Things You Should Know on Japan
Japan has exceeded my expectations ! I left Canada with the idea of what I thought to expect in Japan instead I got more than what I possibly knew on Japan. I learnt many facts on Japan I will share with you.
Japan is timeless, it is vibrant , over the top; from ultra modern Tokyo to traditional Kyoto, a unprecedented contrast , so strikingly different from regions to region & their way of life . Another fact on Japan .
Fun Facts on Japan
The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, and here in North America is (120V), Japan’s electrical plugs resembles ours so you do not need an adapter ( something that surprised me ) .
Japan currency is the Japanese Yen, try to bring cash as most places do not like to accept credit cards unless huge stores.
Wifi is almost everywhere in major cities in Japan so I recommend you use it as much as possible but it happens signal is weak especially outside. There is always a stop at Starbucks to get the information you need. If you are in the Ginza area , the Nissan Crossing building has free Wifi.
There are many many options to choose from if you want to purchase data in Japan. Prepaid SIM cards or Portable Wifi device to get familiar with your options.
Travelling Around Japan
The best way to travel across Japan is by purchasing a Japan Rail Pass . You have to make the purchase in your local city but it is important to remember to activate your pass at Narita Airport : if you forget you can do it at most train stations. Wifi is on Shinkansen trains.
Another fact on Japan is that taxis can be expensive. But to avoid chaotic train system, waiting lines or just trying to figure out how to navigate, take the taxi to avoid losing your precious travel time. The cool thing about taxis is that the door automatically opens for you !
Street addresses in Japan came as a total confusion to me but at the end of your trip, it will make sense. You will definitely need Google Maps on this one. Japan addresses are NOT like anywhere in the world. It is differentiated by Blocks and within those blocks when the particular building was built by order of year. Strange? Trust me, it will make sense by day 5 !
Please learn Japanese etiquettes to avoid awkward moments. I will write a full article on this shortly. I learnt the most important ones but I did goof at least 2 times ! Oh well !
Unfortunately there is a 9% tax in Japan, not a cheap country but so worth it . You can also do Japan on a budget if you really want to visit but afraid of cost.
If , like most of us, you make Tokyo your first destination in Japan, first familiarize yourself on where or what you want to see. Tokyo is huge and I was there a total of 6 nights and I felt it was not enough. I strongly suggest to make some plan because once in Tokyo , you can definitely get side tracked.
Tokyo has over 1000 trains station & trust me it is not always easy navigating the streets , this is why Google Maps will be your best friend. The Japanese also occasionally check ! As there are many train stations, so are the neighbourhoods in Tokyo. Again, make a plan what you want to see or go.
These are some I have visited :
The most popular thing to see in Shibuya is of course Shibuya Crossing, the world’s most busiest pedestrian crossing. When I was visiting Shibuya I could not help but compare it to Time’s Square in NYC but 10x more ! To be honest, it was not my favourite area; overcrowded, lots of tourist traps, and overpriced .
Instead I went to visit Takeshita street where Harjuku fashion started. More details on this coming shortly.
Ginza is an upscale area full of high end departments stores with the best sushi bars or gourmet food shops. I stayed in Ginza but don’t let the reputation scare you, especially if you are on a budget. You can still find affordable places to eat or shop in Ginza .
Considered Tokyo’s red light district with the major entertainment , full of restaurants, bars and night clubs are located. Many make Shinjuku there main location for the bustling of the area. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to visit Shinjuku.
Asakusa is home to Tokyo’s oldest temple Senso-Ji. The temple brings in people from all over the world. This is where you will see many visitors around the world covering in the smoke. I was so curious to understand what all this meant. After some research I have learnt that the incense is to purify the body of anyone visiting the temple. They believe it is a healing effect
It is considered Tokyo’s development project where you will see lots of cafes or exhibitions or restaurants. There are some top things to see in Rappongi Hills like the Meet Maman: Roppongi Hills’ Friendly Scary Spider Landmark or the famous observation deck found on the 52th floor of Roppongi Hills’ Mori Tower.
You have to cross over Rainbow Bridge to head to Tokyo’s man-made area , Odaiba. To be honest I went for the Soho Building I have seen so many times on social media . It is a great place to visit and go for shopping or restaurants.
Harajuku is a walking distance area from Shibuya. It is a youth oriented fashion inspired by pop culture or anything that is cartoon inspired . It is worth a visit to see some of the craziest fashions , more Kit Kat obsession and it is great for street photography.
Located close to the Tokyo train station , Marunouchi is considered to be Japan’s largest business district.
Tokyo is huge so there are many more districts that is yet to be discovered. These are the most popular ones. The districts is a good way to understand Tokyo and gives you an idea what you are looking for when traveling.