Trip to Tokyo: papers, luggage and useful advice

Tokyo Haneda Airport Transfers

Tokyo is not a city, it is a whole world. Indeed, a series of intertwined and very different worlds that form the character of one of the most incredible capitals. So, in order to prepare a trip to Tokyo you have to organize many ideas, many things. Don’t forget anything at home! Because it is not sure that -once there- you will have time to buy what you lack. Tokyo demands your full attention, without any breaks or distractions!

Travel documents

To enter Japan you need a valid passport and return airplane ticket; both must be shown at checks and must always travel with you because they may be required elsewhere. No particular vaccination is required (the Covid vaccination is no longer necessary) and the classic three-month tourist visa is not required either, at least for European and American tourists. Some countries need a visa for their people to enter Japan. In that case, check with consulates or embassies to find out if your country is on the list. If you plan to rent a car, you must have an international driving licence. Health insurance is strongly recommended.

What to pack for your trip to Tokyo

Tokyo is beautiful all year round, even if the most “livable” period is spring. And it is a city with a thousand faces, which includes sea, mountains, entertainment but also elegant clubs. So you will need to have a little bit of everything in your suitcase: light clothes, sportswear, elegant clothes, hiking clothes, bathing suits … and cameras, of course!

Some items are essential and you will have to make sure you have them in your suitcase before packing everything up. We are talking of: the adapter for electrical outlets; useful medicines (they do not always have the same names in Japan as in Europe) against fever, stomach diseases, particular pathologies such as diabetes or heart problems; vocabulary or glossary of the most used words in Japan; sheets and bathrobes … not everyone is happy to sleep on futons that may have been used by others previously and not everyone likes kimonos to be used in public toilets!

What to do and NOT to do in Tokyo

In Tokyo you will have to walk and wander around a lot, so prepare yourself mentally for the hard work. But it will be an effort repaid by the discovery of monuments, neighborhoods and beautiful places. You can eat in typical restaurants, but also in western ones, you can take part in neighborhood celebrations and experience unique things such as thermal baths, certain types of massages, certain spiritual experiences. Tokyo needs to be discovered, so don’t be afraid to wander around, discover, ask for information and enter the hidden corners of the metropolis.

  • make too much noise ( Japanese don’t like rudeness!),
  • imitate or mock the bows (for them they are signs of respect more than greetings),
  • break the little rules of every day – for example, smoking under a “no smoking” sign, here you really CANNOT DO IT!
  • take the very expensive local taxis, better choose some private companies or buses;
  • take the train at peak times.

It’s bad taste in Tokyo: blowing one’s nose publicly and loudly, giving coins in hand (put them on a shelf and the other person will take them from there), touching too much or laughing too loudly, pushing to pass, jumping a queue.

If you have a cold, wear a medical mask. The Japanese people have been using them for many years, and not just against covid: it’s good manners not to transmit diseases to others, so if you’re sick, don’t leave the house, or do it with a mask on your face. Avoid certain districts full of discos and red light clubs, especially if you are alone. They are not always safe places after a certain time.