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  • Andres and Diana

Exploring Tokyo, Japan: 5 Discoveries That Took Us by Surprise, Plus Travel Tips

Updated: May 9


Tokyo, Japan streets



















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We recently had the opportunity to travel to Tokyo, Japan. We packed our bags and set off on a Tokyo adventure that left us absolutely mind-blown. Before our journey, we were excited about the epic sushi and futuristic gadgets we'd all heard about, but guess what? Tokyo completely surprised us with things we had no idea we would encounter. In this blog, we're going to tell you about some of those surprises and toss in a handful of tips for your own Tokyo adventure.


Table of Contents


5 Things That Surprised Us In Tokyo, Japan


Beyond Sushi: A Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meat Experience

Wagyu Kobe beef, Japan

You can't talk about Tokyo without thinking of sushi, right? But hold onto your chopsticks, because the meat in Tokyo is a game-changer too. We strolled into a restaurant and ventured into the world of Wagyu Kobe beef. Seriously, this stuff could make a grown person weep – it melted in our mouths like a dream. That first bite? It was an explosion of flavours that made our taste buds seriously happy.


Wagyu Kobe beef, Japan

Now, Wagyu Kobe Beef can often be considered a luxury and therefore be quite expensive, but here's the tip: with a bit of restaurant hunting, you can strike gold without breaking the bank. After a few rounds of Google-fueled exploration, we discovered a hidden gem that made our carnivorous hearts do a happy dance without causing a dent in our wallets.


Since the website is in Japanese, we'll leave you below with all the details regarding the restaurant:

Restaurant Name: 東京Aランク肉の29しま

Restaurant's Website: https://tokyo-arank.amebaownd.com/

Restaurant's Address: Japan, 〒135-0016 Tokyo, Koto City, Toyo, 1 Chome−27−11 2F GHC東陽


And yeah, we still adore sushi, but this revelation gave our taste buds a whole new perspective.


Communicating through Language Barriers a Problem? Not Quite!

Now, as much as we would love it, Japanese isn't exactly our strong suit. But guess what? That didn’t stop the kindness of Tokyoites from shining through. We stumbled through language barriers, armed with nothing but gestures and Google Translator on our phone, and were met with the warmest, most genuine assistance from locals.


We were surprised that even though the majority of locals didn't speak our language, they went above and beyond to make sure we felt heard and understood. We would literally stop people on the streets and ask them for directions or information and they would patiently wait for Google Translate to express our needs and then eagerly helped us in any way they could.


Traffic? What Traffic?

Okay, this one took us by surprise – the traffic situation (or the lack of it). With a population of nearly 14 million, we anticipated bustling chaos, but Tokyo had other plans. The streets were orderly, and the public transportation was like something out of a sci-fi movie – punctual, clean, and crazy efficient.


We even visited Shibuya Scramble Crossing which is known as the world's busiest pedestrian crossing, with as many as 3,000 people crossing at a time! And even that crossing seemed extremely orderly, efficient and thoroughly planned.


Trash Can Dilemma: The Clean City Conundrum

Here's something that I started to wonder after eating a banana and ending with a banana peel during the entire morning: where were all the trash cans? Seriously, it was like a game of hide and seek. However, looking closely we also realized that the city's spotless streets are a result of a collective commitment to cleanliness. People pack their trash till they find a proper disposal spot, which speaks volumes about Tokyo's impeccable civic sense.


Fruit Fit for the Gods: Peaches and Watermelons Out of this World

Tokyo's fruit

Turns out, Tokyo's fruit game is on a whole different level. Peaches and Watermelons (the fruits we tried while on our trip) were so perfectly delicious that we couldn't stop indulging in them.


We’re talking perfectly cultivated, and incredibly juicy. Biting into these was like tasting a slice of heaven – we never knew fruit could be so lavish.



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Tips to keep in mind while visiting Tokyo, Japan:


Sushi

While sushi didn't make our list of surprises, that's not to say it wasn't an absolute masterpiece. As anticipated, Tokyo's sushi resides in a league of its own, exceeding even our high expectations.


You can't go wrong with sushi restaurants in Tokyo, but here are our top recommendations:


For an affordable and exciting restaurant, where you order your food via a tablet and then get your order delivered by a high-speed chute we recommend this one:




Restaurant's Name: Uobei Shibuya Dogenzaka


For a slightly more expensive but even more delicious option, we recommend this one:

Restaurant's Name: ITAMAE SUSHI Akasaka

Address: Japan, 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 3 Chome−10−1 赤坂田町通り 対翠館ビル 1階



Shopping

  • For a good all-around store that sells everything from electronics to soft drinks try BIC Camera

  • For a big department chain store try Tokyu Store

Important: You can get tax-free benefits at almost any big store by showing your passport, so make sure you have that on hand.


Cash and Cards

While cards are widely accepted, have some cash on hand for smaller shops and restaurants. We found it challenging to change our US dollars into Yen's since we could only get it exchanged at Banks. There are currency exchange houses but they are not so easily accessible and/or offer a bad exchange rate so keep that in mind.


Tipping is Uncommon

Unlike some cultures, tipping isn't customary in Japan. Exceptional service is already included in the price.


Refuse Bins

Keep a small plastic bag with you for trash, as public refuse bins are limited in Tokyo as we mentioned above.


Conclusion

In the end, our journey through Tokyo left us with lots of surprises and unforgettable memories. From the mind-boggling intersection at Shibuya to the incredible flavours of Wagyu Kobe beef, Tokyo unfolded its secrets with grace and charm.


Tokyo's ability to exceed our expectations while introducing us to the unexpected is a testament to its unique blend of tradition and innovation.


Until we meet again, Tokyo – you've left an incredible mark!


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