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when traveling to Japan

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Tokyo, Japan

when traveling to Japan Tokyo Reviews

jnyx19 jnyx19
1 reviews
Escapade in the Land of the Rising Sun Nov 14, 2016
For ten glorious days in October, I had the privilege to explore the beautiful country that is Japan. My tour included Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto and Osaka. I thought I had researched my way into a comfortable level of knowledge to get myself around but in hindsight, there were some things I could have spent more time looking into. So, dear traveler, please inherit the little wisdoms I am able to pass to you now.

Japanese: In general, if I travel I like to learn at least a good smattering of the local language to keep me from pulling out the pocket translator or phrase book as much as possible. I highly encourage you to check out all the awesome free language tools the internet has to provide. At the very least, remember that Japan is a very polite society so "please", "thank you" and "excuse me" will get you a long way. Also the basic yes or no. Personally, I ranked things I absolutely knew I would need to say like coffee, dessert and cat. Learning a new language is a hoot and if you are lucky enough to encounter one of your fellow Travbuddy friends, it helps to keep the ol'lines of communication open.

Metro: This area I wish I had spent more time on. The best piece of advice I can give you is get yourself a subway/rail map. I can't tell you how many times I used mine. Tokyo has a handy one that has English on one side and Japanese on the other. If you get lost, the metro staff are extremely pleasant and helpful. If they can't figure out what you are asking, they will get you to someone who can. Again a little bit of Japanese here will help you out. In most stations in the city, the station name will be printed English-friendly just below. When you are in the station, be mindful of the platform you need to be on. I got tripped up a few times because I knew I wanted to go south but the station I wanted wasn't listed. Pulled out my handy metro map and BAM, last station on the map told me the platform I needed. Kyoto had a PDF downloadable version, I'm sure Tokyo would as well but I can't say for certain.

Crowded train cars: Look, Japan has a lot of people. In big cities those people need to get to work. Be prepared to have your personal bubble popped, folded in to a neat little origami swan and sent flying high into the morning sun. Embrace the comfort of getting real up close and personal with your fellow travelers or invest in a good pair of walking shoes (I actually just cruised around in Sketchers memory foam slip-ons and they were champion!)

MIFI - BEST.INVENTION.EVER. I can't express how grateful and helpful this little device was for me. From keeping in contact with friends and family to using GPS to navigate around (Google Maps walking is a little touchy but worth it). It was around $70 for 10 days. I picked it up at the Narita Airport Post Office (By lane C on the second floor/check in counters, once you clear customs) and then rocked that little thing all the way until I checked my bag to head home. Just pop it back in an envelope and drop it off at the post office. Most places will give you a "to do" manual about where and how to drop it off but mine was super easy. I went through Global Advance Communication. So awesome.

Shopping - So in general when you are shopping, the shopkeeper or owner will show you a calculator or display to let you know what your cost is. The lines are very organized and customer service is exceptional. Keep in mind shops close earlier than in the US. Most shops timetable is online so give it a look before you walk over.

Food: I could go into so much about this but I will keep it brief. In general, I don't consider myself to be extremely adventurous with food. I like to try a little here and a little there but never a full on departure from my norm. Enter travel Justine. I think besides coffee and the occasional western breakfast, I never ate a dish I could have at home. From fried chicken cartilage (no really, try it!), octopus (I didn't expect it to be cold) to the best freaking ramen I have ever had the chance to indulge in, try it. That's the best advice I can give you. Live and eat. Oh, and if you get the chance find chestnut ice cream. Nom.

Tours: I traveled on day tours with Sunrise Tours. They were amazing, entertaining and insightful. I had five tours total with them. I liked the flexibility it gave me. I could do the super tourist thing in the day and then rock the wander bit at night. I very much enjoyed a tour to Nikko, a day tour of Tokyo and of course Mt. Fuji. The bonus to these is that lunch is usually included. By lunch I mean breakfast, lunch and dinner all compiled into one tray and served with miso soup. A light breakfast, tour provided lunch and a very light dinner were plenty to sustain me and leave lots of room for snacks.

Currency: Not overly complicated but worth pointing out, the Yen is both coin and paper notes. The coins come in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500. Of note, the 2000 yen seems to not be as widely accepted in metro machines or vending machines. I did not find Japan to be that expensive excluding airfare. The prices are very similar to that of the U.S.

Ten days was not nearly enough time to explore and see all the things I would have liked to but it was still a blissfully enchanted adventure. October is a lovely time to travel, not too warm, cool at night. Regardless of when you go, pack light and save room for all the lovely treats and treasures Japan has to offer!
Osaka at dusk.
East Imperial Gardens
Dinner in Yūrakuchō
Lunch on Mt. Fuji tour!
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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world-traveller123 says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: Nov 18, 2016
simsing says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: Nov 18, 2016
Paulovic says:
Congrats on being featured! Keep up the good work! :D
Posted on: Nov 18, 2016
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soifa soifa
2 reviews
when traveling to Japan Apr 24, 2011
When traveling to Japan, you'd better know some basic Japanese,cause Japanese are not so good at English.

It's much cheaper to use subway and buses than taxies, you can get "subway one day pass" from the airport.

No need to bargain when you shop in Japan.

Usually there is no trash bins on the streets, better to take a trash bag with you.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Kate Kate
6 reviews
Feb 14, 2007
Traveling in Japan can be a great experience. I have had many family members and friends come and visit me over this past year I have come up with some valuable advice I would like to share with all you visitors coming to Japan in order of importance:

1. Bring lots of cash. What ever you think you need double it and bring it in cash. Most places in Japan do not accept credit cards and this usually becomes a problem for my visitors half way through the trip. I know you might feel uncomfortable having large bills in your wallet ( as I first did when I came here) but Japan is such a safe country theft is not a problem. Bring CASH!!

2. If you are staying over 5 days buy a JR railpass. You can buy them at most travel agencies and it will save you a ton of money! Taking the train everywhere quickly adds up and especially if you plan on seeing more than one city you NEED to get a JR railpass. For example, a JR pass is around $200 for a week of unlimited travel anywhere in Japan. If I were to buy a train ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto this would cost around $150 each way. So if you plan to go anywhere in Japan I suggest you get a railpass. How do you get a railpass? You can only buy it in your home country you cannot buy it in Japan so you need to order it 4-6 weeks before you plan on coming so go to your nearest travel agency and pick one up it will save you a fortune ( which is important since Japan is soooo expensive)

3. For packing I suggest packing travel sizes of western medicine that you might need just in case ( Japanese medicine is alot less potent then western medicine I have come to find), always bring an umbrella, women should not pack any clothing that reveal their shoulders (yes even in summer), and finally a good pair of walking shoes since regardless of where you are staying in Japan I promise you will be doing alot of walking.

I hope this helps email me if you have any questions!
Himeji Castle
Ueno Park in Tokyo
Sumo
Shibuya
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katzylicious says:
hey kate! thanks for the advise. i'm just wondering though is the JR pass the one you use for the subways too? and what about the tops?
Posted on: Jun 10, 2012
loloa312 says:
Thanks! good advice..I am heading to Japan over New Years!!!
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008
rgriffs says:
Cheers for the advice!
Posted on: Aug 20, 2008

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