Tokyo Solo - A Mini Guide to The Land of Cute.
I have been meaning to write about my solo trip to Tokyo for a whole year, and I figured now is a good time - while we're all itching for travel to become a thing again.
I cannot possibly fit everything I want to say in one post, so I'm going to make it into a mini series. Blogging is new to me too, so I thought it would be a good subject to start the YMM blog with.
Right. Let's start with the essentials. The things that will make your trip easy. It's a myth that navigating Tokyo is hard if you don't speak Japanese, it is not.
- 1. A Pasmo card - the equivalent here in the UK is an Oyster card. You can order one online and have it delivered before your trip with some Yen on so that it is ready to go when you arrive.
- 2. Pocket WiFi - I had this delivered to my hotel on the day I arrived, all I had to do was put the password in on my phone. And on the day I was leaving I put it in the envelope provided and left at reception for them to post back. The most important role this played was that I could access Google Maps, so I knew I could wander and not worry about getting lost.
- 3. Tokyo Subway app - enough said. The only reason you won't need this is if you can read or speak Japanese, I can't do either and I didn't get on a wrong train once. But honestly, even if you do, it's not the end of the world.
- 4. Google Maps - I dropped pins on every single street, shop, snack stop, museum, park I wanted to visit before I went, like months before. Do your homework! It meant that for example, if I was in a particular neighbourhood visiting a park I could look and see what other things I was near. Tokyo is vast, I didn't get to every single drop pin. Was 5 days there enough? Of course not.
- 5. Don't be lazy - I had a rule that if something was a 30 minute walk or less, I walked. You see so much more. The first day, I didn't touch a train, I walked for 12 hours. In the rain.
- 6. If you see a queue for food, get in it. I stood and queued for 30 mins at Satou in Kichijoji for some Mari Menchi Katsu, had no idea what I was queueing for at the time and it was one of the best snacks I had. But more on that later.
- 7. Its a marathon not a sprint - do not tear around this city trying to see it all, frankly, unless you're there forever you won't see it all. Take it in, otherwise it might just be one big blur.
- 8. Accept that you might get lost - it does not matter.
That's it for my first installment. Stay tuned to hear about my favourite Tokyo snacks, shops and parks.