Japan is one of the best travel destinations for those who want to enjoy the blend of ancient traditions and modern life. That’s the reason we call this place timeless. If you have been intending to travel to Japan and feel the country’s traditional culture along with grabbing the endless opportunities, this Japan travel guide will be useful for you. This travel guide is packed with all the necessary information for the first-time flyers who want to visit Japan “land of the rising sun” as a solo traveler or with their families.
Japan is magnificent and traveling around it offers endless opportunities for travelers. I must say that this is the safest place to travel as nobody troubles you even if you are traveling at midnight. Solo travelers love to visit places where there are no safety issues.
I am going to reveal the brief information, required for the Japan trip, you are suggested to explore this Japan tourism guide before leaving your place.
As per my personal experience, not only the country but the native people are also amiable. They welcome visitors from all around the world with smiling faces and open hearts. I do have amazing memories connected to Tokyo, Japan that always refresh my mind. I remember the gentleman, an employee of the hotel where I stayed, gave me his pocket wi-fi device without charging anything. That device was essential for me as I couldn’t visit different places without navigation. Unfortunately, my budget was low, so I wasn’t able to pay security fees for the pocket wi-fi device or buy a sim card due to the high cost. But I realize that my low budget helped me to know the real character of Japanese hosts.
There is much more that I will share with you in the next guides. Right now let’s discuss an initial guide for your Japan trip.
Japan is a beautiful country that is surrounded by water from all four sides, so it is also called an island country. Japan is situated in East Asia and is known for its islands and mountains. There are nearly 4000 small islands and the main islands of Japan are: Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Since Japan is surrounded by water from all four sides the nearest land to Japan is towards the north which is the Siberian region of Russia. Japan has a lot of mountains, about 4/5th of Japan is covered with mountains. Mount Fuji is recognized as the highest peak in Japan. It is a volcanic mountain that is considered holy by most of the population in Japan.
Before visiting Japan, you should consider the important factor that Japan lies on three of the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust which causes earthquakes frequently in Japan. It experiences about more than 1000 earthquakes yearly and it is also home to 60 active volcanoes.
Likewise, Mount Fuji is the best destination to travel to Japan. The beauty of Mount Fuji is sensational with its elegant funnel-shaped structure. It not only has a graceful charm but has a lot of holy temples and shrines around it as it is considered sacred by the local population.
“Blend of ancient traditions and modern life”
“Meet adorable Japanese people”
Many people know Japan for its cherry blossoms and if you want to see them in full bloom then you must visit Japan during the months of spring which are march-may when the beauty of cherry blossoms is at its peak. You can sit in parks full of cherry blossom trees and enjoy the multi-colored nature while enjoying delicious food. Nature is colored with pink petals which gives a soothing feeling.
If you are interested in experiencing the fall you can visit Japan from September to November. During this time you will see the retreating cherry blossoms and the addition of big red leaves leaving any ongoing watcher speechless. The divergence between the two colors is a blessing to our eyes.
Well, if you have an interest in hiking or love to do outdoor activities then you must visit Japan during the months of summer that is from June to August. These months have beautiful and perfect weather to go for outings and travel between the aesthetic landscapes of mountains and hilly areas. You can experience Japan’s national holiday Obon in mid-August or mid-July.
You can experience different festivals in the winter of Japan. Usually, the land of Japan is covered with snow but the people of Japan love to light up these gloomy days with festivals. So months from December to February are suitable to visit if you want to have a closer look at their traditional festivals.
The language spoken on the mainland is Japanese. English is taught as a compulsory subject in schools so many of them are aware of English. In most of the big cities of Japan, you can see English speakers. Korean as well as Chinese languages are also growing, so it can be fruitful to travel to Japan if you are aware of English or any of these two languages. But it does not go to waste if you learn a few daily use words for much easier travel. Even though English is used commonly but as you move to the countryside the language fades away and only Japanese and its dialects are left.
Some Japanese people do not prefer to speak English or other languages, so some travelers find it difficult while communicating with native speakers. But here, I have a personal experience that would be beneficial and encouraging for you. Whenever I found a person who didn’t know the English language, he/she tried to help me anyhow. I really appreciate the Japanese people and their culture where people are willing to help others even if they don’t understand their language. I still remember that I asked the route from a lady at the train station, she was unable to explain me due to the language constraints but she held my hand and took me to the place. She was willing to help me so she did the same. I must say they understand the language of hearts and respond accordingly.
Japan experiences 4 different seasons spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The springs are generally cold and pleasant with temperatures ranging from 3-26 degrees Celsius. Why spring? It is because the plum and cherry blossoms are in full bloom. You can witness them in Tokyo’s Ueno Park and enjoy a picnic on the spot. You can also visit lake Kawaguchi to witness the same scene. A number of festivals like the Takayama spring festival, Sanja Matsuri, and Aoi matsuri can be visited during spring. Since it is the most famous season to visit, book in advance.
If you are planning to visit in summer, the temperature ranges from 12-31 degrees Celsius and the weather is quite humid and hot and there are regular rains. The humidity is unbearable but if you want to experience a bit cooler temperature then you can visit the northern part of Japan where the temperature falls to 12 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is the month of June. During this month most of the tourist places are not crowded and people can enjoy these places easily. Since there are not many travelers during this time period you can enjoy peaceful trekking on Mount Fuji as well as heat-beating festivals.
The Autumn season is also good to visit Japan as the temperature remains between 1-30 degrees Celsius and the weather is quite pleasant and cool. You can experience warm yellowish reddish and orange shades of Sakura. There are many special food events that take place in autumn in Japan like the Hokkaido food festival and the Tokyo Wagyu show. It is also one of the busiest seasons in japan like spring.
Last but not least the winter season ranges from December to February with temperatures between -8 to 19 degrees Celsius. The weather is quite cold and you can experience snowfall. The weather remains cold throughout. Most of the south remains dry while the north experiences snowfall. You can experience perfect sceneries of landscapes during this season. The biggest attraction in this season is Jigokundani Snow Monkey Park where you can see the monkeys bathing in hot springs amongst a lot of snow. There are fewer travelers and very few distractions.
Japan is rated as the safest country in the world. Tourists can feel free to visit Japan as the crime rates are very low in Japan. You can see the locals leaving their bags and clutches in the restaurants, cafés, and bars without any worries, this explains that safety is quite good. Even though they leave their belongings out there I would suggest you not do the same. You should always take precautions while traveling.
I would like to share my own experience regarding safety while Japan tourism. When I traveled to Japan, I landed at around 12:30 am, and as there was a fixed-time of shuttle service that was provided by the hotel without additional charges, so I needed to wait for approximately 3 hours at the airport. I was not willing to wait for a long time, so I preferred to take the train and reach the hotel. That was really amazing experience as I didn’t find any safety difficulty on the way. Even on the last day of my stay, I wanted to visit Renkō-ji temple, where the ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose have been kept but it was too late and the temple was closed as I reached there after visiting hours. I requested them to open the temple for just 5-10 minutes and they accepted my request as my flight was scheduled for the same night. Although it was too dark, I wasn’t afraid of being tricked by anyone on the roads of Tokyo. I actually got the proof of safety in Japan while traveling as a solo.
The safety regarding weather phenomenon should be studied and taken into consideration before traveling. Since Japan is located at what we call the ‘ring of fire’. It is struck with many disasters yearly like typhoons. Tourists are most likely to see these typhoons. The phenomenon usually starts in August and carries on till October however it can also start at the beginning weeks of May. The country experiences heavy rains and winds. One of the most common happenings in Japan is earthquakes. Japan is struck by earthquakes more frequently in a year than any other natural disaster.
Well, when traveling to japan you should keep some of their cash currency in hand for easy traveling. You can easily exchange money at the airport when you reach the country. It is better to exchange money at airports so you can pay your travel expenses. The other option for you to exchange your money is at the hotel you are staying at, but the hotel charges an extra exchange fee that is generally larger than the exchange price offered at other places. You should use this option only in case of a great emergency. The cash exchange is also available at big restaurant chains. Not every restaurant in Japan accepts credit card payments, especially the small ones so carrying cash with you is a must.
The best way to exchange cash is at banks. The banks offer reasonable prices for exchanging cash, but you must keep in mind that banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays and on national holidays. The banks are only open till 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
If you are visiting for the first time 7-9 days should be sufficient to go around the main destinations in Japan. You can visit Tokyo for around 3-4 days and Hiroshima and Osaka for around 5-6 days. If you plan to go on a long trip you can cover most of Japan in two weeks that is 14 days. You can go around Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Or you can take a second plan to go from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hokkaido.
The best way to travel from the airport to Tokyo station is to take the JR Narita Express (NEX). It will cost a traveler around 3000 yen to travel to the destination in about one hour. You can catch the train every 30 to 60 minutes. You have another option for taking a round-trip ticket to Tokyo in NEX or it’s a good idea to get a JR Pass. Normally, the ticket costs 4070 yen for foreign travelers who are traveling for 14 days. The NEX picks you up from the airport drops you in Tokyo and carries you back to the airport after finishing of the trip.
The other option for tourists is to take JR Sobu Line. It is quite cheaper than the previous one but runs at a slower speed. It costs about 1340 yen and takes 90 minutes to reach the destination. If you plan on taking the bus, you can get a direct bus from the airport called ‘Airport Bus TYO-NRT’. It takes around 1300 yen for one way trip during day time while the price during the nighttime and early morning are high is 2600 yen.
The fastest skyliner is the Keisei Skyliner. It costs around 2500 yen to travel to central Tokyo. It connects Ueno station with the airport. It is a very comfortable train and takes about 40 minutes to reach the landmark. If tourists buy the ticket in advance then they can get a discount of 200 yen.
I hope this Japan travel guide would be beneficial for you. If you experience something more interesting, don’t forget to share by commenting on this post. Have a wonderful trip to Japan!