Taming Tokyo is a guidebook for first time visitors to Tokyo. It's designed to take the intimidation out of that first visit by preparing people for the essential things they'll need to know when they arrive in Japan.
Taming Tokyo: How To Take The Intimidation Out Of Tokyo... One Step At A Time
Are you stressing about planning your Tokyo vacation? Not sure where to get the answers you need? Worried about the language, what to pack, what to expect at the airport, and those special quirks that only the locals know? It's frustrating trying to figure all this out, right!
When you're trying to put all this together, it's not easy
And what's not easy is the fact that you don't know what you don't know. And you don't know where to find it. And you don't know the right questions to ask to get it. I mean, you're ready to get this vacation started but you need a little help here, please!
Yet despite wanting to get out of the starting blocks and start checking off that to do list, you can't help feeling there's some information you're missing. It's that special knowledge that comes from living in a place. You know, the insider stuff. The stuff you usually only find out after the fact... when it's too late.
So what kind of insider knowledge might you be missing if you're a new visitor to Tokyo?
Well, like all the best places you've visited, Tokyo has it's own particular quirks and characteristics that can be exciting, charming, or just downright irritating. It all depends on how much you know about them in advance.
For example, will you be ready and prepared to deal with Narita Airport? Or will you get a nasty surprise when you realise your journey isn't yet over? Or worse, that you've landed too late to catch any public transport to the city! Hmmm... what to do?
Introducing Taming Tokyo. What to know before you go...
Taming Tokyo is a step-by-step guide that helps you pack your suitcase with the things you're going to need during your Japan vacation. You'll find out about the best times of year to travel so you can plan ahead with the right information at your fingertips. And it covers some basic language essentials that can make all the difference when you're travelling in the city. And that's just for starters.
If you're a family, or if you're travelling with children, there are tips on how to use the public transport, what to do in case of emergency, and who to contact if you need help. Then of course there's earthquakes. It's a fact that they happen. March 11, 2011 is proof positive of that. And it's a fact you need to know what to do in case one does come rumbling by while you're here. But don't worry. It's possible to plan for all of these situations and more without getting stressed and anxious.
Getting stressed isn't necessary...
That's because if you cover these ground rules and do the preparation, you'll arrive at the airport already way ahead of the game. No magic. Just some straight forward information sharing from a Tokyo insider who first moved to Japan in 2001.
Taming Tokyo will show you how to take the intimidation out of planning your Tokyo vacation
It shows you what to expect at immigration, how to get your luggage from A to B (remember space is tight and public transport is busy in Tokyo), what you need to do if you have prescription meds you need to bring with you, and how to find out if your cell phone will work.
And not only does it give you all this insider knowledge, in the companion book Countdown to Tokyo, you also get an easy to follow checklist timeline which takes the 'have I missed something' factor our of your holiday planning.
How do you know what clothes to pack? How do you tell a taxi driver where to go if you need to use one to get back to your hotel? Many taxi drivers only know small areas of Tokyo. If you're going somewhere outside of their comfort zone you may just end up outside yours as well! Taming Tokyo gives you a clear path so you can check these things off as part of your holiday preparations.
What's Different About Taming Tokyo?
Taming Tokyo is not just another guidebook. It's put together particularly with new or first time visitors in mind from the perspective of someone who's been through the frustrations! It's designed to take you from the time that you start thinking about your Tokyo vacation through to the time that you land here, and it will help you make sure you start your holiday off feeling confident and ready to hit the ground running.
Because it's experience driven, the information in this book really is that insider knowledge that is so often elusive when you're searching for it.
So what will you find inside Taming Tokyo?
Here's just a tiny preview of what's in Taming Tokyo:
- Language. There's one expression above all others that is worth learning before you come to Japan and it's just one word. Better yet? It has different meanings which means you get to use that one word in different ways. Of course, the book doesn't stop at just one word. It covers the key basic phrases that will help you communicate the things you need to say while you're here
- Quirks and personality. Yes every city has these and it helps if you can get an inside peek at what's under the surface. Taming Tokyo gives you a host of different angles that give a first time visitor the inside edge on what to expect when you first arrive
- Packing! Whether you tend to leave this till the last minute or if you're bags are ready to go a week before you fly, everyone needs to know what to pack. There are some Japan specific items you should know about as well as your more regular reminders of what not to forget when you start checking off what goes in your luggage
- Rules and regulations. In with the quirks but worth a mention in their own right. There are some rules in Japan that you probably don't have in your own country. In particular, regulations regarding medication and what's ok to bring in to the country are a little different from most other places you will travel to. Make sure to check out this section
- Emergencies. Of course we hope this never happens, but if you do get caught in an emergency situation, just who are you going to contact? The book comes with a list of emergency services available that all operate in English
- Trains. What are the most important things you need to know about getting around in Tokyo? Well first you need to get from the airport to the city itself which is not as simple as it might sound. If you're landing late or leaving early you need to be particularly aware of this situation
- Cell phones. Will yours work? Japan has a different system to most of the rest of the world. Make sure you know what the deal is before you fly so you don't get caught short before you arrive
- Peak times of year. At certain times of year prices go up in Japan... a lot! Knowing about these in advance means you can avoid paying these crazily high prices while you're on your Tokyo vacation
- Links. There are essential links in each section of the book that will take you straight to the information you need to take advantage of all the things we share in the book
Lucy stood looking at her suitcase and wondering whether there was anything special she needed to remember to pack for her vacation to Japan. She was pretty well travelled in America and Europe but had not yet experienced anywhere in the Far East.
This is a question I get asked all the time through the website so I figured it was a good starting point for a book about the essentials of planning your trip to Japan. After all, get this bit wrong and your vacation can take a bad turn before you even get out of the starting blocks!
Yes, I know it sounds a bit drastic, but forewarned is forearmed. I did promise you some KISS, keeping your travel safe and simple, and thatís what this book is all about.
Before we get to what goes in your bags though, Iíll start with one of my favourite services in Japan for travellers. The baggage delivery service. Youíre going to like this one.
Donít leave any of your essentials behind. Follow our packing list.
Thereís a check list in the resources section if youíve purchased the premium option. Just tick things off as you go : )
Donít break your back. Send your bags in advance
Lucy and Chris are travelling with their two children, Sarah, 5 years old and John, 9 years old. Theyíre going to drive to the airport at home and leave their car there, but they have no idea how theyíre going to manage all the bags at the other end. Theyíve decided they donít want to drive in Japan so theyíre going to be relying on public transport. Lucy is already feeling the pressure of organising this when they land and the holiday hasnít even started yet!
Send your bags in advance? Honor what are you on about?
So when you travel to most places in the world you take your bags with you. Maybe you rent a car so when you arrive at the airport, you put your bags in the trunk and forget about them till you arrive at your destination. Or maybe you jump on the bus or train and leave your bags in the luggage compartment.
Well... travel in Japan is a little different. I think in a good way. Thereís a wonderful thing called baggage delivery service here.
But why should you care about a baggage delivery service?
The majority of travellers to Japan choose to get around using the public transport system simply because itís fast, efficient, and will get you just about anywhere you want to go without you having the hassle of working out how to do it. No need to worry about being able to read Japanese, no need to worry about getting lost on unfamiliar roads.
=== Insider Tips ===
In our own case, weíve lived in Japan since 2001 and we still donít own a car of any kind. Coming from the UK where a car is basically a necessity to get you from A to B (the public transport system there leaves a lot to be desired), itís very freeing to know we can get to the majority of places we want to go without ever getting behind a steering wheel. It also means my partner and I avoid a lot of potential arguments. Neither of us is a good passenger!
If youíve spent any time in Japan, youíll also know that many Japanese also choose to travel around the country using public transport rather than dealing with the roads. One thing you wonít see them doing though is carrying loads of bags with them... and thereís a reason for that.
Space is an issue in all areas of life in this amazing country where only around 30% of the land is flat enough for building on. In the same way, public transport provides little room for storing your luggage so, unless youíre happy to travel with your bags literally in your lap, youíre going to need another way to get your bags from A to B.
Ta da : ) Thatís where the baggage delivery service comes in.