Since Tokyo can easily break anyone’s travel budget, we have assembled a list of five inexpensive activities to keep you busy without burning all your travel funds in a day.
1) Admire the city’s architecture
Think of skyscrapers in every shape and size, lots of reflective glass and huge ads in Japanese. Head to Shinjuku to see impressive government buildings. Be stunned by the extravagant architecture of the fashion and design flagship stores on Omotesando Boulevard. Try to take your own picture of the famous Shibuya crossing. And if skyscrapers and modern architecture are not for you, visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens for calming Japanese landscape architecture.
2) Feel like the rudest person in the world
Traveling is not only about admiring buildings and statues, it is also about experiencing cultural differences. Japan offers you an ultimate experience in that respect. However polite, silent and well-educated you may be by the standards of your own country, you will find it very easy to stand out as the rudest person wide and far.
Here are some pro tips, all tested and tried, to take this experience to new heights: If staying in a smaller hostel, just leave your shoes on when you enter the place. Count the number of irritated looks you can get by eating a croissant on the subway. Speak without lowering your voice in any confined space you can find. Elevators are a good choice. Enter a department store and try to carry a T-Shirt across the three meters divide between the women’s and the men’s section or vice versa to show it to your travel partner.
For a more expensive but more discreet and yet equally impressive experience, go to a restaurant and measure the time it will take to order if you ignore the little electronic bell placed at your table and try to catch the waiter’s attention by making eye contact. Be aware though that you are probably going to offend the waiter with this behavior, even if it seems more polite by European standards.
3) Learn about the Tokyo’s history
The Edo-Tokyo Museum, scheduled to reopen in March 2015, is full of interactive displays and miniature models of the city at different times. It is not free but at 600¥ (around 4 Euros) it is not that expensive either, especially if you keep in mind that you can easily spent several hours in there. I mentioned it already in my list of top museums in Asia.
4) Eat sushiEating out can easily burn a big hole into your travel budget. The good news is however, that there is one type of food that is not incredibly more expensive than in Europe or the US: Sushi, especially at lunch time.
A place we liked was Himawari Sushi. We walked into it by chance while we were exploring Shinjuku, had fun with the taster plates with three kinds of salmon, paid not more than we were already used to pay for the cheapest noodle soups we could find. We were the only foreigners eating there during lunch time on a week day.
5) Visit Akiba on a Sunday
Akiba with all its bright lights may not be a very well-hidden secret but its shops still stock enough weird items from manga porn to cat costumes to keep you wondering for long, and its slight nineties flair only made it more attractive for us. There is no need to buy anything to enjoy this area. Add huge halls full of slot machines, maid cafés and vending machines for just about everything and you will understand why you should not miss a visit to this part of the city.
Have you been to Tokyo? Care to share your favorite places and adventures in Tokyo with us?
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This article was published on perelincolors.com.