Tokyo has four distinct seasons ranging from a humid rainy season, followed by hot summer to a mild winter with occassional snow. Spring cherry blossom and Autumn's fall leaves are considered best seasons for many.
Don't stick your chopsticks into your bowl of rice or pass food chopsticks to chopsticks. This is only done at funerals.
Tipping is not a standard practise in Japan and is not expected. However a service charge of 10% to 20% is charged at many restaurants and hotels.
Addresses and directions
Japan has a very different address system where street names are not used. Ask the Concierge to write the address in Japanese or to print a map for the driver. All taxis have GPS navigation systems and be aware the rear passenger doors are operated by the driver.
WHEN TO VISIT
Tokyo has four distinct seasons ranging from a humid and hot July to August to a mild winter with occassional snow. The best times to visit Japan are Spring (April and May) and Autumn (October and November).
DID YOU KNOW ?
Our closest train station, Shinagawa station is one of Japan's oldest stations established in 1872 and marks the 0km start point for Tokyo's JR Yamanote train line loop. The Yamanote line has a ridership of over 3.5 million passengers per day - more than the entire London Underground!
Tokyo metropolis is actually many different cities overlapping each other each with distinct districts that started to shape during the Edo period when Tokyo, then called Edo was a feudal samurai castle town.
Tokyo has many traditional festivals called "matsuri" with long histories as well as many other modern calendar events. If you would like to experience the true culture of Japan ask the Concierge desk for current matsuri recommendations.
If you enjoy museums, galleries, zoos or aquariums then a Grutt Pass is a must. For 2000 yen you gain free single entry access to over 50 attractions and discounts at several others across Tokyo. The pass is valid for 2 months as well!
This modern day martial art and olympic sport has roots from the jujitsu of samurai on battlefields. You can watch daily practice at the Kodokan, near Tokyo Dome for free from the specators gallery.
WHAT TO PACK
With so many amazing locations packed into one city some comfortable walking shoes and socks are a must. Many temples, shrines and some older streets can have uneven surfaces so a pair of flat, comfortable shoes are recommended.
Tokyo is a photographers dream with ever topic covered from traditional temples and gardens, street vendors to the futuristic architechure. Potenital photo opportunities will be everywhere, so also bring extra memory cards.
It is recommended to exchange at least some money -- just enough to cover airport incidentals and transportation to the hotel - before you leave home. Most ATMs in Japan do not accept foreign cards however most of the 7 Eleven convenience stores and post office ATMs do. In Japan many smaller shops and restaurants still prefer cash.
A sense of adventure
Explore, become lost and discover the real Tokyo. This former city of the samurai is constantly changing and reinventing itself but still retains it's unique essence and sense of tradition.
Bring a good supply of cards if doing business in Japan. Business cards are a must and are always exchanged and presented with two hands. No need to present credit cards with two hands though.