Japan is the perfect backdrop for the juxtaposition of the traditional with the modern – from stunning shrines to vending machines everywhere, it will be unlike any country you have visited in the past!
Finance Content Creator, Shreyaa Kapoor shares a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning your trip:
- Cash is king
Despite being an extremely advanced country, Japan still largely remains to be a cash run economy so make sure you carry USD to convert it into Yen in Japan. You can also choose to convert your INR to Yen but you might not get a favorable exchange rate.
- Take public transportation
Japan’s public transportation system is efficient and extensive. Get a Suica or Pasmo card for easy access to trains, buses, and subways. Avoid eating, drinking, or talking on the phone while using public transport. Fun fact: Your Suica or Pasmo card can also be used at most shops.
- Tipping is not customary
Unlike in some other countries, tipping is not a common practice in Japan and may even be considered rude. Excellent service is already included in the price.
- Tax-free shopping
If you’re a non-resident of Japan, you can enjoy tax-free shopping on certain items. Look for stores with a “Tax-Free” sign and bring your passport for verification. My favorite place to shop in Japan was Uniqlo! Not only is it 30-40% cheaper when compared to India, you also get an additional 10% off as a tourist.
- Travel in shoulder season
Shoulder season is the time between the peak season and off season. Hotels and flights will be 20-30% cheaper during this time and you will also be able to experience tourist-hotspots without the usual crowd.
- Purchase a Japan Rail Pass
If you plan to travel between cities, the Japan Rail Pass is an economical and convenient option. It allows unlimited travel on JR trains, including the famous Shinkansen (bullet trains). Make sure you order this in advance and get it before you embark on your Japan trip.
Apart from these, respecting the local customs such as bowing is common, and it’s polite to say phrases such as “arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you) and “sumimasen” (excuse me/sorry) in everyday interactions.
Just be mindful of the traditions of the hotels you stay in and places you visit and you will have a smooth sail in the fascinating country of Japan.