Are you traveling to Japan soon and searching for the best tips for your adventure? Someone recently posted in a popular online Japanese travel forum seeking tips for first-time travelers to Japan. These are the top-voted responses.
1. Book a Hotel that Offers Conveniences
“Book a hotel with a coin laundry, especially a dryer. It saves you space for clothes in your suitcase, and you can wash clothes back at night. For a two-week trip, you can manage three washes,” shared one.
“There are hotels with available conveniences and packages that can save you money, like ones that include breakfast with your stay. Also, on your last day before the flight back, consider a hotel that offers a free or paid shuttle to the airport.
Or if you are in Haneda, choose one of the hotels at the airport. This way, you have time to pack souvenirs and not worry about lugging heavy bags around busses or trains.”
2. Pack Any Medicine You Need
Another explained, “If you have any allergies, bringing that medicine with you is important to avoid confusion in the pharmacy. So I brought ibuprofen, antacids, allergy medicine, and something for congestion to fight off the dry air.”
3. Research Unique Experiences For Your Stay
“There are Airbnb experiences in Tokyo where you meet up with an English-speaking guide and professional photographer who can take pictures of you in Shinjuku,” one stated.
“They also offer other cultural experiences like traditional Japanese archery sessions, ramen making, Kimono sessions, and even waterway night paddling in Tokyo.”
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4. Plan Your Stay Around Less Busy Times
“Research when the areas you're interested in visiting are busy because it may be worth planning your daily activities around less busy times to make the most out of your experience,” suggested another.
“If you want to see Fushimi Inari empty or with fewer people, go early morning/late evening. However, early morning would be best. Adding in the sake museum will still not take all day unless you plan on climbing to the top of Fushimi mountain and down again.”
5. You Can Access Your Bank Accounts Through ATMs
Someone volunteered, “Regarding currency, there's no need to get a Wise Card for Japan. As long as you have a mainstream bank account, you can take out cash in Japan just like you would at any ATM here in the US.
The most reliable are the ones located at all 7-11 locations, and they go under the brand name 7 Bank. They also have some situated in train stations. The exchange rate is competitive, and the fees are reasonable.
It's also safe to carry cash in Japan, so you can save money on transaction fees by taking a higher amount. Many small transactions at mini marts, vending machines, and train stations will use IC Cards (reloadable cards you can pick up at train stations).”
6. Buy Theme Park Passes in Advance
“When going to the themed parks, get at least the 4-ride express pass, and make sure you buy them at least over a month ahead,” answered another.
“Buying on the website allows you to select timings. There are express passes for most attractions. It'll be expensive but worth it because you'll have time to enjoy the rest of the park more and explore other areas and attractions.”
7. Cash is Still Important in Japan
“Japan is still a cash-based society. Some vending machines and smaller shops only accept cash,” one explained. “Therefore, ensuring you have enough spending money to face an obstacle like this is essential. It is inconvenient for the store to pay with a card rather than cash in many places.”
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8. Most Things Will Be in English
“Most things in Japan are written in English as well as Japanese,” volunteered another. “When you're confused, someone will likely go out of their way to help you. Some may even approach you to practice their English. Everyone has always been very patient and thorough when I needed help.”
9. Purchase Pocket Wi-Fi
One noted, “Pocket WiFi is worthwhile if traveling to Japan. You will need Google Maps to ensure you get to the correct destination. There are also so many apps that will help you on your trip, so you don't want to miss out on experience due to your lack of connection.”
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10. Don’t Focus Too Heavily on a Set Schedule
“My only advice is not to worry too much about schedules,” one replied. “Try to leave room to relax and enjoy the trip. If you miss something on your agenda, don't worry too much; you'll likely be back in that area again on your journey.
The Arashiyama Arashiyama Bamboo Forest will take you at most a half hour. More if you have to fight through the crowds. The Kimono Forest is at the Randen Arashiyama Station, about ten minutes walk away.
There are other options in this area to fill the time, or you can get practically anywhere else in Kyoto on the buses.”
We hope you enjoyed this Reddit list of tips for traveling for the first time in Japan. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Impulse Traveler.