Some of us may not have the luxury to stay in Tokyo for long periods due to everything being rather wallet-breaking there. Or perhaps you might be stopping by the city for a transit. So if you’re on a tight budget or short on time, here’s a tried and tested guide on how to experience Tokyo and still get around in 12 hours.
3.00am: Depart from LCCT in Air Asia X.
Yes, traveling at 3 am may seem crazy but the flight to Tokyo takes about six hours so don’t worry about not getting enough sleep because you’ll get to snooze in flight and start off fresh in Tokyo. Surprisingly, for a budget airline, Airasia X had ample legroom for me to sit comfortably and cross my legs.
9.00am: Arrive in Tokyo and check-in to Sunshine City Prince Hotel
We’ve all heard about how small the hotel rooms in Japan were but boy, wait till you see this because my room in Sunshine City Prince Hotel was huge! There was even a small powder room area equipped with your basic toiletries.
Staying in the Ikebukuro area was great. And it’s a huge bonus that the hotel is connected to a mini shopping mall and an indoor theme park, Namja Town. It’s also just a mere 5 minutes walk to the bustling streets where you can find colorful arcades, fashion stores and best of all, quaint ramen shops.
Sunshine City Prince Hotel is located at 3-1-5 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan.
10.00am: Visit ancient Buddhist temple Senso-ji in Asakusa
It’s always good to experience different cultures when you’re in a foreign country so what better way than to visit Tokyo’s oldest temple Senso-ji. This is a great place to buy traditional Japanese souvenirs. From folding fans to Katana swords, you can find various traditional knickknacks from the 200 meter long shopping street.
Senso-ji Temple is located at 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku. Tokyo, 111-0032.
12.00pm: Head to Akihabara also known as the Electric Town
Akihabara is a major shopping area for electronic, anime and otaku goods. There are dozens of stores specializing in anime, figurines, card games and collectibles in between electronic retailers.
Tip: Instead of purchasing from big name shops like Laox, try walking down the street and check out the smaller independent shops for bigger bargains. Also, do note that some electronics on sale are only intended for use in Japan so make sure you check the manual for language options and other technical differences.
3.00pm: Style stalking and shopping at Harajuku
Renowned for its unique street fashion, Takeshita Street is lined with fashion boutiques, trendy stores and crepe stands. If you want the experience the extreme fashion culture synonymous with Tokyo, visit Harajuku on a Sunday, where teenagers gather around dressed in cosplay and crazy costumes.
6.00pm: Night shopping in Shinjuku
One of the places I’m most excited about is the Isetan Beauty Hall. The Isetan Shinjuku beauty hall is the place where all Japanese skincare and cosmetics debut. It was truly an eye opener experience with the amount of brands and make up counters busy with Japanese ladies trying on make up. Also, the department store itself is huge. You can find premium hip Japanese brands like Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons and international brands as well.
Isetan Shinjuku is located at 14-1 Shinjuku 3-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022. Tel: 03-3352-1111. Store Hours: 10:00a.m. – 8:00p.m.
8.00pm: Depart to Shinagawa Station to board the Shinkansen also known as the Bullet Train.
Running at a speed of 300 km/h, the Shinkansen is definitely the cheapest and fastest way to travel to Osaka. The regular one way fare is about 14,000 yen (approx. RM500) and takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll tell you the 5 things you can’t miss in Osaka, Japan!