Though expensive, Japan is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and friendly countries in the world. From Mount Fuji to bustling Tokyo to zen-like Kyoto, Japan is a high-tech world mixed with the politeness and respect of their past.
There are some preparations to consider before you head out for Japan:
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Before the Visit
There are some preparations to consider before you head out for Japan:
- Visa requirements
- Check your wallet before you travel
- Prepay your bills.
- Credit card
- Pay down credit card bills.
- Pack credit card contact information
- Apply for a credit card with no foreign transaction fee
- Call your credit card company to make sure that your card will be activated for withdrawals in Japan
- Clean out your wallet—Bring only things that are important to your trip.
- Buy traveler's check for better exchange rate and safety.
- Take other precautions
- Have mail on hold
- Double check your house before you leave
- Keep friend's phone numbers in case you need help
- Ask neighbors or friends keep an eye on your house
- Keep copies of passport and other important travel documents
- If you have health problems, pack copies of your medical records.
- Watch this video before your visit
- Trains are the fastest but expensive way to travel
- In most major cities, you can buy a day pass, which gives you unlimited travel for 24 hours for around 1,000 JPY on select trains
- Avoid rush hours in big cities especially when you carry luggages
- As a rule of thumb, avoid during the following hours
- 7:00 to 9:00 and 17:00 to 20:00
- Buy a Pasmo / Suica card
- If you’re planning on taking any subway/metro trains in Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka, you should load up a Pasmo card.
- They’re available in Tokyo airports and subway stations and are way more convenient than buying tickets.
- While some trains don't accept Pasmo and some won't accept Suica, most will accept both and the two are pretty much interchangeable.
- Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)
- Basically you cannot purchase JR Pass in Japan
- If you are an foreign tourist, you also have to be “Temporary Visitor" for you to be eligible to purchase it
- Only the authorized agents are allowed to sell JR Pass. You can find the agent list at this page of Japan Rail Pass.
- Some of the agents sell JR Pass online and they can mail to you by Courier or Express post service even in Japan
- This pass is eligible for the railway, bus and ferry services that are provided by Japan Rail Group with few exceptions.
- You can get “Exchange Order” at the time of purchasing.
- It is not an actual pass but a voucher. You have to exchange at the designated station for an actual pass after you arrive in Japan.
- The validity of exchange order is three month from the date of issue.
- The pass will never be sold out. So don’t buy it too early.
- Read more from 
- Download the Hyperdia app
- Cabs are extremely expensive in Japan
- Using buses in Japan can be intimidating to foreign tourists because there are usually few English displays or announcements, and there are different systems of ticketing depending on the company.
- Read this article for further guidance
Eat and Drink
- Normally, tipping in Japan is not customary (maybe except for tour guides, which will be stated clearly before you join the tour from abroad).
- Tap Water
- Is it safe to drink?
- Short answer is
- Long answer is
- As anywhere in the world, that depends on your body. Continue to read from  for more details.
- Morning Breakfast
- 15 Chain Restaurants and Coffee Shops to Enjoy Japan’s Morning Set
- Try buffet breakfast at a fairly high-end hotel
- or McDonalds
- Buy foods with discount
- After 8 pm, supermarkets discount their fresh food as they have to get rid of it by law.
- If you buy your food after 8 pm, you can save up to 50%.
- Eating at Restaurants
Culture, Customs and Etiquette
- Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized
- The traditional form of greeting is the bow
- Watch here to learn Japanese greetings
- Saving face
- The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face. So, we foreigners should try to behave like locals. For example,
- Avoid using your phones on public transport or use them in restaurants etc.
- Conversation at the table is generally subdued.
- The Japanese like to savour their food.
- Don't litter
- Bring a small plastic bag with you to hold trash and empty it when you come across a trash bin.
- Convenience stores and bathrooms are places that often have trash bins.
- Read more here.
- Currency Exchange
- Remember that Japan is a cash-centric country
- Many small vendors still require cash
- Read  for good tips
- Get Connected
- Read  for many good advice(s). For example
- One of the handiest ways for translating what you want to say on the spot
- Print out your hotel address in Japanese
- Public Toilets
- Public toilets are usually readily available all over Japan, and can be found in department stores, supermarkets, book stores, CD shops, parks, most convenience stores, and in all but the most rural train stations.
- However, do carry toilet papers
- BYOTP or Bring Your Own Tissue Paper is a common piece of advice to anyone in Tokyo who has intentions of using the public toilets.
- Public Baths (Sento 銭湯)
- Public baths are segregated by gender, and swimsuits are not worn (read more on bathing rules).
- Some sento, typically in hot spring resort towns, utilize natural hot spring water for their baths.
- More commonly, however, public baths simply use heated tap water instead.
- As foreigners visiting Japan, you can get tax refund for some non-consumable items 
- Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee
- Recharging devices
- Bring an all-in-one power adapter
- Temples and Museums
- You can buy city or temple passes that are valid for one day
Download Google Translate app
- Japan Travel Guide
- Tipping Etiquette When Traveling in Japan
- Public toilets in Japan
- Sento (銭湯) Guide (Kyoto)
- Kurama Onsen
- Tenzan No Yu
- May need to bring an own towel
- http://www.day-onsen.com/area26.aspx (in Japanese)
- http://www.chikara-u.com/ (in Japanese)
- "HyperDia" is a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.
- Avoid booking too early and too late. CheapAir's "window" for good deals on domestic tickets is 27–114 days in advance; Expedia's window is 50–100 days.
- Start with our own free fare alerts, our sister site BookingBuddy, and Airfarewatchdog's famous fare alerts.
- Basically you cannot purchase Japan Rail Pass in Japan.Basically only the authorized agents are allowed to sell Japan Rail Pass. You can find the agent list at this page of Japan Rail Pass official site.
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