From its several technological triumphs to its interesting timeless traditions, Japan, the land of the rising sun is always fascinating place to visit. But before you make your journey, you must know certain things to make the most of your experience and avoid making a cultural blunder. For starters, here are five things you must know before hopping on that plane to Japan:
Cash is king in Japan.
If you’re from the West, you’re probably used to just swiping your card to pay for stuff. Sorry, but that’s not how things work in Japan. You see, most people get paid in cash in Japan. Many Japanese businesses only accept cash. So, always move around with money. And if you’re ever in need of cash, head to the nearest 7-Eleven to use the ATM.
Buy a rail pass
With over 4,715 km of tracks in Tokyo alone, the rail service in Japan is truly exceptional! It’s so efficient that you can go places in minutes. For example, the bullet train ride will take you from Osaka to Kyoto (about 56 km) in 15 minutes! If you want to take advantage of this excellent service at a cheap cost, then it pays to get a Japan rail pass. You can easily purchase unlimited access for a specific region or country-wide.
You don’t have to tip
In the West, it’s customary to leave a tip for the waitress. That’s not the case in Japan. If you leave a tip, do not be surprised if the waiter comes chasing after you to return the money you ‘left’ on the table. Restaurant and hotel staff are paid a decent wage in Japan, so do not feel guilty for not leaving a tip.
Make use of luggage forwarding services.
It’s not uncommon to see foreigners carry lots of luggage on trains and public transport. It’s laughable because luggage express forwarding in Japan are so efficient. You can deliver your luggage to your destination without having it carry it about! And the best part? It’s cheap, costing between ¥1,500 and ¥3,000 ($10 to $20).
You can easily find Takuhaibin (also called Takkyubin) luggage delivery counters at many airports. You can also make a reservation online or via a convenience store. By using this service, you can enjoy your travel around Japan with a small bag and no worries about your big luggage.
Take your shoes off
Like most Asian cultures, walking into someone’s house with your shoes on is a significant sign of disrespect. You also have to take your shoes off in certain restaurants and places before entering. The same is true of dressing rooms. Check before entering any building to see if you can have your shoes on.
There are several other things you need to know before traveling to Japan. Some of which include:
- Tattoos in Japan are offensive. Make sure to cover them up!
- It isn’t very respectful to talk while eating in Japan.
- Speak quietly in public spaces to respect others.
- Giving small gifts is a great way to show appreciation in Japan
- Pointing at people and things are considered rude in Japan.