The Car Lovers Guide to Japan! Part One, Eating and Getting Around Inexpensively

When arriving in Japan, usually the first thing you want to do is to get to your hotel.  There are two ways that you can do it, you can navigate there via train and subway which can be a bit intimidating if you have never been to Japan before and can be a pain with luggage or you get get a ticket on a limousine bus.  In my opinion, the bus is better because they deal with your luggage and it’s not too confusing if you are a Japan first-timer.  You can get your bus ticket at counters right by the baggage claim area at the airport.  It’s also good to exchange your dollars for Yen here as you can get ripped off by the service fee at American Airports.  One yen is approximately 1 cent so the exchange rate hovers around 110 yen per dollar. Also, the numerous 7-11 stores around Tokyo have ATM’s that work with most American credit cards and ATM cards with decent service fees.

So we stayed at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. It is reasonably priced for Tokyo with reasonable accommodations which by American standards is very small!  I once stayed at an inexpensive Japanese Busines class hotel and my room was about the size of my closet at home.  My feet hung over the side of the bed and I am only 5′-7″!  The toilet and the sink were both in the shower stall. The Shinagawa Prince is luxurious compared to that. It is also strategically located near a major train station and close enough to Tokyo’s attractions to be convenient but not so close that it’s super expensive. With many rooms at the hotel, don’t forget to take a picture of your room number!

After dumping our luggage we first had to take steps to get mobile, which in Tokyo means to be able to use their excellent public transportation system of trains and subways.  This means going to a train station and getting a Suica card.  You put money on this card and it can get you anywhere within Tokyo’s public transportation system.  The system is so good, really efficient, you rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for a ride.  You usually can get a station within a quarter-mile of where you want to go with ease.  Here DSports Michael Ferrara shows us how to use the vending machine to get a card.  Really it’s super easy, you can select English for the instructions and follow the prompts. We put 5000 yen on our cards and easily got around all week on this.  What’s more, there are many of the excellent places to eat at and near train stations and subways accept these cards as payment as well.


  1. Japan is easily in the top 3 best places to travel, even after going twice I would go again in a heartbeat. It’s beautiful everywhere from the ski slopes of Hokkaido to the pop up street food shops of Fukuoka.

    Not eating food while walking is good advice, I had a nice old lady stop and thank me for sitting down to eat. We did drink beer in our water bottles the whole time though, it was summer and we were hiking to mountain shrines, 10/10 would do it again.

    The food is amazing, even hole in the wall places are incredibly clean, trying yakitori, ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba is easily the second best thing to do after visiting the landmarks.

    I’ve been looking at importing a turbo 4wd Kei car since the first time I saw one Covered in snow in Niseko.×576.jpg

  2. “be aware of not holding up others or getting in the way like walking two or three abreast slowly taking up several lanes. I wish Americans were like this!”
    Can’t agree more! it’s beyond belief how Americans are so not aware of their surroundings and have no shame of hindering others

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