What you should know about Japan
Traveling to Japan was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not only is it a culture that I had respected and adored for years, but it was also something that was new to me. Having never been to Asia at all, not speaking any Japanese, and traveling with family, there were a lot of things I wish I had known. These are ten travel tips that I wish I had known on my trip to Japan!
- The language barrier is not that bad: As I mentioned, I don’t speak any Japanese! I take that back, I knew maybe four words. Luckily, majority of different locations around the world speak English. Past that, Japan illustrated almost everything! Most of the restaurants that we went to had either English on the menu, or had images of the plates so that we were able to deduce what we wanted. Similar to that, there are signs for literally everything. If you are traveling to Japan, don’t stress out if you don’t speak Japanese, but it is nice to know something!
- Their culture is more important to them than you know. Ever since I was little, the Japanese culture was amazing to me. It was somewhere that I knew focused on their traditions, and that was amazing to me. The places that we visited during our trip had so much culture, and it was amazing. Many places are sacred to them, and you need to do some research about what to do, and what not to do.
- Some places are incredibly busy, so just get ready! I’m never one to waste time, and there is no room to waste time while you are in Japan. While some places are much calmer than others, Tokyo is incredibly crowded. There were people literally pushing us onto trains because there were so many people. If crowds are not your thing, then head to smaller cities!
- Go to Tokyo Disney, I’m not kidding. As a Disney lover, I was beyond excited to go to Tokyo Disneyland. Even if you are not huge on Disney, it is an incredible sight to see. No other park can compare to this one, and Disney Sea is incredible too. If you are a Disney lover, the shopping here is beyond what you could ever imagine! There is an entire post coming about Tokyo Disneyland soon!
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’m quite the adventurous eater if I do say so myself. I’m all about new and unique food items. My younger cousins on the other hand are not that adventurous. While we were traveling, I made sure to have them try new things that they had never tried before. Good news, they are continuously trying new foods now.
- Be prepared to get your fitness on! Y’all, we walked so much! I don’t think there was a day that we walked under ten miles, but walking is the best way to experience a new place. We did a lot of walking at Mount Fuji, we did a ton of walking around Harajuku, and I think I walked the entire city of Kyoto. I wouldn’t change anything.
- GO VISIT SHRINES! Yes, this is in all caps. The most amazing part of traveling around Japan was getting to visit all of the different shrines. Fushimi Inari brought me to tears, and it is just so incredible to see how many people are there. The architecture is also just out of this world. No matter where you go in Japan, there will be shrines.
- Stay at a Ryokan! These are traditional Japanese hotels, and they are really interesting. We had rice paper doors, slept on mats on the floor, and wore Yukata as our pajamas. To be honest, it is some of the best sleep I have ever gotten. I also love how traditional they were, and it was way better than any regular hotel we stayed in.
- Don’t be afraid of public transportation. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of public transportation. Anywhere I go as a traveler, I always use the transportation provided. The JR trains in Tokyo are some of the best trains I have ever been on, ever. Additionally, the bullet train is a once in a lifetime experience, and yes, they do go that fast!
- Learn about the culture while you are there. One of the best things that we did on our trip was get dressed in traditional kimono, and walk around the Higashiyama District. This amazing old city of Kyoto was the perfect setting to experience the culture. I actually ended up coming home with two kimono as well. A complete set from the 1970s, and one that is newer. We also hired a guide in Kyoto to give us a tour of the shrines, and he allowed us to know information that we never would have known otherwise.
What is your dream travel destination?