Japan isn’t one of those countries that where you can just rock up and wing it…there are a few things that it’s important to do or check before you go.
- Check what the visa restrictions are for your country (UK and Irish passport holders are NOT required to obtain a visa if they wish to enter Japan for 6 months or less.
- Book a JR pass (we did ours online here)
- If you’re going for a week or longer and are planning to travel when you’re there, it works out much cheaper to buy a pass.
- Research National and bank holidays as these might affect how easy it is for you to get around the country and book accommodation. Also, make sure your planned activities won’t be restricted by weekends!
- Learn some useful words and phrases, don’t assume that everyone speaks English…
- Read up on Japanese etiquette
- You’ll be able to find this information in any guidebook or website anyway, but I thought it was worth flagging as there are lots of things that you might not realise are frowned upon or considered offensive.
Most of this is fairly obvious…but we found it a bit confusing trying to book the JR passes as there were lots of different websites saying something different, and also there were a couple of times when we were drilling down our itinerary, where we had to change plans due to bank holidays/National holidays or weekends.
Hope this is useful!