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  • You're joining me in a very special city. Let's start with my preconceptions: I expected Japan's

  • capital, and home to the world's largest urban population to be over the top and really

  • in your face, with neon lights and anime at every turn and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

  • The streets are lined with towering, multi-storey buildings, each filled with mind bending department

  • stores and arcades, offices to some of the world's biggest brands and restaurants serving

  • the best food you'll ever taste.

  • But despite all the apparent madness and chaos, spend a few days in Tokyo and it just makes

  • sense. Here, efficiency is an art form. Japanese attention to detail is legendary, and it runs

  • through everything, from food to public transport and urban planning. And yes, even the toilets.

  • This trip was an educational and weirdly enlightening experience. I've been lucky to visit a lot

  • of amazing places making these videos, but Tokyo is in a league of its own.

  • So Tokyo, it's big, it's busy and it's brilliant. As ever, let's start with the airports.

  • 00:01:39,920 --> 00:01:44,680 Flying from the UK you'll come into one of Tokyo's two major international airports,

  • Haneda or Narita. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that Tokyo is a really

  • long way away, direct flights from Europe will take a whopping 12 hours for the nine

  • and a half thousand kilometre journey.

  • So you've got Haneda airport which is roughly 13 miles south of the city, and then you've

  • got 50 miles east. Fortunately, both are really easy to get to noisy noisy Tokyo. Here's

  • what you need to know.

  • From Haneda you have three main options, the airport limousine bus, a taxi or the monorail.

  • The airport limousine takes between 30 and 45 minutes, stopping at most major hotels

  • in the centre of town, with prices increasing for the night service between midnight and

  • 5am.

  • A taxi should take about half an hour depending on traffic, with prices depending where you're

  • being dropped off. There's also a 20% extra charge between 10pm and 5am.

  • However the quickest option is the airport's dedicated monorail. It'll get you into Hamamatsucho

  • station in 13 minutes and from here you can connect to the circular Yamanote metro line

  • to reach other parts of the city.

  • The monorail runs between 9 and 7 on weekdays and then 9 to 5 on weekends and public holidays.

  • That's Haneda! Here's what you need to know about Narita.

  • Narita is a whopping 50 miles east of Tokyo, so all of your transport options are going

  • to take a while. The Airport Limousine bus and taxis runs from Narita but both will take

  • anywhere between 90 minutes to 2 hours to reach central Tokyo. Instead, take the JR

  • Narita Express. It'll whisk into town in a little under an hour, and with this being

  • Japan, the trains are on time and super efficient.

  • A word of warning about getting home; if you're flight's on a Sunday, make sure you check

  • the train times because there's a reduced service. Check your departure time, and then

  • allow plenty of extra time to get to the airport.

  • I cannot stress enough how huge Tokyo is, so if you were planning on doing most of your

  • sightseeing by foot, I'd give that a serious rethink. You're going to need to use the

  • metro, so here's what you need to know.

  • The metro can be pretty daunting at first glance: for starters, just looking at the

  • map alone could prove a little overwhelming to even the most seasoned traveller; AND to

  • make things really complicated, it's run by two separate companiesTokyo Metro and

  • Toei Subway which can require two separate fares depending on which lines you use.

  • It's not all bad thoughwe've found easy solutions to travel better on the metro.

  • The first thing to do is get yourself a tourist travel card. This means you won't have to

  • worry about which line you're using as your card will cover them all. They're available

  • at the Tokyo Metro information centres in Ueno, Ginza, Shinjuku and Omotesando stations,

  • as well as both airports and some hotels. You'll need proof that you're a tourist so

  • make sure you have your passport with you.

  • Otherwise, single tickets are available at vending machines at every metro station. They

  • have an English language option and you can search by station to make sure you purchase

  • the appropriate ticket. They only accept credit cards when buying day passes, so make sure

  • you have enough cash if you're buying a single.

  • As well as making sure you have the right ticket type, there's a few things you're gonna need

  • to know before venturing on the metro.

  • No smoking and giving up priority seats are a given, however did you know you shouldn't

  • use your mobile? Ok, Texting and wifi is fine, but definitely no phone calls.

  • It can get very crowded so many services provide women only carriages during rush hour.

  • ...and speaking of rush hour...

  • Avoid using the metro between 8 and 9 in the morning and 5 and 6 in the evening when it's

  • busiest. Another thing, don't be fooled by the abundance of vending machines; you

  • either eat there, or you take it with you but definitely do not eat on the carriage.

  • As for navigation, good old City Mapper has been a godsend as ever. Why? Because I kid you not, the metro

  • stations are absolutely mahoosive. The great thing is, City Mapper tells you exactly where

  • you need to get off and at what stop and at what exit.

  • So that's the metro, next taxis. They're absolutely everywhere in Tokyo. They start

  • at ¥710 and have a surcharge after 10pm, so watch out for that. Taxi doors are automatic

  • and will open and close by themselves, which can be really surprising for the first time

  • you use a taxi here in Tokyo. It's also worth mentioning that your driver is unlikely to

  • speak English, so try to have addresses printed in Japanese for them.

  • So that's the transport covered. Next up is my favourite: the food!

  • Take it from me, the food in Tokyo doesn't just rival any other city, it completely surpasses

  • them. In 2017, for the 10th year running, Tokyo was voted the most Michelin stars of

  • any other city on the planet. That's more than London, Paris and New York combined.

  • And it's not just the fancy high-end restaurants either. Just about all the food I had in Tokyo

  • was of exceptional quality, right down to a quick bite in a department store. The quality

  • of the ingredients and the attention to detail in the preparation is unlike any other city

  • I've visited.

  • So to learn more about how to eat like a local, I met up with tour guide and translator Ayako

  • Furuya in Harajuku.

  • While waiting for our food to arrive, I got a quick lesson in how to correctly use chopsticks,

  • a vital skill for anyone visiting Japan.

  • Like that?

  • Ok, so it practice.

  • Ok, because I can't use them.

  • So. I'm sorry, I'm left handed, but, so, please hold your one stick with your, so,

  • two fingers.

  • So like that?

  • Yes like holding a pen.

  • Yes.

  • And add another chopstick like a pen too.

  • Yep.

  • So, please move

  • This side, like this side.

  • Please move only upper part.

  • Yes!

  • With chopsticks fully mastered it was on to our main course of soba noodles.

  • So we ordered different types of soba noodles. So yours is hot broth, hot soup.

  • Smells lovely!

  • Yes, and so this is duck meat.

  • And mine is very cold one.

  • Ok.

  • It's very special for you, maybe! And with sesame sauce, like this. This is dipping sauce.

  • Oh ok.

  • While Aya's choice of cold noodles wasn't tempting me, it's a popular choice in summer.

  • My dish of hot noodles with duck meat was delicious, and as Aya pointed out, make sure

  • to slurp loudly as a sign of appreciation.

  • So you kind of slurp them?

  • Oh yes, yes, thank you for asking. In Japan, when people eat noodles, so making sound,

  • they're always making sound. So it's a sign of it's delicious.

  • Oh lovely!

  • So please try to slurp noodles.

  • Make as much noise as possible!

  • Yes!

  • Ok.

  • That's perfect!

  • Oh that's really tasty.

  • So huge thanks to Aya, we'll catch up with her later to learn some basic Japanese, but

  • now we're going to take a look at some of the different districts of Tokyo.

  • Tokyo's big, we've already established that. It's made up of 23 wards, where each

  • ward is then divided into a smaller district, and then each one is different from the last.

  • Now, there's no way I've got enough time in this video to talk you through them all,

  • so I'm just gonna go through some of my favourites.

  • Akihabara is best known for it's electric town, a mecca for local otaku, video game

  • lovers and anime fans the world over.

  • To the north-east of Akihabara is Asakusa, a district of Taito. It's most known among

  • travellers for the giant Sensoji temple, Tokyo's oldest and an absolute beauty.

  • Ginza is the place to go if you have some serious cash to burnwith up-market shopping

  • malls and flagship department stores, not to mention boutiques, art galleries and high-end

  • restaurants, you'll have no problem spending a small fortune.

  • A short walk from Ginza is the legendary Tsukiji Fish Market. In my opinion this is THE place

  • in Tokyo to go for sushi and fresh fish. However, a note of warning; the market is due to be

  • relocated in Autumn 2018 so do check online before planning your visit.

  • Shibuya is home of the iconic Shibuya Crossing, and is an important centre of youth culture

  • and fashion.

  • Harajuku is a district of Shibuya and extreme cultural Mecca, not only to the youngest and

  • trendiest of Japan's residents, but the rest of the world.

  • Shinjuku is Tokyo at its finest and is the largest of the districts that make up the

  • city proper. There are: skyscrapers, neon lights, giant Godzilla statues, labyrinthine

  • department stores, businesses, cat cafes, a massive park, arcades, a VR theme park and

  • the concentrated craziness of the Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku has it all. And my top tip is to

  • head to Memory Lane for the best Yakitori in town.

  • So those are my favourites. Next up, time to learn some Japanese.

  • Communication can be a big concern for tourists heading to Japan. The language is very different

  • to those in Europe and Japanese script is indecipherable for us westerners. Confusingly,

  • there are several different versions of written Japanese, with the most common being traditional

  • Hiragana and the Chinese-influenced Kanji.

  • Signs have translations into English and romaji, which is Japanese written with familiar Roman

  • characters. The great thing about romaji is that it's phonetic; say it how you see it

  • making sure to pronounce all the vowels and keep your intonation flat.

  • For example; Shin-ju-ku, Na-ri-ta, Shin-zo A-be and Eda-ma-me beans.

  • Now of course, English isn't widely spoken and learning a little Japanese will go a long

  • way, with locals always appreciating the effort. After touring Harajuku, we sat down with Aya

  • again, to get to grips with some Japanese basics.

  • It's terrible! So I thought maybe we could start with some basics. How do I say hello?

  • It's konnichiwa.

  • Konnichiwa

  • Another one, I've been bumping into a lot of people and I don't know how to say sorry

  • or pardon or excuse me!

  • Ah that's a very useful one we can use! It's just say sumimasen

  • Sumimasen. Ok!

  • How do I tell someone my name is Dan?

  • Ah so, Watashi wa Dan desu.

  • What about yes and no.

  • Yes is hai.

  • Hai.

  • Hai.

  • Hai.

  • No is Īe.

  • Īe.

  • Īe.

  • Īe.

  • So when in a restaurant, how do I ask for the receipt or the bill?

  • Ah so, we say okaikei.

  • okaikei. Okaikei.

  • Also in the restaurant, how do I ask for a table for two?

  • Ah so, just say futari.

  • Sorry what was that again?

  • Futari.

  • Futari.

  • Futari means two people.

  • Oh futari. Oh ok!

  • How do I say thank you?

  • It's very easy. It's arigatō.

  • Arigatō.

  • Ok, you were saying earlier there was like a bit on the end. Arigatō…

  • gozaimasu.

  • Gozaimasu. Arigatō gozaimasu. What does that mean?

  • So the longer phrase is more polite expression, like the difference between thank you and

  • thank you very much.

  • Oh ok!

  • So shall we talk about bowing?

  • Yes!

  • Ok, so there's varying degrees?

  • Yes, the meaning is totally different from degrees. So I shall so you an example.

  • Should I stand as well?

  • Yes.

  • So in business situations, when two people meet, we bow shallowly like this, 30 degrees.

  • 30 degrees.

  • Yes. So, nice to meet you.

  • Nice to meet you too!

  • So, 60 degrees, middle one. So when we express thanks to someone, so like thank you very

  • much.

  • Thank you!

  • Yes.

  • Thank you very much!

  • And there was a third one?

  • Yes, the third one is a very serious one. It's 90 degrees.

  • 90 degrees.

  • Yes.

  • Ok.

  • So, can you imagine, in which situation people use this bow?

  • Probably when you've done something really wrong? So you're like “I'm so sorry!”

  • Yes! To apologise.

  • Ok.

  • Yes, like “I'm very sorry!”

  • Aya, thank you so much for showing us the ropes in Tokyo. If you'd like to book a

  • walking tour with her, visit her website here. Next, money.

  • Currency here is the Japanese yen where £1 buys between 140 and 150. Now, despite Tokyo's

  • love of everything futuristic and technological, it's still a heavily cash reliant city,

  • favouring coins and notes over your credit and debit cards, this has proven to be a bit

  • tricky. My advice? Once you've checked the exchanged rate, worked out your budget, bring

  • the whole lot in cash.

  • You need to know that ATMs can be found at post offices, 7-Eleven stores and JP Post

  • Banks, though they generally close at 9pm or earlier and may not be available at weekends

  • or national holidaysso plan ahead. Fortunately, some convenience stores and shopping centres

  • are available 24/7.

  • Now, at the risk of sounding stingy, I love Japan because you just don't have to tip,

  • it's not done here which is fantastic. Why? Because leaving a tip is seen as being charitable

  • rather than generous, and it's just massively insulting. So don't do it!

  • One of the great things about Tokyo is its distinct lack of street crime. so don't

  • worry about taking your spending money around with you. This includes your spending money.