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20 Things Women Should Know About Tokyo


Safety for women...

Japan is a safe country compared to many. As a general rule, even as a solo female traveler, you'll be safe walking round almost all districts even late at night. However, common sense should always be followed as nowhere is perfect. If you feel something isn't right then it probably isn't.

Unfortunately, in recent times, the popular expat area of Roppongi and surroundings has seen some rather unpleasant developments. A number of women have reported having their drinks spiked and then being manhandled while they couldn't respond. This has become such a problem that the American Embassy and others sent out a warning to the expat female community warning them to take extreme care and make sure they keep their eye on their drink at all times.

When you're traveling on the trains in Tokyo or other areas of Japan, it is a fairly well known fact that there are cases of groping particularly during rush hour crush. Not a pleasant thought. If it does ever happen to you, raise the hand of the culprit and shout "chikan" which means pervert. You need to report any such incident to the nearest koban (police station). Try and enlist help to keep hold of the jerk in question.

As a result of the groping problem on trains, some lines have now introduced all female carriages during peak travel periods. Usually they are located at either ends of the train and there will be signs in English as well as Japanese, generally marked on the platform floor, so you know where to get on. Not all lines have these, but if it is provided why not take advantage of a hassle free ride. By the way, I've never had any bad experiences on the trains myself, but I'm always aware of what's going on around me.


Girls just want to have fun...

If you like karaoke, there is a fabulous location actually in Roppongi. Now if there's a group of you this is a perfect venue as it will only be you and your friends or guests in your karaoke room. No danger of some weirdo spiking your drink here. Why do I like it? You can choose your room according to what mood you're in. There's the Arabian suite, the Ibiza Suite, or the Aqua Suite for starters. If you want to see the individual rooms click on the Japanese language option and then choose 'private rooms' to see pictures of what's on offer. Website:

Having access to local news and 'what's on' plus keeping abreast of world events is sometimes essential, especially when you're traveling on business. Of course there's the internet where you can check your regular items, but if you want to pick up a newspaper to thumb through over your morning coffee, there are some excellent English language options available. You can choose from the Japan Times, the Daily Yomiuri or the Herald & Tribune.

Want to see a movie while you're in Tokyo? There are many theaters that show English language films (usually subtitled in Japanese). For a sampling of what's on see the Japan Times listing. Click here.


Shop, shop, shop...

Are you a shopoholic? In Tokyo I highly recommend a visit to the area called Odaiba. There are three huge shopping malls to enjoy. Start with Venus Fort (targeting the female shopper) which has a European inside outside theme going on with artificial sunrises and sunsets to add to the atmosphere. When you've had enough of that one head over to Aqua City and Tokyo Decks (a 10-15 minute walk away) where you can enjoy lunch outside with great views over Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay. Beautiful.

If you're not Asian, clothes shopping will probably be an issue when you're in Japan. The average Japanese girl is a totally different shape to the average US or UK girl so 'trying on' can be, at the least frustrating and at the worst demoralizing. If you have curves then I'd honestly recommend forgetting about this one and just get on with enjoying all the other options available.

If you're a bargain hunter then you need to find your nearest hyakuen store (100 yen shop). The basic principle is similar to that of a $1 store, everything costs 100 yen. You can find some really neat stuff in these, particularly the larger ones. Check out the Japanese plates, chopsticks and other kitchen utensils. Just take a bag with you for all the things you'll walk out with! This is a good link provided by the Japan National Tourist Organization that will show you how to get to the major 100 yen shops around the city circle line.

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