Japan is one of the most interesting countries on Earth. It has a lot of culture and history that is worth diving into. Not to mention it is a great place to discover a lot of new things. Whether it be new forms of entertainment or new food, Japan has it all. However, there are a lot of things that travellers should know before booking their flight to Japan. If you are a first time visitor to Japan this list could help you get around the country a bit better and better prepare you for your stay.
Japan is unique meaning it's not like anywhere else in the world. If you've never been to Japan get ready to be put out of your comfort zone almost immediately. However, the country is brimming with adventure and there is a lot to see and do. Don't worry the country seems a lot more stressful to visit than it actually is. If you are planning a trip to Japan you are guaranteed to try something new in your life and it is a great way to expand your horizons. If you've already visited Japan then it may be helpful to check up on a few things before returning!
20 Japan Is Rich In Their Cultural History
Though most people think of big and bustling cities in Japan, outside of the city limits hold major historical sites for Japan. More often than not, the foothills through the countrysides hold shrines, like Shinto shrines, and Buddhist monasteries. These places are often thousands of years old and hold cultural significance for the region. Often, people maintain these properties and sites in order to preserve the history of the nation. These places are very popular during national holidays and New Years celebrations. Even in the larger cities, older monasteries and shrines can be found mixed in with new aged neighborhoods, reminding the citizens of Japan of their historical culture.
19 But They Are Still Technologically Advanced
Even with the older Japanese culture preserved, Japan is still a leader in technology, and this is often reflected in the larger cities. From LED billboards lighting up the nights to automated and voice-activated conveniences, cities like Tokyo and Osaka seem like a futuristic view of the world to come. But do not feel overwhelmed as these things are often for your benefit, there to make processes and transportation easier for both citizens and tourists alike. With such a unique and beautiful feel to larger cities, Japan is a welcomed visit for those who enjoy the big city life.
18 Vending Machines Are Found On Every Coroner
Speaking of conveniences, Japan holds a ridiculous number of vending machines on their streets. Everything from savory snacks and sugary or caffeinated drinks, to electronics, school supplies, and instantly hot and ready to eat meals can be found within their vending machines. Anything you may need can probably be found around the corner, in the halls, or at the train terminal at any nearby vending areas. These 24/7 machines are not only convenient but also fairly priced compared to other countries. Do not be surprised if someone suggests a quick easy lunch at the nearest vending machine!
17 Big Cities Are Weirdly Quiet
Don't expect your big night on the town to be a rowdy one in places like Tokyo or Yokohama. These large Japanese cities are weirdly extremely quiet, even though they are very busy most of the time. This is because the people of Japan are very private people and do not wish for others to hear their conversations. Similarly, they do not want to hear your conversations either. It is a sign of rudeness and disrespect to speak loudly in public. People keep public speaking to a minimum and usually wait to get to their destinations before resuming any large conversations with their groups.
16 Most Places Prefer Cash
Though credit cards seem to be popular in the West, Japan is still holding on to their cash. Although some major retails in Japan accept International Credit Cards, which are different than our standard cards, most places do not even own card readers. If you plan to hit up that hole in the wall karaoke bar, do not show up empty handed without any cash. Not only do businesses not accept cards, they usually even pay all their employees with cash. Even larger companies still prefer cash as payments. Remember to hit up the ATM before you travel outside of major shopping areas!*
15 Amazing Service From Any Business
Japan is renowned for their excellent service provided in most retail and restaurant services. Anything from the most exclusive restaurants Japan has to offer, to any hole in the wall convenience store, all employees take their positions seriously. From the owner to the busboy, employees of the service industry in Japan take pride in their work and create the best overall experience you will ever receive. You and your friends will have the best night out, or you and your business meeting will be pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. Don't take our word for it, head over and see for yourself!
14 Japan Is A Very Safe Country
Although our perception of Japan's safety may be skewed by major Hollywood movies, Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world. With low crime rates and a police officer not too far from any corner, those who visit Japan will be pleasantly surprised by the lack of crime and anxiety about traveling alone. Tourists are safe to roam the country and take in such an amazing place. So remember to enjoy yourself and feel free to travel as much as you would like with little to worry about!
13 Taking Your Shoes Off Is A Common Courtesy
As many knows, many Eastern countries have a tradition in when entering someone else's home to take off their shoes in the designated area. However, this is not just old cultural traditions but is in fact still widely practiced in Japan today. This jester is a sign of respect to one's home, and it is often seen as rude to not do so. Not only is this practiced in homes, this is also a sign of respect for smaller businesses as well, especially those that are run by small families. So remember to ask if you will need to take off your shoes when traveling to a new place, or make sure to see if others are being respectful as well.
12 English Is Not Very Common
Though some Japanese schools often teach the English language as a core subject, this is not practiced in all parts of the country. In fact, many people outside of the larger cities only speak Japanese. Where more tourist tends to go into the larger cities, signs can be seen in both English and Japanese, however, outside of the city limits, you may find yourself struggling to ask for directions or read any street and billboard signs. Make sure to be properly prepared if you plan on leaving the more popular tourist attractions. Japanese guides are always available if needed!
11 Punctuality Is A Given
Manners are very important in Japan. Mostly everyone respects one another in Japan and that is in part due to the manners they share in their day to day lives. Social norms are followed strictly and are frowned upon if broken. If you are a visitor don't worry too much as they are more forgiving to travelers. However, you should definitely read up on some of the traditions and social norms found in Japan. It can give you a leg up and make people appreciate you more for taking the extra step.
10 Don't Even Think About Under Dressing For Any Occasion
The Japanese strive to look good for any occasion. Even if it is quickly going outside at night. This plays into the fact that the Japanese are very proud people and want to look that way at any time of the day. You would be hard pressed to find anyone walking around in baggy sweats and off-brand T-Shirts. Rarely can you find someone super overdressed in Japan. If you are planning on going don't be afraid to pack what you want, just be wary that you may be the most underdressed person in Japan at that moment in time.
9 Rules Are Followed Perfectly
While in other parts of the world rules aren't closely followed in Japan the complete opposite is true. If there is a sign or law that is stated then it should be followed. This follows the fact that Japanese people have a lot of respect for other people and they expect the same from visitors. This is another reason why Japan is so safe and why crime rates are very low. If you have a question about a certain rule or law, don't be afraid to ask! It is better to know the rule than to break it. This can be seen as a sign of disrespect and may be followed by consequences.
8 Do Not Tip Your Server
Japan is very different from other parts of the world when it comes to services. As for many Japanese workers, take servers, for example, they won't accept tips for their work. If you leave a tip they will likely try their best to give it back to you or just flat out won't accept it. You shouldn't take this as a sign of disrespect as they are more than happy with the amount of money they are already making. If you feel like you need to show your gratitude by buying a small gift, like a drink, and saying thank you is more than enough.
7 The Japanese Are Very Proud People
The Japanese while welcoming are also very proud people. It doesn't matter what job they take up they are very proud to even be working. No matter what their job is they will do it to a hundred percent and you will very rarely find someone cutting corners. The Japaneseese work very hard to achieve their goals and it is frowned upon to give up on your work. Simply being lazy can be a huge sign of disrespect to you and your workplace. If you are visiting Japan keep this in mind and try your best to respect anyone who is working or serving you.
6 Their Toilets Are...Different
While travel may seem overwhelming before getting to Japan, after getting to Japan your worry quickly switches to the restroom. Japan toilets are largely different and if not prepared you could be in for a bad time. Many Japanese toilets have buttons that are in Japanese. It is likely that you will either want to read up on Japanese toilets before going or test out the different buttons through trial and error. However, when you figure out how to use the toilets it is likely you won't want to return to normal toilets ever again.
5 Sizes in Japan Are Not As Big As Other Places
Japan is a very tiny country with tiny cities crammed into it. This also carries over to the Japan culture. Most things will seem miniature to you when you travel to Japan from anywhere else in the world. Everything from houses, hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, and even the streets are small! Everything is designed with this in mind so while everything is small in Japan it won't appear to be uncomfortable. If you have claustrophobia you may want to skip out on a couple of places during your visit to Japan. You will definitely see the world as a bigger place after returning from Japan!
4 Most People Are Very Helpful
Finding your way around a foreign country can be a tough challenge and it can be very daunting to anyone visiting Japan. However, if you ask anyone for help they will most likely go out of there way to help you find where you are going. The Japanese are very welcoming and will help anyone who looks even a bit confused. Don't be surprised if you are stopped every now and again to see if you need help. Sometimes you don't even have to ask! It is an extremely kind gesture and makes traveling there all that easier!
3 Traveling Within The Country Is Very Convenient
You may feel a little overwhelmed when first deciding to travel to Japan especially with travel. However, even with the language barrier traveling in Japan is one of the easiest things you can do there. The train system in Japan costs a bit more than other forms of travel but it offers a more pleasant traveling experience. There are also bus and subway options in case you want to get around a little cheaper. Most signage that is seen in these forms of travel are also written in English making it even easier to find out where to go!
2 Karaoke Is Extremely Popular
Karaoke is a great way to hang out with friends after work and on weekends. It helps people come out of their shell a bit more and this is especially true for Japan. The Japanese work long work weeks and rarely have time to sit back and relax. However, when they do find the time one of their favorite pass times is gathering a large group of friends and singing their favorite songs. Even if you are not a great singer you will be hard pressed to not find yourself up on stage along with everyone else when visiting Japan.
1 Their Convenience Stores Are Surprisingly Good
Convenience stores across the world have become more of an oxymoron than they have been actually convenient. However, the opposite can be said for Japanese convenient stores. The best things about these convenient stores in Japan is the fact that their food is top grade quality. Most of the food is actually fresh and you can find a large selection of dinner foods to snacks. Overall convenience stores in Japan can be compared to full-on luxury grocery stores in other parts of the world like America or Canada. If you find yourself with late night cravings a Japanese convenient store has all the options!