Planning a trip to a country with a different language and culture can be daunting, so here’s a few things to keep in mind!
Airport to Hotel
Arriving to Narita Airport is an overwhelming experience. After being finger printed at immigration and being guided by the floor track to your bags, a train or bus await to whisk you off to your accommodation.
Tickets are available near the baggage area and signs aplenty guide you to your chosen transport. Tickets are between $25-$35.
Bins are almost non-existent
Despite being one of the cleanest cities imaginable, bins are hard to find in Tokyo. It’s a good idea to have a plastic bag you can keep rubbish in until you find a bin. Bins can usually be found next to vending machines or outside convenience stores.
Japan is not too expensive
Japan is not as expensive as people have been led to believe. Cheap food is abundant and public transport is super efficient.
For a cheap meal head to noodle bars, yakitori grills and sushi train restaurants. Avoid izakaya bars where multiple small dishes can add up to a pricey meal. Hit up markets during the day to sample local cuisine for next to nothing!
Convenience stores in Japan are fantastic and a great option for quick meals. Grab rice balls, coffee or yoghurt while hitting up the ATM or picking up a bottle of sake for dinner.
There are many affordable accommodation options with hostel standards far higher than in Europe, and capsule hotels for those who aren’t claustrophobic.
Vending machines sell HOT coffee
Don’t walk and eat
Keep an eye out for Depachika
Don’t judge a restaurant by its exterior
Surprisingly, public wifi can be hard to find. Big chains such as Starbucks and McDonalds are pretty reliable along with some other cafes.
While some people are happy to rely on the wifi in their accommodation, I prefer to have internet access while on the move for quick access to maps, train timetables and translating services.
For this, I recommend buying a travel sim which includes data. If you keep Instagram and Youtube browsing to a minimum, 3 gb of data will easily cover 2-3 weeks of travel. I used B-Mobile Visitor Sim which you can order online and arrange to pick up at the airport or have delivered to your hotel.
Another option is to hire or buy a pocket wifi device.
Sushi is everywhere
There is plenty to eat in Japan besides fish!
Tokyo Subway App
Consider the one day metro pass
Cash & ATM’s
Many small stores, cafes and restaurants won’t accept credit cards and they certainly don’t have Paypass. It’s important to always carry cash so you’re never caught out.
Not all ATM’s will accept foreign cards. To avoid the risk of having your card rejected, or swallowed, use ATM’s inside post offices and 7/11’s.
Tipping is not part of Japanese culture and is actually considered rude. Keep that extra change for your morning coffee.