December 16, 2009 - kenshinjeff
Shopping and area maps for Tokyo
If you’ve ever been to Tokyo by yourself, you will know that it is ridiculously messy if you’re trying to find a particular store or location by yourself. Especially those areas which the locals go to for super authentic non touristy food/fun/sights. You will also know that the free maps from the airport are useless for these purposes, some streets are so tiny, that most locals don’t even know they exist, and even on taxis with GPS, they have to search for it. Don’t get me wrong, there is fun casually walking and bumping into new areas, but when you’re in a hurry, it is SUPER irritating.
Even most updated english travel guides don’t have detailed maps, I mean like you can’t expect them to tell you where each store in harajuku, or the blue label in shibuya is located, but you get what I mean.
This is not a joke, if you can figure out the shortest way to even get from the west side of shinjuku JR to the east side of shinjuku JR, please let me know, I’m dying to know. What I usually do is I take the JR pass walk into the station and cut across it, or I just walk around it (!?)
I have no idea why no one has ever compiled a list of maps that are available online, but since I’m already compiling for my friends, I might as well share it with you folks that are or might know someone else who is going to Tokyo.
The rar file is made up of maps from:
- att-japan (PDF English, chiba, fukuoka, JR, kanagawa, kyoto, nagoya, nara, niigata, nikko park, osaka, sapporo, tokyo, yokohama, ripped from att-japan.net)
- superfuture (GIF English, shopping maps, ripped from superfuture.com)
- tcvb (PDF English/Japanese, Ginza, Marunouchi, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Asakusabashi, Ueno, Yanaka from tcvb.or.jp)
- tokyoessentials (GIF English, Asakusa, Ikebukuro, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ueno)
- Akihabara – (JPEG Japanese. There is a map which you can get from the station or just outside the station that is in ENGLISH, will most of the more popular shops. This is a life saver.)
- infomapjapan.com (PDF English, Tokyo Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara, Marunouchi, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Umeda, Kyobashi, Namba, Bay Area, Nara, Kyoto, Kyoto Station, Kawaramachi, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kobe, Takayama, Kurashiki, Okayama, ripped from infomapjapan.com
Personally I use a combination of google maps, virtual maps, a japanese travel magazine, and a bilingual map book which I happened to buy at a Kinokuniya while I was in Shinjuku. I would highly recommend a bilingual map as the local streets are usually written in Japanese, and most guidebooks are written in either Japanese or English only.
If you need a physical map, this is the one I’m using: Tokyo City Atlas: A Bilingual Guide (3rd Ed.)
For shopping fanatics, I would recommend a Japanese shopping magazine for girls. Yes, it exists, the Japanese magazine is very simple. There’s ONLY maps of Harajuku, Shinjuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Ginza. Sure, it’s in japanese, but it’s updated and if you need to shop, you need to shop, there’s always a way : D
There’s also a food guide, if you’re not rich enough (who is, seriously???) to try out all the food listed in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010
And finally, here’s a preview of the maps which you can download from HERE (41 MB)