Whether you are going to Japan to get a glimpse of Takeru Satoh or for a family vacation, there are many things that you need to know before traveling to this delightful country.
#1. Cash Is King
You might be used to carrying credit or debit cards as a main payment method and only carry a little pocket change but let me tell you that this is the complete opposite in Japan. It is true that Japan is well-known as common by-word for technology, but the country is still very old-fashion when it comes to money.
The economy of Japan is cash-centric and you will be shocked to learn that many establishments don’t accept credit cards. For instance, workers are usually paid in cash and most businesses such as restaurants and shops tend to accept only cash. Also, forget about using a credit card when it also comes to public transportation, since you can’t use a card to buy a train ticket, to ride on a bus and even some taxi drivers accept only cash payments.
#2. The Metro in Japan Doesn’t Run 24 Hours
Yes, it might seem very shocking that a country like Japan doesn’t have a 24-hour train system but I recommend you to properly plan your night-outs if you don’t want to make a mad dash for the last train each time. And let me add that if you miss the train, you will need to rely on the cabs which can be really expensive (believe me, I am not exaggerating).
#3. Silence Is Golden
Every society sets its own noise rules and accepted decibel levels. Similarly, if you travel to the Land of the Rising Sun, you will quickly notice how the Japanese tend to speak very softly. Sometimes, even your “library voice” can sound noisy in Japan. So, if you have a habit of speaking out loud and want to visit Japan, you now know what you need to do. (And, honestly, in your place, I would have just switched to Timbuktu, but the choice is yours).
#4. Don’t Try to Tip
In many countries, it is considered as a matter of courtesy to tip some workers but not in Japan. Don’t ever make the mistake of tipping taxi drivers, waiters or bartenders. Instead, they might feel humiliated if you try to leave some extra money.
#5. Remove Your Shoes at a Restaurant
Did you know that most Japanese don’t wear shoes in their homes? But, you will be surprised to learn that this can also apply to public places.
For example, last time I visited a Japanese restaurant, I was asked to remove my shoes. The hostess can either put your shoes in a cubby behind the hostess stand or can ask you to tuck them next to your booth. And, as heads up, make sure you always wear socks.
#6. Drinking Tap Water in Japan
It is obvious that many people don’t trust tap water but let me tell you that the one in Japan is not only A-okay but is also delicious. You can say it is among the cleanest tap water in the world.
#7. Public Toilets Are Free
In European countries, you have to pay to use public toilets, but this is not the case for Japan. Moreover, you can easily find some public toilets just about anywhere in the city as well as in all train and subway stations. And, I will also add that they are pretty clean too.
#8. No Eating or Drinking While Walking
Many are used to eating a hotdog or drinking some water while walking but this is prohibited in Japan. This rules seemed pretty surprising to me due to the street food culture in Japan but this rule was established in order to respect other people’s space. For example, no one wants to smell what you are eating or wants some mustard spilled on them.
So, after reading these tips, will you still consider traveling to Japan? Please share your comments!