Exploring Japan - 10 Essential Tips for Travellers

Japan, a country known for its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and technological wonders, offers travellers a unique and captivating experience. From the serene temples of Kyoto to the bustling streets of Tokyo, there's no shortage of wonders to discover. To make the most of your journey through the Land of the Rising Sun, here are some indispensable tips for travellers.

1. Learn Basic Japanese Phrases

Japanese women in traditional costume

While English is widely spoken in urban areas, knowing a few basic Japanese phrases can enhance your experience and foster more meaningful interactions with locals. Simple greetings and expressions of gratitude go a long way in showing respect for the local culture. Especially useful are phrases related to food and travel. Also if you have access to mobile data you can always use translation apps if you are stuck. Japan eSIMS and SIM cards are cost-effective and a great way to have data on the go, but more of that later.

2. Embrace Japanese Etiquette

Politeness and respect are deeply ingrained in Japanese society. Be mindful of customs like bowing and removing your shoes before entering someone's home or certain traditional accommodations. Adhering to these practices demonstrates your appreciation for their way of life. For example, tipping in Japanese restaurants is not expected and attempting to tip can often offend. Check out videos on YouTube for some more advice on Japanese etiquette.

3. Try Japan's Excellent Public Transport

Bullet train Japan

Japan's public transportation system is renowned for its efficiency and punctuality. Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass for seamless travel across the country. It not only offers cost savings but also allows for convenient exploration of Japan's diverse regions. Japan's bullet trains are an iconic way to travel too, so consider using them if you have long distances to travel.

4. Carry Cash Outside Cities

Credit cards and prepaid Mastercards are widely accepted in Japan but in smaller towns and rural areas, it is always worth it to carry cash. It's probably best to buy your YEN in the UK or in your country for a better exchange rate and lower fees. If you need to use an ATM you can find them in cities at the Posr Office and 7-Eleven stores.

5. Get Yourself A SIM Or eSIM

A local SIM card or eSIM ensures uninterrupted access to crucial services such as maps, translation apps, and communication platforms. Navigating the bustling streets of Tokyo or finding hidden gems in Kyoto becomes a breeze. Japan SIM cards are very cost-effective compared to using international roaming services provided by your home carrier. Mobal is one such company that has English-language customer support, no contract and the profits go to charity. too. SIMS and eSIMS can be ordered online and shipped to your address or ordered online and picked up in Japan at various locations including airports.

6. Indulge In The Onsen Culture

Visiting an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring bath is a quintessential experience. Familiarise yourself with the etiquette beforehand to ensure you're following the proper procedures. Relaxing in an onsen is not only a relaxing treat but also a cultural one. So don't miss out on this uniquely Japanese experience.

7. Explore Local Cuisine Beyond Sushi And Ramen

While sushi and ramen are iconic dishes, Japan's culinary offerings are incredibly diverse. Don't limit yourself so why not try local specialities like tempura, okonomiyaki, and yakitori? Venture into izakayas to savour an array of authentic Japanese dishes in a cosy, pub-like atmosphere. Check out Time Out Japan for ideas of where to eat in the major tourist destinations. 

8. Plan For Peak Seasons


Cherry blossom season (sakura) and autumn foliage (koyo) are magical times to visit Japan, but they also draw large crowds. If you plan to travel during these peak seasons, make accommodation and transportation reservations well in advance to secure accommodation and get the best prices.

9. Immerse Yourself In Local Festivals and Events

Japan boasts a rich calendar of festivals, each offering a unique cultural experience. Research and coincide your visit with one of these events to gain deeper insights into Japan's traditions and festivities. Check out this list of some of the most popular Japanese festivals to plan your vacation around. 

10. Breathe And Take It All In

Japan is a country with a culture very different to ours in the Western World. Explore, see the sights, stop and breathe and take it all in. It's a bucket list county for many so think about how lucky you are to experience Japan in all its wonder.

In conclusion, Japan is a country that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation, offering travellers an experience that's simultaneously modern and deeply rooted in history. By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to navigate this fascinating land and make the most of your journey through the Land of the Rising Sun. Embrace the culture, relish the cuisine, and let the wonders of Japan leave an indelible mark on your travel memories. Safe travels!

*Collaborative post

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