Japan has always been on my visit list. Sushi, bullet trains, technology, shrines, castles, funky cafes, and geishas... Who wouldn't want to experience that!? And I heard once you visit Japan emojis suddenly make sense... well I can now confirm the rumors to be true. You're welcome.
So, my trip to Tokyo was far from well planned out, but lets be honest- most of them are. My cousin and I went on a last minute whim which is always the funnest way to travel in my opinion. We booked our tickets a week in advance which I find is when you get amazing deals for international flights and before we knew it we were off! With no itinerary but just a list of ideas and sights to see we braved the long flight from LA to Tokyo briefly stopping in Vancouver for a quick power nap on the airport floor. (tip: get over any fears of germs in order to sleep. I had to do this and don't regret it. Besides, it is all about building up that immune system, right!?)
Now that you've booked your ticket, there are a few must do things to prepare for your adventure, here is your "to-do check list". Ready?
TO DO BEFORE:
Obtain a valid passport: Great news! You do not need a visa to travel around Japan, however a valid passport is required.
Buy a Japan Rail Pass: This is something that only tourists can obtain, and will be the cheapest way of getting around Japan if you are wanting to travel to different cities. Keep in mind that you will still have to pay for your metro rides through out the city, however they are only a few bucks.
Reserve Pocket Wifi: If only we had these in America!! Your own personal and password protected wifi. Good for several devices and fairly cheap for your trip. I highly recommend this, because free wifi in Japan, although available, is hard to connect to.
Download a currency convertor app on your phone: This will come in handy when you are buying souvenirs, food, and taking money out of the ATM. (quick math ¥100= $1)
Download google translate on your phone: Not many people in Japan speak English, however if you need help with directions or trains (they can be very confusing) this app will save your life! Talk English into the phone, select Japanese and WA-LA! You can communicate efficiently.
Download google maps on your phone: This will prevent you from getting too lost. Also it will show you all the times the trains will come and where to find them and what stop to get off. It's a cheat sheet for getting around without causing more attention to yourself.
Set up an Air BnB account: This will be the most effective way to stay all over Japan while getting a good variety of Japanese living.
Great! You're all ready! Now for the fun part!! Planning what to do while in Tokyo! First let me tell you this; Japan is a HUGE country and Tokyo is a HUGE city. You will be running around crazy sight seeing and experiencing all that Tokyo has to offer. On your way home you will feel as if you didn't get to see enough! That's okay! That just means you'll have to go back and visit again!! Anyway, here are a few of my favorite things we did in Tokyo that I highly recommend!
Comfy Walking Shoes
Portable Phone Charger (or two)
TO DO DURING:
Disney's Tokyo Sea