A country of peace, ease and anime. Yes, I’m talking about Japan! Japan is one of the countries whose a number of foreign travelers visit has increased these days. When you come to Japan for the first time, you will experience different cultures, behaviors and manners and perhaps they can be quite shocking for you. So as I want to make you ready for this, here’s 10 things you should know before abrading to Japan.
1. No tips needed at restaurants
In some countries, giving tips means a lot to waitress and cooks, but that’s all included in the service in Japan. I feel the service in Japan is very quick, polite and amazing so it makes you want to pay tips but you don’t have to worry ( When I was in Los Angels and usually paid about 10-15% of bills. Ouch) about tips:) Awesome right!?
2. Riding and transitioning trains is such a pain in an a**
Japan is so convenient in transportation especially trains. You will be surprised because trains in major cities come every 5-10 minutes with a few delays. So good right? However, since there are a lot of trains and stations and you have to buy tickets every time before riding trains, it’s likely that you will get lost at some point Even when looking at a train map, it’s very hard to find out a desired destination.
It’s like an Arabic 🙁 ( no offense) What I recommend is buying an one-day (in Tokyo) ticket which JR( Japan Railways) provides.
If you come to Tokyo and plan to walk in Tokyo area all day, it’s totally worth and ends up saving money too.
You can check it here:
3. Most of Japanese can’t speak English
When you get lost at some point in Japan, you are likely to ask people on street, but most of Japanese can’t speak English. They might run away or ignore you but don’t worry it doesn’t mean they hate you or disrespect you :p They may try to tell you with a lot of gestures so please speak slowly and bear with them! But here’s good news for you.
4. You are allowed to drink booze pretty much anywhere
Surprisingly you can drink alcohol on street, in parks, on trains, and even in front of a police station. In fact, there is alcohol vending machines on street( There used to be a lot of them a few years ago but its number is decreasing) You may encounter a lot of drunk people inside trains and sometimes they pass out 🙂 Yes, Japan is Alcohol heaven country. Just make sure not to get drunk too much as general advice.
5. There are not so many places where you can use Free Wi-fi ( For now)
I know this disappoints you especially when you have difficult time finding something you want.
If your carrier covers international use, that’s good for you! But if it doesn’t, I highly recommend getting a pocket wi-fi at Japan airports such as Narita and Haneda before your amazing trip in Japan.
6. Bring cash just in case
Even though a number of restaurants or shops that take credit cards, Apple Pay or Alipay has increased, there are still many local ones that you need cash to pay. When you are out of cash, just find convenience stores and ATM ( most of them have it)
7. There ‘s no Uber available in Japan but Taxi.
Uber, a share riding service, is quite convenient at quite reasonable price but it’s not available in Japan because of its regulation. You can use Taxi app called Japan Taxi instead. Very convenient when you are in local area whose transportation is not good enough.
8. Tattoos are considered taboo
I feel tattoos are quite cool and fashionable and once wondered if I should get one. However, many people in Japan still don’t see tattoos as good public image. And Warning! People with tattoos may not allowed to take Onsen(hot spring) which is one of the best places to relax as about a half of Onsen Hotel restricts them regardless of their size. I really want every travelers to feel Onsen. I mean I really do! so here’s a tip.
1, find Onsen which allows people with tattoos
2, if you can’t find one, cover tattoos with taping or something.
I can’t promise you it would work but I’ve seen my friend who has a tattoo did this and succeeded 🙂
9. You will see a lot of people wearing medical masks
You may feel this is quite strange but there are a lot of people having masks on . There are main two assumptions for this: They don’t want to get caught cold from anyone because they use crazy packed trains as their main transportation. ( Have you seen a train with full of people shoved by station attendants?) Also, a lot of woman don’t to show and hide their faces with no makeup on. They don’t have any serious or incurable diseases or anything! So don’t be concerned too much about it. You try wearing medical masks to become one of them 🙂
10. You will find a lot of convenience stores
In major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are literally a lot of convenience stores Seven-Eleven, FamilyMart, Lawson, and Mini-Stop and so on. What’s the difference? Not so much. But I feel Seven-Eleven provides the best bakery compared to other convenience stores while Lawson provides the best ice cream and sundae/parfait.
If you have chance to visit Japan, Please keep these 10 things in mind so that you will enjoy even better!
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