10 Amazing Tips For Traveling To Japan (From A First-Timer)

This is the 8th installation of my Japan travelogue. Read my first impressions below, my visit to Odaiba right here, my see to Akihabara here, my last day in Tokyo below, my initial day in Kyoto right here, my shrine browse through right here, as well as my conventional inn tour right here.

After nine days in Japan, my rest routine lastly caught up to Tokyo time. That meant that rather than getting up at 5 AM to write my travelogue, I awakened just in time to go taking in the sights.

Our last 2 days in Tokyo passed like a blur, as we took advantage of our Japan Rail passes and also affordable subway fare. Instead of climbing Tokyo Tower or the Skytree, we went to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Center, a free observatory where you can see both. We consumed crepes in Shibuya, saw peak cherry blossom bloom among the holy places at Asakusa, as well as in Harajuku I got myself a capsule wardrobe on a penny.

Now that I’m house and have had time to show, nevertheless, I prefer to invest my final post not recounting, yet sharing the most important points I found out traveling to Japan. If you’re planning on making your first browse through there, here are my top 10 recommendations:

Tokyo horizon, seen from the government center.

Take an internationally run trip if you can.

On the way to Japan, we took a United Airlines trip, which was exactly like any type of residential flight except that it was 13 hrs long. Heading residence, nonetheless, we flew All Nippon Airways and it was leagues far better– roomier seats, footrests, individual TVs on the back of each seat. What was particularly cool is that, aside from smash hit films, the TELEVISION additionally came with lots of documentaries on Japan. They would certainly have been wonderful to view heading there.

Obtain a JR Pass if you’re planning to leave Tokyo.

Much excitement has actually been constructed from the Japan Rail (JR) Pass for foreigners. For around $250, you obtain a pass that will certainly permit you to access any kind of JR line in the nation for 7 days, including numerous different shinkansen (high-speed) trains.

I remained in Japan for 10 days and couldn’t bring myself to spring for $500 on the 14-day JR pass, so John and also I made use of the Tokyo subway for the initial couple of days we existed, triggering our JR hands down the day it was time to go to Kyoto. This ended up being a fantastic idea! Not only are Tokyo train prices exceptionally inexpensive (in the $2 range), however very easy to get from electronic ticket equipments, which all have English menu options. With such affordable price, it would have been very hard to warrant a JR Pass simply circumnavigating Tokyo. Nonetheless, a 7-day JR Pass comfortably sets you back regarding the same as a round trip ticket to Kyoto. To conclude: it’s just a lot if you’re intending to take a trip beyond Tokyo, as well as not a lot of one if you’re not.

Bring money and also a means to get more.

Japan is a cash-based culture as well as many areas that you could expect to take credit card normally– like McDonald’s– do not. A lot of stores just aren’t geared up to take card and typically have a sign out front on the rarer celebration that they do. We wound up taking cash out of ATMs twice on our trip, at 7-11 and the message office, both advised. I additionally recommend taking a card without any foreign purchase or money withdrawal charges, like Capital One.

Additionally, since whatever from 1 yen to 500 yen (regarding $5) are coins, I very advise bringing a coin bag with you, you’ll require it. After realizing how typically I took mine out, it wasn’t any kind of surprise to me that coin bags are among one of the most typical souvenirs at tourist stores.

Convenience stores are your close friend.

If I might bring one Japanese point back to the US, it would not even be those cool bathrooms with the heated seats– it ‘d be their corner store. Where else can you obtain a dental filling, semi-nutritious dish for regarding $5 American? From their ambient songs (generally an important version of a Beatles song) to their user friendly ATMs to their friendly personnel that will certainly go out of their way to comprehend your bad accent to the food that they WILL warm up for you right then and there, I wish I had one. If I had one as opposed to my neighborhood Rite Aid, I would probably never prepare once again.

Practically every early morning, I now admit, we consumed breakfast at 7-11, getting wonderful melon or bean jam bread and also warm coffee (or, once, cocoa milk that was definitely darker and also a lot more bitter than any kiddie delicious chocolate milk), and saving ourselves dollars and also time while we were at it.

Eigo o hanashimasu ka?/ Do you speak English?

Though I strongly advise that you learn Japanese before visiting Japan, you need to at the very least understand simply this expression. Do not be deceived by Japanese modesty either– as long as somebody does not claim “iie” AKA “no,” they speak all right. A few of one of the most articulate English audio speakers told us they talked English “simply a little” or “not well.”

There are likewise places where individuals are most likely to be great English speakers– train terminals, flight terminals, as well as significant traveler attractions especially. Try to conserve your concerns for those areas.

The five-story pagoda at Asakusa.

Bring hand sanitizer as well as a plastic bag anywhere.

In the end, there were just 2 things that I didn’t like concerning Japan. First was the lack of soap dispensers in lots of public washrooms. People would certainly leave the stall, dribble some water from the sink over their hands, as well as leave. I thought in the beginning that perhaps soap was blended into the water– the commodes are advanced, possibly the sinks are too? Yet no luck. To stay clear of finding on your own without soap after utilizing the bathroom, always carry hand sanitizer with you.

The 2nd thing that was tough to cope with was a lack of trash cans in public areas. Obviously this started as an anti-terrorism action in 1995 after a cult attacked the Tokyo metro by leaving explosives in public trash bin. Currently the only wastebasket you can discover in Tokyo are privately handled, at corner store and the like. I obtained made use of to carrying a plastic 7-11 bag in my handbag and just putting my trash in it, dumping it out at the end of the day.

A wifi hotspot is important.

When we came to the flight terminal, we picked up our eConnect hotspot at the flight terminal article office and also instantly had information on our phones. Any time, we might make phone call to the US, look into Google maps, or be guaranteed of wifi connection even in remote areas (like our mountain inn).

I think I utilized my phone in Japan regularly than I generally do, and I constantly had it open up to a couple certain programs. First, a yen to dollar conversion, so I can constantly inform promptly how costly something was. Second, a Japanese to English translation window in Google. Third,, a superb kanji thesaurus, so I can a lot more conveniently review indicators.

Intend to surf the internet like an American? You need a VPN.

Like several Japonophiles, I’m a large anime fan. Actually, I assess anime expertly for Anime News Network, a North American follower resource. The anime season endings were airing while I was on getaway, so I needed to watch those final episodes and also review them for my job.

But when I tried to access US streaming websites, like Crunchyroll, Funimation, Daisuki, and also Hulu, I had not been able to see a point. None of these websites have consent to air shows online to Japanese customers. In order to let them understand that I’m in fact an American, I had to initial link to my Virtual Private Network (VPN) that I run of my Raspberry Pi mini-computer back in my Virginia apartment. If you’re interested regarding setting up an economical VPN prior to your trip, I once composed a guide regarding just how to transform a Raspberry Pi right into a VPN.

Deals take initiative.

Japan appears to award an adventurer. As a whole, the additional away you go from the train terminal, the less costly whatever comes to be. Souvenir shrine amulets at the entry to the Fushimi Inari Shrine price 800 yen; amulets on top of the mountain price 500. Women’s t shirts at the entryway to Harajuku’s most stylish road, Takeshita dori, cost anywhere from $15-$30. But when I stumbled into cellar store Smile Market, I found similar garments for around $2.50.

This may be apparent advice, yet I just wish to motivate you to keep strolling before you make any purchases. There could be more of the very same later on, and for much less.

Take it one point each time.

From the moment I reserved my trip last August, I received tons of valuable suggestions for cool things to see as well as perform in Japan. Preparation out my journey, I initially had a much more ambitious schedule that would certainly allow me to check a lot of these experiences off the listing, however after John needed to obtain emergency surgery on the eve of our trip, I decided to scale it back a ton, to simply one activity a day. I believed that would be “relaxing.” I was incorrect.

I haven’t traveled worldwide for 8 years, and also when I checked out Italy I was progressed enough in my language researches that I read Dante’s Inferno. When you don’t recognize the language or the culture, the little points escalate. Things you take for provided in your house country, like seeing the blog post office or ordering a coffee with skim milk as opposed to entire milk, are all of a sudden on hard setting. Doing one of those things first thing in the morning, when I am rejuvenated as well as have my finest language abilities at my disposal, is ALRIGHT. Doing among those points at the end of the day when I’m already tired, not so much.

Considering that I’ve gotten back from Japan, a lot of family and friends have asked me, “Did you do X? Did you do Y?” And I’ve had to answer in the unfavorable. I did not see everything in Japan, or close to it– and also yet I still wrote a 10,000 word travelogue about the important things I did see. I do not feel like I missed out in all, and you will not either. One point at a time.

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