Tokyo is like nowhere else. Captivating, colorful, modern, fast paced, fascinating and baffling.
5 minute read. All photos are my own.
It’s filled with heaps of history, a unique culture and countless things to do and see. I wanted to check out Japan for a while, so, I went.
Flying straight from Indonesia into Tokyo, It was one extreme to another.
Tokyo is one of the world most densely populated cities in the world, over 13 million as the population of greater Tokyo Area, it’s also the second largest metropolitan area on the planet in terms of urban landmass.
An average of 3.64 million people passing through daily, Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest rail station, according to the Guinness World Records.
A fashion and food worldwide focus, a place where such controversial experiences overrule much sense of normality, anyone who has been to Tokyo knows how mind-boggling this crazy capital is.
Experiences exceed strange but totally awesome.
Numerous ways of getting around with perfectly on time trains and Skyliners, holding some of the worlds fastest bullet trains, a Japan Railway maglev train hit 603 kilometers per hour (374 miles per hour).
Coming from relatively easy countries to backpack, welcoming and ready for tourists in some form, Tokyo is not designed for backpackers. For those who are coming after previously traveling South East Asia, this isn’t the same.
A challenging language barrier and almost no tourist information spots, be prepared to depend on your own research or knowledge.
It didn’t help I had come from a very friendly, easy going, relaxed country. Indonesia, where many parts of the country are expecting and totally ready for tourists and holiday makers. An insanely untouched and unfiltered paradise of Lombok to the busiest and most mental city in the world.
The people are exceptional. Reserved and shy, they’re disciplined. There are many rules all over the city and you can see how respectable the local culture is. Be prepared to follow them.
From crossing the road, to where you can wear shoes, when to not use your phone and where you can drink, eat and smoke.
Even the clothes they wear are respectable. The Japenese are very clean and groomed. Hygiene and cleanliness is a massive part of their lifestyle. I learned a lot while visiting Japan.
Where sleeping in public is totally normal and acceptable almost anywhere, fun fact – in Japan such thing called ‘Imeru’ means it’s totally okay to sleep on the job – it means you are working hard. Tokyo contains over 100 universities and colleges, giving it the world’s highest concentration of higher learning institutions. One-third of Japan’s university students attend school in Tokyo.
All sounds pretty busy and intense. It is, but you totally have to check it out.
So, here are some of my basic tips to traveling Tokyo.
Bring light clothes that are comfortable and don’t show off too much. The humidity can be intense and most locals will always stay pretty covered. Not as much in the main areas of the city however it shows respect to the locals.
The metro is the best way to get around with an efficient and convenient transport system. It’s a great place to people watch and get a real feel for how the city works, make sure you have a clear idea of your route as it’s very easy to get lost and can get extremely busy. I was normally the only foreigner and very few people speak English. Taxi’s are phenomenally expensive and almost all the drivers barely speak a word of English, they do however have automatic doors that are pretty cool.
If traveling across the city, I recommend having some music and headphones as the journeys can take a while as Tokyo is so big and not many people like to talk out in small public places.
Learn some basic sayings. It makes things better for both you and the Japenese. Ko Ni Chi Wahhhhh.
My favourite things to do include:
Piss Alley (Omoide Yokocho) / Shinjuku
Conveyor belt sushi
Vintage shopping in Harajuku