Travelling to places unknown or new to you gives you the feeling of burst excitement and the unquenchable thirst to learn more about why these places become so awe-inspiring. Example, How Tokyo, a great city, can afar see the icy smoking cold vibes of Mt. Fuji, especially in a window seat of the high-speed train Tokaido Shinkansen?
How the Japanese culture preserves vast evergreen fields? How they infused ancient traditions and modern technology together and progress above today’s generation and many countries? This article will guide you in things to know before travelling to Japan.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELLING TO JAPAN
Can you imagine a place that continued to grow all the time economically? Despite being at the centre of the typhoon belt, and has a history of an exceptional nature tragedy. Japan remains tough and is one of the most beautiful continents to travel in the world. Are you excited? If you are, then let’s prepare the things we need while travelling in Japan.
Essential things to pack
Before booking your flight, you must first be aware of the climate of the place and the date you are planning to travel. These are necessary to avoid misused clothes and stuff. Japan has four seasons, namely Natsu (summer), Haru (spring), Fuyu (winter), Aki (autumn). By choosing what things to pack, you must first know what time of year you are planning to visit. However, these are some of the essential things you need to have easy access upon arrival in Japan.
- Credit cards or Debit Cards
- Wi-Fi and SIM card access
- Japan Maps
- Japanese to English Dictionary
- Weather and Earthquake alert apps
- Japan Rail Pass
- Hop on Hop Off Bus pass
Best time to go to Japan
Typhoon generally occurs in between August and September. Japanese unbuckle up in this gloomy weather and wear rain boots, a cotton shirt, denim or silky raincoat, wool scarf, and a heavy-duty umbrella. I suggest packing your rainy-day gear, which includes the power bank, portable Wi-Fi, electric adapter, and things that you can use when a power interruption sudden occurs.
During the winter in Japan, you can go skiing. Check this post that will guide you the cost to expect, what to do, and other travel tips that can be useful.
Summer befalls the month of June to August. This is the time to strategize your packing and fight the temperate climate and the heat and humidity of Japan. Get your fancy sunglasses with UV light filter, and above 30 SPF sunscreen, it can be very hot in Japan.
The best time to go to the country still depends on your unique preferences. Some people tend to like the rainy seasons more than summer for little reasons that they don’t want to experience heat for a while. Meanwhile, others book their flights before Ganjitsu or New Year’s Day. Be aware, shopping streets like Shotengai is not open from January 1-3.
The average cost per person per day
The first thing in the list of the essential things you need is the Cash. But how much money does a first-time traveller need per day to live up in the streets of Japan? I’ll show you.
This will guide you to know the good trip to Japan cost. Below are the estimated expenses from the cheapest to luxurious in terms of USD and Euro.
On a budget
- Food: Tempura, Sashimi, Gyoza, Rice Balls, Ramen, Gyudon, Curry, and Sushi are some of the popular foods in Japan which you can get at the convenience store. You can buy these foods for at least 19$, and it is suitable for the whole day. It’s a great idea to munch up their street foods on the first days of the trip.
- Transportation: Tokyo metro cost 5$ for the whole day pass
Accommodations: You can stay and replenish your strength in cheap dorm beds and hostel in Tokyo at around $30 per night.
Estimated cost per day: 54$ or 48€
- Food: 43$ is suitable for three meals a day if you are planning to chill and dine to their midrange café. You can get breakfast in Sukiya for 4-14$. Lunch and dinner at Izakayas cost around 30$
- Transportation: You could choose to travel around destinations for 7$ using Japan Railway or Water bus that approximately cost 3$-19$ run by Tokyo Cruise or Tokyo Mizube Cruising.
Accommodations: If you want a savvier place to relax, you will be spending around 47$- 76$ in a double-room at business hotels, guest houses, and cheap hotels that goes 141$ per room.
Estimated cost per day: 111$ or 100€
High-end or Luxury
- Food: Breakfast at hotels cost around 19$. If you want to taste a little more about japan, I suggest to try out their famous Kobe beef that cost 95$ per person.
- Transportation: If you wish to sit back, relax, and not worry about navigating your way to tourist spots. I suggest availing a tour bus that cost 30$-100$. Prices vary from the place you want to visit.
Accommodations: The best quality hotels in Japan with double bedrooms cost around 95$-250$. You can expect to pay 280$ for a High-class hotel Ryokan.
Estimated cost per day: 256$ or 231€
It’s best and recommended to book accommodation even just the first two nights to avoid finding yourself lost in a city you’ve never been. I normally use booking.com (often, you don’t need to pay anything upfront) and Hostelworld (for a great collection of affordable hostels), while HotelsCombined is very popular in Asia because you can compare different platform and hotels in this site.
Transportation and getting around
The moment you set off your foot in the land of Japan, and once you already have your Buss pass and Rail pass. You will never get the sense that you’re going astray because of their extensive easy to follow transport infrastructure.
You can ride Japan railway or a regular train, Shinkansen (Bullet Train), and Subways for underground and quick and easy access to every corner of Japan. There are multiple options like local railways, taxis, buses, bicycles, rental cars, ferries and cruise ships, and air travel.
Overcome Language Barrier
If you are a shy person, this will be a great time to break out of that shell. One way to overcome a language barrier is to ask for directions, so don’t be shy and burst it. Japanese people are polite, kind, and organize, although some of them may not understand English.
I recommend you to download a translation app that can help you translate the questions and inquiries. This is one of the important stuff to know before travelling to Japan.
Following the rules and regulations
Japan has multiple sets of rules and regulations from little things like what side of the streets to walk on and to bow upon entering a temple. You can see designated smoking spots, few trash cans, and eating and drinking on trains are a major positive. These rules and codes are things to know before going to Japan, and you need them for a little head start.
Do’s and Don’ts
Tipping is great but never tip a waiter, sales lady, or a cashier in Japan. People may find it very offensive. You don’t give the payment to the cashier, but instead, put the money in a container beside the counter. Never smoke while walking unless you are in the designated spot.
And for do’s I suggest to slurp your delicious ramen as loud as you can, the chef finds it as a compliment. For your trash, you can find places utmost clean and green, and trash cans are rare to find, so do hang on to your dumpster for a little while.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN JAPAN
The moment you land at the airport in Japan is the time where you will find your best culture rewarding experience. There are many tourist places and dos to experience. If you want to gasp the solemn and organized nature of the Japanese culture, it will take a while.
If you don’t like the crowd, check these off-the-beaten paths that you can explore in Japan.
ALSO READ: Japan 3 week itinerary
But if you are a first-timer and wish to know the best sites, follow my guide. You cannot squeeze out all the things you can learn and enjoy. So, I decided to list the traditionally maintained innovative cities and places many tourists loved to experience.
Make a pre-list of things you want to do
To not overwhelm yourself, it’s best to look at the tours and attractions that might interest you. It will also help you maximise your days in Japan while making sure you will get to see and experience everything that you hope to while here.
I mostly use GetYourGuide because they have a massive worldwide collection of great tours, while Klook is very focused in Southeast and East Asia another option is Viator which is well-known in delivering great tours.
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, has the highest population in the continent. Tokyo is where the heart of the town lies, and the city never sleeps. A metropolis is a busy place, you can see employees, students, businessman, always on the rush. Alongside is 26 cities where you can absolutely find something to enjoy in your days, weeks, or years of stay.
How to get into Tokyo from Kyoto
- You can ride a bullet train or the japan rail pass
- around Tokyo – metropass
Best tourist attractions in Tokyo
Things to do Tokyo
- Explore traditional places
- Wrestle with sumo culture
- Party all night
- Gaze out sceneries on tall buildings
- Witness traditional dance
If you are looking for a more peaceful, nature, traditional and historic vibes, Sendai is the place to go, and it is the home of one of their feudal lord samurais, Date Masamune. The area is also known to be the first originator of several Japanese food dishes, and famous for the Sendai Tanabata or Japanese Star Festival.
How to get to Sendai from Tokyo
- Japan Rail Pass
- Bus & Car
Best attractions in Sendai
- Zuihoden Mausoleum
- Sendai Castle Ruins
- Miyagi Museum of Art
- Kirin Brewery
- Morning market
Things to do in Sendai
- Explore Museums
- Learn how to Craft with Japanese
- Shop at Sendai Station
- Learn about the history of Date Masamun
- Stroll on tsunami devastated areas
According to history, Nara was the first capital of Japan, and this is where the Emperor resides. The city is vibrant with culture and layers of history. There are a lot of historical sites because back in the old days, their government-supported Buddhism and build large temples across the state to protect the Emperor and the land.
How to get to Nara from Tokyo
- JR Nara Rapid Line (Regular train)
- Bullet Train (Shinkansen)
Best tourist attractions in Nara
- Kasugayama Primeval Forest
- Kasuga-Taisha Shrine
- Dorogawa Onsen
- Nara Cultural Centre
Things to do Nara
- Roam in Nara Park together with the deer
- Visit Nara National Museum
- Visit Shrines and temple
- take a bath in Kasugayama Primeval Forest
MUST-EAT FOOD IN JAPAN
Japanese Culture gives rises to tasty Japanese Cuisine. When it comes to food, Japan is never last in the line. For the love of food, Japanese people muster many influences from east and west along with ancient tradition ingredients.
Being healthy, delicious, unique blends, and cleanly maintained. You will never run out of food to munch when in Japan. We recommend you check these themed cafes in Tokyo for some cool experiences.
Preparing for a sushi dish ingredient includes raw fish, uncooked sushi rice, seaweed sheets, and other additional spices like avocado, pounded crabmeat, and cucumber. Sushi is a typical food in Japan, and with many years of cooking this dish, they elevate to be the best culture to cook Sushi. If you want the real Sushi experience, go to Japan and try on.
- Where to try: Sushi Yoshino, Sushi Kappo Fukuhura Hamacho Branch, Kamata Sushitoku, Ryuma, and Sushi Aoi Nishi Azabu or join a sushi cooking class here
- Estimated Cost: 18$ – 94$ / person
Whatever anime you watch, ramen is commonly expressed as their daily food. It is true for the Japanese people; they can eat ramen almost every day.
The dish is a combination of homemade noodles, broth, soy sauce, pork, spice, stock, miso, dashi, shitake, soba, bamboo shoot, kimchi, and onions all blended to create a genuinely mouthwatering food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Where to try: Gogyo Ramen, Inchiran Ramen Tokyo, Tsuta Ramen, Mutekiya Ramen, Ramen Jiro
- Estimated Cost: 5$ – 20$
Mozuku is the food to try in Japan when craving for something vegetable oil deep-fried food, especially if you are a vegetarian. Mozuku works well with Tofu, a traditional healthy food salad with seafood on top. Japan introduced the food during the 16th century and foster until today because of its richness in taste and surprisingly robust attributes.
- Where to try: Mozukusoba Wayama Mozuku, Tsukiji
- Estimated Cost: 5$ – 20$
Now that you learn all the essential guides and some of the basic culture of Japanese people. You are now ready to venture on your expedition.
I hope this article about important things to know before travelling to Japan has been useful for you. Let us know in the comment section below if you have any questions.