Make the Best of Two Weeks in Tokyo Part 1: Preparation

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Tokyo Tower | Here & Air

Make the Best of Two Weeks in Tokyo Part 1: Preparation

Preparation before your trip, what to bring, and useful apps.

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Roppongi Hills Mori Tower | Here & Air

 

1. Before your trip:

 

Best time to go

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Chiyoda | Here & Airtwo-weeks-in-tokyo-tokyo-tower

Before planning a trip to Tokyo, consider the season. The best time to go is also probably the worst time to go: Sakura season. Cherry blossoms bloom during this time. It’s one of the most beautiful seasons, but also one of the busiest times to go.

I went during rainy season (early to mid June). Even though it gets hot and humid around this time, I didn’t think it was too bad (maybe because I’m from Vegas?). It only rained about 2-3 times during the couple of weeks I was there. I’m not even mad that I missed Sakura season because honestly, Japan is beautiful all year long — rain, snow, shine, and all.

 

Choose a hotel near a subway station

two-weeks-in-tokyo-shinjuku-station

I was able to get a hotel right next to a subway station by luck. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I booked it, it just happened to be right next to one. If your main transportation is going to be via subway, highly consider booking a hotel relatively close to a station and of course near the places you want to go. It will make your life easier, trust me!

 

Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)

Two Weeks in Tokyo | JR Train | Saikyo Line | Here & Air

If you have plans of traveling hours outside of Tokyo (like Kyoto) and using the JR trains, the JR Pass is a necessity. You must apply for a JR Rail Pass before flying into Tokyo.

What is a JR Rail Pass?

It’s a one-time purchase pass that allows you to travel on JR trains unlimitedly. Depending on which pass you purchase, JR Passes are usually good for two to three weeks. Visit here to learn more.

If you know you’re going to be traveling long distances and using the JR trains, I would say it’s well worth your money.

Learn common Japanese words

You don’t really need to learn Japanese fluently, but it will be extremely helpful to know the common words.

Hello: Konichiwa

Goodbye: Sayonara

Thanks: Arigatou

Thank you very much: Arigatou Gozaimasu

Good morning: Ohayo Gozaimasu

How much is this?: Kore wa ikuradesu ka?

etc.

 

Learn Japanese manners

Two Weeks in Tokyo |Green Tea | Here & AirTwo Weeks in Tokyo | Ramen | Here & Air

It’s probably a good idea to learn common Japanese manners. Here are a few that I know.

  • Bow when saying hello, thank you, goodbye.
  • Never tip at restaurants or anywhere! Japanese people find this offensive.
  • When paying at a cash register, do not hand your money directly to the cashier. There will be a little tray provided to put your money in.
  • Don’t try to charge your devices in public outlets, you will get scolded (oops).
  • Don’t be loud and obnoxious in public, it is frowned upon. You might even get reported, eek. This is why the streets and subways of Japan are so quiet!
  • Slurp your noodles! It’s a sign of deliciousness.
  • Don’t stick your chopsticks upright in your rice –this is only offered to the dead in Buddhist rituals.
  • Don’t fill your own glass. You should only fill the person next to you and wait for them to reciprocate.
  • Always take your shoes off when entering a home, hotel room, or when necessary. Slippers will usually be provided.
  • Before eating you should say, “itadakimasu”. This means “I will receive”. Then after eating you should say, “gochiso-sama deshita”, which means “It was a real feast”.

 

Create a map on google

Plot all the places you want to visit on the map. I will show you how this is useful below under “Useful apps”.

 

Register for wi-fi

Most airports, hotels, and train stations already provide free wi-fi. You might just need to register for them. I don’t think it’s necessary to purchase prepaid wi-fi or anything. Read more about it here.

 

2. What to Bring:

 

Multiple power banks

You’re probably going to rely on your phone when roaming Tokyo. Make sure to carry around at least two decent power banks or purchase a solar power bank — your battery will never run low. Here’s the one I currently have: Poweradd Apollo2 Solar Panel Charger 10000mAh in pink hehe.

 

Washcloth

You’d be surprised, but a lot of the restrooms in Japan don’t have Paper towels or hand dryers. Most of them have hand dryers, but I still came across a lot of them that didn’t. Having a washcloth might come in handy, but if you’re like me and don’t care about wetting your jeans…then it’s not necessary.

 

Extra space in luggage

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Tokyo Tower | Here & Air

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Shibuya Crossing | Here & Air

It might be a good idea to under pack especially if you plan on doing major shopping or bringing back a ton of souvenirs.

 

Camera + extra batteries + extra memory

It’s always nice to have memories of your travels. Don’t forget to bring a camera and extra accessories (batteries + memory cards).

 

Outlet Extensions

Depending on the hotel you’re staying in and how many people you’re traveling with, there might be a shortage on outlets. The solution to this is to bring outlet extensions. There are a ton of travel outlet extensions for under $20. Click here

 

Cash + change

Convert your money at the airport. If you don’t purchase a JR pass, you’re going to need a lot of change to ride the JR trains.

 

Airborne (Vitamin C)

Two Weeks in Tokyo | Subways | Here & Air

If you’re going to ride the JR trains, chances are — you will be packed like sardines. Being exposed to the flu or other illnesses is inevitable. Boost your immune system with vitamin c!

 

3. Useful Apps:

 

Maps.me

Never get lost again! This app let’s you download maps of where you’ll be traveling. You can also find nearby hotels, restaurants, sights, gas, shops, entertainment, and a lot more — without data or wifi! If you don’t have free roaming, this app will save your life. You can also import google maps you’ve created to see points you’ve plotted.

 

Google Maps 

Once you’ve listed out the places you want to visit, plot them on the map to get an idea of where everything is. Download and import them into Maps.me! Click here.

 

Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists

This is similar to Maps.me, except it’s an offline subway map.

 

My Currency Converter (or know conversion rates)

It might be a good idea to know how much you’re spending. Download a currency rate converter app, or figure out the conversion rate and do the math!

 

Google Translate

If you don’t know Japanese, this might be helpful. Google translate has an option to speak into the phone and translate it. I found this very useful.

 

Stay tuned for part 2!

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6 Comments
  • Marie
    Posted at 11:11h, 14 June Reply

    This is a super helpful guide! Thank you for taking the time to post it. I am thinking of going to Japan in the next year, and I will definitely save this for future reference 🙂 Also, I just found your blog through Girls vs. Globe and love it!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 14:33h, 14 June Reply

      Aweosome! You will absolutely loooove Japan. You’re so lucky, I want to go back!

  • Andrew at Nomad Capitalist
    Posted at 02:43h, 05 December Reply

    I’ve actually found that having a JR Pass caused me to overpay on trips where I was mainly taking local and regional transit. On one trip to Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, I basically only used it on the Kyoto-Tokyo leg. In some cases, the price may be basically the same, but last time I was in Japan I paid a lot less than the price of a rail pass. If you’re planning to stick to one part of the country, make sure there aren’t any discounts you could use in lieu of the JR Pass.

    Otherwise, great post!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 12:39h, 05 December Reply

      Good to know! Thanks Andrew!

  • not me
    Posted at 03:03h, 26 June Reply

    how do i say the boy is drinking water?

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 04:40h, 26 June Reply

      otokonoko mizu o nonde imasu :p

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