Saturday, May 16, 2009
YAY!!! - 200th post
today we will share some lessons learned on the trip to Japan, hopefully make things easier for those contemplating trips of their own:
1. Schedule some downtime after you first arrive - just time to relax and soak up the feeling of being in Japan. Just a stroll down the street will help you relax after a long overseas flight.
2. Get your money changed to Japanese Yen ahead of time. It was so gratifying to pull out a bill and get a drink from a vending machine just after clearing Customs at the airport and waiting for a bus to the hotel and I was thirsty after 12+ hours in an airplane.
3. Try to learn what you can about the subway and trains before you go. Many train signs are in English as well as Kanji but it is still mighty confusing. Tokyo has two seperate subway systems. Tokyo Metro and the Toei. Just looking at a map and figuring out the shortest route will not always work. Transferring between lines will raise fares considerably and potentially cause problems when adjusting fares/tickets.
4. Take a tour. Half a day on a tour bus will give you some of the major sights like the Tokyo Tower and Asakusa Kannon Temple without worrying about transportation and traffic and fares. You can use the rest of your time for other things that you want to do with the big tourist sites out of the way.
5. If you get stuck then ask someone for help. We had people help us several times in the train stations and elsewhere. People always did their best to help us even if the did not know enough English to answer us directly.
Japan is a wonderful place to visit and I encourage everyone to go at least once. It is worth every penny.