We never imagined in our wildest dreams that one destination could grab at our heartstrings in such a short time frame as Japan did. So many indescribable moments and a feeling much the same as exhaling at the end of a long day. The combination of bright lights and fun in Tokyo , the food and memories made in Osaka , visiting the deers at Nara, standing in the middle of a bamboo forest at Kyoto and immersing ourselves as much as possible in the communities we stayed at and visited made our journey so memorable.
Organise pocket wi-fi before you leave and pick it up from airport after arrival. Follow the instructions that come with your pocket Wii Fit to get your data up and running straight away. Japan Wireless offer a great service that allows pickup at the airport or your hotel. We picked ours up on arrival from the airport gave us the chance to let our family and friends know we had arrived safety and saved us a large phone bill as we switched our phone data off.
We really struggled with the decision of whether to book tours when planning our trip to Japan but are glad that we didn’t as it opened up so many opportunities to explore more of the hidden places. Universal studios is definetly one place we could go back to many times and we really do like a good rollercoaster but as we were travelling with our four year old we knew that rollercoasters weren’t going to happen on this trip. So If you are not going on the rollercoasters don’t get an express pass. We entered all amusements and sections of Universal Studios with our entry pass. Biggest tip is go early on a weekday to avoid lines!
If you buy food / drink from a vending machine or convenience store eat or drink them while standing or sitting close by. It is not common to see people consuming food while walking in Japan. Rubbish bins can be hard to locate and are mostly located near convenience stores and close to vending machines (be sure to look at the labels and place your items in the right compartment).
Bringing medication into Japan If you are on regular medication or will require medication on your trip then it is important to know that Japan has strict rules in place for taking medicine into the Country for personal use. Our daughter has asthma so a quick email to the airport inspector confirmed how much medication we could take into the country and we were really impressed with how quickly we received a reply to our email.
Keep left on the escalators except in Osaka ( keep to the right) to allow people to go past.
Don’t talk on your phone in public places or transport. Messaging and using apps or browsing is acceptable.
Be on time for everything. Punctuality is expected in Japan and all transport leaves on time. Just last week a Japanese train company issued a public apology for departing 20 seconds to soon.
Pack comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot .
Remove your shoes when entering private homes and accommodation , temples and buildings with sunken foyer entrances ( you will notice rows or shelves of footwear and many places provide complimentary slippers to wear while there ) . We found it easier to wear socks and keep them on when slipping our shoes off.
If you only have time to learn two words before heading to Japan then – Kon’nichiwa (hello) and Arigatou (thankyou) are two words that will at least conjure up a smile on your visit.
Check your countries Exchange rate prior to leaving and make sure you exchange some money prior to travelling. We exchanged ours at Australia Post as it was a good rate and no Commission charge.
Grab yourself a small notebook with blank pages to pack. In Japan Commemorative stamps can be found at train stations , temples , museums and many other destinations. The stamps are made of rubber with various designs and are a great memento to bring home.