First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

by Kenzia - TripleLights travel specialist

I think we can agree that Tokyo is one of the greatest cities in the world, and many would want to visit Tokyo at some point in their lives. However, most wouldn’t know much about Tokyo. With so many differences, including language, culture, and systems, preparing and planning in advance before visiting Tokyo is a must.

 

If you are visiting Tokyo and you don’t know much. Don’t worry. With the readily available information on the internet about Tokyo including this article, it only takes a few minutes to get to know Tokyo and make your trip to Tokyo smoother!

 

In this article, I’m going to share with you some travel tips in Tokyo, hiring a guide can make enhance your trip, where to hire local guides and more recommendations. 

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

Things to know before you travel to Tokyo

If it’s your first time in Tokyo, it can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why research and planning beforehand are needed if you want to have a smooth trip while in Tokyo. Some of which include the weather, culture, the best places to go, and the language.

 

Weather in Tokyo

It’s important to search for the weather ahead so you know what clothes you should take with you and if the places you want to visit are available or not.

 

Here’s a general outlook of Tokyo’s weather.

(Seasons)

Spring→ March to May           

Summer→ June to August

Autumn/Fall→ September to November

Winter→ December to February

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

Cultural tips

It can be easy to accidentally disrespect a culture in Tokyo because it’s different from yours. That’s why it’s important to research a little of the culture in Japan to remain respectful.

 

Here are some basic tips for your travel in Tokyo:

→ You don't neeed to tip. Tipping in Japan is not common, so no one will be expecting it. You can tip if you want, but the person may be surprised. 

→ If you are on the escalator in Tokyo, stay on the left.

→ If you are using chopsticks in Japan, there are many things you should be careful about, including to not stick the chopsticks in the food and not pointing to people with your chopsticks.

 

Basic phrases

Although this isn’t necessary, you can learn the basic phrases so you don’t totally feel clueless, and Japanese would appreciate knowing that you had learned some of the phrases when talking to them. You can learn a few basic words like yes, which is hai in Japanese; no, which is is iie; and thank you, which is arigatou.  For more, you can see the image below. 

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

Is there anything else you could do to make your trip in Tokyo better? Yes.

If you don’t want to trouble yourself with the demanding tasks of planning and researching, one way to make your trip more convenient, smoother and yet also enhanced is by hiring a guide.

 

Hiring a private tour guide can provide you many advantages, including helping make the most out of your trip, saving your time, and so much more

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

 

Recommended tour guides

Here's the thing:

There are many places on the web where you can hire one. However, it is difficult to determine whether it’s a good and trustworthy website or not.


My recommendation to find a great tour guide is the TripleLights website. The website offers many local tour guides options in Tokyo from which you can choose according to your needs and preferences. The website allows you to use the trip plan provided by each of the tour guides, and customize it according to your preferences.


The local guides are knowledgeable, the can give you insights and context about Tokyo and the spots you visit. They know much about the details of Tokyo, so if you had any questions, you can ask them and the guides will answer them for you.

 

Thought that’s all? Nope. Here are more useful tips for your trip to Tokyo:

Some of the best places to go in Tokyo

If it’s your first time in Tokyo, you might not know where are the best places to go and what to do in Tokyo. So, I’ll list some of the best places to go in Tokyo for you to visit.

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

→ Asakusa- if you want to experience both old and new Japan by visiting Sensoji Temple and Edo Tokyo Museum.

→ Akihabara- a must visit if you love anime, manga, figurines, and electronics.

→ Shibuya- if you visit Tokyo, it’s inevitable to visit Shibuya. Shopping, food, entertainment, and the renowned Hachiko statue and Shibuya Crossing.

→ Odaiba- get a feel of modern Tokyo in Odaiba. It has everything from theme parks, shopping malls, beaches, and many more.

→ Harajuku- experience the ‘kawaii’ side of Tokyo in Takeshita Street, the Yoyogi park, and also the Meiji-jingu shrine.

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

 

A useful guidebook

If you want to learn a little more about Tokyo, it is always a good idea to get a good guidebook. My recommendation for a free, great-quality guidebook is the Tokyo PDF Guidebook for first timers by Planetyze, called “Don’t Get Lost in Tokyo”.

 

The guidebook contains useful materials and information for your trip in Tokyo. It includes the best places to go in Tokyo, useful Japanese phrases to use, some useful Japanese culture tips, things you should know before traveling to Tokyo, itinerary ideas, city and subway maps, and more, ensuring you a better understanding of Tokyo and a smooth trip in Tokyo!

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips 

Is it easy to travel around Tokyo?

Look:

Even though Tokyo is a sprawling city, the transport system is very efficient and convenient. To travel around places with trains, you can buy tickets in the train stations, but for more convenience, you can purchase a prepaid card, called Pasmo or Suica.

 

There are also taxis with the starting fee of ¥430 (US$ 4), but taking the train is cheaper, especially if you are traveling a far distance. Buses are also available if you are traveling within an area. 

Is Tokyo safe for travelers?

Japan is generally very safe. The crime rate is very low and people are generally honest, but it's always good to be a little careful if you are traveling anywhere. 

 

Also...

There are many koban (mini police stations) all over Tokyo. So, if anything happens, which I'm sure is very rare, the police are available to help. Japanese people are also helpful, so don't worry. 

So should you hire a tour guide?

Not necessarily. But, like mentioned above, hiring a guide can be really advantageous. A good research beforehand and a good guidebook alone can be enough.  Extras like google maps and the ability to speak Japanese are definitely helpful. But, nothing beats having the insights of a local tour guide to show you around and give you the context of the destinations you visit in Tokyo.

 

Hiring a guide can really enhance your trip, adding more value and depth. Guides can also make your trip so much more convenient. 

Where to hire a guide in Tokyo?

First Time in Tokyo - Important Tips

If you decide that hiring a guide is the best option for you, here's where. To help you find the right guide, here is a list of great tour guides in Tokyo. You can choose according to your preferences and needs.

 

If you want to hire a guide in Kyoto, you can click here, And if you are looking for guides in other areas of Japan, you may want to click here.

 

If what you are looking for are private tours with set itineraries that you can customize when you book, here are recommendations for Tokyo and also the tour recommendations for Kyoto and other areas of Japan.

 

Here are some more useful links for your Tokyo trip

Cars, vans tours, and transfers in Tokyo

AMAZING TOKYO (BUS TOUR)

 

I hope this article gives you some useful tips for your trip to Tokyo including why and where to hire a guide, answers some of the questions you have about Tokyo, and helps you understand a little bit more of Tokyo. I hope you have a great time in Tokyo!

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Group of 5 in Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 hour ago Traveler: Cindi -   Tour Guide: Dai

Dai did an amazing job filling a large “want list“ from five very different personalities I’m sure it was a daunting task for him, but we spent two days with Dai and left feeling that we had a fabulous tour of Tokyo And a good understanding of the city He made sure that we were also able to squeeze in some great food and shopping along the way. Dai was flexible, patient, and consid...
read more

“ Personalised Tokyo Sightseeing ”

Very Good
5 hours ago Traveler: Jordan -   Tour Guide: VAN transportation

Big family of 9 adults (including 2 elderly) & 2 young children. Mr Kojima (driver) & Mr Uno (translator) were very polite, accommodating & smiling. They took us wherever we needed to go via the best route possible & were very attentive to our needs. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this service!
read more

“ Perfect introduction to Tokyo ”

Excellent
5 hours ago Traveler: Nonie -   Tour Guide: Keiko

Keiko was an absolute delight - we loved our half day tour with her! We went to the fish markets, Shinjuku and Azabu-Jyuban and then she showed us how to get the train to our next location. Keiko spoke excellent English and was able to answer all of our obscure questions. She told us just the right amount of history as we went around (sometimes guides go into too much depth, but she had it just ri...
read more

“ Varied day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
16 hours ago Traveler: Mark -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

We had an excellent day with Yukiko, it was varied in that we went to a Buddhist prayer ceremony followed by a garden visit followed by a visit to the Meiji shrine. Tokyo is very big so travel and walking takes up quite some time but is useful to help soak up the detail. Yukiko was very well prepared and knowledgeable, she made a real effort to make the day as interesting as possible and was good...
read more

“ Outstanding tour guide and person ”

Excellent
17 hours ago Traveler: Susan -   Tour Guide: Makoto

Makoto is a wonderful person, knowledgeable tour guide, and has a fantastic handle on the English language. He was flexible with our schedule (worked around a typhoon) and physical limitation. I could not recommend him more highly!
read more

“ Simply Amazing Experience ”

Excellent
21 hours ago Traveler: Mike -   Tour Guide: Yusuke

Yusuke was kind, helpful and very patient as he helped us visit Tokyo. He waited an hour at the airport when our flight was delayed. His English was excellent and he took us to every destination we planned. We would have been totally lost without him. Highly recommended.
read more

“ Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Wendy -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

Toshi is a marvelous guide! We had a great day with her in Tokyo. She is knowledgeable and a pleasure to spend the day with. We especially appreciated her kindness and flexibility as we had to rearrange our plans due to Typhoon Hagibis. Thank you Toshi for both your support and for showing us an awesome day!
read more

“ Half day Tokyo with Yasuro ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Jehanzeb -   Tour Guide: Yasuro

Tour layout and plan: We selected our own sites to visit and attractions. English understanding and speaking: 4/5 Knowledge of culture and history: 4/5 Customer service: Very cumbersome, the website does not allow direct communication with the guide till the end so direct communication is not possible. 0/5 for this policy of the website. Overall rating: 4/5 for this tour.
read more

“ Takano was the best! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Harry -   Tour Guide: Takano

The half day we spent with Yoshiro Takano was truly one of the highlights of our trip to Japan. He listened to what was most important to us and accommodated our needs. He even guided us on how to use the train system. We were extremely pleased that we had him for a guide. I would definitely recommend booking with him.
read more

“ An incredible introduction to Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Maria -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Toshihiro is a truly excellent tour guide. We booked him for two days and he covered the older, more traditional part of the city (east) on day one and the newer, buzzing part (west) on day two. It was the perfect personalised package and it was incredible how much he efficiently fitted in. We got a taste of everything in the city, including Shinto shrine, Buddhist temple, shopping regions, parks ...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started