The following video contains some great travel tips from Yuka, a woman who obviously knows everything there is to know about the culture and customs in this country:
1. Get Wi-Fi Connection Information: There are plenty of places to find free WiFi and there are several that will charge you for it. Particularly hotels. Though listen to Yuka’s advice and find out about WiFi Hotspots ahead of time at the following links:
2. Expect people to greet you saying “Iratsyaimase”: As Yuka said, you don’t need to reply this is just how businesses greet their customers.
3. Many Japanese cannot speak English: I’m not sure about this one. Perhaps not in the rural areas, but not in the larger cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka.
4. Take off your shoes: You always take off your shoes when entering all Japanese homes and certainly all temples (failure to do this is considered very rude, even for a clueless Westerner!) Also in many traditional Japanese restaurants and hotels.
5. Go to the post office for cash: This is an interesting tip. Good to know, though hard to imagine such a technologically advanced culture would have so many problems with cash machines — anyone care to comment on the validity of this one?
6. Size matters in Japan: It’s true. Ask anyone whose ever visited Japan and they’ll tell you to buy up at least two sizes compared to what you’d wear in North America or Europe. If you’re on the large size, you might have to search the more touristy areas of the town or city you’re in before you strike gold.
7. Vegetarians should plan where to eat in advance: Japanese love their veggies
8. Don’t ask restaurants and vendors to wrap your food: This is another strange one. Hygiene?
9. Rush hour trains aren’t luggage friendly: Think of NYC subways, but a lot more people. Men, stay out of the “Women Only” cars (but old men and young boys under the age of 12 are welcome — surprisingly, this is for comfort and not safety like many of us would assume.)
10. Gratuities aren’t necessary in Japan: They aren’t necessary, don’t feel guilty just because it’s customary to leave one in other countries around the world.
*If you have any other Japan travel tips, feel free to share them in the comment section for all to see.
Main Image: Hong Kong Skyline by Spreng Ben