Say you're planning a trip to Tokyo. You do your research and read up all the guidebooks and blogs. There's one problem with that though. The information you get is out of date and could even be completely wrong.
Things in Tokyo move slow. Until they move, then they seem to move really fast. I've been travelling here at least once a year for the past eight years and there have been some massive changes in that time.
Everyone says cash is king in Japan and to not even bother using a credit card. I used to take that as gospel truth until I realised it's complete bollocks. The only way I learnt was being stuck at the supermarket check out with minimal cash and asking if credit cards are okay.
Yep, they are okay at the supermarket and a lot of other places. Sure, if you're at some Mum and Pop tiny ramen stall in a small town, you might have to pay cash but in Tokyo especially, it's not such a big deal.
I'd still carry a decent amount of cash just in case but don't think you can't ever use your cards.
Pro tip: if you get a Suica (IC transport card), you can load it up with money and use it for small purchases at convenience stores, train station kiosks, most chain eateries and a ton of other places. It's no safer than carrying cash around if you lose your wallet but it does save you having pockets full of pesky one yen coins.
Tokyo has gone from zero to hero in the last few years. It's not so long ago that getting free wifi was torture. Maybe you could get it but you'd have to go through an arduous signup process that included having a code sent to your phone number. I never have a phone number so used to drive me mad.
Nowadays, you can get WiFi at most convenience stores (just stand outside or browse the aisles), train and subway stations, some city areas (eg. Shinjuku free WiFi) and heaps of cafes. It was actually much, much harder for me to get free wifi in Australia than it is here.
If you stay at an Airbnb you'll most likely get a portable WiFi device thrown in too. I wouldn't book a place without one because they are so handy.
Note: even though you can get WiFi devices and data SIMs, getting a Japanese phone number is pretty darn hard if you're a tourist.
This isn't something that's changed but it's a huge myth that taxis are expensive. Maybe that's because I'm Australian and I'm used to taxis charging a bundle.
The other day when I had one of my Uber disasters, I finally gave up and grabbed a cab. It ended up costing me much less (about 500 yen) than the lowest Uber quote. So don't assume that you'll be saving money by catching an Uber instead.
I wouldn't try catching a cab from the airport or any great distance but if you've had a huge day of sightseeing or you have armfuls of shopping, going a short distance won't break the bank. Cabs start at a flat rate of 750 yen for the first 2km.
It wasn't that long ago that getting a decent cup of coffee in Tokyo was a major achievement. When you found a cafe that knew what it was doing, you celebrated and posted on the internet and did victory laps.
Nowadays, good coffee shops are sprouting up faster than you can drink coffee (I mean literally you, not me).
Pro Tip: often the price of a coffee is not reflected in the price. You can pay $10+ for a really shit coffee. Check the place out before spending that kind of money.
Btw, is it just my infantile mind or does the latte art on the photo below look kinda dirty?
No one speaks English? Think again.
You won't get English service everywhere but you'd be surprised how many tiny shops you can wander into and be given an English menu.
With the lead up to the Olympics (Tokyo is hosting the Olympics in 2020, they are being really low key about it *cough, sarcasm*), a lot of businesses are realising they need to get their English happening.