Japan is a famous tourist country. It is known for its unique culture, rich history, advanced technology, and natural beauty, attracting millions of visitors each year. Some of its popular tourist destinations include Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, as well as Mount Fuji, temples and shrines, and hot springs. By being mindful of “5 things to know when traveling to Japan”, you can have a smoother and more enjoyable trip to Japan.
Japanese phrases that can be helpful for tourists visiting Japan
Konnichiwa (こんにちは): Hello
Sumimasen (すみません): Excuse me/Sorry
Arigatō (ありがとう): Thank you
Onegaishimasu (お願いします): Please
Hai (はい): Yes
iie (いいえ): No
Oishī (美味しい): Delicious
Eigo ga hanashimasu ka? (英語が話せますか？): Do you speak English?
Chīsana (小さな): Small
Ōkii (大きい): Big
Dōmo (どうも): Thank you (informal)
Wakarimasen (わかりません): I don’t understand.
The currency used in Japan
The currency used in Japan is the Japanese Yen (円, sign: ¥). The yen is abbreviated as JPY and comes in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 yen banknotes, as well as 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins. It is important for tourists to exchange their foreign currency for yen before traveling to Japan or to use international credit cards for purchases.
We can exchange foreign yen for Japanese yen at a number of places in Japan, including:
① Banks: Major banks in Japan, such as Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, and Sumitomo Mitsui, offer foreign currency exchange services.
② Currency exchange counters at airports: Most major airports in Japan have currency exchange counters, where travelers can exchange their foreign currency for Japanese yen.
③ Currency exchange shops: Many currency exchange shops in tourist areas and major cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, offer foreign currency exchange services.
④ Hotels: Some hotels also offer currency exchange services, although the rates may be less favorable than those provided by banks or currency exchange shops.
Regulations and customs in Japan that tourists should be aware of
😶🌫️ Smoking: Smoking is banned in public areas such as train platforms, hospitals, and government buildings. There are designated smoking areas in some public places.
😶🌫️ Trash: Littering is strictly prohibited in Japan. Make sure to dispose of your trash in the designated trash cans.
😶🌫️ Shoes: When entering a temple, shrine, or someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes and wear slippers provided by the host.
😶🌫️ Baths: Public baths and hot springs have strict rules regarding tattoos. Tattoos, even small ones, are associated with organized crime and are not allowed in many public baths.
😶🌫️ Photography: Some temples and shrines have restrictions on photography or prohibit it altogether. Be respectful and follow the rules posted at the site.
😶🌫️ Bowing: Bowing is a common form of greeting in Japan. It’s a sign of respect and a way to show gratitude.
😶🌫️ Tipping: Tipping is not a common practice in Japan, and it may even be seen as rude. It’s best to express your gratitude with a bow or polite words simply.
Basic rules to follow when using public transport
🚋 Purchase the correct ticket: Before getting on the train, make sure to purchase the correct ticket for your destination. Some trains require a reserved seat ticket, while others allow you to ride with a simple fare ticket.
🚋 Observe train etiquette: Be quiet and considerate of other passengers, and avoid talking on your phone, eating, or playing music loudly.
🚋 Stand on the right and walk on the left: On escalators and in station halls.
🚋 Board and exit the train properly: Board and exit the train from the doors designated for your car, and let passengers exit before boarding.
🚋 Respect personal space: Avoid taking up more than one seat, and try to keep your luggage compact and close to you to avoid blocking the aisle or impeding others.
🚋 Be mindful of rush hour: During peak hours, trains can become very crowded, so be prepared to stand.
Things to keep in mind when shopping at duty-free shops
Duty-free shops in Japan offer tax-free shopping to foreign visitors, allowing them to purchase products without paying the Japanese consumption tax. Some items that can be purchased duty-free in Japan include cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, and luxury goods.
Some things to keep in mind when shopping at duty-free shops in Japan:
🥵 Eligibility: You must be a foreign visitor and stay in Japan for less than six months.
🥵 Proof of eligibility: You may be required to show your passport and flight itinerary to prove that you are a foreign visitor.
🥵 Purchase limit: There may be a limit on the number of duty-free purchases you can make daily, and some items may have a maximum purchase limit.
🥵 Refund procedures: To receive a tax refund, you may need to complete a tax-free form and have your purchases stamped by customs.
🥵 Availability: Duty-free shops are typically located in airports. Some duty-free shops in major cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka.
🥵 Duty-free shopping can be a convenient way to save money on your purchases in Japan. However, familiarize yourself with the rules and procedures beforehand to ensure a smooth shopping experience.
I hope this “5 things to know when traveling to Japan” will give you helpful information when traveling to Japan.
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