As we approach the highly anticipated Summit Tokyo blockchain conference, there is a substantial list of things every traveler should know before going to Japan, especially if it’s your first time.
You’ve heard the same thing from all your friends and family who’ve traveled to Japan: it’s FASCINATING. Here, and in Tokyo especially, you’ll find a seamless blend of old traditions and new innovative technology. And along the way you’ll discover mesmerizing natural landscapes just a short train ride from the loud, electrifying and sprawling city life. We’re certain you’ve seen pictures of Shibuya crossing, rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world. #SPRAWLING
So let’s get into it. If you’re a first-time traveler to Tokyo, hopefully this article will serve you well in making your trip memorable, safe and full of amazing surprises.
The Basic Rules of Japan
- Be as polite as the locals. Saying ‘konichiwa’ (g’day), ‘konbanwa’ (good evening), ‘sumimasen’ (excuse me) and ‘arigato’ (thank you) will be much appreciated.
- Quiet! Switch your mobile phone’s sound off and avoid taking phone calls in restaurants, shops and on public transport. If you must, then whisper.
- Keeping your shoes on in certain places is highly offensive
- You don’t need to tip
- Don’t holler at your waiter, there’s a buzzer for this
- Taxi drivers have two basic rules — sit in the back unless there’s no room and don’t touch the door handles — back doors open automatically.
- Traditionally people gently bow on greeting. It’s polite to return the gesture but being overzealous can cause insult so mirror the approximate angle to keep you in the safe zone. 
The Basic Things to Pack
- Luggage — think light and small, it’ll be easier to get around.
- Have cash handy — cash is king in Japan and many stores and restaurants might not accept credit card
- Pack shoes that you can slip off easily — no shoes in doors!
- Carry a mini-towel in your bag for drying your hands
- Bring clothes you can layer on — see next section
- Pack an electrical converter — Tokyo is 100 volts 
Tokyo Weather in April
April marks the start of Spring in Tokyo. As you can see from the forecast image below, the weather can range from chilly to comfortably warm — so we recommend bringing clothes you can layer on and off.
The average high (C/F): 19/67
The average low (C/F): 9/48
The first week or so of Spring is peak time for tourism in Tokyo because of the iconic cherry blossom (Sakura) season.
Cherry Blossoms 2018
If you’ve already touched down in Tokyo, lucky you, the cherry blossoms are already reaching full bloom! According to the 2018 Cherry Blossom Forecast, because of a very warm March, this year’s cherry blossom season is about a week ahead of its average pace. If you’re traveling to Tokyo next week — don’t worry, the spectacle of blooming blossoms should still be in full bloom and you’ll be able to stop and appreciate the absolute beauty of hanami.
In reality, it’s a hugely symbolic and much-loved source of national pride, a chance to recognize and reflect on the beauty of nature while welcoming the new season. People often gather and sit under the trees, bringing food, drinks and occasionally music with them. This being Japan, everything is perfectly organized and left spotlessly clean. 
What to eat in Tokyo — Tips and Guides
We published a three-part blog series called “The Tokyo Experience”, where we highlighted some of the best and popular things to eat in Tokyo.
Read more about them here:
- The Tokyo Experience Part 1 — Eating Tips
- The Tokyo Experience Part 2 — Street Food
- The Tokyo Experience Part 3 — Abasa Phillip’s Top Eats
There is no doubt that you are traveling to Tokyo during the best time of the year — Sakura season + Asia’s biggest blockchain conference, a match truly made in heaven!
We can’t wait to hear about all the amazing experiences from our friends and attendees that will be joining us for Summit Tokyo 2018. See you in Tokyo!