10 Biggest Mistakes Travelers Make When Visiting Tokyo

Mistakes Travelers Make When Visiting Tokyo

Discover the 10 biggest mistakes travelers make when visiting Tokyo and learn how to avoid these common pitfalls.

From transportation mistakes to cultural misunderstandings, this guide offers essential tips to enhance your trip and ensure you experience the best of Tokyo.

Stay informed and enjoy your journey with confidence! 😊

1. Choosing Narita Airport Over Haneda

More convenient queue at a limousine bus at Haneda Airport
More convenient queue at a limousine bus at Haneda Airport

Did you know Haneda Airport is actually more time-efficient when traveling to Tokyo? Compared to Narita Airport, Haneda Airport offers a shorter travel time to the city center of Tokyo.

It will only take less than an hour to reach Shinjuku from Haneda Airport. This is way shorter than the 1 hour and 30-minute ride from Narita Airport. Just in case you don’t know, Shinjuku is a popular place that travelers often choose to stay in Tokyo.

If you want to get to Tokyo Station, the travel time from Haneda Airport is just 30 to 40 minutes. While the cost difference isn’t that big, it’s the convenience that makes it highly recommended.

So, if you have no specific reason to choose Narita, it’s best to pick Haneda instead for seamless access to central Tokyo. Save time, unnecessary expenses, and energy by choosing Haneda Airport.

2. Skipping Advance Bookings for Popular Attractions

One of the many exhibits in TeamLab Borderless
One of the many exhibits in TeamLab Borderless – Photo Credit: TeamLab Borderless

If you’re a first-time visitor to Tokyo, make sure to book attraction tickets ahead of time. Most popular attractions quickly sell out, especially during peak seasons.

So, don’t miss out on tourist spots by booking early. Places with limited entry are Shibuya Sky, the Ghibli Museum, and TeamLab Borderless.

Both Disneyland and DisneySea also don’t have physical ticketing counters. This means you need to purchase your tickets online before your visit.

There’s nothing to worry about when booking online because websites have English language options.

So, secure your ticket beforehand and save yourself from disappointment. Buying in advance will ensure you get access to top-rated attractions you look forward to!

3. Overlooking Important Landmarks

The vibrant scenery around Shinjuku
The vibrant scenery around Shinjuku

When traveling to Tokyo for the first time, you shouldn’t miss some iconic landmarks. There are plenty of districts to visit, including Shinjuku, Asakusa, and Shibuya.

For a bustling atmosphere, head to Shibuya. This place is a haven for anyone who loves to have a fun nightlife.

If you’re excited to see skyscrapers and modern attractions, there’s Shinjuku. Shopping is also popular in this area with its malls and entertainment options.

And for people who want to discover the traditional beauty of the city, go to Asakusa. Discover historic temples and experience the old-world charm of Tokyo here.

Try to include these three popular neighborhoods in your itinerary. Each district offers unique charms for a more enriching trip.

4. Boarding Trains During Peak Hours

An officer stationed at a train in Tokyo
An officer stationed at a train in Tokyo

While Tokyo’s public transport is always on time, it can be challenging because of the busy crowd. So, if you want to skip the long queues and jam-packed trains, avoid the rush hours.

To give you an idea, the busiest times in the morning are from 7:00 AM to 9:30 AM. Then, in the evening, it gets busy from around 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the evening.

Since trains can be overcrowded during these times, try don’t use the train during these hours.

Schedule your transportation during off-peak times for a comfortable journey. Planning your travel time in advance will surely make everything more convenient.

5. Limiting Your Visit to Tokyo Alone

An exceptional view of the Chureito Pagoda near Mount Fuji
An exceptional view of the Mount Fuji from Chureito Pagoda

Beyond the iconic Tokyo attractions, there’s more to explore in Japan.

Don’t fixate yourself with just the tourist spots in the capital. Explore other unique and fascinating parts of the country, like Mount Fuji, Yokohama, Kamakura, and Nikko.

Each of these destinations comes with a distinct allure that appeals to different types of visitors. Take a break from the busy metropolitan and unravel places with special charms.

For example, there’s Mount Fuji which welcomes visitors with its breathtaking scenery. Kamakura, on the contrary, is known for its prominent temples and the Great Buddha statue.

Most of these are easily accessible, so you can squeeze them during your trip. Broaden your travel scope and get a diverse experience from different places.

6. Not Observing Escalator Etiquette

Orderly commuters on an escalator in a subway station
Orderly commuters on an escalator in a subway station – henrystjohn/123RF.com

Japanese are known for their discipline. One significant example is how they always follow the escalator etiquette. As visitors, make sure to pay respect to their customary guidelines.

When using the escalator, stay on the left side when you prefer to stand.

The right section is designed for people who are busy and want to walk. While this is an unwritten rule, obeying their local etiquette is a sign of respect.

7. Relying Solely on Taxis for Transportation

Taxis at one of the busy districts in the city
Taxis at one of the busy districts in the city

Traveling around Tokyo via taxi is a convenient choice. However, this can be a bit pricey, especially for far-flung destinations.

For instance, riding a taxi from Shinjuku to Shibuya would take around 15 minutes. The taxi fare for this trip is already $12 whereas a train would only cost $1 with a travel time of 7 minutes.

That’s why it’s best to make the most out of Tokyo’s public transportation system to save money and time. In addition, there are several train lines spanning across the county for seamless transfers.

The extensive train system allows you to reach your destination in no time. So, if you want faster and cheaper transportation, skip the taxis and travel by train.

8. Offering Tips at Restaurants

Customers at a local sushi restaurant
Customers at a local sushi restaurant

In Japan, you should know that giving tips is not a usual practice. In fact, it may lead to an awkward situation or insult the staff.

Locals always value customer service, which already includes the cost of service.

For this reason, there’s no need to give tips to avoid confusion.

If you really want to show your gratitude, you can do so by saying it verbally. Taking a bow is another way to express your appreciation.

9. Difficulty Finding Trash Bins

The famous Lawson convenience store
The famous Lawson convenience store

Cleanliness is another thing the Japanese values the most. However, there aren’t a lot of trash bins on the streets due to safety concerns.

So, if you’re wondering where to throw your trash, enter a local convenience store.

But this doesn’t mean you enter the store just to dispose of the trash. Ideally, you can make a minimal purchase from the store and use their bin after.

Some shopping malls and train stations also have trash bins. With the scarcity of trash bins, it’s a good practice to bring a small bag to keep your trash temporarily.

Make sure not to dispose of your garbage anywhere and hold on to it until you find a trash bin.

10. Falling for Scams like “Leap of the Bird”

The pulsating vibe of Tokyo nightlife
The pulsating vibe of Tokyo nightlife

Nightlife in Tokyo is truly epic. Neon lights and a vibrant atmosphere make up the entire streets.

While it’s fun and exciting to explore the streets at nighttime, you still need to be cautious. Scams are still prevalent, especially in bars.

For example, if someone approaches you with an invitation to a bar, beware! It’s a sign of a rip-off bar. Entering these places will hurt your pocket because of their significantly high prices.

So, never follow the touts and politely decline their invitations on the street. It also pays off to plan your itinerary in advance. Research some recommended dining and entertainment options.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment