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Preparing for any trip can be overwhelming, especially if you are traveling overseas for a long period of time. We have traveled to Japan countless number of times, so we've become pros at getting ready for our trip. These are some tips on how to prepare for your trip to Japan:
1 | Book Your Flight with a Travel Agent
Our favorite travel agency we use when traveling to Japan is IACE Travel. They have helped us out with our travels to Japan for nearly 20 years and we trust them completely. They are meticulous with everything and the customer service is superb. Of course, you can book the flight yourself but if you wanted a little extra help, IACE will help you search for the best itinerary for Japan.
2 | Book Your Accommodations
We typically stay with our parents or in hotels, but there are plenty of other options such as Airbnb, capsule hotels and ryokans. Make sure to book 2-3 months ahead. If you want to stay in a ryokan, book a little earlier. Our favorite hotel stays in Japan have been at Park Hotel Tokyo, Conrad Tokyo, Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Park Hyatt Tokyo.
3 | Take Skyroam With You
Skyroam is our top essential item for all of our travels. It's a wireless modem that connects up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices. They are so convenient and a necessity for us in Japan as free wifi is limited. They are getting better about providing more free wifi locations, but there are still times we need wifi to navigate, as we get lost often. Japan is the most confusing place to find specific locations, so having Google Maps with you at all times is a huge time-saver.
4 | Reserve a Japan Rail Pass
If you are going to travel all over Japan, getting the Japan Rail Pass is a no-brainer. You can freely ride all the JR trains and even the bullet trains (with a few exceptions) and you'll save tons of money on transportation.
6 | Plan Out Your Trips with Hyperdia and Google Maps
Hyperdia is a great website we use to plan out our itineraries. It gives you detailed information on what trains to take at what time to get to your destination. Google Maps is great as well and best to use for navigation while you're in Japan.
7 | Take Out Some Cash to Exchange Money
Japan isn't as credit card friendly as other countries. You can use your credit card at department stores and restaurants, but most little shops only take cash. Make sure you take some cash with you so you can enjoy good food at the mom and pop restaurants. We exchange our money at the Narita airport or some of the 7-eleven convenience store ATMs accept debit cards for cash withdrawal.
8 | Pack an Extra Bag
We don't bring much with us when traveling to Japan, but when we leave, we have so many things to take home. Japan has the coolest things and you want to take home everything! Make sure you pack an extra bag so you can take home those Japanese goodies with you. Get a packable travel bag as it doesn't take up too much room in your suitcase, but can fit a lot on your way back home.
9 | Learn Basic Japanese
Most Japanese know a little English, but here are some simple phrases to start with:
Sumimasen = Excuse me
Arigatou = Thanks
Hai = Yes
Konnichiwa = Hello
Onegaishimasu = Please
10 | Prepare For Your Long Flight
It's going to be a long flight. Make sure to pack some healthy snacks like trail mix and granola bars. If you're not a fan of airplane food, we like to bring Cup Noodles with us and just ask for hot water from the flight attendant. It'll also be good to bring a neck pillow, a jacket or cardigan, and eye mask for comfort.
That's it! 10 simple steps. Enjoy your trip and let us know if there were any tips we missed that could be helpful to others. Happy Travels!