Nothing is as exciting as traveling to a new country. However, it can be just as nerve-wracking as it is exciting because you’ll be dealing with a completely new culture.
Ease your nerves a bit by putting in a little effort to plan ahead. With these three tips, you can increase your chances of having a positive experience while you’re in Japan.
Learn the Language
If you do nothing else on this list, at least make sure you take the time to learn the language. Before you feel too overwhelmed, know that you don’t have to be fluent in Japanese. Knowing just a few phrases can be extremely helpful.
Learning Japanese doesn’t have to be hard either! Many sites, like Nihongo Master, allow you to learn the language for free online. You can even ask questions and practice your Japanese language skills with others before you board the plane!
A few words you’ll want to master include:
- Sumimasen: Can be used to say excuse me, pardon me, and thank you
- Doko: By knowing this word, you can ask where the bathroom is, where the train station is, and more
- En: The Japanese word for Yen, which will make shopping a lot easier
- Eigo: The quickest and easiest way to ask if you can speak English freely
And of course, it pays to know the word “wakarimasen” because it means “I don’t understand”!
Cultural Norms and Etiquette
Every country has its own set of cultural norms. Learning and experiencing them is half the fun of traveling, but if you aren’t careful, they can get you into heaps of trouble. You can easily end up offending someone if you don’t do a little homework first.
A few cultural norms in Japan include:
- Eating while walking down the street is considered vulgar
- Talking on your cell phone in certain public places is considered rude
- You must take your shoes off in certain establishments
Love using plastic to pay for day-to-day items? Even restaurants that you would expect to take plastic, like McDonalds, won’t in Japan. So make sure you bring plenty of cash.
Plan for the Weather
No matter where you travel, you should always be mindful of the weather. In Japan, it’s popular to travel during the spring and autumn seasons. It’s especially popular for people to plan their trip in the spring in the hopes of seeing the cherry blossoms, only to discover they’re long gone.
If you travel in the summer, expect rain. The heavy rains can even carry over into autumn, so don’t be surprised if you spend your vacation avoiding torrential downpours.
It pays to bring along plenty of layers, and you should make sure you have an umbrella or a Japanese parasol with you, even if rain isn’t forecasted.
Planning ahead for your trip to Japan may take some time and effort, but it will pay off as soon as you step foot off the plan. With these tips, you will undoubtedly enjoy your trip more.