Embarking on a journey to Japan? Before you dive headfirst into the rich tapestry of culture, cuisine, and captivating landscapes, arm yourself with the wisdom of seasoned travelers. Here are 12 tips and tricks for an incredible and memorable Japanese adventure, as mentioned on an online forum.
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1. August: More Like a Sauna Than Sakura Season
Avoid going to Japan in August at all costs, says one member. Not only is it hot, but it’s humid as well. “Best time would probably be around November, February, and March.”
You don’t want to end up sweating your way through the trip, leaving you with memories of only discomfort.
2. Traveling Light
One of the most challenging aspects of traveling is having to carry your luggage from one place to another. Well, one member suggests you can reliably ship your luggage from hotel to hotel, and that too at a cheap price.
Another shares that you can even store your bags in coin lockers at most subway stations. Talk about traveling hassle-free.
3. Dining Decisions
Here is a tip straight from the angels above. In order to avoid waiting in lineups, check Google Maps reviews to see beforehand if a place you’re looking to dine in is generally busy.
You can also check reviews for the quality of food, but remember that a restaurant with 3-4 stars still has the potential to be spectacular; it’s just that “Japanese reviewers just seem to use the full range of scores (like, ‘Food was great! 3/5’).”
4. Booking Blunders
It’s good to plan way ahead of time; that’s how you can ensure you have a hassle-free trip. But be wary! An individual shares that they made a mistake booking a hotel way before they planned their trip to Japan.
This decision led them to take a train to the other side of the city daily for sightseeing. They share their wisdom, “If you’re going to Tokyo, try to plot your must-see places on a map and then find a hotel on that side of the city.”
5. Tourist Trap or Tranquil Spot? Know Before You Go
You should probably scratch the Tsukiji market off your bucket list. One user calls it a “total tourist trap.” On their first trip, they had incredible sushi there, but upon revisiting the area, they realized the main market had closed to tourists. Now, what’s left is access to a small site “packed wall-to-wall with people.”
Just avoid the huge lineups and instead opt for low-key areas.
6. Reliable Connectivity
Traveling without the internet is a no-no. Having a working connection is vital for your safety and comfort while roaming in a new area. Instead of a pocket wifi, opt for an e-sim, as one user says it is much more reliable.
7. Dodging Disneyland Disappointment
Make sure to plan ahead of time. A user warns that the tickets for tourist-rich spots like Disneyland can run out pretty quickly.
Another recommends finding locations matching your hobbies and interests rather than just visiting famous places. “We went to a cool mechanical keyboard shop, many photography stores, crafts and paper stores, amazing coffee roasters, etc.”
8. Ryokan Retreat
For a pure cultural experience, go for a traditional Ryokan with an onsen (hot spring), advises a user. These inns are usually locally run and have pure Japanese food. It does not get more serene than this.
9. Flexible Airport Choices
Money is a never-ending problem. Save yourself some good bucks by flying into whichever airport is cheaper. “We flew into Narita, but many fly into Haneda as it’s closer to Tokyo; transportation between the airports into the city is very straightforward if you choose to take public transit,” shares one member.
10. Prioritizing Comfort Over Fashion
Do not underestimate the amount of walking you’ll have to do. Sure, those leather loafers look absolutely stunning with every outfit, but you can replace them with comfortable runners. Your feet will thank you.
11. Scam Awareness
One warns you to be aware of any Japanese people coming up to you. According to them, local people are pretty helpful and friendly if you approach them yourself, but it’s “abnormal” for them to come up to you unprompted. It’s most likely that they will scam you out of some money.
12. Eating Etiquette
Here’s a strange reality: you can’t eat/drink while walking. There are usually designated areas near stores to eat, but they can get crowded quickly. Because it’s not a norm to do so, there aren’t enough garbage cans around, so you’ll have to keep your trash with you.
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.