Back Tokyo Cheapo | Events | Newsletter

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


What’s your name? I am Steve De Rose.
What area do you live in? I reside in the 31st Ward of Chicago, IL., U.S.A. (Yes, Chicago has Wards, just like Tokyo.)
How long have you been in Japan? I have not accumulated the total days|weeks|months. But I have been to Japan twelve times since 2005. I think I can speak to what it is like for an English-speaker, even one who is yet to actually arrive (t)here.
Why did you come to Tokyo? The original excuse was because I had been credentialled into the F.I.F.A. Club World Championship (as was its title in 2005). But I had been on the internet since 1996 and was intrigued by what Japan was really like.
What do you do for fun? I do not want to answer this on a first post. Ummm, I want one of my articles about Japan to be published (in print) somewhere. I would hope the publication puts the article on-line as well though…
What’s your top Tokyo tip for newbies? This is easy. Do not fall into the Japanese Railways [JR] trap! If you obtain the JR East pass, you will lock on to only areas of Tokyo which can be reached by JR trains (“Must ride JR - only JR.”). If you do, you will miss out on a bunch of superb areas of Tokyo! Naka-Meguro, Shimo-Kitazawa are just two of those areas which deserve exploration, especially if you are a cheapo.
Do you like natto? It is OK. I’ve had it at select locations. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, this is the avenue on which you will wind up. My airline frequent-flyer profile used to state I want the Kosher meal, because I had one too many times of getting served an egg | ham | sausage sandwich on morning flights from Chicago; but since bacon has broken big world-wide, no airline heeds this anymore. Therefore, eating ramen is a large scope of what I do when (t)here.
[insert your own question here] I’ll return here later. I don’t want to dictate what should be done here (yet).


Some tasty looking photos on your page! Any word on what veggies/fruit are in season now in Tokyo?


Hi Vickie, Have you wandered anywhere lately that you’d recommend?


I love Tokyo’s parks and gardens, in particular Showa Kinen Park, which has something blooming in every season. If you go a bit further south, Sankei-en in Yokohama is truly spectacular - it has centuries-old tea houses and pagoda.


Hi everyone,

My name is Heidi and I am from Ohio, the US. I really like this community. I will visit Japan in October and this will be my first time travel to Japan and may need some help or advice from you to plan my trip.


Hey Jenni! Kababayan! :smiley: Fellow Pinoy here, hahaha.


Hey Brian! A cooking night sounds like a blast. :slight_smile: I just started cooking when I moved to Tokyo in 2013; I’m really not good at it, but I want to keep learning. I would love to join you and your husband in a cooking night!


Hi there!
Kamusta? :slight_smile:


Hi Heidi!

Tokyocheapo is really helpful but if there are some things you need help on, just let us know. I have been only here in Tokyo for a year though but perhaps I might still provide ‘help’ at least from the western Tokyo side.

Have a good one!


Hi I’m Rob from Vancouver Canada coming to Japan with my family ( Mom and dad, my two brother and my sister in law and 3 yr old niece. We will be arriving to Narita and a few questions for easy way of getting to our BNB apartment from Narita airport to Roppongi Ichome. Whats the best way since we have a child with us and luggage. Thanks Rob


It’s not the cheapest, but with a 3 year old and luggage after a long flight I would go for the easiest - which is jumping on a Limousine Bus (not actually a limousine) and going to the ANA InterContinental Tokyo in the Akasaka area - it’s right next door to Roppongi Itchome. The trip takes slightly less than an hour in smooth traffic.


Hello! My brother was in town for a week from Seoul, sorry for the tardy reply. My husband and I are in Ebisu and we have a good space for outdoor grilling if that sounds interesting :slight_smile:


Hi, may be you can invite me also this golden week. :slight_smile:


I like your suggestion to rent a bicycle. Thanks


Hi my name is Malyn and I am from Manila, Philippines. I have been to Japan 3 times on vacation. This August I will be visiting Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Tokyo. I work in Communications and Media and stumbled upon this wonderful community of Tokyo Cheapo.

I plan to take the WillerExpress12 hour night bus from Hiroshima to Tokyo and my question is why are the last row seats more expensive Y6080 vs Y8000? Isn’t the last row bumpier and more prone to motion sickness?

I’m game for trying Natto! I am a durian fan, eat balut and tried stinky tofu (Taiwan), so why not?

My tip : a round trip ticket Tokyo-Manila-Tokyo can go for as low as Y15,000. Check frequently for promos. I got mine in February for this price.


Hi! I’m Emma. A Year 12 (or senior) in high school in Sydney, Australia.

As of the moment I don’t live in Tokyo, but I went there for my high school exchange for two months from the end of November last year to the end of January this year. When I was there, I lived in Shimomaruko on the Tokyu Tamagawa Line. I definitely suggest walking up to the riverbed there towards Tamagawa River for the sunset and also if you’re into watching baseball teams train. They also have two small shrines in the area, tennis courts and basketball courts in the area. While it may be hard to stay there since there aren’t any hotels, if you do, it’s about 30 minutes to Yokohama station and 30 minutes to Shibuya station by train.

For fun, I went exploring around Tokyo whenever I didn’t have to go to school. Me being the person I am, planned of the places listed on Tokyo Cheapo, got distracted and went to some other place after going to the most prioritised location, ruining my planned day trips. But because of this, I discovered Spinns’ BEAUTIFUL 900 yen rack in Harajuku, an AWESOME Mexican place on one of the backstreets near Takeshita Dori (guilty of not eating Japanese cuisine; sorry not sorry) and a cosy restaurant near Sunshine City in Ikebukuro that had DELICIOUS guava juice (only downside being that smoking was permitted in the cafe).

My top tips:

  1. Definitely plan your trips before you go somewhere. I planned my one day trips the day before, doing my research on what lines to take and how to get there, recommended places to go to, the time it takes, food and approximately how much money I expect to spend. I also go on google maps and try to memorise the way from the station to the places I need to go and the streets nearby so that I wouldn’t get lost. That way even if you get distracted (like me) and have a tendency to overspend (like me) you can get rid of the worries of not being able to get anywhere or do anything.

  2. Take photos for memories but also take photos of street signs and certain locations that catch your eye. It helps if you want to go to that place again and you can’t remember your way around. This happened to me once when I got off at the wrong side of the station.

  3. If you plan on cooking the next day, go into the supermarkets (Seiyu, Olympic etc.) at night and not in the morning. Things like sashimi and bread buns get discounted since they can’t be sold the next day. I bought a sashimi platter for 500 yen for dinner when I went at night instead of the original 2500 yen.

This is just me recommending something, but definitely go to Swallowtail Butler Cafe! I went on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and had a great time with my friend and our butler. ^ ^

Do you like natto? : In very small amounts, yes. I prefer anko though. :3

Question: What types of Japanese sweets does everyone like? I love everything! Especially the 82 yen (not including tax) choux cremes from Olympic. And yes, I did buy one after school everyday.


Thanks Greg :slight_smile: appreciate your help !


How did you get the portable wifi router!!! I have been trying for 2 weeks to get one as my apartment lacks wifi (and a washing Machine arrrgggh)!!


Hi I’ve actually rented from a company called e-connect and they’ve been great, it’s cheaper the longer you rent, and you don’t need a contract like with docomo/AU etc.


Hi Wayne,

I use a WiMAX portable wifi router, for which you don’t need to show a
Gaijin Card or Residents Permit or whatever they call them these days, just
a passport and a credit card (I’m not sure if a foreign credit card is
acceptable; sometimes Japanese companies can be difficult about this). You
would need to take a contract (I think it’s 2 years), and I pay a bit under

There are other companies with similar deals, but I think most of them
require a Gaijin Card. You can also get much shorter term deals, but they
can be very expensive. Go to BIC Camera and you can see most of the options.