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- Walk through the city’s coolest neighborhoods, including Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ginza, and more, with color-coded stops and turn-by-turn directions
- Find your scene with top ten lists for restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and more
- Get to know the real Tokyo on six customizable walks: Savor fresh sushi or delicious ramen, snack on yakitori in a neighborhood izakaya, and barhop through Shibuya. Walk under the famous cherry blossoms in the spring, watch a traditional kabuki performance, and make your way through a bustling morning fish market. Enter the imaginative world of master animator Hayao Miyazaki or marvel at historic temples and Buddhist monuments
- Explore on the go with foldout maps of each walking route and a removable full-city map, all in a handy guide that fits in your pocket
- Discover public transportation options like bike rentals, subway lines, and more
Check out our guides to more of the world’s best cities, so you can hit the ground running! Also available: Moon Barcelona Walks, Moon Berlin Walks, Moon New York City Walks, Moon Amsterdam Walks, Moon Paris Walks, Moon Rome Walks, and Moon London Walks.
MOON TOKYO WALKS
Step off the plane and head right for the newest, hippest café in town. Find out where to get the best fish in the city or where they have locally brewed beer on tap. In Moon Tokyo Walks, a local author shares with you the genuine highlights of the city she loves. This way you can skip the busy shopping streets and just stroll through the city at your own pace, taking in a local attraction on your way to the latest and greatest concept store. Savor every second and make your city trip a truly feel-good experience.
Tokyo—you will discover—is a city of contrasts. There are neighborhoods such as Shinjuku, which are made up almost entirely of towering skyscrapers. Then there is Nakameguro, where you can enjoy a meal under the tracks, and where you can feel the city has remained unchanged for centuries. This duality is something you will continue to experience throughout your stay here: a wedding couple dressed in traditional clothing at the ancient Sensoji Temple juxtaposed with the boundary-pushing teamLab digital art museum in Odaiba. Take in Tokyo and Japan with all your senses because it is an experience you will never forget.
To make the world’s largest city a little easier to navigate, we’ve put together amazing routes that will take you through diverse neighborhoods to some of the best, most stand-out spots in Tokyo.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this book, you’ll discover the city by foot and at your own pace, so you can relax and experience the local lifestyle without having to do a lot of preparation beforehand. That means more time for you. Our walks take you past our favorite restaurants, cafés, museums, galleries, shops, and other notable attractions—places we like to go to ourselves.
None of the places mentioned here have paid to appear in either the text or the photos, and all text has been written by an independent editorial staff.
The six walks in this book allow you to explore the best neighborhoods in the city on foot and at your own pace. The routes will take you past museums and other notable attractions, but more importantly, they’ll show you where to go for great food, drinks, shopping, and an overall good time. Use the map in the front of this book to see which areas of the city the walks cover.
Individual routes are clearly mapped out at the beginning of each relevant chapter. All places referred to in that chapter are indicated on the map. The color of the number lets you know what type of destination each place is (see key at the bottom of this page). Brief descriptions and useful information about these places are also provided.
Each walk takes no longer than three hours, not accounting for any extended stops you may make at a given location along the way. Distances are given above the directions.
Together with addresses and contact details, for certain destinations we also provide an idea of what you can expect to spend. Unless otherwise stated, for restaurants this amount is the average price of a main course. For sights and attractions, we indicate the cost of a regular full-price ticket—we do not mention any reduced prices that may be available.
There are more than 160,000 restaurants in Tokyo, and the city boasts the most Michelin stars in the world. It’s no wonder the locals like eating out so much. Dining out is also an integral part of the social and professional culture here. The Japanese work long, hard hours, and they also often go for a beer with colleagues.
Most restaurants in Japan specialize in a particular dish. Ramen, sushi, and gyoza are probably the best known, but be sure to also try tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), okonomiyaki (savory pancake), and donburi (rice bowl). Specialized restaurants usually offer set meals, which include a main dish, a side, and a drink for a fixed price.
Also common in Japan are izakaya. You can recognize them by the long lanterns hanging out front. Izakaya are restaurants where the Japanese typically come after work for a bite to eat and some sake or beer. The restaurants usually offer simple dishes such as karaage (fried chicken), sushi, sashimi, or onigiri (rice balls). Be sure to also check out what those around you are having—this is generally a surefire way to discovery something delicious.
Some restaurants require you to take off your shoes when you enter, and you may be seated at a low table where you have to fold your legs underneath yourself. For people who are unaccustomed to it, sitting like this can be somewhat of a challenge. Fortunately, nowadays there’s often a space in the floor under the table where you can put your legs. Restaurants that require you to remove your shoes usually have a pair of slippers for you to put on when you need to use the restroom.
Only a few of the very popular restaurants take reservations; more often than not, people just wait in line. At really good restaurants, it’s not uncommon for people to begin lining up hours in advance to be sure they get a table. Needless to say, these aren’t the types of places you stick around too long after you’ve finished your meal.
It’s useful to know that Japan is still a cash-based society. In the vast majority of restaurants here (and in Japan in general), you can pay only with cash. Occasionally a restaurant will accept credit cards but usually not debit cards. It’s also important to note that people never tip here. Unless expressly stated otherwise, tipping is considered an insult. Finally, be aware that smoking is still permitted in restaurants, bars, and cafés in Japan.
Because of Japan’s location, the risk of natural disasters is higher here than elsewhere. Typhoons are a regular occurrence, and tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes under the sea. However, the type of natural disaster most likely to occur while you’re visiting is an earthquake. In Japan there’s a tremor every minute, although fortunately most are too small to notice. People in Japan are incredibly well prepared for earthquakes and most homes and buildings have been built to withstand the shocks. Also, all hotels and public buildings are equipped with emergency supplies and fire extinguishers (many people here have a real fear of fire).
If all of this makes you a little uneasy, before your trip be sure to read more about earthquakes in Japan—for example, at www.jnto.go.jp/safety-tips/eng/index.html. It’s not a bad idea to be prepared for how to deal with them just in case. If you feel an earthquake occur during your visit, look and see how the locals around you are responding. It’s probably not too big of a deal if they all appear unphased. You may be a little shaken up (literally and figuratively), but it’s not likely that the quake caused much damage, if any at all. On the other hand, if you see people evacuating, then follow them.
Japan has many public holidays—nearly one per month. On these days, everyone has the day off, and it’s busy everywhere. Museums are often open on public holidays but then closed the day after.
January 1 > New Year’s Day
Second Monday in January > Coming of Age Day
February 11 > National Foundation Day
Around March 23 > Vernal Equinox Day
April 29 > Showa Day
May 3 > Constitution Memorial Day
May 4 > Greenery Day
May 5 > Children’s Day
Third Monday in July > Marine Day
Mid-August > Obon (not an official holiday but nearly all businesses are closed for the week and people spend time with their families)
Third Monday in September > Respect for the Aged Day
Around September 23 > Autumnal Equinox Day
Second Monday in October > Health and Sports Day
November 3 > Culture Day
November 23 > Labor Thanksgiving Day
December 23 > The Emperor’s Birthday
Note that starting on April 29 with Showa Day, there are a number of holidays in quick succession. This period around Showa Day through Children’s Day (May 5) is known as Golden Week and is a time when many Japanese people travel. Although you may be competing with Japanese travelers when visiting other parts of Japan during Golden Week, Tokyo itself may seem less crowded, as many residents leave the city during this time.
Although it’s not a national holiday, cherry blossom season is a very special time in Japan. The exact timing varies from year to year based on weather conditions; in Tokyo, the trees usually bloom around late March.
HAVE ANY TIPS?
A lot of care has gone into making this guidebook. Nonetheless, shops and restaurants in Tokyo regularly come and go. We do our best to keep the walks and contact details provided as up to date as possible. We also try to update the print edition of this book as often as we can. However, if despite our best efforts there is a place that you cannot find, or if you have any other comments or feedback for us, please let us know. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tokyo has two major international airports. However, because the city is so huge, there is no single best way to get from the airport to wherever you’re staying. Below are a few suggestions of easy ways to get into the city.
Narita Airport is farther away from the city center, and it will take you at least 70 minutes to get from there to Tokyo Station. A good option is to take the Narita Express, which costs about ¥3000. From there you can get a taxi to your hotel. Otherwise, an alternative option is to take a bus called Tokyo Shuttle. A one-way ticket costs ¥900. The various transportation options are well signposted in the arrivals area at Narita, and you can buy your tickets there too.
Haneda Airport is closer to the city and is less than 30 minutes from Tokyo Station by public transportation. But it requires transferring, which can be a bit of an ordeal in Tokyo for the inexperienced visitor dealing with jet lag.
If you fly into Haneda, you can take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station and from there transfer to whichever line you need. Otherwise, take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station and transfer there. This costs around ¥650. Here again, when you get to one of the big stations, you can also just do yourself a favor and take a taxi from there to your hotel.
From both airports you can also get the Friendly Airport Limousine. This bus service has multiple routes through the city and stops at most major hotels. On average you can expect to pay ¥3000 one way from Narita and ¥1000 one way from Haneda.
Once inside the city the metro is a great way to get around. You can buy a PASMO or Suica card for ¥500 at a machine at any station (for English instructions, press the button at the top right of the screen). At the same machine, you’ll then have to add credit to your card. Once that’s done, you’re ready to get out and explore the city. Note that Tokyo has both metros and trains, and they are run by different companies. You can use your PASMO or Suica card everywhere, although sometimes when transferring you’ll need to check out and then check in again at the correct platform. Occasionally you may have to walk for a couple of minutes to get from the metro to the train or vice versa. Google Maps is a convenient app to use to find your way if you have an international data plan. It also suggests alternative transportation options. The Tokyo Metro Subway app is also useful when it comes to the metro network, but it doesn’t provide information on trains.
Tokyo also has an extensive bus network. Buses are a great way to get around because they allow you to see everyday life in the city. However, the buses usually cover only short distances.
Taxis are ubiquitous in Tokyo. Throughout the day and the night, you’ll find them everywhere—often decked out with lace seat covers. Just stick out your hand and one will stop for you. The doors always open automatically whether you’re getting in or out, so don’t try to open or shut them yourself. Some taxis are “foreign friendly,” meaning that the driver speaks English or is in some way equipped to understand you. Nonetheless, it’s recommended you show the driver the address of wherever you want to go using your phone or a business card.
When you leave Tokyo and travel to other parts of Japan, you will of course want to take the Shinkansen (the renowned bullet train).
Since Tokyo is such a big city and can be so hilly in parts, biking in Tokyo is not recommended for those who aren’t used to it. That being said, bikes are of course an awesome form of transportation. What else allows you to see so much of a city?
In general, Tokyo isn’t all that bike friendly. Bike paths are rare and, even when they do exist, the other traffic on the road doesn’t pay much attention to them. As a result, many people bike on the sidewalk, but that’s not too convenient in busy parts of the city. In residential areas, however, you see lots of moms on their mamacharis (electric bikes with kid seats).
It can also be a challenge to find a place to park a bike, and parking usually isn’t free. It’s not permitted to just lock your bike anywhere, and if you do there’s a good chance it will be removed.
Cars in Japan always drive on the left, but the rules for bikes aren’t as strict. Cyclists more or less go wherever they want, but everyone does stop for red lights. Helmets are optional. Most bikes in Tokyo are electric.
Many places in Tokyo have red electric Docomo bikes, which are part of a bikeshare program. Take a bike from a rack in one place and return it at another. You can use your phone to register and pay by credit card. The amount you are charged is based on how long you use the bike. Visit docomo-cycle.jp/tokyo-project for more information.
A number of neighborhoods also have local bike rentals. Ask about this wherever you are staying. Some hotels even have their own bike rentals.
TOP 10: RESTAURANTS
1 Enjoy amazing Thai food and a view at Longrain > here
2 For amazing tempura, head to Tsunahachi > here
3 Sushi Isshin is a Michelin-starred, Edo-style gem > here
4 Try all 20 places in Ebisu Yokocho > here
5 Sit outside on the terrace at Hounen Manpuku > here
6 Miuramisaki has the best conveyor belt sushi > here
7 Jomon has traditional grilled skewers > here
8 Try this unlikely pairing at Champagne & Gyoza Bar > here
9 Japanese curry and udon noodles at Donmai Noodles > here
10 Head to Innsyoutei for a traditional meal >here
TOP 10: MUSEUMS
1 See anime at Ghibli Museum > 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku Mitaka-shi
2 Explore the skeletons at the National Museum of Nature and Science > here
3 Learn about Tokyo history at Edo-Tokyo Museum > here
4 Take in fine art at Tokyo National Museum > here
5 Conduct experiments at the Science Museum > here
6 Enjoy the garden at Nezu Museum > here
7 Learn local history at Yebisu Beer Museum > here
8 Photos galore at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum > here
9 Be blown away at Epson teamLab Borderless > here
10 Enjoy the view at Mori Art Museum > here
TOP 10: NIGHTLIFE
1 Dress up as a ninja at Ninja Café > 2-14-3 Tokyo Plaza Akasaka
2 It’s an insanely cute world at Kawaii Monster Cafe > here
3 See a genuine show at Robot Restaurant > here
4 Enjoy glitter galore at The Iron Fairies > here
5 Dance at Womb > 2-16 Maruyamacho Shibuya
6 Take the elevator up to DJ Bar Bridge > 1−25−6 Shibuya 10F
7 Savor the view at Park Hyatt > 52F Shinjuku
8 Listen to live music at Bauhaus > 5−16−5 Roppongi B1
9 Tachibana Clinic is a hospital-themed bar > 1−1−8 Shinjuku
- On Sale
- Mar 10, 2020
- Page Count
- 152 pages
- Moon Travel