Several times Tokyo has been our destination. While it may seem intimidating because of the language difficulty, we have had the privilege of being guided by our daughter-in-law who is Japanese. Not having to worry about the language eased our anxiety the first time when we all went as a family for the wedding our our son and his wife. We spent several days in Tokyo before going on to Sapporo where we were privileged to attend a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony and the big reception that followed.
Our son and his family have moved to Tokyo for a few years and it gave us the opportunity to visit again. It is an amazing city and, we discovered, the language difference is not such a big deal. People are for the most part very helpful and with some sign language, pointing to maps, etc., you can usually find your way all right. With a little pre-study, you can decipher the train system and easily find your destination with a good guide book.
Recently I learned that there is also a Tokyo Free Guide service with English speaking guides who will design a tour for you according to your interests and guide you around the city. You only need to pay for food and transportation.
Tokyo is a city made up of many districts and each has a unique flavor not only in their foods but in the architecture, shops, and entertainment opportunities. For instance, Yokohama is on the water and home to the Cup of Noodle museum. It has a beautiful boardwalk and lovely shops and restaurants. Then there is the electronics section, Akibara, that is not to be missed if you are at all interested in those things. One afternoon, we visited the Chinatown of Tokyo and found an excellent restaurant.
There is so much to see--it is a huge city. You really need to plan ahead so that you catch the things you truly want to see and still have time to explore and discover and taste.
Next up for us in Japan: Climbing Mount Fuji. Watch for my posts this late summer/fall. I just hope I can keep up with the grandkids.