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6 Essential Tips For A Trip To Japan

You’ve finally booked the trip to Japan you’ve always wanted. Congratulations! Japan is a magnificent country where you can experience a different culture, food, traditions, and breathtaking landscapes.

However, since it is a trip that you appreciate so much, it is better to leave prepared. Just to avoid spoiling some of the moments there.

Preparing for a trip to Japan is no different than any other foreign country you visit. You just need to know the details, what to look out for, tourist traps to avoid, and incredible hidden gems to visit.

So, in today’s article, we decided to highlight a few tips that will make your Japan trip safer, more enjoyable, and without a hustle.


1. When is the Best Time to Visit Japan

Deciding when to visit Japan is like choosing your favorite sushi roll; each option has its unique flavor! Japan's four seasons each offer distinct experiences. Fancy a winter wonderland? Hit the ski slopes and enjoy fewer crowds in cities.

Spring brings the iconic cherry blossoms, but with it, hordes of tourists (and skyrocketing hotel prices). Summer can be hot and humid, but hey, it's the best time to visit snow monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park.

And autumn? Picture perfect with its tapestry of reds and oranges. But remember, popular times like Golden Week and cherry blossom season can get as packed as a Tokyo subway car during rush hour​​.

So, deciding when to visit Japan comes down to personal preferences. I would prefer to visit Japan during Spring.

2. Cash or Card? Navigating Japan's Payment Puzzle

So, you are going to Japan, and should you bring cash or your credit card is fine? Well, you’ll be surprised to find out that a country that has the most vending machines actually loves cash!

Yep! Japan loves cash. While your trusty credit card might feel lonely, it's crucial to have Japanese Yen in your wallet. But wait, there's a twist!

Some Japanese websites don't play nice with Visa, so having a Mastercard in your arsenal is wise. And for those tech-savvy travelers, adding a Suica or Pasmo card to your Apple Wallet can turn your phone into a magic wand for public transport​​.

So, make sure to bring some cash to Japan, or exchange it at the airport.

3. Make Sure to Visit Japan's Theme Parks and Animal Cafes

Universal Studios in Osaka? A must-visit for thrill-seekers, with an annual footfall that rivals the population of a small country!

And let's not forget the new Harry Potter Park in Tokyo, where booking tickets is akin to snagging a golden snitch – you need to be quick and plan three months ahead. If you're an animal lover, Tokyo's got you covered with cat, hedgehog, and even penguin cafes!​​

4. Exploring Beyond Tokyo: Japan's Hidden Gems

Want to avoid the tourist traps? Japan's hidden Pokémon-themed manholes are a quirky treasure hunt waiting to happen.

And for a more traditional twist, try stamp collecting at various attractions – it's like Pokémon Go, but with ink and paper! Plus, day trips from Tokyo, like visiting Mount Fuji, offer a serene escape from the urban jungle​​.

If you like horse racing, for example, you’ll be excited to find out that Japan has quite a rich history with the sport.

Did you know one of Asia's biggest tracks, the Tokyo Racecourse, hosts one of the Kentucky Derby prep races in February? So, if you love horse racing this is a place that you must visit!

5. Japanese Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts

Here are some dos and Don’ts that you must follow when visiting Japan.
  • Embrace the bow but don't turn it into a workout session. And when in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), remember that surprise visits are as welcome as a typhoon in summer.
  • Additionally, make sure you wear your best socks, since most of the places in Japan require you to take off your shoes.
  • Also, remember that the public transport in Japan is a serious place where you cannot fool around. Make sure to stay quiet and mind your own business.
  • Here is a weird one, don’t tip! Yes, in Japanese culture, exceptional service is expected and appreciated, but it can be considered rude if you try to leave a tip.
  • Don’t point, especially not in public!
  • Recycling rules must be followed. So make sure you organize your garbage and dispose of it in the right section.
  • If you are considering an onsen (hot springs), they're divine, maybe skip them during the scorching summer months​​ and if you decide to enter one, make sure you wash and rinse off before entering.

6. Get a Translator Gadget or App

Language barrier is common when traveling abroad, but in Japan is more difficult for people who do not speak the native language. In other countries, some of the words and letters are quite similar, and you might be able to figure out a direction, a meal, or anything else. However, in Japan, you’ll need a translator app or gadget that can help you speak to locals.