TRIPals

Experience Japan like a local

Posts by Elise

Staying in Japan for a few months? Airbnb is the way to go

Whether you’re studying, working, interning, or just on an adventure, you may end up in a situation where you are in Japan for a few months. Unless you are coming to Japan with an organization, it’s going to be either extremely difficult or very expensive for you to find a place to stay. The cheapest dormitory style hostel you’ll be able to find in Tokyo is going to be about ¥2,000 ($16.56)/night and for an average hotel room expect to pay around ¥5,000 ($41.39) to ¥10,000 ($82.78). But let’s be honest, who wants to live in a tiny space for an extended amount of time without a kitchen and comfortable

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One stop shop for fun: Ikebukuro Sunshine City

You’ve made it to Tokyo and you have an endless list of things you want to do. It’s never ending and that’s the beauty of it, there’s just so much to do just in Tokyo, you can never quite complete all of it even if you stay here for months! We all also know that sometimes things never go quite as you had planned. Sometimes the train system has something go tragically wrong and you can’t make it to your destination. Other times the weather just won’t cooperate and if your activity is outdoors there’s no way you want to get drenched. So for the day that the weather doesn’t

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How to take the taxi in Japan: bonus Japanese crash course

If you’re cheap like I am, you’ll probably avoid riding taxis as much as you can. Compared to most other Asian countries, Japan is the most expensive. When I studied abroad in China we would take cabs to a lot of places and even after riding over an hour we only ended up paying $7. In Japan most taxis have a base rate of around ¥700 ($5.85) and because there is convenient public transportation I hardly end up using a taxi. But there are definitely times when a taxi is necessary. For example, if you go outside the city where public transportation no longer runs, or if you stay out

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Sea Creatures and Land Animals – Best Aquariums and Zoos in Japan

If you are traveling with children or just an animal lover, making a trip to an aquarium or zoo in Japan is a must! Not only is it fun getting to see new species of sea creatures and land critters, all the aquariums and zoos are bound to have exhibits that are different than the you’ve been to in the past. Here are my top aquariums and zoos in Japan: Churaumi Aquarium – Okinawa Honto This aquarium is considered one of the best in all of Japan. They still hold the record for housing shark whales for the longest amount of time, and holds one of the largest tanks around

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Turret Coffee, The Hidden Gem Amidst the Fish

Taking advantage of the long 5 day weekend, I decided to make my way to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Let’s be honest, my friends and I were enjoying sleep too much to want to pull an all nighter to go see the auction (we’ll definitely make it there eventually, just not now). We went later in the day after we did some other sight seeing so by the time we made it to the fish market, everything was basically closing down except for the outer fish market where there are plenty of sushi restaurants. We browsed around, ate some sample sashimi, bought some salmon for dinner, and decided that we

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10 Things that Make Japan so Unique!

When you’ve never been to Japan and someone asks you, “Tell me what you think Japan is like?” you’re most likely going to give answers like, “I’m sure there’s a lot of sushi, anime things, and cosplay!” which may be true. But the things that make Japan so unique are really the small things in daily life here! So let me just point out 10 things that make Japan so unique from anywhere else! Japanese fashion Like you expect, if you go to certain parts of Tokyo (mostly Harajuku) you’ll see plenty of people dressed up like manga and anime characters. That’s not the end of Tokyo fashion. There are

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How To Have Fun in Tokyo at Night: Skyscrapers, Festivals, Illumination and more!

You’ve made it halfway around the world to Tokyo, the last thing you’re going to do is sleep the night away right? Good, because there are plenty of great things to do and see in Tokyo after the sun goes down. As long as you go to Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ginza you’ll definitely be able to find bars and clubs (all different atmospheres depending on the location you decide to venture out to) so I’ll tell you some of the other things you can enjoy in Tokyo under the starry sky. Night View from Tokyo Skyscrapers A great way to see the beautiful city of Japan all lit up

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Neighborhood Guide: Let’s Head Out West To Tachikawa!

When people usually think of Tokyo they think of places like Shinjuku, Ginza, Roppongi, and Shibuya. These are all very crowded areas that depicts Tokyo city life: busy, lots of people, lights, and a non-stop continuous cycle. They are also all on the East side of Tokyo. So if you are looking for a little bit of a different scenery, why not try West Tokyo. One of the biggest cities in West Tokyo is Tachikawa. Because the JR Chuo line, JR Nambu line, and Tama Monorail all run through Tachikawa, there is a big train station as well as the busy bodies that come with it. What to do: Shopping,

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Autumn Limited Edition Food Goodies in Japan

As the season changes to Autumn, clothing stores start to stock their stores will all sorts of new seasonal wear. Sure, when the season changes the weather changes and you definitely need warmer clothing, but there is also something to be said about a different atmosphere. When summer turns to autumn in Tokyo the leaves start to fall, it becomes colder, sometimes a little rainy, and everyone wants to bundle up. To commemorate this seasonal change as well as some of the holidays and traditions in Japan, many fast food chains, restaurants, and cafes release a limited time seasonal menu. McDonald’s Tsukimi Burgers: Let’s start with McDonald’s. McDonald’s has their

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The Almighty Japanese Convenience Stores

Obviously from the name, you know that a convenience store is meant to be a convenient spot to get all your basic necessities. A convenience store will not get any more convenient than the ones in Japan. They have almost everything you need in one stop! First and foremost, the convenience stores in Japan have food, notebooks, hygiene items, magazines, and many more of the “basics” you would usually need for daily living. Convenience Store Brands The great thing about the convenience stores in Japan is that they have their own brand which offer a line of foods that are a lot cheaper than the other brand name stuff. For example,

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