Six Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Japan

Traveling to Japan

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Japan is a huge country with many cities. In order to help you get around Japan, we have some helpful tools for you to use.

#1 Cash only policy most places

The first hurdle most travelers come across is that many businesses in Japan only accept cash. Fortunately, there are plenty of ATMs available in most areas, so when you find one, pull out a lot of money. If the ATM doesn’t have your bank card on file, you may have to input some personal information.

You may not be able to use your credit card with some small vendors that take cash only, but this isn’t a problem. It’s always easy to find spare change with large bills, so just have a wallet pouch on hand.

#2 Tip is not the norm

The hospitality space in Japan is different than in many other countries. Waiters and other restaurant staff earn a living wage without the need for tipping, and if you do happen to leave any money on the table, someone from the restaurant will track you down to return it.

In Japan, tipping is not the norm. If you want to tip, leave a few dollars with your bill. Tips are not expected, however, and Japanese people do not customarily tip.

#3 Learn common expressions in Japanese

It’s a long flight from wherever you are to Japan. With that much time, you can learn a few phrases in Japanese. In the country’s big cities, such as Tokyo or Kyoto, everything is marked in English. So if you’re going to those cities, there is no need to worry about language issues.

When it comes to traveling, Japan is a gorgeous and unique country. If you’re planning a trip around Japan, you might find that people do not speak English. This includes restaurant menus and street signs. It’s important to learn the most common expressions in Japanese such as “Thank You” Be sure to bring pictures with you too!

#4 Don’t embarrass yourself in public

Laughing to the point where you can’t stop is embarrassing in Japan. People talk softly to avoid making noise and disturbing anyone else. Even when people are at large parties in restaurants or cafes, they’ll talk quietly to be courteous to other guests. So, if you are speaking loudly in public, turn the volume down. You are drawing attention to yourself, which could be uncomfortable to others. Chatting loudly could make someone from the establishment come over to warn you to be quiet. This is not because they are insulted by your behaviour, but rather they are offended by it.

#5 Get lost in streets with no name

Without names for main streets, figuring out where you are can be confusing. But there’s a way to make navigating easier. Addresses are not common, even in big cities, but there is a system. Location is marked as the part of the city, then ward, and subdivision.

Be prepared to get lost. Google Maps won’t help you navigate small streets that go in alphabetical order or numbered streets that start at one and work their way up to the nearest hundred. Maps might get you to the general area but they’ll fail you when it comes to specifics.

Uh-oh. You’re lost in a new city. Where do you go? The best move would be to ask for help from local passers-by or to inquire in a store for directions. If that doesn’t work, then take a cab. Taxis will take you right to your desired location and then wait until you’ve arrived safely. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best bet you can get in Japan.

#6 Foreigners are not welcomed

Some restaurants are not welcoming to foreigners. This can be common in Japan, but you shouldn’t take it personally. There are many cultural rules that are very strict inside public venues. It is said that tourists usually have a sense of relaxed politeness and would rather that you go to some other place.

If you’re in Japan and you’re looking to get a really authentic experience, then you should visit restaurants that discourage street-side dining. This is because reputation matters in this country, so restaurant guests are especially sensitive to the behaviour of patrons enjoying their meal. And, since tourists hardly speak the language around here, they often find it difficult to communicate with waiters.