73 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this helpful guide! Everything about Japan is mind-boggling, including the amount of planning that a trip requires. I’m definitely bookmarking this :)

  2. Benjamin

    That was a very extensive write up,and the information is so useful and comes in handy for my tokyo trip next year.
    What do you think of Best western shinjuku astina hotel ? Their rates are pretty decent for a double.
    What are your thought ?

    • siew siew

      Hi Benjamin, thanks for reading!
      I haven’t stayed in that particular hotel before, but I did stay in a Best Western in Hokkaido a few years back and it was pretty good. Reviews online look to be favourable! It may be a bit of a walk from the station though, so you want to plan your route carefully if you’re walking from the station to avoid getting lost in the massive Shinjuku station!

  3. Gwendolyn Tundermann

    Thank you so much for putting together this guide! I found it extremely helpful and there were many suggestions here that I have not seen on other websites! : )

  4. Taco

    Very helpful you have similar interest that I do so this is probably going to be my quick guide when I go out there this year!

    • Alice

      Hi Siew,
      It is a pleasure to read your trip to Tokyo.
      It definitely will help me a lot for my first time trip there coming Nov with my family.
      I would like to ask if u have any recommendation for accommodation for 5 person over 7 night.
      I will stop at Haneda airport , which will be a good area to stay and explore all tourist attraction.
      Paiseh to ask that much…
      Many thanks in advance

      Alice☺️

      • siew siew

        Hi Alice,
        You’re very welcome, and thank you for stopping by our blog!

        The public transport system in Tokyo is excellent (though a bit expensive) and you can easily travel from one area to another by train. I like to stay in the Shinjuku area because most train lines pass through the Shinjuku station. The station is terribly big though, so you might still have to walk quite a distance from the station to your hotel but at least you will save on the hassle of changing trains.

        Areas such as Ikebukuro and Ueno would also be convenient bases. I think as long as the hotel is within walking distance of a train station (preferably on the JR Yamanote or Chuo lines), you should be in good hands!

        For a family of 5, would you be looking at a triple and twin sharing configuration? There aren’t a lot of hotels offering triple options, you can try the Keio Plaza Hotel and Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku.

        For something a bit wallet-friendly, you can take a family room at Sakura Hotel at Ikebukuro. Facilities are shared though, so if you mind sharing a bathroom/toilet with strangers, then it’s probably not a good idea!

  5. Paul

    hey, about that sim card/wifi thing. Do I need to rent a sim card to use that wifi card or will my regular U.S. Smartphone work as is with the FLETS wifi card?

  6. Hello! Thank you so much for the thorough write up on Japan! This is my first time traveling there and I’m really nervous because I’m afraid I may get lost most of the time (can’t read the Japanese characters)! I wish we could take you on our trip with us! :)

  7. Steph

    Great write up of Tokyo and getting around within the city. I’m bookmarking this page for my trip as it covers all the information needed for a good holiday! Thank you for the good tips and info! :)

  8. […] Before you go: If you don’t have much time to prep for your trip, I suggest these three must-reads: superfuture’s Tokyo superguide, this great little piece by Ebony Bizy from Hello Sandwich (sadly her Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide is sold out) and Hey Kumo’s travel guide. […]

  9. Jac

    Beautiful photos…pls do share what camera and film you are using.

    Would want to drop by your shop very very soon.

    Cheers…

  10. This is an incredibly detailed guide, thanks for writing it up!

    I picked up my b-mobile SIM card at the airport, it was by far the most useful 4000 yen I’ve ever spent. It saves you so much time in terms of looking up walking directions on google maps, nearby reviews, itinerary suggestions such as this site, hotel/ticket booking etc. I highly recommend it!

    • siew siew

      Hi Travyde! You’re welcome! Also happy to hear that people are finding the guide useful :D
      Thanks for the tip on b-mobile SIM, will be sure to check it out when we next travel there.

    • siew siew

      Hey Carmela! You’re welcome! I think the official season for climbing Mt Fuji is in August though; March/April may be a bit too cold. You may get a good view of the mountain from Hakone, and you definitely can travel there without joining a tour :)

  11. Katheryn

    Hi thank you for the detailed guide!

    May I know how did you edited your photos to look very film like or were the photos taken using film?

    Thank you :)

  12. Japan, its history, culture, traditions and the lives of its people are as different as they are unique.
    However, what makes Japan so much more then just a chain of islands, is its diversity in its respect toward the natural world, as well as the metropolises that lines its shores and mountain plateaus. …..and the best tip of your trip,”enjoy and have fun”

  13. Great guide! Excited about heading to Tokyo in October… we are however staying at the Shinjuku Washington Hotel! :-/ Small rooms don’t bother me but hoping the elevators don’t take forever. Fingers crossed!

    • siew siew

      Hi Jenna, thanks! Hopefully they give you a nice nice room. And maybe try to get out of the hotel before everyone decides that it’s breakfast time and head back late? Heh. Have fun in Tokyo!

  14. Benjamin

    Going to Tokyo this December for Christmas and New Year. It’s my first time there, and I’m a real beef lover. I’m planning to find a place to try out Kobe beef at least once. Any advice or recommendations?

    • sarah sarah

      hi Benjamin, thanks for coming by. Sorry we don’t have any insight on Kobe beef in Tokyo! :P Do let us know if you find anything and have a good trip.

  15. Lena

    Great report! Thank you very much for writing very helpful information, tips & suggestions. We are headed to Tokyo in October, and getting excited.

  16. Hakone’s Cedar Avenue looks to be very interesting! Too bad, I have to pass it up when I did the Hakone Free Pass day tour due to a lack of time. Perhaps, staying in Hakone overnight will be a very good idea.

    Having stayed in Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku personally, I think it is one of the better hotel options in Shinjuku in terms of value and great location.

    • siew siew

      Hi Claudia, we used a variety of film cameras and digital cameras.
      The film photos are usually straight from the scans, and the digital ones are usually adjusted for brightness/contrast :)

  17. Deandra

    Hi there,

    We are planning on going to Japan this December… How is the weather in Tokyo and Kyoto? I believe it’s cold but wondering if it’s New York cold or much milder?

    Thanks a mill!

    • siew siew

      It’s gonna be cold! I haven’t been to NYC in December, but I don’t think Tokyo and Kyoto are much milder – maybe just a difference of a couple degrees C. I think the temperatures in the two Japanese cities are comparable (around 4-10 deg C average), but Tokyo is maybe just a wee bit cooler though you’d never know.

  18. Noelle Lawrence

    Hi! I am from the US and have a cousin who is currently in Tokyo. He unfortunately just broke his arm while in Tokyo and I am trying to find a singing telegram to go to the hospital and sing a song that my cousins and I wrote for him. Do you happen to know of any companies in Tokyo?

    • siew siew

      Hi Noelle,

      Sorry to hear about your cousin. Unfortunately, we don’t know of any companies in Tokyo that does singing telegrams. You may want to contact florists in Tokyo and see if they will offer it as an add-on service. I don’t think singing telegrams are very common though, and there’s the language barrier too.

      Hope your cousin feels better soon!

  19. Will

    Hi. Thanks for your post, very helpful. I’m from Brazil and i’ll travel abroad Japan in few weeks for job. Sadly, i’ll need to rent cell phone and SIM card (or both, i don’t know yet) to contact my coworkers. I search for few companies in Brazil and found that http://presscell.com. Do you think it’s better rent here or in Japan?

    Thank you.

    • siew siew

      Hi Will,

      I think it may be good to rent in Brazil, if it means that you get your hands on the phone and the SIM card before leaving for Japan. That way, you will be contactable as soon as you reach, and that’s just one fewer thing to worry about! It may be difficult too to find English-speaking personnel in rental phone companies there. :) Hope that helps, and hopefully this doesn’t come too late!

  20. Hi heykumo,
    Thanks for the posting.
    I’m start planning for next year family trip to Tokyo, so this page is a great help for all info consolidated in one!

    I’m so excited to read each and every single one of the information.

    Thanks.

  21. Samantha

    Hey :) This is a very helpful guide thanks :) I will be going in 2 weeks time but i am still contemplating about which type of transport to use from Haneda international airport to our hotel. We can either take the Tokyo Monorail or the Keikyu train (because 2 taxis are too costly). We have a family of 5, 3 kids and 2 adults, and i am not so sure if i can manage that much baggage on the trains (and the station) and whether there are lifts for the luggage. What do you advise? The airport bus limousine timings dont fit too… Thank you :)

  22. Jaime

    Hello! I really enjoyed reading your blog, and loved the photos you took. Was just wondering what is the name of the font & where did you download the traditional chinese font you used for Tokyo in the first picture? Thanks! :)

  23. reading your post here made me miss Japan awful lot! the guide I made for 18kippu feels like long time ago, and hopefully it will be much easier by now.

    Nice to meet you :D

  24. Sky Peh

    Hi Siew,

    Thank you for all the small introductions and the little hyperlinks. I have made a detailed itinerary for myself for 6 days. However I am worried about the Limousine Bus I am taking from Haneda Airport, it is the last bus slot leaving from the airport for our hotel so I was wondering if I shall be kiasu and buy a coupon (to be exchanged for a ticket later) in SG 1st or they will not run out of buses and tickets even if it is the last bus in the timetable?

    • sarah sarah

      oh no, that’s tricky indeed! We aren’t sure, and didn’t even know you can buy tickets / coupons in advance… do let us know how it goes!

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