City guide to Tokyo

Introduction to Tokyo

A Tokyo street sceneTokyo is crowded, confusing, and chaotic. An amazing adventure for any young traveler to go on. The crowds and energy can be a little intimidating at first. Everything is fast, bright, and electric. If this is your first time visiting this city, and/or you are visiting on your own with no contacts, the funnest route to go would be finding boarding in a local hostel. Hostel's in Tokyo can be anything from a dorm style bed to a private girls house with traditional Japanese bath and tea included. The important part is that you will meet people who speak your language, have the same sense of adventure, and possibly, who know enough of the language to help you get into some non-tourist restaurants and Karaoke bars.

That being said, Tokyo is where Japan's non-conformist flee. Be prepared to see and meet all sorts of people. The Japanese, by nature, can be a little reserved, but are incredibly nice. If you are outgoing enough, you will have no problem finding someone who speaks English, or someone who would love to show you around in exchange for some English practice.

Things to definitely see in Tokyo: If there's a shrine flea-market while you're there, check it out. It is a fun way to check out the local wares, and people. Also, visit the Ota Museum in Harajuku, and then go next door to La Foret. The Imperial Palace is astounding, but can only be viewed from outside without an appointment, as is the adjoining East Garden.

It's interesting to spend half the day in the midst of the very old, and the next half in the midst of the very modern. Also, eat Ramen in a traditional Ramen house. It is rare to find traditional Ramen anywhere other than Japan, and the odds are it will taste nothing like what you expect.

Things to avoid: Avoid traveling to Japan during any national/school Holiday. Japanese workers and students don't get the same types of holidays we are used to. When they come, cities like Tokyo are flooded. Also avoid rainy season (Mid June to Mid July) if you can.

Photo by jamesjustin on flickr

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