How Much Time Do You Need to Do a City Justice?
I’ve got a tough decision to make. Flying back from Singapore to San Francisco in late December, I have a choice of two flights. The first has a layover in Tokyo, but only for 45 minutes. The second has a layover in Tokyo as well—but this time it’s for 10 hours.
Now do I take Option A because it’s easy and quick and I’ll get home sooner? Or do I take Option B because wow, would you look at that, it’s like a free trip to Tokyo built right into a flight I’m already paying for?
If I decide on the latter, you see, I could leave the airport, head into the center of town, and spend the entire day discovering a city and a country I’ve only ever seen from…well, from inside the airport, ironically. Sure, such a fleeting visit would mean I’d pretty much only be exploring the tip of the iceberg—we could call my trip Japan 101, perhaps, or Tokyo For Beginners—but at least I’d be exploring.
What do you think? Is it worth it to take these new travel experiences where we can, even if we have to squeeze them into ten-hour windows? Or are we shortchanging ourselves by having to stick to such a strict itinerary? Should we “save” the cities we want to see for when we can actually do them justice, or should we stick to our guns, follow our wanderlust, and take whatever we can get, wherever we can get it?
Ten hours in Tokyo: worth it or not?
Photograph courtesy of Patrick Sharbaugh