5 Travel Tips for Japan

There’s lots of advice out there, and this blog has already contributed (5 things every visitor to Japan must know, and 5 things you must see in Japan, 5 things Guidebooks don’t say about Japan). Here is a another five, but a unique five ideas to make the most of travelling in Japan, especially in summer.

A tourist using Google Maps on an iPhone at a major tourist destination to find their way.

A tourist using Google Maps on an iPhone at a major tourist destination to find their way.

1. Use Maps

If you can use Google Maps. Of course to do so, you’d need to access the mobile phone networks with a data plan. There are very few and hard to get options to get a SIM card, mainly to make it difficult or impossible for criminal gangs to operate. See this link for info, and organise this BEFORE you leave your home country: http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/index.html.

 

2. Local info

Of course you’ll use your guide books, but it doesn’t hurt to use local info, too. Drop into tourist info offices, check street maps, or ask a local. You may find something unique not included in your guidebook.

The deer in Nara roam freely about the major tourist hotspots, especially the historic temples and shrines.

The deer in Nara roam freely about the major tourist hotspots, especially the historic temples and shrines.

3. Drink lots

Especially in the humid summers, you especially need to. When I visited Nara in mid-August it was hitting 37 degrees Celsius (about 100F), and about 70 to 80% humidity. Aquarius and the… err… uniquely named Pocari Sweat are ion drinks that have an osmotic value close to that of the body, which means the fluids can be much more easily absorbed by your body, thus staving off dehydration. Vending machine drinks cost ¥150 (USD$1.50, GBP£1).

Aquarius is especially good at rehydrating in the extreme summer

Aquarius is especially good at rehydrating in the extreme summer

4. Parasols and umbrellas

If you’re a lady, feel free to shade yourself from the sun. It often rains, and since cars are not often used, you’ll need an umbrella. In my experience, portable (small folding) umbrellas available in Japan are good enough for you not to bother to get one until you really need to while your here in Japan. Umbrellas are very easily available in convenience stores, and are almost as disposable as snack wrappers. Convenience store umbrellas cost about between ¥200-¥500 (USD$2-$5, GBP£1-£3).

Many young women use umbrellas and parasols to shade them from the hot sun.

Many young women use umbrellas and parasols to shade them from the hot sun.

5. Have fun

Of course! Isn’t that why you’re here? Travelling is very tiring and uses a lot of your energy and strength. Take your time, plan a rest day where you can just chill and relax in one of the many, many cafés, where you can read and restore your energy. Then just enjoy being here.

A tourist tries to get a deer to pose for her camera in Nara.

A tourist tries to get a deer to pose for her camera in Nara.

One comment

  1. Andrew says:

    Update, 24th Jan 2014: NTT offers free wifi for foreign tourists visiting the north-east of Japan. However, I’d recommend to keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date before and while you travel. Also be very careful with your privacy settings. http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/ntt-east-giving-tourists-free-internet

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