Japan Olympics 2020: What To Do In Tokyo And Where To Stay
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For the second time, Japan will be hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020 from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo. And for the Japan Olympics 2020, the organizers of the event say that the Tokyo Games will be “the most innovative ever organised, and will rest on three fundamental principles to transform the world: striving for your personal best; accepting one another; and passing on a legacy for the future”. They plan to use as many venues in Tokyo as possible.
The Tokyo 2020 Games will mark the fourth time Japan has held an Olympic event. The first time they held a summer event was in 1964, which was the very first time the Olympics were held in Asia. The other two were Winter Olympics that were held in Sapporo in 1972 and in Nagano in 1998.
The event in 1964 drastically changed the country by allowing Japan to re-enter the international community after World War 2.
Additionally, it was a time of high growth for Japan with the introduction of shinkansen bullet trains.
This time Japan will reveal its recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which shocked and devastated the country.
If you want to see a detailed schedule of all the events, check out the Official Olympic Competition Schedule.
And if you are going to the Japan Olympics 2020 and are living outside of Japan, the best way to purchase tickets will be online when available or through Japan Travel Agencies, such as JTB.
Layout of This Article
For the rest of this article, I will be providing you with:
An Introduction on Japanese Culture
Japan Travel Tips
Things To Do in Tokyo
Where To Stay in Tokyo
This article is perfect for you if you are planning on going to the Japan Olympics 2020 and if you’ve never been to Japan before. So keep reading for tips and suggestions to help plan out your Tokyo trip for the Olympics!
Modern Japanese culture is important to understand if you want to enhance your trip to Tokyo. Once you understand the culture better, you’ll know exactly what to expect and how you can act, which the Japanese will appreciate a ton!
Japan has a fascinating and unique culture. Both the traditional and modern day culture have very interesting aspects, such as the people themselves, the food, fashion, geisha, architecture, anime, “kawaii (cute) culture”, and performing arts.
I won’t go into every single aspect for the sake of your time, but I will go over a few important ones so you have a better, overall understanding of Japanese culture.
When you visit Japan, Japanese people appear to be very homogeneous as a society, but there’s actually quite a few minority groups that the country actually consists of. Some of these minority groups include the Ryukyuans of Okinawa, Chinese, Koreans, and much more.
It is estimated that among Japan’s population of 126 million, 750,o00 are citizens with mixed heritage and 1.5 million are permanent foreign residents.
Modern day Japanese people are very conscious about their age and social status in all situations. Generally, younger people must pay respect with socializing with the elders. They are a very respectful society.
You will also notice when you go to Japan that they will bow a lot as a greeting, when saying goodbye, and when thanking you. Basically, they bow whenever an exchange is taking place. So be sure to at least nod your head when this occurs.
Another interesting aspect of Japanese people is how they live in harmony. They value harmony by being polite, by taking on their own responsibility, and contributing to the society. And because they value politeness, their opinions are usually expressed via facial expressions or body posture. Using verbal opinions is not really considered polite.
Overall, Japanese people value harmony, etiquette, punctuality, and structure. However, keep in mind that this does not reflect every single person in Japan.
One thing that you’ll notice in Japan is how everything tends to be cute, which is “kawaii” in Japanese. Kawaii can also mean something that is very lovable. The term “kawaii” refers to blushing of one’s face when embarrassed. However overtime is took on the overall meaning of “cute”.
Kawaii culture refers to humans or non-humans that are cute, shy, vulnerable, and childlike. A perfect example is the Hello Kitty character.
This kawaii culture can be reflected upon fashion, food, personal appearance, entertainment, toys, or personal mannerisms. You will pick up on a lot of this once you have wandered around and explored Tokyo for a bit. You will even see cute characters on signs within the Tokyo subway trains.
So when in Tokyo, you’ll see various items, toys, people, and more that are considered kawaii. It’s a very unique aspect of Japan that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Japanese food is one of the best parts about Japan! Their food includes local dishes, seasonal dishes, international cuisine, and classic, popular Japanese dishes.
From my experience in Japan, you can walk into any restaurant or food stall in Japan, and the food will be great. There are over 160,000 restaurants in Tokyo, so there’s a lot to try food from!
The most popular dishes in Japan are rice, sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, tofu, soba, sweets, tea, and some more.
If you want to check out any themed restaurants in Tokyo, take a look at our list of the Coolest Restaurants in Tokyo!
Japan Travel Tips
Now that you have an idea of modern day Japanese culture, we can go over the most useful tips that will help you prepare for you the Japan Olympics 2020.
Tip #1: Use Google Maps
Use Google Maps to navigate around Tokyo. This is by far one the best app for navigating. It will give you walking routes, bus routes, train routes, and more.
The best part about using this app is that it will give you real time data on when the Tokyo trains are arriving and departing. And it will give you information on how much the tickets are for the train rides.
In Tokyo, the main way you will get around is by subway train, so these features of Google Maps is very convenient.
Tip #2: Pack Lightly
Make sure you pack lightly for your trip to Tokyo. You do not want to be lugging around a huge suitcase across the city and the subway trains when transporting to and from your hotel. You will feel like you are totally in the way, especially on the trains during rush hours.
The great thing about hotels in Tokyo is that they usually hold your luggage for you before check-in time.
Plus they usually have washing machines and dryers to clean your clothes. So it would be smart to pack lightly and wash and re-wear your clothes.
Tip #3: Carry Cash
In Japan, you need to always have cash on you. Most places do not even accept credit cards, so it is essential to have cash. Go to the local 7-11s to withdraw some money every few days.
Withdrawing cash is also one of the cheapest ways to receive Japanese yen while avoiding the poor currency exchange rates you would receive at a bank or airport.
Tip #4: Use Google Translate App
The Google Translate App allows you translate Japanese words the traditional way. With the app, you can also take images of Japanese words or phrases and it will translate it to English.
While Tokyo is generally a very English-friendly city, this feature was very beneficial for quite a few situations we ran into, such as:
- Reading a menu
Please also take note that only some Japanese people can speak English in Tokyo. There are others who cannot speak it at all.
That is why I highly recommend that you take a look at our list of Japanese Words You Should Know When Visiting Japan. Knowing or having these words on hand will be very beneficial to do simple things like ask where a toilet is. Or if you just want to say hello or thank you the right way.
Plus the Japanese LOVE it when you try and speak their language!
Tip #5: Plan Your Trip Ahead, but Not Too Much
While Tokyo is a dream place to visit, be sure to not plan your activities too much.
I do recommend that you figure out attractions you want to do most, but just be sure you do not over plan. The reason I say this is because you do not want to be traveling from place to place so quickly without fully taking in your experience at the current moment.
Take the time to appreciate and fully take in the amazing experiences you are having in Tokyo. Especially at Japan Olympics 2020.
The small memories are always the ones that are most loved, such as walking down the Tokyo streets super early in the morning.
Things To Do in Tokyo
Now lets take a look at some of the top things to do in Tokyo for your first time there. These activities are meant to give you experiences in different aspects of Tokyo, such as parks, traditional temples, and fun entertainment.
Walk down Takeshita Street to experience all the shops featuring fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Nakamise Shopping Street
Nakamise Street, which is right before the entrance to Senso-ji Temple mentioned below, is a street lined with many little shops. The shops mostly carry souvenirs and Japanese snacks.
Make sure to take the time to explore the famous Shinjuku area. I highly recommend walking around at night and walking into the massive stores, restaurants, and bars.
Akihabara is an area strongly identified with anime/manga subculture and is very interesting to walk around and go into the shops.
Shibuya Crossing is the large famous crossing that Tokyo is known for. Take a walk down it and see what it’s like!
Tokyo City View Observation Deck
This observation deck is one of the coolest ones to go to. They give you a 360 degree view of the city, which you take an elevator up to. I highly recommend going at night to see all the city lights.
Temples and Shrines
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine is located in middle of a large forest. There are many torii gates and path for you to walk on and go exploring.
Senso-ji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo and is one of the most widely visited spiritual sites in the world. This place can get very busy so be sure to go as early as it opens.
Ueno Toshogu Shrine
Toshogu Shrine is a Shinto shrine resembling Shinto architecture. It was established in 1627 and is great shrine to see what the architecture during the Edo Period was like.
Parks and Gardens
Yoyogi Park is one of Tokyo’s largest parks featuring wide, open lawns, forests, and ponds.
Shinjukju Gyoen National Garden
This large garden in Tokyo features many gardens and lawns. It is one of Tokyo’s most popular parks to visit.
Rikugien Gardens is a very peaceful, pretty park to visit. The creator of the gardens wanted to build gardens like ones described in poems. The park also includes hills, trees, and lawns.
Where To Stay in Tokyo
There are so many hotel choices, which makes it hard to figure out where to stay in Tokyo. From personal experiences and reviews, I’ll give you hotel suggestions that are decently priced and convenient to stay at.
I suggest to stay at hotels that will be near the venues for the Olympics. Here is a page that will you show you the exact location of the 2020 venues.
Below is a list of hotels that will be close to the venues.
If you decide you do not like any of these hotels and you want to look for a different location or want different prices, you can search in the box below! Just type in “Tokyo” and click on the suggested option.
Just so that you’re aware, most of the hotels in Tokyo will have fairly small rooms. This is pretty common for Tokyo, unless maybe you stay at an expensive 5 star hotel.
Also hotel staff can usually speak some English, which is helpful. I would suggest using your hotel staff to also book any reservations you may want while in Tokyo.
With that being said, enjoy your amazing trip to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics!
I hope you enjoyed this article and can know what to expect for your Japan Olympics 2020 trip!
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