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Top Travel Tips and Tricks for First Time Travelers to Tokyo

Top Travel Tips and Tricks for First Time Travelers to Tokyo

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Japan

If you’re traveling to Tokyo, Japan anytime soon, you’re one lucky individual whether you choose economy or business class flights to Japan! It’s a fascinating country, and the culture is intriguing not to mention the breathtaking landscapes and landmarks. You’re likely to feel welcome right off the bat; however, as a first-time traveler there are major dos and don’ts you should know about when it comes to visiting Tokyo. Keep reading to find out what travel tips are most important to your trip.

Packing List for Japan Tokyo Travel TV Host Shares Her Fashion Tips

Bowing

When greeting someone in Japan, bowing is the appropriate gesture. You should bow by bending your upper torso forward at a 15-degree angle. However, when you meet an elder, extend your bow as to show respect. If a native bows to you first, nod your head to replicate the acknowledgment. Japanese don’t always shake hands so don’t let this discourage you. It’s best you wait and see if they offer their hand first before extending yours.

Know the name of your hotel

In case you lose your notes or hotel keycard, you should know how to tell the taxi driver the name of the hotel and the closest subway that will take you to your destination.The English version of the hotel’s name is often not available, so knowing how to say it in the native language will help to get you back to where you need to be.

Never open your own door

Don’t get out of the taxi yourself. Your driver will come around to let you out and open the back door to let you in. It’s best you wait for this courtesy as to not offend the driver.

Put away your phone

It’s bad business to pull out your cell phone while riding on a train or bus in the city. You also should refrain from initiating conversation as well. Natives do their own, quiet thing.

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Subway and train hours

The trains and subways close at 12:00 am. If you’re out after midnight, make sure you’re within walking distance to your accommodations or next destination. Taxis are still available but they can be expensive during late hours.

Meal time

Always thank the host with a bow. Do this before and after your meal as it shows good manners.  

It’s cool to slurp there!

Where slurping is rude in the States, it’s a custom in Japan! Notice the room when you eat out and you’ll find this noise to be a welcomed one.

Check, please

When you’ve finished your meal and it’s time to pay, cross your fingers to make the letter “X” and the waiter will take care of the bill.

Learn the language basics

Knowing a few of the key phrases in Japanese will help you communicate with natives. Practice saying, “excuse me,” “thank you,” “hello,” “goodbye,”—terms you may need when interacting with strangers. Oh, and “where’s the bathroom?” is another must-know phrase as you won’t be able to read their locations either.  

A nice way to say “no”

When the Japanese says something is “impossible” or mention something is “difficult,” it’s their way of saying “no.” They do not want to turn you away, however, there are times it’s necessary.  Don’t attempt to force the situation as it could end up being an unfavorable decision.  

Signs in English

Although it’s recommended, you don’t have to know many Japanese phrases as there are enough signs are in English that you can navigate through Tokyo without much difficulty. It’s when you begin to explore outside of the city that you will need to know those important Japanese phrases, as signs in English aren’t are prevalent.

Don’t tip!

In the States, tipping is mandatory, but in Japan it’s refused! Tips are not counted towards a waiter’s salary and the gesture is seen as rude and inappropriate. It doesn’t seem possible but some will get angry if you tip them.

Gifting

Giving a gift is different from tipping and it is generally well accepted. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, bring a gift! If possible, pick this up before you leave and select a gift that has meaning to your hometown.

ATMs

If you find an ATM that takes your card, take note of it because most banks won’t accept your bank card. You can find a post office that has a cash machine you could possibly use.

Suica Cards

If you’re thinking about coming back any time in the future or extending your stay because you got such as great deal on cheap business class flights to Tokyo, you should get a card to store your yen. PASMO cards are accepted so you may want to consider applying for one.  

Keep your passport with you

The passport is the best way of identifying yourself should you need identification. You can expect this to happen so don’t forget it back in the room!

BYOTP

Bring your own toilet paper! The public restrooms in Japan don’t always have them available, so you might want to have some handy when you leave the hotel. If you forget, look for a street vendor as they will offer a pack of tissue to forgetful and unaccustomed tourists.

Take your shoes off

Most of us are aware shoes are a no-no in Japanese places of business and in the home. Make sure you have a clean pair of socks that doesn’t have any holes in them. If you’re not sure when to take them off, just ask.   

Bathroom rules

The Japanese are particular people, so it’s not uncommon to wear different shoes to the bathroom. These shoes are not the same ones you’d wear around the house and are specifically worn to visit the toilet.

Refrain from blowing your nose

If you have the sniffles or a runny nose while you’re visiting Japan, absolutely do not blow your nose in public! Excuse yourself to the bathroom or into another room and quietly blow or wipe your nose.

I hope you enjoyed these top travel tips for travel in Tokyo!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Europe

My Insane The Red Light District Tour of The Amsterdam Peep Shows

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here

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Amsterdam Peep Show

An Amsterdam peep show in the red light district is a must, like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay, slightly different. But you have got to go for the erotic experience!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, then more than likely, you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be a worthwhile tour, to check out Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

Something about the red light district brothels draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe the bright red neon lights illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex does sell.

My Amsterdam Peep Show Tour

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends, we spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough. Then we headed over to Germany, where high-class escorts had us covered.

Not like that, of course!

We couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is, for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room was staggering.

However, we have not enticed ourselves to fork over 50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I want to clarify here that it was Adela that was the keenest. I didn’t want to let her down, so I went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaynekaye/4792525797

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very name initially “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red-light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entranceway, your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds, and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A whiteboard lists the movies you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sits slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along its walls.

Those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out 2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. She could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics with her flexibility!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmangum/2301545978

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night, the booths were making a roaring trade. From the hen parties to the couples, nearly everyone else was there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

On the other hand, the shifty-eyed single men skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance, we highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the performances and the ones on the streets!

Top 10 Amsterdam Peep Shows in 2022

  • 1 | Stripclub BonTon
  • 2 | Male Strip Show in Amsterdam For Women
  • 3 | Casa Rosso Sex Shows
  • 4 | 5D Porn Cinema
  • 5 | Moulin Rouge Amsterdam
  • 6 | Bananenbar
  • 7 | Sex Palace Peep Show
  • 8 | Hospital Bar
  • 9 | Club LV
  • 10 | La Vie en Proost – Lapdance Bar in Red Light District

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or a Sex show? Tell us about your experience.

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Europe

Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence

Whether you spend a half-day or full day in Pisa, we recommend that you Train to Pisa from Florence. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to get there.

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train to pisa

Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see the beautiful countryside of Italy. The train from Florence to Pisa takes about an hour, and the journey is stunning. The route takes you past vineyards and medieval villages, through tunnels and over bridges, with breathtaking views of the Tuscan hillsides. You can even see the Leaning Tower of Pisa as the train approaches the station.

Woman traveling by train looking out of window

Upon arrival in Pisa, you can explore the historic center and visit the famous cathedral, before enjoying a leisurely lunch overlooking the River Arno. With its stunning scenery and convenient location, a train trip from Florence to Pisa is a great way to spend a day in Italy.

Leaning tower of Pisa, HDR, Italy

How to get to Pisa from Florence

You have a couple of different options for your own half-day trip to Pisa from Florence depending on how you like to travel. But if you are like us and enjoy travelling around Italy by public transport, then you will definitely want to train to Pisa from Florence.

Train to Pisa from Florence

Florence and Pisa are less than 100 km apart and the easiest way is to train to Pisa from Florence. The entire trip one-way takes approximately an hour depending on your route with no transfers.

Trains leave from Florence S.M.Novella for Pisa Centrale a few times every hour. The closest train station to the leaning tower of Pisa is Pisa San Rossore, but it’s not worth the extra time or transfer required. Pisa itself is small and it takes less than 30 minutes to walk to the leaning tower from Pisa Centrale.

Plus you get to explore more of the city such as the River Arno lined with beautiful stately homes.

Pisa River, train from pisa to florence

If you want to book online then a one-way ticket by train to Pisa from Florence will cost from €7.80 (US$10.40) in 2nd class. It is important to make sure that when you are searching online via the Italian train booking site, Trenitalia, you search for “Firenze” rather than Florence.

The train schedules are very easy to understand so we recommend booking your ticket from the self-service machines on the train platform. The return journey is just as easy in reverse. Just watch that you don’t miss the last train around 10pm most days and carry cash with you for the ticket.

Finally, validate your ticket before boarding the train. We forgot a couple of times but used the typical “I’m a stupid tourist” line to get out of any fines.

Bus to Pisa from Florence

Another option is to catch the bus to Pisa from Florence.

There are two main bus companies, Terravision and Autostradale, run regular buses to and from Pisa Airport and Florence Airport into the Florence city centre, they don’t actually go into Pisa itself. The train to Pisa from Florence is so reliable, fast, and cheap, that you may not want to consider this option.

However, there are some advantages to taking the bus. You will see a lot more scenery from the window of the bus, and it’s definitely cheaper; sometimes you can find fares as low as 4 Euros, especially on Fridays.

Travel Guide to visiting Pisa from Florence

Driving to Pisa from Florence

If you have hired a car or scooter in Tuscany then you might look at driving to Pisa from Florence. However, even though the distance is less than 100km, the trip will still take approximately 1 hour.

Aside from the fact that the train to Pisa from Florence typically takes less time than driving, you also have to avoid the crazy Italian drivers. Not to mention trying to find a carpark in two of the most popular cities in Italy. Impossible.

Travel to Pisa from Florence by train, Leaning tower of Pisa HDR

Guided Tour to Pisa from Florence

If you have been enjoying the sunset in Florence and all the city has to offer then you might want to take in a guided tour to Pisa from Florence. Not only do you get a great guide to learn all about the history of the area, you also don’t have to worry about getting to Pisa from Florence.

You might want to check out this guided tour around Pisa or get a little bit more adventurous and try out a segway tour in Pisa. Perfect for the family and it will keep the kids entertained between stops.

If you have a whole day, and haven’t managed to fit in a hike around Cinque Terre, then we recommend looking into the Pisa and Cinque Terre day tour. Lasting roughly 12 hours, you will travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, with a 2 hour stop in Pisa to see all the main sights.

We also reckon guides help you get the best photos, as they have seen all the poses.

Adela funny jumping Pisa

Tell us below if you have taken any funny photos in Pisa!

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Travel Tips

A Quick Guide to Some of the Best Restaurants on Timog Avenue

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beef cooked cuisine 1268549

Timog Avenue (and its neighboring street, Tomas Morato) is well-known among the hip and young of Metro Manila as the place to be for a night of drinks and parties. Still, there’s so much more to Timog than just craft beer, tasty cocktails, and pumping beats. Specifically, this long stretch of road in Quezon City is home to some of the best restaurants in town. It doesn’t matter if you love Japanese, Korean, Italian, or Chinese cuisine; you’re sure to find something here to satisfy your taste buds and your hungry tummy.

Are you ready for the ultimate gastronomic experience?

Here’s a shortlist of some of the best restaurants on Timog in Manilla, Philippines.

Steak 77

Steak 77, as the name suggests, is one of the best places to get juicy, flavorful steaks in the city. For something straightforward, go for the Steak 77 Ribeye. It has the perfect balance of seasonings, and it doesn’t come with any sauces or unnecessary frills that will distract you from the succulent, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of U.S. beef. Here, other must-try recipes include the Classic Ribeye, the Classic Kagoshima Wagyu A5 Ribeye, and the US Angus Tomahawk. For some decadent indulgence, order the rich and tender Osso Buco. Steak 77 is located near Santi’s Delicatessen, across Go Hotel Timog. Drop by one of these days to satisfy your steak cravings!

81 Seihai

If you love sushi and maki, then you’ll love 81 Seihai. It’s a relatively new restaurant, with big, bold, and modern Japanese decor that stretches wall-to-wall and up to the ceiling. One of the best sellers at 81 Seihai is the Flaming Maki, which features a generous blanket of melted cheese and a dusting of togarashi for a spicy kick. Of course, there are also plenty of Japanese favorites on the menu like chicken karaage, gyoza, maki, ramen, and even wagyu cubes. There’s also a wide array of main dishes if you’re looking for a full meal, like the Beef Yakiniku Steak and the Grilled Salmon Teriyaki. The highlight of the restaurant, however, is their sushi specials. Executive Chef Ronnie de Guzman has more than ten years of experience in Japanese food preparation, so you know that every dish here is always up to stellar standards. If you’re looking for a chill night out with some delicious Japanese fare to go with it, 81 Seihai is the perfect place.

Seoul in Timog

Are you a big fan of eat-all-you-can Korean barbecue? How about Korean buffets? Well, Seoul in Timog offers both. This bright, spacious, and minimalistically designed restaurant has everything you want in an “unli samgyup” place: quality cuts of meat at affordable prices. What’s even better is that their Php 499 rate is already good for the eat-all-you-can Korean barbecue AND the buffet table. Talk about value for money! In addition, you don’t have to worry about falling in line for too long, since the restaurant is quite extensive and can seat a lot of people. If you prefer, you can come in at odd hours. They’re open from 11 AM to 7 AM of the following day! Make sure to try their herb-based pork for a delicate, aromatic flavor.

Causeway Seafood Restaurant

asian food close up cuisine 2871757

If you prefer Chinese food and dim sum in a family-style setting, Causeway Seafood Restaurant is a trusted name. You can find many Chinese favorites here, from spicy Gochujang noodles to wonton shrimp noodles. They also serve beancurd rolls, tausi-style dishes, white chicken, sweet and sour pork, and egg yolk pie. Visit Causeway from 2 PM to 6 PM for their half-price deal for those who love dim sum. The place often gets crowded, which means the service slows down during peak hours. Despite this, people keep coming back time and again to enjoy Causeway’s delicious food!

Cucina di Paulina

This Italian restaurant with a twist is located in 8 Seas Food Park. Just head up the stairs, and you’ll be greeted by this unassuming restaurant that serves creative and delicious food. The owner, Bombay Suarez, is a wrestler. He’s one of the pioneers of PWR (Philippine Wrestling Revolution), and he brings his passion for the PWR ring straight into the kitchen of Cucina di Paulina. You can see and taste this in dishes like the traditional Neapolitan style pizza and putok-batok pizza topped with bacon, chicharron, ham, Lechon kawali, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and sisig. Eat it at your own risk! If you’re more of a cheese aficionado than a meat-lover, then the Trio Formaggi is the pizza for you. For something lighter, go for the pasta dishes like the Pesto with Shrimp or the Truffled Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo.

These are just five of the many excellent restaurants and diners dotting the length of Timog Avenue. Give them a try the next time you’re craving some good food!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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