Tokyo, Japan travel tips

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Not only is tipping not expected, but it won't be accepted.

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You'll find that the smaller and more closed-in a restaurant or bar is, the more likely it is to allow smoking.

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You'll find that as crowded as Tokyo is, the crowds are generally orderly. Follow the unspoken rule to walk on the left side of wide sidewalks.

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Tokyo is disorienting, but safe. In fact, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world.

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Japan can become oppressively hot in the summer months. The best times to visit Tokyo--and the rest of the country--are in the spring and the fall.

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To save money in Tokyo, shop in supermarkets after 9pm, when you can get many items at a discount.

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For great, affordable shopping in Japan, check out Nitori. It's similar to Ikea.

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If you want to shop for clothing that is not outrageously expensive, head to Uniqlou.

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Muji is the Japanese equivalent of Ikea. It's a great place to shop for things at reasonable prices.

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Try to avoid the cabs, if possible. They can add up quickly.

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Look at Tokyo Free Guide, for a free local tour guide, a volunteer who will take you around the city.

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Don't be afraid to take the subway---it's clean and safe.

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You can rent a bike for about five dollars a day, and it's a great way to see the city on the cheap.

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Japan has stores which are the equivalent of US "dollar stores." They are known as hyaku-en-shoppu.

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If you're missing American food, don't worry. There are US fast food joints in many parts of Tokyo.

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Shop in the markets for a truly Japanese experience. There are flea markets scattered all over the city.

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Avoid the lunch boxes that are sold in train stations--they're usually not good.

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Try to have lunch before noon to avoid the lunch hour rush.

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If you want a REALLY cheap place to stay, consider a Mankakissa, an internet cafe which allows you to sleep in your chair. Shower rooms are available.

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Most capsule hotels only accept men, but there are some for females only, if you happen to be a woman traveling alone.

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