Travelling To And Getting Around Tokyo | Japan Solo Travel 2017

June 26, 2017


I arrived at Tokyo from Hiroshima a little before schedule, at around 8am. My Willer Express overnight bus dropped me off at Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (Shinjuku Station South Exit) and I was off to explore Tokyo! To be honest, I was quite worn out by the time I reached Tokyo, having slept on overnight buses for two consecutive nights with no proper shower. Not to mention, my earrings fell off again — I'm telling you this is a running gag by now!!! (My earrings fell off in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Miyajima.)

This Japan trip tired me out endlessly because I woke up early to enjoy the most of a city since I was only in it for a day, but I'm obviously not a morning person at all. Nonetheless, I quickly checked in to Tokyo Imano Hostel (review here), changed into new clothes, and continued my solo travel in Tokyo, where I planned to visit Tokyo Pokemon Centre and Shibuya Crossing.


Accidentally wandered into the red light district of Tokyo while looking for a money changer. Thank god it was in the day or I might have gotten lost because that's exactly the kind of muddle-headed person I am.


I ended up changing money at Family Mart because it was offering me a better rate than another money changer recommended by Tokyo Imano Hostel and I assumed that was the market rate for SGD to JPY.

However, later in the day, I discovered more and better money changers scattered around Tokyo — some offering rates as competitive as what I'd get in Singapore! A pity I've already changed most of my SGD to JPY in Family Mart since I assumed most money changers wouldn't accept SGD (my best friend faced this problem and brought USD to Japan instead).


I walked into a shrine which I assumed was Meiji Shrine... Up till my recent Google search showed me that Meiji Shrine looks nothing like this. Now I don't know which shrine did I stumble upon. *shifty eyes*











Wish I had a chance to try Japanese beer

It was an eye-opening experience to see Japan publicly advertising their beer since drinking still carries a negative connotation in Singapore and I hardly see drinking-related advertisements in our country.

After changing my yen, I got a Pasmo card, a prepaid card much like Singapore's EZ-link card, at the nearest Metro station. It was a tough fight between Pasmo and the 72 hours Tokyo Metro ticket (1500 yen, SGD $18.75) but I went for the Pasmo card in the end since I wasn't expecting to travel around Tokyo a lot and I was going to Hakone for a day anyway.

However, if you're planning to travel around Tokyo a lot, getting the unlimited Tokyo Metro tickets will be more worth it than topping up your card everyday. Tip: it's cheaper and more convenient to purchase your Tokyo unlimited Metro tickets online (link) as some stations don't stock up the unlimited Tokyo Metro tickets since only foreigners may purchase the tickets.


I got my Pasmo card customised! I was planning to return to Japan again in the future — the Pasmo card can be used throughout Japan — and even if I didn't, it could make a cute souvenir! To customise your Pasmo card, all you need to do is click on the customise button on the screen after purchasing your card, then key in your particulars like name, date of birth, phone number and address. They needed a Japanese number but I just keyed in a random number and they accepted it. 

I supposed the customisation is for easy identification of its owner should the card be found — an apt function considering I lost my card within 10 minutes -___- I only realised my Pasmo card is missing when I needed to tap out to change trains. A thousand worries filled my mind: how do I tap out? How can I explain why I don't have a card to tap out? Where is it? Is it my bag, in the train or at the previous station? Most importantly, do I have enough yen to purchase another card?

I had no choice but to return to Shinjuku Sanchome Station, where I came from, to look for it. I incoherently tried to explain my situation to the station masters in both English and Chinese but none of them could understand me. I stupidly didn't take a photo of my Pasmo card with my phone either. I could see their patience running thin; one of the station masters accompanied me to the Metro platform, probably in hopes of shooing me away.

There, he spotted my Pasmo card lying on one of the seats I had plonked myself on. He shot me a look of mastered impatience — as if he has better things to do than to deal with an annoying tourist — and a sick feeling filled my stomach as I realised I should have retraced my steps before troubling them. Before I could thank him profusely, he already left. That was the first time I felt the aloofness of Japanese — I wasn't too sure if it's because Tokyo citizens are generally more cold or that I made a real silly mistake.

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Japan Solo Travel (January 2017)





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