Buy Your Plane Tickets, Book Your Accommodation…Yesterday
For those who were lucky enough to win the ticket lottery for attending actual Olympic matches, congratulations! You are one of the lucky few. Even for volunteers who will assist with translating and guiding people through the venues, the coveted spots were few and far between.
So if you did manage to score tickets, then we suggest you book plan tickets and secure your hotel reservations ASAP! With a quick search on an engine like Google Flights, you’ll see that the cost of tickets for the end of July through mid-August spike inbound to Tokyo. Prices now are in line with what you’d expect during other peak season times like April and September. Think around $1,000 USD for a flight from New York to Tokyo, or about $850 USD for a flight from Paris to Tokyo.
Hotel prices will of course have a much wider deviation than flights per se, but the bigger worry here is finding openings. So our advice on this front, book as quickly as you can!
Prepare for the Tokyo summer heat, prevent heatstroke.
The summers in Japan are notorious for the intense heat and humidity. In Japanese, these sticky, humid days are described as 蒸し暑い (mushi atsui, literally meaning steaming hot). The end of July and beginning of August is when this tends to be the worst. Just to give you an idea of the real risks, in 2019, from August 5-18, 20,089 people were officially treated for heatstroke. (Statistics taken from the Fire Disaster Management Agency https://www.fdma.go.jp/disaster/heatstroke/post3.html)
For those who aren’t used to the intense summers, heatstroke can really sneak up on you. Especially if you have small children with you, make sure to stay hydrated. Japanese drug stores and convenience stores are often stocked with slightly salty hard candy that’s supposed to help retain water in the body! Other hydrating sports drinks such as Pocari Sweat, Aquarius, and Green Dakara can also help you retain water better.
Before going, we suggest getting a thermos/canteen for everyone in your group, and downloading the My Mizu App, which provides a handy map with public drinking spots tagged. You can also find restaurants that offer free water fill-ups in addition to your regular water fountains.
Avoid travelling during commuting hours for locals.
This is something a lot of Tokyo residents are worried about when asked if they’re excited about the Olympics. Some companies are even preparing to allow their employees to come in late and work from home during the busy Olympic season because they expect for it to be impossible to ride the trains at this time. Japanese companies on average will start at 9:00 or 9:30, and end anywhere from 18:00-19:00 (this is the set hours, but this doesn’t take into account overtime).
So any of the following times, you can expect the trains to be truly packed. For the sake of the working population here, and yourself, as you won’t want to be crazy squished in the trains, think about adjusting your commute time and avoiding being on the train during the following hours:
- 7:00-9:00 for the morning rush
- 18:00-19:30 for the evening commute home
- 23:00-24:00 for the second mini-evening rush when those working overtime will be getting our in time for last train.
Have a garbage bag on hand
Why are we telling you to walk around with a bag full of trash? For those not in the know, you might be interested in one of our most read articles, Why Are There (Almost) No Public Garbage Cans in Japan? Simply put, there are almost no public garbage cans in Japan, and rather than running around only to try and stuff your waste into an already overflowing bin, we suggest doing what locals do and bringing waste home with you until you get back to your accommodation.
The administration here is already worried about what to do with all the extra waste they expect to be generated in super concentrated areas near the actual events, which will primarily be held in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures. As the policies for separating garbage are quite strict in Japan, and differ by administrative area, if you’re not staying in a hotel, which will separate your garbage for you, make sure to check with your hosting friends, or read up on the rules of the AirBnb you plan to stay at to make sure you’re tossing things correctly.
The Olympics have been a long time coming, and while many have their hesitations about some of the logistical challenges the Summer Games will bring, we’ve got our hopes up that it will be a time for the city and shine and offer a great welcome to the world.
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