Are you planning a trip to Japan? So you’re in luck! But maybe you’re a little worried about how things will turn out? Well, take it easy because I bring you the following helpful travel hacks to help you make the most of your trip to Japan! 🙂
1. Buy an e-ticket
These magical cards are your access to many of the basic things you need to live and travel comfortably in Japan, including buying food, water, and of course transportation. There are various types of rechargeable electronic cards.
The most popular e-cards are: Pasmo – available in Tokyo, Suica – for Tokyo and its environs, Niigata and Sendai, Icoca – for use in Osaka, Hiroshima and Okayama, and Kitaca – for Hokkaido. The cards are valid for up to 10 years, and most require a 500 yen deposit, which you can get back by returning the card at the airport or train station.
Using such cards is much more convenient than bothering with buying a paper ticket every time.
What card to choose?
All of the cards listed are pretty much the same in functionality, so whichever one you choose, you’ll be able to use it in a variety of situations, no matter where you are in Japan. You only need to swipe your card to the electronic information reader to take the train, subway, bus and even take some taxis.
If you’re hungry, you can pay for gyudong (a bowl of rice with beef) at Sukiya fast food chain, buy sunscreen at the 24-hour convenience store, buy takeaway coffee at Doutor, pay for shopping at Bic Camera electronics store, and much more.
Watch the video on how to buy a Suica card from the vending machine at Tokyo Station.
2. Download the Travel Japan Wi-Fi app
If you have never been to Japan and imagine Japan as a country of the future with super communication, controlled by flying robots, then … I have to disappoint you …. Despite the advanced high technology and robotics, the lack of affordable Wi-Fi is a big surprise for visitors to Japan, who are often forced to pay a lot of money for a prepaid sim card or pocket wifi due to a stalemate.
But there is a way out! Download the free Travel Japan Wi-Fi app, which includes iTunes and Google Play accounts, before or after your arrival in Japan. The app offers reliable connectivity, connecting to 200,000 hotspots across the country, along with local navigation and tourist information.
And as a bonus, in the tradition of a travel hack, you can get discounts at electrical goods stores such as Bic Camera and Edion, at Gyu-kaku restaurants (Japanese-style barbecue) and Robot Restaurant (dinner and extraordinary robot show). The app will work wherever you are. And what else is convenient? No troubles in order to enter with a login and register an account.
3. Use convenient convenience stores – combi
Japanese FMCG convenience stores are a hack paradise with fresh food and essentials you might not even know you’ll need. All combi products are on sale 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And all this is within walking distance! There are always customers in these stores. Therefore, such stores in Japan show profit growth despite economic deflation.
The top store in Japan, コンビニ in Japanese, is a 7/11 convenience store chain that bills itself as a “home refrigerator.” Yes, perhaps you can say so, if, of course, in your refrigerator there is also nail polish remover, a mobile phone charger and underwear 🙂
4. Save money by taking advantage of various discounts as a tourist
If you’re worried about how expensive it is to travel around Japan, then I’ll try to convince you. If you have a tourist visa in your passport, more precisely a temporary visitor visa, then you can save a lot of cash on transport, shopping, dining and leisure. You just need to know where to go.
1. To travel with a discount on the Super Express Shinkansen train, purchase a JR Pass ticket in your country in advance before departure. Or you can buy the JAL Explorer Pass, which allows you to save on a range of domestic flights. Or you can choose the Willer Express night bus with its very economical Japan Bus Pass. Many major cities will offer you discounts on transportation and attractions with your visa, such as 1, 2, or 3-night passes.
2. Every year the number of theaters, museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums is growing, providing discounts even in the most remote corners of the country. Study guidebooks, museum websites, tourist apps, etc. in advance. Moreover, many parks, temples, museums, viewing platforms in Japan have generally free admission. For example, only in the Shibuya area of Tokyo, you can have a great time without spending a single yen.
2. As a temporary visitor, you will also benefit from tax breaks on food, cosmetics, souvenirs, clothing and electronics. Look for duty-free departments with the Tax Free sign at major branded stores such as Uniqlo, Don Quijote, Muji, Bic Camera and other department stores. For purchases over 5,000 yen, you are eligible for a 8% VAT refund.
5. Learn some Japanese phrases to look polite and knowledgeable in Japanese 🙂
Although not everyone in Japan speaks English, however, all major cities and famous landmarks in Japan have signs in various languages, at least in English. At the airport, at large stations, in large department stores, there are multilingual staff. But if you need to say or ask something in Japanese, then the following phrases will help you pass for an expert in Japanese and look polite among the locals 🙂
I hope that by using these genius hacks you can make your trip and stay in Japan as super wonderful as possible 🙂