Tips for Traveling to Japan
Tips for traveling to Japan for the first time! Because traveling to such a different country makes you wonder a thousand times during the preparations!
Japan, an incredible country to travel to, full of spectacular places, culture different from ours, wonderful people.
One very important thing before making a trip is that you have to know a little about the culture of the Japanese to not have surprises during the trip.
For example, the Japanese don’t stay at home on Sundays, they go sightseeing and the places collapse!
To make the trip a lot of fun I leave a series of recommendations that you must take into account before traveling.
Visa required to travel to Japan
Very few countries need a visa if you travel to Japan for tourism. In the passport control you are given a free three-month permit for different nationalities. Check with the Japanese embassy in your country if you require additional permits.
Travel Insurance Japan
Before making any trip you must have considered a travel insurance, whether you travel alone or in family is always very important to have covered this type of unforeseen, which in case of an accident or a simple illness can be very expensive.
Japan is a safe country, that is clear, but we never know what could happen to us. Lost luggage, cancelled flights, a medical emergency… Whatever the case, we recommend you purchase travel insurance to travel with the peace of mind necessary to focus on the important: enjoy Japan.
It’s better to quote a good coverage that has you protected.
So it’s very strict to have the best coverage and medical care is almost obligatory if you don’t want to get upset.
One can find lots of stories on the social networks of people who lost their vacations because of unforeseen medical illnesses and accidents they had during their trip.
What is the best time to travel to Japan?
Any time of year is a good time to travel to Japan, perhaps the most recommended is spring and fall.
In autumn the climate is very pleasantIn summer (July-September) it is also good, it is quite hot in cities like Tokyo or Kyoto.
When to see cherry blossoms in Japan?
In spring also and you can enjoy the petals of the cherry trees that make a spectacular coloring.
The cherry trees are dressed with their precious flowers for the enjoyment of tourists and natives. The best month to visit is late April and early May, where rainfall is infrequent and the temperature is very mild.
Electricity in Japan
The electrical current in Japan is 100V so you will have to carry in your suitcase a transformer if you carry certain devices not adapted to this voltage.
Laptops, tablets and others are already prepared for different voltages and frequencies (phones will simply charge slower). The plug is also different so you will need to carry a universal adapter.
A good idea would also be to buy a SIM card to be able to have data either with a portable wifi or with a second phone. There are companies that offer you this service with the router included.
In the stations of train and subway it is very easy to orientate, the names appear first in Japanese and then in English (and everything perfectly indicated with what you will not have any sure problem).
In any case, it is also interesting to download in your phone some application where you will find all the information you need.
Translator: In Japan not everyone speaks English so we better go with our google friend, the APP of Google Translate is the best: IOS / Android
Currency converter is often used XE.com, also has an APP for everything to be faster
Offline Maps Citymapstogo2: It was a discovery we made in our first trip to Japan, it allows you to download offline maps of cities. Android / IOS
Hyperdia: Provides detailed information about JR train tickets, timetables, stations, journey times and exact distances that will help you organize your trips in Japan. Android /IOS
TokyoSubway: Tokyo metro application available on Android/ IOS
Change of currency and cards without commissions
When leaving the airport area, be careful with the exchange rate and commissions paid when using the conventional credit/debit card.
In Japan you can exchange money and the exchange rate will be good, but if you want to bring money ready from your country I recommend you investigate where to exchange currencies while traveling.
Write the addresses in Japanese
This is something important, whenever you want to go somewhere, change hotel … the best thing is to ask someone to write the address in Japanese, because for example are very confused taxi drivers and will be very easy to tell the destination showing the address to which you are going in their language.
Prevents important visits from coinciding on Sundays
The Japanese don’t stay at home on Sundays, they go there to go sightseeing and the places collapse!
The train is always collapsed these days, the tourist temples are always full, and you can hardly walk down the street.
Use the cashiers of the 7-Eleven Supermarkets
If you prefer to withdraw money from the cashier, the only cashiers who do not charge commission are the 7-Eleven cashiers, and they are everywhere else!
Make sure you are not only in a 7-Eleven, but also in a 7-Eleven Bank, because sometimes there are ATMs of other banks as well.
If you are a smoker you will have to be careful because in many streets smoking is forbidden and you will only be able to do so in the areas set aside for it.
Especially in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, it is quite common to see non-smoking signs in the streets.
Book your hotels in advance
It is customary in Japan to book your hotels in advance. Especially in busy seasons, such as the golden week or the cherry blossom season, you run the risk of not finding a place to stay or having to pay excessive prices for your hotel room.
Check if it’s worth buying a Japan Rail Pass
All tourist attractions in Japan are easily accessible by train. Travelling on the train is not cheap, but neither is renting a car. If you travel a lot by train, you can benefit from a Japan Rail Pass.
There are train passes for 1 week, 2 weeks and a maximum of 3 weeks (21 day JR pass). You can enter all your individual routes from your Japan itinerary on the Hyperdia website. Along with the schedule, Hyperdia will also show you the exact prices for these routes.
Night buses to save money and time.
Although the Japan Rail Pass already saves your travel expenses, it still takes up a large part of your travel budget.
If you don’t mind giving up a little comfort in exchange for a cheaper alternative, you should check your budget for night buses.
The task of transporting at night not only saves a day’s travel, but you travel while you sleep rather than during the day, it also makes travel cheaper.
Taking overnight transportation in Japan also acts as your accommodation. You don’t need a bed to sleep if you have one on your bus. Of course, it’s not always easy to sleep 8 full and quiet hours on a moving bus, but it’s an excellent way to save a little yen and a day’s travel time if you have a tight schedule.
Tips for renting a car in Japan
If you think of Japan, you may not think directly about renting a car, as public transportation is so efficient.
This is true for many places, but a car makes life much easier in other cases. If you add a visit to the snowman (near Nagano) along with a visit to the Tomioka silk mill on your Japan itinerary, you won’t be able to visit both in one day from Tokyo.
There are a few things to keep in mind when renting a car in Japan. The following tips will help you have a smooth trip.
Roads and Highways
Japan drives on the left side of the road. If you’re not used to this, take extra precautions when driving.
It’s not difficult and most cars are automatic that make changing sides much easier, since you don’t need to use the gearbox with your hand.
Make sure you have enough cash
Most restaurants accept credit cards, but smaller establishments still swear in cash, and sometimes credit cards are not accepted for train or subway tickets.
Tolls are expensive if you don’t have a subscription. Ask the rental agency if they can provide a subscription along with the car you will pay when you return the car.
Pay at the place on each toll road, otherwise double or triple the rental price.