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Thinking of going to Japan? Looking for Japan Travel Tips?
I recently made my second trip and learned a bit more about how things work there and what would be helpful for tourists to know. I spent most of my time in Tokyo this time around and updated this travel guide which might also be useful for you.
If you’re thinking of visiting – just go! It’s like taking a trip to the future and living in a city where everything moves at warp speed. The most expensive part will likely be your flight, I found food, hotels and activities to be reasonably priced to what I would pay in my own city. Here are my 5 Japan Travel Tips:
1) Rent a Pocket WiFi
I’m not sure how I would’ve survived without internet in my pocket. I rented a pocket WiFi router for about $15/day and had access on my iPhone everywhere I would go. I could also connect multiple devices, including my laptop and the pocket WiFi was shipped to me for pick-up at the airport. At the end of my trip, I simply dropped the pocket WiFi device into a prepaid envelope and into a mailbox.
I picked the fastest WiFi connection possible which is why I paid a higher rate. However, it was totally worth it because I could Face Time with my family, Google subway directions and share photos and snaps on social media. This is for sure my #1 for Japan Travel Tips! I wrote more about it in a post about renting a pocket WiFi device in Japan.
2) Exchange Money + Carry Cash
I had a really tough time finding a place to exchange my cash. So I seriously recommend exchanging into Japanese Yen at the airport or at your local bank before your trip. In Tokyo, most 7-11 ATM bank machines will accept your foreign ATM or credit card. However, as soon as we left Tokyo and got into Kyoto – we tried THIRTEEN different ATMs before the last one finally accepted our cards!
You’ll also need cash for the subway and trains as not all of them accept credit cards. If you have money leftover at the end of your trip – you can blow it all on a lifetime supply of matcha Kit Kat bars!
3) Get a Suica Card
I should’ve bought a Suica card as soon as I arrived. It’s a prepaid transit pass that works in Tokyo that you preload with money. Because I didn’t do this and paid with coins every time, I often overpaid for my transit ride without knowing it. I wished I had researched this and other Japan travel tips.
This way you just swipe and go and don’t have to struggle with coins every time you get on a train – which will be multiple times a day. The pass works on almost every train, bus or tram that you need to get on in Tokyo. Keep in mind there are TWO different subway companies in Tokyo plus the JR trains and you’ll often have to transfer between train companies. Having one card to do all of this is the best way to go, because your fare is determined by distance.
4) Mind Your Manners
A couple things to mind your manners about in Japan. The Japanese do not eat or drink in the street. So walking with a take-out coffee is a no-no. Eating on the subway is not a thing either. However, it’s okay to walk and eat ice cream (don’t ask me why). If you buy a beverage from a vending machine, the thing to do is to savour and enjoy your drink there and deposit the empty bottle into the recylcing bin when you’re done with it. Don’t bother walking with it – you’ll hardly be able to find a garbage can for your trash.
Same goes for smoking – it’s generally done in designated areas or in front of convenience stores. It’s also impolite to talk on your phone publicly. You can hear a pin drop on the subway! Tipping in Japan is not part of the culture and can be considered rude. I don’t tip when I’m in Japan.
5) Book Ahead
I highly recommend that you book your hotel in advance because real estate is at a premium in Japan and spaces book up quickly – especially in the summer. I used Expedia.ca and found a great deal on Hotel Niwa in Tokyo – a cute little boutique hotel near three train stations.
My room was modern, spacious and included a complimentary Japanese Breakfast Buffet daily – which was one thing less to worry about. Booking ahead will also help ensure that you get the best price for your flight or hotel.
To learn more visit Expedia for more info on Tokyo Hotels.
Those are my top 5 Japan travel tips! Do you have any to share?