There was a time when I would to go to Japan and select dress shoes and socks, until I realize that stairs in Japan have quickly become my arch-rival.
From carrying your multiple luggage, your travel bag/backpack and when going to the subway or train, you will constantly have to go through stairs. And I mean a lot of them.
No, don’t even think that there is an elevator or escalator nearby (they are there, but you really need to search for them), you will need to climb up or down those stairs many, many times and you wish you brought comfortable socks and great shoes.
But what a drag it was to arrive and get off at Tokyo Station with its labyrinth, with two huge luggage bags, my camera bag with equipment and then my leather carry-on bag. Needless to say, lugging around nearly 75 pounds of luggage and having to climb up and down these stairs is no fun. And then finding out after the climb up and down, from point A to point B, you have a 300 meters to go.
Not fun! Especially if you get blisters on your feet or toes.
You may think this blog post is in jest, it’s not. I don’t think people understand how Tokyo has a lot of stairs and often I see people going to Japan and they are stuck in the hotel for a few days because they overdid it with all the stairclimbing.
If you are going to Tokyo, bring comfortable socks and shoes, because climbing up and down stairs and a lot of walking is something you will need to be prepared for.
I do recommend getting in a habit of walking several miles before your trip to Japan but it’s best to be prepared and having good shoes and socks really make a big difference. If you can, start training yourself to walk up stairs.
And last, if you can…I recommend taking a backpack versus a large carry-on for the bag that will accompany you throughout your trip and not to travel heavy.
For photographers, I have traveled with 25 pounds of camera gear and as much as we love carrying our lenses, when you are walking 12-18 miles a day, it’s not easy. Prepare to travel light if you can and find point and shoots or cameras that can give you the quality but not hurt your back in the long run.
Last but not least, if you are disabled or a person who really needs to know where the escalator/elevators are, for Tokyo-based stations, please click here. For Osaka-based stations, please click here.
Using Tokyo as an example, I typed in Shinjuku Station and you should see something like this come up:
Click on the Map on the left. And you should get access to a PDF or an image, like this: