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6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Last updated on May 28th, 2024 at 11:54 am

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Tokyo is one of the most popular destinations in Asia and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in Tokyo for your next trip.

Tokyo is a bustling metropolis with a unique blend of traditional and modern attractions. However, like any major tourist destination, it has its share of tourist traps. Here’s a guide to help you navigate and avoid them.

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Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo

1. Tsukiji Outer Market

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: While the inner wholesale fish market moved to Toyosu, the outer market remains crowded with tourists, and many stalls are overpriced.

How to Avoid: Visit the Toyosu Fish Market for the authentic wholesale market experience. For fresh sushi, explore local sushi restaurants away from the market area.

2. Robot Restaurant

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: This flashy show in Shinjuku is expensive and often cited as a tourist gimmick rather than a cultural experience.

How to Avoid: Instead, enjoy a more authentic cultural experience at a traditional kabuki theater or sumo wrestling match.

3. Takeshita Street in Harajuku

2 Days Tokyo Itinerary, Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: Packed with tourists, this street is known for overpriced and low-quality souvenirs and snacks.

How to Avoid: Explore the nearby Omotesando area for upscale shopping and cafes. Visit quieter streets in Harajuku for unique boutiques and local designers.

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4. Roppongi Nightlife

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: Roppongi is known for its nightlife but can be touristy, with overpriced bars and clubs.

How to Avoid: Check out nightlife in Shibuya or Shimokitazawa for a more local and reasonably priced experience.

5. Odaiba

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: While it offers some interesting attractions, many are expensive and overly commercialized.

How to Avoid: Visit alternative futuristic spots like Akihabara for electronics and pop culture, or teamLab Borderless in Odaiba for an immersive digital art experience.

6. Asakusa Souvenir Shops

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Why It’s a Tourist Trap: The shops around Senso-ji Temple sell overpriced and often low-quality souvenirs.

How to Avoid: Enjoy the temple visit, but shop for souvenirs in less touristy areas like Nakamise Shopping Street or local craft stores in other parts of Tokyo.

General Tips to Avoid Tourist Traps in Tokyo

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Local Insights: Use blogs, forums, and websites written by locals or long-term residents for genuine recommendations.

Social Media: Follow Tokyo-based social media accounts and hashtags to discover hidden gems and local favorites.

Read here to purchase in advance Japan Rail Pass

2. Visit During Off-Peak Times

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Timing: Visit popular attractions early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds.

Season: Travel during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) when there are fewer tourists and the weather is pleasant.

3. Use Public Transport

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Efficient and Affordable: Tokyo’s public transportation system is one of the best in the world. Use it instead of taxis.

IC Cards: Get a Suica or Pasmo card for convenient travel on trains and buses.

Read Here the best way for transportation JR Pass vs Suica Pass

4. Stay in Residential Neighborhoods

Authentic Experience: Choose accommodations in areas like Nakameguro, Kichijoji, or Yanaka for a more authentic local experience.

Local Amenities: These neighborhoods offer local cafes, restaurants, and shops away from the tourist crowds.

Book your accommodations in Tokyo through Agoda or Booking

5. Eat Like a Local

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Street Food and Local Eateries: Try local street food and eat at izakayas (Japanese pubs) or small neighborhood restaurants.

Food Markets: Visit local markets like Ameya-Yokocho in Ueno or Tsukiji Outer Market for fresh and affordable food.

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6. Choose Alternative Attractions

Less Crowded: Instead of Tokyo Disneyland, consider visiting Ghibli Museum in Mitaka for a unique and less crowded experience.

Local Museums: Explore smaller, unique museums like the Shitamachi Tanabata Museum or Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.

7. Avoid Tourist Shopping Areas

Local Markets: Skip the touristy souvenir shops and head to local markets or craft stores for unique and reasonably priced items.

8. Use Local Resources

Apps and Websites: Use apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Spotted by Locals for up-to-date reviews and recommendations.

Walking Tours: Consider joining a free walking tour, often led by locals who provide genuine insights and tips.

9. Ask Locals for Recommendations

Personal Advice: Strike up a conversation with locals or ask for recommendations at your hotel (avoiding concierge desk tourist traps) for insider tips on where to go and what to see.

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