Asia is one of the best continents to visit if you’re looking for an adventure. With countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and China, you’ll have no shortage of places to go or things to do. Another country that’s particularly famous to tourists from both Western and Asian countries is Japan. As advice for someone traveling to Japan for the first time, be sure to enjoy the time you spend there.
When it comes to tourism, Japan is one of the best places to go in Asia. With a rich culture, fantastic food, friendly people, and countless places to visit, three days won’t be enough to experience the small yet exciting country of Japan fully.
If you want to visit Japan, there are some things that you should know about beforehand. Here are ten facts and tips you should know before traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Japan Is Safe
Japan is in the world’s list of the safest countries to visit, according to LonelyPlanet.com. You’ll be amazed at how secure you’ll feel once you arrive in the country. Japan is also the best place for lone female tourists to go on vacation. Although Japan is safe for tourists, it won’t guarantee your safety if you’re rowdy.
Respect the law, respect the people, avoid going to shady areas, avoid displaying your valuables, and don’t provoke anyone.
A trip to Japan isn’t complete without riding the trains, says IntrepidTravel. Aside from the high-speed train, there are lots of scenic routes you should see when you’re on the train. Some of these sights are Shinkansen to Mount Fuji, the Hisatsu Line in Kyushu, and the Kurobe Gorge Railway.
When in Japan, or any other country for that matter, it’s always rude to point. Whether it’s your finger or your lips, don’t ever point at something. It’s considered disrespectful and tasteless. Locals will think of you as an uneducated brute.
In most countries, tips are highly appreciated. In Japan, though, tips are considered rude. Giving out tips means that you’re not satisfied with their service or product. Spare the tip and politely saying Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu is enough for waiters, cooks, and even hotel staff.
Learn Some Phrases
Speaking of Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu, there are other essential phrases you should learn before going to Japan. Here are some basic phrases to know about:
Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu – Thank You Very Much (more polite version)
Sumimasen – I’m sorry
Ohayou Gozaimasu – Good Morning
Konnichiwa – Hello
Konbanwa – Good Evening
Ikitai Desu – I want to go to
Ikura Desuka? – How much is this?
As mentioned earlier, Japanese people are highly polite and respectful of each other. Don’t greet strangers on the street, don’t eat or drink in public, and don’t take a photo of someone or something without permission. These can be a sign of disrespect for the locals.
Don’t Raise Your Voice
When you’re in Japan, don’t raise your voice. As much as possible, speak softly and quietly. The voice, the tone, even the content of your conversations matter to the locals when you’re in public. As everyone is sharing public space, it’s only right that you respect others’ space as well.
Leave Your Shoes Outside
When you’re entering into someone’s house in Japan, you should leave your shoes outside. Leaving footwear out is a big sign of respect for the people you’re going to visit. Keep in mind that some restaurants also follow this rule, so it’s best to keep watch and observe what the locals are doing.
There’s A Proper Way For Eating Sushi
Most of the time, foreigners will mix the wasabi and soy sauce and use it as a dipping sauce for their sushi. Although most Japanese accept this way of eating sushi, there’s actually a right way of doing it:
Place a small amount of wasabi on your sushi and dip it together in the soy sauce. Only dip the meat part of the sushi as the rice can quickly fall apart. Sushi should also be finished in one bite. Locals will find it rude if they see you finish sushi in two bites. If it’s too large for you, you can ask the chef to cut it for you.
Don’t be worried if you see a lot of people who seem to be asleep when you’re out traveling in Japan. This behavior is called “Inemuri” and is considered normal. Japanese are very serious when it comes to work, which is why “sleeping while present” is deemed to be a sign of a hardworking person.
Japan is indeed a beautiful place to visit. The country is amazing, the food is to die for, and the people are friendly. The tips mentioned can help you when you plan to visit the land of the rising sun.