A Guide to Traveling in Japan

A Guide to Traveling in Japan

Finally, Japan is back in business and welcoming tourists without any restrictions and for many travelers, that means it’s time to start planning that dream Japanese holiday. Organizing a tour in Japan can be incredibly exciting, with a plethora of choices for places to visit – from the temples of Kyoto to the delights of Disneyland and Shibuya.

Speaking as Brits that have visited Japan countless times, however, we thought we’d focus today on a few things first-timers might not be aware of when setting off for the land of the rising sun.

Cash is King

One important thing to keep in mind while traveling in Japan is that many places, especially smaller establishments, don’t accept credit or debit cards. It is crucial to ensure that you have enough cash with you to cover your expenses. While major cities and tourist areas usually accept cards (particularly Tokyo), it's a good idea to carry cash for smaller shops, restaurants, and local transportation.

The Japan Rail Pass

Transportation in Japan can be relatively expensive, especially if you plan to travel between multiple cities. The Shinkansen, Japan's high-speed train, is a convenient way to travel, but the fares can quickly add up. To save money and enjoy unlimited travel, consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass before arriving in Japan. This pass is exclusively available to tourists and allows unlimited travel on JR (Japan Rail) trains for a specified period. It is recommended to order the pass a couple of weeks before your flight to Japan to ensure it arrives on time.

Mind Your Manners

Japan has a rich culture of etiquette and social norms that are important to be aware of as a traveler. One notable custom is that talking or being on calls on public transport, such as trains and buses, is generally considered impolite. It is advisable to keep your conversations to a minimum or use headphones while in transit to avoid disturbing others.

Staying connected online during your stay in Japan won't be a problem, though, if you purchase a Sims Direct travel sim before your trip. You may check out eSIMs which allow you to activate a cellular plan right from your phone, making it a more flexible and hassle-free option. If you want to know what phones have eSIM, you may also check out Simify.

Savor the Food

Japan is renowned for its delicious cuisine, and trying different foods is a highlight of any trip to the country. However, it is essential to remember a particular rule: eating while walking is not customary in Japan. Unlike many other countries, where snacking is common, it is considered impolite to eat while walking in public areas. Instead, find a designated area or seating spot to enjoy your food.

Know the Rules of the Land

In many metropolitan areas of Japan, smoking in the street is forbidden. To maintain cleanliness and reduce second-hand smoke exposure, smoking is restricted to designated areas, which are usually found near train stations. It’s also common for restaurants and bars to have separate indoor smoking areas. If you are a smoker, be mindful of these regulations and seek out the designated smoking spots.

Carry Your Litter

Finally, one thing that many first-timers don’t realize is how sparse Japan is with its bins. It is unusual to find public bins in Japan, particularly on the streets. Instead of relying on public bins, it is customary for people to carry their litter home with them or to a designated waste area. This practice helps maintain cleanliness in public spaces and encourages responsible waste management. So, remember to bring a small bag to carry your rubbish and dispose of it appropriately.