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Travel Tips

10 Must-Know Tips Before Visiting JAPAN 

Written by: Siew Li

1. Hard to spot dustbins

Most dustbin was removed after the Tokyo subway sarin incident in 1995. However, you can standby a plastic bag before leaving in the morning to store all your trash

Recycle bin prepared outside of convenient store

2. Bathing together is common. Don’t be shy.

In Japan, you are not allowed to put on swimsuits or towels in onsen and you will be soaking with others. Remember to “shower first” before entering the tub. If you feel uncomfortable, try booking a private onsen instead where you can have private space all to yourself.

Hakone Kowakudani Onsen

3. Tipping is not the culture

In Fact, it is considered RUDE and insulting in most situation. Service staff even chased guest to return bills left behind the restaurant. In case you like the service of the guide, you may choose to buy them a drink or food rather than TIPPING.

Dontsuki Izakaya

4. Take off your shoes!

You probably heard that Asia country practice “no shoes” in house. In Japan, it applies to house, workplace, schools, restaurants, ryokan. Normally, a shoes box provided at genkan (entrance hall) indicates a “no shoes” sign. Slippers will be provided for indoor use. Do take note on tatami flooring as only socks or bare foot is allowed.

Shoes box at genkan

5. Prepare EXTRA cash.

Japan is a cash oriented society and not all places accepts credit card. Do carry along EXTRA cash with you always, especially when you are travelling outside of the city.

Japan bank notes and coins

6. Tap water are safe to drink

Yes, it is safe to consume directly from the tap water. According to Japan Water Association, Japan is known as one of countries with portable tap water. Normally, there will be signs stating the tap water is safe to drink from. By this, it saves you lots of money for mineral water.

Tokyo’s High-Quality Water Supply

7. Do not simple take photos!

It is OK to do so in most tourist spot, but do ASK for permission if you want to take photo. Places you should avoid taking photo are such as public bath, residential area, pachinko parlors, shrine and temple. You can also look out for signs at tourist spot to ensure taking photo is permittable

Kyoto’s geisha district – Gion

8. Walking while eating on streets are unappropriated

It is considered as rude when eating while walking in Japan. You can pause for a while at the corner to finish up your food before proceed to next stop.

Ginza Fukuyoshi

9. Prepare to walk a lot!

In Japan, be prepare to walk a lot. You might need to walk about 30 minutes or more from the station to the attraction. A proper and comfortable shoes will be best for your trip.

Sneakers wear

10. Obey the RED LIGHT

In Japan, you will observe that pedestrian obey the red light even though there the streets are clear. Unlike in most countries, pedestrian just cross whenever streets are clear without obeying the traffic light. You might even get a wired stare if you cross the red lights by the locals.

Shibuya Crossing Intersection


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