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Introduce yourself — who are you, where are you and what do you do?


Heya, I’m Kiley. I live in Hong Kong, but have a goal to travel to Japan at least once a year. But due to work circumstances, it’s been about 3 years since my last visit :disappointed:

When I was in Tokyo last, the site was an absolute godsend in helping me properly plan my itinerary and find free things to do. I had such a good experience I bought the Tokyo Cheapo guide for my next trip. Thanks guys!

Also seconding the tip on - I check the app when I first arrive in a new city to see what people are doing for fun. My idea of fun usually involves food and beer, and to me Yebisu draft is the nectar of the gods; it’s absolutely brilliant that you can get 2 glasses of excellent beer for JPY500 with the Yebisu beer museum tour. And I bloody love natto! I gotta have it at least once a week, no joke. Normally, I have it as a topping on pasta but Maguro natto with a pint of cold beer is just heaven.

My top tip for Tokyo newbies - download a transit guide app that works when you’re offline. I had one with a bilingual map, but can’t remember the name of it. Navitime has an app “Japan Travel” that even tells you where to find wifi spots, I’m expecting I’ll be using that a lot.


My name is Heather. I live in Zushi and love it! Been in Japan for almost a year and a half. I came to Japan for work and visit Tokyo about monthly. Good food, lots to do and see, and ner a boring moment! I have a dog, so I love to take her hiking, going up into the hills along the huge network of trails. I have learned to ski and sort of snowboard. I want to SCUBA and interested more in sailing. My tip for newbies is not to fear the trains, embrace them! The first few times it is overwhelming.

Do I like natto? I don’t dislike it. The texture is not something I seek out, but there really wasn’t much radte.

My own question would be what is the best place you have visited?


I’m Chris and I visit Japan (Kanagawa and Tokyo) twice a year for business. I usually take an extra week to do sightseeing. The next time I visit I plan on going to Hiroshima and the Shimanami Kaido. I like bicycling and would love some help on finding bicycles to rent (not mamichara) for longer touring. I’m also looking for places to go that aren’t temples. I enjoy the temples, but sometimes I would like to go somewhere off the beaten path.


Hi Chris. I have not come across and road-touring bike rental places, most rent city-bikes.

However, when I relocated to Tokyo, I brought my bike by using a cheap plastic bike bag I bought online. I just made sure the handlebars were inline with the frame and the bag was taped closed - there were no issues and my bike arrived just fine - no need for expensive bike case unless you want one. Most airlines will accept your bike this way and you it can count as a checked piece of luggage (no oversize fees) but confirm with your airlines. You would also need the bag to transport the bike on the train, bus or taxi. The airport limousine bus had no issues but the ticket counter workers may check with the baggage guy first. Also, when transporting your bike, try to secure the de-railer as I have read some people have had some issues.

Also, what things besides temples are you interested in?


So right about the bicycle, I love searching around the n’hoods, and I know so much more (thank non-bicycle friends) about areas in central for it!


Ok good to hear because there’s what looks like a small veggie/fruit stand I run past, but I was not sure if I could buy items there, I was thinking it was not public.


Hey all, First I have learned a lot of good things from TC, thank you.
I’m Tea (pronounced Taya) I arrived late January 2016, with my 2 weimaraners in tow to join my husband. I live very close to the US embassy behind the ANA Interc’l hotel. Into everything outdoors, Pilates, running with my dogs, hiking, reading audio books, watching streaming TV & movies…
My tip: Use google translate for everything, especially webpages (love the chrome built in too) I found a very good fragrance-free face cleanser & lotion for WAY less, by using Eng to JP and pasting it into Amazon JP search, then I got the pic and found the best price at Donkey!


@Tea Should be open to everyone :slight_smile:
And keep your eyes peeled for others in your area. I went extra-cheapo and had 4 stands staked out on a walking route so I could compare prices.


Hi folks,

I’m Carey (aka Frances Maeda). I was the editor of TC in 2014. I left to finish my Masters … which we don’t talk about. Ever. I still contribute to the site in various ways. I’m a writer/editor/teacher by trade.

I stayed in the Tobu-Nerima area for three years and was in Osaka for 4 before that. Now back in sunny South Africa.

I went through a nattou phase where I was eating it every day for a year or so. I am pleased to report that, like so many phases I have been through, it passed.



Glad you survived the “natto phase” Carey!
In the one of the many winding detours of my journey towards optimum health, I too had a natto phrase.

Mine was but for only for a brief period however, your year long commitment to the slimey bean is quite a feat! Perhaps the local health department might issue you a certificate or something.


Thanks for the tips David. Since I am going on a business trip I don’t feel comfortable taking my own bike. I am interested in all sorts of things cultural like sake or whiskey factories, other craftsmanship or historical places. I also like nature. I did the hike to the top of Fuji last year. I also like to dry different regional foods of course.


Greetings . . . .
I’m Tony. I’m originally from the UK and - unlike most people here so far - I actually live in Tokyo and don’t work for Tokyocheapo! But, seriously, for a cheapo like me, it’s an excellent site with some great information.
I came here to work for my UK company, then became independent and lived here for a while until 2011, when the yen became too strong for me, as a dollar earner; I then worked in Athens and Shanghai before returning to Tokyo last year. I live in Hiroo and cycle around, so I thoroughly agree with the earlier poster who recommended to live centrally and cycle.
I enjoy playing with my kid, sports, exploring the side-streets and how it feels after going to the gym (as opposed to how I feel while in it).
Top tips for newbies: Lawson Y100 shops (the bigger the better, such as the one on Meiji Dori between Ebisu and Shibuya),
No, I don’t like natto - if anyone is surprised, I just say I come from Kansai.

My question (and, sadly, I think I know the answer) is: “is there any way to get a Japanese SIM card, with a Japanese phone number, without having a Gaijin Card, or whatever they’re called these days.” I don’t want to get one of the foreign visitor type temporary things for which you pay an arm and a leg.


Hi Tony! I also suffered the GBPJPY drop a few years back, partly the reason TokyoCheapo was born!

You can get data sims, and use a Japanese VOIP number (or “Skype in” number) without having to show ID.

@gregorydavidlane wrote an article about data sims fairly recently:


Many thanks! Actually I already have a Japanese Skype number, but it has significant disadvantages, for example you can’t send or receive texts and your phone number doesn’t show up on other people’s phones
I also have a portable Wifi router . . .


Some of the data SIM plans now have an SMS option.


Maybe I’m being stupid here, but how can you have SMS without a phone number? What I want is a fully functional Japanese phone number. Pretty much anywhere else I’ve ever been, all you need is a passport and a credit card. But of course this is Japan!


Pretty sure you receive a phone number for the SMS only option, it just can’t be used for voice.

For fully functioning numbers, I thinks there’s a legal requirement of residency. @gregorydavidlane did you uncover any further info in your recent SIM card research?


Hi everyone! I’m Jenni originally from Manila and currently here in Tokyo hoping to get my PhD. I am currently a privately-financed student hence TokyoCheapo (which I accidentally ‘discovered’ while I was still in Kyoto) has practically been my “Bible” in anything and everything here in Tokyo. Currently, I live in west Tokyo area. I have been in Japan (this time) for three years (a year in Tokyo). I came to Japan after receiving scholarship as a research student (2013-2015).

For fun, I love to travel and experience things locals do, specifically their food. I am trying to improve my ‘iphonography’ skills. For Tokyo newbies, one tip I can give: if they need to go to the airport is to take the 900yen buses going to and coming from the airport. I love sashimi and sushi so anyone up for it, I’m in!

Hope to get to meet many of you soon. :smiley:


Perhaps they will mail it to me yet. I would go for a Donki voucher too. :smiley:


Hello, i am John living in north Seattle near Univ Of Wash , working as a respiratory therapist at a couple of local hospitals. A google search brought me to tokyocheapo… i am cheap and i am planning a tour next year. Lots of folks here with Japanese family or heritage who have given me good ideas where to go but i wanted to go to local mom and pop places and meet real people. And…i am cheap!
i really have enjoyed following the articles and blogs. Learning 日本語 (just beginning) to at least stay out of real trouble…
I am looking forward to reading and learning!