Japan Necessities

Hello!! During my trip to Japan, I realized there were things that I should have done that could have saved me money, time, and more. So I’m here to share them with you now! Japan is a very technologically advance country so everything is relatively convenient!

1. JR Pass:

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  • Only applicable for foreigners
  • About $200+ for one week. But available for more days.
  • Applicable for the Shinkansen Hikari (bullet train)
  • Works on a majority of JR routes (JR west, east,etc) and some subways and ferries.
  • Click here for more info on how to use the JR Pass

2. Buy One Day Passes

  • Buy 1 day passes if you go to places like Kyoto or Osaka since the JR passes are not really applicable in certain areas/routes.
  • Really convenient for busses and subways

3. No tipping

  • The tip is usually already included in the bill

4. Coin Heavy Country

  • It may be convenient to get a coin pouch
  • VERY useful for busses (especially in Kyoto)
  •  ¥1= $0.01;  ¥5=$0.05; ¥10=$0.10;  ¥50=$0.50;  ¥100= $1.00; ¥500=$5.00

5. SIM Card

This was a lifesaver for me in Japan. Cell service in Japan is great, I never got anything less than 3 bars, even around remote areas close to Mount Fuji. I rented one for a week with only 1 GB, I used my phone a lot and I never ended up using all of it.

I got my SIM card at Narita Airport. You can also rent a wifi box there too.

Must be 20 years old to buy the physical SIM card.

OR

Must be at least 18/19 (or under 20) years old to rent a SIM card. They charge a security deposit, if you do not return the SIM card to one of their locations. The one I used had many locations in Japan, so returning it wasn’t a problem.

DISCLAIMER:

In order for you to be able to use your American or any other country’s phone in a foreign country, the phone must be unlocked.  For me, I had to call Sprint and it took less than 10 minutes. For other carriers, I am not very sure whether they require someone to get it done at the store or by phone.

  • Good for individuals
  • Amazing for Google Maps
  • Can rent a SIM card. Charges a security deposit if you do not return the SIM card,
  • Must be at least 20 years old to buy a SIM card, but can rent one (1GB) if under 20.
  • Available at the airport, convenient stores, etc.

6. Wifi Box

  • Good for groups.
  • Portable
  • Allows constant access to wifi and acts like a wifi box
  • Available to rent at the airport
  • Purchase ahead of time and pick it up at the airport. Click on the link for more information.

7. Google Maps

This is a must in Japan if you plan on taking public transportation. Google Maps will provide the times when the train, bus, or subway will be arriving, the stops they will make, the cost, bus number, and even the platform number. There are other apps for this as well, but Google Maps is easy enough to use. Just make sure you adjust the departure time on the app to get an accurate time.

  • Provides platform numbers, cost of the routes, stops, and arrival time
  • Very convenient and accurate
  • Easier than carrying 10 different maps and timetables.

8. Storage Lockers

At most major stations like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka will have storage lockers available. But also available in smaller stations, just ask.  They are usually available in size small, medium, and large. They do cost from ¥200-700 ($2-7) for a whole day. They will charge you, if it is still there overnight or longer.

  • Be aware, small lockers are more available than large lockers.
  • Most major stations will have a storage/concierge service where they will keep your luggage for you and not in lockers.
    • These are usually the same price or a little more than lockers.
    • Not 24 hours, so you will have to pick them up by a certain time, compared to the lockers
  • Some of these storage/concierge services can deliver to your hotel but they have to be by a certain time and within the vicinity.
    • Kyoto Station does have one, it is extremely confusing to find though. It is on the bottom floor where the subways are. Good luck finding it.
  • Do not lose the receipt or key. They will charge you… learn from my mistake
  • Don’t be that person that travels to tourist areas like shrines with a luggage.
    • First, shrines have a lot of stairs.
    • Second, the grounds are usually uneven, especially if it is old. Also, it is really annoying to listen to.
    • Third, it is so inconvenient since it takes so much space when you want to take pictures or wait in line.

 

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