You have your tickets. You booked your flights. You’ve reserved your accommodations. You’re finally going to Japan for the Olympics. You and the rest of the world. Tokyo is always an amazingly busy city that can be totally overwhelming, and you had better believe that it will be insane during such an exciting, global event.
If you want to make the most out of your time in Tokyo and ensure you don’t get caught off guard, here are some tips for your trip so you can make amazing memories during this once in a lifetime occurrence.
In Tokyo, anything that is worth going to is worth a long wait. Japanese people are not afraid to que for a good time. This means that if there are any local events that you want to catch in between Olympic ones, you should budget at the very least an extra half hour to an hour for anything that requires entry into a venue.
If you yourself are not from or are not used to a big city, Tokyo is the biggest. It’s loud and brilliant and it is sensory overload, so you can get disoriented easily and lose your path.
Before you break out of your hotel room or AirBNB, make sure that you connect to your free Wifi and pay close attention to Google Maps. The colours of the train lines you need to find and the times that they depart, since those are important at extremely busy platforms like Shinjuku or Shibuya. Remember that unlike many North American cities, Tokyo is hurting for free Wifi, and it is hard to come by. This leads well into my next point.
In Japan, convenience is king. However free, accessible wifi around downtown Tokyo is not so royal. You can, however, get a monthly rate on a pocket wifi, which gives you oodles of data and is tucked right in your purse. Check out a personal favorite of mine, Pupuru. You can even have these delivered to Narita or to your hotel so that you’re never left in the lurch, huddled in a Mcdonalds or 711 and trying to pull up Google Maps. (Read: Why Pocket wifi is the best option?)
So many people do not realize is that Japan in the summer is absolutely boiling. It is not uncommon to break 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and the humidity makes it feel even hotter. Since we mentioned above that you might be stuck in a lineup for a prolonged period of time or might be walking long distances, so make sure you stay hydrated and apply that sweat proof spf to prevent hyperthermia.
Water is great, electrolyte heavy drinks are better in this kind of climate. Pocari Sweat is a funny name, and a great hydrator. I also recommend Ion Water or Green Dakara for a less sugary option. Anything called a ‘Sports Drink’ will work great. Also, any convenience store will have cheap ice cream, sports drinks, sunscreens and an assortment of products that are meant to cool the skin, such as hair sprays and cooling wipes.
Take a few moments to grab what appeals to you. But keep in mind that many of these products contain alcohol, and so are drying or often not suited for those with sensitive skin. Please remember that heat stroke is a real concern in Japan in the summer.
Yes even in 2020, Japan is still a cash-centric society. While you will be able to use your credit card at some restaurant chains or your hotel, some stores or mom-and-pop outfits, as well as many food stalls at shrines and temples will be cash only. In Japan it is not abnormal to carry a few man yen with them at all times, you should at least ensure you have 100 USD (*or rough one man yen) with you at all times, just in case.
Tokyo can be overwhelming, but amazingly fun. You just need to practice a little preparedness. As long as you plan ahead, you can tackle anything that comes your way and have a relatively stress-free stay in Japan.