Travel

How to pull off a group holiday in Tokyo

The more the merrier.

By: Mahalia Chang

When you think of holiday destinations to hit up with your besties, you probably think of the usual suspects – tropical destinations like Bali, Thailand and Hawaii, or contiki tours across Europe.

But who says you and your girls can't book a joint holiday to a big city and have the time of your life? Not us!

Why not swap out the sandy beaches for somewhere more up-tempo, and put Tokyo on the menu?

Unlike a beach destination, where you can just lounge on the sand all day and drink from coconuts, organising a group vacay in a huge city like Tokyo requires a bit of forward planning.

That's where we come in.

In order to get you ready to rumble in Tokyo's bustling centre, we've compiled some handy tips on how to navigate friends and drama in the big city.

WHERE TO STAY

Group holidays can get a bit boring if everyone is sequestered in single hotel rooms. Liven things up by sticking together and renting out a house. Airbnb has several options for entire-house rentals, where you don't have to share space with a host or another traveller. And this way, everything becomes more centralised — you can make dinner together in the kitchen, watch a movie in the living room and sleep off hangovers together in the bedrooms.

Shave some money off by choosing a locale 20 to 30 minutes outside of the inner city like Taitō, Shibuya, or Meguro, which also has the bonus effect of being quieter and cheaper.

Word of warning: although Japanese houses are usually incredible and luxe, Japanese architects aren't really crash-hot on multiple bathrooms, so be prepared for a bit of a shower wait in the arvos.

WHERE TO EAT

Even though Tokyo is known for its solo-friendly eateries, where people can dine in private booths so they don't have to talk to anyone (not even the wait staff), it's also excellent for group restaurants.

Check out Rokkasen in Shinjuku for huge tables where you can grill your own meat and seafood; or Zaou in Nishishinjuku for catch-and-eat dining.

WHERE TO DRINK

Tokyo has made something of a name for itself lately for its tiny, tiny bars. Lined along the streets of Nakameguro and Golden Gai in Shinjuku, these small spaces are perfect if you can nab one all to yourselves.

Rid yourselves of shouting, screaming and seedy guys and book out the place on your own.

Bonus: Most of these little bars come with unique themes and styles, so you can find one that suits you best.

WHAT TO DO

After you're done with the shopping and sightseeing, a group activity is a baller way to have fun all together. Airbnb now offers 'Airbnb Experiences,' where you can book out an activity or an experience — like traditional drumming, or sushi-making, or (no joke) cat-cuddling with local kitties – to do as a group.

There are also tours, day trips and classes to take, if you fancy.

WHERE TO GO

Once you've ticked off your usual haunts, you can't go past Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea. Ride all the rides, take shameless selfies with all the characters and buy kawaii souvenirs that will last a lifetime.

Happy travelling!