10 Things to check before leaving 旅行の準備
Think you're ready to go to Japan? Here are 10 things to check before you go!
2. Have a return air ticket: Japanese law requires you to have a return air ticket to enter Japanese territory. Pay attention to this as it will be checked!
3. Currency exchange: the use of credit cards is pretty restricted in Japan, and cash is often the preferred method of payment. Have at least 10,000 yen in cash or more in hand upon arrival, if only to take the train!
4. Know the address you will be staying at: it is one of the other conditions for entry to Japanese territory: it's imperative you provide a physical address to indicate on the entry card that will be given on arrival, for example your first hotel address.
5. Plan your journeys: Japanese transport is managed by a variety of local and private companies. Check your itinerary before leaving, and know which trains/buses to use, as the Japan Rail Pass is not valid everywhere!
6. Buy a Japan Rail Pass: this is the best option if your itinerary uses the JR network quite frequently. Be sure, however, to make it worth it (at least one Tokyo/Kyoto round trip).
7. Have an electrical outlet adapter: While most modern electronic equipment (computers, mobile phones, camera chargers...) operate in both 110V / 220V, know that Japanese plugs are flat, and not round! US visitors shouldn't have a problem with their own appliances.
8. Have a small Japanese phrasebook: English speaking Japanese are few, even in Tokyo. Having a small phrasebook of "survival phrases" will save the day. Not only that, but it's also nice for exchanging a few words in Japanese to make contact; the Japanese are very shy!
9. Check the calendar of festivals: one of the most underrated attractions of a trip to Japan, are the thousands of local festivals, the famous matsuri, which punctuate the life of every city, town and village. Find out if there are any matsuri being held near you, it's guaranteed to be a memorable experience!
10. Stay connected: optimize your trip by renting a pocket wifi to stay connected at all times. Necessary for staying in touch in this digital age we live in, but also very useful for translating signs and checking maps to find your way around!