9781788685849
Формат:
Книге

Об авторе

Lonely Planet has gone on to become the world’s most successful travel publisher, printing over 100 million books. The guides are printed in nine different languages; English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Korean. Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and get to the heart of a place via guidebooks and eBooks to almost every destination on the planet, an award-winning website and magazine, a range of mobile and digital travel products and a dedicated traveller community.

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Lonely Planet Tokyo - Lonely Planet

Tokyo

Contents

Plan Your Trip

Welcome to Tokyo

Tokyo’s Top 16

What’s New

Need to Know

First Time Tokyo

Getting Around

Top Itineraries

If You Like…

Month by Month

With Kids

Like a Local

For Free

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Explore Tokyo

Neighbourhoods at a Glance

Marunouchi & Nihombashi

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Ginza & Tsukiji

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Roppongi & Around

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Ebisu, Meguro & Around

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Harajuku & Aoyama

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

West Tokyo

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Kōrakuen & Akihabara

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Ueno & Yanesen

Top Sights

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Asakusa & Sumida River

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Sports & Activities

Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

Top Sight

Sights

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Sports & Activities

Day Trips from Tokyo

Sleeping

Understand Tokyo

Understand Tokyo

Tokyo Today

History

Tokyo Pop Culture

Arts & Architecture

Onsen

Survival Guide

Transport

Arriving in Tokyo

Getting Around

Tours

Directory A–Z

Accessible Travel

Customs Regulations

Discount Cards

Electricity

Embassies & Consulates

Emergency

Insurance

Internet Access

Legal Matters

LGBT+ Travellers

Media

Medical Services

Money

Opening Hours

Post

Public Holidays

Safe Travel

Taxes & Refunds

Telephone

Time

Toilets

Tourist Information

Visas

Language

Tokyo Maps

Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

Marunouchi & Nihombashi

Ginza & Tsukiji

Roppongi & Around

Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

Ebisu & Meguro

Harajuku & Aoyama

Kōenji

Kichijōji

Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

Kōrakuen & Around

Akihabara & Kanda

Ueno & Yanesen

Asakusa

East Sumida

Behind the Scenes

Our Writers

Welcome to Tokyo

Yoking past and future, Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and passion for everything new.

Infinite Possibilities

More than any one sight, it’s the city itself that enchants visitors. It’s a sprawling, organic thing, stretching as far as the eye can see. Always changing, and with a diverse collection of neighbourhoods, no two experiences of the city are ever the same. Some neighbourhoods feel like a vision from the future, with ever taller, sleeker structures popping up each year; others evoke the past with low-slung wooden buildings and glowing lanterns radiating surprising warmth; elsewhere, drab concrete blocks hide art galleries and cocktail bars and every lane hints at possible discoveries.

Art & Culture

In Tokyo you can experience the breadth of Japanese arts and culture. Centuries-old forms of performing arts still play on stages and sumo tournaments draw crowds; every spring, Tokyoites head outside to appreciate the cherry blossoms – a tradition older than the city itself. There are museums covering every era of Japanese art history and also ones that focus on the contemporary – challenging the old distinctions between art with a capital A, pop culture and technology. But there’s a playful side to all of this, too: Tokyo is, after all, a city whose public artworks include a scale model of an anime robot.

Tokyo’s Food Scene

When it comes to Tokyo superlatives, the city’s food scene tops the list. But we’re not just talking about the famous restaurants and the celebrity chefs: what Tokyo excels at is consistency across the board. Wherever you are, you’re usually within 100m of a good, if not great, restaurant. It’s a scene that careens nonchalantly between the highs and lows: it’s not unusual for a top-class sushi restaurant to share the same block as an oil-spattered noodle joint, and for both to be equally adored. Tokyoites love dining out; join them, and delight in the sheer variety of tastes and experiences the city has to offer.

Convenience Factor

Tokyo can seem daunting at first: the subway map – a tangle of intersecting lines – is often compared to a bowl of noodles. But once you get out there, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to navigate. That subway can take you everywhere you want to go; trains are frequent (though sometimes uncomfortably crowded) and almost always on time, and stations are well-signposted in English. That’s not to say you won’t occasionally find yourself frustratingly disorientated, but locals are generally eager to help you get back on track.

teamLab Borderless, Odaiba, Tokyo | TEAMLAB BORDERLESS, ODAIBA, TOKYO ©

Why I Love Tokyo

By Rebecca Milner, Writer

I’ve lived in Tokyo for almost two decades now and am continuously surprised – sometimes on a daily basis – by something new. Such is the joy of living in a city that prides itself on constant renewal and reinvention; it seriously never gets old. Tokyo has everything you can ask of a city, and has it in spades: a dynamic, cosmopolitan dining scene, more cafes and bars than you could visit in a lifetime, plenty of parks, awesome public transport and such a high level of safety and convenience that makes it hard to imagine living anywhere else.

For more about Our Writers

Tokyo’s Top 16

Shinjuku Nightlife

1Shinjuku is the biggest nightlife district in the land of the rising neon sun. There is truly something for everyone here, from the anachronistic shanty bars of Golden Gai, a favourite haunt of writers and artists; to the camp dance bars of Tokyo’s gay quarter, Shinjuku-nichōme; and to the old-school izakaya (Japanese pub-eateries) of Shinjuku-sanchōme, where co-workers go to unwind after work. There are all-night karaoke parlours, jazz dens and hipster cocktail bars. The options are dizzying, the lights spellbinding and the whole show continues past dawn.

6 Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

MATTEO COLOMBO/GETTY IMAGES ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Tsukiji Market

2While the famous seafood market has moved to Toyosu, Tsukiji’s lively market remains a treat. The area’s focus is now Tsukiji Uogashi, a modern, L-shaped complex packed with fish and fresh produce stalls. Outside you can snack on treats from producers that sell tamago-yaki (rolled omelettes) and kamaboko (steamed fish paste) to top Tokyo restaurants; shop for professional-quality kitchen tools, such as hand-forged knives and bamboo steamer baskets; listen to the banter of the merchants and their regular customers; and bask in the energy of a storied, old-style, open-air market.

1 Ginza & Tsukiji

CURIOSO/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Contemporary Architecture & Design

3Tokyo’s willingness to experiment with contemporary architecture seems at odds with its practical approach to just about everything else. But Japan’s architects are among the most celebrated in the world and this city is their showcase. You can see examples of many of their works along the boulevard Omote-sandō in Harajuku, but also at museums, malls and maybe even your hotel. Tokyo has long been a source of inspiration for designers around the world; perhaps it will be for you, too.

1 Arts & Architecture

TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT BUILDING; ARCHITECT: TANGE KENZŌ | COWARDLION/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Shopping in Harajuku

4Harajuku is the gathering point for Tokyo’s diverse fashion tribes. Tightly packed shopping bazaar Takeshita-dōri is a beacon for teens all over Japan. Omote-sandō, a broad boulevard with high-end designer boutiques, draws polished divas. The backstreets of Harajuku form Tokyo’s street-fashion laboratory; here’s where you’ll find the trendsetters, the peacocks and the style photographers who chronicle it all. More than a particular look, Harajuku symbolises an ethos of freedom of expression and (literal) transformation; shopping here is equal parts acquisition and inspiration.

7 Harajuku & Aoyama

TAKESHITA-DŌRI | CLUB4TRAVELER/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Meiji-jingū

5Tokyo’s largest and most famous Shintō shrine feels a world away from the city. It’s reached via a long, rambling forest path marked by towering torii (entrance gates). The grounds are vast, enveloping the classic wooden shrine buildings and a landscaped garden in a thick coat of green. Meiji-jingū is a place of worship and a memorial to Emperor Meiji, but it’s also a place for traditional festivals and rituals, where weddings are held and milestones celebrated – something you might catch if you’re lucky.

1 Harajuku & Aoyama

PIYAWAN CHAROENLIMKUL/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

teamLab Borderless

6teamLab is Japan’s most prominent digital-art collective, whose installations have appeared all over the world. At this museum, opened in 2018 and the first devoted solely to their work, they’ve gathered many of these installations (and added some new ones) to create an immersive, interactive experience unlike anything else. Weaving together several worlds, it makes for some great photos. Digital art in general is trending in Tokyo, and you’ll see it worked into other sights around the city.

1 Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

TEAMLAB BORDERLESS, ODAIBA, TOKYO; © TEAMLAB

Tokyo’s Top 16

Sensō-ji

7The spiritual home of Tokyo’s ancestors, this Buddhist temple was founded over 1000 years before the city got its start. Today it retains an alluring, lively atmosphere redolent of Edo (old Tokyo) and the merchant quarters of yesteryear. The colourful Nakamise-dōri arcade approaching the temple complex overflows with vendors selling snacks and souvenirs. The main plaza holds a five-storey pagoda, renovated in 2017, and a smoking cauldron of incense. Altogether, Sensō-ji is a heady mix of secular and sacred, and one of Tokyo’s most iconic sights.

1 Asakusa & Sumida River

ADDA83/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Yanesen

8In a city where the sentiment ‘new is better’ goes almost unquestioned, Yanesen – the collective name for the neighbouring Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi districts – stands out for having a profound connection to the old. Having largely survived the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923 and the Allied firebombing during WWII, Yanesen has a high concentration of vintage wooden buildings and venerable temples and shrines. Many artists and craftspeople live and work in the neighbourhood. Simply put, it’s a fantastic place to spend a day wandering.

1 Ueno & Yanesen

COWARDLION/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Sumo in Ryōgoku

9The purifying salt sails into the air. The two giants leap up and crash into each other. A flurry of slapping and heaving ensues. Who will shove the other out of the sacred ring and move up in the ranks? From the ancient rituals to the thrill of the quick bouts, sumo is a fascinating spectacle. Tournaments take place in Tokyo in January, May and September; outside of tournament season you can catch an early-morning practice session at one of the stables where wrestlers live and train.

3 Asakusa & Sumida River

J HENNING BUCHHOLZ/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Kabukiza

10 Dramatic, intensely visual kabuki is Japan’s most recognised art form. Kabuki developed in Tokyo, then known as Edo, during the 18th and 19th centuries, and an afternoon at the theatre has been a favourite local pastime ever since. Descendants of the great actors of the day still grace Tokyo stages, drawing devoted fans. Established in 1889, Kabukiza is Tokyo’s premier kabuki theatre. Renovated in 2013, the contemporary Kengo Kuma design preserved the showy traditional facade and includes a tower in which you’ll find a great teahouse and rooftop garden.

3 Ginza & Tsukiji

TK KURIKAWA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Tokyo’s Top 16

Cherry Blossoms in Yoyogi-kōen

11 Come spring, thousands of cherry trees around the city burst into white and pink flowers. If Tokyoites have one moment to let their hair down en masse, this is it. They gather in parks and along river banks for sake-fuelled cherry-blossom-viewing parties called hanami . Grassy Yoyogi-kōen, one of the city’s largest parks, is where you’ll find some of the most spirited and elaborate bacchanals – complete with barbecues and turntables. Many revellers stay long past dark for yozakura (night blossoms).

1 Harajuku & Aoyama

KANOKPOLTOKUMHNERD/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Mt Fuji

12 On a clear day, the perfect, snowcapped cone of Japan’s national symbol, Mt Fuji, is visible in the distance – putting all of Tokyo’s artificial monuments to shame. You can hunt for views from the observatories and restaurants that top many of the city’s highest buildings. Or head to the mountains west of Tokyo for a better look – an easy excursion from the capital. Even better yet, join the thousands of pilgrims who climb the sacred peak each summer. Watching the sunrise from the top is a profound, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2 Day Trips

SKYEARTH/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Tokyo National Museum

13 This is the world’s largest collection of Japanese art, home to gorgeous silken kimonos, evocative scroll paintings done in charcoal ink, earthy tea-ceremony pottery and haunting examples of samurai armour and swords. Even better: it’s totally manageable to view in half a day and organised into easy-to-grasp, thoughtful exhibitions. The Tokyo National Museum also includes the enchanting Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures, a hall filled with dozens of spot-lit Buddha statues dating from the 7th century, as well as art and artefacts that span the Asian continent.

1 Ueno & Yanesen

COWARDLION/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Shibuya Crossing

14 This is the Tokyo you’ve dreamed about and seen in movies: the frenetic pace, the mind-boggling crowds, the glowing lights and the giant video screens beaming larger-than-life celebrities over the streets. At Shibuya’s famous ‘scramble’ crossing, all of this comes together every time the light changes. It’s an awesome sight. Come during the day to get the perfect overhead shot from a nearby rooftop, or on a Friday or Saturday night when you’ll find the whole scene turned up to 11.

1 Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

SEAN PAVONE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Akihabara Pop Culture

15 Venture into the belly of the pop culture beast that is Akihabara, the centre of Tokyo’s otaku (geek) subculture. You don’t have to obsess about manga or anime (Japanese animation) to enjoy this quirky neighbourhood: as otaku culture gains more and more influence over the culture at large, ‘Akiba’ is drawing more visitors who don’t fit the stereotype. With its neon-bright electronics stores, retro arcades, cosplay (costume play) cafes – and now the chance to drive go-karts through the streets – it’s equal parts sensory overload, cultural mind-bender and just plain fun.

1 Kōrakuen & Akihabara

CRIS FOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Tokyo’s Top 16

Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

16 Even those unfamiliar with the magical world of master animator Miyazaki Hayao – creator of anime classics including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away – will find this museum enchanting. Fans won’t want to leave. Miyazaki designed the space himself and, like his films, it’s filled with whirring steampunk-esque machines and fairy-tale structures. And while you won’t see staff cosplaying any characters, many of the animated characters have been cleverly worked into the designs.

1 West Tokyo

COWARDLION/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

What’s New

New Toyosu Market

In a move years in the making, Tsukiji’s famous wholesale market moved to a new location in Toyosu in autumn 2018. The state-of-the-art facility is a different experience. The part of Tsukiji Market known as the ‘outer market’ still remains open to visitors.

New Museums

Two of Tokyo’s hottest new attractions include the digital-art museum teamLab Borderless and a whole museum devoted to one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists, Kusama Yayoi.

VR Attractions

Also on the high-tech front, arcades and amusement parks with VR attractions are popping up all around town. Our favourite is Sky Circus in Ikebukuro, where you can experience a simulation of being shot out of a cannon over the city.

Shibuya

Long-time favourite traveller hang-out Shibuya is halfway through a massive renovation project, with glossy new developments popping up like bamboo shoots in spring. The latest: Shibuya Stream, with restaurants and a riverside terrace.

Hot-Spot Tomigaya

In contrast to the corporate development in central Shibuya, nearby residential district Tomigaya is emerging as a creator-led destination for hip new cafes and boutiques.

Sake & Tea

After years of going all in on craft beer and third-wave coffee, Tokyo is taking what it’s learned and reconsidering its own heritage – namely sake and tea. We’re seeing increasing numbers of craft sake bars and third-wave-style teahouses.

Design Hotels

Tokyo’s midrange hotels have long been a bland bunch, but many new properties are incorporating original artwork and creative design.

Apartment Rental Crackdown

With the government deciding to strictly regulate apartment-sharing sites, hostels remain the way to go for budget travellers. Fortunately, Tokyo has a growing number of fantastic hostels, located all over the city.

More Activities

From kayaking along Tokyo’s old canal system to learning the art of ink-wash painting (sumie), there are myriad ways to connect with the city beyond just sightseeing.

Improved Ease of Travel

It’s never been easier to visit Tokyo: attractions, restaurants and shops increasingly have English-speaking staff and signage; there are more duty-free shopping opportunities, and ‘hands free’ courier services mean you don’t have to lug stuff back to your hotel or the airport.

For more recommendations and reviews, see lonelyplanet.com/tokyo

Need to Know

For more information, see Survival Guide

Currency

Japanese yen (¥)

Language

Japanese

Visas

Visas are generally not required for stays of up to 90 days.

Money

Convenience stores and post offices have international ATMs. Credit cards are widely accepted, though it’s still best to keep some cash on hand.

Mobile Phones

Prepaid data-only SIM cards (for unlocked smartphones only) are widely available at the airports and electronics stores. Many hotels now offer Handy phone service.

Time

Japan Standard Time (GMT/UTC plus nine hours)

Tourist Information

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Tourist Information Center has English-language information and publications. There are additional branches in Keisei Ueno Station, Haneda Airport and Shinjuku Bus Terminal.

WHEN TO GO

Spring and autumn have mild weather; spring has cherry blossoms. Mid-June to mid-July is the rainy season. August is hot and humid, but also has festivals.

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than ¥8000

A Dorm bed: ¥3000

A Free sights such as temples and markets

A Bowl of noodles: ¥800

A Happy-hour drink: ¥500

A 24-hour subway pass: ¥600

Midrange: ¥8000–20,000

A Double room at a business hotel: ¥15,000

A Museum entry: ¥1000

A Dinner for two at an izakaya (Japanese pub-eatery): ¥6000

A Live music show: ¥3000

Top End: More than ¥20,000

A Double room in a four-star hotel: from ¥35,000

A Private cooking class: ¥10,000

A Sushi-tasting menu: ¥15,000

A Taxi ride back to the hotel: ¥3000

Advance Planning

Three months before Purchase tickets for the Ghibli Museum; book a table at a top restaurant.

One month before Book tickets online for theatre and sporting events, activities, courses and tours of the Imperial Palace.

When you arrive Look for discount coupons for attractions at airports and hotels; have your accommodation help you reserve seats at popular izakaya.

Useful Websites

Go Tokyo (www.gotokyo.org) The city’s official website includes information on sights, events and suggested itineraries.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/tokyo) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Spoon & Tamago (www.spoon-tamago.com) Japanese arts and culture blog with great suggestions for cool spots and events.

Tokyo Cheapo (https://tokyocheapo.com) Hints on how to do Tokyo on the cheap.

Time Out Tokyo (www.timeout.jp) Arts and entertainment listings.

Arriving in Tokyo

Narita Airport An express train or highway bus to central Tokyo costs around ¥3000 (one to two hours). Both run frequently from 6am to 10.30pm; pick up tickets at kiosks inside the arrivals hall (no advance reservations required). Taxis start at ¥20,000.

Haneda Airport Frequent trains and buses (¥400 to ¥1200, 30 to 45 minutes) to central Tokyo run from 5.30am to midnight; times and costs depend on your destination in the city. There are only a couple of night buses. For a taxi, budget between ¥5000 and ¥8000.

Tokyo Station Connect from the shinkansen (bullet train) terminal here to the Japan Railways (JR) Yamanote line or the Marunouchi subway for destinations around central Tokyo.

For much more on Arrival

Language

Tokyo is making strides to provide more English on the ground for travellers. TICs have English-speaking staff (and plenty of English-language info). Most centrally located hotels, department stores and electronics emporiums also have staff who can speak some English. Train and subway stations have English signage; announcements are usually made in English (station staff rarely speak English). More and more restaurants in well-touristed areas are making an effort with English menus.

Inconsistency, though, is still common, with some cultural attractions (like museums) making a better effort than others. In general, English ability varies widely among Tokyoites. Asking for directions on the street is hit-or-miss.

For much more on Getting Around

Sleeping

As in any major city, accommodation will take up a major chunk of your Tokyo budget. But here’s the good news: there are plenty of attractive budget and midrange options, and levels of cleanliness and service are generally high everywhere. You can play it safe with a standard hotel or change it up with a more local option, like a ryokan (traditional inn with Japanese-style bedding) or a capsule hotel.

Marunouchi (Tokyo Station), Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro all have direct access to Narita Airport on the Narita Express; Ueno has its own direct line to Narita, the Skyliner. In general, neighbourhoods on the east side of town, like Ueno and Asakusa, have cheaper sleeping options; however, many travellers opt for one of the west-side hubs, Shinjuku or Shibuya, which have more nightlife.

For much more on Sleeping

First Time Tokyo

For more information, see Survival Guide

Checklist

A Purchase any of the Japan Rail Passes ( www.japanrailpass.net ) if you plan to travel extensively around the country.

A Get an international licence if you want to experience go-karting; car rental isn’t necessary for day trips, but does mean you have more flexibility.

What to Pack

A Tokyo hotels tend to be tiny, so bring as small a suitcase as possible.

A Japanese pharmacies don’t carry foreign medications; local substitutes can be found in a pinch, but it’s a good idea to have some stuff from home on hand.

A Certain medications that are legal in your home country may be illegal in Japan or require paperwork to import (see here ).

Top Tips for Your Trip

A Pick just a couple of proximate neighbourhoods to explore in a day. Tokyo is huge, and while public transport is effortlessly smooth, you don’t want to spend half the day on it.

A Splurge at lunch. Many restaurants – including those in notoriously pricey districts like Ginza – offer midday meals that cost half (or less!) of what you’d find at dinner, and often for a meal that is not significantly smaller or lower in quality.

A Rent a pocket wi-fi device. Tokyo has free wi-fi in spots, but it’s frustratingly clunky. Having constant internet access means you can use navigation apps to help you get around (as Tokyo’s address system is famously confusing).

A Walk: in the city centre the distance between two subway stations is rarely more than 10 minutes – you’ll save a little yen and see a more local side of the city.

What to Wear

Tokyoites are smart dressers – preferring to look as neat, tidy and on-trend as possible – but are never overly fancy. That said, expectations for foreign tourists are pretty low. Tracksuits are generally fine, although would, ideally, be of the latest brand-name style.

Only the highest-end restaurants and bars have enforced dress codes, and even that usually just means no sleeveless shirts or sandals for men. Religious sites (Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines) do not have dress codes.

Do keep in mind that you may be taking your shoes on and off a lot so it helps to have footwear that doesn’t need lacing up. You may also find yourself sitting on the floor, which can be tricky in short or tight clothing.

Be Forewarned

The biggest threat to travellers in Tokyo is the city’s general aura of safety; keep up the same level of caution and common sense that you would back home. For more, see here.

Credit Cards

Once uncommon in Japan, most businesses in Tokyo now accept credit cards, usually displaying the logo for the cards they accept on the cash register. If a restaurant, bar or shop is particularly small or old-looking (and you don’t see any signage), it’s wise to ask upfront.

Taxes & Refunds

Japan’s consumption tax is 8% (with a planned rise to 10% in October 2019). Many retailers (often noted by a sticker in English on the window) offer duty-free shopping for purchases of more than ¥5000. Only visitors on tourist visas are eligible; you’ll need to show your passport. For more, see here.

Tipping

A Tipping There is no custom of tipping in Japan, although if you hire a private guide a small gratuity for excellent service is appreciated.

A Service fee In lieu of a tip, high-end restaurants, bars and hotels often add a 10% to 15% service fee to the bill.

A Groups Some restaurants, no matter the price point, may levy a service charge on larger groups; a party as small as six may be deemed large, but it varies.

Language

Etiquette

Japan is famous for its etiquette, though it’s not as strict (or consistent) as you may think.

A Greetings Japanese typically greet each other with a slight bow, but may greet foreigners with a handshake; hugging and cheek-kissing would be considered alarming.

A Queueing Tokyoites are famous queuers, forming neat lines in front of subway doors, ramen shops and more.

A Eating & drinking Japanese frown upon eating and drinking on streets and on public transport; beverages in resealable containers are an exception.

A Shoes off Many lodgings and restaurants request you leave your shoes at the door. Take a quick look around for a sign – or slippers in the foyer – to see if this rule applies. Shoes should never be worn on tatami mats.

A Escalators Stand to the left on escalators.

Getting Around

For more information, see Transport

Efficient, clean and generally safe, Tokyo’s public transport system is the envy of the world. Of most use to travellers is the train and subway system, which is easy to navigate thanks to English signage.

Subway

The quickest and easiest way to get around central Tokyo. Runs 5am to midnight.

Train

Japan Railways (JR) Yamanote (loop) and Chūō-Sōbu (central) lines service major stations. Run from 5am to midnight.

Taxi

A pricey option, but the only one that runs all night; easy to hail.

Bicycle

A fun way to get around, though traffic can be intense. Rentals available; some hostels and ryokan (traditional inns) lend bicycles.

Walking

Subway stations are close to each other in the city centre; save cash by walking if you only need to go one stop.

Key Routes

Ginza subway line Shibuya to Asakusa, via Ginza and Ueno. Colour-coded orange.

Hibiya subway line Naka-Meguro to Ebisu, Roppongi, Ginza, Akihabara and Ueno. Colour-coded grey.

JR Yamanote line Loop line stopping at many sightseeing destinations, such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo and Ueno. Colour-coded light green.

JR Chūō line Express between Tokyo Station and Shinjuku, and onwards to points west. Colour-coded reddish-orange.

JR Sōbu line Runs across the city centre connecting Shinjuku with Iidabashi, Ryōgoku and Akihabara. Colour-coded yellow.

Yurikamome line Elevated train running from Shimbashi to points around Tokyo Bay.

How to Hail a Taxi

A Train stations and hotels have designated taxi stands.

A If there’s no stand, hail a cab from the street by standing on the curb and sticking your arm out, though it may be quicker to walk to the nearest stand.

A Red characters on the digital sign in the front window indicate a cab is free.

A All cabs run by the meter.

A Step back from the door; they open and close automatically.

Key Phrases

Chikatetsu (地下鉄) Japanese for subway.

JR Short for Japan Railways, which runs the useful Yamanote, Sōbu and Chūō Tokyo train lines as well as the Narita Express and the national shinkansen (bullet train) network.

Midori-no-madoguchi (緑の窓口; green window) Found in larger JR train stations, these are ticket counters for purchasing long-distance (including bullet train) tickets. Credit cards accepted.

Pasmo (パスモ) Prepaid rechargeable train pass, good on all city subways, trains and buses. Also works on vending machines and kiosks in stations and at some convenience stores. Sold at subway and commuter line stations.

Suica (スイカ) JR’s version of Pasmo, which functions exactly the same.

Tokkyū (特急) Limited express trains; includes both commuter trains that make limited stops and reserved-seat resort liners that require a surcharge to ride.

TOP TIPS

A Figure out the best route to your destination with the Japan Travel app ( https://navitimejapan.com ).

A Most train and subway stations have several different exits. Try to get your bearings and decide where to exit while still on the platform; look for the yellow signs that indicate which stairs lead to which exits.

A If you’re not sure which exit to take, look for street maps of the area, usually posted near the ticket gates, which show the locations of the exits.

A Taxi drivers almost never speak English; be prepared to show the name of your destination in Japanese.

When to Travel

A Trains and subways run 5am to midnight.

A The morning rush (7am to 9.30am) for trains going towards central Tokyo (from all directions) is the worst, with some lines running at 200% capacity.

A Until 9.30am women (and children) can ride in women-only cars, which tend to be less crowded.

A The evening rush (around 5pm to 8pm) hits trains going out of central Tokyo – though as many people work late or stay out, it’s not as bad as the morning commute.

A The last train of the night heading out of the city (around midnight) is also usually packed – with drunk people. Friday night is the worst.

A Trains going the opposite directions during peak hours (towards central Tokyo in the evening, for example) are uncrowded, as are trains in the middle of the day.

Tickets & Passes

A Prepaid rechargeable Suica and Pasmo cards (they’re interchangeable) work on all city trains, subways and buses.

A Purchase from any touch-screen ticket-vending machine in Tokyo (including those at Haneda and Narita Airports); most have an English option. JR stations sell Suica; subway and independent lines sell Pasmo.

A Both require a ¥500 deposit, which is refunded (along with any remaining charge) when you return the pass to any ticket window.

A Passes can be topped-up at any touch-screen ticket-vending machine (not just, for example, at JR stations for Suica passes) in increments of ¥1000.

A To use the cards, just run them over the card readers at the ticket gates upon entering and exiting.

A If you somehow manage to invalidate your card, take it to the station window and staff will sort it out.

A Bonus: fares for pass users are slightly less (a few yen per journey) than for

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  • (2/5)
    From experience I do not consider the maps in Lonely Planet guides much good, but the low point is reached in this guide to Tokyo. Quite a number of things are in locations a few hundred meters from the indicated spots, which is a nuance in compactness of Tokyo. Besides this it is as you expect from Lonely Planet: a decent guide.