- Weather in mid-March is pretty mild. It’s not like March in NYC, when you might still need a coat. In Tokyo/Kyoto, you just need a light spring jacket, and perhaps a scarf. It does get chilly at night so make sure you’re prepared for that. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch some cherry blossoms at this time.
- If you are planning to travel all over Japan the Shinkansen is your best bet. It’s faster (overall), cheaper, and easier than flying. Look into the JR rail pass.
- Taking the subway/metro is easy, convenient, and inexpensive. Subway/metro rides are calculated by zones and how far you travel. Transferring from line to line is also extremely easy. You can get a Suica card, where you pre-load money to it. You can even use this at vending machines and at Ichiran!
- Taxis are expensive. We were in a time crunch and needed to go straight from Haneda Airport to the Ghibli Museum in order to make our timed ticket entry. A 40-minute cab ride costed us about 100 USD. That being said, take the metro if you can.
- There are escorts all over Akihabara. I noticed skimpily-dressed girls trying to solicit single men or groups of men. It seems like they know to leave everyone else alone because they didn’t dare approach Ben and I.
- Hentai isn’t taboo. You’d think that since the Japanese like to keep to themselves, they’d be more private about it. Perhaps order a few books online. But nope. They have entire sections dedicated to hentai at bookstores, and a lot of people were just flipping through them very openly
- Don’t sleep on Sumida. This is the neighborhood in Tokyo we stayed at. It’s cheaper to stay at then the more popular neighborhoods, like Shinjuku, but it’s only a half-hour metro to Shinjuku. All of the other neighborhoods you’d probably want to check out are easy to get to as well. The Kinshicho station is the main station and there are lots of shops/restaurants nearby.
- You’re going to find a bidet everywhere you go. The Japanese really like having a clean bottom. I mean, let’s be honest – who doesn’t. Maybe that’s also the reason why toilets are super clean in Japan. Even public toilets are cleaner than bathrooms I’ve seen back at work in NYC.
- The Yamato luggage transport service is so easy and surprisingly cheap. If you want to travel from city to city luggage free, this is the way to do it. Most hotels have a Yamato counter. The representative will tell you how many days you’d need for it to get to the next destination, you fill out a form, drop off your luggage, pay a small fee, and then pick it up at your next destination on the designated date. After Tokyo, we were planning to travel to Kyoto for two nights, take the Shinkansen back to Tokyo and go straight to Haneda Airport. We ended up dropping off the luggage at our hotel in Tokyo for pick-up at Haneda (where we were traveling onto China). Everything worked out as planned. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t use this service.
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