Japan: Travel Tips

Planning of traveling to Japan anytime soon? Below are some simple tips you might want to consider while preparing your itinerary in exploring the Land of the Rising Soon. These are all based from our personal experience from our last trip in Tokyo and Kawaguchiko.

Telecommunication
B-mobile– Our initial plan was a 9D/8N trip for April of 2013. After some research we found that B-mobile is the most suitable in our taste. They offer 2 types of “Visitor Sim”, a 1GB Prepaid and a 14-day prepaid. Both costs 3,980Y plus an additional 210Y if you want to pick it up at airport once you arrived from your flight (you can also arrange if you want it to be sent to your hotel).
– We paid online thru their website, but due to some unforeseen reason we have to cancel our April trip, we were able to cancel our air ticket and hotel accommodations except this. So please keep in mind that once you placed an order (and paid) it cannot be canceled anymore which means no refund.
– For additional information about B-mobile please click

Transportation
Suica+NEX– Japan has an extensive and very efficient transport system. Traveling by railway is the most popular one, whether inter-city or within the city travels that’s why they have several railway passes especially catered for tourists who wish to explore Japan.
– Carefully study your itinerary before buying your railway pass.
– Initially we planned to travel Tokyo-Osaka(with sidetrip to Kyoto and Narra)-Mt. Fuji-Tokyo for our 9D/8N trip. That time the most suitable railway pass for us was the 7-day JR Pass to be consumed on our first 7 days (Taking a bullet train from Narita all the way to Osaka, plus the inter-city trip from Osaka to Kyoto and Nara, our trip from Osaka to Mt. Fuji and Mt. Fuji to Tokyo) and then buy normal train tickets in our last 2 days in Tokyo.
– During our revised actual trip Tokyo-Mt. Fuji-Tokyo (6D/5N) we have the option of buying the 3-day Kanto Pass BUT if we will use it on our first 3 days the only trip that we can fully utilize it was our Narita to Mt. Fuji trip on our 1st day, our 2nd day we will just be around Kawaguchiko, on the 3rd we will travel back to Tokyo. Buying the 7-day JR Pass is out of the question since we will not be traveling any farther than Kawaguchiko.
– In the end, we have decided to use the “Suica and NE’X” combo pass worth 5,500Y. It comes with two-way ticket from Narita Airport to certain train stations in Tokyo area and a prepaid card worth 2,000Y (500Y refundable deposit and 1,500Y usable amount) which you can use for traveling around tokyo via metro train and subway. By using this, we were able to utilized a discounted Narita Express ticket to and from Narita Airport.
– For additional information about different Japan Rail Pass please click
– For additional information about Suica and NE’X Pass please click
– Also in planing your route using the railway, Hyperdia will be very useful to you. You just have to key-in from which station you will start to travel until to which station you will alight and it will show you different routes with corresponding amount you need to pay. Thru this you can roughly budget the time and money you need to allot for traveling around.
– For additional information about Hyperdia please click

Accommodation
JP accommodation– There are several types of accommodations which you can find around Japan, the most popular one is the Ryokan, a japanese type of inn which you can find throughout Japan. Conventional western type hotels and backpacker’s inn are abundant too. Just keep in mind that western style hotel rooms are a bit small so learn how to manage your space (after buying so many omiyage or souvenirs).
– We stayed at Resort Inn Fujihashi when we went to Kawaguchiko and then Tokyo Hotel Horidome Villa in Chuo. Please click the link to see my reviews about the mentioned hotels.

Food
Food– I don’t know but I find the food here (price wise) a quite affordable (in Singapore standards) than I was expecting before we went here. The top left photo, Beef Curry is 850Y (this one i find expensive because the taste is not that really special). Top right photo, Ramen set with chicken and rice side dish is 600Y (the taste is nice).
– You can try buying foods from vendo machines (bottom left photo), they are small restaurants wherein you can choose your meal from the vendo machine (with small photo and their prices) after paying, get your stub from the machine and go in and give it to the waiter and they will serve you afterwards. AND NO! The food doesn’t come out from the vendo machine ;-p
– Or you can buy cooked food from 711 or groceries. We enjoyed eating 711 foods during our Taiwan trip, but food choices from a few 711 (and other convenience store) that we check here is not as good as in Taiwan. But groceries store do have a lot and you can buy them for a cheaper price towards the end of the night.

Souvenirs
Souvenirs– “Omiyage” or souvenirs are popular japanese culture thats why you can easily find them in many places, particularly those well packed nice looking snack foods.
– The best omiyage you can bring back from your Tokyo trip is the Tokyo Banana. From the different places that we’ve been through, you can find them in the basement of Odakyu Mall in Shinjuku Station, also in Aquacity Mall in Odaiba as well as in Narita Airport Terminal 2 shopping area.
– The streets of popular areas such as Center Gain in Shibuya and Takeshita Dori in Harajuku have lots of cute things you can buy from. Also if Asakusa is in your itinerary, the whole stretch of Nakamise Shopping Street is heaven.
– But if you do not have enough time to travel to above places, just check Daiso. It is commonly called 100 Yen Shop ‘coz all the things you can find inside (used to) costs only 100Y (but now it’s 105Y). The choices are extensive and the price is cheap too.

Others
– Avoid talking loudly while using your hand phone while riding the train.
– There are certain seats inside the train that are reserved for elders, pregnant and parents carrying children so please try not to use it.
– Do not hesitate to ask questions if you feel you’re about to get lost, Japanese are genuinely helpful despite the language barrier.
– In riding the escalator, notice people are standing on one side (usually on the left) and they leave the other side open for people in a hurry or I called “express lane”. So please follow this to avoid being the cause of congestion on the escalator.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s