So, you wanna go to the Mecca of all things anime…eh?? Well I’d certainly recommend a visit 🙂 And along with said recommendation, here’s a small list of things I think you should keep in mind….courtesy of someone who’s been a fair few times 😀

    Tokyo Tower

  1. If visiting a city with a subway/metro, print off some maps BEFORE you go. Myself and several friends have found that grabbing them while there…is not easy.
  2. Don’t expect people to speak English!! Most Japanese probably can, but it’s very rare they don’t leg it at the first sight of an approaching foreigner…(This tip was reinforced by my Mother!)
  3. On the above note, do try to learn some phrases before you going. Not only do they appreciate it, but it will help you. Anything from simple words like “Water”, to “Where do you keep the eroge?”.
  4. Why not make a fairly detailed itinerary? I mean, don’t be anal about it, but having an idea of what you wanna do will make things a lil easier, give some structure and you’re more likely to get to do everything you wanna do.
  5. Always overestimate how many money to take. Not by much, but by adding £50 to my food allowance I managed not to starve on the last 2 days >_>; It’s better to be prepared!
  6. On the subject of money, DO NOT rely on Traveller’s Cheques, ATMs or Cards. Pretty much everyone will tell you this…banks and ATMs are few and far between, and credit cards tend to only be excepted at major international restaurants or hotels. Japan is very much a cash society.
  7. Think carefully about clothing…which season are you going in?
  8. TRY all the food! Even if it looks…well…proper gross. I still have nightmares about the “Swirl of Doom” and “Sweaty Muffin”.

    Meal in Kyoto

  9. Before you go, see if you can walk to different places, don’t just rely on public transport. I was surprised how close many destinations are in Tokyo, saves you that 200円 that’ll buy you an extra manga…
  10. Chuo Dori, Akihabara and Takeshita Dori, Harajuku are prime examples of why you should take the side roads. Check them out certainly, but you’ll find similar shops at much cheaper prices with a lil wanderin’.
  11. Don’t be too surprised if you get stared at…especially by babies…or if you’re tall!
  12. You CAN eat cheaply!! Try the local Ramen bar, or even the hot food from the convenience stores. Eating doesn’t have to cost a bomb…and most places will have pictures/plastic models of the food, so no worries if there isn’t any English.
  13. Why not try an Onsen? Or Sento (public bath houses). It’s a little scary at first. My mate’s first time, involved walking in on a naked little Japanese guy doing squats. This Onsen in Odaiba, Tokyo is a nice intro. for foreigners.
  14. Why not explore, get a bit lost? Loads of travel blogs advise just sitting on the Yamanote Line train in Tokyo, for 160円, will take through temples, grave yards, high-rise buildings and neon lights. The metro in Tokyo is certainly never far away, and walking down that road might take you somewhere maagiicaall 😀
  15. My most important point. Try and make friends before you go!! Try the forums on Japan Guide, where you can ‘advertise’ for travel buddies, or someone willing you show you around their part of Japan. Obviously, be careful, but you will have a truly unique trip.

Some lovely gals I met in Kyoto

This is by no means a complete list of tips, but it will get you started! Also, most of these apply to all travel! This June will see my 4th trip over there, but if you have any more, let me know!