Our Thoughts on Tokyo…

Simply put, Tokyo is excellent. If we had a ton of money, we’d love to live there. It’s full of exciting sights, and there are tons of fun things to do. It’s exceptionally clean, orderly, and convenient for a city of its size. It offers everything from the urban madness of Shinjuku to the calm of Yoyogi Park to the spiritual serenity of the Meiji Shrine. The only downside is that it’s expensive as hell.

A few final observations and tips on traveling in Japan:

– Always carry a handkerchief or napkins with you. Most restaurants and public bathrooms do not provide any.
– Keep a few hundred yen in coins for vending machines, lockers at train stations, etc.
– Flip-flops and sandals are not the best footwear choices. If you end up at a traditional-style restaurant, guest house, or ryokan, you will have to take off your shoes and put on house slippers, and it is much better to be wearing socks.

– Tokyo women are very fashionable. Ladies, bring your chicest outfits! (Misou’s tip)
– Buy a reloadable Suica card to use on the Tokyo subway and the Yamanote line. The card can also be used at certain shops. To get one, you must pay a ¥500 deposit, which you can collect before you leave the country.
– Don’t be afraid of the colorful and mazelike subway map. At first it seems crazy, but it’s really quite logical and it makes getting around very easy. Each line is named and color-coded, and each station is named and numbered. For example, we stayed in Ueno, where the main station is number 16 on the Ginza (orange) line and number 17 on the Hibiya (silver) line.
– Since the Japanese drive on the left side of the road, try to stay left when walking on the sidewalk or going up and down stairs. On escalators, stand to the left and let people walk past you on the right.
– Japan has drink vending machines and clean public bathrooms everywhere! If only we had so many in US cities!

– Speaking of bathrooms, most toilets in Japan are equipped with seat warmers, a bidet, and a (for lack of a better word) butt sprayer. Some even offer a “flushing sound” option, in the event you want to be a little, ahem, loud about your bathroom business, and a “strong deodorizer” that might complement it. The buttons on the toilet might make you feel like you’re in a space shuttle rather than a bathroom.

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