Travel

TRAVEL TIPS: 4 USEFUL THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING JAPAN

July 28, 2016


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Dior sunglassesPomelo top & skirt | Stradivarius shoes | 3.1 Phillip Lim bag

Before visiting Japan, I did some research. With the traveler’s wish list on hand, I dig more information about the culture and the country itself. These details might seem small and not as significant as ‘Cheap Places to Eat’ or ‘Best Instagrammable Hotel in Tokyo’, but believe me, knowing these basics will help a lot before crawling around this country and travel without any tour guides.

So today, I’ll be sharing 4 useful tips that I think you should know before visiting Japan.

TIPPING

Unlike other countries, tipping isn’t really expected in Japan. The service has been part of Japanese’s dedication in hospitality. So neither in hotel rooms, taxis, nor in restaurants, there’s no need to leave your money behind – because chances are, the server will chase you down the street and return it.

Read more about my journey at Kagurazaka with Kenzo right here

PORTABLE WIFI & MOBILE PHONE DATA

Prepaid mobile SIM cards are not widely available anywhere in Japan. However, if you are looking for one, there is one company who offers prepaid SIM cards for foreigners, called B-mobile. They offer unlimited data plan that expires after 14 days for ¥2,380 (around Rp 300,000); and you can organise it to be delivered to your hotel the day you arrive in Japan – or pick it up in the airport. However, depending on your mobile phone, it might or might not work without certain specifications.

Therefore, the best option would be portable WiFi device. There are variety of devices available for rent. It is really handy so you might want to browse around, buy it online, and get it delivered to your hotel. After your trip, you can also put it in the box provided, throw it in mailboxes, and get them delivered back.

Read more about what to wear in countries like Japan where it is hot and rainy right here.

PAYMENTS

Unexpectedly, Japan is one of the countries that welcomes credit cards almost everywhere with no surcharge, and no minimum payment on credit cards. However, in case you need some cash, you might want to know that foreign bank cards do not work in most Japanese ATMs. Another option is that you may use the foreign ATM card from the ATMs located at post offices and 7-Eleven stores that are available 24/7. These ATMs have English options so you might find it easier to navigate.

Read more about my journey at Jingumae Harajuku with Kenzo right here.

TRANSPORTATION

To travel around the cities in Japan, you will need IC cards. With online payment, you may exchange the voucher at Tokyo station’s traveler services offices. On top of that, most IC cards can be used on multiple networks, such as bus, train, and subway lines in most major cities in Japan. Not only for public transport, IC cards are also available for any purchases in convenience stores. In case you walk into the wrong train station, you can go to the ticket booth near the barriers and ask for a refund, allowing you to get to the right station without additional fee. Now, to get the quickest route from where you are to where you want to be, Japan’s public transports are mostly integrated with Google Maps (that is why I recommend you to get phone data or portable WiFi devices). With Google Maps and IC cards, you will enjoy the city like a local.

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    1. Hi Steffi,

      Yes, it is possible to use IC cards for city hopping. Keep in mind, however, it can’t be used to pay for Shinkansen. It would be so much better if you have both IC cards and JR pass, because JR pass covers your travel on the circular Tokyo subway JR Yamanote Line – while for the other 13 subway lines, IC card can come in handy.

      Hope this helps!

  1. Omg so right in time! Kebetulan sekali aku akan ke Jepang minggu depan. Tips like this are the one u wouldnt easily find online^^ so it really helps! Ive been trying to figure out the small things & mobilization bcs i really dont understand japanese at all. I also take a look at ur recommended airbnb place but its full on my arrival date:( its really nice tho! I love ur japan articles, very helpful and chic! Terima kasih kak olivia, everything is very spot on:)