top of page button
Clement Souchet/Unsplash

 Tokyo's technological leaps and passion for everything new have made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. A city made of smaller cities, Tokyo's neighbourhoods are individual and unique in what each can offer, from cultural sights to vast shopping malls. Get ready for a whirlwind of modernity and tradition in the neon-lit Japanese capital.

currency

Japanese Yen (JPY)

phone

Police: 110
Fire & Ambulance: 119

newspaper

Tokyo Journal: www.tokyojournal.com
The Japan Times: www.japantimes.co.jp
The Asahi Shimbun: www.asahi.com/ajw

population

Metro area: 37 million (2023)

info

Tokyo Tourist Information Center at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
2 Chome−8−1, Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
+81 3 5321 3077
Opening hours: daily 9:30am–6:30pm

website

www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html

The City

Before you set your foot outside your hotel door, be aware of Tokyo's complicated address system. Very few streets have names, instead, they are identified by numbers indicating building, block and area. 1-11-18, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku would therefore translate as the 18th building of the 11th block of the 1st area of Shibuya in Shibuya ward. Invest in a bilingual map of Tokyo and don’t hesitate to ask police for directions, as even the locals can get confused.

Once you have grasped the navigation system, Tokyo is a delight to get around. The metro is super efficient, the city is clean and people are courteous and friendly. Though addresses may be confusing, Tokyo is divided neatly into 23 wards, each with a distinctive characteristic. Visit Asakusa for old-town charm and temples, Ginza for shopping, Mecca and Akihabara for electronics galore. Blend old and new to get a taste of Tokyo’s great diversity.

Variety is Tokyo's key. Few other world cities are as wonderfully idiosyncratic. International and local influences intertwine in cuisine, festivals, music, galleries, shopping and even accommodation. Bizarre and fast-moving, yet peaceful and intrinsically religious, Tokyo's identity is above all, distinctly Japanese, despite existing as a world of its own.

Woman in Tokyo oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

Whether you’re a techno buff or want to take in some more traditional Japanese sights and sounds, this city can offer it all. Visit splendid Shinto shrines or indulge in some shopping on Tokyo’s equivalent of Fifth Avenue.

Nattee Chalermtiragool/Shutterstock.com

Meiji-jingu

IM_photo/Shutterstock.com

Senso-ji

LO Kin-hei/Shutterstock.com

Kabuki-za

f11photo/Shutterstock.com

Shibuya Crossing

J. Henning Buchholz/Shuttertstock.com

Sumo Wrestling

thebunwangs/Shutterstock.com

Tokyo National Museum

J. Henning Buchholz/Shutterstock.com

Mori Art Museum

jumoobo/Shutterstock.com

Edo-tokyo Museum

Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock.com

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

maroke/Shutterstock.com

Tokyo Great Cycling Tour

SweetLeMontea/Shuttertstock.com

Tokyo Disneyland

Sarunyu L/Shuttertstock.com

National Museum of Nature and Science

Travel mania/Shutterstock.com

Rainbow Bridge

Satit Soithongcharoen/Shutterstock.com

Ueno Zoo

Orest Drozda/Shutterstock.com

Japanese Cooking Classes

View Apart/Shutterstock.com

Yebisu Beer Museum

Closeup of a bowl of Sashimi with hands of Japanese chef cowardlion/Shutterstock.com

Dining

Boasting more than 300.000 restaurants, cafes, and food stalls, the only problem when going for dinner in Tokyo is too much choice. Japanese food is famous for its clean and fresh taste, but here you can really delve into the depths of this oriental cuisine. Sample the best sushi before moving on to more adventurous fare in an izakaya or yatai street stall.

High-end dining can be expensive, but in restaurants such as the New York Grill, there is no doubt that you are paying for the very best in terms of cuisine and, in the former, spectacular views. Many of the more pricey venues offer great deals for lunch, so it is worth making the most of these culinary delights earlier in the day. Book ahead for most places, especially during the weekends and watch out for a particular eating etiquette. Sticking your chopsticks into your rice vertically is a funerary custom!

darqdesign/Shutterstock.com

Elio Locanda Italiana

Xenya and Igor/Shutterstock.com

Brasserie Aux Amis

CatchaSnap/Shutterstock.com

Pizzakaya Roppongi

Kumpol Chuansakul/Shutterstock.com

Toh-Ka-Lin

PI/Shutterstock.com

Nirvanam

christy clow/Shutterstock.com

Burger Mania Hiroo

Kulit Na Nakorn/Shutterstock.com

Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511

David Franklin/Shutterstock.com

Salsita

one photo/Shutterstock.com

Ise Sueyoshi

TMON/Shutterstock.com

Tsuta

YDG/Shutterstock.com

Matsuya Ueno

HikoPhotography/Shutterstock.com

Ikinari Steak

Group of japanese friends spending time in Tokyo and having fun oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com

Cafés

Café culture is thriving in Tokyo, where novelties such as the manga craze have taken over many venues. In addition, the Japanese are caffeine fanatics and kissaten, literally, a 'tea-drinking shop' that is also a coffee shop, has been set up on every corner to cater to this demand.

During the past decade, Tokyo has seen the emergence of the 24-hour manga kissaten, which offers comic books, internet access, and even a place to sleep for cartoon-addicted night owls. Manga, literally translated as 'crazy drawings', total almost 40 per cent of everything published in Japan. Magazines can amount to 5 or 6 hours of reading time each, which perhaps indicates the need for around-the-clock access in manga cafés.

Katsiaryna Pakhomava/Shutterstock.com

Zarigani Café

Daniel Hooper/Unsplash

Kayaba Coffee

mavo/Shutterstock.com

Dean & Deluca

Nishihama/Shuttertstock.com

Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Starbucks Reserve® Roastery

Vicky Ng/Unsplash

Higashiya

Bar blurry Kwanbenz/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

Most socialising done in Tokyo is away from home, hence the infinite number of venues that offer alcohol in the city, from the ubiquitous izakaya to the more exclusive glitzy bars. The nightlife in Tokyo has something to offer everyone. Whether you are looking for a hedonistic party, superclub sounds, or chilled-out beats, it’s all here for the taking. Lounge about or dance the night away at Tokyo's best clubs.

Kris Sevinc/Unsplash

Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku

MIKI Yoshihito/Shutterstock.com

Golden Gai

Arina P Habich/Shutterstock.com

The Room

Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

H2 International Bar

bbernard/Shutterstock.com

Odeon Tokyo

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Mogambo Tokyo

astarot/Shutterstock.com

Geronimo Shot Bar

Shibuya shopping street siriwat sriphojaroen/Shutterstock.com

Shopping

Shopping in this city has become more of an art than a simple pleasure. If you’ve got cash to spend, this is the paradise of all shopping paradises. Shopping malls and department stores abound and specific areas are often devoted to certain wares to make life easier.

Roppongi is more than just hundreds of shops; it is a mini city of restaurants, clubs, cafés, cinemas, hotels, and museums. This is where the expat crowd, in particular, party, eat, drink, shop, and hang out and it is about as far from traditional Japan as possible. Roppongi Hills, a mall comprising most of the above, is at the centre of this hive of activity and attracts a good percentage of Tokyo’s serious shoppers. Housing high street, boutique and designer brands, you can safely expect to find everything you’re looking for.

If you want to avoid more mainstream bookstores and spend some time looking for some hidden literary treasures, Kanda is where to go. Browse among the second-hand shops that line Yasukuni Dori and you’re bound to stumble upon a few gems. Good Day Books is Tokyo’s oldest and most famous used English bookstore and you can spend hours here among the 40.000 second-hand and new copies.

northsan/Shutterstock.com

Roppongi Hills

Maridav/Shutterstock.com

Isetan Shinjuku Store

imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

Ginza Mitsukoshi

imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

Shibuya 109

taka1022/Shutterstock.com

Oriental Bazaar

petrunjela/Shutterstock.com

Laox: Duty Free Flagship at Akihabara

oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com

Ginza

noina/Shutterstock.com

Harajuku

KPG_Payless/Shutterstock.com

Aoyama

Areep J/Shutterstock.com

Akihabara

gori910/Shutterstock.com

Kappabashi Dori

PR Image Factory/Shutterstock.com

Don Quijote

Woman tourist is using smart phone at Shibuya cross walk junction. noina/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

Narita International Airport (NRT)

Two airports serve Tokyo: Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport (mainly for internal flights). Narita Airport is accessible by the Narita Express Train (N'EX), which is the fastest way to get from the city centre to the airport. It takes approx. 60 minutes to Tokyo Station and 40 minutes to Ueno Station. Trains depart approx. every half hour. You may consider getting a N'EX TOKYO Round Trip Ticket in the JR EAST Travel Service Centers and from JR Ticket Offices at Terminal 1 or 2. This ticket allows you to transfer to any other JR stations within Tokyo once.

The Kesei Skyliner trains go from Narita to Ueno/Nippori station in approx. 45 minutes.

For a cheaper choice, the Access Express goes to Higashi-Ginza station in approx. 65 minutes.

Limousine buses run regularly from Narita airport to key points in the city in approx. 75-125 minutes.

Taxis are available for the 70 km journey but fares are astronomical.

Address: Narita Internation Airport, Tokyo

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.narita-airport.jp/en

More Information:

Haneda Airport (HND)

Haneda Airport is served by the Tokyo Monorail in approximately 20 minutes to Hamamatsucho Station, leaving every 10 minutes almost around the clock.

Keikyu’s limousine buses run regularly from Haneda airport to key points in the city. For Tokyo city centre, it takes approx. 40 minutes.

Address: Haneda Airport, Tokyo

Email:

Phone:

Website: https://tokyo-haneda.com/en/index.html

More Information: www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp ; www.keikyu-bus.co.jp/en/airport/

Best Time to Visit

During the high season, mid-June to mid-September and late April to early May, the weather in Tokyo is very hot and humid. It is also the peak tourist season, which you will quickly notice from long lines at the museums and higher accommodation rates. Early June through July is also the rainiest part of the year. By August, the heat is at its peak. This is the month many students and workers are on summer vacation.

April and November, the weather is dry and sunny. It is considered a pleasant time to be in Tokyo. It is also in April when locals and visitors flock to Tokyo's urban parks to witness the bloom of cherry blossoms trees.

Winter is the low season (from January to March), and if you don't mind colder weather this is a good period to travel to Tokyo. The humidity is low and snow is rare. During this time the accommodation rates are slightly lower.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Passport / Visa

Japan may be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of all European Union member states, Australia, Canada, the USA, as well as several other world countries.

Citizens of countries not listed as not requiring visas will need to apply in advance via a Japanese mission or consulate closest to them.

Special visa requirements apply to citizens of China and the Philippines and travellers visiting Japan as part of a cruise journey.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html

More Information:

Public Transport

Tokyo has one of the most efficient train and subway systems in the world. Trains are clean and fast and all stations have signs in English.

The major train and subway systems are East Japan Railway (JR), Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway. There are other railway companies. Each company has its own ticket. A variety of tickets and passes are on offer to make it easier than buying individual tickets for every trip. You can also consider getting a prepaid Suica Travel pass to travel on JR, subways, and buses. These can be purchased at JR ’Green Window’ areas or ticket machines.

The East Japan Railway (JR) is represented by the green letters 'JR' logo, offering the fastest service but at a higher price. It operated overland train lines are colour-coded, the most frequently used line in Tokyo municipality is the Yamanote line (green).

Tokyo Metro is run by a private company. The subway consists of 9 lines with the light blue letter 'M' logo. Subways and trains operate from 5am to midnight.

Toei Subway operates 4 subway lines by the Bureau of Transportation with a green shape logo.

Buses in Tokyo are run by several different companies. It is less confusing to take the subway or train around the city, but bus routes are efficient. Nevertheless, few signs are in English which makes navigation difficult. Bus route guides in English are available at Toei subway stations and hotels.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/index.html

More Information:

Taxi

Taxis are expensive but convenient in Tokyo. Weekend rates are even more pricey, as are rides between 11pm and 5am. Taxi stands are located in almost all busy areas and tipping is not expected.

In Tokyo, several ride-sharing and taxi-hailing apps are available to make transportation even more convenient, such as Uber, DiDi, and GO.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Post

Postboxes are red in Tokyo and the slot on the left is for domestic mail, and the right one is for international. English script is acceptable when writing addresses and stamps can be purchased at convenience stores. Post offices are indicated by a red and white ’T’ and are located everywhere.

Address: Tokyo Central Post Office - 2 Chome-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo

Email:

Phone: +81 570 001 736

Website:

More Information:

Pharmacy

Pharmacy in Japanese is 'Yakkyoku'. Generally, pharmacies are open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and closed on Sundays, while drugstores are usually open 7 days a week and sometimes 24/24.

One of the biggest and most popular pharmacy chains is Matsumoto Kiyoshi. They have stores scattered around the whole island and offer original brands of drugs and medicines including cosmetics and beauty products. Other chains in Japan are SunDrug and Tsuruha Drug.

Address: Sundrug Shinjuku-dori - 3 Chome-26-14 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Electricity

Japan operates on a 100V supply voltage and 50/60Hz. The country uses Type-A plugs, which have two flat-sided prongs.

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Telephone

Country code: +81

Area code: 03

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information: