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Life Hacks for Life in Tokyo (and in general)

At first, Tokyo might seem to be overwhelming, when you do not know where to go, what to do, where to eat, etc. Of course, there are many solutions you can use in such situations. Here we will give some of the most useful life hacks for life in Tokyo.

Things to do

When you just arrived in Tokyo and still have no idea what you can do here, or when you have been living here for way too long and you are running of ideas what to do after work or on weekends, check the Tokyo TimeOut Tokyo website. Here you will find ideas for things to do literally every day. Another useful website is Tokyo Weekender. Subscribe to their newsletter and get a chance to get tickets and free invitations for parties, art exhibitions, etc. If you read Japanese, another helpful source of information can be Let’s Enjoy Tokyo. Chose the right category and find your options for various situations, such as going on a date or meeting friends, and more. 

Eat your fancy meals for lunch

Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Of course, the popularity of these places goes along with pretty high price tags. However, if you check the lunch deals at some of these restaurants or other fancy places, you will find many great deals. For example, 2-star Michelin restaurant in Roppongi, L’ATELIER de Joël Robuchon, offers lunches starting from ¥3,500. For an authentic Japanese lunch head to Shinjuku Kappo NAKAJIMA, also very cheap.

Google Maps for trains

A train system in Tokyo might look complicated and stations seem to be a maze. However, if you use Google Maps right, things become so much simpler. For example, once you find your route from point A to point B, press on it. It will tell you not only which direction you should head but also what car you should board, so it will be the closest to the exit. If you look by the side of the station where you need to get off, you will see what exit you need to take. Press on “Walk x min” and it will change a walking mode and show you the route from the station to the destination. Easy, right? 

Instagram

Let’s say you go to a new unfamiliar area and you really love good ramen or an instaworthy cafe. How do you find one? Just by strolling around the streets? And what if you are short on time or from the outside nothing looks good? Better to make your preparations ahead of time. For this, open Instagram and then search for the name of an area and what you are looking for, for example, 西麻布カフェ (Nishiazabu cafe) or 池袋らーめん (Ikebukuro ramen). Works great in Japanese.

Reduce tax legally

Last but most definitely not least hack is known as “Furusato nozei”. Basically, it is a hometown tax, where you donate to local independent producers in exchange for a credit on a residential tax. For more details, you can check one of the websites that provide this service. But generally speaking, based on how much tax you need to pay, you can choose certain items from these websites, present the slips of the purchase, and get a tax reduction. Your options vary from trips to different prefectures and locations around Japan to ordering beautiful crab meat from Hokkaido or fresh vegetables from Kushu. It is a “win-win” situation, where you support small businesses in exchange for a financial benefit for you as well.

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