Tokyo

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Tokyo Money-Saving Tips

Grutt Pass for Attraction Discounts

Purchase a Grutt pass for free admission and/or discounts at 71 Tokyo attractions, including the Tokyo National Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum. The pass costs 2,000 yen (about $26) and is valid for two months after initial use.

Go underground

Tokyo’s rail system is a marvel, with dozens of municipal subway and privately held above-ground rail lines. Some of the routes may look indirect, but the trains are timed to the minute, while traveling by taxi is both more expensive and less reliable. Save your ticket – you’ll need it to exit the train system.

Public transport

Fares on public transportation, sold at vending machines in stations, are based on distance and start at ¥130 (about $1.10). There are fare charts above the machines, or you can just buy the least expensive ticket and pay the difference with the station agent on arrival.

Check out the View

Experience sweeping views of the Tokyo skyline from the 45th-floor observatory of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Entrance is free.

Money matters

While more and more businesses in Japan accept credit cards, cash is still king in many smaller and more traditional shops and restaurants. Japanese bank ATMs generally don’t accept foreign cards, but ATMs at post offices and the ubiquitous 7-Eleven convenience stores do. Check your bank’s withdrawal fees before leaving home.

Addressing addresses

Addresses in Tokyo are given as buildings within blocks (chome, ‘cho-may’) within districts within wards (ku) within the city. This confounds both foreigners and Japanese and means that you need a map (or for taxis, a GPS system) to get anywhere. Not to worry: Virtually every establishment in Tokyo has a map on its business card or brochure, or staff will fax one to your hotel. If you’re arriving by rail, note the correct numbered exit from the station or you could end up 10 minutes out of your way.

Phone fact

Tokyo phone numbers are eight digits when dialed locally. Within Japan but outside Tokyo, use the prefix 03. From the U.S., dial country code 81 and then the prefix 3 before the eight digits.

Experience Spirituality

Many of Tokyo's temples and shrines are free to enter. Try to research in advance the proper etiquette for the particular location you are visiting, and note when there are festivals or other ceremonies.

Meals on the Go

For a quick grab ’n’ go meal, department store food floors, and even convenience stores, offer inexpensive and wholesomely prepared and packaged foods.

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