A Beginner's Guide to Traveling in Japan

A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling in Japan

Cindy June 9, 2014 0 Asia

If you have never been to the beautiful country of Japan it is best to have some things taken care of before you leave.  As in many cases planning ahead can not only save you time but it can also save you money.  It is also key to know when you should travel to Japan to avoid large crowds of visitors.  The best time to visit Japan is either in the spring between March and May or in the fall between September and November.

A few inside tips for having a more enjoyable trip to The Land of the Rising Sun include:

  1. Make sure to bring slip on shoes and socks without holes.  You will be taking your shoes off when you every time you enter a home.
  2. Bring small gifts from home to offer your host.
  3. Tipping is not generally done.
  4. Tea is generally free of charge
  5. Learn a few basic words in Japanese.  This will not only help you get around and communicate but also lets the people you are talking to know you are trying.  Some of the easiest words to learn are simple greetings
    1. Hello – Yaa
    2. Goodbye – Sayonara!
    3. Thank you – Arigatou!
    4. Do you speak English – Anata wa eigo/nihongo
    5. Good Morning – Ohayou gozaimasu
    6. Good Evening – Konbanw

While you are enjoying your stay in Japan there are numerous amazing and beautiful sights to be witnesses.  Depending on where your destination is in Japan there is something to be discovered.

Chūbu region:  Take a trip to Jigokudani Monkey Park.  A famous hot spring located near Nagano.  The name means “Hell’s Valley”.  It is popular because of the large number of snow monkeys that migrate there during the winter.  Soaking in the warm water during the day and retreating to the safety of the forest in the evening.

Kansai region: Eastern Kyoto is the home of the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple.  This temple has been here for almost 800 years.  It is complete with an indoor waterfall, which is feed from a stream outside.  This waterfall keeps the temple in perfect harmony.

Kanto region:  In this region you will find the great city of Tokyo.  While you are here make sure to visit the Tokyo Tower.  This multi functional tower is not only a communication tower but it is also the best view of Tokyo period.  With a 365 degree view of the whole of Tokyo this tower attracts thousands of visitors every day. They only allow a limited number of people per day so make sure to get their early to get your time that you get to visit the top. While you are waiting the base of the tower consists of a mall with many shops and restaurants.

A Beginner's Guide to Traveling in Japan

Shibuya Crossing

Another must visit location in Tokyo is what has been called the Time Square of Tokyo.  Officially it is called the Shibuya Crossing.  Complete with trendy shopping at Shibuya 109 and an array of local and international cuisine.

There is the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market, also in Tokyo, where you can watch the fishing boats come to sell their fresh catch of the day, process what they caught and watch the action take place.  Make sure you check out the eateries and enjoy some very fresh sushi.

While there are different customs in Japan than in the west, the language is difficult to understand without studying the language and navigation might be tricky with a little preplanning spending time in Japan can be both exciting and exotic.  Enjoy and happy traveling.

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