Tokyo Information for Travelers

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Crazy pop Harajuku teens in Lolita goth costumes, the serene calm of the Mejii shrine, the hectic pace of Tsukijifish market, or the frenzy of Shinjuku Station’s rush-hour commuters-a traveler never knows what to expect around the next corner in Tokyo. It is a city that has thoroughly embraced the new and even newer, while still holding ties to its roots.

Long considered to be an expensive city to visit, Tokyo can actually be affordable if a tourist eats where the locals dine, spends a little time looking for inexpensive lodging, and uses public transportation. Tokyo has an extensive and fairly easy rail system that runs throughout the city. Most signs and information are given both in Japanese and English, and natives are usually eager to help tourists navigate the subway system if they appear lost.

Tokyo is also a great walking city, which is fortunate for a traveler, looking for inexpensive eats. Most  restaurants will have  plastic models of the dishes they serve in their front window, along with the prices, so tourists should know before they even enter an  establishment what they’re getting into expense-wise. Of course, visitors  can find many elegant eateries in Tokyo, as well. In fact, Tokyo restaurants were awarded a total of 227 stars by the Michelin Guide in 2008, which were twice as many as Paris’s total number of 96.

For lodging, a traveler to Tokyo can go either high end -how about staying at the Park Hyatt in the Shinjuku district, which was made famous in the movie, “Lost in Translation”? – or low end in a hostel, ryokan (an old-fashioned Japanese inn), or even a “capsule” hotel where you sleep in a pod just big enough for your body.

Tokyo is such a vibrant city, with  so many things to see and do that it’s hard to narrow down just a few must sees.  But a traveler in Tokyo should definitely  try to go to the trendy-to-the-extreme Harajuku and the peaceful wooded setting of Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine, which oddly enough happen to be located right next to each other.

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