One of the countries that has been on my travel wishlist for a long time is Japan. In addition to the enchanting culture, we cannot help talking about the country’s surreal natural landscapes. In fact, many people associate Japan with only the most metropolitan places, however, it goes far beyond big cities and super busy streets, like the famous Mount Fuji.
Because it is a very different place from what we are used to visiting, it is common to have numerous doubts, right? They appear mainly when we are going to plan a more in-depth itinerary for the trip. To help you prepare for this amazing tour, I compiled essential tips about Japan – which I hope to use soon 😉
When to go
Like everywhere in the world, the time you should go depends a lot on your preference. The seasons in Japan are well defined, so you can choose well which one will be ideal for the programming you intend to do. To scale the Mount Fuji, for example, the best time is summer, which takes place between late June and August.
AN Spring, which takes place between March and June, is considered high season in most cities in the country, mainly because of the cherry trees. Some say that the best month to see the streets in full bloom is April, so it’s a good idea to take this into account if you dream of seeing the famous sakuras. THE autumn, which starts at the end of August and runs until the end of December, is also a great time for those who enjoy trees with different colors and more colorful landscapes.
THE Winter leaves the streets and buildings with that super charming snow cover, right? It’s a good option for those who enjoy cold weather and love it skiing! In addition, one of the most popular tours at this time of year is the visit to the snow monkeys in Jigokudani.
Brazilians are only allowed to enter Japan if they are visa. The visa for entering the country costs 86 reais (value valid until March 2019). It is not a very high value, especially if compared to the American visa, which already costs more than 500 reais! For everything to go well when issuing the document, be sure to have the tickets purchased round trip and a schedule of your trip, because they are documents required by the embassy itself.
Another thing I recommend for you is take cash. They do accept credit and debit cards, but some places may end up with only money as a form of payment. To make sure you don’t have a hard time, it costs nothing to carry a little money, right? Cities are super safe and you will hardly have a problem with that.
Getting around the country
I almost always tell you that renting a car is the best option. However, Japan is a case in itself. Their public transport system is super efficient, and the train takes you to cities across the country, from the northern tip to the south. For you to be able to make all the necessary routes, the best option is to buy the Japan Rail Pass. It is a little expensive, but its validity is practically unlimited and you can use it across the country.
This pass gives you access to Shinkansen (bullet train) and also to common trains. You can choose how many days this card will be: 7, 14 or 21. It is important that you arrive in Japan with this purchased pass, because it is not sold there. The order can be made through the Japan Rail Pass website or by a specialized company, as in the case of Gema Turismo.
Rail transport takes you to most major cities in the country: Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Kyoto. It is essential that you already go with a planned itinerary, so the trip becomes easier and becomes much more practical for you to know the route that will be covered.
Learn some basic words
It may sound silly, but be sure to learn at least some basic Japanese expressions. It is not news to anyone that one of the main characteristics of the Japanese is education. For this reason, it is interesting to know how to speak small phrases and words, showing that you really care about their culture and are striving to maintain communication.
Since I am here to help you, I have separated some essential words: arigato gozaimas (thank you very much), onegai chimas (please), sumimassen (excuse me) and Icura des ca? (how much?). You will hear many “irashaimase!” in front of stores – the expression means welcome and is a way of getting the customer’s attention.
Not everyone there speaks English, so you may have some problems with that. I confess that I find it even fun when this kind of situation happens, because we have to end up using mime or our good old Google Translate. The Japanese are very helpful and will help you with whatever they can 🙂
One of the most popular dishes there is undoubtedly ramen. This “soup” is also easy to find in good Japanese restaurants in Brazil, but there is nothing better than trying the dish in its true place of origin, right?
THE Sushi it’s the Sashimi, which are always among the best known Japanese cuisine foods here, are very traditional foods, but they cost a little more. Seafood they are also a big part of Japanese dishes, so be careful if you are allergic to anything.
Be sure to try Japanese sweets. They are usually delicious and most of them are not very nauseating. Crepes and wagashis are the most common ones there. Several desserts have the filling or dough anko, which is a sweet paste made from japanese azuki beans. Worth a try!
Some “crazes” of the Japanese may seem very strange to us, but we must respect them and follow what they expect from everyone. After all, the experience of being in a different country becomes even richer when we really understand the way of life of the residents of that place.
One of the main things you’ll notice is talking loudly. It may seem difficult for us who always tend to make noise and use a louder tone of voice, but try to contain yourself as much as possible there. No matter where you are, always try keep your speech down and not aiming too far for places 😉
Ah, depending on where you go, they will ask you to take your shoes off before entering the space. Some places even give you a kind of disposable “glove” for your feet. Another thing that we are used to doing, but that is not accepted there is tipping. They may even find it offensive, so don’t pay more than you should!
Japan is an amazing country, one that makes you want to visit as many places as possible, you know? While our trip there is not yet complete, you can watch vlogs from other trips of ours!