Japan is one of the most unique and traditional cultures on the planet. And yet, the Japanese people have managed to become one of the most advanced societies without loosing their traditions. This makes Japan one of the most interesting places to visit. Things to see range from the beautiful Himeji Castle, one of only a dozen castles that are still in original condition, to the bustling Ginza in Tokyo. Ginza is one of the biggest shopping areas in Japan and near to the seat of the national government and the palace of the Emperor. And you shouldn’t miss the “floating torii,” one of the most photographed and best known monuments in Japan. Then there is the Great Buddha, a stature forty-four feet high and weighing ninety-three tons. These are just a very few of the things that you can see in Japan. And here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable.
1. Plan your itinerary
There are many wonderful places to see in Japan, as mentioned above. In fact, there are so many places to see that it would take years to include everything. Plan your itinerary to make sure that you don’t miss any of the places you most wanted to see. A good itinerary also makes it possible to travel around the country in an unrushed manner.
2. Buy a rail pass
Rail passes that enable unlimited travel around Japan are available to tourists. This includes travel on the JR Rail Line, It’s not valid for “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines (and the Nozomi Super Express). It’s a wonderful and relaxing way to see Japan without the hassle of driving. Buy a rail pass now
3. Don’t forget your passport
Yes, this sounds like a no brainer, but you will need your passport. Australians can stay up to 90 days without a VISA. You can read more about the JR Rail Pass requirements here.
4. Exchange currency when you get there.
Currency exchange counters are located at airports and the fees charged in Japan are less then the fees than at exchange counters in the USA. Yes, you can use your credit cards, but there are usually extra fees attached for purchases made abroad. Carrying traveler’s checks is also a good idea.
5. Stay at a ryokan or minshuku
A ryokan is a Japanese hotel that offers tradition Japanese accommodations. There is everything from traditional hot baths, to wearing slippers and robes and eating while seated on the floor and sleeping on futons. A minsuka offers the same experience, but in a private home. If you are looking for western style accommodations, you can find that too.
6. Avoid major holidays if possible.
There are certain holidays, such as the Obon Festival in August, the Golden Week in April and the New Year’s celebrations that run from late December to early January when you can expect considerably more crowding and traffic.
Perhaps the finest thing about Japan is the Japanese people. They are some of the most civilized and polite people in the world and worth getting to know. So, use these tips to plan your trip. It will be an experience that you will never forget.