No book, no TV show, no movie, no documentary can prepare you for Tokyo. Whatever image you’ve conjured up in that vivid imagination of yours – from countless hours flipping through guide books or binge watching “Lost in Translation”, it will be but a pitiful attempt at figuring out the real Tokyo… any city you visit from now on, you will ‘compare’ to Tokyo.
Served by two international airports, Narita and Haneda. Both of these are world class, among the best and busiest in the world serving over 100 million passengers per year, between the two of them. Tokyo is huge, in fact, it’s the largest city in the world by population with 38 million people, spread out over 5000m2.
As you would assume, Tokyo has one of the most extensive mass transit systems in the world. It’s clean, safe, efficient and I have to admit.. occasionally kind of confusing. It’s confusing because it has several different railway systems operating within Tokyo. Also, if travelling by taxi, don’t assume the Taxi driver will be able to speak english – it’s much better to bring your destination printed out in a card or even bring a map with you, as most of Hotels will be able to provide it for you.
In terms of food, Tokyo is quantifiably the best food city on the planet. It has 226 Michelin starred restaurants – that’s more than London, Paris and New York combined! It’s a place where you should stow you inhibitions in your overhead locker and be adventurous – A thousand food surprises are waiting for you in the Yakitori alley ways, the three person food joints and the indecipherable ramen menus. So relax, go with the flow and you will be absolutely blown away by the food here in Tokyo!
There’s no doubt Tokyo is an international city, but don’t assume that every shop, bar or restaurant will take a credit card, as Japan is still very much a cash-centric economy, so make sure you always have plenty of cash on you. In terms of money, Tokyo has a reputation for being an expensive city but it can be a surprisingly affordable place if you are willing to explore.
When it comes to entertainment, it’s needless to say that it is probably one the best places to experience it in the world… and as traveller, you will define things as before Tokyo and everything after Tokyo. Need we say more?