Tokyo - tips for getting around
  • A colleague of mine is being sent to Tokyo for a few days, and unfortunately I'm not going with him.

    I'm the only one in our office with Japanese language skills, but they reckon he'll be okay with just English, and what with the credit crunch etc etc ...

    Obviously I would have no problem reading street signs and asking for directions in Tokyo, but I'm not very familiar with the city (I lived in Tokushima-ken), so I would welcome any tips you guys can share on how to not get lost (or find yourself when you do get lost) in Tokyo.

    He's going to a conference on Odaiba islet, but will probably want to go around some of the other areas such as Shinjuku.

  • BTW, sorry this is in the wrong category - unfortunately, my Japanese language skills don't come accompanied with technological wizardry ;)
  • I live in Tokyo, it's a very international city. Most of the main areas have signs in English as well, and you can expect about 20% of service people will understand just enough English to ask/answer simple questions. Teach him a simple phrase or two like すみません、駅はどこですか and he shouldn't get lost. There are maps all over too on major streets and at the Kobun. There are lots of stations in the core, so he should never be too far from one.

    If you have specific questions, I'll help as much as I can.
  • He should get day-passes for the trains (unless he's staying for a long time, like 1-2 weeks). Costs less than 1000yen and lets you travel in Tokyo all day for free on all of the JR lines. If he's staying for so long that that might get expensive, he should get a Suica card which can be loaded with money. Extremely easy to use, the machine to load the card have English menues. There are ALWAYS English names written out for every station so it isn't hard to find ones way, he should probably learn to recognize the kanji for the big places like Shinjuku and Odaiba though, just in case.
  • Thanks, guys. He's off today, I think he's well prepared - we'll see how he does ;)

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