Some things I wish I knew before going to Japan.
- Most Japanese hotels and hostels provide complimentary slippers, shampoo,toothbrush and soap so it isn’t necessary to pack any of these. The only toiletries needed would be a towel and bath sponge.
- It is a wise idea to purchase a JR Pass if you plan on travelling to various cities across Japan on a frequent basis.
- Although free wifi is commonly available throughout Japan, it is still a good idea to purchase a mobile data sim which you can have sent to the airport to pickup upon arrival.
- Google maps allow you to save maps to use offline so it is a good idea to download a map of Japan before arrival.
- Napkins are not commonly given at meals and rubbish bins are not a common site around the cities so its a good idea to carry a plastic bag and carry tissues.
- Japanese currency uses coins ranging from 1 yen(about a cent) to 500 yen( around $5 Aud) thus its very easy to accrue alot of change which can add a fair bit of heft when travelling. Apparently you can get bank or transport cards to put the money into, however, I wasn’t bothered, instead, its very easy to use away some of the coins at the various vending machines located throughout Japan, locker fee at within train stations, and entrance fees to museums and attractions.
- When travelling aboard the shinkansen it is recommended to prebook your seats however, there are still carriages which you can board without needing to book your seat.
- Some shops and restaurants in Japan may have a sticker stuck to the sliding door entrance, although it may seem like a sticker, its actually a button for opening the doors.
- It is very common at some establishments, tourist attractions and especially castles to take off your shoes before entering, so its a good idea to wear socks.
- At some restaurants, there are vending machines at the entrance of the shop, this is where you can select the food, pay and get a ticket which you give to the person at the counter.
- A normal meal costs around 1000 yen( $10 Aud), a hotel room would cost about ($50Aud/night) while hostels are generally ($20-30Aud/night). AirBnB offers cheaper options however, signing up requires an active phone number, thus its a good idea to register for one before leaving your home country.
- The cost of electronics and clothing are about the same or may cost even more than in Australia.
- Some shops offer tax-free purchases over a certain amount when you present your passport.
- Many Japanese people do not know English or are very shy to use English so its a good idea to learn some basic Japanese, although English signs and menus are easily found and all items are priced.