PLANNING A TRIP TO TOKYO

Thursday, 19 May 2016
Planning a trip is one of my favourite things to do. 
Whenever I travel, I always make sure that I know what I want to visit at the destination and of course, being the ultimate foodie, what I want to eat. When we booked and confirmed our short trip to Tokyo this May, I was so excited! I started researching straight away and here I share with you my top 5 tips on planning a trip to Tokyo.
TIP 1 : AVOID THE GOLDEN WEEK
Ok, so we booked our trip to Tokyo and realised that it fell right in the middle of the Golden Week in Japan! A big faux pas!! The Golden Week is the longest holiday period for most people in Japan because it is a week with several consecutive public holidays all put together. This means that most sightseeing spots and attractions will be super crowded, not only with tourists, but also with local Japanese visitors coming from all over Japan.
We can sadly confirm this. Our first day in Tokyo, visiting Asakusa and Sensō-ji Temple wasn't a fun experience... 
CROWDS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE!!!

TIP 2 : ORDER A PORTABLE WIFI BOXStaying connected to the world is very important when travelling nowadays. For Facebook, Instagram and most importantly, to stay connected to Google Map to navigate your way around! To avoid the ridiculous phone bills when you get home, it is wise to try and plan wifi connection throughout your travel in advance. 
For Tokyo, I booked a wifi box from e-connect and it could not have been simpler!
Everything was booked from their website in advance and upon our arrival at our Hotel in Tokyo, the parcel with the wifi box was already waiting for us. It was awesome! All instructions were given to how to use it and at the end of our stay, all we had to do is to pack everything up and put the lovely pink pack in the pre-paid envelope provided and drop it at any post box in Tokyo. They even indicated that there is usually one at the airport, so this is what we did. Oh and the airport post box was so cute! :)
TIP 3 : HAVE YOUR JAPANESE YEN READY
It is always best to exchange some of the foreign currency you are going to use before you actually land in the country.Well, I personally think so! You certainly do not want to be stressed out and have to look for an exchange office / bank as soon as you land on foreign territories, and start calculating if the rate is good and if commission is too high or not... Avoid this stress and get your money ready before you go. This way, as soon as you land, you can easily start getting your train tickets and make your way into the city. 

TIP 4 : PLAN YOUR ARRIVAL
This is one thing I always do. I hate arriving in an unknown country and not know how I'm going to get to my hotel! Sure, getting a cab would be the easiest way, but also, probably the most expensive way, so I'm happy to just get that sorted in advance.We landed in Tokyo at Haneda International Airport and the easiest way into Tokyo was via the Tokyo Monorail. We got our tickets without any fuss from the ticket machine (Yes! They have english options on the ticket machines) and made our way into Tokyo. 

I also usually make sure that I book a hotel near to a train / metro station when we travel so it is convenient for us to make our way there. This could be another tip to give, but it is really a very personal choice and it also depends on your budget. For our trip, I booked Remm Hibiya Hotel which had decent rates during the Golden Week and is conveniently located near Hibiya Metro and JR Line Yurakucho Station. It was perfect for our 3 days' visit.

TIP 5 : GET A MAP AND GET ORGANISED
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Familiarise yourself with the different areas of the city you will be discovering so as to make the most of your sight seeing.
I find that looking at a local Metro Map is best to get to know the surroundings areas, and taking the Metro is always the best way to get around the city. Tokyo is no different and although the map looks madly confusing at first glance, once you are there, trust me, it is not that complicated. :) 
To travel around Tokyo for the short 3 day trip, we got ourselves a PASMO card from the Metro Station which was easy and convenient. Similar to the Oyster card, it is a pay as you go card and can be returned at the end of the trip for a full refund of remaining amounts and deposit. Easy - Peasy!

So these are my 5 top tips for planning a trip to Tokyo. I hope you have enjoyed this and if you have been to Tokyo before and think there's more I should know about, please do leave me a comment to share your experience! 
Japan is such a amazing country and we will surely be going back for another visit! A longer one for sure!! :) 

Much Love guys,
xx 
Shirl

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