1685997242 These are the 7 biggest mistakes travelers are making while | phillipspacc

These are the 7 biggest mistakes travelers are making while visiting Japan right now


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Few places in the world are as wonderfully unique as Japan. It’s understandable that many visitors from the US, Europe and beyond take a wrong turn or two when they find themselves in a culture so different from their own.

That being said, no one wants to be the stereotypical clueless tourist.

Here are the five biggest mistakes travelers are making while visiting Japan right now, and how to avoid them:

women in traditional kimono walk through orange doors in kyoto japan

Buying the wrong type of train tickets

He Japan rail pass (or JR Pass) is an unlimited Japanese transportation pass for trains, airport transfers, buses, and ferries. Since it is exclusively for foreign tourists, this pass must be purchased online prior to your trip.

The price of $212 for 7 days (or $338 for 14 days) makes the JR pass a purchase you’ll really want to think about.

So how do you know if the JR Pass is worth it?

  • If time is a priority on your multi-city trip. – A one-week JR Pass is cheaper than a round-trip shinkansen bullet train ticket between cities, like Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka and vice versa. While budget travelers can opt for Japan’s overlooked luxury buses starting at $15, the shinkansen is definitely still the best way to get between cities in Japan. It is almost an experience in itself.
  • If your trip is between October and December 2023. – Even if you’re not sure how many trains you’ll need, buy a JR Pass online before September 25 before prices go up 70% from October 1. You can activate the pass up to 3 months after the date of purchase.
  • If you travel with children. – For JR Pass holders, children under 6 years of age enter free and children from 6 to 11 years old pay half price.
  • If you are traveling during peak travel season or rush hour. – You’ll want to reserve a seat on your train during the world-famous cherry blossom season from March to May, summer holidays, and other busy times. Saving a seat is more expensive than an unreserved ticket, so the JR Pass is worth it.

Still not sure which is the best offer for your trip? Try a handy Japan Rail Pass calculator.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to pick up a suica card from any airport or train station when you arrive in Japan.

Surprisingly, cash is still king in this technologically advanced country, so Suica card It is a good solution for contactless payment on Japan’s public transportation network, as well as at vending machines, shops, and restaurants.

Japan Rail Pass at the train station

eating or drinking in public

With so many amazing meals, snacks, and drinks to enjoy on any budget, it’s easy to get too excited and forget about Japanese food etiquette.

It is considered very rude to eat or drink in public in Japan.

Tourists should be very careful not to take sips or snacks while walking, and definitely never by public transport. (The exceptions here are a discreet bottle of water on the go or bentos on long-distance trains.)

If tourists have to eat or drink on the go, they can find a quiet place in a public park or sit on a public bench. The area right in front of the vending machine groups is also usually a safe zone.

Traditionally dressed Japanese women eating food on a bench

Spend the entire budget on food

Yes, you are in a culinary paradise with the most 3 Michelin star restaurants of any country in the world. But you definitely don’t need to spend money on fine dining to eat well in Japan.

Westerners often think of sushi as an expensive food option. But in Japan, sushi is fresher and more affordable than almost anywhere else. and You don’t even need to shell out top dollar at Japan’s amazing sushi restaurants to enjoy this delectable delicacy.

Both sushi lunch sets from depachikas (department store basement food aisles) for $4-6 and meals at conveyor belt sushi diners for $8-12 offer excellent value.

Japan is also famous for its convenience storeseither konbini, that put 7-11 to shame around the world. If the hundreds of varieties of instant noodles aren’t your thing, try Onigiritriangular rice balls wrapped in seaweed paper and filled with all kinds of delicious meat and fish for just one dollar.

sushi conveyor belt in japan

Did you know that if Japan’s 5 million vending machines were lined up next to each other, they would stretch from Tokyo to Hawaii?

Quantity doesn’t detract from quality either. While tourists can expect cold sake and hot lattes, they are likely to be surprised by the fresh produce, steaming dim sum, traditional curry and trendy tinned cake.

When it comes to crowd-pleasing ramen, there are so many affordable options beyond the cup noodle vending machines and convenience stores. Many budget and mid-range ramen shops use a vending machine ticket system to streamline the ordering process and offer prices starting at $5.

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Travelers may think they are complimenting the restaurant’s service with a tip. Unfortunately, that would be a sticky cultural faux pas in this corner of Asia.

Tipping is genuinely offensive in Japan.

The staff will be embarrassed and not know what to do with you either your bills Some restaurants have a service charge of a few dollars per person, or a flat 10% fee, which will be included on your check.

lanterns and signs light up a dark street in Tokyo

Poor planning of arrival and departure from Tokyo

Most international travelers will start their Japanese adventures in Tokyo, or so they think.

Narita International Airport is No in Tokyo. It’s actually in Chiba Prefecture, over an hour and a half away by special airport express train from central Tokyo. Both JR’s Narita Express and Keisei’s Skyliner will get you there for around $35, but they only run from 7:30am to 9:30pm

Many tourists also make the mistake of arriving in central Tokyo at rush hour. From 7 to 9 am and from 5 to 7 pm, it is quite difficult to pack your body on a train with the help of a people pusher, let alone squeeze your luggage. There are also no trains between 1am and 5am.

Without proper planning, travelers could cluelessly drown in a sea of ​​travelers, stranded, or paying an exorbitant $180-$220 for an airport taxi.

woman traveling by subway in japan

Staying in boring chain hotels

This is definitely not the country to settle for a traditional chain hotel.

Japan offers a wide variety of unique accommodation experiences at all price points.

  • ryokan – These Japanese guest houses range in size from traditional family residences to grand interpretations of designer hotels. What they have in common are tatami mats, communal pathways, public areas, traditional multi-course dinners called kaiseki, and immersion in Japanese culture.
  • chimney – Traditional rural guest houses offer the traveler a breath of fresh air and a journey back in time.
  • shukubo – Pilgrims have been seeking refuge in Buddhist temples for centuries. Now, many temples offer once-in-a-lifetime overnight experiences for open-minded tourists.
  • Onsen Hotels – Natural hot springs give life to Japanese onsen, or communal thermal baths. Many hotels and resorts offer spa-like services and private baths for a zen wellness retreat.
  • capsule hotels – They are more than just compact backpacking pods. Modern fashion capsule chains like first cabin it offers space-saving « first class » rooms with enough space to walk around and hotel-level amenities (even humidifiers, smart TVs, and shaving cream).
couple enjoy food in traditional japanese ryokan hotel

Follow the beaten path (and the fast lane)

Many travelers try to see too many of Japan’s top attractions in just a few days. Rushing between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and the picturesque islands, they spend so much time packing and transiting that they only scratch the surface of what Japan has to offer.

Focusing on one region and getting off the beaten path can turn a typical tourist tornado into a transformative experience.

Try lumping popular Kyoto or Osaka together with destinations like Nara and Kobe, or even out-of-the-way gems in nearby prefectures:

  • arashiyama – Some visitors to Kyoto visit the bamboo forest and return directly to the city. Instead, spend the night in this sleepy town. Explore their tea plantations and their traditional way of life.
  • ine – This remote fishing village is worth the trek north from Kyoto for its houseboats and local boat tours.
  • uji – Even the most skeptical tourist cannot help but fall in love with the charm of this matcha capital. Tea lover’s paradise!
  • Awaji – This quirky island near Osaka has everything from anime theme parks to lush flowery hillsides.
woman traveling in arashiyama japan bamboo forest

traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com