10 Things You Should Know Before Your First Trip To Japan
Japan is probably on everyone's wanderlust wishlist. While planning your trip, you may miss out little details about Japan that could make your trip more enjoyable and smooth-sailing!
Read to find out some must-know things about Japan for first-time visitors!
#1 Bring lots of cash
You may be surprised by the number of places in Japan that will only accept cash and don't take credit cards, so make sure you're prepared with enough cash.
Also, you may end up collecting a lot of coins while you're there as anything below 500 yen (SGD $6.46) comes in coins. We recommend bringing a separate coin purse as your wallet may not be able to hold all of them.
#2 Basic Japanese etiquette
Things like bowing, covering your tattoos and not wearing shoes in certain guesthouses and restaurants are fairly common knowledge, but there are some lesser known things that you should take note of while in Japan.
Some unexpected things that are considered rude in Japan are blowing your nose in public, eating while walking around and making phone calls in the trains. Japanese people sniff when they get a runny nose, finish food while standing on the spot and stay silent on trains!
#3 Some things are actually not rude
On the flip side, there are some things you can (and should) do while in Japan that seem rude but are actually totally acceptable. When you need a waiter, just shout 'sumimasen' and if you want to board a crowded train, feel free to squish yourself in!
#4 Carry a trash bag
Although Japan is known as one of the cleanest countries in the world, you'll have a hard time finding a rubbish bin while there. Follow the locals and carry a plastic bag with you to keep your trash in, then dispose of it when you get to your hotel or Airbnb.
#5 Bring hand sanitiser
This is another surprising one considering Japan's reputation for hygiene. After enjoying the bum spray in Japan's toilets, you may get a nasty surprise when you realise there's no hand soap. This is common for lots of public bathrooms, so bring your own hand sanitiser if you're particular about staying germ-free.
#6 Don't open the taxi door
Unfortunately, it's not magic. Most taxis in Japan have doors that are automatically opened and shut by the taxi driver, so all you have to do is make sure your fingers don't get caught in the door! P.S. If you're taking a taxi in Tokyo, Japan, be mentally prepared for a hefty bill!
#7 Put your money in the tray
You might have spotted this in some Japanese stores in Singapore as well. If you see a tray at the cashier, place your money in the tray instead of passing it by hand. The cashier will place your change in the same tray for you to collect.
#8 Convenience store food is amazing
The food in Japanese convenience stores are nothing like the ones in most countries. Feast on affordable yet high quality food in a large variety ranging from cute cakes, sandwiches and onigiri to hot food and even full meals!
#9 Ramen is also amazing
Pretty much any ramen you chance upon in Japan will taste absolutely divine, even the random, unknown ramen spots. We recommend trying Ichiran, a chain ramen store with various locations in Japan. Don't be put off by its tourist appeal and chain-store status, their ramen is actually super delicious and worth the hype. It's fun to order ramen off a vending machine and the prices are very reasonable!
#10 Summer can be unbearable
If you're thinking of planning your trip to Japan in the Summer, you may want to reconsider. Summertime in Japan can be incredibly hot and humid which may be a downer during your holiday if you have low tolerance for hot weather. We recommend avoiding the peak summer months of July and August. If you do visit in the summer, bring an umbrella or portable fan to make the heat wave a little more bearable.
Japan is a wonderful country to visit with amazing food, sights and culture to explore. We hope these little tips will help make your trip more enjoyable!
Share this with your friends who are planning their first trip to Japan too!
Text by: GirlStyle SG