Friday, November 30, 2018

TOKYO TRAVEL GUIDE : Things to Do and See, Itinerary and Travel Tips

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Tokyo is Japan's capital city and one of the world's most populous metropolis. It's one of the most visited cities in Asia especially for travelers who are into food, culture and technology. Here's our Tokyo Travel Guide to help you plan your vacation to one of the fantastic cities in the world!

Tokyo Rainbow Bridge | Big Stock Photo



VISA REQUIREMENTS TO TOKYO, JAPAN


Philippine passport holders are required to apply for a Japan Visa prior to his/her planned visit. You will need to process your Japan Tourist Visa through an accredited agency and NOT directly to the Japan Embassy. The visa cost is technically free but the agency charges a processing fee between Php800 to Php1,500 depending on the agency and the location where you lodge your application. I got mine in Davao City for Php1,500. The processing time takes a couple of days to a week or more depending on the volume of applications the Japan Embassy has receive at a given time.  Here's a step-by-step process of applying a Japan Tourist Visa in the Philippines.

TOKYO in Autumn

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TOKYO


Tokyo is basically an all-year round destination but if you want an extra special holiday, the best time to go is during the sakura (cherry blossom) season in spring time in April.
If you miss the spring time, you can go to Tokyo during autumn in November. You’ll see colourful trees in yellow, orange and red. It’s another wonderful time to witness in Tokyo.

TOKYO in Spring at Ueno Park


Tokyo in Autumn at Shinjuku Gyoen Garden

HOW TO GET TO TOKYO FROM THE PHILIPPINES


From Cebu: Cebu Pacific flies daily from Cebu Mactan International Airport to Tokyo Narita Airport. The flight schedule is at 7:40 so you will arrive in Tokyo at around 1pm. This is a perfect time so you will be able to roam around on your first day in Japan.

From Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao: I highly recommend you fly to Cebu and fly to Tokyo from there. It’s cheaper and more convenient than flying to Manila.

From Manila: Cebu Pacific flies daily to Tokyo Narita Airport from NAIA 3.

HOW TO GET TO YOUR TOKYO HOTEL FROM NARITA AIRPORT


There are a number of ways to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport. The most convenient way to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station is by JR Narita Express.  Travel time is only 60 minutes and one way fare is 3000 yen. If you are a tourist and returning within two weeks, you can purchase a return ticket for 4,000 yen. This route is also covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR Tokyo wide pass. So, if you have them, you just have to activate it at the JR Station in Narita to avail of a free ride. The trains usually depart every 30-60 minutes.


A cheaper alternative to the JR Narita Express is the JR Sobu Line. The cost is only 1,320 yen but the travel time is 90 minutes. This could be a better option if you are saving on the transportation cost. This is a direct (rapid service) but only departs every hour.

Another cheaper local train is by Keisei Limited Express. Travel time is also 90 minutes for 1,190 yen. The big difference is you will have get down at Nippori Station and transfer to another train via the Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line to Tokyo Station. If you stay near Nippori Station, this can be a good option. 

If you want to travel by bus to Tokyo Station, you can avail of the limousine bus for 3,100 yen. Travel time is around 100 minutes and departs 3-4 times per hour. This is more comfortable bus service. A round trip ticket for tourists cost 4,500 yen.

The cheapest way to get to Tokyo Station from Narita Airport is by Tokyo Shuttle bus. Travel time is only 90 minutes and cost 1,000 yen. Bus departs at least 3x in an hour. Just take note that you will pay extra, like double the amount if you depart late night or early in the morning.

HOW TO GET AROUND TOKYO


The best way to get around Tokyo is by trains and subways.  Make sure you buy a prepaid Suica or Pasmo card so it’s more convenient for you to travel around plus you’ll get a discounted rate when you use these cards. The card costs 500 yen. Taxis are also available but are quite expensive. 


Also, it can be a little difficult to get around without an internet so I highly recommend you get a portable wifi while you are in Japan. You can rent a WIFI in the Philippines and you can have it delivered to your address or get one when you arrive in Japan. If you prefer the latter, you can book here in advance.

If you plan to move around Japan from Tokyo and you have at least 7 full days, I recommend you get a JR Pass. Here's how you can maximize the value of your JR Pass


HOTELS IN TOKYO: WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO


Budget Hotels and Hostels in Tokyo ideal for budget travellers and backpackers


No Borders Hostel
Location: Shinagawa-ku, Ebara 1-15-10, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan, 142-0063
Nearest Train Station: Togoshi Train Station is about 600 meters away
Room rates per night: Bunkbed costs Php1,200

MyCUBE by MYSTAYS Asakusa Kuramae
Location: 2-6-7 Kuramae, Taito-ku, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, 111-0051
Nearest Train Station: Kuramae Subway Station is 120 meters away
Room rates per night: Capsule bed at Php1,600

Dormy Inn Korakuen Hot Springs
Location: 4-23-14 Hongo, Bunkyo, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, 113-0033
Nearest Train Station: 50 meters away from Kasuga Subway Station
Room rates per night: Capsule bed at Php1,300

OakHostel Zen
Location: 3-3-3 Negishi, Taito-ku,, Ueno, Tokyo, Japan, 110-0003
Nearest Train Station: Uguisudani Train Station is 230 meters away
Room rates per night: Bunkbed at Php600

Citan Hostel
Location: 15-2 Nihombashi-odemnacho, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan, 103 0011
Nearest Train Station: Bakuro Yokoyama Train Station is 160m away
Room rates per night: Bunkbed at Php1,200

Mid-range Hotels in Tokyo


Hotel Villa Fontaine Tokyo-Tamachi
Location: 4-2-8 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Shinbashi, Tokyo, Japan, 108-0023
Nearest Train Station: Tamachi Train Station is 400m away
Room rates per night: Twin rooms / double rooms at Php5,800

The Millennials Shibuya
Location: 1-20-13, Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, 150-0041
Nearest Train Station: 500m away from Shibuya Train Station
Room rates per night: Smart Capsule room costs Php4,200

Richmond Hotel Premier Tokyo Oshiage
Location: 1-10-3 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, 131-0045
Nearest Train Station: 80m away from Oshiage Train Station
Room rates per night: Single room rates start at Php6,400

Dormy Inn Premium Tokyo Kodenmacho, Ginza
Location: 2-3, Kodenma-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan, 103-0001
Nearest Train Station: 50 m away from Kodenmacho Subway Station
Room rates per night: Double room starts at Php7,400

Luxury Hotels in Tokyo


Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo
Location: Marunouchi Trust Tower Main, 1-8-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan, 100-8283
Why stay here: Easy access to the city center and the shopping district of Ginza is only 5 minutes drive.

Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Location: 1-1, Uchisaiwai-Cho 1-Chome Chiyoda-Ku, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, 100-8558
Why stay here: It's a Tokyo landmark. 

The Peninsula Tokyo
Location: -8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, 100-0006
Why stay here: Sitiated in the shopping district of Ginza

MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN TOKYO : WHERE TO EAT IN TOKYO?


Angelo Restaurant Ginza
Address: 7-2-20 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Pacific Ginza Building B1
Phone no.: 03-5568-5551
Train Access: 5 minutes walk from Subway Ginza Station / JR Yurakucho Station / JR · Subway · Yurikamome Shimbashi Station / Subway Hibiya Station / Mita Line Uchisaiyukicho Station
Business hours: Monday - Thurs, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 17: 00 ~ 23: 30 (Cooking LO 23: 00 Drink LO 23: 00) Fri, the day before public holiday: 17: 00 ~ next 3: 00 (cooking LO next 2:00 drink LO next 2: 30)
Must try: Italian dishes, matcha cheesecake and unli drink for 4,000 yen




Kyo Mutunabe Kamehachi-Asakusa
Address: Asakusa 2-6-7 Whole Marriage Nippon 4F Taitō, Tokyo Prefecture 111-0035 Japan
Phone: +81 3 3844 1811
Business hours: Open daily from 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Train Access: 2 mins walk from Asakusa Station, 8 mins walk from Asakusabashi Station and Tawaramachi Station.
Must-try: Hot pot / Shabu Shabu



Ginza Isomura Restaurant
Address: 4-10-3, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061
Phone: 03-3546-6964 (+81-3-3546-6964)
Business hours: Monday - Sunday Lunch: 11:30 - 15:00(L.O.14:30)
Monday - Sunday Dinner: 17:00 - 22:00(L.O.21:30)
Train access: Subway Hibiya Line Higashi-Ginza Station Exit A2 2-minute walk, Toei Asakusa Line Higashi-Ginza Station Exit A8 1-minute walk
Must try: Fried Skewers (Meat and Vegetables)



Shubaura Grill Restaurant
Address:108-0023 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Shibaura, 2 Chome−15−6
Phone: 03-6459-4253
Business hours: Weekday] Lunch 11: 30 ~ 14: 30 / Dinner 17: 00 ~ 23: 00
[Saturday] Lunch 11: 30 ~ 15: 00 / Dinner 17: 00 ~ 22: 00
Train Access: 7 minutes on foot from JR Yamanote line Tamachi station. 10 minutes on foot from Mita Station on the Asakusa line and Mita line on the Toei Subway
Must-try: Grilled pork loin

Ginza Steak
Unli Wagyu for around USD90
Address: Granbell Ginza Ⅱ 8F・9F
1-5-5 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0004, Japan
Opening hours: Open daily except Sundays
Lunch  11:30 - 15:00 (L.O. 14:15)
Dinner 16:00 - 23:00 (L.O. 21:45)
Train access: Two minutes' walk from 1st Exit of Shinbashi station  of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. Three minutes walk from Ginza Exit of Shinbashi station JR Line.

TOP TOURIST SPOTS IN TOKYO: THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN TOKYO


Asakusa
Asakusa District is one of Tokyo's major tourist areas. It is home to the Sensoji Temple, a well-known landmark in Tokyo.  Asakusa is one of the few places in Tokyo that you can still take a traditional rickshaw ride. 
Other things to do in Asakusa: Gold Fish Scooping in Asakusa Kingyo, Daruma Painting, and Japanese-style candy making.

How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line to Asakusa Station. Sensoji Temple is just few minutes walk from Asakusa Station.





Toyosu Market
Toyosu Market replaced Tsukiji Market, one of Tokyo's wholesale markets and one of the largest fish markets in the world. Unlike Tsukiji where tourist can actually go to the actual fish market, Toyosu only allow tourists to visit the dry market section at the second floor. The fish market is only open for traders.

How to get there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote line to Yurakucho. From there, transfer to the Yurakucho Subway Line to Toyosu. From there, take the Yurikamome to Shijo-mae Station in the center of Toyosu Market.






teamLab Borderless Tokyo
teamLab Borderless is an art museum in Tokyo featuring digital, interactive art located in Tokyo's Odaiba district. It combines art, science, design and images of the natural world.

How to get there: Take a train to Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line) or Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line) then walk around 5 minutes towards the big wheel.





Tokyo Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo. It's a two-story bridge and an iconic landmark of Tokyo. It supports a regular road, an expressway, a train line and  pedestrian walkways. 

How to get there: The best access to the bridge is from Tamachi Station of the JR Yamanote Line. It's a 15-minute walk from Tamachi Station.




Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory
Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory is ore than just an observatory where you can get an overlooking of Tokyo City. It;s a place where you can experience a lot of things like virtual reality and more.

How to get there: Take a train to Ikebukuro Station, get our from exit 35 in the JR, Tokyo Metro, Seibu and Tobu line. It's an 8 minutes walk. If you want a shorter walk, take the Tokyo Metro Yurakocho line and alight at Higashi-Ikebukuro Station. Take the exit 6 or 7 via the underground passage.






Tokyo SkyTree
Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest structure in Japan with a height of 634 meters. It is a television broadcasting tower and at the same time a popular landmark of Tokyo. It has two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. 

How to get there: Take a train to Asakusa Station then take the Tobu Skytree line. You can also take the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line then transfer to the Tobu Skytree line at Asakusa Station. Alternatively, you may take the a bus from Tokyo Station direct to Tokyo Skytree. Travel time is around ro minutes and fare is 520 yen one way.



Shinjuku Gyoen Park
Located about less than 10 minutes away from Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo's largest and most famous parks. It's a popular place for cherry blossom viewing in spring and a popular place to take photos during autumn.

How to get there: Shinjuku Gate is a 10-minute walk east from the "New South Exit" of JR Shinjuku Station. Once in the South exit, you can cross the street then turn left, head straight until you pass by the intersection. Walk straight until you reach the Shinjuku Gate. If you prefer to walk less, You can take the subway and alight at Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line. It's a five-minute walk to the Okido Gate. 






Ueno Park
Ueno Park is one of the many public parks in Tokyo located in the northern part of the city. It's the best and the busiest cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo during spring.

How to get there: Take a JR train to Ueno Station, the Ueno Park Exit of JR Ueno Station is the most direct route to Ueno Park, but going out the Central Exit is better if you want to pick up English-language information about the Park.



The Imperial Palace
Located in the former site of Edo Castle, the Imperial Palace is home to the Emperor of Japan and his family. It's surrounded by lush vegetation and a popular tourist spot in Tokyo.

How to get there: You can explore the Imperial Palace East Garden from Otemachi Subway Station within a 10 minutes walk. If you prefer to use the JR line, you can stop at Tokyo station and take a 10 to 15 minutes walk to the Imperial Palace Area.






Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko Statue
Crossing in Shibuya and taking a photo with the statue of Hachiko are probably two of the many things visitors do when they are in Tokyo. You shouldn't miss these two spots especially when you are visiting Tokyo for the first time.

How to get there: Take a train or a subway to Shibuya Station and take the Hachiko Exit.




TOKYO TOURS


DisneyLand or DisneySea Tour
Experience the wonders and fantasies of Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea, meet Mickey Mouse, Ariel and all of your other favorite Disney characters with a 1-day Day pass. Book here.

Tokyo Panoramic Tour
Explore Tokyo's main highlights in a full day tour. Visit the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine, Imperial Palace East Garden, Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Center, plus a 50-minute cruise through Tokyo Bay! Book now.


DAY TOURS FROM TOKYO


Mt. Fuji Bus Tour
Experience the countryside of Japan and see Mt. Fuji, one of the most iconic symbols of Japan in a full day trip. The trip starts in Shinjuku and then head to Lake Kawaguchicko spending time in Oshino Hakkai or the Oshino Eight Ponds. Book this tour now.



Snow Town Yeti Ski Trip
Snow Town Yeti is the earliest ski range to open in Japan every year. It operates starting October until the end of winter season. Return transfer is included in the package you don't have to worry about going to the resort. All you need to do is wear a comfortable warm clothes. The skis and snowboards are provided in the resort. This is a must-try tour if you want to experience the snow in Japan. Book now.


SHOPPING IN TOKYO: WHERE TO BUY PASALUBONG IN TOKYO


Tokyo is a shopping haven! Whether you are looking for luxury goods, premium chocolates, beauty products or cheap finds, Tokyo is an ideal place to shop. Ginza is one big place to shop for almost anything that you need. It's the shopping district of Tokyo. 




If you're into discounted goods, Donki or Don Quijote might just be the perfect place for you. They have luxury goods, chocolates, bags, beauty products, perfumes, accessories, food items and a lot more. They have lots of stores in Tokyo but I highly suggest you visit their mega store in Shinjuku - just few minutes walk from Shinjuku Train Station.

TOKYO ITINERARY


This is a sample of our 5D/5N itinerary in Tokyo Japan. This is not jam-packed itinerary so you can add more activities if you want to see more of Tokyo.

Day 1
7:40     Depart from Cebu for Narita
13:10   Arrival at Narita Airport
15:00   Left the airport to Ginza by tourist bus
16:00   Shopping at a New Spot in Ginza: Don Quixote Ginza Honten, Uniqlo, A&F, etc.
19:00   Dinner at Angelo Italian Restaurant
20:30   Hotel check in

Day 2
7:00     Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00     Left the Hotel for Sightseeing and Activities in Asakusa
9:40     Gold Fish Scooping Experience at Asakusa Kingyo
10:20   Shopping & Eat Around Marugoto Nippon
11:30   Lunch at Kyo Motsunabe Kamehachi-Asakusa Restaurant(Kyou no Mochibuta Gozen)
12:40   Experienced the Original Daruma Painting at Asakusa
13:30   Japanese Style Candy Making Experience at Ameshin-Asakusa
15:30   Merienda at Asakusa Kagetudou Honten Restaurant (Melonpan)
18:00   Left Asakusa for dinner in Ginza
18:45   Dinner at Ginza Isomura Restaurant (Kushikatsu)
20:30   Back to the Hotel

Day 3
6:30    Breakfast at the Hotel
8:00    Left the Hotel for Sightseeing and Activities around Tokyo
8:30    Went Toyosu Market and Shopping
10:00  Visited the Digital Art Museum Odaiba -teamLab Borderless
12:00  Lunch at a Restaurant in Odaiba (Oyakodon/Tori Teishoku)
15:30  VR Experience at Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory
18:30  Back to the Hotel and freshen up
19:00  Dinner at Shibaura Grill Restaurant (Grilled Pork Loin)

20:30  Back to the Hotel
21:30  Left the hotel to Shinjuku for a night out

Day 4
8:00    Breakfast at the Hotel
12:00  Left the hotel to Shinjuku
13:00  Lunch at Yoshinoya
12:00  Explore Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
17:00 Back to the hotel and rest (plenty of time here so if you want to do more shopping, you can still squeeze in. I was exhausted so I decided to get a rest.)

Day 5
10:00 Breakfast in a coffee shop
11:00 Explore a little bit more of Tokyo - Visited the Imperial Palace and the parks close to it.
13:00 Lunch 
14:00 Shopping (Again plenty of time, you can still explore Tokyo if you want to see more.)
20:00  Off to the hotel.

Day 6: Off to Cebu!


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