Tokyo Travel Advice

Key's To a Successful Hunt in Tokyo....

Yes yes I know it's a Transformers blog but I figure that since I do get a chance to go to Japan once every year or 2, I thought it would be nice to give a little bit of information that might be helpful especially for a first time traveler. Most specific toy hunting tips will be in another section, so this is more just general travel information.

1. The Metro System

Yes it looks scary and intimidating and sort of like a 2 year old's crayon drawing, but believe me when I say this, they have one of the best metro systems in the world and this doesn't even include the privately owned trains that you can also access like the JR trains from these stations.

That said it will take a little while to get use to so whenever you are going anywhere, leave a little extra travel time. Don't worry though, even locals get confused.

A quick tip though, buy a SUICA card pictured below. Rather than fumbling around with change this allows you to load it with fund, tap and go.

2. You can only go on a successful hunt if your body is recharged with a full belly. While I could literally write a whole chapter on places to eat, I'll keep this simple. Don't spend all your days eating at fast food type noodle houses, curry places etc. Don't get me wrong, they are good food, but you are missing out on a whole number of places to eat. You'll know it's a fast food place generally by the artificial food in the window and vending machine style ordering system. There are literally hundreds of places that you can eat at and some do provide an English menu. If you'd like any of my specific places to eat please feel free to contact me but all I can say is check out bloggers like Tokyo Eats who have done a lot of research work for you.

3. Hotels are small, lets face it. Now I know some people may say especially for the toy enthusiast that Akihabara is the place to go, but it's not the place to stay. For those the more budget friendly options you can find great deals on AirBnB's website. I would personally look to stay around the Shibuya/Roppongi area.

However if you're looking for a hotel recommendation there's 2 that really come to mind both located in Shinjuku which in my opinion is a fantastic area to stay due to the train station there allowing you to hit pretty much any area of Tokyo with at most 1 transfer between lines.
Normally I stay at the Keo Plaza Hotel It's primarily a business hotel but their rates are relatively decent depending on the room that you stay. However the biggest factor for me is space, the rooms aren't tiny! I'm not a big guy but I do enjoy having a little room to walk around when taking a break at the hotel. Another option about 10 minutes away is the Best Western Shinjuku. Now the only catch is this is smack dab in the middle of the red light district (Kabukicho). Don't worry you won't get robbed, the area is actually very safe, mostly frequented by business men and tourists looking for a little "fun".

4. Bring cash. Not a whole lot mind you but some places still do not readily accept credit cards so always keep some cash around. They're especially handy for vending machines which if you go during the summer, you will be going to every hour.

5. When to go? Anytime!! Well okay not anytime, summer time during late July and August is HOT and frankly not very pleasant to walk around the whole day in, where as June to early July is not as bad but rainy most days out of the week. In my opinion, the best times to go are March-early May or late September to early November.

6. Smoking is allowed in bars, clubs and certain areas of restaurants and coffee shops. Often times the ventilation isn't the best so be prepared. That said, smoking outside is prohibited except for designated smoking areas. Please don't walk around and smoke. I know in many other countries it's acceptable but in Tokyo it's not and frankly it's a safety hazard since you're in such a crowded city. You'd be surprised to see the number of tourists I've observed not obeying such a simple rule.

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