Travelling is considered by many the best possible way you can spend your free time due to the fact that it offers you relaxation and, at the same time, you get to discover a lot of new places, cultures people that can become lifetime friends. Since there are thousands of possible travelling destinations, it may become a bit difficult for travellers to choose but a lot of people are considering Japan as their next vacation destination. Well, for those of you that find themselves in this situation, you will be able to enjoy a set of 10 very helpful tips you want to take into consideration before going to Japan for the first time.
Fly with International Airlines
Everything starts with the flight, of course. In case you’re travelling from the United States or Europe, you’ll be looking at a 10 to 14-hours flight and if that doesn’t seem long to you, then you definitely should reconsider. The reasons why international airline companies are preferred in this situation is that you get a lot more personal space as well as other perks that can make the difference when flying for a long period of time: footrests, TV and even free sandwiches or drinks.
If You Plan to Leave Tokyo – make sure to Get a Japan Rail Pass
For such a technologically-advanced country, Japan is not a big fan of automobiles and if you want to see more than the capital city, taking the train is the best choice and safest bet for you. For around $250 you will be able to purchase a seven-day Japan Rail Pass that will give you access to all trains across Japan and a number of high-speed trains as well.
Make Sure to Bring Cash
Again, for a country that is a leader in a lot of high-tech technology, robotics and AI, Japan has a lot of places that won’t allow you to pay via credit card. Not just street-shops or small boutiques but even big places such as McDonald’s won’t give you the option to pay using your card and that’s why you must make sure to bring enough cash with you. Also, you need to think of a way that allows you to get more cash when needed. The 7-11 ATM’s, as well as the ones in the post offices, provide a great place from where you can get more cash when needed.
Count on Convenience Stores
No matter if you’re looking for something to eat, batteries for your camera or even a map, Japan’s convenience stores are excellent. Everything from the ambient music all the way to the friendly staff is made to make you feel welcomed and well-treated. Here you will be able to get a full meal with under $5 and they will even heat up the food for you. Diversity is the word that best describes these stores and the quality standards are very high as well.
Learn the Basic Phrases
Of course, this tip applies to any other country you may visit during your travels. Japanese people generally have a good level of English; however, it is a good idea that you at least learn the basic lines such as ‘do you speak English?’ ‘how much is it?’ or ‘how can I get to …?which are the most used when travelling. A conversational guide is also a great idea and you will be able to find those in convenience stores mentioned above.
Make Sure to Bring Hand Sanitizer
One thing that can bother you about Japan is the lack of soap dispensers in public restrooms. For such high-tech toilets, this is a curious thing that shouldn’t have a great impact on your but just to make sure you are comfortable, take some hand sanitizer with you.
An Internet Connection is a Must
No matter if you’re thinking about getting an international package from your phone company or consider getting a hotspot solution from Japan, having an internet connection is vital. You will use a lot of apps such as a currency converter, Google translates as well as any map app for directions.
You’ll Also Need a VPN
If you’re trying some of the websites you use back in the US or Europe, you might have the unpleasant surprise of them not being available for residents of Japan. In order to fix that, you will need a good VPN service, especially if you have your work laptop with you and need to fix something urgently.
Bargaining is Possible
First of all, the rule of getting cheaper things is to get as further as possible from the main train station. You will be surprised to find out that you can buy stuff with half the price you’d normally pay for them in the city centre or near the train station. Also, the shops that are located further from the centre will allow you to test your negotiation skills for a few extra bucks off the standard price.
Don’t Try to See Everything
Another golden rule that can easily be applied to any new country or city you visit. It’s never a good idea to transform your vacation into a race against time trying to check all the landscapes or touristic attractions. Instead, take your time and enjoy the relaxing and Zen-inducing vibe of Japan.