If you're planning a trip to Japan, there are several things to keep in mind.
Cultures are different and the language barrier could be significant. But whatever concerns you have about traveling to Japan can be addressed with the steps below.
A Bit About Traveling to Japan
What Is Involved in Traveling to Japan?
We'll get into all the details below. But when you travel to this region of the world, there are several things to remember. First, pick a reliable mode of transport to the region. If you're flying, it might make sense to pick an international carrier. First of all, these are often more luxurious jets with more amenities. Also, the staff aboard your plane and at the airport might be better able to help with any last minute issues.
Why Is It Challenging to Travel to Japan?
There are many factors to consider when traveling to Japan. For starters, take notice of the possible roadblocks along the way. Perhaps the most prominent is the language barrier. Japanese is a beautiful language, but it can take some time to master. So make sure you're comfortable with that prior to leaving -- unless, of course, you already speak it. Then there are some cultural differences that will probably be quite apparent upon your arrival. But the Japanese people are generally very welcoming of international tourists.
How Can the Trip Impact You?
While some of the differences between your home and Japan will be challenging, they can also be rewarding. You will come back with stories and memories unlike any others around the world. Meeting locals, experiencing the cuisine and shopping at area markets will give you an idea of daily life. Then there are the tourist attractions and landmarks that are perfect photo opportunities.
How to Travel to Japan Hassle-Free
1. Prepare to Spend Cash
One of the first things you might notice when traveling to Japan is the prevalence of cash. Most anywhere you go will accept paper money or coins. But many places won't accept credit or debit cards. So you might want to keep this in mind before you set off for your destination.
If you don't want to travel with a lot of cash, at least take a proper bank card. Capital One, for example, will allow you to withdraw money in a foreign nation without big fees. You'll also notice there are more coins in circulation that you might be used to seeing. In fact every denomination worth 500 yen or less is in the form of a coin. So you might also want to bring a bag or purse to allow you to take all that metal around with you. There are coin purses for sale all throughout Japan, though, so it's easy to find one if you forget.
Fortunately, there are automatic teller machines in many different places around the country. So it's not a huge hassle to get the cash you need before you need it. But if you wait too long, you might get caught in a sticky situation.
2. Opt for Public Transportation
Traveling around Japan might be a bit different than what you're expecting. But there is a very useful option -- especially for those who want to travel far and wide. You can pick up a pass to ride aboard the Japan Rail. And it only costs roughly $250 for a full week long pass.
This will allow you to take the high speed rail anywhere the line travels. And you can get where you're going simply and safely. Of course, if you're staying in a particular area -- specifically Tokyo -- there are other options. In fact, the city's subway is quite affordable and convenient.
You'll need to figure out for yourself which option makes the most sense. And it really will depend on how much you want to see when traveling to Japan. But whether train or subway, this nation has a fairly advanced network of public transport.
3. Learn the Language
We're not saying you should be fluent in Japanese before you consider traveling to Japan. But knowing the bare essentials will go a long way in a place with a very different national language.
"Eigo o hanashimasu ka?" means "Do you speak English?" And you'll probably find more folks than you think are at least able to communicate with you. But you'll probably have the best luck at a common gathering place. Check out the train station or airport for a higher likelihood of finding an English speaker.
There are tourist attractions throughout the nation. And chances are, you'll be able to find someone you can ask a question or just shoot the breeze with. Even those who tell you they don't speak much of the language might be selling themselves short. If they answer your question in English, they probably know enough to carry on a simple conversation.
4. Get Your Tech In Order
One of the toughest transitions might be differences in high tech services. Mobile devices will need a Wi Fi hot spot, which is easy to find in shops around Japan. And these gadgets work quite well at getting you the connectivity you need wherever you're staying.
Having access to a smart device will help you in ways you might not even consider. Translations and conversions will be a big part of your trip. And you can handle a lot of these tasks with your cellphone.
There's also entertainment to consider. And if you want to watch your favorite shows in Japan, you might need a virtual private network. This will allow your computer to show sites that aren't available in the region. Traveling to Japan can be a lot of fun -- especially when you've got a familiar streaming service to watch.
5. Know Where -- and How -- to Shop
You might go through your entire trip without visiting what you consider a supermarket. As it turns out, convenience stores and vending machines are far more popular. And they are incredibly helpful, too.
Shopping at convenience stores will give you access to a wide variety of necessities for a reasonable price. Get a complete meal, a snack, or many other things you might need as you're traveling to Japan.
There are also vendors in many different places throughout the country. And you might find that some bargain hunting really pays off. Sticking to areas away from tourist spots will likely lead to finding the best prices. Be careful when venturing too far off the beaten path. But it can be a rewarding and financially advantageous proposition to shop around.
Traveling to Japan requires a bit of preparation.
We hope our tips have helped you plan your international getaway a bit more easily. If so, share this article witht he world travelers in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.
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