Japan is a fascinating country that blends centuries-old traditions and architecture with modern technology. Its beauty is awe-inspiring.
There are simple steps that you can follow to ensure you have the best experience possible during your visit. Learn a few simple etiquette rules, and you’ll feel like a local!
Plan Your Trip
When planning your trip to Japan, the first thing to do is determine what you want to see and do. It will help you choose the best time of year to visit and also give you an idea of how much it will cost to get there.
Book tickets beforehand if you want to experience some of the more popular Japanese attractions. Some attractions, such as the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo or Sumo Wrestling, have limited admission slots and will be very busy.
Another popular attraction is the Studio Ghibli Museum, a must-see for any film fan. Buying your ticket in advance will ensure you get all the benefits and allow you to avoid queues.
You’ll also want to consider your travel insurance options, as it only takes one injury or family emergency to ruin a perfectly planned vacation. The right insurance policy can make all the difference in helping you to recover from any unforeseen issues and get back on track. Remember that essential documents must always be prioritized. These documents will help you enter the country. You require both a passport and a visa to enter Japan. The Japanese government has created various Japanese visas for multiple reasons and durations. Citizens of more than 60 nations are eligible for visa-free travel and trade. Nowadays, individuals from other countries must apply for visas through a Japanese embassy or consulate.
In 2022, Japan made it easier for US and Canadian nationals to apply for a Japan visa amid pandemic visa prohibitions by introducing the eVisa. Ensure your Japan Visa requirements before planning the whole itinerary.
Book Your Accommodations
Booking your accommodations is one of the more important tasks you have to do when planning a trip to Japan. It can take time to determine what type of accommodation you should choose and what is right for your budget.
When staying in hotels, you have a few options. There are luxury hotels with all the bells and whistles, as well as business hotels that provide a more affordable option. You can also book an apartment or homestay program, a great way to get a feel for the local culture.
Another popular choice is a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn offering a more intimate setting. The standard rooms are smaller than in Western-style hotels, but they are a good choice for those who want to relax and unwind.
Pack Your Luggage
You can take many simple steps to prepare for your trip to Japan. These include booking accommodation, packing your luggage and learning about local etiquette.
Shoes: It’s essential to pack comfortable walking shoes in Japan as you’ll be doing a lot of walking during your visit. The country is pedestrian-friendly, and people walk all over the place.
Make sure you bring shoes that are easy to remove when you’re inside a ryokan or temple, as it’s common in these places to remove your footwear to enter.
Clothes: Keep your clothes neat and iron them if necessary (plenty of hotels in Japan provide this service). It would be best to pack a jacket since it can get quite cold in Japan at certain times of the year.
Wallet or coin purse: Pack a small wallet to carry your train ticket and money. As Japan is very much a cash-based society, you’ll find yourself with a lot of change during your stay, and a coin purse will come in handy for storing your spare change.
Data Sim Card: If you plan on traveling a lot, getting a data sim card before your trip is best. It will allow you to use your smartphone’s Google maps and travel-related apps without a wifi connection.
Pack Your Shoes
Japan is a walking country, so it’s essential to pack comfortable shoes. Whether hiking through the countryside or taking long Shinkansen journeys to your destination, you’ll need to be prepared for your feet to do a lot of walking in Japan.
In addition, many places in Japan – particularly temples, shrines, and restaurants – will require you to remove your shoes before entering, a practice called ‘genkan.’ This small space right after the entrance to a Japanese home is not only for your comfort but also helps promote hygiene and cleanliness, so you’ll want to be sure to leave your shoes at the door when you enter a genkan.
Consider investing in a travel-friendly coin purse to make life easier when packing for your trip to Japan. These compact items are lightweight, so they’ll save you from carrying a large pile of coins, and they’re also convenient for keeping in your purse or backpack to keep spare change close at hand.
Another item to consider is some over-the-counter medication – you’ll find most pharmacies in Japan have a wide range of prescription painkillers, antibiotics, and other medicines that you may need during your stay. They also often have a list of symptoms in English, which can help you find the proper medication for your condition.