Whether for your honeymoon or a solo venture, Japan is truly a wonderful destination for anyone looking for a retreat. From centuries-old traditions to connectivity with nature, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Japan.
There is no reason why Japan may not be the top tour destination for millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, many people misinterpret the cultural cues and make it a reason to delay their visit to Japan. If you are feeling the same, you can make these doubts go away with the right information.
Here are a few important things you must know before visiting Japan.
1. Always Keep Cash
If you are a frequent traveler, you may think that a credit card is the most secure option to make your transactions. There is no doubt that it is fast, secure, and efficient. While card transactions work in most parts of the world, you may find this theory unfitting in Japan.
Despite the modern outlook of Japan, cash is the primary mode of payment in Japan. From small cafes to souvenir shops, you will face many cash-only situations in even the most advanced towns. Make sure that you also have coins for vending machines to have a hassle-free experience.
2. Arrange for Data
Whether you are traveling alone or have company, losing connection mid-tour can cause panic in a foreign land. In such circumstances, travelers neither want to bear huge roaming fees nor know where to get free Wi-Fi for use. This problem can worsen even more if you are restricted by a language barrier.
You can make connectivity the least of your problems by making arrangements beforehand. It is always a good idea to roam freely with convenient sim card. It can offer you the right means to stay connected with the world wherever you go in Japan.
3. You Won’t Find Garbage Bins Easily
This might not be the most famous thing but one of the things that might shock you is that you will find it hard to look for a public garbage bin in Japan. It’s not that there are no garbage bins, but Japan has a different way to sort the trash.
Due to this reason, you might not be able to find a garbage bin and visitors who roam in the streets often have to carry the trash on them for hours before they can finally dispose of it. Sometimes, you might find a garbage bin but can’t recognize it.
So, remember that the garbage bins in public places are labeled with the work in Hiragana or Katakana. Moreover, there can also be an image on the garbage bin that can help you find it and dispose of your garbage.
However, there will be some places where you can find the garbage bins. For example, you can find these bins near a vending machine. But the question is, where can you find a vending machine? The simple answer is that you will find these machines across the country. So, you can easily find these and toss your trash in them.
4. Use a Translator
English has become a commonly spoken and understood language in larger cities of Japan. Tourists usually have no problem getting their message across in the frequently visited areas of Japan. However, the language barrier becomes more problematic when you enter the rural areas.
While many Japanese people can speak better English than they care to admit, it is always a good idea to have a translator by your side. It can be a great way for you to avoid miscommunication and ask freely for information.
5. Fully Understand the Dining Etiquettes
If you have visited Japan before, you might know about the “no elbow on the table” rule but there are some more things you should be aware of. These include don’t ever use your chopsticks to point, don’t place them on the side of your place or bowl and use the chopstick wrapper to place them.
Also, you cannot pass your food with chopsticks or stick them into your food. Chopsticks are only for handling the food while eating it. When you are inside a restaurant, they will give you a wet towel. You will have to use it to clean your hands before you start eating your food.
While it is considered somewhat bad in other cultures, slurping is a good thing in Japan. You can slurp away the soup and noodles you are given. This will be a sign of appreciation from your side. Also, when it’s time to pay the bill, place your card or cash on the extra tray provided to you. Accept the change the waiters bring to you. We’ll explain why you should do it in the next heading.
6. Don’t Leave a Tip at the Restaurant
Okay. You might be shocked by this fact, too but it is right. Unlike other countries around the whole world, it is prohibited to tip the waiters and restaurant staff in Japan. This is because they will consider it an insult and it will be an embarrassment for you, too.
So, any sort of change you are left with, just keep it and use it to buy anything from the vending machine. You may consider it a good gesture but the staff is not going to take it in a good way. So, just play safely and don’t risk embarrassing yourself.
7. Prepare for a Train Ride
Trains are the most common means of transportation for people to get around. As a traveler, it is rare for you not to read about the bullet trains of Japan, also known as Shinkansen. It is the best way to get around the city in record time.
While these bullet trains can save you a lot of time and ensure great views from windows, remember that the tickets can be expensive. You can look into the rail passes that can come in 7, 14, and 21-day packages for tourists who plan on traveling from one city to another frequently.