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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Tips when visiting Japan for the very first time - A Different Kind of Paradise!
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Tips when visiting Japan for the very first time - A Different Kind of Paradise!

Japan is an exceptionally beautiful country in the most nontraditional sense. Let's look at some of the best tips to be aware of before visiting.


Get a JR Pass if you're going out of Tokyo

There has been so much talk on the Japan Rail Pass for tourists, where you can get a pass that allows access to any of the JR lines in the country for 7 days at a fee of $250. This includes several different high-speed trains known as shinkansen as well. This may seem like a hefty fee if you're not going to be travelling much, and you may be right with one exception. If your trip is based solely in Tokyo, you'll be better off using the Tokyo subway as these fares are generally cheaper and in the $2 range. They are incredibly easy to purchase from any of the available electronic ticket machines which have clear English instructions. If you're planning on stepping outside of Tokyo however, the JR Pass becomes your best friend as a round trip ticket to Kyoto for example costs as much as a JR pass.


Bring Cash

Japan is indeed a cash-based society and this is evident from the many places that do not take credit cards. Even franchises like McDonald's do not take cards. Most stores aren't generally equipped to handle cards and the ones that do, generally have a sign-up front. You can, however, withdraw cash out of ATM's from 7-11 or any post office, but make sure you carry a card that does not include any foreign transactions fees or cash withdrawal fees as this could ring you up a good amount. Another point to note is that everything between 1 yen and 500 yen which is generally around $5 come in coins. So it is highly advisable that you carry a coin purse or something of the sort. Coin purses tend to be one of the most popular souvenirs at tourists shops for a reason.


Convenience stores are your friend.

Convenience stores in Japan offer peace of mind to many tourists. Here you'll be able to find filling and nutritious meals for around $5 and that comes paired with ambient music and extremely friendly staff who will go out of their way to help you knowing that this is a foreign place to you. This is where you'll also find easy to use ATMs in case you need to withdraw some local currency. If you're looking for great Otaru accommodation while you're in the area, you could easily check out one of the many places around like the Grand Park Otaru.


Learn some Japanese Phrases

It's always best to learn a little Japanese beforehand, however, one of the most important phrases for you to remember would be "Eigo o hanashimasu ka?" which translates to "Do you speak English?". If they know the language they'll generally respond in it, if not they will reply by saying "iie" which means "no". However, you'll generally find English speakers at most tourist attractions and public places like train stations or airports.


Carry Hand Sanitizer and a Plastic Bag.

Most public restrooms in Japan do not have soap dispensers, so always make sure you carry hand sanitizer with you as a safety measure. Another thing to note is that you'll be hard-pressed to find trash cans in public places. As a result of a 1995 cult attack where explosives were left in public trash cans, these were removed. It's best to carry a plastic bag inside your carry bag to store your trash which you can empty at the end of your day.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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