Soaring skyscrapers, sacred temples and sushi bars all jostle for space in Tokyo, Japan’s neon-lit capital. Pause for a moment, though, and you’ll find another side to Tokyo, one that is quieter, slower paced and, dare we say, Zen.


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Spring brings cherry blossom season to Tokyo, and is generally the most popular time to visit, as the weather is temperate. Fall also brings mild weather. Rainy season runs between mid-June and July, while August can be sweltering (though most summer festivals are held then).


Visas: Travelers must have a valid passport and show an onward/return ticket for tourist/business “visa free” stays of up to 90 days. U.S. citizens should visit the Embassy of Japan website for the most current visa information.
Money: Currency is the Japanese yen. ATMs are widely available and credit cards accepted in most businesses. Tokyo is one of the world’s priciest cities, so be prepared for high prices. Tipping is not customary in Japan, though some upscale restaurants, bars and hotels may add a 10 –15 percent service fee to your bill.
Travel Health: Check with the Government of Japan for the latest health safety information, including travel protocols and requirements like negative COVID-19 tests, quarantines, mask mandates and more in connection with COVID-19. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away.


Getting Here: Two major airports serve Tokyo: Narita Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND). Narita is the larger of the two, and express trains run from here into central Tokyo (approximately 1 hour), as does an express airport bus service (approximately 2 hours). Taxis and ride shares are available but can be very expensive.  
Getting Around: Public transportation in Tokyo is among the most efficient, safest and cleanest in the world. Subways are the easiest and quickest way to get around but stop running after midnight. Taxis run all night; ride shares are also available but are regulated by the government and can be more expensive than a taxi.


Local Lingo: The most widely spoken language is Japanese, which is separated into several dialects. The Tokyo dialect is considered standard Japanese. If you want to fit in a bit, learn some of the local Tokyo slang. Ossu!: Similar to Hey! or Yo!, it can be used day or night as a casual greeting. Yabai: Literally means “dangerous,” but is used to describe nearly anything — whether it’s amazing, awesome, really great, terrible, ridiculous. Donmai: No problem; don’t worry about it.  
Must-Have Apps: HyperDiaNAVITIME for JapanGuruNaviGoogle Translate
Insider Tips: Curious about alternative Japanese street style? Visit the Harajuku district, and more specifically, Takeshita Street, where you’ll find funky boutiques marking the epicenter of Japan’s most extreme teen fashion and culture.