5 things I Learned During my 100km Walk Around Tokyo
No Trash Cans
The only available trash-bins are in the mini-marts. Trash cans disappeared from the streets of Tokyo right after the sarin gas subway attack in 1995 and they never reappeared. The lack of trash cans did not lead to people polluting the city by throwing trash on the ground, instead it helped the municipal governments save money. However, there are literally hundreds of thousands of mini-marts across the city (it’s not uncommon to see 3 different brands literally in front of one another) and all of them have trash-bins so be sure to look out for them!
Carry a Light Tripod
Carrying a non-travel tripod with me 10-12 hours a day is very challenging. During my trips in Bali, I always had a trusty rented motorbike by my side so the weight of the tripod was not an issue, but in Tokyo, I was on my own. I did not have a comfortable way to carry my tripod and all I could think of is shoving it in my backpack. I also did not take into account the weight of this “light” tripod and as you carry it around it gets heavier with each hour. Trust me on this: buy yourself a good lightweight tripod for journeys like this and you’ll be a happy traveler.
It’s Easy to Get Around
It’s very easy to navigate by following the JR Train lines, which are above the streets.I was struck by how convenient and easy walking around Tokyo really is despite the fact it’s one of the largest cities in the world. I didn’t have any information on my phone, nor a physical map to carry around with me. The way I would walk from point A to B was by following JR Train line (which is above the streets) and once I’m in an area I wanted to be in, I’d simply ask people to find one object or another.
Many Japanese don’t speak much any English, so asking for directions might be challenging. You’ll have to resort to your magnificent prehistoric sign language: pointing, waving and the most commonly used which i call “The walking finger man”. You can make it by wiggling your index finger and middle finger to imitate a walking man. So learn these signs (or just basic Japanese words) and you’re good to go!
Skip the Tourist Spots
Specific plans and routes will make the walk boring (this, though, I definitely knew). Unless your travel goal is to see all the touristy places, I strongly recommend to avoid them. Turning away from the beaten path opens countless possibilities to experience wonderful things. You can get lost in a beautiful city or even better – you will see people in their natural culture. This way it’s easy to meet new friends and experience new adventures. Specific routes rob you of this chance so when the time of your next journey comes be sure to check out the “off-road”, because who knows, you might discover something beautiful.
Bio: I am Jacob Laukaitis, a 21-year-old digital nomad, who’s already been to more than 30 countries in the past 2 years. The main reason why I can travel is the company I co-founded, ChameleonJohn.com, because of the flexibility and remote income that it provides. Because of this, I can travel for 9-10 months a year. If you would like to find more information about me or my trip you can visit my personal website JacobLaukaitis.com and my Instagram profile where I post the best moments from my trips.