Travel Guide: Japan
Exotic yet popular, millennial yet modern, conservative yet extravagant. Japan, the land of the rising sun!
If you haven’t been to Japan, you are are definitely missing out on learning about such a peculiar and extraordinary culture and experiencing the wonderful sights this magnificent country offers.
The small island country is full of surprises but it will welcome you with open arms and a warm smile. The locals are very kind and helpful. Although the majority of the population doesn’t speak much English, they’ll go out of their way to help and provide information. Be aware of the cultural shock you may experience but don’t stress too much, Japanese people are a friendly bunch and will be happy to help.
While there, make sure to enjoy the beautiful temples, mouth-watering food and fantastic sights!
When to Go
Depends. If you want to sky and enjoy Winter-y activities, go around December to February and head to Hokkaido where the acclaimed Winter Festival is a feast to eyes and the sky stations offer great snowy mountains. Autumn offers amazing coloured trees and sights and the temperature is best around October-November. Spring (our favourite) is pure beauty with flowers and trees blossoming around and the famous Sakuras (cherry trees) showing off its stunning colours!
Accommodation is rather cheap all around. Tokyo is possibly the most expensive but still accessible. Rates on hostels or capsule accommodation stay around ¥1950-3120 (AU$25-40). Family hotels or 4 stars and above will cost around ¥7800 (AU$100). On Airbnb you can find accommodation ranging from AU$35-80 for a room or a whole house.
Oh Japanese food! Plenty and cheap. You can eat for as little as AU$6 or splurge a little more, like AU$10-15, on a traditional Japanese restaurant. Even a sushi train would only cost about AU$20 (!!!) for a lot of sushi. So go on and enjoy it while it lasts.
Japan has one of the best public transport systems in the world. Great grid of subways and plenty of options pretty much anywhere you go. If you are visiting Japan, you must get yourself a RailPass. You can either get a regional pass or a national one depending on where you are going and how long are you travelling. It can be expensive to buy it in advance but you will regret not getting it as individual tickets add up pretty quickly. Plus you can travel as much as you’d like within the chosen time frame and even experience the Shinkansen (really worth it!). Get yours here.
Things to Do
Japan has so many activities that it’s difficult to choose what to do. Do it all or enjoy your favourite stops.
- Don’t litter anywhere in Japan. You’ll get fined and it is seen as incredibly impolite.
- Use your chopsticks (o-hashi) correctly. Don’t point them towards others, don’t stab your food, don’t place it on top of your bowl (lay it nicely on the side) and don’t wave it around. It’s bad manner and should be avoided.
- Don’t eat while walking (apparently not seen very nicely by the Japanese…Guilty!)
- Do not blow your nose in public.
- Don’t use talk on your mobile phone in closed spaces or talk loudly. Japanese people consider the collective more importantly than the private.