If you’re on a budget in Tokyo, you’re reading the wrong guide, Clyde – get your hand on your ha’penny There are four distinct seasons: Jun-sep is hot and wet, autumn is clement, spring is blossom-ravishing, and winter more bone-chilling than Donatella’s face Avoid New Year hols Jan 1-3, Golden Week in May and Obon in Aug when the city pretty much shuts down Narita Airport to Tokyo: 1 hr / ¥16-26,500 by taxi; 1 hr / ¥3,020 by Narita Express to Tokyo Station. Avoid the Airport ‘Limo’; it’s actually an unbearably slow bus If possible, try to land at Haneda Airport – it’s much closer to town: 30 mins / ¥6-11,000 taxi, ¥490 monorail The address system is basically meaningless, so use landmarks or get your concierge to call ahead to your destination and arrange maps if need be Taxis cost no more than in London and stop anywhere. Bear in mind drivers (most people in Tokyo, actually) rarely speak English, so keep concierge on speed-dial The subway seems like a terrifying warren at first, but it’s cheap, clean, efficient, goes everywhere, is signed in English and fairly simple to get the hang of Unless you have a Japan-friendly mobile (3G or better), hire one (see Very Useful), you’re going to need it Most local bank ATMS do not accept int’l cards (duh, hello?), Citibank and 7-11 accept all cards 24/7 (bless) + post offices take int’l cards 24/7 Mon-sat, till 9pm Sun Cash is still king in many smaller establishments Do not tip, a smile will do very nicely, thank you No smoking... uh, what’s that? In Tokyo buildings the 1/F is actually the G/F Int’l code for Tokyo is +81 3, prefix landlines with 03 when dialled locally, mobiles start with 08 or 07 For info call 104 and ask for an English operator IDD dial 001 010 or 0041 010 Police dial 110, fire and ambulance dial 119
These four Japanese phrases will come in handy...
Kon-nichi-wa : Well, hello, miso happy to meet you Sayonara : It’s been divine, but I really must fly Takai neh! : How much? Are you completely insane? Domo : Ta, ever so... ...’kay, let’s party