In 2014, I visited Japan with my boyfriend, Dai. I am very lucky that he is Japanese and can speak the language, so I did not have to worry about communication during my trip! It was a really amazing experience and I will definitely share more about it here soon, but for now I wanted to share some tips for traveling while you’re there.
+ Get a JR pass
A JR pass is railway pass that allows you to travel all over Japan on the bullet trains. It is only available for tourists and is a huge discount, so I definitely recommend taking advantage of this offer! We got a one week pass and used it while we traveled to different parts of Japan before settling in Tokyo for the second week where we just used the local bus system.
+ Rent a pocket wifi router
In Japan, it unfortunately isn’t very easy to find free wifi like it is here in the US. There are, however, these cool things that are little wifi sources that you can just carry in your pocket with you so that you can connect to its network. We didn’t have one during our trip and just relied on connecting to wifi when we returned to our hotel, but it would have been nice to be able to use our phones for directions and things while we were out.
+ Be on time
Unlike here in the US, the trains and buses in Japan run perfectly on time. If by the off chance that they are even a minute late, the train operators apologize to the passengers. That being said, if you are hoping to get a ride at a specific time, make sure you are on time because you most likely will miss it!
+ Have coins for vending machines
I know this might seem like a minor thing to think about, but if you are out for the day and are thirsty or need a quick snack before you catch your train, you will thank yourself for having coins for the vending machines! Plus, vending machines in Japan are pretty dang cool, so you will want to get something from them!
I hope these tips come in handy and inspire you to head to Japan!
* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted