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“"There's no place like Home...... THERES NO PLACE LIKE TOKYO!"”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Tokyo

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San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 helpful votes
“"There's no place like Home...... THERES NO PLACE LIKE TOKYO!"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2009

Tokyo is the best! My hubby and I went for Honeymoon, did not regret anything about this city, perfect place to visit, very safe and low crime rate. Went for 2 weeks at the beginning of February 09, not enough time! It was cold so we had hoodies and had to buy ear muffs and scarfs cause the wind was so strong and alot of the city your are walking up hill. When we arrived from the states at Narita airport the Japanese are sooo friendly! We were so surprised because in states people are yelling at u at the airport to hurry up. Everyone greeted us and asked if we needed help, they could tell we were American so they directed us to speak with someone in English. We took airport limousine shuttle to New Sano Hotel and it was about an hour ride, not boring very exciting and cheaper than taking taxi. These are the MUST for Tokyo(no particular order): 1)Shibuya-( MY FAV)shopping district "109" tower decked out female dream has very fashionable clothes, accessories its like 12 floors nothing but girls stuff. Restaurants & fast food Mc Donalds/ Starbucks. Also has what they call "food show" it like food court but no sit down area. Area is busy with lights and just alot in general going on, great picture area 2) Akihabara- (HUBBY FAV)electronic district for cheap! My hubby got ipod car adapter for like $9bucks and we bought 2 different tripod stands for our camera, very handy on trip! They have sooo many things make sure to buy from the vendor streets and not dept store, its cheaper. Lots of places to eat too. 3)Disneyland/sea - very fun and if not disneyland then pick the sea since we dont have in states and they have cool shows. 4) Roppongi- newest district mall with movie theatre and has upscale eating lots of food choices, very nice trendy places/architecture and night scene for adult beverages and PARTYING! 5) Harajuku- has big 100 yen store($1store), people dress up in characters and all weird on the streets but its fun. There is a shrine close to it that u have to go to. 6)Tokyo Tower- views are amazing, they have restaurants inside and souvenir shops, pay a little extra to take the highest view its beautiful and go towards the evening for breathtaking night pictures to see city all lighted up! 7)Imperial Palace- near Ginza district , you can knock these out in 1 day. Only pictures from grounds of Palace also go to their garden park grounds. 8) Vie de France(bakery) they have one across from Hiro Plaza and at Akihabara metro station. Best chocolate bread and pastries, they make better french food than anyone! 9)Mc Donalds- they have a shrimp burger and shaka shaka chicken(chicken u shake in a bag w/ ur choice of seasoning) that is the best! The only let down was Sony building cause they had everything we have in states, it wasnt anything new to see. Over all Japan is the friendliest country, great variety of food, best shopping, and tons of attractions. Great trip for family, young couples, partying, romance & adventure. If you go you will always want to go back, its a trip of a life time!

Helpful?
3 Thank imsmart_2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
90 reviews
88 helpful votes
“Great city! Wished we had more time!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2009

We are a family with 2 young boys, ages 4 and 6. We were in Tokyo in mid-June 2009 for 7 days.


- contrary to popular belief, Tokyo is not as expensive "as" most people believe it to be. You can eat like a Japanese and it will be reasonable (eg a bowl of tempura shrimp bowl of rice will cost about 600 yen), but if you want to eat a western diet, ie TGIF or Wolfgang Puck, then you will pay thru your nose for it. At all the large shopping centers like Isetan, Odakkyu, etc, they have depachikas, or basement food halls, selling all sorts of food items for reasonable prices, a meal will cost about 600-1200 yen. Sushizanmai is a chain of sushi bars, reasonable prices....we don't read Japanese but I think they were having a promotion (so cheaper price than usual) but we had medium fatty tuna (chuo toro, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, top quality) for 150 yen a piece. The cucumber rolls only about 120 yen. We went into a ramen shop in Ueno and the ramen about 650 yen. A stick of yakitori from the Tsukiji fish mkt yakitori stall is 100 yen a stick....really really good (comparing to the other bars/shops where the chicken meat stank a bit...I didnt want to eat it, but my husband thought it was fine). Uniqlo is the Japanese version of GAP, tshirts for 1000 yen, white shirts for 1500 yen, yukatas for 4900 yen, mens jinbei (like a yukata for wearing at home) for 1900 yen. 100 yen shops (Daiso, Cando) sell all sorts of wares for 100 yen (we bought onsen bath powder, toys, Hello Kitty merchandise, cute bento boxes, etc). One caution is that you do not go to Japan to shop, you go to sight-see, so don't expect to shop cheap there. I am shoe-shopping fanatic and shoes in Japanese malls cost about 12500 yen and up. I did score a great deal by chance though at the 7th floor of Isetan (seems like it is a deals-floor, tons of women buying stuff like they were free!!!) where a pair of slingbacks cost 3100 yen. Only one pair in that design and size....they were waiting for me!!!

- very very clean city. We walked around for blocks literally looking for a garbage bin/receptacle...none in sight, not even in the malls. You'd think that they would put at least one garbage bin near the escalators...but none. The funny thing was that, with the difficulty in finding a garbage bin, there is no garbage/litter ANYWHERE.....which is commendable in a great way (great moral upbringing) but do Tokyo-ites carry their garbage all the way home?

- massive transportation system, very efficient, all signs avail in English. Rail staff very helpful and some of them (staff) on the platform even spoke English, not just the information counter girl. You could get lost in the first day or so till you get the hang of it (especially in the large stations like Tokyo Stn and Shinjuku Stn). Tip: get a Suica card, as it is a preloaded card that you just swipe and don't have to worry about how much to pay for what distance etc. If you take the Narita Express (N'Ex) from the airport into Tokyo, you pay 3100 yen for the airport to Tokyo trip and they give you a free Suica card good for 2000 yen of travel. The Suica card can also be used for vending machines (buying water, pop) or even in some convenience stores/restaurants. The card is a must-have. We went to Tokyo with very minimal luggage (2 bags for the whole family)....so it was ok to drag the bags up the stairs, but when you go back home, take the airport limousine bus. Cost is the same.

- go to Disney after 6pm and use the "after 6 passport"....only 3100 yen (about half price of the regular fullday passport) but with way less crowds. We went in mid June after 6pm to Disney Sea and it was not busy. It was on a weeknight. The waits were about 0-10 mins...most were in the 3 min range. The only drawback this way is that you have to rush thru the park in order to complete the park in 4 hours. However, since the lines are not busy, it is do-able in 4 hours. Also, it is cooler in the evening (much more) than in the day (it was very hot and humid in the day). In June, the sun sets in Tokyo at 7-ish pm. We took the subway from Shinjuku Stn to Disney (2 trains, with a change at Tokyo Stn), The actual train ride is only 30 mins but if you include all the walking (when changing lines at Tokyo Stn) will take about 1 hour. The Stn at Disney is Mahaima Stn.

- we went twice to the Pokemon Center in Tokyo. Take the Daimon or Hamamatsucho Stn. Not really what I expected, but the kids went crazy there...its a store that sells all sorts of Pokemon merchandise, from cards, to DVDs to DS games. We went twice....the first time just before they opened and we were immediately worried....there was a huge lineup. Once the shop opened, the crowd was let into the shop, it was fine. There were kids everywhere loading up their DS with games (seems like it, I couldn't read any Japanese and most of the staff did not speak English). The second time we went in the afternoon and it was not busy at all.

- don;t bother going to the East Gardens at the Imperial Palace (read my review on it), waste of time. Go to the New Otani Hotel instead.

- we went (well, attempted to go) to the Tokyo Museum 3 times. The first time was on Monday (they close on Mondays!) and then again in Tuesday (for some reason they were close on that Tuesday). We went again on Wed and it was open. Tip: check the hours before going there.

- near the Tokyo Museum is the Toshogu Shrine....it was draped in tarp for renos....otherwise it was good. There was a flame whose origins are traced back to the atomic bombings in Japan and it is a peace memorial.

- we stayed at the Keio Plaza Hotel for 6 nights in the Plaza Premier room, 38th floor, good views, good clean rooms, large size for Jap standards. The hotel also had a free shuttle to Disney (at certain times only)

- temple of the 47 ronins: if you're interested in Japanese history and know of the story of the 47 ronin, then do take the opportunity to check this place out...easy to get to on the subway. My 6 yr old really enjoyed the place and especially lighting incense at each of the 47 tombs. It is called the Sengakuji Temple.

- Tsukiji fish mkt: a must see, worth the trip for the fresh sushi and the yakitori stall. Also, great to see all kinds of fish they sell there. Also a good place for buying rice crackers, dried fish, Kobe beef and sushi hunks.

- Oedo Onsen Monogatari: great onsen, seems like the women's side had a lot more pools than the mens side...very nice outdoor pools. The outdoor pools are nice when you have the nice evening cool breeze amid the hot pools. Very relaxing after a long day of walking. The admission fee is also cheaper in the evenings. If you are like us, where time is limited and we don';t have time to travel to Gunma or Hakone for the day trip or overnight trip, then this is your very best bet, even my kids loved it, and asked to go back again. (read my review of this onsen).

- the Asakusa temple was also under tarp for renos.

Helpful?
2 Thank pammyvancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
143 reviews
120 helpful votes
“A large city”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2009

I was in Tokyo from 29 April to 05 May 2009. I flew in from Chitose Airport and landed in Haneda Airport. One thing to note is that you have to return the luggage tags to the service staff, after you have collected the luggage and exit the area. Umbrella can be carried onboard as opposed to my experience in Melbourne, Australia.

I have two options of travelling to my hotel at Higashi Shinjuku. I opted to travel by the airport limousine to Shinjuku city terminal that is just outside Keio Mall and then a 710 yen taxi ride after that. The other option, is by the Tokyo subway, which you may have to change to different lines to reach the destination. My journey was mostly via highway and a non event.

The area around Shinjuku Station, is a mass of shopping centres, namely Keio Mall, Odakyu, My Lord, Lumine and a horde of others. There is also good rail connectivity from Shinjuku Station and even to JR lines. Overall, this area has all your shopping and eating needs on a moderate cost regime.

Disney Store has an outlet in Sibuya. As it is more spacious, you really see the crowd. It is another of those district in Tokyo that is self contain as far as food and shopping is concern. I actually tried one food outlet, where you are given 45 minutes of all you can eat dessert.

The teen display are in a place called Harajuku. It is good for a one off visit. The one happening street - Takeshita, can be so pack that it is shoulder to shoulder. Nothing spectacular about Takeshita Street. It is a one street that is crowded in Harajuku. Small cafes and shops dot this street. If you walk through this street, you may have to walk back in order to move to another destination. I tried two side streets and it leads to a dead end, so there is a concern when a stampede starts for whatever reasons. Also, don't assume that you will see teen girls that dolls up, like a window display, the can be very few and nothing at all. Nothing really to buy in this area, more like an addidtional feather on the headband.

The Tsukijishijo Station, is a place to go, if you want to visit the wholesale fish market. Go early, i.e. way before dawn to see the real stuff of people doing the deals. Remember that it is a fish market and so it is wet and they have this small vintage carts that moves around to transport the goods. As an afternath, the crowd seems to like the sushi shops that is at the perimeter, so expect queue of up to 20 deep. Among the sushi shops are small shops selling stuffs that are related to the place. They have large hooks, knives and confectionery in these shops. Worth a visit, I mean, see the auction, eat sushi and buy tidbits, thats what I did.

The Yasakuni Ninja Shrine is one place to see one aspect of the Japanese culture. It goes beyond the Japanese war in China. There are two paid sections within the ground of the shrine. Do viist them and also to help them by spending a few "yen" at the cafe.

The Emperor's Palace is within walking distance of the Yasakuni Ninja Shrine and so you may want to combine the two destintions. You should walk back in the direction of the Yasakuni Ninja Shrine gate and the subway station and turning right, into the park will lead you to the Emperor's Palace. Along the way, I saw a gymnasium, which was having judo competition. Went in for a while to soak up some culture.

At the entrance of the Emperor's Palace's garden, you will be given an entry token, which you must give back on your exit. The Emperor's Palace's garden is large and beautiful. In the midst, is a cafe and I bought a wonderful wafer ice cream, so you may want the same option. At the other exit, is a subway station, so you can be on your way. Overall, you can finish the two destiantion within one morning and leaving elsewhere for lunch.

Odaiba is an over hype place. Thats my opinion only. Nothing to shout about in Venus Fort, although a salesman was trying to interest me in buying a pair of shoes that will will show different shades of grey. The amusement park, ferris wheel and car showroom makes up the other portion of the area. I, actually took a light lunch there, complete with ice cream.

Do scour literature on the different district of Tokyo, as some of them, may have nothing of interest to a tourist. Among the large and good areas are Ikeburo and Uneno, Akihabara and Asakusa. They are recommended to visit. In the middle of no where and in a place called Kasuga, they have a roller coaster, supermarket, cafe and DIY store in one cluster. This is one example of trying the unknown.

Bento, which is food in a multi compartment tray, is probably, the cheaper of your food and I, thought that it was good. I bought one set at the shopping mall that is connected to Ikeburo Station. It was freshly made infront of me and it was a good decision. Do try them, as the locals are big time on this stuff.

Tokyo Hands, is one place, that you should visit. It is about 7 storey high at the one in Shibuya and within each floor, they have three sections, namely, A, B and C. I bought slim carbon laced chopping board that is also anti bacteria.

Street food is fun and I bought a fried pancake that is filled with redbean and it was good. Yakitori is another local choice. At Asakusa, they have a machine that turns out pastry at 3 per 100 yen. I, just bought them and surprisingly it was good.

Be careful of the expiry date, when you buy food in Japan. Some don't have long shelf life. Also note those in refrigerated display, which may need careful handling.

A word on train travels. 1 yen and 5 yen coins are not acceptable on trains. Always buy the ticket from the automated machine that is closest to the gates, as some stations have multiple line and you may buy the correct fare to the destination, but from a different company. Refund, is not an issue and they don't ask you, why?. When changing lines, you may actually get out of the station and walking on the street to the other line as in my case to Asakusa. Just don't be alarmed and follow the directional signs. In short, trust the Japanese. If you change your mind about the destination, no problem, just keep travelling and when you reach your destination, simply top up, the fare, if it is insufficient. In all, the rails are friendly.

Currency exchange may be a problem for some nationality. I changed mine at Mitsui Sumitomo in Shinjuku. Note that the same bank, but at a different location may not have the same service. As an example, Mitsui Sumitomo in Asakusa don't do currency exchange. Many currency are not accepted for exchange, so be forewarned. As an example, Malaysian currency won't do any good at Mitsui Sumitomo in Shinjuku. The conclusion is to change your currency at the airport or to sign your expenditure via credit card, like VISA.

Shop keepers in Japanese may not be Japanese in racial stock. Higashi Shinjuku is, like Korean town, with a few Chinese and Thailand outlet. Don't ever eat at the last Thai restaurant that is diagonally from E hotel. It was a rip off. This particular restaurant is at basement 1, with a steamboat restaurant on the right of the entrance at Basement 1. I also found a lot of Chinese in Asakusa and Akhibara. The Indians also have some IT shops at Akhibara. I saw a Nepali run shop that sells "prata" in Shibuya. In short, if the shopkeeper does not look Japanese, they are probably a foreigner. A tell tale sign, is when they they converse to their staff in non Japanese language.

In all, Tokyo, is quite dirty, at least in comparison with Sapporo. You may find the homeless, like the one I saw, just metres away from the Keio Mall, in Shinjuku. The Japanese were nice people and will try to help you, if you need some answers, but be good at interpreting their hand signals, gestures and facial emotions. The city is not that expensive as I envisage, althought I saw a half million yen kinomo at Keio Mall.

I like Tokyo and will visit the place in a couple of years time. I am still enjoying all the food and tidbits that occupies half my luggage and report here that every single one is good. I love their cakes, ice cream and chocolates.

Helpful?
2 Thank tengkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Makati City
Level Contributor
2 reviews
5 helpful votes
“Arigato Gozaimas”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 October 2008

Japan has four climates and during my vacation I just experienced the winter season. And at this time the Philippines is experiencing hot weather.

Img_2157Their main mode of transportation is the train system. They do have bus and taxi but less people use it. They have provided maps all over the station so that people will not get lost. Of course, for short distance, they use bicycle.

They are very organized such as that they have the right lane reserved for people who are in a hurry in the escalator

Hindi rin uso ang singit sa kanila. They are very patient in waiting for their turn.

In a train, before people get in they let the others embark the train first.

They always provide hot towel for cleaning of hands in the restaurants.

They provide mouthwash in their lavatory.

There is always tissue in their restrooms.

The tourists are well provided with maps in amusement parks, zoo, museums and gardens.

The McDonald’s and KFC’s value meals allows you to choose from all the drinks such as coffee, cocoa, pineapple juice etc with added charges.

PeImg_2177ople are allowed to perform in the streets, whether they will sing, dance, acrobat, etc.

You can leave your things anywhere and for sure no one will get it.

In the grocery store, it is self-service. Meaning, you serve as the bagger of your own merchandise.

There are a lot of dating couples in this country. It is actually difficult to determine who the girl is because both have long hairs.

Guys shave their armpits and eyebrows.

Haagen_vendo

Vendo machine anywhere. Haagen-Dazs is available in a vendo machine.

So many Coca-Cola products available such as Ginger Ale, Vitaming, Corn Soup. etc.

They are workaholic people. Can you believe it that the rush hour in this country is 9pm – 10pm?

There are a lot of pachinko slot that even men in suit plays.

Disney Sea can only be seen in Tokyo, Japan.

The only sad part in visiting JAPAN during Christmas and New Year is that they don’t really celebrate. Unlike in the Philippines, you can really feel the spirit.

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3 Thank animagus08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
21 helpful votes
“Opposites Attract”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2008

From vertiginous buildings to miniature trees, Japan is a land of surprising contrasts. And its iconic capital, Tokyo, showcases these extremes to dazzling effect.

A country famed for being unfailingly polite, Japan shrugs off formality and inhibition after-hours for rowdy drinks at intimate izakaya (shot bars), and abandons etiquette at local karaoke establishments.

Behind the flashy neon facades hide a multitude of Alladin’s Cave-style treasures. Thai restaurants, complete with tinkling water and lush greenery, lurk in non-descript office block buildings, sixteen floors up. Traditional Japanese ryoken (inns) nestle together behind mega shopping complexes. And exquisitely adorned Geisha shimmy through swathes of grey-clad early morning commuters at Shinjuku station.

Without a companion versed in Japanese, the average traveller may find Tokyo bewilderingly impenetrable. But look ‘lost’ enough and invariably some kind soul will take pity on you and come to your aid, speaking always in immaculate English.

At once understated and brash, Tokyo’s charm is in its opposites. The city manages to feel both reassuringly familiar and fantastically alien, and is the perfect destination for finding your own parallel universe.

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3 Thank luofei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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