Tips will make your life easy always, especially when you are in a place where you are not familiar with. Literally, Japan is so much different than other countries… Here are some essentials to go.
1. Public transportation is super efficient
It is easy for anyone to get overwhelmed with metro and train systems in Japan. There are spider webs less complex: 150 lines and 2,000 stations of aboveground and underground rail in Tokyo alone. The good news is once you figure it out how to get around, it’s amazingly efficient.
You are strongly recommended getting an IC Card to avoid these calculations every time you board the subway.
When you travel long distances, JR Pass can be a time and money saver for you. Make sure you also download Hyperdia app on your phone to inform you of detailed train schedules and useful filters to find the best trains that fit your itinerary.
2. Bring cash with you
Japan is a cash-based society and many places that you might expect to take credit card normally—like McDonald’s—do not. A lot of stores simply aren’t equipped to take card and usually have a sign out front on the rarer occasion that they do. The ATMs from 7-elevens and post office are friendly to international debit cards and credit cards. Also, bring a coin case as Japanese yen uses coin from 1-500 yen (values almost $5 USD).
3. Convenience stores are your friend.
Japanese convenience stores are amazing. You can get anything you need in everyday life from light meal to the stationaries and even ATM. They provide heaps of products and services within a small tiny shop. You can grab delicious ready-to-go meals, seasonal candies and chips, beer or chu-hi, concert tickets, and also a clean restroom available for all customers. The quality of the goods are amazingly good with affordable prices. And they are waiting for you almost every 200 meters in urban area.
4. Eigo o hanashimasu ka? / Do you speak English?
Even though, the world wide globalization pursued and improved English education in Japan, many of Japanese people have a difficulty to communicate in English. It is strongly recommended to learn some usual use Japanese like “Konnichiwa” (Hello), “Arigatou” (Thank you), “Sumimasen” (Excuse me). However, you will definitely have a situation need someone who can help you in English. Then, you need to find a person and ask if he or she can speak English. “Eigo o hanashimasu ka?” means “Do you speak English?”. Younger generation tend to be good at English. So, you will try to find someone among young people. There are places where people are more likely to be good English speakers—train stations, airports, and major tourist especially. Try to save your questions for those places.
5. A wifi hotspot is essential.
There are many times that you need Internet while in Japan, like using it to contact different people, using google maps to find where you are and where you need to go, or to share photos online. However, Japan lacks the free wifi areas to accommodate for many of these situations. Also, the wifi information could be all written in Japanese. A portable wifi hotspot can give internet to multiple devices at anytime and anywhere in Japan.