THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO JAPAN

TIPS FOR COMING TO JAPAN

Your guide to your dream vacation

TIP #1 : JR RAIL PASS

  • Save lots of money by buying this JR Rail Pass! Japan is a country in which the railway system is developed to such an advanced level, it’s possibly the most convenient and efficient way to travel in Japan. However, if you’re travelling to many places and moving long distances, it can get quite pricy. Which is why you should buy the JR Rail Pass. The JR Rail Pass is only available to foreigners. JR offers this pass to foreigners for such a cheap price, it makes us Japanese locals a little jealous. In most countries, they like to raise prices for tourists, and give discounts to locals, but this JR Rail Pass is the complete opposite. So if you’re a foreign tourist traveling to many places in Japan, it would be unwise not to buy it.

  • *You cannot buy the JR Rail Pass once you are in Japan, you have to buy it in your country, bring the necessary documents, and exchange it for a JR Rail Pass once you are in Japan. *JR is the biggest rail company in Japan, but there are many other rail companies such as Hanshin, Hankyu, Sanyo, and the Subway (which is usually owned by the government). You can only use the JR pass for JR trains.

    Check out this website : https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/ Or go to your local Japanese tour company and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

TIP #2 : HOW TO GET FROM A TO B

  • So, there are more than a quite a few stations in Japan, and I know it can be a little overwhelming. I think trains in most countries use directions like North, South, East, West, so it’s easy to know which direction you are going. In Japan, it’s a little bit more complicated. Because we don’t use directions for trains in Japan, to get to where you want to go, you must know several things.

  • 1. Which line/train company do I need to take?
    2. Which station do I want to arrive at?
    3. What major stations are in the direction of the station I want to go to? (This one is easy to know because the major stations are usually in a bigger font or bold.)
    4. Which train will stop at my station? (There are several different trains that do the same route on the same line, but some are express trains so they stop at fewer stations, so make sure the train you’re taking will stop at your station.
    This map was taken from http://ontheworldmap.com/

TIP #3 : HOT SPRINGS AND TATTOOS

  • So, I know it can be a little strange for those who are new to hot springs in Japan, but when you go in the hot springs in Japan, you go in completely naked. Because in Japan, the hot springs are more of a place to clean yourself than just to relax, which is why Japanese people find it weird to wear bathing suits while washing their body. But don`t worry, men and women have separate areas, so you won`t have to worry about weird people looking at you. The hot springs in Japan are so beautiful, it`s definately a great place to check out!

  • Tattoos are cool, but in Japan, they are frowned upon. Although they are being accepted more and more (with the influence of western culture), there`s still a long way to go. Tattoos are banned in public baths/hot springs all across Japan, so if you`re relaxing in the hot springs, and some Japanese lady is yelling at you, it`s probably because of your tattoo. So if you have a tattoo, unforutuantely you will not be able to enjoy the hot springs in Japan.

TIP #4 : NO TIPS

  • You have to pay tips or a service charge in many countries but in Japan, don`t worry. Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so Japanese workers aren`t expecting a tip. But by all means, if someone is providing you with good service... tip away!

TIP #5 : WHY ARE PEOPLE WEARING MASKS?

  • Does that person wearing a mask have a serious disease? Probably not. It`s normal to wear masks in Japan if you`re sick, you don`t want to get sick, you have a pollen allergy, or it`s dusty outside. Just be careful because if you are the one that`s sick and you`re not wearing a mask, Japanese people will consider that rude.

TIP #6 : Get Portable Wi-Fi

  • We use the internet more and more these days. The best way to stay connected in Japan is to pick up a portable wi-fi router at the airport when you arrive. There are many different companies you can choose from for as low as about 500 yen a day. Most hotels have free wi-fi these days, but you`ll need a password to access it. So pick one up if you need a wi-fi connection on the go. (One word of advice: Don`t get the 3G connection, it`s so slow, it will take you an hour to read your e-mail. Get the 4G / LTE connection for the internet speed that you`re used to having.

TIP #7 : CONFUSING TOILETS

  • The most high-tech toilets in the world are here in Japan. Some of the functions, like heated seats, are great! But to use some of the other functions, you might need a little more courage. But try it out if your looking for a new experience. Here is a quick guide of the buttons you`ll find.

  • Below I have the words in the following order
    The word = The meaning = The function

    大= Big = A big flush
    小 = Little = A small flush
    おしり = Bum = Washlet spray for the bum
    ビデ = Bidet = I believe this is the washlet spray for women
    止 = Stop = Stop spraying

TIP #8 : WOMEN ONLY TRAIN CARRIAGES

  • This is one thing the Japanese are not so proud of but sexual harrasment in crowded places have become such a problem, that there are designated carriages only for women. So if your a guy standing in a train, and there`s a lot of women looking at you weird, you`re probably on the women only carriage. So be aware of which carriage you get into, or you might get a free ride to the police station.

TIP #9 : SMOKING

  • Although there are still many smokers in Japan, smoking is on the decline as laws in Japan continue to change. Smoking in the streets are prohibited in Japan, so if you are a smoker, you have to go to a designated smoking area, or a restaurant/cafe that allows smoking. In recent years, the number of designated smoking areas is also decreasing. There are also rumors that by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there will be no designated smoking areas left.

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