Hey guys, welcome to my favorite city in the whole wide world. You already know how much I love Tokyo, I just can’t say that enough. 🙂
Today, I’m going to re-introduce a way to make your Tokyo travel experience even more comfortable and stress-free:
Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi.
I have actually blogged about it early this year. Read my previous blog post on Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi.
What is Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi?
So here’s to recap what Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi is about, although I have covered it in great details in my first Tokyo-Hakone post.
1. Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi is a door-to-door service that will pick you up and drop you off (within the 23 wards and Tama area) wherever you want touring all of Tokyo and even to Hakone, etc!
2. The difference between Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi and a normal taxi you hail on the street is that all the drivers have been certified with the skill to provide guided explanations for famous sightseeing spots in English. So, think of it as hiring a personal chauffeur AND a personal guide at the same time!
3. There’s a wide variety of vehicles you can choose from, catering up to 9 people depends on the taxi company, so please make an enquiry during booking.
Why should I choose Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi?
Oh the reasons are endless. Here are a few:
1.Privacy & comfort
I have noticed that my Malaysians and Singaporean friends tend to travel in 3 generations, meaning there will be the elderly who may not be keen on too much walking and small children who… you know the deal with them haha. A taxi is the perfect space that gives you utmost privacy minus heavy walking especially up and down the stairs.
Yes, you can change your mind all you want! After arguing with your brother and now the plan is to eat ramen instead of sushi. No problem. Ask the driver to switch location! It suddenly starts raining? No problem! Instead of outdoor fun now let’s head indoor. Wife spending too much time shopping that you need to skip the next itinerary? No worries! You can customize or make sudden changes any time you like. The possibility is endless and you have absolutely no worries about keeping a time schedule or fear of missing the next train.
3. Time saving & tour-guiding
Sometimes just for a sense of security, travelers may hire a local guide to bring them around. You can entrust your taxi driver to bring you around places in the shortest route and time possible, maximizing your chance to see the most of Tokyo. Any time you are unsure, ask your drive for recommendations of courses or places to eat!
4. Luggage storing
To me, this is the best thing about moving in a taxi – you can bring as many things as you like and shop as much as you like without breaking your (or your boyfriend/husband’s) back. For whose who are paranoid about the “just in case” moment and must bring a million personal belongings (extra scarf, extra jackets, extra cameras, extra shoes, extra make up… oh and, a gazillion baby stuff that you most likely end up not using when you are traveling with your small child), bring all you think you may need! Just leave them in the car. Oh oh oh, and, have any of you shopped too much at one place and don’t even have the energy or the mood to move on to the next place anymore? (Like, “should we go back to the hotel and put all these things first?”) Now you can shop as much as your 9-seater car can accommodate. Haha.
5. Sharing the cost
Taxi in Tokyo is honestly, not cheap. I think it’s a known fact by the whole world. BUT! There’s a but! Think about if you move in a group say, 6-9 people, and for example a day trip to Hakone, that’s a completely different value when you split the cost among the group instead of purchasing individual tour package or train tickets. Also, just think about the luxury of being able to be chauffeured in a car to Hakone!
Tokyo City – the new and the old in a kimono
So let’s start and I shall share with you my third experience with Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi, this time the theme is – exploring the new and old of Tokyo stylishly – in a kimono!
First of all, you driver will pick you up at your hotel/apartment.
My driver of the day is Yoshi, a gentleman who has decades of experience living overseas and he speaks perfect English.^^
Also, he drives a swanky 7-seater specially arranged for me that’s almost too luxurious for just me! Remember that it fits more people so do share with your friends and family.
Kimono Rental – Asakusa
I was driven to Asakusa for my kimono appointment. Yoshi dropped by off near Nakamise street and was on stand-by mood to wait for my call once I am done.
All dressed up in fancy, brightly patterned kimono!
Okay guess what, now I wanna add a new reason to why you should use Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi.
6. Moving in style while dressed in a kimono
Honestly, I sort of felt like a super star that day all dressed up pretty and getting picked up in a limo driven by a gentleman in a suit. As you know, you will be wearing a pair of geta (Japanese wooden clogs) when you change into a kimono, so for people who are not used to it, walking up and down the stairs in long distance with tiny steps (you can’t leap in a tight kimono!) might be quite a tiring feat, so without a doubt, taxi is your best mean of transportation when it comes to kimono!
Hama-Rikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園)
Our first stop is the Hama-rikyu Garden, an original feudal lord residence and the ground of duck-hunting during Edo period, located in Shiodome district along the Sumida river.
Mr Yoshi parked his car at a carpark nearby and walked with me to the historical oasis of Tokyo.
Also, with an experienced driver-guide with you all the time, there’s no worries on getting lost.
Your driver-guide will find the best and quickest way to navigate around the attractions.
Also, if you need a photo or two, don’t hesitate to ask your driver for help too!
Hamarikyu stands refreshingly green among the metropolitan skyscrapers, and what makes it even more unique is that the garden itself actually connects to the sea! It’s hard to imagine but sitting right by the edge of Tokyo Bay, and it was designed in the way where the sea water would flow in according to tide, making the Kamoba duck pond Tokyo’s sole remaining salt water pond.
There are also several tea houses if you would like to spend a relaxing afternoon sipping matcha while admiring the change of seasons in this Tokyo oasis.
While you are in Shiodome, why not climb all the way up to 46th floor for a smashing view over lunch at the Sky Restaurant floor? Caretta is a huge complex that incorporates shopping, culture, museum and theatre all in one.
It was my first time up here and I’ve ever imagined a scene like this of Tokyo – so much ocean! I guarantee you a completely refreshing change of view compared to observing this favorite city of mine from Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower or Shibuya Sky.
I randomly walked into Vin Tetsu, a teppanyaki restaurant which serves good hamburg and steaks.
Here’s the view from my table.
A slice of true metropolitan Tokyo for you to savor.
Kabukiza Ginza (歌舞伎座)
Now here we are, a place where your kimono matches the background. And let me remind you, you are right in the heart of Ginza! That’s how fascinating Tokyo is. Traditional in the midst of all buzzy modernity.
If you have lots of hours to spend, catch a kabuki show (classical Japanese dance-drama), but if you only have a short moment to spare, the Kabukiza Gallery is worth checking out if you are keen to investigate deeper into the Kabuki history and origin.
Macot of Kabukiza. Trust Japan to make every single imaginable thing in this world adorable.
Located at the 5th floor of Kabukiza Tower, here you get to play a kabuki actor (yes only males are allowed to play a kabuki show, including the female characters in the story) by interacting with the kabuki props.
There’s a backstage music room where you can play with all sorts of classic instruments. I learn taiko and I was told that the drums are hit differently to represent different natural phenomenons such as rain, thunder and even snow in a kabuki show!
*spot the Cheesie*
Haha I totally just melt into the background. You are free to go up and pose at the mini stage too!
Finally, visit the Rakuza soubenir shop to find all sort of cute kabuki-related goods.
Also, on your way out, don’t forget to visit also the outdoor pocket-sized Japanese garden overlooking the dazzling Ginza skyscrapers.
The last itinerary today is back to where I started – Asakusa.
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Check out the stylish Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center designed by the all famous Kuma Kengo (and it is so him!) Even though it is crowded as usual, every single staff at the center were smiley, warm and of course, ready to help.
I love this place.
Do go all the way up and get a bird’s eye view of Asakusa’s Nakamise Street. It’s quite a sight from up above!
You can spot a great view of Sky Tree too!
Sensoji & Asakusa Shrine
Well, it’s time for some serious Asakusa symbolic icons! While the Kaminarimon gate and its gigantic lantern is still a major hit with tourist as since forever, and even though I have been here a thousand times, Asakusa is truly beautiful with Sensoji being the oldest temple of Tokyo dating 1400 years back, I won’t lie.
Get both the temple and pagoda in one frame. And also you in kimono. Picture perfect.
A clear shot without tourist!
While Sensoji Temple (浅草寺) is of course the star of Asakusa, I love visiting the lesser known Asakusa Shrine (浅草神社). Now you may ask, why does the pronunciation of 浅草 differ when it is the same kanji?? I’ll leave this for next time as it’s a long historical story. Or you may ask your driver-guide for it! 🙂
Ganso Shokuhin Replica Foods Shop 元祖食品サンプル屋
One of my favorite shops in Nakamise is the ultra-realistic food sample store. I actually felt hungry just visiting the shop!
HAHAHA you see how funny my driver-guide Mr Yoshi is? XD
After a fun day experiencing Edo culture, I headed back to my kimono rental store and returned the costume, while Mr Yoshi fetched his car and picked me up.
After a few more friendly exchanges, Mr Yoshi dropped me off at my hotel and it’s time to say good bye.
A few FAQ:
1.Do I need to reserve my Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi?
Yes, you will need to make a reservation and you can either do so by calling in or book online or by email, depending on the taxi company. Check them out here.
2. Must I follow the course or can I plan my own itinerary?
You are absolutely free to pick the course for easy reference or customize your own itinerary.
3. How is the fare calculated?
It is generally based on the duration used during your trip but certain taxi companies do provide fixed-price courses so do check with them!
I have gone on two more other courses with Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi so please wait for my next blog post. ^^
Meanwhile, if you are keen to explore Tokyo hands-free, fuss-free with all the extra comfort and safe guarded by your experience driver-guide, check out Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi!
You can also check out the below URL for the model course for useful reference ^^
The itinerary of this post is Model Course 1.
This post is supported by Tokyo Metropolitan Tourism Taxi Promotion Project.