‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ – that’s how I will always know Japan.
There’s something about that country has always been a fascination for travelers. With their distinct culture, this country beckons everyone to come and explore it. A place where traditions walk hand-in-hand with modern technology and many picturesque landscapes that would leave you mesmerized. But, exploring Japan is no easy feat. You can’t just step into the country, wander around with ease, and simply return to your homeland. You need to go prepared.
Here are some of the best tips that I know would help you in making the most of your trip to Japan.
- Learn common Japanese phrases: Knowing a few Japanese words would take you places in the country. While you can politely ask the locals if they know English, hardly anyone will admit that they are fluent in the language. Know the Japanese translations for thank you, please, and excuse me. Also, get your hotel address printed on a paper to avoid any inconvenience. Trust me, you’ll thank me later for this.
- Book a Japan Rail Pass: If you know that you’re going to travel around Japan for more than a week or so, it’s best to save up for the Japan Rail Pass. While there are a few restrictions on the use of this pass, it is the most economical way of traveling throughout Japan. This pass allows you to access commuter trains, buses, as well as ferries.
- Stay at a Ryokan: One of the best ways of soaking in the culture and traditions of Japan is by living at a Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). Staying in a Japanese-style room, you get to experience the country’s hospitality here. Try to choose one that is tucked away in woods, far away from the urban chaos, letting you enjoy peace and harmony to the fullest. By just following a few etiquette such as taking off your shoes outside the room and rolling over your sleeping mat, you become a favorite customer of the ryokan owners.
- Eat at Department Store: Wondering what I am talking about? Department stores in Japan are indeed the best stops to have authentic Japanese food, and that too at a very cheap price. Just walk down a convenience store and you will find yourself in a depachika where a variety of prepared food items including yakitori, tempura, and sushi are kept to be taken. These food halls also have dessert and bakery sections. It’s a food paradise!
- Carry a coin purse: You’re going to get a lot of change in Japan. They have coins ranging from 1 up to 500 so it would be practical to have a coin purse to carry them conveniently around. And because of the small purchases you can make at their convenience store and the number of vending machines you can find in Japan (be it inside restaurants, or train stations), it just makes sense to have one.
- Create an itinerary: After a trip to any destination, every traveler feels as if they should have explored the place more. An itinerary created using a vacation planner can help in such cases. Japan being a vast country, having an itinerary would come very handy in seeing every nook and corner of the place.
A few extra tips to bear in mind during your Japan trip are as follows:
- Before entering any place, look for signs that ask you to take off your shoes.
- You do not need to tip in Japan. It’s where tipping is actually considered rude.
- Please speak softly and try not point fingers at people or things.
- Rent a wireless router if you wish to access the internet at cheaper rates.
- You will hardly come across English translations.
With these tips at your disposal, you can plan a vacation to Japan and return back with a treasure of memories.
Learn a few more useful tips here: Things You Should Know Before Visiting Japan