December 10th, 2016 I flew off for one of the biggest adventures of my life. It wasn’t too long ago I made the decision to spend two months in Asia. The idea came out of nowhere, then suddenly consumed my every thought. Right now I am currently residing in Okinawa, which is an island off the coast of Southern Japan; harboring the 3rd largest Aquarium this world has to offer. But, before I start that blog I want to talk to you about Tokyo, my first stop.
Fun Facts: Tokyo is THE largest metropolitan city in the world, with over 35 million residents, this city puts New York to shame. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE NYC and was born there but there is a common misconception that New York is the best city in the world. Clearly, those people haven’t stepped a foot inside Tokyo. Tokyo is also one of the cleanest, richest, and safest cities in the world; as if that wasn’t enough, Tokyo also has the highest concentration of higher learning institutions.
So basically everyone is really smart, clean and nonthreatening. This can all be attributed to Japanese culture. Committing a crime is extremely shameful and there is a common belief that most crimes committed in Japan are done so by foreigners, which in fact may be true.
In 2008, when two famous sumo wrestlers were tested positive for marijuana there was outrage across all of Japan. The head of Japan’s national sport was called to resign and this incident was a huge embarrassment for the entire institution. Possession of weed is punishable for up to five years in prison and one can only imagine the horrors inside a Japanese jail cell.
So, to put it frankly Monroe Township, NJ is more dangerous than Tokyo.
Tips & Advice:
- Take off your shoes before entering anyone’s home.
- Wear bathroom shoes inside the bathroom and take them off before leaving.
- SHOWER and clean yourself, before entering the bathtub. Bathtubs are considered soaking stations, NOT a place where you clean yourself.
- Transportation (TRAINS!)
- Google Maps: USE IT to navigate any means of public transportation.
- Cabs: drivers DO NOT speak english and cabs are 5x more expensive than taking a train, which in fact is faster and less stressful.
- Uber: Yes, there is Uber BUT only Uber Black Car, which means it will be 10x the normal rate. So just take the train.
- Hostel World: Check out this website for safe, clean and fun hostels in the areas you are interested in staying. I love this app, because other travelers leave reviews/ratings after their trip so you know what to expect. Hostels are great if you are traveling solo; great place to meet and interact with new people.
- Hotels: Use sites like TripAdvisor or Priceline to get the best deals. This is the more expensive route, so make sure it suits your budget.
- Airbnb: Airbnb is great in Japan, but just as expensive as staying at a hotel. This works for bigger groups looking for more than one room.
- Days Trips:
- Check out this website for some cool day trips if you are looking to get out of the city. (http://zoomingjapan.com/travel/day-trips-from-tokyo/)
- Fly Out: Also, check out Google.com/flights to see what other trips are within your budget.
- Right now I am in Okinawa, which was $120 USD round trip using JetStar. The flight was only two hours and I made sure all my luggage was carry on so I could board the plan without waiting on any long lines. I am staying at a hotel called “The Vessel” with airport transportation, beach views, and breakfast at only $68/night.
- Currency Exchange
- Make sure to exchange your money AT HOME, try your local bank or currency exchange shops. Airports over charge and your dollar holds more weight in the US, obviously.
- How Long should you stay?
- I think with adequate planning 2 weeks is enough time to get the most out of your trip! Look for blogs like this one for the best advice on what to do and where to go.
Here are some pictures of my trip so far. COMMENT. LIKE. SHARE to tell me what you think 🙂