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Japan Travel Guide

About

Japan, the home of sushi and a country where history meets modernity. Tokyo is the capital city as well as the largest city in Japan and thrives as the country’s major finance, industrial and commercial centre. Other well-known cities are Osaka and Kyoto, which are worth visiting for their food and geishas respectively. Japan is a major cultural centre, home to popular attractions such as the Imperial Palace, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine, Tsukiji Fish Market and Dōtonbori. This bustling city is encapsulated with history, nature, markets and vibrant nightlife, all with the ease of one of the world’s best transportation systems.

Local Custom & Slang

Sugoi

  • Meaning: “great”, “amazing”

  • Example: This sushi is so sugoi!

Itadakimasu

  • Meaning: usually said before a meal, it means “Let’s eat!” or “Thanks for the food!”

Taxi

  • When boarding a taxi, the left rear door will be opened and closed solely by the driver as the door is either automatic or it is part of the driver’s service etiquette.

  • Put your mobile phone on silent mode.

  • Japanese do not speak loudly on mobile phones especially on trains. They usually keep their phones on silent mode.

Escalators

  • In Tokyo, the locals stand on the left side of the escalator. In Osaka and Kyoto, they stand on the right.

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • Japan has four seasons; Winter (December to February), Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August), Autumn (September to November).

  • Typhoon season in Japan occurs from July to October, with statistics showing that the typhoon moves onto shore around August and September.

Transportation

By Train

  • There are many train and subway lines operated by different companies in Japan. The railway transportation in Tokyo is one of the world’s most reliable and punctual systems. The most convenient way to get around Tokyo is by the train lines operated by JR East and subway lines. Although some of the train stations in Japan may be huge due to many connecting lines, fret not as the stations have lots of signage to guide you. Download the Tokyo Subway Navigation app to help you plan your transportation route.

  • In Osaka, it is easier to travel by subways than by buses. Just like Tokyo, Osaka is also well connected by subway lines. Visit the Osaka Metro website for more information.

  • As much as there’s a ton of history retained in Kyoto, the city also has a modern and reliable transport system. For more information, visit the Kyoto Municipal Transport Bureau website.

  • It is recommended to get a Prepaid IC card as this card grants you access to travel on almost all trains, subways and buses in most of Japan’s largest cities, which includes Tokyo. The two main cards in Japan are the “Suica” and “PITAPA” cards, which can be purchased at ticket machines and ticket counters with an initial refundable deposit of 500 yen.

By Taxi

  • Taxis in Japan can be identified by its iconic yellow exterior and green license plates, with drivers dressed in smart uniforms.

  • Hailing a taxi in Japan is easy, with most taxi stands located in front of train stations. Fares start from 400 to 700 yen.

  • Most taxis accept payment by credit card, and IC cards are also increasingly being accepted. If you are short on cash and unsure if the aforementioned method of payments are accepted, you can refer to the sticker on the taxi door which will indicate the accepted payment methods.

  • You can book a cab through the “Japan Taxi” app, Uber or Line Taxi.

By Bus

  • If you are travelling around Central Tokyo or Osaka City, most bus operators charge a flat rate of 210 yen for adults and 110 yen for children. In Kyoto City, the flat rate starts from 230 yen for adults and 120 yen for children under 12 years old.

  • IC cards are used as a payment method for bus fares. However, notes and coins are also accepted if you have insufficient funds in your IC card.

  • Most local buses in Tokyo are operated by Toei Bus. For more information, visit the Toei Bus website.

  • In Kyoto, the buses can be differentiated by the names “Kyoto City Bus”, which operates within the city, and “Kyoto Bus”, which operates more in the outskirt areas. For more information, visit the Kyoto Municipal Transport Bureau website.

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