Ready to start planning your dream trip to Japan? Before you go, make sure you know the top 7 things you should know before hyping up your journey.
A trip to Japan can be an amazing experience, but it pays to research before you go. You should know some essential things, from cultural customs to currency exchange rates, before traveling to Japan. Here’s a look at the top 7 things you need to know before planning your trip.
Currency, money, and how to pay
When traveling in Japan, it is important to familiarize yourself with the currency system. The official currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Most establishments accept cash, but some may require payment by credit card or cell phone. In Japan, many stores still only accept cash. Credit cards are relatively often accepted in urban areas, but when you go to the countryside, it cannot be the same as in the city. Before you leave, exchange some yen to be able to pay for your expenses during your trip. Also, check if credit cards are accepted and what fees are charged for international transactions.
Convenience store ATMs in town are convenient as bank ATMs. The most famous ATM is the Seven Bank ATM, located inside a 7-Eleven convenience store, and ATMs can be found throughout the city and at train stations.
Getting around – transportation
For first-time visitors to Japan, getting around the country can be a challenge. Generally, public transportation such as trains and buses is the most economical and comfortable way to visit. If you are traveling with a large group, renting a car may be the cheapest option. However, you should also consider using a Travel Pass, which offers discounts on certain trips and access to limited tourist attractions.
Prepaid cards called Suica are the most widely used for transportation travel in Japan. It can be used for train rides, buses, and cabs. It can be topped up at train stations and convenience stores. However, please note that you may only be able to charge the card with cash.
- A well-known travel pass, “Japan Rail Pass“
- Most Popular Prepaid Card in Japan, “Suica”
- East Japan Railway Company. (The largest Train company, especially the Greater Tokyo region)
Accommodations – types and price points
It is important to determine your budget and the type of accommodation you need before booking hotels or hostels in Japan. Various options suit different price points, ranging from cheap and basic Japanese-style inns (ryokan) to international chains offering extra amenities like spas and private rooms. Of course, it’s also possible to stay with friends of friends or even strangers through Couchsurfing, a popular online hospitality exchange service.
|6,000 yen to 10,000 yen
|City hotel/luxury hotel
|10,000 yen to several hundred thousand yen
|15,000 yen to several tens of thousands of yen
|3,000 yen to 5,000 yen
|2,000 yen to 6,000 yen
|7,000 yen to several tens of thousands of yen
Cell phone service, SIM cards, and wifi access tips.
Before traveling to Japan, you must understand the mobile and internet access available options. It would be beneficial to rent a pocket wifi device or a travel SIM card with data, both of which are widely available in Japan. Additionally, free public wifi can be found in many locations, such as train stations and convenience stores, so having an international roaming plan is not always necessary. But, if you use your cell phone service for calls and other data-heavy tasks like maps, having an international plan will most likely be the cheaper option.
ATM/ Banking information and customer service options in Japan
Before you travel, you should familiarize yourself with Japanese banking information and customer service options. ATMs are widely available throughout Japan, but may be limited to certain types of cards, such as VISA and MasterCard. However, American Express, which is affiliated with JCB in Japan, is relatively widely available in throughout Japan. As mentioned above, many convenience stores, including 7-Eleven Lawson and Familymart, have ATMs. They are so convenient and therefore highly worth using.
Some banking services are only offered in Japanese, so it is advisable to have an English-speaking representative or interpreter available if necessary. There are also customer service centers located throughout Japan to assist with complex problems that may arise during your trip.