Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tokyo travel tips...

Here are just a few tips you might want to know when traveling in Tokyo (especially if you have a monkey, I mean kiddo):

1. Get a hotel room with a small refrigerator. You might have to pay a bit more, but it's worth it in the end. Buying beverages in advance at a grocery store will save you tons of money. Since we drove here, we brought juice boxes, 2 liters of milk, yogurt, and bottled water. If you buy these items at a grocery store, they are a lot cheaper. For example, a juice box at Seiyu (Japanese Wal-mart) cost about 68 Yen per box. But, at a convenience shop or from a vending machine, it costs about 108 Yen. So, instead of stopping at a convenience store, just bring these with you. Same goes for milk. We brought 2 liters of milk with us and a cute character cup with a straw and top. This way Jude can have milk in the morning and at night. And, Husband can have yogurt to keep his bowels moving regularly. By bringing these items, we probably saved ourselves about 3,000 yen or 30 bucks for the 5 day trip.

2. Bring plenty of Yen. Most places DO NOT take credit cards. You must have Yen and lots of it. We bought 100,000 Yen for 5 days (that's about 1,000 dollars worth of Yen.) It sounds like a lot, but remember Tokyo is one of the most expensive places on Earth!

3. Eat cheap! Before you walk into a place, check their menu board outside. Most places display their menus at the door or on a menu boards. If you see dressed up women holding froo-froo dogs and Lamborghinis parked outside the eating establishment, chances are it's super skip it and keep searching. We love to eat at Kouraken (not sure of the spelling). It's a Ramen/Fried Rice chain restaurant. You can eat a heaping bowl of hot Ramen for about 290 Yen. It's a great value for yummy, filling food. We also love sushi. Sushi is delicious, but it can be expensive. And, if you have a garbage gut Husband, like I do, it can get really expensive. So, check menus and menu boards before ordering!

4. Get a re-loadable gift card/credit card for 7-Eleven convenience stores. I know I told you earlier not to shop here for drinks, but in Japan you can get delicious food from 7-Elevens. 7-Elevens are everywhere in Tokyo. We got a re-loadable gift card with 2,000 Yen on it. So, if we get desperate and want a snack while we are walking around sight seeing, we just pop into a 7-Eleven and get a rice ball filled with smoked salmon. Or, if we don't have time to sit down at a restaurant for lunch, we get a bento box from 7-Eleven and take it to the nearest park for lunch. (A bento box is lunch box filled with rice, meat or fish, pickled veggies and other goodies--the portions are small but filling.)

5. Carry the following items with you: small hand towel (to dry your hands), bottled water, snacks, maps, passport, visa, ID, and tons of Yen. You might also want to bring a Japanese/English dictionary or phrase book--I never leave home without it!

So, now with this info, you can stay in Tokyo and save a few Yen.

Ja, mata! (See you later!)

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