Just Japanese Things: 9 Things to Know before Traveling to Japan - The Urban Menu
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Just Japanese Things: 9 Things to Know before Traveling to Japan

Just Japanese Things: 9 Things to Know before Traveling to Japan 

Japan, with its blend of technology and tradition, is nothing if not fascinating. The country is full of incredible natural landscapes, bustling and sparkling cities, and jarring outlets – contrasted by quiet regions lined with nuanced regulations. In Japan, even a natural disaster will not allow people to break queues for water and food, but it is also the kind of place where you might end up getting socially ghosted should you accidentally say or do something offensive.

These distinct languages and cultures make it hard to prepare a comprehensive list of the things you should know about the country before paying it a visit, but we have made an attempt. So, without further ado, here are some of the things that you need to know about Japan before planning a trip there:

1) Japan is extremely safe

One of the things that makes Japan one of the best – if not the best – country in the world, is its high level of safety and security. Japan consistently features in the list of the world’s safest countries, making it an excellent destination for female tourists going solo. However, having said that, it is still important that you remain vigilant, avoid flaunting cash, steer clear of doubtful areas, and make sure that you do not provoke anyone.

2) Cash is king

In Japan, cash dominates. Almost every service, including restaurants and shops, only accept cash, and even workers are paid only in this form. Hotels or major department stores might have credit facilities, but do not forget to confirm this. Regardless, be on the safe side and have an abundant amount of yen in your purses and pockets – this will help you prevent awkward dialogue that might be further complicated by language and translation issues.

If you do find yourself short of cash, you can use the ATM at any 7-Eleven. Not only is the bank card bound to work, but 7-Elevens are also open 24 hours a day.

3) There are fewer trash cans than you might expect

Considering how much the country emphasizes on cleanliness and organization, this one might have come as a surprise to you. However, the scarcity of trash cans in Japan is pretty much a fact, and therefore, you should carry a plastic bag at all times – especially if you are considering going for street food. It is very much possible that you will have to keep your trash with you before you can dispose it off.

4) Tipping is not appreciated

While tipping might be normal or even encouraged in your country, it is certainly not the case in Japan. In fact, a tip is often perceived as offensive, so make sure that you do not leave any extra money with the bartenders, waiters, or taxi drivers, and only pay the amount that you are charged.

5) English translations might not always be present

Be prepared to run into signs and menus without English translations. This is generally not an issue in tourist-dominant spots such as Tokyo. However, once you step out of these hotspots, you can expect everything to be written solely in the national language. This is why you need to make sure that you have learned and mastered all Japanese words and phrases that you expect to use during your trip. Some places will try to compensate for the absence of English translations through the use of pictures. So, if you visit such a restaurant, you can at least point to the pictures and communicate what you want to order.

6) Avoid flagging your waiter

Visiting a Japanese restaurant generally means that you will not have to flag a waiter down. Almost all restaurants in the country have small boxes with a button, placed on every table – all you need to summon a waiter is press that button. This arrangement is made to make sure that customers are not making disruptive noises or attracting attention towards themselves. In fact, some restaurants go a step further and completely do away with waiters: you will have a screen in front of you that you can use to place the order.

7) Japan has huge underground malls

To say that Japan is covered with buildings would be an understatement, and tourists are understandably awestruck by them. However, you also need to make sure that you are not missing out on underground attractions and actions. Japan has emulated South Korea and used its underground space for massive shopping centers that rich with restaurants and food stores.

8) Do not be loud in public

Paying close attention to the volume – and even content – of your conversations is crucial in Japan. The people there are always mindful of the fact that other people are sharing the same space, which means that low voices and minimal conversations are always prioritized and appreciated.

9) Pocket WIFI is your friend

Japan has some massive places, and you might need a great deal of navigational assistance. Resources like Google Maps are essential for learning walking directions or planning train/subway routes – both inter- and intra-city. Hence, you should make sure that you have a pocket WIFI during your trip – it will likely prove to be a lifesaver.

Final Word

Japan is a fascinating place and one of the best tourist spots around the world. We hope that the tips and information about Japan discussed in this blog will help you make the most out of your Japanese holiday.

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