At the pass control on agent welcomed everyone in their native language. Und this actually describes this country pretty well.
What to find out in this post
Hospitality in Tokyo
Our Couchsurfing hosts Yuki and Hirotaka both prepared delicious meals for us. And not only one dish as we might know it from home, but a whole bunch of. Moreover, Yuki let us sleep in her apartment, while she already had to go to work. But not only that. When we got up we even found a breakfast prepared for us in the livingroom.
Costs of one week in Tokyo
Tokyo is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Anyway, we’ve been surprised that in the end we haven’t even spent that much money actually.
For seven days in the Japanese capital we have spent around 200 Euro /$240 per Person. (197,64 Euro/ $235,35 to be exact)
That is in average 28,23 Euro/ $33,75 a day. Not that bad, is it?
How did we managed that? We lowered our expenditures by just using Couchsurfing instead of using hostels.
Anyway, we didn’t of course just do it because of the money. Couchsurfing just offers so many benefits.There is probably no easier way to meet locals und get to know their habits and way of life.
But let’s go back to the expenditures we had in Tokyo.
The highest amount of money we spent on food. Besides the expensive restaurants there are also pretty cheap ways to eat in Tokyo. Like small restaurants and convenience stores as the infamous 7 eleven.
Just have a look around and I am sure you can find something suitable for every budget.
And since we ate so cheap, in the end we had enough money left to invite of host Yuki to her fovorite restaurant for lunch. It was definitely worth it.
Per day the costs for food added up to 10,64 Euro/ $12,68 per person in average. Excluded is water (2,92Euro/ $3,48 in total – we tried to fill up our bottles as often as possible with tap water, as it is drinkable in whole Japan). For going out we spent 18,11 Euro/ $21,58 for the whole week. (In this 18 Euro are included the costs for the snacks and the entrance we had to pay in one bar. And the beers we bought in a supermarket for our host Yuki and us.
Another high source of expenditures was the metro. Even though we tried to walk as much as possible (around 20 km per day), we had to spend a lot for transportation. On our first day we bought a Suica card which you can use for all the different Metro companies. (Really practical because there are a lot of different lines). We paid around 09,18 Euro a day for the metro.
Our expenditures for entrances weren’t actually that high. But we spent 2510 Yen/18,76 Euro /$ 22,35 per Person for the Sky Tree. Which added up our costs for entrances up to 27,63 Euro/ $32,92.
The remaining 10 Euro something we spent on random things, such as snacks and a pack of Aspirin.
Our Impression of Tokyo
Anyway, we thought this city would be more exotic and crazy in some ways. The big buildings and some of the residential areas could have as well been located in some western city.
On the other hand many of the shopping streets and temples looked more like what we have expected of the Japanese capital.
In the following you can find our main activities and sights. The smaller things I leave as actually I don’t have so much time to write these days to be honest 😉
The ultimate One Week Guide to Tokyo
Transport from Narita Airport
The airport Narita is located a little bit away from Tokyo itself.
The cheapest way to get there is by Keisei Bus.
You can get the tickets directly at the airport for 1000 Yen (around 8 Euro)
Tokyo Station District
This is how we imagined Tokyo before.
Shibuya offers exactly this feeling that I like so much about big cities. You absolutely shouldn’t miss this sight when you come to Tokyo!
Moreover, you can find the statue of Hachiko. That is the dog that was always loyal to his owner. And even after his death he remained loyal by his side.
But if you are into Tokyo’s history there is a lot to see. Anyway, many of the exhibition pieces, such as statistics and maps are only shown in Japanese.
In the entrance you can leave your luggage. Which was practical for us as we had our backpacks with us and were still pretty tired.
And the best thing is. It is allowed to eat in the park. (In most parks in Tokyo it is forbidden)
That’s why we started our walk with a little lunch on a bench near the entrance.
But don’t forget your mosquito repellent. Eduardo’s legs have been bitten completely by mosquitoes.
By the way, also here you can find a locker for your luggage.
Those often start with this kind of automates which allow you to fish for teddies. In the other floors you can find all kind of gaming automates, sometimes Manga sections and any other kind of things. On the street you will find all different kinds of shops, such as the biggest sex shop in the world,which is one of the main attractions of this area.
In the Ueno market district you might find anything you’ve ever been looking for.
You can go around and have a look what there is to discover. From clothes to food you can get anything. The best is to go during the morning as it is not so full yet.
Tokyo is full of nice parks. One of those is the Ueno Park. We used this nice place firstly to eat our lunch. Afterwards we had a long walk through the park.
The Tokyo Skytree is located around one hour by foot away from the Ueno Park. This building is known to be the second tallest building in the world to date. So you definitely can’t oversee it.
On the way there you pass through a really nice neighborhood that I can also highly recommend. It’s called Asakusa.
Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend the Sky Tree itself by 100%.
The entrance was about 2500 Yen. But if you wanted to go up to the top you had to pay around another 10 Euro when arriving to the first base. So around 30 Euro all together.
That you can’t get up completely with the basic ticket is stated nowhere. At least not notable enough. So we just realized after getting up. Kinda disappointing actually.
Moreover, the observatory is a closed room with windows. I am used to have open plattforms.
(such as the Tapei 101, the Eifel Tower or the Empire State Building.) Thus, you can’t make really nice pictures as the lights are being reflected by the windows.
Anyway, I can’t deny having had a really nice view from up there. But next time I’d definitely chose the Metropolitan Building. (See day VII)
Later, in the evening we sat with our host Yuki in her favorite restaurant for Yakitori. Yakitori are more or less sticks with grilled chicken. Really delicious. The way of eating them might be comparable to spanish Tapas. You order several dishes and share with each other. This way you can have a little something of all the dishes. It was absolutely worth it. Anyway, you should consider that in Japan the prices for drinks, especially beer are usually way higher than what we are used to from Europe.
By food you can reach the Tokyo Tower well and easy. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t really in our favor, that’s why our pictures got a little grey-ish. The entrance was around 10 Euro if I am not mistaken. Anyway, we didn’t go up as we’ve already been on the Sky Tree before and also the weather wasn’t really promising a good view. But if you want to go up you can buy your tickets directly there.
Even the Imperial Palace doesn’t cost any entrance. You just get a plastic ticket when entering that you have to return when leaving the park again.
The garden of the Imperial Palace is well kept and there is a nice lake with many kois.
From the Imperial Palace itself you can unfortunately only see the leftovers. What a pitty. We were kinda hoping for more. But anyway, for having a walk it is a really beautiful place.
Take care: In the beginning it wasn’t easy to find the entrance due to many tourist are standing on another side of the garden to take pictures. But if you continue walking there you will realize that this is not the entrance. The next way to enter is actually just used as an exit. So basically you gotta walk around the garden a little to reach the entrance. The signs didn’t really help though. So, better check on a map before where you have to go 😉
On the fifth day we did a day trip to Kamakura and Zushi. You can read about it here.
Omiya Hachimangu Shrine
We liked the Omiya Hachimangu Shrine a lot. On the one hand because there was a lot more to see than at some other shrines in Tokyo. On the other hand because we went with twere accompanied by our host Hirotaka. He could answer all of our questions. (and we had a lot of questions actually!) And it is always practical to have a local with you to explain all the procedures of the temples.
Finally we knew what the water in the entry was for. And it was not for drinking. But for washing your hands before praying. Moreover, Hirotaka explained to us that we shouldn’t walk in the middle of the way. As this way is actually just made for the gods. Good to know!
Kichijoji is another area, which is suitable for going out and shopping.
We went there to meet a friend of Eduardo. He lives there every year for a few months and speaks fluently Japanese. After a little walk through the park it was time for dinner. We went to a small restaurant for Ramen. There was neither an english menu nor did the cook speak English. (Thus, I couldn’t read the name of the restaurant, sorry.)
Besides two typical Ramen dishes he prepared one of his specialities. Ramen Carbonara. All in all we paid around 700 Yen per head (about 06,50 Euro) and were filled sufficient. And it was super delicious.
The Ramen, which are so famous for Japan, shouldn’t be missed in any Japan trip!
After our Japanese dinner we decided to get to know as well the night life of Tokyo by having a drink around.
We went to another district, which had big range of bars we could chose from.
In the first bar we paid the price that was shown on the signs outside. Everything fine.
In the next bar the beer seemed to be unusually cheap. Actually, it should have seemed really suspicious to us.
But all that we thought was. What a great deal. When we entered, we’ve been guided to a table that was a little bit apart from the others. It was nice to have that little piece of privacy. As it was unbelievable loud in that bar.
The first surprise was that suddenly there was a obligation to order at least one dish per person. It hasn’t been mentioned outside on the sign though.
So we ordered the three cheapest dishes there were in the menu.
After another table got free we were guided to the center of the restaurant, where it was even louder.
When we wanted to pay there was the next surprise.
Suddenly it turned out that they have an entrance fee. Neither on the signs, on the menu or anywhere else did it say so. Nor did a waiter tell us.
But no one cared about that. In the end we just paid the 900 Yen (ca. 7,20 Euro) just to be able to leave this bar.
So next time we will chose our bar more carefully!
In the Shinjuku District you find besides the usual shopping oportunities a variety of crazy things.
Even though there is a Robotcafé and a Owl-café we chose the so called 8 Bit Bar.
Due to the announcement you could play with a range of 80s Consols for just a little entrance. Sounded great (at least for Eduardo! haha)
Even though we used GPS and Google Maps it wasn’t easy to find at all. After around half an hour we found ourselves in a little hallway which also lead to a sex club. After we finally entered the bar we realized that besides the entrance you had to be at least one beer per person. So the entrance was already around 10 Euro. Which wouldn’t have been such a problem for what has been promised for this bar. Luckily we could have a glance at the inside of the bar before we paid. Because actually there were just three consols. (Of which I just knew Tetris to be honest) So absolutely not worth it. And off we went! 🙂
The Metropolitan Building actually is a Government Building. But anyway, you can get up with the elevator for free.
From there you have a great view over the skyscrapers of Tokyo. Moreover, there is a restaurant in which you can listen to a piano concert while having this view over the city. (And yes, you guessed right. It is not really cheap to eat there)
The entrance of the building was kinda tricky to find actually. Because you have to enter from the basement.
If you are not sure just follow the arrows and signs and you will find it eventually 😉
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Since we didn’t catch a lot of sleep that night we decided to keep that day a little less stressing. So our plan was to have breakfast while relaxing somewhere in a park or so.
In the middle of this little forrest we discovered the Meiji Shingu Shrine.
While looking for a park we actually found the Meiji Shingu forrest.
Due to its location in the middle of trees it made this shrine really special and beautiful. And the walk that we had to get there was also nice and quite.
Also there is even a happy ending to our search for a place to relax as the forrest adjacent to the Yoyogi Park.
The Yoyogi Park is full of life. Everywhere kids were playing, families were relaxing in the sun and couples were having walks.
Especially on weekends it feels like every Japanese is hanging out in the nearest park. We could rest a little from our too short night and even have a little nap in the warm sun. And afterwards we had a long walk through the park to enjoy the nature.
Hanjuku is as well one of the typical districts in Tokyo. You will find a lot of unusual things.
There are several Cat Cafés and the offbeat Kawaii Café. (entrance is about 5 Euro) Unfortunately, the line was too long when we got there.
Moreover, you can find the Takeshita Street in Hanjuku. In there are many different shops. Besides the typical kawaii stuff, you might find shops for clothes, beauty and even a Disney-store and a lot of restaurants selling crepes.
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