So you may have your ticket booked, hotels sorted and money changed and ready to go for your amazing trip to Japan. However if it’s your first time visiting this wonderful country then there are some tips that may help make things just a little bit easier.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you land and step off the plane is that when you come up to an escalator, everyone will be standing to the left. Japan is highly populated and a society that prides itself on their polite nature so when you see this, know it is both a polite thing as well as a functional thing. Everyone stands to the left when they don’t want to walk up and this leaves the right side free for those people who don’t want to wait or are in a hurry to get where they need to go. They can just hurry right on to the top. Of course, it is also worth noting that if you’re visiting Osaka then this rule tends to work in reverse, just think right to left instead of left to right.
Once you’re outside of the airport and your in the city, you might be trying to figure out the best way to navigate the train system. Don’t worry if your Japanese is non-existent or not that good, because there are easy ways to work out which train will get you to where you want to go. First, there are signs in English to help you work out where you are and where you want to go. However, one of the easiest ways to get around is to just follow the coloured lines. For example, in Tokyo, the absolute best line to use is always the light green line for the Yamanote Line. This line is a loop that stops at basically every major district in Tokyo and because it goes in a loop, you can’t get lost or end up somewhere in the countryside. If all else fails, just follow the coloured lines. Note, even the trains are coloured to represent the line they run. So light green train means light green line – you’re on the Yamanote Line.
It would also be worth mentioning that not all Japanese people can or like to speak English, while a lot of people are very happy to try or like to help out. Please don’t assume that everyone you may meet would love the chance to practice their English. If you’re ever unsure of something or need help, then it’s always best to look for signs first, a police box or a store assistant. If, after that, you’re still in need of some help then sure, you can ask people that you meet. Just remember to respect their wishes if they don’t wish to speak English.
Lastly, just go out and have fun exploring japan. Walk down little alleyways or visit the brightly lit and exciting towers because this is the only real way to experience the wonders that make up Japan. You may just find something others rarely see, a cute little cafe tucked away or just new sights that make you laugh and go “wow!” One person’s trip will always be a little different from someone else’s so don’t be shy about going out to explore and try new things. You’ll have an amazing trip, I’m sure.
・97 Things to Do in Osaka, the Japanese City of Street Food, Culture, and Comedy, in 2018
・“When” over “Where”: Why Picking The Right Season for Visiting Japan is Important
・Japan on the Cheap: Free Sightseeing Spots at Popular Destinations