Trip to Tokyo – A First Timer’s Plans and Expectations – Prologue

Hello there, fellow traveler!
I am writing this down for all my birds of a feather, who probably have similar things running through their minds when thinking about their own very first trip to Japan.
Or maybe you haven’t got a clue and look for some kind of guideline. If you do, I guess reading articles by people who actually live in Tokyo or have been there a couple of times, might be more helpful.
But I want to write down my expectations and share my experiences with you. So you can follow an actual development and perhaps get a glimpse of what’s reality going to be like, in comparison to your expectation. Because that’s what we all have, right? Great expectations that are pushing us to even consider going on such a journey.

To begin with, I should probably tell you a little bit about myself. I’m 25 years old, living in Germany and in May 2018 I will be going on my very first long distance travel to Japan. 
I studied Japanese for a few years, but basically I’ve unlearned most of it and am back to beginner level. I can read hiragana and katakana, identify some kanji, but otherwise, it’s pretty much just “yes, no, thank you, how much is this?” Which is quite sad. I am trying to refresh my memory before going on my trip. However, I know from friends, who hardly speak or understand a word of Japanese (much less being able to read kana) and they got around fine. 
What do I expect of my vacation in Tokyo?

The first time I developed the urge to travel to Japan was about ten years ago. And like most 15/16 year old who want to visit Japan, it was because of anime and manga. Of course I was an otaku. That’s why I studied Japanese in school and university.

Nowadays, there aren’t many shows that I'm interested in. I became a sort of low-key fan. Even my love for One Piece has long since passed. But I am very curious to witness many different aspects of the japanese culture for myself.

I still want to do all that nerd stuff. I want to visit a lot of museums too. I hope to eat lots of delicous food, spend a lot of money on clothes, gachapon and UFO catchers. I want to visit a few themeparks and many, many shrines and temples.
Finally, I expect to be absolutely overwhelmed by all those tall buildings, masses of people, the lights, the sights, the service, the convenience and make lots of awesome memories!

First draft and overview of my "itinerary"

Picking a fitting accommodation was the first thing we did, after booking our super-awesome nonstop flight to Narita Airport (and return ticket, of course).
I had high demands, but was willing to compromise.

At first I suggested hostels, like Asakusa Sakura Hostel, which I heard is really nice. But I really wanted to have a bathroom in the room we were going to stay in, so that was out.

So we looked through hotels, but those are quite expensive in Tokyo. The locations are great and so is the service! For ten nights, though? Paying like 1.000€ on a hotel was kind of estimated in my budget – still… Saving more is nicer.

Surprisingly, airbnbs are actually very affordable in Tokyo! And there are a lot to choose from.

What other demands did I have? 
  • A high-tech toilet would be nice. Just to experience that. Come on, it’s like a tourist attraction, they write about it in every travel guide. 
  • A bathroom with a tub, to have some comforting Japanese baths. The ones where you rinse of, before stepping into the hot water.
  •  Atatami room. With futons, preferably.
  •  Enough space for our luggage and two separate beds.
  •  The apartment should be conveniently placed, to get around the city easily.

Sounds like a lot, right? And I said I was ready to compromise. But amazingly I didn’t have to. We found an apartment, that has all of this and would only cost around 600€ for ten nights.

So, remember kids! Fight for your dreams! Never give up!

Let’s just hope it turns out to be what the pictures promise…

We’ve got our flights; we’ve got our accommodation, what else?

Well, now that we had this off our minds, it was time to start planning.
Honestly guys, use odigo’s trip planner. It makes things so much easier.
I reassembled the itinerary about three or four times now, throwing spots out, adding some, rearrange where to go to on which day. Thanks to the planner I could check how much time the activities take and see that I hopelessly crammed I had packed some days.

That’s something you learn very quickly: Either you have a lot of time and money or you have to make a few concessions. 
And you have to know whether you’re more laid back or super eager to run from place to place within one day.

How to get from place to place, including my thoughts on the upcoming long-distance flight will be next blog’s subject.

Kiara Threepwood