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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 30, 2021
Headline for 05 Essential Travel Tips to Japan – Get the Most Out of Your Holiday
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Essential Travel Tips to Japan – Get the Most Out of Your Holiday

Planning a trip to Japan? There are plenty of experiences and adventures to look forward to, though it always helps to be prepared. Here are some insights and tips that you should keep in mind to make your getaway a truly rewarding and enriching one.


Consider When to visit

Japan offers something to experience the whole year through. The summer months (June to September) are generally warm though it's better to also have some light sweaters. Autumn (October to November) will see temperatures begin to fall especially at night so warmer clothing is a must; it's also a great time to see autumn foliage. It can get quite cold in winter (December to March) so you will need to wear layers of winter clothing; skiing is a popular activity at places like Hokkaido where you can also witness the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. Spring (April to May) is one of the most beautiful times to visit Japan due to its cherry blossom season; you will need warm clothing since the temperatures are still relatively low.


Stay in a Central Location

When choosing accommodation, ensure it is in a central area of a city or town, located within easy reach of key attractions. This will give you a chance to save time and provide the perfect opportunity to explore areas and soak up the local culture. If you are heading to Hokkaido for example, look to stay near main sites of interest like the Otaru Canal at properties such as Grand Park Otaru; likewise, in Kyoto, you will want to be within easy reach of Nijo Castle, while in Tokyo, you can choose to be close to the Shibuya Crossing.


Check the Transport Options

Japan has an efficient transport system including bullet trains (Shinkansen), JR trains, the subway and buses; find a place to stay that provides easy access to such options. For example, in Otaru, accommodation that's close to the JR Otaru Chikko Station will provide a convenient way to travel to the city as well as explore surrounding areas; if travelling a lot by train, consider getting a JR Pass. You can also rent cars or take taxis, while some areas have special tourist buses that will take you to popular attractions.


Make a Sightseeing Itinerary

Since there is so much to experience, it's always better to make an itinerary beforehand so you don't miss out on some of the main attractions in Japan. When doing so, however, keep in mind that you need to be flexible as well. For example, the Otaru Canal is amongst the most popular sites in Hokkaido; keep in mind that while this site is great to explore during the day it warrants a night visit too when the locale is lit up and transformed. Additionally, make an itinerary that includes both traditional experiences and modern allures to gain more insights into this fascinating land.


Find Out About Local Etiquette

When visiting a new country, you should always find out more about its culture, etiquette and traditions; by doing so, you will know what behaviour is accepted and what is frowned upon. For example, in Japan, it is generally customary to remove footwear when entering homes and temples; additionally, while there is no strict dress code at temples, dress respectfully since these are sacred sites. Another thing to keep in mind is that when using chopsticks to eat, you should never stick them upright in your food; this is generally done only at funerals.