Tokyo is one of my favorite cities on the planet. Traveling to Tokyo can seem intimidating to newcomers, but this Japanese city is welcoming and relatively easy to navigate.
Travelers visiting Asia for the first time will find it the perfect destination, even if you’re visiting Tokyo with kids. You’ll find plenty of direct flights to Tokyo, so you can worry less about travel times and focus instead on the shopping in Tokyo, your plans to immerse yourself in Japanese history, and how you will see all there is to see (which is a lot).
I’ve loved the time we’ve spent in this incredible city, and I hope the Tokyo travel tips I share here will help you plan an amazing getaway.
My Top Tokyo Travel Tips
Here are some quick tips that will help you make the most of your Tokyo vacation:
Practice ‘Eigo o hanashimasu ka?’
This handy Japanese phrase means ‘Do you speak English?’ and is a great ice breaker. Many Japanese people are very modest when it comes to how well they can speak English, so chances are that even if the answer is ‘a little,’ you will have no problem communicating.
Wear Slip-On Shoes
You should expect to be asked to remove your shoes in hotel rooms, traditional restaurants, and even some attractions. Flats, loafers, boat shoes, and other easy-on, easy-off footwear you can wear with socks will make it easier to observe this basic courtesy.
Tokyo is a high tech city, but Japan is still a cash-based society. Many places you might assume take credit cards do not. Keep in mind that cash in Japan often means coins, so bring (or buy) a coin purse.
Enjoy the Attention
Many travelers are surprised at how attentive shopkeepers are in Tokyo. You’ll be greeted in stores right away with ‘Irasshaimase!’ (which means welcome) and a staff member may follow you as you shop. It takes getting used to, but they’re just there to help.=
Get a Travel Card
Tokyo’s transit system is world-famous for a reason. There are lots of taxis in Tokyo, but fares can be hefty, and the subway, overground trains, and bus lines are a quick reliable way to get around. Be aware that train etiquette is important. Don’t make calls, and always offer your seat to kids, pregnant women, senior citizens, and disabled people.
Download a QR Code Reader App
There are QR codes all over Tokyo, and while not all of them will offer up helpful information, it is fun to scan them as you wander around the city.
Tips For Traveling To Tokyo With Kids
Tokyo is a wonderfully kid-friendly destination. It’s clean, very safe, and there is a lot for children to do. Obviously, the big draws (as far as children are concerned) will be Tokyo Disneyland® and Tokyo Disney® Sea — yes, there are TWO Disney parks in Tokyo. If you’re traveling to Tokyo with kids, I definitely recommend building a visit to either of these unique parks into your itinerary.
Tokyo is also full of colorful and cute eye-candy that makes exploring with your kids a blast. Many restaurants have special themed kids meals — some of which come with toys. There are also many themed cafes from robots to hedgehogs. And there are so many imaginative and cool playgrounds, so one of the Tokyo travel tips I share with friends and family is to look up the public spaces near your hotel before you go.
The Best Hotels In Tokyo
Tokyo’s luxury hotels are top-notch. You’ll find first-class accommodations and impeccable service all around the city, though many of the best hotels are clustered around Tokyo Station. We stay at Four Seasons Tokyo. It is extremely kid-friendly, the vibe is peaceful, the food is amazing, and the location couldn’t be more convenient. From here, it is about a 10-minute walk to shopping in Ginza and the hotel is located above Tokyo Station.
When you’re ready to book a luxury hotel for your Tokyo vacation, be aware that I have access to exclusive VIP amenities like complimentary breakfasts, room upgrades, spa credits, and more at eleven Tokyo luxury hotels.
Where and What to Eat in Tokyo
I love Japanese food, and I’m happy to tell you that even if you don’t like sushi, you’ll discover there’s much to enjoy about the cuisine in this city. There are elaborate and adorable pastries, savory pancakes you can cook yourself on a grill right at your table, outstanding ramen (that is sometimes served to order out of vending machines), seasonal kaiseki meals featuring lots of small dishes, and one of our personal favorites, robatayaki (seafood, veggies, and other foods slow grilled over compressed aromatic hardwood).