Are you ready to travel to Japan with Samurai Tours? Before you embark on this journey here are my 10 travel tips.
1.Rent a Pocket Wifi
Wifi is available in some hotels and ryokans. However, it can be a necessity when you are traveling on your own. Whether you are searching for a place to dine or would like to make a phone call using Facebook Messenger. You will feel confident with your trusty pocket wifi. Samurai Tours has partnered with Rentalwifi, a Japanese company that provides a convenient, affordable and efficient mobile WiFi rental service. They will ship your pocket wifi to your accommodations with instructions on how to use the device.
2. Bring Yen and withdraw more at ATMs
Yen is widely more accepted as a form of payment instead of credit cards at small establishments. If you find yourself in need of more yen you may withdraw using your credit card or debit card from ATMs located inside a convenience store such as a 7-Eleven. When paying in cash please place the money in the tray.
3. Learn a few key phrases in Japanese
The Japanese appreciate our efforts to communicate in their language even if our pronunciation is not entirely correct. When you are on your own you will feel at ease being able to say excuse me, ask for water or the check.
4. Be prepared to take off your shoes
If are staying at a ryokan you may be asked to take off your shoes upon entry and wear slippers. Also, your room may have tatami mats which are delicate and no shoes are allowed on the mat. On a rare occasion you’ll be asked by shrines/temples to remove your shoes before entering.
5. Hand Towels and Trash bins
Public Restrooms will not have paper towels to dry your hands. Instead you will need to come prepared with a small hand towel. Didn’t bring a towel, not a problem, you can buy one at most souvenir shops. The Japanese are very mindful about waste and you will notice this when you are unable to locate a trash can easily. Please pay close attention bins are marked accordingly combustibles, incombustibles, cans, glass bottles, and plastics.
6. Train Etiquette
The Japanese are very orderly when they travel in large masses. When you are waiting for a train please form a queue behind marked lines. Allow passengers to exit the train before entering. Time is of the essence so don’t dawdle. You may have a conversation on the train but, please speak at a low decibel.
7. Onsen Etiquette
There are no bathing suits allowed, only birthday suits. Shower before entering the baths, do not submerge your towel in the bath, and no photography. If you have a tattoo you may be declined entry.
8. You are not lost, you are on an adventure.
If are venturing out on your own, be prepared. Take the hotel address with you and present it to a taxi driver to help you return. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most Japanese will help orient you in the right direction, despite the language barrier. Also, there are apps you can download to your smartphone. I would recommend Tokyo Subway Navigation and Hyperdia for train travel.
9. Download your itinerary to a smartphone or tablet
When your final itinerary is emailed to you, we recommend downloading the pdf file to one of your devices. Daily emails can easily overtake your inbox and soon, poof! The final itinerary email disappears at the bottom of your inbox. Your final itinerary contains essentials maps, addresses, and time tables you will need while traveling.
10. Read Gaijin on Getas Tour Handbook
Traveling to Japan with Samurai Tours is a unique experience which is why our owner, Mike Roberts, wrote a Tour Handbook. If you are a first-timer or a seasoned traveler you’ll find it indispensable on what to expect while in Japan.