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Hi.  My two teens - 17 and 14 are hoping to travel to Tokyo in December for 10 or so days.  The older boy Alex will be in his fourth year of Japanese taking AP and the younger would be in his second.  Alex went to Tokyo to visit his older cousin who was staying at Waseda University at the time - the Christmas before last.  And that went great.  But this time there would be no one to host them per se.  Do you have any thought as to where two teen brothers could stay once they got to Tokyo?  I checked the youth hostels and they do not allow unaccompanied kids younger than 18 to stay in the dorms.  Where would the boys be welcome to stay?  Secondly - while Alex had a great time in Tokyo (the New Years celebrations, the Aquarium and other) he actually met or spoke to Japanese locals hardly at all.  He said the people were distant and not open to conversation.  What would be a good place for them to go where they would be welcome to converse and perhaps learn more about the culture??  Any thoughts appreciated. Thank you.


Officially there are places that will require at least one person to be 18, but there are many that don't. You should try to find a place that will allow them in - contact them ahead of time.
There are some students who travel to some city to take a university entrance exam, so they do exist. Some places that have a lot of foreign guests would be a place to concentrate on.
Try for example:

Japan is generally a safe country but of course they should follow common sense.
For people in Tokyo (and many other large cities), life is stressful and fast-paced, not to mention in Japan extremely expensive and cramped. Tokyo people even in Japan have a reputation of being cold.
If they can meet some friends there then it would be better - which is why I'd suggest they try to establish some pen pals on a free site like:

Just set up the parameters such as age range, nationality, and change the location to Tokyo, and hopefully they can make friends with some Japanese in Tokyo before their trip. They may be busy at school or something during the day, but they can certainly help out when they are free. It'd be better to make at least a few contacts since some may flake out after just a few messages are exchanged.
As to what to see in Tokyo, you might look through sites like:
and find some interesting places.
There are also some regional passes to see the area on
If they have not seen it yet, Kamakura is a gem of a city with long cultural and historical roots. The Fuji 5 lakes area is famous too, as well as Hakone.

Hope that helps,



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General questions about tourism/travel and life in Japan, including shopping, visa issues, culture-shock, finding accommodations and employment, proper cultural etiquette, and common problems ex-pats in Japan experience. Bachelors Degree in Japanese Culture and Masters Degree in Marketing.

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