Remember when I posted about the 25 places you needed to visit? (click here to see post) Since then I was lucky enough to check one item of my bucketlist (click here to see post). Sooo… we went to japan for our honeymoon! (Remember when he asked last year? See here)
I had already long been in love with what I knew of the country & culture. My mother even recently reminded me that when I was 10 years old, I insisted on having my face painted like a Geisha. My obsession was obviously long standing and so did its number 1 spot on my bucketlist. So this year, I finally made plans to actually go. Of course beforehand, we did some research. And now that I’ve actually been there I wanted to share all the things I wish I’d known.
This is mostly a cash country. In most stores/ restaurants, you can only pay cash. But don’t worry; there are a lot of ATM’s (you’ll find one in practically every SevenEleven)
2. Hotels have an advanced payment policy
So make sure to come prepared with enough cash or your creditcard, which is accepted.
3.Buy a Japan Railpass (JR pass)
You can only buy one if you’re traveling to Japan as a temporary visitor *
It isn’t the custom and some might even be offended if you do.
5.Dont’t speak loudly in public spaces
That includes the subway/ metro. Nobody does and you would probably be a disturbance if you do.
6.Don’t walk and eat
It’s not the custom to walk around while eating/ drinking. It is ok though to stand still (on a corner) and eat your food
7.Have all of your hotelnames and -addresses written in Japanese
Outside of Tokyo, it seems like not many people speak English. It’s not a strange thing, since they’re Japanese…But it’s good to know beforehand so you can prepare
8.It’s a great country for biking
There are a lot of places where you can rent a bike and I would highly recommend it. Except for the fact that it’s not very clear where the bikes go (on the road or on the pavement; it varies), it’s very bike friendly
9.In most restaurants you pay at the counter (at the front door)
Most of the time you get the bill at the same time as your food. So you can just take it with you and pay. If you haven’t gotten your bill; just make an X sign with your arms.
When you enter stores/ marketplaces/ galleries, the people who work there will say something like Irasshaimase. You will hear this all the time. I mean ALL THE TIME… You’ll get used to it pretty quickly. From what I read, the correct response is nothing or just a very light nod
11.Wear good walking shoes
Especially if you’ll be staying in Tokyo. Although you have metrostops almost everywhere and you don’t have to walk a lot, most beautiful/ fun things you’ll see while walking. But since almost everyone is well dressed, you might want to bring shoes that are either new-ish or cute, like a good pair of ballerinas
12. Supermarketfood is really good
The ready-made supermarket food (including sushi and sashimi) is of very high quality. So do yourself a favor and save some money in the process
13.Don’t worry about ordering food without speaking Japanese
Restaurants have a displaywindow where you can see what their food looks like. So even if they don’t have an English menu, it’s still very easy to order food
14. There are a lot of vending machines on the street
They mostly contained drinks (cold tea or warm coffee) but they could also contain alcoholic drinks or tobacco
15.You’ll see a lot of people with surgical masks
The reason is these people are probably sick themselves and wear these mask as to not spread the germs. That’s just one of the many polite things in Japanese society
16.You’re gonna love the toilets
Most bathrooms (in cafés , restaurants, museums) are equiped with the bidet and sound option (it just makes a water sound so that others won’t hear what you’re doing; perfect!) and sometimes the seats are even heated! Plus they’re really clean. But don’t forget to bring along a pack of tissues though ; sometimes you don’t have an option to dry your hands after washing
17.You won’t find a lot of public bins
This is strange, since it’s very very clean. So make sure to carry a plastic bag with you
18. Taxi doors open and close automatically
Perfect for all you (myself included) germophoobs
19. Choose a seat first, then order at the counter
People choose a seat first, by placing a coat and/ or handbag at that seat after which they stand in line to order a coffee or tea
20.There are women-only cars on the subway and women only cafés/ restaurants
So that’s always an option.
Feel free to add to this list in the comment section below!
* You can buy your JR pass here. Make sure to check if it really suits your needs. Don’t forget that after you’ve received them at you home address (a timely order is advised), you have to make sure to go to a JR station (available at most large stations) and have your pass activated. After which you need to make a reservation for the train used.