Japan, an interesting place to visit but when you’ll arrive here and try to explore their culture and peoples or places, you quickly notice that there are some rules, some written and some unwritten. Here are some top suggestions that will useful for anyone travelling for the first time.
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1 – Japan is considerably a cash-based society; it may happen for most of the time because some places may not accept your credit card, particularly outside of major cities. So try to take plenty of cash with yourself. You’ll need to use cash in local restaurants, bars, markets, tourist sights and ryokans. Changing your dollars to yen before arriving in Japan. Well, Japan is a very safe place, so the risk is probably losing or misplacing the cash.
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2 – Whether you stay for a week or more, it’s recommended to getting a JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass). This pass will give you unlimited travel around Japan on the Shinkansen (bullet train); it does include local JR commuter trains JR ferries and even JR buses. You can validate your pass once you arrive in Japan at one of the exchange offices, and yes, don’t forget to take your passport along with you.
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3 – Its little weird for first-time visitors to see dozens of commuters wearing surgical masks. You’ll find shelves stocked full of vitamin C supplements in any convenience store. If you get sick in Japan, be respectful of the culture and take a mask for yourself rather than sneezing and coughing on the train.
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4 – Visit any ramen restaurant and expect to find a room full of people hunched over big bowls of noodles, slurping loudly and eating amazingly quickly.
In Japan slurping noodles is considered a good thing. The louder the better! It proves that you like the meal and it improves the gastronomic experience making it even tastier.
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5 – It’s customary to take off your shoes when entering a room, restaurants, bars, and most importantly in someone’s home.
On arrival in a traditional ryokan, you’ll find a collection of slippers which prompt you to take your shoes off at the entrance. These slippers can be worn anywhere indoors, except when entering rooms with the tatami floor.
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6 – There are many rules of etiquette to remember when you bathe in a public hot spring bath known in Japan as an ‘onsen’.
In Japan, it is customary to take off all your clothes when you go to an onsen. The only thing you can take with you is a small wash cloth, which you set upon your head while bathing.
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7 – There is so much more than just sushi and sashimi to give your taste buds an amazing experience. You can find many of culinary specialties across the country. It’s pretty much difficult to get a bad meal in Japan.
Visit Dōtonbori in Osaka, it’s a street full of the amazing food vendors. Try the Takoyaki, which is basically an octopus balls dish, grilled crab claw and fried Gyoza, its meat dumplings.
Try Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima. A Japanese savoury pancake layered with cabbage, yakisoba noodles, egg, and bacon, topped with the most flavourful sauce. Go to Ichijōji, it’s a famous Ramen Town in Kyoto for a large bowl of creamy chicken ramen.
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8 – Japan is a country like no other. It always surprises you with its quirky and creative weirdness.
If you want a hot can of coffee, you can get it from a vending machine. Or a cup of instant noodles or an umbrella or a hat for a cat, you name it, the list continues.
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9 – Nobody tips in Japan, Ever. Tipping is seen as a rude gesture. Don’t be shocked if a taxi driver hands your tip back, or a waiter follows you down the street to give it back.
In Japanese culture, when you give more money, it is actually telling the employees that they require improving their service.
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10 – Don’t walk and eat in Japan. Sit back and enjoy the joy of dining and remember, don’t litter. The reason is the Japanese find it rude to eat on the go. Take a backpack or tote bag with you and keep hold of your rubbish until you back to your hotel.
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11 – Haneda Airport for most travellers is a lot more accessible to fly into than Narita International Airport owing to the way from Tokyo for both. A train trip from Haneda to Tokyo Station takes around 28 minutes and costs around 580 yen, it’s about AU7.40$, while the train trip from Narita to Tokyo Station takes around 58 minutes and usually costs at least 2600 yen around AU33$.
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12 – Japan is very active and getting around as a tourist is easy, if you learn some basic phrases, it’ll be an advantage for you. You get a chance to socialize with the locals and experience their culture.
Here Are Some Words And Phrases That Will Help You:
Arigatou – an Informal way of saying “Thank you” pronounced as ah-ree-gah-toeoo.
Sumimasen – “Excuse me/Sorry” pronounced as sue-me-mah-sen.
Konichiwa – “Hello” pronounced as kohn-nee-chee-wah.
Hai – “I’m satisfied/Yes” pronounced as h-ye.
Oishi – “Delicious” pronounced as oh-ee-sheee.