Customs and etiquette
Tokyo is, of course, a bastion of Japanese culture, and while tourists venture in on a regular basis, they are always in the minority. Japanese people are restrained and image-conscious. Smart and conservative dress goes a long way toward making a good impression. Aggressive social behavior like shoulder slapping, prolonged staring and unnecessary touching should be avoided at all costs.
Restaurants are central in Japanese culture, and business arrangements are rarely made without an after-hours dinner. Friends pour drinks for each other, and an empty glass signals the need for another drink. Tipping is not common, but high-end restaurants usually add a 10 to 15 percent service charge to the bill. Japanese diners prefer to split the bill evenly rather than separate out their specific charges.
The yen is the local form of currency, and it's incremented by hundreds and thousands. Coins are reserved for anything less than 500 yen.
Japan remains a cash-centric economy despite the advanced state of affairs. Petty crime rarely occurs, and locals aren't averse to walking with bulges of cash in their pockets. ATMs are widely available, but many of them don't accept foreign cards. The best bet for an international ATM is at a Citibank or 7-11. Upmarket establishments almost always accept credit cards.
Tokyo enjoys four distinct seasons, and there are many festivals throughout the year to celebrate the changing weather. Summers are hot and rainy, while winters are cold (but rarely freezing), clear and arid. Spring is a particularly celebrated time to visit as cherry trees are in bloom.
In some ways, Tokyo is opposite the rest of the country. April and May are lovely times to travel in Japan, and Tokyo seems to be the only city in the country not overrun with tourists. In fact, as Tokyoites flee on holiday to surrounding provinces, the city opens up magnificently.
Possibly the worst time to visit is immediately before and after the Western New Year, when most business, museums and restaurants close their doors.