Japan Tips

Japan Tips

 

So you’re thinking of coming to Japan for a trip, or maybe you’re going to be living out here?
Perhaps you want some advice on what to expect and what you should bring with you to Japan. And so I’ve dedicated this page for some of my top tips for coming to Japan.

A few of these tips are from my previous blog; KARASU TRAVELS, which, if you have time to read and are interested in what my life in Japan as a student was like, you should check out.

 


TOP TIPS:

  1. Attempt to learn (at least the basics) of Japanese.
    To all the lovely people back at home who have NEVER visited Japan and told me “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine, they all speak english over there!” Where did you get this information? It is incorrect and I strongly advise learning the very basics of the Japanese language before you come here. Learning the language is going to help you in the long run and also make you enjoy your experiences here a lot more.(Tip: At least learn how to ask where is the toilet? >>> トイレはどこですか?Toire wa doko desu ka?)
  2. Cash country.Japan is a cash country. Restaurants, shops, cafes, (possibly even) hotels accept only cash. You may come across a service where debit or credit card is accepted, but you should always check first as it isn’t normally the case. 
    If you are out of cash, and have your bank card with you, head over to the 7-eleven to use their ATM. 7-eleven has an ATM that works with foreign bank cards and is open 24 hours. However, you do need to be aware of the exchange rate.
  3. JR Railpass (short visit to Japan only)If you are going to spending a week, 2 weeks, or up to 21 days in Japan for tourist purposes, or will be using the trains often (which you definitely will be, as long as you are not planning to only visit us in southern Japan- we don’t use trains as often here) GET A JR PASS!!! The JR pass is a railway pass which will help you save some money.
    The JR pass also offers some services on specific buses and ferries, such as the JR ferry to get from the mainland to Miyajima Island.
    The JR pass is only available to use on JR services, but as JR is one of the most, if not the most popular travel services in Japan, it will NOT be wasted.
    Beware: You can use the shinkansen (bullet train) with the JR pass on all shinkansen services APART FROM the Nozomi Line.
  4. Trains are not 24 hours.So don’t miss the last train and get stuck waiting for the 6am train back home.All trains have a last train from around 11pm to 12am in Japan, but depending on the station popularity that time could be earlier or later. That being said, if you do miss the last train home, you can always spend the next six hours in a Karaoke bar or a Manga cafe (I think I’d prefer my bed though.)
  5. Cover your tattoos.Tattoos are taboo in Japan, and many people here will associate them with the Yakuza or criminals. Some places such as onsen, swimming pools, or even restaurants may not allow you to enter in you have tattoos – so cover them up!
    However, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games fast approaching we may expect certain places to erase their closed views on tattoos. But still, be respectful.
  6. No WIFI.Apparently this is the country which is supposed to be ahead with technology, and the one thing that has gotten to me since i’ve been here, is the country’s lack of free public wifi. Seriously, we have it EVERYWHERE in England, why isn’t it here?To solve my problem I bought a Japanese phone as I couldn’t use a Japanese sim card in my phone, because it’s not unlocked… I suggest for you to either, buy pocket wifi ( which can be a little on the expensive side) or unlock your phone and get a Japanese sim card to work over here.
  7. Prepare for the weather.If you’re coming in spring, its going to be cold. Summer: HOT! UNBELIEVABLY HOT! Autumn is just pure unpredictable and Winter (although I haven’t experienced all of winter yet) I am already frozen and its not even December yet, so I assume it is going to be damn cold!Just do your research and prepare.
  8. Homesick comfort food.If you’re going to be staying here for a while I suggest you bring some of the foods you love or will miss whilst you are away.
    This is my second time in Japan and from my past experience living out here and this time, I am still missing all the flavours of Walkers Crisps (the only flavour they got here is salt…and soy sauce), Gravy – cause roast dinners rule! Soup stock – They do have Dashi, which is a special kind of fish stock, but I cannot for my life find vegetable stock anywhere.
    Another thing that I miss out here is decent chocolate. Japan does have some good brands of chocolate out here (Ghana, Meiji e.t.c) but I really do miss Cadbury’s chocolate – please send me some!
  9. Get used to being stared at.If you are heading to a touristy area then this might not happen as much, but even so, expect to be stared at.
    Japan is a country that was only recently re opened to the rest of the world, and it is still pretty much a very homogeneous country with Japanese people making up 98.2% of the population. So if you are a foreigner you are going to stand out. People stare and children point, but they don’t mean to be rude, this is an internationally growing country, and you are still a rare treasure in their world.One thing that Riku has told me, that will fit all of you is that “People are only staring, because you are beautiful”
    So let them stare at you, you are beautiful!
  10.  Take off your shoes.Dont wear your shoes in someones house, don’t wear them inside a shrine, don’t wear them inside a temple, and don’t wear them on the tatami.
    You may come across shoes left before a step in a raised building, this means you should remove your shoes before stepping up onto the raised platform. And if there are shoe lockers or shoe boxes, then you should definitely remove your shoes.
    If you happen to be unsure of wether you can wear your shoes or if you should remove them, take a look around to see what everyone else is doing.

There are of course many other things to be aware of when you come to Japan. I will be writing posts on my experiences in Japan and things you might expect, be shocked by, or should bring with you to Japan in our blog. Subscribe to our blog so that you are in the know.

And if you are unsure or have a question about anything, feel free to contact us.

~ Connie