A First Time Traveller’s Guide to Visiting Japan

Japan will be on many travellers’ bucket lists because of its beauty and cultural heritage. If you’re planning on visiting the land of the rising sun and haven’t been to the Asian country before, we’ve put together a list of valuable tips.

Anyone who’s planning to go to Japan should ensure they have travel cover, especially when you know the trip is likely to be expensive. Fortunately, cover is relatively cheap when using a leading comparison site such as Utility Saving Expert. You’ll be insured for things like flight delays and cancellations, medical treatment and lost or stolen luggage.

Fly on an international flight where possible

Taking an international flight especially when you know you’re likely to be in the air for a very long period is a good idea. This way you won’t have to worry about catching another plane at a stopover destination. Seating and entertainment are also likely to be much better.

If you’re leaving Tokyo, get a JR Pass

A JR Pass will cost you around £250 and allow you to access any JR line in the country for seven days, this includes several different shinkansen (high-speed) trains.

Internet connectivity

Upon arrival at the airport, you should pick up an eConnect hotspot at the airport’s post office. This will give you access to the internet on your mobile phone. You’ll even be able to connect to the Wi-Fi in remote places too.

You can use your phone to easily convert yen to your native currency. You can also use an app to translate English into Japanese. Having access to Google Maps will be a big plus for many.

Learn some phrases

Although it’s highly recommended to learn the language if you have the time, remembering a few common phrases will make things much easier for you and anyone you interact with. Some of the landmark destinations will have a number of people who can speak English, so save your questions for these attractions.

Tokyo subway fares are also very cheap (around £2), and very easy to buy from electronic ticket machines, these all have English menu options. This does make it difficult to justify a JR Pass when travelling throughout Tokyo. Although, a 7-day JR Pass actually costs a similar amount for a return trip ticket to Kyoto. In other words, it’s a much better deal if you plan to travel to other locations outside Tokyo.

You’ll need a lot of cash

Japan prefers cash over card. A number of places that you would expect to take a credit or debit card actually don’t, and will only accept cash. Many stores do not have the facilities to accept card payment, although on the occasion that they do, a sign will be visible at the front. It’s also highly recommended that you take a card that doesn’t charge you for using it overseas when withdrawing money. You’ll also need a coin pouch or purse as everything from 1 yen to 500 yen are coins.

Convenience stores

The staff at convenience stores are some of the most helpful and kindest people you’ll meet. These stores can help you pick up snacks, access easy to use ATM machines and anything else you may need while you’re there. The staff will really make the effort to understand your bad accent.

Bring hand sanitizer and plastic bags with you

You will soon find out that many of the public bathrooms do not have soap dispensers. Bringing hand sanitizer with you will help you stay clean when using the bathroom. Additionally, you may not see a rubbish bin in a public place for miles. So it’s a good idea to bring plastic bags that you can put your rubbish in and dispose of later on.

Travel to get the best deals

Like any worldwide destination, the further away you travel from the airport or train station, the cheaper things become. This is no different in Japan. You’ll be rewarded for exploring new places as you won’t have to pay a higher price for souvenirs.

Take things slowly

As soon as you’ve booked your flight to Japan, you’ll start to browse top ten places to visit. Planning a trip can be stressful and with so much on offer, this will only be amplified. Slow down and take everything in, don’t try to cram your itinerary with everything you come across. If you do want to see as much as you can, consider an extended holiday as you’ll be able to better manage your schedule this way.

Hopefully you’re able to make use of these tips when you decide to visit Japan for the first time. The main thing to keep in mind is to enjoy yourself and have a memorable holiday.