Tokyo’s reputation for being one of the world’s safest and most exciting travel destinations precedes it. The Japanese capital consistently tops global lists of safe cities, and Tokyo celebrated eight consecutive years of inbound tourism growth in 2019. But there is a darker, or at least slightly more uncomfortable, side to the Japanese capital.
Like many wide-eyed gaijin (foreigners), when I hopped off the plane four years ago, I was rather naive about what to expect from life in Tokyo, and not fully prepared for the low-level discrimination, the complex morass of etiquette and social mores, and the suspect nightlife haunts that visitors become wiser to over time. Here are some of the things I wish I had known before traveling to Tokyo.