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15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo, 6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

Our full guide on the most Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo for your next trip to Japan.

Tokyo is a bustling metropolis that offers a unique blend of traditional culture and cutting-edge technology. While it’s a fantastic place to visit, there are some common mistakes that tourists often make. Here are some tips to help you avoid these pitfalls and make the most of your trip to Tokyo.

Read here Things to know before visiting Japan36 Hours in Tokyo and Narita airport to city center

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Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

1. Not Researching Etiquette

    Mistake: Being unaware of local customs and etiquette.

    Tip: Familiarize yourself with basic Japanese etiquette. For example, always bow slightly when greeting someone, remove your shoes before entering homes or certain establishments, and avoid talking loudly in public spaces.

    2. Overpacking

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      Mistake: Bringing too much luggage, which can be cumbersome in Tokyo’s crowded trains and narrow streets.

      Tip: Pack light and use compact luggage. Tokyo has many convenience stores and drugstores where you can buy essentials if needed.

      3. Ignoring Cash

        Mistake: Relying solely on credit cards.

        Tip: Carry enough cash with you. While major stores and restaurants accept credit cards, many smaller establishments, especially in markets and local eateries, only accept cash. ATMs in convenience stores like 7-Eleven often accept foreign cards.

        4. Misunderstanding Public Transport

        15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo, 5 Best High-Tech Attractions to Visit in Tokyo, 6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Tokyo And How to Avoid Them

          Mistake: Getting confused by Tokyo’s complex public transportation system.

          Tip: Use a prepaid IC card like Suica or Pasmo for easy access to trains and buses. Plan your routes using apps like Google Maps or Hyperdia, and avoid traveling during rush hours if possible.

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

          5. Taking Taxis for Short Distances

            Mistake: Using taxis for short distances, which can be expensive.

            Tip: Tokyo’s public transport is efficient and convenient for most trips. Walking is also a great way to explore the city’s neighborhoods.

            6. Eating While Walking

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              Mistake: Eating or drinking while walking, which is considered impolite.

              Tip: Eat in designated areas such as parks, restaurants, or food courts. If you buy food from a street vendor, find a nearby bench or stand still while eating.

              7. Not Booking Restaurants in Advance

                Mistake: Assuming you can always walk into a restaurant without a reservation.

                Tip: Tokyo’s popular restaurants often require reservations, especially for fine dining or themed restaurants. Make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.

                8. Ignoring Smaller Restaurants and Izakayas

                15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

                  Mistake: Sticking only to well-known restaurants and missing out on local gems.

                  Tip: Explore smaller eateries and izakayas (Japanese pubs) for authentic and often more affordable dining experiences. Look for places frequented by locals.

                  9. Visiting Only Tourist Spots

                  15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

                    Mistake: Focusing only on major tourist attractions and missing out on local experiences.

                    Tip: Explore neighborhoods like Shimokitazawa, Koenji, and Nakameguro for a more local vibe. Visit lesser-known temples, parks, and shopping streets.

                    10. Not Experiencing a Ryokan or Capsule Hotel

                    15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

                      Mistake: Sticking only to Western-style hotels.

                      Tip: Spend at least one night in a traditional ryokan for an authentic Japanese experience or try a capsule hotel for a unique, budget-friendly stay.

                      Book your accommodations in Tokyo through Agoda or Booking

                      11. Disrespecting Train Etiquette

                        Mistake: Talking loudly, blocking doors, or using your phone’s speaker on trains.

                        Tip: Be quiet and respectful on public transport. Keep your phone on silent, and avoid talking on it. Offer your seat to elderly, disabled, or pregnant passengers.

                        12. Not Taking Advantage of Free Attractions

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

                          Mistake: Overlooking Tokyo’s many free attractions.

                          Tip: Visit free attractions like Meiji Shrine, Senso-ji Temple, Yoyogi Park, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s observation deck.

                          13. Skipping Convenience Stores

                          15 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Tokyo

                            Mistake: Underestimating the value of Japanese convenience stores (konbini).

                            Tip: Konbini offer a wide range of affordable and high-quality food, drinks, and other essentials. They are great for quick meals, snacks, and even toiletries.

                            14. Not Understanding the Garbage Disposal System

                              Mistake: Throwing away garbage without sorting it properly.

                              Tip: Follow Japan’s strict garbage disposal rules. Separate recyclables, burnables, and non-burnables, and use designated bins. Keep a small bag for your trash if you can’t find a bin.

                              15. Underestimating Travel Time

                                Mistake: Not allowing enough time to get to your destinations.

                                Tip: Tokyo is vast and travel times can be longer than expected. Plan your schedule with buffer time for travel, especially if you have appointments or reservations.

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