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What to learn before traveling to Japan

Before booking your accommodations and flights, it’s vital to learn some unspoken rules and must-dos before traveling to Japan.

If you want to travel to a destination that excellently mixes traditional culture and modern living, Japan would be a great idea. You’ll find cities and neighborhoods retaining rich old cultures dating back to ancient times. At the same time, you’ll find the tallest buildings and state-of-the-art technologies.

If you’re considering exploring nature, Japan won’t fall short of it as well. It has a fair share of the world’s most beautiful sceneries and natural landscapes, from beaches to mountains. However, before booking your accommodations and flights, it’s vital to learn some unspoken rules and must-dos before traveling to Japan. Here are some of them.

A little Japanese can go a long way
Although an increasing number of Japanese can now speak English more than they used to, it’s essential to learn to speak a little Japanese to communicate with the locals better. You don’t have to be intimidated by learning Japanese. You can enroll in Japanese language facilities near you, like Taiyo Singapore, or learn from online tutors. By speaking some of the basic and most useful phrases and sentences, the locals will feel more appreciative and happier to find out that you’re trying to adapt to their culture and language.

Learning a little bit of the local language can be helpful when traveling. Whether you’re lost or need some directions or guidance, you can confidently talk to the locals in their mother tongue. Also, learning a new language like Japanese can be useful in more situations in your life as you get to know new people while traveling.

Be time conscious
Whenever you travel to Japan, be respectful of people’s time because they are known to be very time-conscious. It is Japanese culture to be punctual, regardless of whether you are a tourist or an international student. If you plan to meet a Japanese local, always be on time. Being late can be deemed as something rude to them. To be safe, arriving earlier than the meeting time is best.

Arriving late in your home country might be tolerated, but even a minute late in Japan is frowned upon. Even their transportation systems are always on time, so make sure to arrive at the bus stop and train station on time if you want to hop from one place to another conveniently.

Cash is king
In Japan, cash reigns supreme. It is the most common form of payment for workers, local restaurants, and stores. It’s wise to stock up on cash, just to be safe and sure. Some big department stores and hotels accept credit cards, but it’s better to inquire before arriving in Japan. If you like to travel, you may already know this.

Before arriving in Japan, converting your money to Japanese Yen in local money exchange facilities would be helpful. If you ever run out of cash in Japan, the good news is you can always withdraw from their ATMs located in convenience stores which operate 24/7.

Japan rail pass is extremely useful  
Another thing to remember is that the Japan Rail Pass is extremely useful when you visit. It can be your best friend as you tour around the country. It’s essential to check the itinerary and see where you plan to go.

Traveling around a particular region or the entire country with a Japan Rail Pass can help you save a lot of money. Unlimited passes can be purchased for a specific region or the entire country. For about the same price as two individual train tickets, you’ll have access to the bullet train (Shinkansen), commuter trains (JR-branded), buses, and ferries. However, remember that this pass comes with at least one-week validity, so it’s intended for travelers who stay longer than just a few days.

Be familiar of the subway’s rules  
Most Japanese take rules seriously, and you should be as compliant. When it comes to the subway, you need to be quiet and considerate to other passengers. It means you shouldn’t speak loudly with friends or on the phone. Food and drinks are also not allowed on any public transportation.

As for the priority seats, ensure to save them only for the elderly, pregnant women, or people with disabilities. Knowing these basic rules will prepare you to be mindful of others on the subway. An added tip is to study how to navigate Tokyo’s subway system, as they’re more complex than you expect.

Knowing a bit about Japan’s culture helps first-timers prepare for their trip. However, every effort will be worth it once you finally arrive at your destination. Japan is a breathtaking country, and it has so much to offer. Learn basic Japanese and speak to locals to learn more about their culture and traditions. Don’t forget to take some photos and get ready to build awesome memories.

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TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific editorial team has an experience of over 35 years in B2B travel journalism as well as in tourism & hospitality marketing and communications.