Japan is a great country to visit, but it is the type of place that you need to get prepared for to have the best time. Here are some practical tips for traveling to Japan.
Get a Wireless Router
As soon as you arrive in Japan you might want to rent a wireless router which you can get at a lot of the airports. It can be challenging to come across one of the prepaid sim cards so you are usually better off with a wireless router, which will allow for the connection of all of your different gadgets through the one router. This also allows for unlimited data which can save you a ton of money on roaming or long distance charges. You won’t be able to use your phone as normal, but you can make phone calls over Skype or use apps like WhatsApp that do not charge for texting.
Book a Rail Pass Before You Go
The rail in Japan is a great way to travel since you can save a lot of money, but it is best if you purchase the rail pass ahead of time. There are two different versions of the seven day passes, one for the regular train cars and a more expensive version for the “superior class” train cars. The superior or green cars are less busy which can make it easier for you to sit with a friend or group if you are not traveling alone.
You should also get one of the cards that works on the metro or the subways, such as the Pasmo or Suica card. These allow you to buy trips in bulk as opposed to having to get a card every time you go to train station. The cards can also be used to make payments at many different stores.
Download Some Helpful Apps
There are a few different apps that can help you out a lot for your travel in Japan. One is the Google Translate app which can translate what you need right in the moment. There is a bigger language barrier than a lot of people expect in Japan, so it’s good to be prepared with an app that is actually useful for this process. Even when it doesn’t work perfectly it will generally get the message across enough to communicate.
Another app that might be helpful to use is the Hyperdia app which can help you get a hang of the public transportation system. The cabs in Japan can be very expensive so it is best to stick with public transport whenever possible. This app is made for the foreign traveler and is free for the first 30 days of use which is more than enough to cover most vacations. To use it you enter the information about your train and it will tell you in English the travel time, distance, fare, any transfers to know about, and what track your train will be leaving from.