Japan’s capital, Tokyo is well-known as the city that never sleeps. It offers an unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. But Tokyo is not only about shopping and entertainment, the city is extremely rich in heritage and history. A trip to Asakusa, Tokyo’s excellent museums or its historic temples and gardens will give you a newfound understanding and appreciation of the city’s culture.
If you are worried about the time difference, you have nothing to fear. Tokyo is a mere 1 hour ahead of Malaysia. Thus, when you touch down in Tokyo, just turn your watches an hour early and you are good to go!
Weather and Temperature
December to March
Average Day temperatures: 13°C to 10°C
Average Night temperatures: 2°C to 5°C
December marks the start of winter. During this period, winter sports and ski season starts. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, this is the period where you should visit. Also on New year’s day, many shops run fukubukuro (lucky bag) events where you can grab a mystery bag of items at a quarter of its actual cost! While, it is cold, Tokyo’s winter is relatively mild as compared to other parts of Japan.
April to May
Average Day temperatures: 23°C to 18°C
Average Night temperatures: 15°C to 11°C
April is often considered the best time to visit Japan because the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the weather is pleasantly mild. This cool weather continues till May. But do note that the rainy season starts in late May and continues till June.
June to August
Average Day temperatures: 31°C to 25°C
Average Night temperatures: 24°C to 19°C
From the beginning of June, the tsuyu (rainy season) would have hit Tokyo. Hence, the weather tends to be overcast and dreary. By mid-july, tsuyu should have ended. However, the weather is often very warm and humid during this period. Many local festivals such as natsu matsuri (summer festivals) are also held during this period and Mount Fuji is open for climbing.
September to November
Average Day temperatures: 17°C to 27°C
Average Night temperatures: 20°C to 10°C
While it is still relatively hot in September, temperatures start to drop by late September. Thus, by the time October comes around, the weather remains warm, but is not hot and humid anymore. Also during this period, trees begin turning colors and fall begins. Some temples have evening illuminations where lights are set up amongst the trees. As night falls, the autumn foliage is lit up like a fiery beacon against the night sky.
Where to stay in Tokyo?
Staying in Tokyo may not be the cheapest, but it does not need to be expensive either. Hotels can range from fancy 5-star hotels that cost up to 300 USD a night to cheap capsule hotels that charge 20 USD a night. Here’s a rundown on where you can lay your head down to rest.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
The Park Hyatt is probably Tokyo’s most famous hotel. It is one of the most exclusive and luxurious hotels in Tokyo. All their 178 rooms are spacious and elegant. The hotel is home to several world-class restaurants including the world-famous New York Bar Grill. Dining in this restaurant offers stunning views over the city in addition to delicious food. Hotel facilities include an indoor pool, a fitness center, and spa. It’s an excellent choice for a honeymoon or a special occasion.
The Tokyo Station Hotel
Neighbourhood: Tokyo Station
If you’re looking to stay near Tokyo station, then the Tokyo Station Hotel is the one for you. The rooms are elegantly furnished with all modern comforts and a super comfortable bed. The service is top-notch, and the location is hard to beat with Tokyo station just a few steps away offering easy access to every part of the city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
The Ritz-Carlton is one of Tokyo’s premier hotels. Located in Tokyo’s highest building, it boasts of spectacular views of the city, the Imperial Palace, and Mount Fuji. Their service is excellent, and the rooms are large and elegantly furnished. Facilities include an indoor pool, sauna, and a well-equipped gym. The metro station is just a few steps away. Best of all, the Midtown Galleria Mall is located at the base of the building.
Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo
The Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo is located at the very heart of Ginza which is a district famous for its upscale shopping street. It is also within walking distance of the Imperial Palace and Koukyo Gaien National Garden. And with Ginza station just a 5-minute walk away, the location of this hotel cannot get any better! The rooms are decently sized with a modern, minimalist feel to them. Breakfast is excellent with Japanese and Western dishes on offer. This hotel will definitely satisfy your every need.
Shibuya Granbell Hotel
This is a small boutique hotel well-located in the bustling Shibuya district. Surrounded by lots of cafes, shops and restaurants just a few minutes walk away you will never be bored staying here. The standard rooms are small but modern and have all necessary comforts such as a TV, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is good with plenty of variety.
Dormy Inn Ueno Okachimachi
This hotel is located a mere 15-minute walk from Ueno Station. They serve an excellent breakfast buffet of both Western and Japanese food. And even provide free soba (buckwheat noodles) in the evening. The highlight of this hotel is the rooftop onsen (Japanese hot spring) with an open-air view of the Tokyo sky tree. The onsen features a cold pool and sauna. Perfect for melting away your fatigue after a long day of travelling.
Tokyu Stay Shinjuku
This hotel is just a few minutes walk from Shinjuku-sanchome station and is located in Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment center. The hotel is bright and modern, with small but comfortable rooms. Rooms even come with washing and drying machines! Breakfast is provided in the bar next door. This hotel offers excellent value for money in an otherwise very expensive part of Tokyo.
MyCube by MyStays
If you would like to try one of the famed, unique capsule/pod hotels of Tokyo, then this is an excellent choice. Perfect for the solo or budget traveller, this relatively new hotel is clean and quite spacious for a capsule hotel. Every pod has lockable baggage storage and free Wi-Fi. The metro station is right next door, and the neighbourhood is filled with plenty of places to eat.
Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi
Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi is clean, modern, and affordable. The rooms are small but surprisingly well furnished with a TV, air-conditioning, refrigerator, and free Wi-Fi. There is also a washer/dryer on every floor. With a convenience store located downstairs and many small cozy restaurants in its vicinity, you will always find a place to satisfy your late night supper cravings. The Asakusabashi station is just a couple of minutes walk away, or you can walk to the much larger and better connected Akihabara station in 10 minutes.
Getting around Tokyo
Getting around Tokyo is easy. The metro system in Tokyo is extremely extensive and well developed. With the metro, you can virtually get to any place in Tokyo. Just purchase a prepaid Suica or Pasmo card and you are good to go! You can purchase the Suica or Pasmo card online or at the airport. Most metro stations have English signs, thus you do not have to worry that you will get lost in translation!
Buses and taxis are also options. However, buses can be confusing for first time travellers while taxis are expensive. Hence, just stick to the metro and you should be good to go!
Getting from Tokyo to Osaka
With that you are done with Tokyo and are ready to move on to the next leg of your journey! The best way to get to Osaka is on the shinkansen, Japan’s famed high speed rail. The shinkansen provides the fastest, most convenient and most comfortable transport service between Tokyo and Osaka. If you are traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, this route can be economical if you maximize the use of your pass. If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass then the fare will be 13,620 yen one way.
Do note that there are three types of train on this line: the Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama. The Nozomi is the most frequent and the fastest train taking a mere 2.5 hours to get from Tokyo to Osaka. However, this train is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass and you will need to pay the full ticket price. If you wish to use the Japan Rail Pass, your best option is the Hikari which takes 3 hours. This makes the Hikari the best option if you are using the Japan Rail Pass. The Kodama stops at every station and takes over 4 hours to reach Osaka.
If you’ve yet to book your flight to Japan, do so now by using Expedia promo codes! A guide with tips on planning your trip to Osaka will be up soon so stay tuned for that.
*Featured Image Credit: Louie Martinez | Unsplash
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