When you find yourself standing at one of the stations in Tokyo you blood rushes through your veins, and your mind freezes in awe.Japan travel and tips
The visual overload blows one’s mind away. Everything from sounds, energy, chaotic yet organized Japanese people running around you, delicious smells from a near by soba stall or yelling shopkeepers from a cheesecake bakery make one’s visit to Tokyo that much more unforgettable.

Recently, a fellow reader asked for advice about Tokyo, Japan. The question was about how to see and what to do in Tokyo for three days, so one covers as much ground as possible.

 When I first came to Tokyo, I found myself burned out after a couple of days. Don’t make my mistake. This post covers where to stay, what to see and do, and how actually to save money on food. So read on!

WHAT ONE MUST DO IN TOKYO

Try Japanese curry which is not the same as Indian curry.
Eat at the local noodle shops.
Go shopping at the Akihabara cosplay stores.
Go to Shinjuku park at all odds.
Shop at the 100 Yen shop.

Tip:

Don’t leave your passport. During travel, it might seem like a better idea to keep your passport locked up in a safe vault back in the hotel. However, since the risk of getting your passport stolen in Japan is relatively close to zero, the benefits of carrying it around far outweigh the small risk of losing it. There are many discount stores such as Don Quijote and Yodobashi Camera that doesn’t charge tax if you meet requirements and show your passport.
(See: Japan Tax-Free Shopping Guide)

Also, technically a police officer is entitled to ask to see your passport at any given moment, so better safe than sorry.


Here is my selection of places and activities that one simply must do if you are here for only three days. There are also tips on how to save money on food and enjoy local culture through your taste buds cheaply. Read up!

If this is your first time in Japan, then I recommend reading this post and this one first.


Here are my top three things to visit if you are only here for a limited amount of time.

Stay next to Asakusa Shrine

Why?

Asakusa Shrine and Asakusa area is a very picturesque place. It is full of history, culture, souvenir shops, and excellent picture opportunities. Asakusa line ( the red one) is one of the best lines to stay nearby since you can reach all-important destinations traveling to and from there.

Pick up some wagashi while you are at it!


Tip:

There is an affordable hotel/hostel option, Sakura House Hostel/Hotel, that is right next door to Asakusa Shrine, which makes a stay in Tokyo very convenient and affordable. Read about it here in full detail.


Asakusa CollageGo to Shinjuku Park

Why?

It is the best garden to visit if you are in Japan for only three days. Over all, there are many lovely parks to visit. Shinjuku Park is big, beautiful and has more than one garden type. It is a paid park, about 4$ per person, and has limited hours of operation. If you make it there, you will not regret it.


Tip:

Pack a small picnic and take something to sit on for the full Japanese experience. On where to get food cheaply read tips below.


Shinjuku park CollageWear Yukata in Oedo Onsen in Odaiba

Why?

The best way to see how Japan used to be is to visit their onsen or local hot baths. Oedo Onsen is good for both tourists and locals. It is built in Edo period style to display the Japanese life and customs of 300 years ago. You are going to spend a whole day there. There are plenty of activities to relax and nurture yourself.


Tip:

When given the Yukata, traditional Japanese robe, keep your underwear on unless otherwise specified.

If you have a tattoo, you might be refused entrance.


Onsen Collage

Where to eat in Tokyo?

The short answer is: “Everywhere.” The long answer is the following.

Mr. K and I come to Japan to eat. That statement alone is a good indicator that Tokyo and Japan, in general, is the mecca for food. And it is not only sushi that you have to try. It is also ramen, soba, udon, katsu-don, which is their pork or chicken cutlet fried in breadcrumbs on the bed of rice, their Japanese curry, which is not like the Indian curry at all, their baking goods among many other things. Where to eat cheaply in Tokyo

How to eat cheaply in Tokyo?

Mr. K and I are not the only ones who like to eat. Japanese people are also very keen on eating outside as opposed to eating or cooking at home. After all, they are working 25/8, right? So there is a plethora of small stalls, cafes, little restaurants where you order with machines outside that one can have a bowl of pure goodness from 4$ to 7$. I kid you not.

There is also a thing called a dollar sushi. While not all one dollar sushi restaurants are equal, there are some gems out there. Mine is located in Shinagawa. I have found it just by using Google. Magic, right?


These prices exist despite what you might think or heard about Japan. Read these 7 myths and be amazed.


Don’t get me wrong Tokyo is an expensive city. And if you are in an area like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ginza your chances of finding a cheap place to eat are minimized, but it is not impossible.
The following tips apply to Japan only because of the Japanese human nature. Locals take pride in everything they do. When they make a choice, they stick to it and perfect it to 101%. It is in their mentality to deliver and be proud of what they cook, build, design, and wear.

First step

Forget everything you think you know about picking a restaurant.

On tips how to select a restaurant without wifi go here.

General wisdom about not eating in convenience shops, gas stations, 7/11 or any other catering to fast food establishment is going out the window.
Japanese are extremely busy people. They don’t have time to cook a full meal at home. So all the places mentioned above cater to their lifestyle.
Food sold in this establishments is not your cheap fast food full of sodium and who knows what that we have in North America.
In a regular Lawson, one can find a delicious soup for 500 Yen (5$usd) gyoza for 3$ and many more healthy choices. Salads, sandwiches and boiled eggs are at your convenience.
My favorite snack is onigiri. A rice triangle wrapped in nori seaweed with a mayonnaise tuna inside. It is made fresh and can last only up to 24 hours.

Step 2: Lunch hour is you friend and worst enemy

Restaurants know about the compelling lifestyle that Japanese people have. During lunch time which usually starts from 11 and ends around two o’clock is when restaurants will lower their prices to attract the clientele.  During this period you can indulge in otherwise expensive dishes. It is pretty standard to have udon and tempura for 5$ USD grown up version. Or Japanese curry with beer at 8$ USD.
The best thing about it is that at all times tax is included and tips are frowned upon.

Step 3: Eat like a local

If you don’t know where to go, just follow one of the local Japanese businessmen (not creepy at all). They know the good stuff. Ever seen a standing noodle shop?
Pay attention to every nook and cranny. Small restaurants, bars, izakayas, and noodle shops are everywhere.

Where to eat cheaply in TokyoAfter visiting Japan for five times already, we developed a knack for finding cheap places which are everywhere because people gotta eat!


Tip:

Obviously stay away from touristy places like Shibuya station, Shinjuku, and Tokyo or Roppongi. There are cheap places, but you have to look for one. Usually, they look like nothing special but are worth their weight in gold because of their deliciousness and price.


One simply must try the delicious set meal. It usually costs around $1000 Yen (which is about $10 USD). It is amazing. Picture of it is right below.

The picture below was taken after we went to local Lawson mini mart and bought everything that looked either good or weird. Here is our mini feast. By the way, totally take advantage of the Lawson or 7-11 marts. They are amazing and equipped with everything one might need.


If you are in Tokyo for only three days, do yourselves a favor and skip the Tsukiji market. You can read my post here on why one should save their time and money.


Hope this guide helped you just as much as it helped one of my readers and a future visitor of Japan. Three days is not enough to cover all of Tokyo. However, I think those three places at least give a real glimpse into the local culture and way of life.


Shopping is an entirely different story in Japan. It is both a cultural experience and a tourist attraction. It deserves a separate post.


Do you have a question about Japan or other destinations I have been to? Would you like to know more about Japan? Do not be shy and ask away! Leave a comment down below or share it with your friends!

Three day guide to Tokyo and eating cheaply

Author

I hear the world calling, and I just can't ignore it! Affordable options and insider tips are one of the few things I cover on this blog. Who doesn't love a good travel hack? Travel better and more often with mine! :)

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