Japan Travel Hacks
For those that don’t know me personally, I LOVE JAPAN! I love Japan so much that I moved there for a good 10 years, give or take. Before living there I traveled to Japan several times as well. People often ask me about traveling to Japan, so I thought I’d put together a list of “Japan Travel Hacks”.
Cash Rules Everything Around Me – Japan is still a mostly cash based society, so it would behoove you to always, AND I MEAN ALWAYS, have cash with you. My rule of thumb when going out is to carry at least 20,000 yen ($200 USD). If I was traveling and planned on doing some shopping or eating out at a fancy restaurant, of course that number would be higher, but for the sake of pocket cash…at least 20,000 yen in your pocket at all times. By the way…Bank machines in Japan often have hours of operations, so unlike most countries you can’t always “rock up to an ATM” and grab cash in the middle of the night!
Depending on the part of Japan you are visiting, you might be able to get by with just WIFI at local coffee shops and the like, but if you are like me and you NEED to be connected…I highly recommend picking up a pocket wifi or SIM card at the airport when you land in Japan. There are also plans that you can get with your countries mobile providers that allow a bit of international data/service. I did notice that for text and emails(My plan was with T-Mobile and it was 2-2.5G speeds aka slow), I was okay with this type of plan, but for Youtube and other larger data consumers…the pocket wifi was the way to go.
Speak the Lingo
You CAN get away with not speaking Japanese at all on your trip to Japan, but if you learn a few phrases, your trip will be a lot more fun. Just grab a Japanese for travelers phrase book. Also grab a couple of apps for your smart phone:
- Japanese (A Japanese/English Dictionary)
- Google Translate (It also allows you to take pictures of Japanese text and translates it on-the-fly)
MY FEET HURT
You are going to do A LOT of walking in Japan, so you really should bring a really really comfortable pair of shoes. I prefer running type shoes over walking shoes, but whatever suites you best. Also invest in some really good socks to go along with those awesome shoes you are bringing. Also, while we are on the subject of walking, you should probably hydrate a lot during the day while you are walking. In Japan I recommend Pocari Sweat sports drink.
A good travel battery is what everyone needs, regardless if you are traveling to Japan or just heading to the beach or mountains in your local. I always carry one that will charge my phone numerous times before needing to be recharged. This is especially the case when I travel to Japan, because I know I am going to be taking A LOT of pictures and video, which drains the ole iPhone battery. I like the Anker branded power banks.
The most important Japan Travel Hack is to have a plan. I myself don’t like over planning, but I do have an idea of what I want to do and what I want to see. I always say do what interests you. For example, I am into cars, technology, and gaming. These three hobbies or interests will guide my travel in Japan. I know I want to visit some car shops or a track, hit up the electronics stores, and of course hit up all the games shops and arcades. I will do the usual touristy things like visit landmarks and the like, but they are not my main purpose. I usually plan a couple things that I want to do that day, and leave lots of extra time for exploring and checking out the unexpected places or things I come across. The only time I would do group organized tours is for places like Mt Fuji or other things like famous hot springs, etc.
My best Japan Travel Hack is to…. GO TO JAPAN!! It will be a great experience that you will never forget! As usual when you are traveling to a foreign country, keep an open mind and understand that things are often done differently (and usually for a perfectly good reason). Safe travels!
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