Tips & Trick : Japan

Do you always want to travel by yourself without being tied down by tours super tight schedule? Don't you find travelling with tours annoying? -well, i mean, you don't really have your freedom, can't decide where do you want to go because of the damn is annoying! For me, go everywhere with tours is super annoying. My first experience going with tours was to China -and i don't have fun at all. Thanks to that, i decided to try going to Japan without tours.

If you want to, but don't have the experiences, i'm here to share some tips & tricks to self-travel to Japan. It may not be so damn perfect since it based on my own experiences -my first experiences to be bold. But well, i hope it helps.

Let's begin with the basic.
mark your calendar! Decide when will you go! It's all about the time.
To know the best time that fit you to your bone, do some research -like the tourist attraction, fee, local festival, local holiday, and the season. Do it long before you decided to go, guys.

you have to decide what type of travel do you prefer -bugdet traveler or the glamour one?
It will help you to know how much money you have to prepare. If you decided to go with the budget traveler one, i can promise you it will be cheaper than the tour!

you have to search for the flight and book your hotel. Why? because you have to provide the flight booking confirmation and hotel address when you submit your visa! Go to or hostelworld or any other helpful website to book your hotel. I recommend you to carefully see the rating and read the review for each hotel. A travel insurance is also needed. Don't forget to purchase it!

please make a rough itinerary. Don't have to be specific, just give the place you're going when you're in Japan.

submit your visa. They will process your visa for 4 day. Make sure you have time to take your visa before your flight. LOL~ And oh! Japan embassy has a strict schedule, please read carefully about the details in the website. It is really helpful. If you want your visa to be processed fast, you have to gather all the file needed before you submit them. They won't accept your unfinished file. You're save as long as you don't have any problem with Japan beforehand.

after you get your visa, finished your flight payment, and any other point above, don't forget to change your money. Believe me, it's better to bring yen than USD from here. You can still bring USD, but just for emergency -in case your yen is not enough.

Go and buy yourself JR pass, specially if you have plan to ride on Shinkansen at least twice. It can only be bought before you go to Japan. They don't sell JR pass in Japan. It surely will save your money. Check the details HERE.

Learn basic japanese! Not a must, but it will be helpful because not all Japanese can speak English well. Don't have to learn about something difficult. Just remember some important key point, like direction, toilet. thank you, the difference between gomenasai and sumimasen, how much (for shopping), and how many (for ordering food or drinks). They will respect you for trying to speak Japanese even if you only say "arigato" or "sumimasen"

The basics are all done. It's pretty simple right!
Before we continue, i will share some fee for your daily life supply while you're in Japan.

Rough details:
a. Food
minimum price you can get is around 700 yen. I set mine 1000 yen/meal (4000 yen/day)
Believe me, you have to spare some money for your food because you will want to try their traditional food/snack.

b. Transportation
this will be you next biggest spare in Japan, next to food. I recommend you to go with Tokyo metro if you're in Tokyo, local bus if you're in Kyoto, and local subway if you're in Osaka. The fee might vary depend on your destination.
JR pass can only be used for JR train, and Kyoto don't have many JR train, the same as Osaka -not like Tokyo. JR pass valid for 7 or 14 day. Make sure you think carefully before you decided which date you will begin to use your JR pass.
As for me, i decided to use the JR pass to cover my Shinkansen fee (from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka to Tokyo). The Shinkansen is pretty expensive (13.000 yen for Tokyo to Kyoto), so if you don't go from city to city, don't bother to buy JR pass (28.000++ yen for 7 day). WHY? Because the purpose of JR pass is to make you save money. If you only go around Tokyo, the fee wouldn't exceed 28.000 yen.

c. Tourist attraction
I believe you have search about tourist attraction before you go and plan your itinerary. Check whether the attraction got you to pay for entrance fee or not. If you're in your first visit to Japan, go to the most famous tourist attraction. Take note of the fee needed for each attraction you want to go.

d. Hotel payment.
If you go and book your hostel through hostelworld, you will need to bring more money to pay the hotel, because you only pay DP from hostelworld.

Done with the rough details.
Now after you step your feet on Japan, please pay attention to this thing!

1. Rent a cellphone or buy a simcard. If you need to contact your parents by call or text msg and your provider can't connect, you can find a lot of cellphone rent centre. They can speak english rather well. If you're using android or iphone, you can buy a simcard for 2.000++ yen -paid by credit card. If you're using other type of cellphone, go rent a cellphone.

2. Go to tourist centre in the airport, and ask for the city map.

3. Ask for help to get to the city from the airport - or maybe you should check it out on google before you go to Japan. Narita has it's own website.

4. Make sure you check the map of the metro/subway so you won't get lost. If you don't understand, go ask the staff.

5. Don't forget to check about their culture, like the tradition on dining table, how to use the public bath, and so on. If you don't want to embarrased yourself, please take not of this point.

6. Pay attention to the hotel curfew, when the public bath open/close, don't be so noisy at night. They're rather quiet, so if you make a noise, it can be heard clearly.

7. You can eat snack/drink in Tokyo Metro, but please make sure you don't spill them. No cellphone ringtone allowed, specially beside the priority seat. I never heard a cell ring inside the Tokyo Metro, so please take note.

8. Kyoto local bus only operate until 10 pm, and they only have 2 subway line. Make sure you come back before the transportation is down. You aren't allowed to eat or drink in Kyoto local bus. They only accept payment up to 1000 yen.

9. If you go to Gion in Kyoto, and happen to see a geisha in front of you, please don't overreact or being rude, like taking photos/pointing. You will face the bodyguard for sure. Just act normal.

10. Bring several plastic bag with you everyday, because it's pain in the ass to find trashcan in Japan. -__- So, my advice: If you happen to buy something in Lawson/Family Time/7-11 in Japan, don't leave the plastic bag. It will be useful for you to gather your trash until you find the trashcan.

11. Pay attention to the weather forecast. If you go there on Spring or Summer, the weather can ruin your day --> if needed, bring umbrella or poncho with you.

12. Always bring your passport with you, sometimes you can get discount for showing your passport in shopping arcade.

13. It's safe in Japan. They're honest, and won't take tips. So don't worry about losing your money due to robbery or other kind of crime. But if you're pretty clumsy or not so sure about the situation, i recommend you to seperate your money to 2-3 seperate place. In case you lost your money, you still have saving. Pretty smart, huh? just make sure don't lost your passport/flight ticket.

14. Save the address and the telephone number of your country embassy in Japan. In case something emergency happen, you know where you should go.

15. Most of the hotel in Japan provide towel, soaps, shampoo, brushtooth, room sandals, and yukata. To make sure, you can see the review of the hotel. If they don't provide them, you will know from the review. So read, read, and read!!

16. Hotel in Japan don't provide extra bed. If it's room for 1 person, then it only for 1. If it's twin roon, then it only for 2. And so on..please pay attention to the max. guest can stay in 1 room.

17. Never leave your precious items in your hotel room. Eventhough it's safe, we never know when the bad luck will happen. So stay alert. ;)

That's all. Hope it helps!
See you again soon!


photos are taken by me & Angelina G
edited by me

Anastasia Goenawan

1 comment:

  1. thanks for writing this. helpful :)


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