20 tips better to know before trip into Japan

20-tips-better-to-know-before-trip-into-japan

You should keep these things below in your mind before going to Japan. You want to know about destination country as much as possible in advance, don’t you? However in fact it is sometimes hard to find in other languages. In this article I’m gonna write about small knowledge that I would like future traveller to have them before come to Japan to make better trip. With keeping them in your mind, your can relatively imagine your trip easily than before. OK let’s take a look.

1, Free WiFi in public place

Even though Japan is well known as advanced country, it was hard to get free wifi in public place like station and cafe. Regardless of you nod or not, actually it’s been installed everywhere recently so that you can use in Japan. For now only big city though but I think better than nothing.
To use WiFi in Japan, there are a lot of ways depends on company as far as I looked up. So would be better to search with keyword like “Free WiFi Japan” before diving into. There is app for mobile to look for free Wifi spot. If you worry even after searching, looking for Starbucks in Japan may become choice the same your country (I assume..) because that’s the safe place.

2, Prices in Japan

A Plastic bottle coke(500ml) for 1.6$(160 yen), lunch for 5~10$(500~1000 yen), ice cream at supermarket for 1.5$(150 yen) and movie ticket for 18$(1800 yen). I don’t know what you think these prices but speaking of prices, consumption tax is now 8% but will be increased by 10% on April 2017. Anyway every prices that you will see in Japan is already including taxes means you don’t need to calculate taxes at all.

3, Stay with both credit card and cash

At some places for example train station(depending on ticket machine in city) or shop, you might face with “situation on needs cash”. But you might come up “OK then I will withdraw Japanese yen with ATM using my credit card…”.
If you think so, Japan might not live up to your expectations because only limited ATM allows to do where at

mainly so far. If your credit card have “PLUS” or “Cirrus” sign on back your card, your card is acceptable in above mentioned ATMs. As of March 2015, each major banks’ ATM such as

don’t accept credit card that was issued in abroad to withdraw Japanese yen. But those major banks have now started moving forward to deal with those inconvenient service for travelers.

So this problem will be solve as time goes by.
Personally I would recommend “Japan Post Bank” and “Seven Bank” because once you dive into local area, there is less major banks means hard to find ATM of major banks. Japan Post Bank’s ATM is installed at every post office and Seven Bank’s ATM is installed at every Seven Eleven(one of major convenience store).

4, Travel with handicapped people

Honestly I would say that Japan is not good for handicapped people especially transportation. Don’t get me wrong. Train staff and other people are willing to help of course. What I wanted to say was handicapped people might need a hand wherever you go because little universal design in here in my opinion. Government pushed big station(Tokyo,Shinjyuku,Shibuya,Shinagawa,Ikebukuro,Asakusa,Roppongi,Ueno etc..) to install barrier free design by 2020 but other stations are lost cause so far. Again everybody is willing to help though.

5, Save money? No Taxi

No one wants to waste of money doesn’t it? I would recommend that you use public transportation. If you are being said like just I did, maybe you come up this question. How much taxi is? Umm, it depends on region but big city like Tokyo, you will have to pay at least 7.3$(730 yen) for first 2km(1.25miles). After that it will start increasing and this exceeds train fare. Moreover with taking train, you can see and feel real Japanese life in the same train car. Try real Japanese watching and don’t miss to feel everything of Japan.

6,Trains are on time

Don’t be lazy. Otherwise you will be left behind on the platform. Trains in Japan are always on time regardless region. Keep an eye on your watch and train schedule and get you trip perfect!

7, Stay away from rush hour (train)

Japanese rush hour in city like Tokyo is going to be insane. Around certain time(7-9:30, 17-19) train car are filled with tons of people and sometime it become even hard to breath. Do you imagine? If you do, please do not make a plan of use train around those time. Well, it would be better to just watch and feel like “This is part of real Japan”. maybe.

8, No summer time (No daylight saving)

Oh just double check for you that no summer time in Japan. You don’t worry about changing time while your trip.

9, The safest country?

Generally speaking it’s true I think. There is a few crime (unfortunately) but the rate is quite less than other advanced countries. This should be well known. In fact even though someone lost their wallet inside a train car, it will be given back to the owner without missing money and cards by owner go to the lost and found or train staff calls you. This type of incident might make story of “Japan is safe”.
Being said that would be better to refrain go out at midnight without any particular destination(no just strolling and so on).

10, Try eat out

Having lunch or dinner at accommodation can not go wrong for sure. However even Japanese like me don’t usually have those type of food. Yes, it’s great to have. But eat out is more real even for real Japan. I know you have no idea which place is nice to eat. so just asking around people or hotel’s staff. You could find place to eat where being surrounded by Japanese but those type of atmosphere is close to real Japan. Be hungry.

11, Which Japanese yen should I use?

I know when we visit another country, this typical question usually popup. In this case just spread out all yen you have..(I have done it in overseas couple of times..) The shop staff will pick up enough amount of money to pay and if there is change, they just give you back with “Thank you” smile. just count on Japanese.

12, No tipping

There is no tipping system in Japan. If you are dying to express your gratitude for their good service, just put short your own appreciative words on paper or whatever and leave it on the table or hand it out directory if possible. They should become happy. If I were them I will be. If you pay extra money as tip, it gets them confused by contrast like how to handle this money between your token for thanks and their employer due to Japan doesn’t have tipping system.

13, “i” and “?” sign for tourist information center(TIC)

Have you been to tourist information center in anywhere and do you remember the sign for it? Japan has two symbols to indicate the TIC which are “ i “ and “ ? “. Just remember that those symbols are the same meaning.

14, Booking accommodations at TIC is usually expensive than Web

This is the same goes for no matter where, booking through on Web ahead of time is usually going to be the cheapest way. Form this general reason behind if you book accommodation at TIC, prices will be higher.

15, If there is free map written in Japanese, take it. As well as English map

Maybe you will be able to find free map by chance during travel. In this case let’s take Japanese map as well as English map. Because when you get lost and need a hand by Japanese, it makes easy to communicate with local people. This can be huge advantage of your travel.

16, Japanese is not good at English

In general, Japanese can not speak English well. They can understand what you’re saying but it hard to respond in English so you can possibly get answer either only “yes” or “no” and it’s not enough what you wanted but please try again with gesture. Most of Japanese should be able to get and answer back to you using gesture like you did. People lives in Urban city like Tokyo tends to be good at English. However more far away from urban city, more people don’t get used to English overall. Having said that this is really depending on person.. Having too much expectation is good for both of us….

17, No English oral guidance at Japanese festival

Japanese festival can become interesting one to traveler. However since all of words is Japanese so it should be hard to get it. You can get English info as prior knowledge on Web if the festival is quite famous for traveler as well. Concentrate and feel it!

18, Streets don’t always have name

If you are searching of destination based on street name, sometime you get confused because generally only major streets have name, so just keep this in your mind when you use map in Japan.

19, Don’t get confused between Subway and Japan Rail(JR)

Due to looks complex railway system in Tokyo I’ve seen a lot of people who were confused between Subway and JR. I think this is because some stations are shared by both Subway and JR also just I want to tell you that even subway it runs above ground in certain area depends on line though. Hope you don’t lose your way while using train.

20, Electricity

Have you ever wondered electricity in Japan for your device? The power supply in Japan is 100 volts AC. Running on 50 cycles in eastern cities including Tokyo. In western cities such as Kyoto and Osaka use 60 cycles. If you’re gonna use your electric appliances just check them if yours is compatible or not.

Hope this article will be useful one to you for trip into Japan.

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