Firstly, I can imagine travelling to and around Japan can be quite daunting. Heck, this was me 100%, especially with the language barrier and trying to get to grips with the transport. So because of this, I cannot stress enough starting off with a group tour to really get you in the swing of things and give you a peace of mind whilst travelling. I went with the tour group Inside Japan and I really cannot recommend them enough. I was able to see everything I wanted to and more without having to get lost and break into awkward map readings. But then again I did have my good friend Ellie with me who is a whizz with the tubes and maps in general. Thanks love!
- If this is your first time travelling and you are not a huge fan of the heat, opt to travel during March - May for easy going temperatures.
- Take plenty of cash for your trip, the more the better as having to constantly watch your spending can be such hassle and take the fun out of your holiday. I found the food to be pretty cheap but transport can be a little more expensive so keep that in mind.
- On the note of cash, most people tend to pay in cash with not many shops accepting foreign cards or just cards in general.
- Post offices and 7-Eleven stores will be your best friends in terms of getting out cash with foreign cards. They are really easy to use so this can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
- Make sure you try and learn some basic Japanese or try and learn a slightly complex few sentences. The locals will really appreciate this, trust me. I did find not a huge amount of English was spoken so do not presume everyone can speak English.
- DON'T blow your nose in pubic. It's just a big no no so make sure you do this somewhere like a toilet where you cannot be seen. However, sniffing in public is a-okay.
- DON'T stand your chopsticks up in your bowl of rice as this symbolises death. Make sure you put them to the side on your chopstick stand instead if you have finished or need to take a break.
- DON'T tip. If you do, the waiter/waitress will end up running down the street to give it back to you! It's just something the Japanese don't do so make you don't make this mistake.
- DO take all your own toiletries, medication and feminine care i.e. sanitary pads. These are all just not quite the same in Japan and such items as sanitary pads can be a little more expensive.
- DO leave some food on your plate when you have finished a meal. If you don't it can seem like you haven't had enough and may make you seem greedy.
- Keep calm when you use the toilet. They can either have a mind boggling amount of buttons or just be an oblong hole in the ground with a hood. THIS picture may help you out if you are a bit confused by the second one. As for the buttons, give them a go as they can be quite fun! And don't be shocked to sit on a warm toilet, it's just a seat warmer, not the person before you.
- The Japanese are incredibly friendly. They will go out of their way for you and make you feel right at home. When I had first arrived, I was a bit clumsy and dropped all of my change on the floor whilst coming out of a 7-Eleven store (I blame it on the jet lag) but before I could blink, I had many lovely locals come and help me pick up EVERY SINGLE coin. Honestly, I was left speechless as this would not have been quite the same back here in the UK.
There are many other tips and tricks for visiting Japan but I feel I have given you some of the main points that I put to use every single day. All there is left to say is do your research (especially with food as there is a lot more I could of gone into). Even if you do have any hiccups along the way, don't panic, you won't get judged! After all you are a tourist and everyone makes mistakes but giving these points a go will definitely be appreciated by the Japanese. If you have anymore tips for travelling around Japan that I haven't mentioned or you think are important, please comment below :)