Tokyo Travel Guide

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Well Done, Sir: One Man Ate His Way to a Free Trip to Tokyo

Where: Tokyo, Japan
January 22, 2015 at 8:06 PM | by | ()

How can one score a free trip to Tokyo? The answer is simple: just eat at all 72 Benihana Restaurants across America and enter the restaurant chain's "Passport Challenge" contest as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration (the contest is now, sadly, closed.)

Apparently, an astounding 11 people ate at all the 72 Benihana restaurants in the U.S. in 2014, but only one Lee Potter was selected to win the grand prize trip for four people to Tokyo. (Where he is going to eat authentic Japanese food that pretty much looks nothing like Benihana food. But that's another story.)

Other winners won lesser prizes like gift cards to Benihana, including those for visiting one Benihana restaurant as many times as possible during the year. (The top distinction goes to Jack King who visited the Benihana in Salt Lake City more than any other participant.) In total, Benihana said that 19,000 people participated in the contest, submitting 26,000 photos too. Yes, that's a lot of pictures of onion volcano towers and chefs flipping shrimp tails into their hats. #sofull

But back to Lee. If this is your first time to Tokyo, then we've got some suggestions for you. If it's not, well, we still think our Tokyo travel guide will serve you well. Sorry, fried rice is not included. But Okonomiyaki is!

· Top 10 Tips for a First-Time Visit to Tokyo

· Foreigner-Only Discounts for Traveling Through Japan

· Food Worth Flying For: Tokyo's Top Tempura and Tendon

· Why the Tokyo Skytree is Totally Worth the $20 Ticket

· Foreign Grocery Friday: Japan's Beloved Okonomiyaki

And we're sure Benihana has your hotel stay covered but if you're looking to extend the trip, HotelChatter has some good suggestions too.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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Video Interlude: The Infamous 'Shibuya Scramble' in Action

Where: Tokyo, Japan
November 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM | by | ()

There's no denying that Tokyo is cool, despite the many thousands of tourists walking around with guidebooks open. For a first-timer to the city, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming, but there's nothing better than to be thrown in to the middle of the action with a visit to the hectic, yet quintessentially Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing intersection.

The neighborhood of Shibuya is considered one of the hottest fashion districts in town, not to mention that it's home to a massive JR train station and neon nightlife. While most people come to shop, socialize, or grab a bite to eat, keen observers will note that there's a whole subsection of Shibuya visitors who come simply to watch others cross the street.

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Food Worth Flying For: Tokyo's Top Tempura and Tendon

Where: Tokyo, Japan
November 5, 2014 at 12:42 PM | by | ()

That croissant in Paris. The char kway teow in Singapore. That cup of hot chocolate in Perugia. This is Food Worth Flying For. In this new series, Jaunted's contributors share the foods they'd gladly fly around the world for (and probably already have).

It's the favorite Japanese food of those unwilling to venture deeper into Japanese cuisine: Tempura, lightly battered meats, seafood, and veggies with a sweet and salty soy dipping sauce.

Despite its connotation as an basic entry dish into Japanese cuisine, a true Tempura is actually a complex dish. Whether you've had it State-side or overseas, there's no better place than Japan to sample what might be considered one, of many, iconic dishes.

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Why Billions and Billions of Disney Dollars are Bound for Japan

Where: Tokyo, Japan
November 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM | by | ()

In the wild world of theme parks the offerings by Disney over in Japan are often considered to be the best of the best. Sure Disneyland and Walt Disney World here at home are great spots to visit, but it seems like over in Japan they have all the best rides, newest attractions, and the biggest budgets—they spare no expense.

Now things are going to get even better, as it sounds like the folks behind the parks in partnership with Disney are spending around $4.6 billion to upgrade, improve, and expand the parks in Tokyo. Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are set to receive the influx of cash and construction, as the renovations are expected to take place over the next ten years.

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Why the Tokyo Skytree is Totally Worth the $20 Ticket

Where: Tokyo, Japan
August 28, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | ()

Listen in, because we have the scoop on Tokyo's newest tourist attraction. Tokyo Skytree may already be two years old but, in the grand scheme of things for Tokyo, it's still the hottest attraction for both locals and tourists to enjoy a birds-eye view of the planet's largest capital.

This addition to the expansive skyline serves a purpose higher than being a popular selfie spot; it's also a broadcast tower and the holder of the title of "World's Tallest Tower." Located on the east side of the Sumida River in a neighborhood that went by the name of Musashi, the Skytree revived the district and is now drawing tourists to discover beyond the usual centers of Harajuku and Ginza.

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Top 10 Tips for a First-Time Visit to Tokyo

Where: Tokyo, Japan
August 22, 2014 at 1:25 PM | by | ()

Tokyo consistently tops the lists of "must-visit" metropoli for tourism, and the first-time visit is one you're not likely to forget.

It just so happens that this Jaunted contributor recently had the experience of landing in Tokyo for the first time, and learning all the little bits of etiquette and excellence which makes Tokyo so desirable and so influential for travelers. Coming off this beginner's journey, here are our top 10 tips for first-timers to Tokyo:

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Traveling to Tokyo? Try the Donuts.

Where: Tokyo, Japan
August 18, 2014 at 4:19 PM | by | ()

From crullers and jam-filled, to cake and long johns, there's little doubt that Japan has a bit of a crush on donuts.

If donuts are your 'thing', then a quick stop to Mister Donut should be on your itinerary. This bakery chain actually hails from our own shores, but has practically become a cult icon in Japan. If you're unfamiliar with the brand, know that it's similar to a Dunkin Donuts, but one step up. Basically, after you grab a tray and tongs, you choose from any number of glazed, sugared or iced donuts and pay at the counters. Don't forget a a coffee!

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Believe It or Not, There is a Japanese SIM Card Rental with Unlimited Data

Where: Tokyo, Japan
August 18, 2014 at 1:06 PM | by | ()

Confession: we're extremely heavy users of data on our smartphones, since those phones connect us to social media, work, maps, and pretty much everything else while on foreign soil. We're not ones to "power down" on a trip, unless the destination is completely off the grid. Thus, one of our largest concerns is being smacked with a ridiculously large international data roaming bill upon return home.

To prevent against big bills, we search for SIM card packages offering unlimited data usage, and recently had a great experience with one in Japan, a country with such advanced cell phone technology that it can be challenging to use anything but the latest handset. And, unfortunately, Japan doesn't make it easy for foreigners to purchase a SIM card; one must be rented.

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No Battery Left? This Tokyo Taxi Has Got You Covered

Where: Tokyo, Japan
July 15, 2014 at 4:20 PM | by | ()

We’ve all been there: you’re running around town all day, making phone calls, sending emails, taking full advantage of the mobility smartphones have given us. But with more features and ever-larger screens comes ever-decreasing battery life, and sooner rather than later you’re looking at a thin red sliver that’s left of what was a fully-charged device just hours ago.

Seeking refuge in a coffee shop, a hotel lobby, or crouching next to a random socket is one option, but this taxi we rode in Tokyo recently will literally keep you on the move, offering free charging for both iPhone and Android with a little Lichtenstein pop art-inspired imagery to go along with the despair you feel when “Please connect your charger” appears on your screen.

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How Virtual Penguins are Leading the Way to Tokyo's Sunshine Aquarium

Where: Tokyo, Japan
October 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM | by | ()

As is well known and widely acknowledged, Japan is a land of crazy. The plain assertion doesn't really require any proof, but if it did there are entire websites devoted to the insanity that pervades the Land of the Rising Sun. Even their zoos and aquariums are batshit, allowing you to do everything from shake hands with otters to watch Santa Claus play with dolphins.

Somewhere in between shaking otters hands and Santa Claud on a dolphin, there's this very cute bit of travel advertising from Japan's Sunshine Aquarium. The tourist attraction is kind of a hike from the nearest station, and aquarium officials wanted to make sure people could find it. The solution? An augmented reality app where penguins guide tourists along the right path. Because Japan, of course.

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Why We're Already Super Psyched for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

Where: Tokyo, Japan
September 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM | by | ()


In the famously busy "Shibuya Scramble" intersection

So you may have already heard that Tokyo beat out both Madrid and Istanbul in its bid to host the XXXII Olympics in 2020. Granted that's still quite some time away, but a seven-year advance notice means plenty of time to come to love Japan if you don't already.

Save Friday, 24 July – Sunday 9 August 2020 to your iCal for the actual Olympic Games, and get psyched along with us as we brainstorm what the 2020 Olympics will mean for an already awesome metropolis:

· The cutest Olympic mascots yet!
London's "Wenlock and Mandeville" mascots were disappointing, not to mention vaguely sperm-y, and Sochi's look like long-lost Disney rough drafts. Beijing's 2008 Olympic mascots came closest to the concept of cute, but surely Tokyo in 2020 will make us forget all about decades of creepy characters. Kawaii!

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Video Interlude: The Tokyo Sky Tree in Time-Lapse

Where: Tokyo, Japan
May 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM | by | ()

The value of the Japanese Yen to the US Dollar has recently slipped so far that it's nearing its lowest point in four years. Plus, the currency exchange rate has never been easier to do in your head: 100 JPY is just about 1 USD.

All of this means that if you've been planning to head to Tokyo but "Japan is so expensive," now's the time to impulse-buy an airline ticket and head on up the Tokyo Sky Tree, the broadcasting/observation/restaurant tower which only opened at this time last year.

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