Let me start this off by saying my initial budgeting of around $5,000 for the trip was pretty accurate. To read my initial budgeting break down you can go to the link here to read about why I hate travel agents.
Just before I start a little selfish advertising; I’m now on Instagram! You can follow me @travellingwithjamesw
Okay! Let’s kick part 1 of my travel updates off with the first of my stops in Tokyo. I stayed in Tokyo for 8 days and I loved every day of it. I didn’t get to cover all the major suburbs either so a longer stay for most could be warranted.
I stayed in the Emblem Hostel in Nishi-Arai
I can’t talk them up enough. It was still the best hostel I stayed in by the end of the trip. The staff are helpful, friendly, patient and they all speak excellent English. The lodgings vary, and I stayed in a room with individual pods/capsules and it was fantastic. I’m pretty tall so if I can fit chances are you’ll be comfortable there too. Breakfast is free, gotta love it.
Cost: Around $23 AUD a night, or $17 USD.
How not to get there: Enjoy.
Getting there: From Narita International take any train heading towards Tokyo Central. Either get off at Tokyo Central, Ueno, Kita-Senju, and change to the Hibiya Subway line or Tobu Skytree line to Nishi-Arai Station. The hostel is a 2 minute walk from the station.
Booking: I booked through hostelworld.com and you can find a quick access link here.
Tokyo Metropolitan Building: This freebie is located in the Shinjuku district. Try get there midday or late afternoon for smaller crowds, and better views.
Getting there: It’s definitely easiest to hop on the train as Shinjuku is a major station. Then it’s a 5-10 minute walk away.
Meiji-Jingu Shrine: One of the more famous shrines in Tokyo and it’s also located in the Shinjuku district. Try get there before 4pm so you can access the Meiji Inner Garden. Try avoid the main entrance for a more scenic, and serene experience.
Getting there: Train to Shinjuku station and then a 10 minute walk. I walked from the Metropolitan building and found it to be the more peaceful entrance with less people.
Cost: Meiji-Jingu Shrine is free. Meiji Inner Garden cost 500 yen, or $4.50 USD
Imperial Palace: Probably the most famous attraction in Tokyo. The east gardens are beautiful and the walk is quite easy. It makes for a nice afternoon stroll. Do not visit on a Friday as they are shut; I learnt this the hard way.
Getting there: Take a train to Tokyo Central and then it’s a 5 minute walk away.
Akihabara: A must see for the tech-savvy, the anime lovers, and people who want to see a little of the weird in Tokyo.
Getting there: Relatively easy to do, can be reached by multiple rail options. Tokyo and Skinjuku stations offer the easiest routes.
Cost: Window shopping is free, partaking the various delights will cost you.
Tokyo Skytree: The shining star of Tokyo. This is a must do if you can afford to and would like to get a better view of things than the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. It is certainly eye-opening.
Getting there: Jump on the train from Ueno, Tokyo, Shibuya, or Asakusa and get off at the Skytree station. Most of these also have Skytree shuttles you can take that are simple to use. The Tobu Skytree line is another great way to reach it if you’re coming from a northern suburb (like Nishi-arai).
Cost: A regular adult ticket to the 350 metres up is 2,060 yen ($18 USD) and an additional 1,030 yen ($9 USD) to reach 450 metres.
A fast ticket – usually reserved for international visitors – are 3,000 yen ($26 USD) for 350 metres and 4,000 yen ($35 USD) for 450 metres. Don’t buy this unless it’s packed and you want to zip up there. It’s much better to just visit at a later time of night and save yourself 1,000+ yen.
Yanesen Area: Yanesen is the collective name for the Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi neighborhoods. It’s a beautiful area and I consider it a must see if you wish to remove yourself from some hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
Getting there: Easily accessible from Ueno station. After that it’s a walk or stroll around the district and it can take you anywhere from an hour to a full day depending on where you want to go and how far you want to travel.
Cost: Once again walking will cost you nothing. Tennoji temple is free. Rikugi park is 200 yen. Ueno Park is free. There are various activities to do throughout and they will all vary with seasonal cost and the place.
There are plenty of other things I did and places I went to but they would hardly qualify as major attractions. They do however rank up there as some of my more favourite places that I visited in Tokyo so if you’d like to read more you can do so here, and here.